Guest Post: Why the Rich Love High Unemployment

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mark Provost of Truthout

Why the Rich Love High Unemployment

In the last installment of this three-part series, Mark Provost again examines the myths perpetuated by the ruling class to frame massive transfers of wealth to the rich as well-intentioned economic "recovery" policies. Parts 1 and 2  appeared on Truthout in December 2010 and January 2011.

Romer, former member of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors,
accuses the administration of "shamefully ignoring" the unemployed.
Paul Krugman echoes her concerns, observing that Washington has lost
interest in "the forgotten millions." America's unemployed have been
ignored and forgotten, but they are far from superfluous. Over the last
two years, out-of-work Americans have played a critical role in helping
the richest one percent recover trillions in financial wealth.

Obama's advisers often congratulate themselves
for avoiding another Great Depression - an assertion not amenable to
serious analysis or debate. A better way to evaluate their claims is to
compare the US economy to other rich countries over the last few years.

On the basis of sustaining economic growth,
the United States is doing better than nearly all advanced economies.
From the first quarter of 2008 to the end of 2010, US gross domestic
product (GDP) growth outperformed every G-7 country except Canada.

But when it comes to jobs, US policymakers
fall short of their rosy self-evaluations. Despite the second-highest
economic growth, Paul Wiseman of the Associated Press (AP) reports:
"the U.S. job market remains the group's weakest. U.S. employment
bottomed and started growing again a year ago, but there are still 5.4
percent fewer American jobs than in December 2007. That's a much sharper
drop than in any other G-7 country." According to an important study by
Andrew Sum and Joseph McLaughlin, the US boasted one of the lowest
unemployment rates in the rich world before the housing crash - now,
it's the highest.[1]

The gap between economic growth and job
creation reflects three separate but mutually reinforcing factors: US
corporate governance, Obama's economic policies and the deregulation of
US labor markets.

Old economic models assume that companies
merely react to external changes in demand - lacking independent agency
or power. While executives must adapt to falling demand, they retain a
fair amount of discretion in how they will respond and who will bear the
brunt of the pain. Corporate culture and organization vary from country
to country.

In the boardrooms of corporate America, profits aren't everything - they are the only thing. A JPMorgan research report
concludes that the current corporate profit recovery is more dependent
on falling unit-labor costs than during any previous expansion. At some
level, corporate executives are aware that they are lowering workers'
living standards, but their decisions are neither coordinated nor
intentionally harmful. Call it the "paradox of profitability."
Executives are acting in their own and their shareholders' best
interest: maximizing profit margins in the face of weak demand by
extensive layoffs and pay cuts. But what has been good for every
company's income statement has been a disaster for working families and
their communities.

Obama's lopsided recovery also reflects
lopsided government intervention. Apart from all the talk about jobs,
the Obama administration never supported a concrete employment plan. The
stimulus provided relief, but it was too small and did not focus on job

The administration's problem is not a question
of economics, but a matter of values and priorities. In the first Great
Depression, President Roosevelt created an alphabet soup of
institutions - the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Tennessee
Valley Authority (TVA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) - to
directly relieve the unemployment problem, a crisis the private sector
was unable and unwilling to solve. In the current crisis, banks were
handed bottomless bowls of alphabet soup - the Troubled Asset Relief
Program (TARP), the Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP) and the
Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) - while politicians
dithered over extending inadequate unemployment benefits.

The unemployment crisis has its origins in the
housing crash, but the prior deregulation of the labor market made the
fallout more severe. Like other changes to economic policy in recent
decades, the deregulation of the labor market tilts the balance of power
in favor of business and against workers. Unlike financial system
reform, the deregulation of the labor market is not on President Obama's
agenda and has escaped much commentary.

Labor-market deregulation boils down to three
things: weak unions, weak worker protection laws and weak overall
employment. In addition to protecting wages and benefits, unions also
protect jobs. Union contracts prevent management from indiscriminately
firing workers and shifting the burden onto remaining employees. After
decades of imposed decline, the United States currently has the fourth-lowest private sector union membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

America's low rate of union membership partly
explains why unemployment rose so fast and, - thanks to hectic
productivity growth - hiring has been so slow.

Proponents of labor-market flexibility argue
that it's easier for the private sector to create jobs when the
transactional costs associated with hiring and firing are reduced.
Perhaps fortunately, legal protections for American workers cannot get
any lower: US labor laws make it the easiest place in the word to fire
or replace employees, according to the OECD.

Another consequence of labor-market flexibility has been the shift from full-time jobs to temporary positions. In 2010, 26 percent of all news jobs were temporary - compared with less than 11 percent in the early 1990's recovery and just 7.1 percent in the early 2000's.

The American model of high productivity and low pay
has friends in high places. Former Obama adviser and General Motors (GM)
car czar Steven Rattner argues that America's unemployment crisis is a sign of strength:

Perversely, the nagging high
jobless rate reflects two of the most promising attributes of the
American economy: its flexibility and its productivity. Eliminating jobs
- with all the wrenching human costs - raises productivity and,
thereby, competitiveness.

Unusually, US productivity grew right through
the recession; normally, companies can't reduce costs fast enough to
keep productivity from falling.

That kind of efficiency is perhaps our most
precious economic asset. However tempting it may be, we need to resist
tinkering with the labor market. Policy proposals aimed too directly at
raising employment may well collaterally end up dragging on

Rattner comes dangerously close to
articulating a full-unemployment policy. He suggests unemployed workers
don't merit the same massive government intervention that served GM and
the banks so well. When Wall Street was on the ropes, both
administrations sensibly argued, "doing nothing is not an option." For
the long-term unemployed, doing nothing appears to be Washington's
preferred policy.

The unemployment crisis has been a godsend for
America's superrich, who own the vast majority of financial assets -
stocks, bonds, currency and commodities.

Persistent unemployment and weak unions have
changed the American workforce into a buyers' market - job seekers and
workers are now "price takers" rather than "price makers." Obama's
recovery shares with Reagan's early years the distinction of being the
only two post-war expansions where wage concessions have been the rule
rather than the exception. The year 2009 marked the slowest wage growth
on record, followed by the second slowest in 2010.[2]

America's labor market depression propels
asset price appreciation. In the last two years, US corporate profits
and share prices rose at the fastest pace in history - and the fastest
in the G-7. Considering the source of profits, the soaring stock market
appears less a beacon of prosperity than a reliable proxy for America's
new misery index. Mark Whitehouse of The Wall Street Journal describes Obama's hamster wheel recovery:

From mid-2009 through the end of
2010, output per hour at U.S. nonfarm businesses rose 5.2% as companies
found ways to squeeze more from their existing workers. But the lion's
share of that gain went to shareholders in the form of record profits,
rather than to workers in the form of raises. Hourly wages, adjusted for
inflation, rose only 0.3%, according to the Labor Department. In other
words, companies shared only 6% of productivity gains with their
workers. That compares to 58% since records began in 1947.

Workers' wages and salaries represent roughly
two-thirds of production costs and drive inflation. High inflation is a
bondholders' worst enemy because bonds are fixed-income securities. For
example, if a bond yields a fixed five percent and inflation is running
at four percent, the bond's real return is reduced to one percent. High
unemployment constrains labor costs and, thus, also functions as an
anchor on inflation and inflation expectations - protecting bondholders'
real return and principal. Thanks to the absence of real wage growth
and inflation over the last two years, bond funds have attracted record
inflows and investors have profited immensely.

The Federal Reserve has played the leading
role in sustaining the recovery, but monetary policies work indirectly
and disproportionately favor the wealthy. Low interest rates have helped
banks recapitalize, allowed businesses and households to refinance debt
and provided Wall Street with a tsunami of liquidity - but its impact
on employment and wage growth has been negligible.

CNBC's Jim Cramer provides insight
into the counterintuitive link between a rotten economy and soaring
asset prices: "We are and have been in the longest 'bad news is good
news' moment that I have ever come across in my 31 years of trading.
That means the bad news keeps producing the low interest rates that make
stocks, particularly stocks with decent dividend protection, more
attractive than their fixed income alternatives." In other words, the
longer Ben Bernanke's policies fail to lower unemployment, the longer
Wall Street enjoys a free ride.

Out-of-work Americans deserve more than
unemployment checks - they deserve dividends. The rich would never have
recovered without them.

1. "The Massive Shedding of Jobs in America." Andrew Sum and Joseph McLaughlin. Challenge, 2010, vol. 53, issue 6, pages 62-76.

2. David Wessel, Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2010. "Wage and Benefit Growth Hits Historic Low"; Chris Farrell, Bloomberg Businessweek, February 5, 2010. " US Wage Growth: The Downward Spiral."

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Azannoth's picture

Look it's all over, stop splitting hairs, just be prepared for a post-human world

oh_bama's picture

Durable goods slighly lower BUT LAST READING REVISED HIGHER!!!

TruthInSunshine's picture

Frontline always is one of my tells, and it was a dead ringer back in 2007/2008.

Bang Dae-Ho, bitchez.

Norway's Frontline, which operates the world's largest oil tanker fleet, announced an 81-percent decline in net income for the first quarter compared to last year. The company issued a grim outlook...

The operator of the world's largest tanker fleet gives up on the global recovery


silberblick's picture

Click below to see a graphic illustration of bankster's dirty of hierarchy of needs:

Xibalba's picture

back to the coal mines for little Johnny and the sweatshop for little Suzie.  Who needs Unions, Labor Laws, and Civil rights anyways?!?!  As Clinton would say "We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans."
- Bill Clinton, USA Today on 3/11/93, page 2a

Retired_Day_Trader_Wannabe's picture

back to the coal mines for little Johnny and the sweatshop for little Suzie.  Who needs Unions, Labor Laws, and Civil rights anyways?


Unions are legalized monopolies (monopolizing the supply of labor), Labor Laws are just the way government ingratiates itself to the unions, Civil Rights are just the codification of the Natural Rights provided to man by God himself.   If we have too much supply in the human commodity then the price (wage paid) needs to come down.  Government cannot alter the laws of supply-and-demand over the long term, and government shall damage the economy in the short term if they try.   What is the answer?  Stop having so many kinds, and stop illegal immigration. 

JW n FL's picture

are you fucking retarded?


the reason we dont have jobs.. is becuase of your republican meth snorting homo dick sucking fags! who shipped 50,000 jobs a month to China since 2000! and gave Corporate America a Fucking Tax Credit for Shipping 50,000 jobs a Month to China!


someone find this fucking scumbag lying fuck and send him and all that he spawned to China!

Thisson's picture

The problem is all the taxes on the working person here, which make labor demand higher (uncompetitive) wages.  Lower taxes, then companies can lower wages, and we can regain our outsourced jobs while maintaining a decent standard of living.  Unfortunately (/sarcasm), that means the public sector leaches and rentiers need to be cast aside.

trav7777's picture

Acting in shareholders' interests would have meant dividend growth kept up with profit growth, not that share prices ponzi'd up then crashed while CEO pay kept rising every year.

Executives act in their own interest and only their own interest.  Bitchez

the not so mighty maximiza's picture

Once you get the shareholders cash they are disposable.   What are you going to do arrest the CEO? hahahahahaahahah

Ray1968's picture

It truly is the new American Way. Profit for the top... screw everyone else.

Its always been like that, just never so blatent, pervasive and extreme.

Bob's picture

My thought exactly.

Flakmeister's picture

Yeah, all those board members and directors were responsible for the productivity growth....

Just look at CISCO, awesome company, horrible stock... At least MO and RAI kick back a little cash to the shareholders.

It is for this reason that I prefer MLP type corporate structures. The shareholders benefit. The management has to own stock to benefit. 

trav7777's picture

CSCO is an interesting case-in-point for what I'm saying.

Dunno who it was, maybe Frontlline, who did an expose on this tech bubble and found that via options and share buybacks, CSCO kicked a full DECADE's worth of profits to management and never paid shit to shareholders.

Shareholders rode the ponzi of "price appreciation," which turned out in most cases in .com to be classic and explicit fraud and book cooking by the managers, who yet still paid themselves bonuses as if the profits WEREN'T bullshit.  The profits were phantom but the bonuses were definitely real.

Who can forget Worldcom or Tyco or any of the dozens of major frauds that went down as the Nasdaq crashed 75%?  All the illusory gains managers "delivered" for 10 years were shown to be nonexistent and were undone within the span of a year.

And during this span, management relentlessly reinforced its entrenchment.  During the price ponzi, the true ownership was so drunk with bullshit valuations fed to them by management that they acquiesced to every additional step management took to buttress management's power and control.  Now that all those illusory gains have been wiped away, management is left in complete power to continue to funnel all profits to themselves.

Flakmeister's picture

Isn't this good capitalism? Buy low, sell high?

Clint Liquor's picture

"The stimulus provided relief, but it was too small and did not focus on job creation."

Taking a trillion dollars out of the economy and giving it to State and Local Governments wasn't enough?

If brains were made of shit, this guy couldn't stink.

southsea13's picture

The unemployed are now an asset like anything else. I guess the `philosophy` in most boardrooms will be `Treat `em mean to keep `em keen" (for those who are still lucky enough to have a job). The other boardroom dictum will probably be "Keep `em lean" when it comes to staffing as every possible iota of value is wrung thoroughly out of the value chain. The result will be more and more families becoming unemployed and losing their homes, but that`s not going to be of much concern to the `great and the good`. :(

trav7777's picture

The philosophy in boardrooms is "how can we pay these executives more so that when they sit on OUR boards, they can pay us more too?"

That is in actuality, at its lowest level, literally how this shit works.  Every board member is an executive of some other company and the interlocking directorates are vast.  It is a big club.

Executives try to decrease cost by firing people even at the expense of the long-term viability of the company.  That is because their mentality is to take every bonus NOW.  Who gives a shit if this company still exists 5 years out; I will have maximized my immediate gains.  They also look to backscratch as boardmembers in order to provide nice, soft landing places for after they deploy their golden parachutes.

The interlocking executives club isn't just about golden parachutes, it's about golden landing zones.

tellsometruth's picture

remeber this one: "jobeless recovery"

really sold us on that one from late 2008

Alcoholic Native American's picture

Yea that was so 2008, when not EVERYTHING was a lie.  At least they admitted it was a jobless recovery back then, now it's just a full blown recovery.

JW n FL's picture

Corporate America has a well funded and entrenched LOBBY!

The American Worker is neither well funded or any where near entrenched in Washingtion DC...


and figure who owns the elected officials in your part of the world.. type in your congressman / senators name and POOF! there it is..

Find out for yourself that Washington DC Votes with the LOBBY Dollars! EVERY FUCKING TIME!! then figure out how you are going to support a Lobby Push without a 0.25% FED Window to draw down from???

pan-the-ist's picture

But, but, a raising tide lifts all ships and if you sink a few ships the tide won't lift anymore.

JW n FL's picture

if it trickles down the rich guys leg it will cause all ships to rise? LOL

Mercury's picture

Things have never been better at the top.  Remember back in 2005 when all those moneyed varlets from the exburbs clogged up the harbor with their cheap motorboats and made landing a reservation someplace decent such a hassle?  That totally sucked. 

Keeping U6 is in-line with the age of your au-pair...that's the sweet spot.

sdmjake's picture

"Keeping U6 is in-line with the age of your au-pair...that's the sweet spot."

Thanks for the humpday laugh. or should I cry??

Mercury's picture

These days its often necessary and hard not to do both.

writingsonthewall's picture

Of course the corporates love high unemployment - it allows them to repair their profit margins by driving down the only cost they can (labour cost) as technology is easily adaptable to your competitors and only provides a short term relief.


Jeepers - does nobody go to college these days? This was all explained by Marx - and it's still 100% true today. There is no mystery - other than the mystery of how the world still cannot accept that Captialism is flawed and that booms and busts are inherent to capitalism ddue to it's contradictory nature.

...and still people believe that 'someone can fix it' - well give up for God's sake - you are never going to fix it.


It's like those people who talk of 100% employment in Capitalism - they must be totally stupid - it's not possible - otherwise there would be no 'motivation' for existing workers to work any harder as there would be no threat of someone from the unemployment queue to replace them.

As Capitalism is purely based on 'profit motive' this is entirely logical. This is why we need to organise our economic systm on something other that profit motive.

What is (monetarily) profitable is not always the right or best thing to do. For that example you only need to look at those CDO squared packages to realise that 'profit' is not always a good indicator. In fact it's probably more wrong than right.

pan-the-ist's picture

High unemployment also puts more competition in the workplace which means lower wages and fewer benefits.

writingsonthewall's picture

...but without lower prices (which is not guaranteed) - you end up getting closer and closer to slavery - as people are forced to work for "their daily feed" - no aspiration, no progress - total debt slavery.


That is why the working people cannot simply accept lower and lower wages - eventually something will have to give. Especially when it becomes more time efficient to self sustain yourself and not require any wages.

samsara's picture

...otherwise there would be no 'motivation' for existing workers to work any harder as there would be no threat of someone from the unemployment queue to replace them.


George Carlin

There are 3 types of people

The Rich,  They receive most of the money

The Middle Class, they pay for everything.

The Poor,  They're there to scare the shit out of the middle class to keep'm going to their jobs....


Higher Productivity = Less People working.  That is what that metric actually measures.  More Machines,  less people,  Higher Productivity.

writingsonthewall's picture

I would argue there are only 2 types.

The middle class are in fact 'the poor' - but they are given special roles by the rich to raise them to a 'higher status' - which ensure they act on behalf of the rich to suppress the poor.

When times are bad - the middle class dissapear as the rich have no loyalty to them - then they are also rejected by the poor (for past transgressions).

If it weren't for capitalism then we would be living simpler lives....but only working about 3 hours a day (technology would have made the rest redundant) - however Capitlaism requires constant growth - so it constantly creates it's own demand - even if that means selling people things they don't need and using advertising and marketing to cadjole them into thinking there is a need.

...and they start with your children, they have no scruples - the weakest of society are the easiest to manipulate - hence 'pester power'

Vashta Nerada's picture

If it weren't for capitalism then we would be living simpler lives....but only working about 3 hours a day (technology would have made the rest redundant)

That is ridiculous. If it weren't for capitalism, we sure would be living simpler lives - in caves, but we would be working 19 hour days to survive, because all of the technology wouldn't have been invented, as there would be nothing to gain for inventors to develop any technology.

Flakmeister's picture

Umm... you clearly have not thought this through completely, have you?

trav7777's picture

the Wright Brothers weren't looking to get rich.

Smart people do cool shit just for the sake of doing it.  Something you obviously don't grasp.

Vashta Nerada's picture

You've never heard of the Curtis-Wright Corporation, have you?

Flakmeister's picture

What does that have to do with anything? Do you think the Hahn et al were trying to get rich? Hell, how about Franklin or Count Rumford?

Calmyourself's picture

"This is why we need to organise our economic systm on something other that profit motive."
Like what pray tell the urge of the proletariat to jointly own all assets? Just be sure not to look at the oligarchy behind the curtain with the massive police state. No thanks, I prefer to take my chances with individual greed at least that has continuing leverage.

writingsonthewall's picture

Yeah - because that's working out juuuuuuust fine isn't it?

All your assets are owned by the banks - and if they aren't yet, they soon will be. Even if you are the 'super special investor' you think you are - how long are you going to last as your free market compatirates lie dying in the road beside you?


...and you're already in a police state - didn't anyone tell you? The banks dictate to the Government what to do - don't believe me? - well go to the next shareholder meeting of a bank you have shares in and make a fuss - see how long it is before you're arrested under some dubious law.

Greed always leads to corruption - and it is corruption which prevents free trade and hinders human progress - and yet you think this is the best way forward?

TheTmfreak's picture

Your arguments for communism are typical and crap.

Crony capitalism isn't the same as capitalism.

Yes the profit motive brought the largest increase in living standards the world has ever seen. All of the problems we see today, have been "brought to you by" government sticking its damn nose where it doesn't belong.

This article was crap beyond crap.

writingsonthewall's picture

Once I waded through the crap I can see you're producing the same baseless arguments as all free market flunkies do.

1) Crony capitalism is the logical conclusion to capitalism. Accumulating capital is the aim of capitalism - using 'cronyism' is just an extension of this, but an extension only available to the wealthy. You talk as though cronyism simply 'appeared' from the sky one day - but actually it's been building up over a number of years. Even without any Government regulation - cronyism would still be the result of capitalism. I mean surely every capitalist will do everything in his power to accumulate and protect his capital - or are you saying captialists are bound by some agreement otherwise???

2) The argument for captialism bringing increased living standards is FALSE. There is no baseline with which you can measure against so the argument cannot be substantiated. However the increase in living standards are all to do with TECHNOLOGY and have nothing to do with captialism. This is an age old argument trundled out by blinded capitalists but for which they have no evidence to prove it. It's not even demonstratable as both the centrally planned economies of the USSR and the Chinese have comparable increases in the standards of living - and yet neither employed the market in their resource allocation. In fact it could easily be argued that the standard of living the USA has been false for a long, long time - only loss of purchasing power has given the impression of progress.

...and this isn't an argument for communism - this is an argument against capitalism - one which evidently you have lost as Capitslism goes into 'yet another crisis' and where the only way to prevent total economic collapse is to revert to 'socialism' i.e. the people covering the losses of private banks.


...or would you prefer we let them fail and see what happens? - I'm game for that because I have enough gold stashed under my bed for such an eventuality - but not eveyone knows what I do - so is it fair to 'drop the bomb' on people who have no interest in finance?


You need some better arguments - they have failed and are failing and simply repeating the same old shit isn't going to change it. Capitalism failed the first time someone (i.e. Government) had to step in to protect the consumer from unscrupilous traders - probably in the middle ages - to want to go back to such an era pretty much sums up your 'progressiveness'

TheTmfreak's picture

1. Crony capitalism requires the government to pick winners and loosers. Or at least assisting in the creation of an illusionary safe system by which allows people to "Trust the system" rather than using their own fucking instincts. "Ahhhh these investments are safe we have them backed up." Such as muni bonds. Safe? No. Deception? Yes.

2. Look, if you're going to give this "baseline can't be measured, therefore you can't say that" argument you can go off the deep end on many, MANY other logical arguments and entailments. I'd recommend not opening a philosophical can of worms you're not prepared to handle. Or at a minimum not be used on your OWN "arguments." If you'd like me to go on a long tangent about the logical inconsistencies and assumptions made with everything that is "measuring", than I'll kindly do that. I'd rather refrain from doing it since it doesn't have a purpose here. Your arguments are no more "grounded" on fact than mine, in the "real" sense of it.

Technology wasn't created through capitalism? Really? You're telling me that people did not innovate for profit? You've really gone off the deep end on this one. If we have lived in a system that has "brainwashed people" (some might say, i say its natural) to want to profit and to do better, than it MUST be the case that somebody innovated FOR profit. You're telling me NOBODY innovated technology for profit? Not even Ford? Just one person would be required for your argument to false. Technology doesn't just appear, poof out of thin air. Somebody has to have a REASON to create/discover (choose) technology.

Russia only RECENTLY has had increase in standard of living across the board. Why? They accepted capitalism (more so than before). China? The same fucking thing. They are a state assisted capitalist society. If this wasn't the case then how could all of these private businesses be moving to China? While I have utter contempt for their government and their actions, I will not deny that a state assisted crony capitalism country is better than purely a state ran one.


Lastly the banks should fall for bad investments and all those who deceived and stole should be destroyed.

I did it by Occident's picture

but wait, isn't Crony communism also the logical conclusion to communism?  and Crony socialism the logical conclusion to socialism? and Crony fascism the conclusion to fascism?  etc, etc. 

 Cronyism is the end result to any and all systems administered by human interests.  Greed for personal gain (profit, personal gain, or otherwise) is a feature not only in the capitalist model but all models.  They just don't call it profit in the other models, maybe it is called something else like power, position, reputation, esteem etc. in other models.  One can even make the argument that it is hardwired from the ol' evolution days.  So your arguments against capitalism may as well be arguments against ANY other system.

TheTmfreak's picture

Well said.

The only system this doesn't apply to is anarchy. The only system by which there isn't an entity that can abuse its power. That creates an illusion of less risk involved with trades and transactions.

I don't call it a utopia nor that everything will be amazing roses, I call it not fucked up and onesided.

Flakmeister's picture

I looked and couldn't find the link to apply for an exit visa to Somalia...

Pop Quiz: Can you provide a list of societies that are anarchist that can be termed sucessful?

TheTmfreak's picture

While your comments are snide, arguing against anarchy and then citing "i can't get a visa" is pretty lame. As somebody who thinks visa and licenses are stupid as hell, why should I care about that?

Define successful? There have been plenty of governmentless communities. Since all societies have fallen at some point in time, are therefore any successful? Are only the ones that are currently existing successful? I don't see the merit or purpose of your question.

So long as people believe they can live in a community that is governmentless it is possible and has been possible.

Flakmeister's picture

Quit dancing around, list them...

TheTmfreak's picture

Here is a wiki list since you can't do your own research.

You didn't answer my post whatsoever. Define successful.

"I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law."


Since I know this quote is "real" and people actually do believe in this, I believe people can work out their own problems. Government creates an illusion of security so that people may fully free themselves to lay all their chips down on the table. In otherwords be as productive and willing to trade with others because you know the contract will be fullfilled on the otherside. While I will state that this is a very nice state that people would be able to conduct themselves with the "full faith" in others, it remains completely illusionary.

Flakmeister's picture

 I looked at your list.... Sorry, it does not cut it, "sucessful" sort of implies that they stuck around for a while... I also note that 3 of the 4 were the result of a civil war.... The 4th does not even have a link...

Yes, people can work out problems. The real problem is how you deal with the 5% of the population that are socio-paths. All political economic systems must account for this... Some liberty must be restrained to protect the liberty of others.

blunderdog's picture

The real problem is how you deal with the 5% of the population that are socio-paths.

In the US, we promote them to the highest ranks of our corporations and elect them to public office.

Hard to imagine how anarchism could possibly be worse.

trav7777's picture

far more than 5% are sociopathic