I was asked recently to detail my writing process. It’s rather simple: I drink a double shot of whiskey and contemplate politics, economics, and philosophy. Whatever infuriates me the most becomes the subject of my writing over the next two double shots.
This week, Noam Chomsky’s thoughts on capitalism have become the subject of my writing.
Chomsky uploaded a video in which he discusses an alternative to capitalism; in this video, he upheld the belief that wage labor is equivalent to slavery.
Though I’m not entirely sure how a noted philosopher grossly overlooked the concept of consent in that false belief, my main complaint is that he urged the notion that those who work in the mills should own them and run them.
Marxists are adamant that laborers should own the means of production.
To an extent, I sympathize with Chomsky. A laborer can toil away for eight hours a day, five days a week, and receive a paycheck, but the purchasing power of that paycheck is determined by the government through central banking.
Laborers live off of whatever morsels the government allows them to live off of and I find this lack of liberty immoral.
Some light should be shed on major advancements in our pursuit of capital in the 21st century. Marxists have apparently missed the open invitation for them to own the world around them. Anyone working for a publicly-traded company can own shares in the means of production.
Most companies are developing their own employee-share purchase program, where a portion of the employee’s paycheck goes to purchasing stocks in the company they work for and often times the employer will generously match the purchase amount.
Even in non-publicly-traded companies, owning the world around us has never been easier.
I have written previously on ideal financial ratios: an individual should never place themselves in a position where more than 40% of their income must go to debt-servicing, no more than 25% of one’s income should go to residential costs, 10% must go to charity, and 10% must go to investments.
With 10% of one’s paycheck going to investments, owning the means of production is at our fingertips. Trading platforms have never been more accessible and for those who wish to take a less sophisticated approach, we in the northern hemisphere have financial advisors on every street corner.
The investment concept that I developed, to properly diversify one’s portfolio, is a derivative of Marx. It’s to own the means of consumption. Each of us ought to own the things we consume.
For example, if an individual has a cell phone bill each month then they should own enough stocks to where the dividend payout pays the bill.
As an individual begins their career they own very little, and as they continue to work they will own more. As John Locke brilliantly pointed out, we own our bodies, and our labor is an extension of that, the longer we labor the longer we accumulate equity and take ownership of the world around us.
Socialists are famous for demanding redistribution of wealth and giving nothing of themselves. It is the reverse in terms of self-interest, they can take advantage of owning the world around them, but the overwhelming majority of Marxists I speak with will decline the invitation, to their detriment.
I agree with Marx that employees should own the means of production, but they shouldn’t be handed this as a right, nor should ownership be obtained through some forceful revolution. They should pursue this end voluntarily, via buying and selling according to supply and demand.
Not only are Marxists free to give their wealth to others, they’re free to own the world they live in.
Chomsky was unethically wrong.
Not only did he miss the element of consent – when laborers agree to go to work thereby canceling the label of slavery – but Marxists can also consent to give to charity, and take part in owning their world.
Karl Marx utopia should be achieved through consent. The difference between an extreme libertarian and an extreme Marxist is consent and free will.
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