Everything Is Broken
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Open Channel - Lobbying firm's memo spells out plan to undermine Occupy Wall Street

Open Channel - Lobbying firm's memo spells out plan to undermine Occupy Wall Street | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
By Jonathan Larsen and Ken Olshansky, MSNBC TV A well-known Washington lobbying firm with links to the financial industry has proposed an $850,000 plan to take on Occupy Wall Street and politicians who might express sympathy for the protests, according...
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Everything Is Broken
The Consolidation of the Elites over Earth's Remaining Resources. Watching the Tragedy of the Commons in Action.
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Debt Slavery – Why It Destroyed Rome, Why It Will Destroy Us Unless It’s Stopped

Debt Slavery – Why It Destroyed Rome, Why It Will Destroy Us Unless It’s Stopped | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
Hammurabi Knew Better
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The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves

The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
 Words by Yasha Levine
“…everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.”
—Arthur Young; 1771
Our popular economic wisdom says that capitalism equals freedom and free societies, right? Well, if you ever suspected that the logic is full of shit, then I’d recommend checking a book called The Invention of Capitalism, written by an economic historian named Michael Perelmen, who’s been exiled to Chico State, a redneck college in rural California, for his lack of freemarket friendliness. And Perelman has been putting his time in exile to damn good use, digging deep into the works and correspondence of Adam Smith and his contemporaries to write a history of the creation of capitalism that goes beyond superficial The Wealth of Nations fairy tale and straight to the source, allowing you to read the early capitalists, economists, philosophers, clergymen and statesmen in their own words. And it ain’t pretty.
One thing that the historical record makes obviously clear is that Adam Smith and his laissez-faire buddies were a bunch of closet-case statists, who needed brutal government policies to whip the English peasantry into a good capitalistic workforce willing to accept wage slavery.
Francis Hutcheson, from whom Adam Smith learned all about the virtue of natural liberty, wrote: ”it is the one great design of civil laws to strengthen by political sanctions the several laws of nature. … The populace needs to be taught, and engaged by laws, into the best methods of managing their own affairs and exercising mechanic art.”
Yep, despite what you might have learned, the transition to a capitalistic society did not happen naturally or smoothly. See, English peasants didn’t want to give up their rural communal lifestyle, leave their land and go work for below-subsistence wages in shitty, dangerous factories being set up by a new, rich class of landowning capitalists. And for good reason, too. Using Adam Smith’s own estimates of factory wages being paid at the time in Scotland, a factory-peasant would have to toil for more than three days to buy a pair of commercially produced shoes. Or they could make their own traditional brogues using their own leather in a matter of hours, and spend the rest of the time getting wasted on ale. It’s really not much of a choice, is it?
But in order for capitalism to work, capitalists needed a pool of cheap, surplus labor. So what to do? Call in the National Guard!
Faced with a peasantry that didn’t feel like playing the role of slave, philosophers, economists, politicians, moralists and leading business figures began advocating for government action. Over time, they enacted a series of laws and measures designed to push peasants out of the old and into the new by destroying their traditional means of self-support.

“The brutal acts associated with the process of stripping the majority of the people of the means of producing for themselves might seem far removed from the laissez-faire reputation of classical political economy,” writes Perelman. “In reality, the dispossession of the majority of small-scale producers and the construction of laissez-faire are closely connected, so much so that Marx, or at least his translators, labeled this expropriation of the masses as ‘‘primitive accumulation.’’
Perelman outlines the many different policies through which peasants were forced off the land—from the enactment of so-called Game Laws that prohibited peasants from hunting, to the destruction of the peasant productivity by fencing the commons into smaller lots—but by far the most interesting parts of the book are where you get to read Adam Smith’s proto-capitalist colleagues complaining and whining about how peasants are too independent and comfortable to be properly exploited, and trying to figure out how to force them to accept a life of wage slavery.
 
This pamphlet from the time captures the general attitude towards successful, self-sufficient peasant farmers:
The possession of a cow or two, with a hog, and a few geese, naturally exalts the peasant. . . . In sauntering after his cattle, he acquires a habit of indolence. Quarter, half, and occasionally whole days, are imperceptibly lost. Day labour becomes disgusting; the aversion in- creases by indulgence. And at length the sale of a half-fed calf, or hog, furnishes the means of adding intemperance to idleness.
While another pamphleteer wrote:
Nor can I conceive a greater curse upon a body of people, than to be thrown upon a spot of land, where the productions for subsistence and food were, in great measure, spontaneous, and the climate required or admitted little care for raiment or covering.
John Bellers, a Quaker “philanthropist” and economic thinker saw independent peasants as a hindrance to his plan of forcing poor people into prison-factories, where they would live, work and produce a profit of 45% for aristocratic owners:
“Our Forests and great Commons (make the Poor that are upon them too much like the Indians) being a hindrance to Industry, and are Nurseries of Idleness and Insolence.”
Daniel Defoe, the novelist and trader, noted that in the Scottish Highlands “people were extremely well furnished with provisions. … venison exceedingly plentiful, and at all seasons, young or old, which they kill with their guns whenever they find it.’’
To Thomas Pennant, a botanist, this self-sufficiency was ruining a perfectly good peasant population:
“The manners of the native Highlanders may be expressed in these words: indolent to a high degree, unless roused to war, or any animating amusement.”
If having a full belly and productive land was the problem, then the solution to whipping these lazy bums into shape was obvious: kick ‘em off the land and let em starve.
Arthur Young, a popular writer and economic thinker respected by John Stuart Mill, wrote in 1771: “everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.” Sir William Temple, a politician and Jonathan Swift’s boss, agreed, and suggested that food be taxed as much as possible to prevent the working class from a life of “sloth and debauchery.”
Temple also advocated putting four-year-old kids to work in the factories, writing ‘‘for by these means, we hope that the rising generation will be so habituated to constant employment that it would at length prove agreeable and entertaining to them.’’ Some thought that four was already too old. According to Perelmen, “John Locke, often seen as a philosopher of liberty, called for the commencement of work at the ripe age of three.” Child labor also excited Defoe, who was joyed at the prospect that “children after four or five years of age…could every one earn their own bread.’’ But that’s getting off topic…

Happy Faces of Productivity…
Even David Hume, that great humanist, hailed poverty and hunger as positive experiences for the lower classes, and even blamed the “poverty” of France on its good weather and fertile soil:
“‘Tis always observed, in years of scarcity, if it be not extreme, that the poor labour more, and really live better.”
Reverend Joseph Townsend believed that restricting food was the way to go:
“[Direct] legal constraint [to labor] . . . is attended with too much trouble, violence, and noise, . . . whereas hunger is not only a peaceable, silent, unremitted pressure, but as the most natural motive to industry, it calls forth the most powerful exertions. . . . Hunger will tame the fiercest animals, it will teach decency and civility, obedience and subjugation to the most brutish, the most obstinate, and the most perverse.”
Patrick Colquhoun, a merchant who set up England’s first private “preventative police“ force to prevent dock workers from supplementing their meager wages with stolen goods, provided what may be the most lucid explanation of how hunger and poverty correlate to productivity and wealth creation:
Poverty is that state and condition in society where the individual has no surplus labour in store, or, in other words, no property or means of subsistence but what is derived from the constant exercise of industry in the various occupations of life. Poverty is therefore a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society, without which nations and communities could not exist in a state of civilization. It is the lot of man. It is the source of wealth, since without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.
Colquhoun’s summary is so on the money, it has to be repeated. Because what was true for English peasants is still just as true for us:
“Poverty is therefore a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society…It is the source of wealth, since without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.”
***
Yasha Levine is a  founding editor of The eXiled. You can reach him at levine [at] exiledonline.com.
Want to know more recovered history? Read Yasha Levine’s investigation into the life of Harry Koch, the man who spawned Charles and David Koch, the two most powerful oligarchs of our time:The Birth of the Koch Clan: It All Started In a Little Texas Town Called Quanah
 
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Families Brace Themselves as Climate Change Threatens Catastrophe in Ecuador

Families Brace Themselves as Climate Change Threatens Catastrophe in Ecuador | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
Dramatic changes in climate are a real concern for Ecuadorian families.
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Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050

Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050 | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
We need to build a new system: one that will balance economic growth with sustainability and human flourishing.
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Is violent upheaval the only cure for inequality? - Futurity

Is violent upheaval the only cure for inequality? - Futurity | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
A new book argues that only widespread violence like pandemics and wars have substantially reduced inequality over the millennia. Is that the only way?
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We Must Preserve The Earth's Dwindling Resources For My Five Children

We Must Preserve The Earth's Dwindling Resources For My Five Children | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
The Onion, America's Finest News Source.
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Of Two Minds - Does a Rogue Deep State Have Trump's Back?

The weblog, feature articles and books of
Charles Hugh Smith
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Killing Protesters Could Become Legal

A North Dakota lawmaker wants drivers to be able to murder protesters without any consequences. Cenk Uygur, Ana Kasparian, and Jayde Lovell, hosts of Th
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Five Things the World Can Learn From American Collapse

Five Things the World Can Learn From American Collapse | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
Don’t destroy your own institutions. Your institutions — whether they are great ones, like the BBC, NHS, and CBC, or small ones — are your crown jewels. For an almost invisible reason. They do not…
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The Zero Marginal Cost Society - Jeremy Rifkin

Jeremy Rifkin, economist, government advisor & New York Times bestselling author of the book: The Zero Marginal Cost Society. Jeremy Rifkin describes ho
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Millennials earn 20% less than Boomers did at same stage of life

Millennials earn 20% less than Boomers did at same stage of life | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
Downward mobility: Their student debt is drastically higher and "I think the opportunities have just been fading away."
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The Soviet Union Is Gone, But It’s Still Collapsing

The Soviet Union Is Gone, But It’s Still Collapsing | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
The Soviet Union Is Gone, But It’s Still Collapsing « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
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Opinion | The opioid epidemic could turn into a pandemic if we’re not careful

Opinion | The opioid epidemic could turn into a pandemic if we’re not careful | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
Nonmedical use of prescription drugs is trending across the world. Are we prepared?
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Anonymous - Watch This and Know Something is Going On!

Anonymous - Watch This and Know Something is Going On! Message JOIN US: https://goo.gl/2mQaI0 - Connect with Anonymous - Subscribe
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Leaked tape reveals Trump invited club guests to 'come along' during cabinet interviews

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Humans causing climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces

Humans causing climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
Researchers behind ‘Anthropocene equation’ say impact of people’s intense activity on Earth far exceeds that of natural events spread across millennia
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The Doomsday Clock is the closest to midnight since 1953

The Doomsday Clock is the closest to midnight since 1953 | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists just pushed the Doomsday Clock to two and half minutes to midnight, marking the closest point humanity has been t
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Malnourished Prisoner’s Death Reveals Horrific Conditions in a Texas Prison

Malnourished Prisoner’s Death Reveals Horrific Conditions in a Texas Prison | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
Alton Rodgers stood 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 148 pounds when he died in a Texas prison.
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2016 Hottest Year Ever - How NASA Knows | Video

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) took measurements from 6300 weather stations across the world, ships and buoys for sea surfac
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The Left and Right of Capitalism with Jonathan Haidt

The Left and Right of Capitalism with Jonathan Haidt. What we believe influences what we perceive far more than we would like to admit to. Renowned socia
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Brace for the oil, food and financial crash of 2018 – INSURGE intelligence

Brace for the oil, food and financial crash of 2018 – INSURGE intelligence | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
Last September, a few outlets were reporting the counterintuitive findings of a new HSBC research report on global oil supply. Unfortunately, the true implications of the HSBC report were largely…
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Uber and Seamless ads reveal how Silicon Valley is screwing us – Sandpaper Suit

Uber and Seamless ads reveal how Silicon Valley is screwing us – Sandpaper Suit | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
“These days, everyone needs a side hustle,” starts the Uber commercial recruiting new drivers. And it’s got bouncy music and the dude is hip and it makes it sound like this is super fun and I’m…
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Capitalism Is Collapsing -- and the Weird Thing Is That Nothing Is Rising to Replace It

Capitalism Is Collapsing -- and the Weird Thing Is That Nothing Is Rising to Replace It | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
Author Wolfgang Streeck describes the phenomenon as “a death from a thousand cuts."
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Kent landlord bans 'battered wives' and single mothers from renting properties

Kent landlord bans 'battered wives' and single mothers from renting properties | Everything Is Broken | Scoop.it
One of the UK's biggest landlords has instructed agents acting on his behalf not to let his properties to "battered wives", single parents, low income workers, people on zero-hour contracts, or plumbers.
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