You know who we’re talking about. The Davos WEF crowd. The UN, IMF, World Bank, and central bankers. Washington lobbyists, NGOs, public/private partnerships, technical advisory committees, nonprofits, and everything in between. We’re also talking about your meddling neighbor, and many others.
What’s their deal? Do they think they’re making the world a better place? And, if so, a better place for who – them or you?
Could something more devious be guiding their advancements?
In Das Kapital, for example, Karl Marx bemoans capitalism for exploiting labor to produce surplus value. His main gripe was that 19th century laborers worked for mere wages while some factory owners got incredibly rich.
To eradicate this class struggle, as he perceived it, Marx proposed a socialist mode of production coordinated through conscious economic planning. He believed that distributing products “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” would bring about his vision of a workers’ paradise.
Many people took the bait hook, line, and sinker. They were all in. The promise of something for nothing administered by the state was too enticing to pass up.
Yet any country that has ever attempted to put these ridiculous ideas into practice has been left with an economy that fails to deliver the abundance for all which Marx advertised. Moreover, this comes at the expense of individual freedom and liberty.
In this regard, what would Marx think of the political economy that’s currently pervading much of the western world?
Would he be in favor of the vast, elite political class that’s living off the surplus value produced by capitalism? Would he deduce that the political class is, therefore, exploiting labor?
Maybe this would be a troublesome conclusion for a man who’s writing serves as justification for using politics to direct capital and boss people around…so long as it’s for the greater good – whatever that may be.
The growth of government in many countries over the last 120 years has been rather extreme. And as governments have grown in scope and reach, a massive administrative state has been erected to advance its will. This is all money down the rathole.
National defense, especially in the United States, is the ultimate slayer of capital. However, more recently, the supposed climate crisis has supplied a unique justification for massive government intervention, under the cover of providing for the greater good.
Energy, transportation, finance, residential development, agriculture, mining, technology, appliances, media, education and on and on. There’s hardly a sector of the economy that hasn’t been corrupted by climate crisis politics.
The excuse it provides for government intervention on a grand scale seems to produce a religious experience among the conditioned masses.
The examples range far and wide. In Marx’s homeland, for instance, the German government is currently putting the final touches on its planned National Nutrition Strategy, as outlined in a recent paper titled, “Towards the Federal Government’s Nutrition Strategy”.
The objective is to transform the food system, while fighting climate change and minimizing the slaughter of innocent animals. This, in short, means replacing schnitzel consumption with plants.
The strategy paper notes that Germany’s agricultural and food systems generate approximately one quarter of its greenhouse gas emissions. And to meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045 it needs to transform how food is produced.
“The transformation of the entire food system towards a plant-based diet is the most important adjusting screw in the nutrition sector to achieve our national and international climate, biodiversity, and sustainability goals.”
Organic farming and promoting seasonal, regionally grown, plant-based foods are some of the transformation strategies proposed. We think the national nutrition planners are asking for trouble.
Whenever a central planning authority has commanded what crops to plant, and the means and methods for agricultural production, disaster has followed. In fact, top-down planning of food production has been responsible for the world’s greatest collective famines.
The rollout of centralized agriculture by the Soviet Union was responsible for an estimated 6 to 9 million human deaths in the Soviet famine of 1930 to 1933. Gosplan’s five-year plans missed the mark, spectacularly. Alas, more struggle was needed.
Similarly, Mao’s Great Leap Forward some 30 years later brought on the Great Chinese Famine. As the production quotas of planned farming fell short, something rather curious happened. The numbers reported to the central government increased. Everything looked great on paper.
But everything wasn’t great. In truth, everything was terrible. The human death toll estimates for this man induced starvation range from 15 to 55 million.
Nonetheless, the planners are at it again. All for the supposed intent of controlling the weather.
Implementation of Germany’s National Nutrition Strategy is expected to begin in 2025. Perhaps the country will succeed where others have failed, though it seems unlikely.
Ultimately, it will depend on how far they take it. The further they push it. The more they will fail. Here’s why…
Are You Willing to Starve for the Greater Good?
The economy is a complex living organism. It continuously evolves and is always subject to change. One relationship at one moment can be completely different at another moment.
Supply and demand are incessantly adjusting and readjusting to meet the conditions of the market. These continuous interactions provide a natural and efficient response to supply shortages and gluts.
In the case of agriculture, in countries with minimal government interference the food supply is almost always in abundance. Any shortages are quickly resolved.
In an economy with minimal government interference, a farmer doesn’t look to a governing board to know what crops to produce. He looks to prices.
If the price of wheat is high. That means the supply of wheat is low. Thus, he plants wheat. Because, at that moment, wheat is what people need most. Price signals communicate this.
But once the supply of wheat increases, and the price falls, he may look for other crop options to maximize the value of his land. Perhaps milo, or some other cattle feed, is demanding a higher price.
Consequently, he plants milo. The cows then get fed, and an adequate supply of milk is brought to the market.
But once the excess supply of harvested wheat has been consumed. And its price increases. He goes back to planting wheat. Through it all, stomachs remain full, and prices remain within orbit.
Central planners refuse to accept this bottoms up, organic disorder for naturally determining supply and distributing goods and services. They want to step all over it. They want to plan and control things. They want to direct the flow of capital to preferred industries and providers. And they want to take a cut from the action.
And when the foolish planners attempt to circumvent market determined price signals, bad stuff happens.
Sometimes the supply of a certain good crashes and its price skyrockets – and the planners blame the mess of their own making on greedy capitalists. They may even try to exploit it through exacting a windfall profits tax.
Occasionally, however, and when there’s a good enough excuse, the planners make things especially ugly. And entire populations starve.
Are you willing to starve for the greater good?
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for Economic Prism