Making Wealth and Taking Wealth

Marxism, and any socialism whatsoever, never assumes a world without already developed economic resources. Socialists, as you all know, never think in terms of where these resources come from. They only assume they exist just like that, out of the blue, and then they just want to re-distribute them. Thus, the example of Robinson is rather troubling for them: Wait, you mean there are no existing economic resources? In their world, economic growth can be produced only after some economic growth has already been produced, and then socialists come to re-distribute it.

The Nature of Economic Growth
Bojidar Marinov

One weary of common thieves and their moralizing poses.

It reminds me of Cain, far too much. “Do I own Abel? Why should I know where he is?” says he, while wiping the blood of his brother off his hands.

“And anyways, Abel was a mean man who killed innocent animals, while Cain was a gentle soul, who loving raised and offered nothing but fruits and vegetables. So we all know who is morally superior!

And the morally superior is always justified in everything they do.

Especially when it goes against the direct commandments of God.”

Cainite logic is as worthless, deceptive, and evil as Cainite morality… and is at the current root of the West.

Fortunately for Christians, Cainite actually is worthless, and so the tower of lies the loom over us will be brushed aside with a flick of the Divine wrist in time.

But I wonder how many of those towers of lies likes to wave about Christian crosses, defiling God’s Name for the greater glory of The Better Sort.

We’ll find out, and I think more sooner than later.

It’s worth going over the entire quote from Reconstruction Radio:

Robinson needs to meet his basic need: he needs to eat. And let’s imagine he is lucky to have at least his basic need met: There are fruit trees on the island, very near to the beach where he landed, and these trees grow berries that are edible and meet his basic needs.

There is only one problem: In order to meet his daily ration, Robinson needs to climb these trees 12 to 16 hours a day. After 12-16 hours a day, he is exhausted. He has enough strength to go to the nearest fresh water spring, have a few swallows of water, and go to sleep. Nothing more. Unless he gets rescued from the island, his prospects of the future are bleak: With age, he will grow weaker and weaker, and one day he won’t have the strength to climb those trees to get enough for his survival, and then starvation comes.

The only solution for him, then, if he assumes that the rescue party is not coming soon, is to do something to grow his economy. That is, he needs to find a way to make his economy produce more value – that is, more value than he needs for his survival, so that he can start saving some of it for his advanced age. But what can he do to make his economy grow? What is the nature of economic growth, and therefore, what can he do to produce that economic growth?

If we look to the modern dominant economic theories, the answer of Keynesianism is this: He needs to increase his consumption. Wait, what?, you will say. Yes, you heard well. Keynesianism, the theory behind all modern economic and financial policies of all the governments in the world, says that the way to produce economic growth is by making people consume more. The more people consume, the more activity there is, and therefore the better the economy is. What Keynesian economists never say is this: Increased consumption without previous economic growth will only consume more of what has already been produced, and will decrease the value of the economy. Increased consumption doesn’t produce economic growth, it only redirects resources from economic growth to consumption. And when everything that is accumulated is consumed, the economy will return to Robinson’s condition: nothing to consume, except what we produce. Thus, in the final account, we will be back to a lower level of consumption, except that the accumulated assets will have been destroyed. And how would Keynesianism work in Robinson’s case? The man already consumes everything he produces. How is this going to lead to a better economy?

Marxism and socialism have no answer to this question. They never discuss Robinson as a theoretical case. Why? First, because for Marxism, the definition of economy is exchange; no value is economic value for Marxism unless it is meant for exchange. What a person produces for himself is not economic value. I know you are deeply surprised, but yes, that’s Marx’s definition of economic value. Remember Aristotle who said that main is a social animal, and a man who doesn’t need a society is either a beast or a god? Well, that’s Marx’s view of man too. Marx was such a committed collectivist that not only couldn’t he imagine a man like Robinson Cruso, he refused to apply his economic analysis to a one-man economy. And there’s a second reason, which is better known among many of us: Marxism, and any socialism whatsoever, never assumes a world without already developed economic resources. Socialists, as you all know, never think in terms of where these resources come from. They only assume they exist just like that, out of the blue, and then they just want to re-distribute them. Thus, the example of Robinson is rather troubling for them: Wait, you mean there are no existing economic resources? In their world, economic growth can be produced only after some economic growth has already been produced, and then socialists come to re-distribute it. Yes, that’s how stupid socialism is. But while you are laughing at its stupidity, keep in mind that many of your pastors and churchian celebrities fall for it. No, not just the liberal variety. Those of the supposedly “conservative,” Bible-believing, Reformed persuasion, very popular, also fall for it. And some openly defend it. We will talk about some of them in future episodes.

So, Keynesianism has a ridiculous solution that makes no sense whatsoever; and socialism can’t even analyze the situation because it has no definition for it. What is then the Biblical solution for economic growth?

The Biblical solution is best described in the principle of John 12:24: “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” While for most, this verse applies to economics only marginally, a careful reading of the Bible from an economic perspective shows clearly that the Bible expects economic growth to happen only where something is given up, sacrificed, or – in the economic sense of “sacrifice” – invested. Because investment is just that: restraint from current consumption of a certain resource, with the purpose of putting it to work and produce fruit in the future. It’s a sacrifice of sorts, it is dying for your present satisfaction in order to produce future growth. This is the only real solution to the problem of economic growth. Now, as we will see, just restraint from current consumption is certainly not enough; but whatever other steps are needed, this step is unavoidable, if we want to produce growth.

Thus, what Robinson needs to do to break the hopeless grim cycle of foraging for berries is forbear consumption for a certain period of time. That’s not enough, of course, just going hungry for a day doing nothing is not going to change anything. The time he will spare from foraging must be put to some productive use which will help him produce more berries the next day. But whatever he plans to do, there must be some sacrifice. If it’s not a sacrifice of food consumption, it must be sacrifice of sleep. He may decide to do it in one day, or he may decide to spread it over several days, just eating a little less every day. Or sleeping a little less every day. He has four options: not eating one day, not sleeping one night, eating less every day over a period of time, or sleeping less every day over a period of time. All these options have their relative advantages and relative disadvantages. Not eating for a whole day may be more painful than eating less for several days, but then, over several days he risks losing more and more of his strength if he hasn’t calculated his schedule well. Either way, he needs to sacrifice, and he has to take risks.

That, of course, is not enough. He needs to do something with the time taken away from foraging and sleeping. Robinson’s idea is to use his knife and some cords from the ship to produce a 15 ft pole to shake the berries off the trees instead of climbing the trees. It takes him exactly half a day – 12 hours – to find a few good limbs, cut them, prune them, and rope them into a good solid 15ft long pole. Them he goes to sleep. The next day he is hungry and weak, but he has a better technology which requires less strength to operate and produces more output for the same work time.

When he tries his new technology, he discovers that he can shake off the trees the same quantity of berries within half a day. He has an abundance of options before him now. He can choose to work half day, gather what he needs to survive, and then rest the other half of the day. That’s the socialist utopia. He won’t accumulate wealth this way, but he will have fun several hours every day. Another option is to spend the whole day working, and then consume everything he has gathered, twice the ration of what he needs to survive. That’s the Keynesian utopia. He won’t accumulate wealth this way either, but at least, he’ll add weight.

He has another option, then; the Biblical option. That is, consume less than what he produces. He can work the whole day, but only eat what he needs to survive, and save the rest. If he finds a way to dry the saved berries so that their nutritional value is preserved, he may be able to solve the problem with weakness in his old age: he can work 20 years, and accumulate enough food for another 20 years. Of course, all other things being equal, like no spoiled stock of dried berries, no need to build a house, etc. But all other things are never equal.

Our Robinson, being a good and conscientious Puritan, decides to ignore the socialist solution and the Keynesian solution, and goes for the Biblical solution. He works hard for several weeks, gathering more berries than he eats, and saves and dries what he doesn’t eat. Then one day, while working, he notices an animal: too far away for him to be able to chase it, but close enough to see that the animal is a goat. He figures that a lonely goat can’t exist on an isolated island, so there must be a whole colony of wild goats somewhere on the island. And then he realizes there is an opportunity in it. The next day he leaves his little patch close to the beach for the interior of the island, stocked with two weeks worth of dried berries, and armed with a musket from the ship, with some dry powder. His Biblical choice – work more, consume less – has made it possible for him to embark on this journey. Had he chosen a socialist policy (work only as much as needed to survive), he wouldn’t have the resources. Had he chosen a Keynesian policy (work a lot and consume everything he produced), such a trip would be equally impossible. Only because he chose to sacrifice something – work more, consume less – he is able to make that trip.

Two days later, he finds the colony, and shoots two goats. He brings them back home, cuts the meat, dries it, and now he has more than just berries: he has a source of fat and proteins. The game is not survival anymore; it’s prosperity. But it doesn’t stop there. While enjoying his goat steak, he thinks of milk. The next day he embarks on another trip, and this time he returns with two live goats, one male and one female. He now has enough saved resources to build an enclosure for them. Within a couple of months, he has captured more goats, and he now has milk. And he also has a house. And he is also capable of sewing some new clothes from goatskins. Etc., etc., etc. You can project where this is going. The limit of the growth of his economy is his ability to devise better and better technology to produce more and more value (nutrition, clothes, construction) for the same period of time.

The Nature of Economic Growth
Bojidar Marinov

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