Showing posts with label capitalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label capitalism. Show all posts

Monday, February 19, 2018

This is Who Trump Wants To Sell Weapons To


Communists and capitalists are laughing all the way to the bank while their useful idiots argue over the trivial details of their respective fiefdoms.

Mongabay: 14 Year Sentence For Vietnamese Activist Over Chemical Spill Protest

Refresher: Trump Pursues Weapons Deal With Totalitarian Communist Regime

During the APEC conference in Hanoi last year, Trump aggressively tried to sell U.S. missiles to Vietnam’s communist regime and oversaw the signing of two memorandums of understanding between Vietnam’s state owned gas company, PetroVietnam Gas, and two American gas companies: AES Corp and Alaska Gasline Development Corp. These events transpired as the result of Obama lifting the arms embargo against the country in 2016. Relations between the two governments have been thawing after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Congress began providing foreign aid to Vietnam in 1991 and Clinton ended the trade embargo against Vietnam in 1994. USAID currently spends about $68M per year on the country (as of FY 2016).

We are once again met with crickets on Capitol Hill in the face of intolerable human rights abuses, but since they are being committed by a government that currently has profitable business partnerships with major U.S. industries, they apparently don’t matter. Of course, the same could be said of the Chinese government’s persecution of religious minorities and organ harvesting of political prisoners.

On February 6th, Hoang Duc Binh was given a 14 year prison sentence for the heinous crime of vlogging about and protesting the government’s hesitant response to the 2016 Formosa chemical spill, or as the kangaroo court put it ‘slandering authorities and abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on state interests (in the same way that a slave may infringe on the interests of a slaver). During the same trial, a fellow activist was given a 2 year stint for ‘opposing officers on duty’. Six other activists have also been convicted of similar thought crimes related to the chemical spill. Perhaps the most famous case, which received temporary corporate media coverage, was that of journalist Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, who went by the pseudonym Mother Mushroom. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection to her coverage of human rights abuses and environmental issues in Vietnam. Since Trump doesn’t really believe in free speech I doubt he would take issue with anything the communist regime has done. He probably wishes he could emulate that here, but for now he is consigned to calling unfavorable coverage of himself fake news and threatening to revoke broadcasting licenses on twitter.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

People Are Arrested For Pot Even When It's Legal


Source: Fox News of all places

Even if you sell or consume cannabis in a state where it’s legal, and even if you jump the myriad of permit and licensing hurdles required to do so, you can still be arrested. Case in point, California Highway Patrol arrested two employees of Old Kai Distribution, a pot delivery company in Mendocino County. Now recreational pot has been legal in California since 2016 and the company in question has a license to legally transport cannabis within the county, but that didn’t prevent the state police thugs from kidnapping them, taking their van, and taking someone else’s pot. What’s their justification? The company didn’t follow a law that hasn’t taken effect yet. According to CHP commissioner Warren Stanley, the company didn’t also have a state license to legally transport cannabis, but the licenses won’t be issued and take effect until the first of next year. We live in a country where the government can not only apply laws selectively and retroactively, but they can also enforce laws that don’t exist yet. That is why I’m skeptical of the whole marijuana legalization movement; it will only work in countries with rule of law: countries that don’t enforce laws selectively and don’t enforce the capricious will of officials. The saddest part is that people’s businesses are ruined because of this. The family farm that grew this cannabis lost their entire harvest for the year, and the retail businesses that sell it lost the money they put towards purchasing it.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Trump Pursues Weapons Deals With Totalitarian Communist Regime


Source: Bloomberg

It's never been about principles. Politicians like to grandstand about spreading 'democracy' and 'freedom', and protecting 'human rights' but that's never their MO; only naive morons believe them. Nothing about the big lie has changed under the Trump admin. We still have a president that pays lip service to the ideas of 'freedom' and 'democracy' and all that other hurrah while gladhanding foreign dictators and repressive police states that are partial to U.S. business interests, allowing U.S. industries, particularly energy and defense, to expand into foreign markets. The only difference now is that the president is completely transparent about it (Trump doesn't have a filter). During his 2 week Asia Tour, Trump basically went to the APEC conference in Vietnam as an outside salesman for the defense industry. Obama lifted the arms embargo on Vietnam last year, but the communist regime still buys its weapons from Russia. Yet, Trump sought to capitalize on the thawing relations between the two governments by asking them to buy military equipment from the U.S. and overseeing the signing of two memorandums of understanding between Vietnam's state owned gas company, PetroVietnam Gas, AES Corp and Alaska Gasline Development Corp.

Under the agreement signed in Hanoi, AES will work with PV Gas on its Son My liquefied natural gas terminal project in Binh Thuan Province, in southern Vietnam.....Alaska Gasline Development and PV Gas, meanwhile, have agreed to cooperate in LNG supply and upstream investment, opening the door for the U.S. company to sell liquefied natural gas to Vietnam.


As I noted last year, the U.S. already gives the communist regime $122M in foreign aid annually. If the sycophants in Washington cared about 'freedom' and 'human rights', as they pretend to when it comes to other countries, then they could at the very least make not throwing bloggers in prison for thought crimes against the regime a condition of receiving foreign aid. They could use their enormous economic leverage to put a gradual end to the state's slave labor camps and allow fair elections, but we all know what their real agenda is.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Full Decriminalization Is The Only Way To End The War On Drugs


Last Thursday, Fox5 reported that twelve people were arrested for growing and selling cannabis in San Deigo. In most parts of the country this doesn't seem like anything extraordinary. Of course they got arrested for selling cannabis, it's a schedule 1 substance. However, recreational cannabis is legal in California. They weren't arrested for the cannabis, but for growing and selling it without a government permit. As long as the state remains the gate keeper of who can enter the cannabis market people will still be incarcerated for growing, selling, distributing, and ingesting the plant even if it isn't the electorate's intention. Only full deregulation of the growing, selling, distributing, and ingesting of cannabis will keep non-violent and otherwise benign offenders out of the crimminal training grounds known as the US prison system, which is also filled with illicit drugs despite the totalitarian control governments wield in them. Allowing people to enter the cannabis business without the government's permission would turn it into a true buyers market driving down prices and profit margins, which would make it less lucrative for organized crime who can undercut permited businesses and more transparent to consumers for whom there is already a wealth of information available on cannabis. It was government prohibition that created the black market and made it a windfall for organized crime in the first place by causing artifical scarcity. Erecting a new barrier in its place will keep the black market in existence. Full decriminalization would not exclude an age restriction; selling to persons under 21 could still be punished as contributing to the delinquency of a minor as it is with alcohol and tobacco. It would also not exclude legal sanctions against people who drive while high or while hot boxing. This could be considered reckless driving or a DUI under certain circumstances.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Political Superstitions (part 6): The President Does Not Manage The Economy

Or at least he's not suppose to, unless you live in a country like Venezuela (in which case I would advise you to get the hell out of there). In fact, the constitution delegates very little to the president; Article II section 2 provides a very short summary of powers and duties delegated to the president:

  1. Commander and chief of the Armed Forces when called into service
  2. Power to grant reprieves and pardons for crimes against the U.S. except
    in cases of impeachment
  3. Make treaties with the concurrence of 2/3 of the senate
  4. Appoint Ambassadors, public Ministers, Consuls, and Judges of the supreme Court
    with the consent of the senate
  5. Fill any vacancies in the senate during recess

That's it. The president isn't suppose to be some kind of superhero out to save the world; he's not suppose to create (private sector) jobs, or bring peace to the world, or control gas prices, or help you pay your rent. The president was simply meant to be a constitutional officer who signs bills into law and protects us from foreign and domestic enemies. If Trump had only promised to eradicate ISIS and enforce immigration laws by building a wall on the southern border he would be tops in my books, but like the typical egomaniac he had to promise the moon. He promised to bring back coal mining, bring back manufacturing jobs (which have been on a slight uptick for the past 5 years), and now he wants to bring back apprenticeships. Trump recently signed an executive order to create a White House initiative to expand apprenticeships; the only problem is that it's based on the same fallacious reasoning as his other far fetched promises. It is private companies that generate profits that enable them to expand their businesses and hire more employees or apprentices. Now the president can certainly facilitate this process by cutting red tape and reducing fiscal burdens, but he in no way generates the profits of millions of companies that contribute to economic growth in the aggregate and increase the demand for labor. The president's job, and the function of the federal government as a whole, is to maintain a hospitable environment for the private sector. Trump would have to be omniscient in order to manage the economy. He would have to know the time and circumstances of every transaction, the daily output of every business in primary industry as well as those in secondary industry; he would always need to know final domestic demand, not just in aggregate, but for every consumer and capital good conceivable, including ones that have not been invented yet. He would have to manage thousands of assembly lines, oil wells, retail spaces, mutual funds etc. while also performing the duties assigned to him as president. The truth is that one man doesn't create jobs; millions of market actors pursuing disparate interests create jobs, and to the effect that the president can make this process easier he can be said to be a catalyst for job creation, but he is not creating jobs.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Political Superstitions (part 5): Taxation Is Theft

I don't usually contend with libertarians. The first reason is that I agree with them on perhaps 80% of the issues maybe more. The second reason is that they are a marginal and somewhat irrelevant faction in both American and world politics. Most of their criticisms of government are robust, accurate and need to be brought to the attention of the public, but a few others verge on the inane by oversimplifying ethical quandaries that aren't black and white in every instance. Taxation is one of them. But before we can tackle this issue we have to have a consensus on what constitutes property. Your property, in everyday life, is the product of your labor. There are exceptions such as parents bequeathing their property to their children or people receiving gifts on special occasions. When a person transfers the product of their labor to another without monetary gain we must still acknowledge the recipient as the rightful owner to respect the will of the benefactor, but in everyday life your property is what you earn. However, you do not own your money. What you call your money is simply promissory notes backed by the faith that they will continue to be accepted in exchange for tangible goods and services. When you make a bank deposit you don't own the amount on your bank statement, you only have a claim to demand that much money if you wish to withdraw. The relationship between a depositor and a bank is that between a creditor and a debtor. If the money were actually your property it would be more of a beneficiary/trustee relationship, but the bank can invest and lend this money in whatever manner it sees fit without your consent, so its not your property in any real sense of the term. Furthermore, your promissory notes wouldn't have any value without taxation. It is by forcing individuals to invest in public services with these promissory notes that makes them desirable to businesses in the first place. Otherwise its just scratch paper. Actual property cannot be used or transferred without the owners consent; It has value even if it isn't taxed, and its more than a claim to be redeemed in the future. This is not an endorsement of fractional reserve banking, only an explanation of why simple tautologies cannot capture the whole truth of the matter. Taxation is more akin to economic coercion than theft, since an individual is subject to deprivation if he doesn't have any dollars.

There are some taxes that aren't simply the arbitrary taking of property but function as public user fees and are paid voluntarily. Land value taxes return rent created by commerce, infrastructure projects, public services, and population growth back to the community that created it, and thus functions as a user fee for having a monopoly over certain land. Taxing the royalty income of patentees would follow the same principle. A severance tax functions in the same manner as a land value tax; it is a user fee of a nation's natural resources. The excise tax you pay at the pump is a sort of user fee for the interstate highway system, and like the aforementioned taxes its paid voluntarily. If you don't want to pay it, you can choose some other mode of transportation. The same could be said of fishing and hunting licenses, which are used to restock lakes and preserve species for hunters in the future. Even in an anarchistic society you would still have to pay for monopolistic services. For instance, homeowners in a gated subdivision don't each have their own security company. It is far cheaper for them to share one security company than for each of them to hire a separate security company. The same would be true of services such as sewage treatment, roads, and water.

Saying taxation is theft is akin to saying killing is always murder. It's not necessarily true. Libertarians that spout this as a tautology remind me of the SJWs that say all white people are racists or the feminists that say all drunk intercourse is rape. It's just another moral absolutist ideology that's incapable of accounting the for intricacies and variations of life.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Political Polarity

Originally posted on experience project on February 22, 2016
“Cannot you conceive that another man may wish well to the world and struggle for its good on some other plan than precisely that which you have laid down?”

― Nathaniel Hawthorne
Polarism is the false dilemma ideologues invoke when they want to shame another person into supporting their cause. It's the ancient 'you are either for us or against us' mentality. Do you support this candidate or that candidate? Are you pro-choice or pro-life? Are you for or against a minimum wage hike? In each case the assumptions are the same: there are only two choices and you have to pick one of them (i.e. you cannot be indifferent to the issue at hand or have an unconventional proposal). Your choice between the two false alternatives is further used to make judgments about your character. Do you support this candidate? Well, you must be a racist, sexist, homophobe, and bigot. Do you call yourself a feminist and take the time to talk about 'social justice.' If not you are a sexist, misogynist, rape apologist, transphobe, and shitlord.

A major component of Polarism is entitlement: the ideologue feels entitled to your time and labor. This is particularly true of leftists. They believe that you must stop whatever you are doing and attend to their every demand or else you are a/an (insert epithet). They believe the world revolves around them; there aren't any issues that people might be concerned with outside of their own narrative. The people who fall for this tactic further succumb to the dogmatism inherent to the ideology. It is not good enough that you support their cause and attend to their demands; you must also believe everything they tell you, without question, or else you are an (insert epithet).

Explaining indifference


Ideologues usually don't understand why some people are indifferent to their cause. Their overly simplistic views don't account for people who don't fall into their preconceived binary categories. Instead of accepting this problem as a failure of their worldview, they pretend the problem doesn't exist and assume that the people who aren't in their camp are against them.

So why might someone be indifferent to a particular issue?


No one can concern himself/herself with every issue under the sun because time is a scarce resource. We prioritize the things we care about and omit the issues that are least important to us because it's not physically possible to research every issue and construct an informed opinion on the matter. Every one does this, especially ideologues.

For instance, I do not care about the abortion debate, gay marriage, transgender bathroom laws or really any of the other mainstream social issues. I do however take definitive stances on the drug war, corporal punishment,  police accountability, warrantless surveillance etc. (social issues that usually fall outside the purview of the msm). I do not have time to research every single social issue so I usually prioritize the issues that are the least politicized and most relevant to my own well-being. There are also some economic issues that I don't given much attention to either such as the minimum wage debate. I'd rather focus on occupational licensing, a much bigger job killer that impacts more people than the 4 percent of the labor force that earns minimum wage. The tax debate is another issue where I don't fit into the false liberal/conservative dichotomy. I am not for lower taxes or higher taxes, progressive taxes or flat taxes. I support land value taxes, royalty income taxes and letting people keep what they earn as their rightful property.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Political Superstitions (part 3): Policing for Profit and Other Misnomers on The Left

Policing for Profit, For Profit Prisons, and War Profiteering are all misnomers based on misconceptions about what profits are and what the profit-seeking motive entails. Like all other social ills that leftists blame on the profit motive in particular and capitalism in general, this is a particularly fatal misconception that leads to false conclusions. The fallacy that arises when people talk about the evils of policing for profit, the prison-industrial complex, or the military-industrial complex, is that they conflate profit with rent and thus the profit-seeking motive with the rent-seeking motive. Policing for profit, prison profits, and war profiteering would be more accurately described as policing for rent, prison rents, and war racketeering. What one earns, either in wages, interest or profits, is distinct and polar opposite to what one could appropriate from the earnings of other's in rent. The profit-motive drives economic growth, and wealth grows exponentially providing a larger share to everyone even if their proportion of aggregate wealth shrinks. Rent is sum zero; it is set by a monopoly in a fixed supply of some factor of production or asset or by having any power to attain wealth without reciprocating wealth e.g. private property in land for instance.

'Policing for Profit'

When the police seize a person's earnings through tickets for petty traffic violations or civil asset forfeiture, they are not generating a profit from the seizure of another person's earnings but imposing a rent. The revenue generated by 'policing for profit' is not added wealth, but maintenance costs imposed on the victims to supply the modern highwaymen with a fund for equipment and luxuries. It is the cost of maintaining a police state apparatus.

The same holds true for the private prison industry, though this is less obvious than in the first case because they have all the formalities of any other private business along with shareholders and employees. But private prisons are monopolies since their only customers are governments; prisoners don't get to chose among competing prisons. Private prisons do not generate profits to their shareholders, but rents because they do not create any new wealth; their supposed 'profits' actually represent the maintenance costs of incarceration. The revenues of private prisons, just the same as government owned prisons, are appropriated from the earnings of taxpayers and other industries that do not rely on taxation to survive.

The Military Industrial Complex

The same principle that holds true for the private prison industry is no less applicable to the defense industry. The revenue that defense contractors generate are no less rents because they produce tangible goods unlike private prisons. The sole customer being the federal government, the revenue generated by producing military weapons and equipment is drawn from taxation on the profits of other industries and individuals' earnings. Furthermore, war not only doesn't create any additional wealth, only additional maintenance costs, it also destroys wealth. Defense spending diverts wealth from other industries to defense contractors. Any technological gains made by the defense industry are inevitably offset by both the monetary and opportunity costs incurred by other industries and the invaluable cost of human life. The return on defense industry production is thus a rent, and the revenue represents the maintenance cost of maintaining the empire.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Haiti Open for Plunder: Neocolonialism in Haiti

Some things never seem to change. The manner in which multinationals plunder the resource wealth of third world countries and exploit their populace for cheap labor, enabled by institutions like the IMF and World Bank as well as Washington, is not much different from the colonialism that predominated Herbert Spencer’s time. The only difference is that it is now done under the pretense of ‘humanitarianism', a phony ideology cooked up in executive board rooms to justify egregious violation of moral law; it is the tired tactic of bypassing people’s rational faculties (lateral prefrontal cortex) by appealing to their passions (amygdala). Behind every self-proclaimed philanthropist is an ulterior motive, hidden from public view by the media’s omission. A more startling example of this could not be found outside of Haiti, which for the last century has persisted under the iron fist of Washington, and especially in the after math of the 2010 earth quake.

Out of the billions spent on the recovery effort, most of the funding went to for-profit U.S. contractors, U.S. NGOs, and foreign multinationals.The state department awarded the vast majority of rebuilding contracts to American instead of Haitian contractors and Washington spent $156,380,000 on development of Caracol Industrial Park and another $170,300,000 on its power plant and port, a quarter of the USAID budget for disaster recovery. The plan to build a venue for foreign manufacturers, especially textile and garment contractors, had been conceived well before the earth quake.

The World Bank, that bastion of neoliberal orthodoxy, along with the Inter-American Development Bank and a few Haitian officials rewrote Haitian mining laws, in a closed door meeting, to make extraction more convenient and cheaper. Specifically, they waived the requirement to have a mining convention ratified by parliament, privatized Haitian subsoils (previously considered the state’s domain) and removed environmental protections.

Canadian mining company Eurasian minerals has a license to 1,770 square kilometers or about 1/3 of Haiti’s North.

Another Canadian company, Majescor, and a small U.S. company, VCS Mining, and their subsidiaries have licenses or conventions for tracts totaling over 750 square kilometers.

Altogether, about 15 percent of Haiti’s territory is under license to North American mining firms and its partners. The price for being handed the privilege of controlling Haiti’s gold mining industry and 15% of its land is a paltry 2.5% royalty rate.

Before the industrial park was built, some 720 farm workers were evicted from their land, an aggregate of 246 hectares, without due process and only a pittance in compensation for lost wages. Evicting hundreds of farm workers to make room for the industrial park not only had the immediate effect of depriving them of both their present and future earnings, it also raised food prices in Caracol by making them more dependent on food imports, for which they already depend on for 50% of their food, and put downward pressure on all wages by lowering the margin of production, effectively creating conditions not far removed form their pre 1804 circumstances. To further elaborate on the last point, I’d like to bring to the readers attention that there is a very good reason why USAID, the State Department, and the World Bank, among other criminal enterprises, did not choose to build the industrial park on land devastated by the 2010 earthquake or any other less valuable site: two words, cheaper labor.

Cinic Antoine Iréné, a farmer who lost his land when the Caracol Industrial Park was constructed, said:“The land at Caracol was used for food production for all the North East – plantain and other food. They’ve taken these lands and put concrete on them. The industrial park is the biggest injustice done to the North East because they could have chosen other, less productive places”.

What this farmer does not understand is that by monopolizing all of the valuable land in Haiti, which includes the 15% licensed to mining companies, foreign corporations reduce the margin of production, the wages Haitians could earn working on rent free land. By the law of rent, wages are determined by the productive capacity of free land, and thus the margin of production is the floor for wages. The intended consequence of monopolizing the most valuable land is to reduce the bargaining power of labor, and thus wages. And despite what the Inter-American Development Bank and USAID have said about 65,000 jobs, the foreign manufacturers will eventually leave when wages rise and they find cheaper labor elsewhere, as they have historically done.

Evicting farmers from their land, agricultural dumping and allowing foreign companies to monopolize the most valuable land had the intended effect that anyone could have foreseen: higher food prices and lower wages for industrial workers. And that is exactly what unfolded, the current wage is $0.64 per hour ($5 per day), most of which is depleted by the cost of transportation and food. But even this low wage floor had to be mandated by Haiti's parliament, a mandate that USAID and then secretary of state Clinton fiercely opposed in favor of a much smaller increment of $0.31 per hour.  Add to these atrocities the fact that Haiti is currently under the foreign military occupation of 10,000 UN 'peacekeepers', keeping the 'peace' through rape and disease, one finds a frightening resemblance to the bygone era of European colonialism.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Red Tape Times (article 8)

The DEA has placed a temporary ban on Kratom, making it a schedule 1 drug under the CSA.

If you want to understand the motive behind FDA and DEA policies, you shouldn't ask what is the morally correct thing to do, but rather what will be the most profitable for the pharmaceutical industry. The morally correct thing to do is to allow individuals exclusive control over what they put in their own bodies i.e. to not breach self-ownership. However, this is not the most profitable thing to do since medicinal herbs like kratom cannot be patented and sold at exorbitant prices like Oxycontin and other prescription opioids which, unlike kratom, claim thousandsof lives per year. We must also be mindful of the private prison industry's cut of the fleecing; their bottom line matters too. With violent crime rates at a 50 year low, the government must criminalize more victim-less activities to ensure that they meet lockup quotas, or else the private corrections corporations might sue them for breach of contract. And if you take a careful look at other industries and trades, you'll notice that a pattern will emerge that is not merely an accident, but is there by design. The capitalist system does not operate for the benefit of common people, but rather the political class at the expense of the common people.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Red Tape Times (article 6)

The Massachusetts legislature recently passed a law which levies a 20 cent head tax on every ride provided through Peer-to-Peer ride sharing apps, such as Uber and Lyft, and redistributes the revenue to traditional taxi cab companies i.e. it is a supply-side subsidy for the taxi cab cartels.
Source

Let's keep this in perspective. This 20 cent head tax will be added on top of the federal income tax, the state income tax, the FICA tax, the sales tax, and the cost (both opportunity cost and real cost) of getting a state sales tax certificate. It is plainly obvious that the taxi lobby is behind this, which is one of the many problems with having a private campaign finance system, but I digress. This particular head tax is not an isolated incident, but part of a much larger systemic problem that permeates every level of government; one of the several failures of current capitalism is governments propping up failed and outdated business models by undercutting their more efficient and innovative, though less politically savvy, competitors. The fallout of such policies is several fold: it creates artificial market entry barriers for smaller startups, reduces the number of employers in the market, and raises the price of the good or service in question. These effects are common to all forms of rent-seeking behavior, whether it is supply-side subsidies, regulatory capture, patent royalties, or tariffs. There is no doubt that the 20 cent head tax will be passed on to customers in the form of higher fares, but more importantly, it will actually have the unintended effect of stifling innovation by discouraging the use of app platforms and peer-to-peer networking that ride sharing companies are built around.

The proponents of this subsidy argue that it's not fair that ride sharing contractors don't have to comply with the same regulatory requirements that the taxi cab industry has to, and so a head tax on ride sharing services makes the competition more fair. What they fail to realize is that even if the taxi industry was to forgo these requirements, the ride sharing companies would still enjoy certain natural advantages over traditional taxi companies like less overhead costs and greater availability. If the taxi cab industry was actually interested in making the competition 'fair' they would lobby their city councils to lift the moratorium on new cab companies (which most cities have) and eliminate occupational licensing requirements, you know, all the things that make them cartels in the first place; of course, they wouldn't do that because it would reduce their profits, which are quasi-rents.

Imagine if congress had levied a head tax on every Netflix subscription and used the revenue to subsidize Blockbuster under the pretense of innovating video rental stores. It would have only been fair since Netflix doesn't have to comply with building codes and occupancy permits. Preposterous, you say? Well its no different than subsidizing taxi cab companies at the expense of ride sharing users, and it is about time the taxi cab cartels went the way of Blockbuster.



Monday, August 15, 2016

The True Face of The Olympics: State Capitalism on Steroids And a Bane on The Plight of Brazil's Destitute

State capitalism (i.e. corporate capitalism, corporatism, crony capitalism, neoliberalism etc.) is the predominate economic system in the world; the collusion between a handful of well connected, wealthy businessmen and their political puppets in office exchanging favors, tit for tat, campaign donations and lucrative job offers (after their term ends) for favorable policies at the expense of everyone else. In Brazil, the Olympics have exacerbated the scourge of state capitalism and the primary beneficiaries are landlords and private developers. First, it is of note to mention that funding sports is not a proper function of government; let the private clubs and associations fund their own sports. The proper function of government is the administration of justice in congruity with the law of equal liberty; something Brazil's national government and Rio's municipal government have failed at miserably, as evident by the fact that about 2/3 of all homicides in Rio are committed by the police and death squads, made up of soldiers and former officers, who work in tandem to 'socially cleanse' the streets of vagrants (mainly children) and evict working class Brazilians from their favelas. The 16,340,00,000 reais (9,700,000,000USD) of taxpayer money spent funding Olympic projects, which doesn't even include the cost of adjacent public infrastructure projects, could've been more wisely appropriated to reform a criminal police department and move vagrant children from the streets in to shelters or possibly boarding schools (through some kind of voucher program): a dramatic reduction in crime rates, especially homicide and robbery, would ensue. The most egregious breaches of moral law, which the IOC has been complicit in, have been committed in the years prior to the Olympic games. Starting in 2009, the Rio government initiated a 'social cleansing' campaign in Barra: evicting favela residents from their homes, tearing them down, and giving the land over to private developers like Carlos Carvalho. Some 77,000 favela residents have been evicted from their homes and that is not the complete extent of the damage. An uptick in police violence against vagrants and protestors coincided with the mass evictions; the social cleansing also entailed the mass murder of vagrants and protestors who resisted their criminal government.  The IOC is complicit in these atrocities because they failed to act, let alone acknowledge the atrocities committed to host their event, despite receiving complaints from several Human Rights NGOs concerning the circumstances in Rio. 

The real motive for hosting the Olympic games: to abet the rent-seeking proceeds of landlords and private developers

The land value in Rio has tripled as a result of winning the bid to host the 2016 Olympic games, and has continued to increase with the addition of new public infrastructure and Olympic venues built through private-public partnerships. Public infrastructure projects everywhere disproportionately benefit the titleholders of landed property, a government granted privilege, who capture the value added by government contractors, commerce, and population growth in the form of land rent; furthermore, most governments only recapture a small fraction of the land rent through property taxes leaving the titleholders with most of their unearned increment. The Olympics differs from ordinary public infrastructure projects in its cost, which will be in the tens of billions, and in the profits it will generate for private developers like Carols Carvalho. Indeed, the Olympics was a massive windfall for private developers who not only received a 300% + surge in land rental value, but were gifted lucrative contracts to build housing for the event, which they can turn around and rent as condominiums after the Olympics is over.  This undue fortune comes at the expense of the average taxpayer, who has not only foot the bill for the Olympics of which they receive very little in return, but who are deprived of their natural right to an equal share of the land rent.

We needn't look any further than the electoral process to see through the facade of pageantry and grandeur to discover the true motive for hosting the Olympics. Brazil, like most countries, has a private campaign finance system. The current mayor of Rio unabashedly admitted that he received 1,140,000 reais in donations from a few wealthy private developers during his 2012 campaign, and he had the gall to expect everyone to believe that they donated out of the kindness of their heart and they didn't expect anything in return. Anyone with at least average intelligence knows better.

A bane on Rio's destitute working class and underclass
Having been evicted from their homes and deprived of their share of the incremental land rent, the former residents of the Barra have been left in a worst condition than they were in before Rio was awarded the Olympic games. The IOC has failed, on every occasion, to live up to their values of equality, respect, excellence, and friendship: meaningless platitudes that signify nothing sincere, only empty promises and a cozy front for an inherently corrupt organization.