Rational Capitalist on Facebook

Monday, April 27, 2009

An Injustice of Injustice: Bossnapping vs. Capitalist Logic

In past posts, I have argued that, logically, socialism must lead to chaos, violence, and tyranny (e.g. see Capitalism, Chapter 8: Socialism, Economic Chaos, and Totalitarian Dictatorship). Socialism rests on philosophical premises that contradict human nature and therefore it must lead to injustice and misery – for everyone. Well, it took about 2 weeks to see this play out in reality. For example, last month, the WSJ reported:

Vandals attacked the Edinburgh home of Sir Fred Goodwin, former chief executive of the now state-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, in a sign that public outrage over the financial crisis could be taking a dangerous turn.

"We are angry that rich people, like him, are paying themselves a huge amount of money, and living in luxury, while ordinary people are made unemployed, destitute and homeless," the email, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, read. "This is a crime. Bank bosses should be jailed. This is just the beginning."

The attack reflects a virulent strain of social unrest that is appearing across Europe. Workers at a factory operated by the U.S. industrial conglomerate 3M Co. held their boss, Luc Rousselet, captive for more than 24 hours to protest planned layoffs. He was released on Thursday after a deal was reached, according to Reuters. Mr. Rousselet left his office early on Thursday morning to boos from about 20 workers.

Another article from The Times Online describes militant workers who are resorting to "radical tactics":

It was the second time in a week that blackouts had hit the Paris region as striking gas and electricity workers adopted radical tactics to support their call for a 10 per cent pay rise and an end to outsourcing of jobs.

They are denounced as industrial saboteurs by the Government and face disciplinary action and prosecution, but say they are determined to press ahead with what they portray as a struggle against free-market forces.

In the following, note what they regard to be "free market forces":

After failing to prevent the partial privatisations of EDF and GDF, the gas supplier, they believe that the tide has turned in their favour because of the recession.

Redundancy plans have caused violent protests in private sector companies, left-wing students have blocked universities and unions are planning a demonstration on Labour Day. “There is a risk of revolution,” Dominique de Villepin, the former prime minister, said.

For Stéphane Miliadis, a representative of the Confédération Générale du Travail union at the EDF plant in Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône, near Montigny-lès-Cormeilles, it offers a golden opportunity.

“The Government is losing control,” he said. “So now is the moment to push back the capitalist logic which has crept into the company.”

Furthermore, according to this article:

"Bossnapping” has become a popular technique in French labour disputes. Striking workers take their bosses hostage until they agree to demands

In certain cases where bankers have received "bailouts", taxpayers are right to be outraged to have their money expropriated and redistributed to business owners. This is an injustice and has been met with violent protests (widely regarded as an appropriate reaction by the MSM). However, consider that when the process is reversed, when business owners are stripped of their property rights, when the so-called rich are robbed of over half their income in taxes to fund the welfare state, when businessmen are routinely harassed and regarded as guilty until proven innocent, there is not a whisper of outrage much less a violent protest. Imagine the reaction if a business owner took his employees hostage or vandalized their homes in order to force them into a labor contract? Such an occurrence would rightly be regarded as an injustice and would certainly lead to unimaginably violent protests or riots. Where is the outrage when businessmen suffer the same fate and what is the root cause of this double standard?

Notice that it is not business owners who are perpetrating acts of violence in protest of egregious violations of their property rights, it is the employees who are protesting. Apparently, they have a moral right to "their job” but the owners do not have a moral right to their business. In this case, employment is not regarded as a voluntary contract between two parties: the owner of a business and someone who willingly sells his labor. Employment is regarded as an entitlement to be provided by the business owner.

In reality, individuals create a business in order to offer a product to others in an attempt to profit. The businessmen rightfully own their product and may or may not seek out others with whom to contract for labor. In other words, in reality, justice demands that each person respects the rights of others trading value for value in accordance with what Ayn Rand dubbed the trader principle:

A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. He does not treat men as masters or slaves, but as independent equals. He deals with men by means of a free, voluntary, unforced, uncoerced exchange—an exchange which benefits both parties by their own independent judgment. A trader does not expect to be paid for his defaults, only for his achievements. He does not switch to others the burden of his failures, and he does not mortgage his life into bondage to the failures of others.

Under socialism, this process is inverted. Businesses are regarded as the given - they simply exist, and their purpose is to provide employment to those in need. But what is the root cause of such an inversion? What moral theory provides the justification for the unjust violation of individual rights coupled with the further injustice of blaming its primary victim for the consequences? Altruism is responsible for this injustice of injustice.

What is the moral code of altruism? The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.

Under the doctrine of altruism, one who pursues his own self-interest or is motivated by profit, is regarded as an evil monster to be throttled by the state - his every move to be regulated and his profits to be expropriated and redistributed for the unearned benefit of others.

The events taking place in Europe exemplify the morality of altruism. This doctrine leads men to regard businessmen as sacrificial lambs, and, therefore, the idea that a businessman would actually be the recipient of welfare is regarded as a monumental injustice. But, the expropriation of wealth is not the object of protest - it is the particular recipient of the loot that is being protested. Rather than fighting for the principle of individual rights or the trader principle, which would entail opposing government welfare both to businessmen and to the poor, these militants only attack the businessmen. And what about the French radicals who are cutting off power to customers? What is the alleged injustice they are fighting? They are fighting for a "pay rise" and an end to "outsourcing" - in other words, they want an increase in pay and the right to a job for which no one is willing to pay.

The "struggle against free market forces" is a struggle against the nature of reality - the same struggle implied by the morality of altruism. Altruism demands that one give up value for a lesser value. By demanding sacrifice, altruism represents a negation of life itself, i.e., it sets a standard that if consistently applied would literally result in death. Altruism necessitates the treatment of one party as slave and the other as master - it is a philosophy of misery, stagnation, and death - it is a philosophy that leads to regulation, taxation, corporate welfare, broken windows, power outages, "bossnapping", and slave labor camps.

If man is to survive and to prosper, our nature requires freedom of thought and freedom of production. Nature requires each man to pursue his own self-interest and to respect the rights of others, i.e., man's nature requires egoism, individual rights, and capitalism.

What the socialists are really fighting is the realization that "capitalist logic" is redundant.

No comments: