To Vote or Not to Vote, Where is the Alternative?
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You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete – R. Buckminster Fuller
[image courtesy of the BFI]
The UK general election looms, and as I write this, I’m currently on a plane headed for Turkey. I’ll be out of the country on the 7th. I have filled in my proxy vote paperwork, but who do I tell my proxy to vote for?
My first dilemma was whether to vote or not to vote, my second was to consider voting for someone other than the Tories, as David Cameron exhibits enough moronic behaviour and spouts enough rhetoric to turn me off politics altogether. He’s a good chatter. Chat chat chat chat, blah blah blah blah, but these are just empty words, all the while the audience is thinking
Why doesn’t he say what we’re all thinking, does he think we’re all stupid.
Give me a politician who treats me like an adult, and I’ll vote for him. But alas, the game of politics gets in the way again. It’s not Dave’s fault. He’s a posh bloke who comes across well on camera, and he ended up as PM. I wouldn’t want the job. He doesn’t think we’re all stupid, he’s just playing the politics game, trying to get re-elected. He wants you to vote for government and will say whatever he thinks he needs to make that happen.
Politicians promise that they can solve your problems for you, but they can’t. This is why voting for government only ensures more government, and more taxes, and more control over your life, and more ineffective use of the funds taken from you in taxes, which leads to more calls for government to intervene and do more. It’s a vicious cycle of more and more government that gets us nowhere. The answer to all of our problems isn’t more government, it’s less government, and it’s for us to take charge of our lives and help ourselves.
Government should have a few basic roles:
- Serve the people not rule them
- Enforce ownership of private property
- Provide public services (trains, roads, national infrastructure)
Anything that can be opened up to the free market, should be. Anything that comprises a monopoly should be re-nationalised; water, power generation, roads, railways, etc.
I want to vote to get rid of government, but where do I vote for that? You cannot vote against something without voting for it. If you want an alternative, talk about what you want instead, and vote for that with your attention, with your time and with your money. Buckminster Fuller put it well in his quote above.
I cannot see government as anything more than a burden on the productive economy. Laws, statutes, legislation, compliance, customs and excise, border controls, subsidies, tax, and government currency are all forms of cost added to the economy by government, the idea that somebody knows better than you what you want. But they don’t. Individuals and the free market are best placed to allocate the flow of capital.
Money makes the world go round. It provides the means of exchange for markets to operate. When government decreed fiat money is just pieces of paper backed up by nothing but a central bank which seems determined to reduce its currency’s value, where governments push policies which encourage speculative asset bubbles based on increasing levels of indebtedness (the UK economy in a nutshell), we rightly feel that the value of our means of exchange (money) is being eroded. But how to change the system?
Rent seeking is rife in the modern world, and no more so than in the world of banking. Banks create money and extract interest payments on it. Most of the created money goes into property, hence the rising market prices. Campaign groups like Positivemoney.org are bold in their stance on the monetary system, but they have missed the point that our friend R. Buckminster Fuller was making; you can’t change the current state of affairs, you must create an alternative which makes the current state of affairs obsolete. This is what cryptocurrencies will give to the world. If you’re new to the concept, don’t view cryptocurrencies as you view dollars, gold or silver, see them for their value as a near frictionless means of value exchange
If you hold value, and you want to transfer some of that value to someone else, you can send them pieces of your credits. Whether the Cryptocurrency has any innate value is not so important, what is important is that it has allowed economic exchange, it has conveyed your desire for exchange with another, it has executed the contract on your behalf, which is of enormous value. The medium of exchange has value in that it allowed the economic transaction to occur more efficiently than it otherwise might. If visa takes 5%, but cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin take less than 0.5% that’s 4.5% of benefit for the seller or for the buyer, and the rent seeker can leave with his tail between his legs.
I got excited about cryptocurrencies for their world changing ability after reading Dominic Frisby’s books; “Life After The State – Why We Don’t Need Government” and “Bitcoin: The Future Of Money”. Frisby has reawakened some ideas in me about state interference and how we can reduce its grip on our lives.
The first and most obvious thing we can do to help government on its road to ruin is to stop using its money supply, and this is where alternative currencies conveniently come in. Governments can try to stop people using cryptocurrencies, but now that the blockchain technology has been invented, government efforts to control them will ultimately fail. If they try to stop them, they will drive them underground.
Fiat money is government issued money, linked to war, taxation, banking, subsidies, crony capitalism and inequality, and the burgeoning size of the state. This “government model” is unsustainable, and when it reaches crisis point (as will happen in the not too distant future, after all the Western world is bankrupt and so has no choice but to default on its debts or to inflate them out of existence), the people will seek out whatever currency means they see as valuable, and that usually means free of central government meddling and political bias and inflationary money printing. Peer to peer currencies could be just the answer that people don’t yet know they are looking for.
Many speak of the failure of capitalism, and advocate some sort of wealth redistribution by means of taxing the rich more and the poor less. I am certainly not in favour of this. I believe in equal opportunity for individuals to create for themselves, not punishing the rich to pay for the poor, this is the current welfare state, and keeps many thousands dependent on state aid rather than helping them to create for themselves. Anyone who advocates a ‘Robin Hood tax’ will never be rich themselves, because what they are saying is that people who are rich are somehow immoral. You can’t criticise something and become it yourself. It does t work like that.
What I am in favour of, is private property rights being upheld, and that means that people do not have their property (money) taken forcibly from them through government taxation (or face jail) and spent on their behalf by a government which thinks it knows better than the people. If we introduce a flat rate, low rate, tax to cover essential services, and allow people to keep the majority of what they earn, the world will become a more productive, more transparent place, and businesses and individuals will be treated equally (no more subsidies), small businesses will be able to compete with large ones (which don’t pay any tax), and we have a free market once more.
If someone wants to act in corrupt ways, a truly free market, if allowed to function freely, will sort out the issue. Corruption is what happens when power (usually government in some form) is wielded and used to corrupt the free market.
Corruption is a tax on businesses by those who hold that privileged position, but in a flat tax structured society, small businesses can compete with large because they are leaner, more efficient and more responsive to changes. How can a local coffee shop afford to compete with a company like Starbucks which pays a much lower company tax rate in Luxembourg? It can’t and so we have high streets full of identical corporate chains who are subsidised to the point that they are the only ones who can afford the rent. This is not a free market, this is unfairly benefitting the large corporation over the small.
Coffee shops is one example, but this point affects each and every business sector, where the large fish is prioritised in the eye of the government, where bigger is seen as better, and the smaller fish are eaten up by the bigger fish before they can make a stand. We end up with juggernauts like Google, Facebook, and Amazon buying up any company which looks innovative, and stopping them in their tracks. Where does the money come from to do this? A lot of it comes from subsidies to these large businesses, both directly and indirectly.
As people cannot make their own entrepreneurial businesses work, they are forced to earn a wage working for a large corporation, or collect a welfare cheque from government, either way, they would likely rather be creating a life for themselves at some point in their careers.
The question of the UK leaving the European Union is another hot topic in the forthcoming election, and Nigel Farage’s UKIP have gathered a decent anti Europe, nationalist vote. For all of their good ideas (like reducing the size of government), UKIP does let itself down with a lot of anti-immigrant nonsense.
What is the EU? A large, private members trading club. Free trade between states in similar economic situations (that was supposed to be the situation anyway) allows for easy economic exchange. But like all forms of government, the EU has grown larger, more meddlesome and has tightened its strangling grip on economic activity. There is of course a price to pay for being in the the club, prime among them fees to pay for the EU government overhead, relinquishing of productivity outputs (signing up to quotas) designed to rig the market in whatever commodity you are producing, hence we get the ridiculous situation where farmers receive subsidies in return for not growing crops. Duties are levied to artificially inflate prices to keep this false market ‘working’. I’m not a big fan of any kind of government, believing that we can choose better how we educate our children, what we save for our retirement, what we use as money, where we build our communities, what money we give away to charitable organisations.
EU or national, government is all the same, it is an overhead on the economy, and we should vote for something else and be free of it once and for all. If this article rings true, you may have anarcho-capitalist leaning, in which case I definitely recommend Life After The State by Dominic Frisby. It should be compulsory reading for every politician currently in government, as it clearly spells out the weaknesses of their system, and how they can survive its impending collapse. Dominic Frisby is giving a talk at the upcoming Cheltenham Science Festival in June.
As to the question of who I’ll be voting for, I’m hoping it will come to me in a dream.
This post has already been read 435 times!