Reading Ayn Rand’s Capitalism:The Unknown Ideal is like realizing you are stuck in The Matrix because she shows you the “code” of the world around you; of the prison you are trapped in while you’re still in it.
It is one of the most enlightening, educating, mind blowing and liberating books I have ever read.
“Capitalism was the only system in history where wealth was not acquired by looting, but by production, not by force, but by trade, the only system that stood for man’s right to his own mind, to his work, to his life, to his happiness, to himself. If this is evil, by the present standards of the world, if this is the reason for damning us, then we – we, the champions of man – accept it and choose to be damned by that world. We choose to wear the name ‘Capitalism’ printed on our foreheads, proudly, as our badge of nobility.” ~Ayn Rand
I’ve written an example of this concept that I’ve been mulling over for awhile now…please consider it…
Ages ago man used the barter system. So a man who made chairs could trade his chairs for a watermelon from a farmer or for candles from the candle maker.
But the problem with the barter system is that the farmer only needs so many chairs. And the chair maker only needs so many candles. At some point, currency must be developed to allow for an easier method of exchange for products of value. Over thousands of years many things have been used as currency including rare rocks, rare shells, and precious metals like gold and silver. The rarity of these items is what makes them useful as currency. They can not simply be “manufactured.” You must earn them.
You earn them through your production of something that other men value. So in our barter example above, a chair could be worth 6 shells, a candle is worth 1 shell and a watermelon is worth 2 shells. They are worth that much because that is what each man is willing to pay for, and accept, in the exchange. So in this way, once the farmer sells 3 watermelons, he has enough shells to buy a chair. And once the chair maker has sold 1 chair, he has enough shells to buy 6 candles.
And so it goes that each of these men could use their shells to buy bread, horses, fish, rope, etc… which would be very difficult using a barter system…how many chairs is one trout worth exactly? One chair leg? Currency resolves this difficulty.
This is Capitalism.
Currency (the shells) are only symbolic representations of the original products (chairs, watermelons, candles). Just as the tangible chair represents the intrinsic value of the chair makers mind, when he converted his “natural born” or some would say, “God-Given” talent (from his mind) into a thing, a product. A product that is valued by other men. Other men that are willing to trade the conversions – the products – of their own mind, their own time and their own skills in order to acquire.
Consider that when I say “mind” I do not mean the physical brain…I mean the tangible output created from the capacity and skills of your individual mind and what you personally are capable of producing. For example, the candle maker can not make chairs. His mind is not capable of it. It could be, with some training and experience, but it is not. Likewise, we all rely on the expertise within the minds of others (carpenters, masons, Bill Gates, plumbers, tow truck drivers). We could surely learn all of those skills, but nobody has enough time to learn everything they would ever need or employ it. The mind of the candle maker is busy making the best candles. Therefore, if the candle maker ever hopes to sit down in his own house, he will need the tangible product produced from the mind of the chair maker.
You and I do this every day. We trade the power of our mind at work in exchange for currency. We do this voluntarily. There is no law that says we must surrender the power of our mind between 9 and 5 and no law that says our employer must pay us for no reason. We as the employee and they as the employer voluntarily enter into an agreement where I provide the power of my mind in exchange for their currency. I suppose when I worked for a silicon wafer company, I could have bartered for silicon wafers in lieu of currency, but I wouldn’t know how many wafers to give to the grocery store for a six pack of beer.
Therefore, since currency is only a representation of the physical product, then by extension currency is also a representation of the output of the mind of the producer, of that single man.
So the question for my readers is, “Do you believe that you own your own mind and what it is capable of producing or do you believe that other men can claim ownership of it and its production?”
If we can agree that man owns his own mind, and no other man has a claim to another man’s mind, then whatever fruits of his labor are returned to him in exchange for the product he produces with his mind belong entirely to him, and no other man.
He can save it. He can spend it. He can give it away. But it is his. Just as surely as his mind which produced it, is his.
This is Capitalism.
In contrast, if we do not believe that man owns his own mind, and that other men have a claim to it and what it is capable of, then we can take for ourselves from the product of a man’s mind and give it to someone else. When a farmer produces a watermelon or a chair maker makes a chair, we would find it absurd to take some watermelons and chairs “for the public good” and redistribute watermelons and chairs to others for free. But as soon as the farmer and the chair maker use currency to ease the method of exchange, a symbolic representation of their unique products, suddenly the fruits of their production can be taken from them in taxes and redistributed as some other men see fit.
How does that make any sense? Why is it that not working is not illegal, but the moment any one of us chooses to produce…chooses to create value to support ourselves, our lives and our families upon, by employing the power of our own mind…we are immediately penalized and lose some of what we produce everyday in the name of the “common welfare?”
What would happen to the “common welfare” if all men that currently produce decided not to anymore? It is perfectly legal for them to do so. What would happen if the producers of the world went on a strike of the mind?
How about this…how much tax can the government take from the chair maker when he simply throws up his hands in disgust and stops making chairs? How much do you tax him for a chair he didn’t produce? None, obviously, and he has committed no crime. And yet the moment he produces one, he is punished by losing some of it or being thrown in prison if he refuses to pay taxes on it. Absurd.
Once we accept this axiom…that man does not own his own mind, then there is no end to how much we can take from him, how many men it can be redistributed to and for however many reasons or excuses.
This is Statism.
Socialism. Altruism for the “common good” or the “good of the people.” Your mind and all that it is capable of is subject to redistribution to the “tribe” to be determined by a group of politicians whose power, position, wealth and very existence are bought and paid for, and rely entirely upon, that very redistribution.
The Politicians have laid claim on the power of your mind and all that it is capable of.
You, the person reading this right now, must choose. Does a man own his own mind or not? If you believe that he does, then you believe in Capitalism. If you believe anything else, then you believe in Statism. It really is, just…that…simple.
Right now, we are in a world where your mind no longer belongs to you, we were all born into bondage, just like in The Matrix.