Helping The Poor: Markets vs. Charity and Welfare

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Kris Morgan 1/15/18

There is much debate on the best means to help the poor. The left trusts welfare programs with the task, while their adversaries offer charities as a viable alternative. Too few point out that the market economy is empirically and logically the best overall choice. Crony capitalism and a general lack in understanding of economics have created an environment where the very idea is met with disgust. Despite that attitude, the market economy is the greatest arena to improve conditions for the poor.

Welfare programs operate to redistribute income from one person to another. While it’s true this makes it possible for the recipients to consume more, in the long run we are only working to subsidize inactivity. It doesn’t matter whether a welfare recipient works or not. Money given for nothing is always money that could have been traded for something. Taxing production to subsidize idleness diverts resources which could otherwise be used to make investments and create jobs, withholding opportunities from the very people we are trying to help. In essence, we create a welfare trap and permanent underclass.

Charity is a cousin of welfare. Although it’s perfectly within the confines of private property rights, it too is not the best way to help the poor. Resources are given to the needy at the behest of their proper owners. Some do help people by offering or finding them work, but such actions represent market activity. Charity, absent investment to meet economic demands, is no more stabilizing than welfare. No wealth is created, nor is anything done to make the receiver more marketable for future or better employment.

The only way to provide the poor with greater stability and wealth in the long run is through capital investment and entrepreneurship. For low wage earners, investment in capital goods makes labor more productive. Increased productivity leads to increased earnings by the business and opens the door for higher wages. When a society boosts production, prices fall. Even if employers refuse to offer raises, material well-being increases for everyone.

Entrepreneurship is the force for creating jobs. Though new businesses usually offer lower pay, entry level jobs help us gain experience and make connections. Building a positive reputation is a building block towards advancement and/or finding a better employer. If one is lucky enough to apply at a new establishment early, they may also attain a leadership role. It’s safe to say most of us look back on our first jobs as providing a template for proper workplace etiquette; knowledge that is expected of all adults in any organization.

Whatever one may think about the market as a mechanism for helping the poor, it’s telling that both charity and welfare attempt to hold people over until they are able to find a stable source of income. A welfare/charity case is not considered turned around until they find good paying employment; which the market provides. Additionally, resources offered by charities and programs alike are first generated by the productive market.

Steve Patterson made this point clear when he wrote: “Without this initial creation of wealth, charities would have nothing to distribute. In the developed world, it’s easy to forget that poverty is the default state of human existence. Wealth is not found in nature; it must be created, which is precisely the role of businesses and entrepreneurs.”

Whatever you think about living standards during the Industrial Revolution, can we imagine where we would be had it not taken place? One of the hottest topics of debate is what to do about America’s decline in factory jobs (though our output is actually up). Without the revolution there would be no factory job issue today, nor would we be in the middle of a technological revolution that gives us access to almost anything we want to learn.

When it comes to welfare, charity, and markets, there is no question as to which is the best method for helping the poor. Creating new jobs and investing in capital equipment is how economic growth occurs. Not only are more jobs available, but each unit of labor is more productive. Real wages rise, and the well-being of all sees a net gain as a result.

Next time you consider giving to a charity, or perhaps a person in need whom you happen to see in your city, consider paying them to do something. Anything. No matter how small. By offering a trade rather than a handout, you give them something to build on (including their self-esteem), much better than a few bucks that will tide them over until the next meal.

 

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Bruce Lee: Liberty’s Dragon

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Kris Morgan 8/5/17

There is no shortage of characteristics to admire about Bruce Lee. His physical abilities were almost superhuman, his ambition was off the charts, he was a talented actor, and he was intellectually brilliant. It seems the only influence unrecognized is the mark he made on what libertarians call individualism. I’d like to spread understanding on what we mean by individualism by paying a small tribute to The Dragon.

Bruce Lee is best known for his physical attributes. His combination of amazing speed, strength, and skill as a Martial Artist was nothing short of phenominal. Even his ability as a Cha Cha dancer paid off, having once bartered lessons in dancing in exchange for Kung Fu training from a master. Lee learned so quickly the instructor was never able to collect. His success making movies is equally impressive. After making The Way Of The Dragon and setting a new Hong Kong Box Office record, Warner Brothers produced Enter The Dragon.  

While his accomplishments in film earned him the place as Hong Kong’s Star of the Century and a spot on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, it is his work as a philosopher that boosted his status to legendary. Not only did it pave the way for Mixed Martial Arts, but it also made him a hero in our pursuit of individual liberty.  

What is not revealed in his movies is that in spite of his physical abilities, and against the advice he was given from family and friends, Bruce Lee was a philosophy major. From 1961-1964 he attended the University of Washington, supporting himself by teaching Martial Arts, working as a waiter, and living in an apartment above a restaurant. Six years later, before he rose to stardom, he sustained an injury to his back that put him in a bed for six months. For a man as active as he, this was torture. Bruce fell into depression at times, but was able to get much mental labor done. He spent his time incorporating philosophy into Martial Arts before he planned his own recovery.

His philosophy of Martial arts that can be summed up using his most famous quote:

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

He was speaking of Martial Arts during the interview, and his message was a Martial Artist should be spontaneous, ready to react to changing circumstances. This is in contrast to the view that Martial Arts is all about finding a form to copy. He thought that what truly matters is self expression.

What Bruce Lee did for Martial Arts is what Austrian economists seek to do for economies. In the same way Lee didn’t want style to dominate the way people approach combat, Austrians believe that governments suffocate individual preferences, which inevitably leads to misallocation of resources.

As consumer demand changes, decisions regarding production have to adapt. The fewer barriers producers have to overcome, the quicker resources can be allocated. When circumstances are always changing, spontaneity is the only method capable of meeting demand consistently. Lee’s ideas about the individual being more important than systems and styles reflects exactly what libertarians believe.

While it’s true that studying his life as a fifteen year old boy didn’t influence my political views at the time, years later I found myself as a member of the Army, just as President Bush decided to invade Iraq. Nobody around me had any serious thoughts as to whether the war was right or wrong. To even ask the question earned you a look of disapproval. The only thinker I had taken an interest in at that point was Bruce Lee; so what would he have done?  

After reflecting upon his individualist philosophy in Martial Arts, I began following politics seriously for the first time. After witnessing lack in consistency in the official reasons for the invasion, I realized it woud be impossible to know whether or not the war was justified, and trust in our politicians had vanished. That was not enough for me. I left the Army in a bit of disgust when my contract was up. Without Bruce’s influence I most likely would have been reamined in the military.

Rulers fear the idea of a population willing to objectively observe what they say and do.

As HL Mencken put it, “The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.”

 

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Black-American Libertarians

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Travis Hallman  September 20, 2017

Recently a friend from high school told me he switched from supporting voluntary socialism to democratic socialism because there are not enough Black-Americans within the liberty-movement. Respectably, he said this concerns him because minorities know what’s best for minorities. This author agrees that individuals (including minorities) know what’s best for themselves. The purpose of this article is to highlight a few Black-American Libertarians and why libertarianism is the most caring solution for minorities.

“Averaging across nine Reason-Rupe surveys I conducted at Reason Foundation/Reason Magazine with Princeton Survey Research Associates between 2012-2014 and a recent survey we conducted here at the Cato Institute with YouGov, here’s what we find: Among those who self-identify as ‘libertarian’, 71 percent are Caucasian, 14 percent are Latino, 5 percent are African-American, 8 percent identify as another race, and 4 percent chose not to identify. While not an exact reflection, these numbers are similar to the demographic makeup of all respondents averaged across the surveys: 67 percent white, 13 percent Latino, 12 percent African-American , 7 percent identifying as other, and 1 percent not identifying.”

https://www.cato.org/blog/libertarians-are-more-racially-diverse-people-realize

What is libertarianism?

“Libertarians strongly oppose any government interference into their personal, family, and business decisions. Essentially, we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit as long as they do no harm to another”

https://www.lp.org/about/

 

Black-American Libertarian Revolutionaries

Mr. Thomas Sowell:

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“Currently Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, CA. His writing is always strongly in favor of free-market economic policy and a libertarian social policy.”
https://www.theadvocates.org/libertarianism-101/libertarian-celebrities/thomas-sowell/

 

Mr. Walter E. Williams:

Williams2

“In this lecture given at a Libertarian Party of Georgia event in 1991, [Walter] Williams talks about libertarianism generally and relates his own moral arguments against state coercion. Williams also briefly suggests a few things he thinks libertarians should be doing if they want the libertarian movement to grow.”
https://www.libertarianism.org/media/video-collection/walter-e-williams-libertarians-liberty

 

Mr. Malcolm X:

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“Malcolm X, for one, was very critical of the U.S. government’s international meddling, particularly in Africa, as well as its social and governmental hypocrisy when confronted with the plight of American blacks. Although embraced by the radical Left, Malcolm’s speeches and writings were not in the spirit of Karl Marx or even Howard Zinn—he preached personal responsibility, entrepreneurship, mistrust of the government, and the unquestionable right to self-defense. This isn’t to say Malcolm was a libertarian, but the ideas that permeate the American Dream have also been prevalent throughout black America’s political and social history, in some form or another. The United States is, thankfully, in a much different place than it was in the 1960s, but the desire to be free and prosperous is just as alive among black Americans, and it has been there for centuries. Perhaps, then, the problem is in the messaging.”
https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/why-are-there-so-few-black-libertarians

 

Mr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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“Martin Luther King Jr. was a strong believer in civil disobedience and disobeying unjust laws. That belief was the starting point for every one of his marches and demonstrations. Libertarians today hold that an unjust law is no law at all, as we believe in natural law and natural rights. The government cannot simply pass laws that take away our natural rights, and those laws should not be obeyed.  The other base for Martin Luther King Jr.’s protests and speeches was his strict belief that they should be non-violent. He rightfully understood that he would never achieve his goals through force. Libertarians believe in the non-aggression principle, which states aggression against another’s property is inherently illegitimate. The most important property of all is our bodies, and therefore violence against another person is the worst form of violence. Martin Luther King Jr. agreed with that sentiment and consistently preached non-violent methods for protest. Martin Luther King Jr. displayed libertarian ideals in foreign policy and his famous opposition to the Vietnam War. King saw the dangers of American imperialism abroad and the threat to freedom that it posed at home as well.”

https://alibertarianfuture.com/famous-libertarians/famous-libertarian-quotes/martin-luther-king-jrs-famous-libertarian-quote/

 

Mr. Richard Boddie:

Boddiee2

Mr. Boddie describes himself as an ‘Aframerican individualist’ and ‘secular evangelist.’ Mr. Boddie is a ‘people person’ who can transmit people skills to others. His charisma, personality, background, life experience and vision establish the foundation of his mission: ‘To teach and share the ideals and ideas of individual achievement and individual liberty with others – everyday, for the rest of my life.’

-Highest vote getter ever in Libertarian Party History for U.S. Senate

-250,000 in California’s 1992 election

-Runner up for Libertarian Party Presidential Nomination in Chicago 8/31/91 for 1992 race

-Beat the margin of victory between the Republican and Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in California 1994

-Current Chairman of Orange County Libertarian Party (Region 40 of the California Libertarian Party).

-Executive Director, Focus PAC

-Executive Director & Founder, Socially Tolerant Caucus of the Libertarian Party

-President and Founder, The Motivators motivational speakers bureau.”
http://www.chrononhotonthologos.com/inactive/focus/rbbcv.htm

*Here is a much more extensive list of Black-American libertarians

 

Black-American Libertarian/ Libertarian-Leaning Celebrities

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“Chris Rock is known to be politically cynical and may even be heard praising Democrats and ripping into Republicans. Rock may have even been a little too complimentary of socialist liberals at times, favoring President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore, reportedly  donating $42,100 Democratic campaigns.
An important distinction to make is that Rock’s views are not always so one-sided. In fact, some of Rock’s quotations have been ideologically consistent with resisting the idea of a ‘collective’. Here’s a list of 10 Chris Rock Quotations that sound more libertarian than liberal:”
http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/10-chris-rock-quotes-that-are-libertarian-as-fck/

 

Ray2

“Anthony Ray (Sir-Mix-A-Lot)

Known For: Grammy Award-winning single ‘Baby Got Back’

Libertarian Leanings: It’s a known trope that most rappers hate taxes and Ray is no exception. However, one particular song called ‘Take My Stash’ off of his Chief Booth Knocka album seems to go a level deeper:”
http://www.thisispw.com/post/94353746341/5-rappers-with-libertarian-leaning-views-and-one

 

Boi2

Rapper Big Boi of Outkast explains to Huffington Post why he’s a Libertarian and talks the importance of thinking independently. “I’m a libertarian. I’m, you know, liberty justice for all. Liberty for all. Im really pro people, pro freedom, and you know its all about positivity.”

 

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“Eric July is America’s top black Christian anarcho-capitalist rap-metal artist.” Reason Magazine  Mr. Eric July is a full time activist for the Libertarian movement being a vocalist in his band “BackWordz” & co-founder of Being Libertarian.

 

The following candidates have partnered with Ask A Libertarian in the past or are currently partnering with us to provide Public AMA’s (Ask Me Anything). Check out the links to their AMA events below:

 

Black-American Libertarian Candidates

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Karese Laguerre for NJ Lieutenant Governor under Libertarian candidate Peter Rohrman. Ms. Karese Laguerrec will be available to answer your questions during her guest appearance on Ask A Libertarian via live video feed. Her Live AMA is scheduled for October 15th at 7pm (est).

 

Sharpe2

Larry Sharpe is running for Governor of New York. Mr Sharpe will be available to answer your questions via live video feed during his Live AMA on October 17th at 8pm (est).

 

windstarr2

Nickolas Wildstar is running for Governor of California. Mr. Wildstar will be available to answer your questions via live video feed during his AMA scheduled for January 15th (Martin Luther King Jr. day). The time for this event is TBA.

 

fleurr2

Gary St. Fleur is running for Mayor of Scranton, PA. “Gary St. Fleur, chair of the Lackawanna County LP, who has been working to bring runaway taxes, spending, and high debt under control in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is now running for mayor on the Libertarian ticket.” https://www.lp.org/libertarian-gary-st-fleur-rattling-cages-scranton-mayoral-race/

Mr. St. Fleur, along with seven other tax payers, recently sued Scranton Pennsylvania’s local government over illegal tax hikes.  The city was forced to adhere to Act 511, which caps taxes. https://www.lp.org/major-tax-victory-scranton-thanks-libertarian-gary-st-fleur/

Click here to view Mr. Gary St. Fleur’s previous Public AMA.

 

Why libertarianism is the most caring solution for minorities

“1.1 Self-Ownership

Individuals own their bodies and have rights over them that other individuals, groups, and governments may not violate. Individuals have the freedom and responsibility to decide what they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.”

Www.Lp.org/platform

“Certainly, the Drug War has been the largest driver of the disproportionate black and Hispanic prison populations in recent years, both through the incarceration of non-violent offenders and prosecuting those people involved in the violence associated with prohibition regimes. But the tensions between blacks and the American justice system did not start with Nixon’s War on Drugs in 1971.”
https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/looking-back-look-forward-blacks-liberty-state

“2.0 ECONOMIC LIBERTY

Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.”

Www.lp.org/platform

“A free market consists of economic freedom such that anybody could open a business without having to pay the government for permission (permits, licenses, etc). A free market would have no taxes,eliminating reasons for corporations to partner with politicians for tax breaks. A free market would not allow bailouts, allowing businesses to have setbacks, and avoiding the creation of artificial monopolies. These economic freedoms would enable new competition to compete more efficiently.”

https://askalibertarian.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/how-free-markets-empower-green-markets/

Understandably, free markets in America are often blamed for allowing slavery. This is indubitably incorrect. The government failing to enforce the non-aggression principle is what allowed slavery in America. Even though libertarians support free markets, we also believe that slavery violates human rights, and therefore should not be considered a “free market” practice.

“The non-aggression principle (also called the non-aggression axiom, or the anti-coercion or zero aggression principle or non-initiation of force) is an ethical stance which asserts that ‘aggression’ is inherently illegitimate. ‘aggression’ is defined as the ‘initiation’ of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property. In contrast to pacifism, the non-aggression principle does not preclude violent self-defense. The principle is a deontological (or rule-based) ethical stance.”

https://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Principle_of_non-aggression

“You might have heard the Libertarian Party (LP) referred to as the ‘Party of Principle.’ This is because the LP bases its programs and policy positions on the non-aggression principle.”

https://www.theadvocates.org/aggression/

 

In liberty,

Travis Hallman

 

 

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