Monday, September 3, 2012

Sick of The Profit Margin

Your man of liberty is sick. I am very sick. In fact, I am so sick that I find it hard to keep from puking my cuts up on a daily basis. Day after day of seeing so many people willfully sell out all for the purpose of chasing a fraction of the profit margin guaranteed to a ruling class of sociopaths before hand. It is true you know....we are ruled by a unique brand of sociopaths who could care less about the common person. It is all about the money for these people. The money is their end goal. It is not power or control really; although those are methods commonly used to increase the profit margin. The profit margin is the beginning and the end. There is nothing more and nothing less. Even the social contract, which is meant to be an agreement between the people and the government, is seen as a tool to be twisted and used for the end goal of increasing the profit margin.

I am sure you can see it all around you and how this never ending desire to chase the profit margin effects everyone`s life.

I used to be one of those people who thought that the profit margin was the be all and end all of pretty much everything. I used to chase the very small fractional piece of the profit margin which is dangled on a stick in front of my face. I also used to think that if I just work hard enough, I could increase my share of that fractional piece of profit. Yet, now it is very clear to me that it does not matter how hard I work, nor how much I sell out, I will never be able to gain access to the top of the towers of capitalism. Even if I do get a piece of that fractional profit margin, I will never be able to really benefit from all of my hard work honestly. I will have to totally sell out my mind body and human spirit to the gods of capitalism to even have a minor chance of living `the good life.` The capitalist profit margin does not allow anyone to maintain high morals of having care and concern for their fellow human. What I do is try my best at work and try to survive on what tiny fraction of the profit margin which is afforded to me. Some may say that it is easy to say that because I am not `rich` or that I am simply complaining because I am too `lazy` to work hard enough have a high amount of money. Well, people who would say that must be living in a dream world or have never seen the conditions on the ground.

I have seen exactly what chasing the profit margin does to the common people time and time again. I meet people who are very good people. They have a good heart and really care about those around them daily. I see these same people sell out and step on almost everyone who are not in there own little bubble all for the purpose of chasing a tiny fraction of the profit margin. They will go from caring and loving to cold and brutal as soon as profit comes into play. I could give you example after example of this but I am not a man who feels comfortable naming names of the common people who engage in this kind of behavior. Yet, this endless cycle of dog eat dog and `I will get mine at all cost` does happen all the time. It is directly related to chasing the profit margin.

What these otherwise good people fail to realize is that they will never truly get their fair share of the profit margin. They will not get their fair share because they, just like me, have no control over the means of production. Their labor is not their own. The moment they start working for those who do control the means of production they lose all ability to truly reach beyond chasing after a tiny fraction of the profit margin. They will spend many years stepping on their fellow worker and human being chasing something which will never equal the production of their labor.

This is the reason I am sick of the profit margin under capitalism. It makes people cold blooded and willing to do anything to reach for something which will never equal the production of their labor.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Other Path to Liberty

Any man of liberty should never stop seeking the heart of liberty itself. It is a journey which is deep in understanding; in the mind, body and spirit. This mostly hidden blog of mine has so far expressed a libertarian journey to liberty. A path which I have come to understand as having major contradictions of which I have spent many years trying to work out in my head. As a member of the so-called `Generation X` pure hardcore libertarianism  had always seemed to be a perfect fit for the times I live in. The fat days of our parents, for my parents those days were never so fat, seemed to be forever out of my reach. I simply had the hardest time seeing how I could enjoy a comfortable life in this post-modern age without having to be a brutal capitalist bastard willing to do just about anything to get ahead. I even tossed away my own father`s socialist/coal miner union roots in order to chase something which would never be my own. I did everything I could in an effort to escape the hardship of my parents.

It is important, at this point, to touch on my parents for a bit. My parents comes from the working class. My mother`s life is complex due to the divorce of her parents when she was very young. Her father(RIP) came from a very strong Scottish working class background. Her mother(RIP) was full blood Cherokee native American. Sadly, the marriage did not last and my mother was brought up by her uncle on her father`s side. My mother has always been very in touch with her emotions. She has always told me that I am a unique boy and that I should never let people knock me down. She made a fighter out of me.
My father(RIP) came from a hard working, hard drinking miner union family. My Father`s father(RIP) was a tall strong American-German with a heart of gold and a liver designed for massive abuse. His mother(RIP) came from a Irish background. She was a strong women who gave birth to many children. In their early days they ran a sandwich shop in Virginia. From what I was told, they mostly served working class men who worked too hard for very little pay. For some reason the shop was unable to make enough money, so they moved to West Virginia and into the mines Grand dad Smith did go. The rest is a history of striking minters, guns and a history of the Smith family which is better told another day.

Those are my roots. Something which took me a long time to come to terms with. After leaving the world of the privileged west and traveling to several unique nations and cultures, I have come to accept my background more fully than I ever have before. I spent all that time trying to escape things which were my foundation; the things which have shaped me if I like it or not.

Yet, even as I struggled from job to job and found myself taking on the debt of college tuition, I still had not realized what was going on around me. Until the past two years I was totally fixed on the idea that if I worked hard enough that comfortable life would be waiting for me. Even when I was a dish washer and living in a one room apartment I still thought that if I just kept on pushing forward good things awaited me. All that time I was unable to really see that certain material conditions were preventing me from ever fully escaping working class status. No matter how brutal I played the capitalist game, I was still just spinning my wheels.

All these years later I have come to realize what the problem is; The majority of the benefit from my labor is handed off to those who control the majority of the capital. That situation is not only true for me but for the majority of the people. As long as a minority controls the benefit of the majority`s labor, how can anyone really hope to achieve that picture perfect `comfortable life` we are all promised if we just work hard enough? It appears to be a pipe dream meant to keep everyone working themselves to death for a tiny fraction of the benefit from their labor. How can those who preach the Chicago School and Economics and glory of free market libertarianism justify this clear contraction of material conditions? I tried for years to justify it in my head and I simply can on longer defend the `morals` of no holds barred take no prisoners Capitalism. There is little humanity in it and it leads to the majority of people not fully benefiting from the output of the economy.

The common person deserves to get more benefit from all those profits from their own labor.

There are people who work really hard and never taste any of that comfortable life the capitalist class talks about all the time. I have seen people work like dogs before and get almost nothing for their efforts. There are countless people who are doing the majority of the work and getting little in the way of a return. There are people who work 10+ hours a day and get a tiny little paycheck which only barely keeps them alive. I find very little morals in such a situation.

For everything I just mentioned, and many other reasons, I cannot no longer call myself a libertarian. It is something many people ID me with and it has not been true about me for a while now. I feel we need a fully mixed system. A system in which the needs of common person will never come before profit. A system in which the people who are actually doing all the production have more control over the means of production. What we need,  now more than ever, a more socialist system.

The exact kind of socialist system I am not sure of yet. Which is why I have decided to use this blog in a two fold manner. One: To serve as a log of the my past thoughts on libertarian ideas(some of those may be revisited). Two: To explore the kind of socialist system which would best serve modern society.

This should be interesting to say the least.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Internet to Traditional Media: We Are Better At This Than You

Those of us who are in our early 30's are part of the last generation who remembers life without the internet. If you did not know, there was in fact a time when there were no email, chat rooms,social networks,youtube, google, wiki, smartphones or downloading. There was even a time, not all that long ago, when traditional media WAS the media. Yet, those days are long gone. Now the internet is at the center for all human thought and creativity. We have also reached a point in which the internet has become better at doing what traditional media used to be the kings of. The internet is now better at, not only creating and spreading media, but also better at making money from all that creating and spreading.

If you are willing to spend enough time and effort on the net, you can make a whole hell of a lot of money. There are countless people making a boat load of cash by creating and spreading their own media. The net has allowed all of us to get a piece of the action. The basics of the net model is actually pretty simple. It has two basic forms. One form is to give all your products and services away for free to the end user. You develop all the products and services yourself and tell everyone to 'come and get it!' If what you are giving away is useful and popular, you generate a lot of traffic pretty quickly. There are also a lot of other people who want to sell their products but lack the amount of traffic you got. So, you sale ad space to those people who want to sell something. In turn, you make a lot of money from ad revenue. Everyone wins! The prime example of this is Google.

The second basic method is to form a partnership with a company or another person. Let's say someone has developed a really cool way to distribute content but they cannot produce all the needed content to drive enough traffic to sale ad revenue. So, they partner with other people to produce the needed content. The partners make a little money every time their content brings traffic. Again, everyone wins. Youtube is the prime example of this.

These two very basic methods of making money on the net sound like something everyone would be on board with; right? WRONG!  There is a big problem with making money on the net which makes traditional media damn angry. The net cuts out the middle man and allows everything to be shared, downloaded and viewed by pretty much anyone at anytime. You no longer have to turn on the TV,  go to the local news stand,go to the CD store, a rental shop or even a movie theater to get the media of your desire. You can get any type of media you want quickly from your fellow net users. There is no way in hell traditional media can match the level of distribution the internet can. Traditional media is dead in the water if the net keeps developing in the way it is now. The outdated traditional media needed to find a way to stop this crazy thing called the internet. What did they come up with? Copyright laws!

The outdated media is now attempting to use their outdated laws to shut down the internet. Sounds crazy but that is exactly what is happening. At first, the old media did not have much success using their outdated laws. Then in 1992 the Audio Home Recording Act came into law(know as chapter 10 in US copyright law).  It did two things: It allowed people to make home copies of copyrighted material and share it between friends. It also required that all DAT recorders to included The Serial Copy Management System; which prevented the end user from making a copy of a copy.  Well, this worked for a while until, of course, people found a way around this. It seems that people were way more creative then the old media thought they were. In 1998 the Digital Millennium Copyright Act came into law(known as chapter 5 subsection 512 of US copyright law). This was the first law used to limit the internet. It was not exactly what old media wanted but it was close. The DMCA made it illegal to store or transmit material which was copyrighted. It also made it harder to use parts of copyrighted material to create something new. Although, it did not make it illegal to share something copyrighted or to provided a link to something which was copyrighted. So, if you stored something copyrighted and transmitted it over the net, your ass was busted. It did not make service providers liable or require them to police which material is transmitted over their networks. Of source, you cannot enforce such a law on the net because the net behaves in such a way which leads to copyrighted material being used in a way which the old media never intended. So, the net laughed and kept on making money using the new internet model.

As the internet continued to evolve and new and exciting ways of creating, sharing and making money developed, the old media damn near had a heart attack. It became very clear that the outdated copyright laws were unable to control the internet. It was even more clear to the internet that the outdated copyright laws got in the way of being creative and cutting out the middle man. Then along comes SOPA(known as HR.3261.IH in the US Congress). SOPA, as most of you know, would finally give the old media exactly what they wanted. It would make it illegal to share, link, talk about or transmit any material deemed to be copyrighted. Also, service providers and websites would be liable for the actions of users. SOPA, as we all know, would kill the internet. There is no way in hell the internet could operate under SOPA. The net has evolved way past SOPA. The framework of the net is not designed to be manage in such a way as SOPA thinks it does. So, the net finally fought back. Major websites carried out a blackout to show Congress, and net users, what a SOPA net would be like. Common since won out and for now SOPA is dead.

Yet, the attack on the net took a very different turn. By way of the UN, another weapon from the old media has hit the net. ACTA(link provides all sections of the treaty)  is now the latest attempt to stop the net from doing what it does best; create, share and make money from the fluid open flow of information without the use of a middle man.  ACTA is being carried out though the UN. Using the UN in this way is a excellent way to by pass the people of all sovereign nations. ACTA creates an international agency to police anti-piracy in several industries including the internet. It does pretty much the same thing SOPA aims to do but without the consent of the people of sovereign nations. And as you might have guessed Obama signed ACTA while giving strong support at the same time. ACTA is the real internet kill switch everyone has been talking about for several years now. A independent agency which answers to no sovereign government would have the power to shut down any part of the internet at a moments notice if a company says a website has something copyrighted on it in any way shape or form. So, many leaders from many nations are signing up for ACTA without approval from their domestic governments. The battle for a free and open internet is not over by a long shot. Until then the internet will keep doing what it does best; being better at doing what the traditional media used to do.