Tag Archives: Progress

Bill Gates Triggers the Left with “Hate Facts”, by Onar Am

Life has gotten a lot better for most of the world’s population over the last two centuries, due to the one “ism” that works: capitalism. From Onar Am at libertynation.com:

During the heyday of Windows in the 1990s, Bill Gates was vilified as an evil capitalist. Then he started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at helping the poor and making a better world, and slowly his name was transformed on the left into something akin to a decent human being. However, he recently tweeted a highly controversial fact: Extreme poverty is rapidly being eradicated.

His tweet shows an infographic by Our World in Data with the development of key factors, such as education, child mortality, and extreme poverty in the last 200 years. He has the audacity to celebrate when poverty is overcome. Apparently, Gates isn’t just virtue signaling to the cultural elites. He truly seems to care about the poor, and is genuinely happy when poverty is alleviated. Also, he isn’t afraid to give credit where credit is due.

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Committing to the Unknown, by Paul Rosenberg

In many humans, there’s almost a congenital fear of the unknown. From Paul Rosenberg at theburningplatform.com:

It’s a strange thing that so many people unquestioningly doubt, even oppose, anything that they can’t see, that they can’t count on with absolute certainty, or especially, that lacks the approval of authority.

New and useful things, as we’ve all observed, begin as things that can’t be seen… things with no evidence, no substance, and usually no pedigree. Name your convenience and it probably began that way.

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The World’s Poorest People Are Getting Richer Faster, by Alexander C. R. Hammond

If often seems like a three step forward, two step back process, but hundreds of millions of people have lifted themselves from extreme poverty in just the last few decades. From Alexander C. R. Hammond at humanprogress.org:

In 1820, 94% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. In 1990, 34.8%, and in 2015, just 9.6%.

Last Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of the United Nations’ International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The date intentionally coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Call to Action, which saw the French anti-poverty campaigner Father Joseph Wresinski ask the international community, in front of 100,000 Parisians, to “strive to eradicate extreme poverty”.

To mark the occasion, Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, was featured in a short video assessing the current state of world poverty. Despite noting such issues as unemployment, inequality, and conflict continuing in some regions, Guterres correctly observed that since 1990 the world has made “remarkable progress in eradicating poverty.”

While it is valuable to acknowledge that problems remain, it is important to reflect on just how far we’ve come.

The speed of poverty alleviation in the last 25 years has been historically unprecedented. Not only is the proportion of people in poverty at a record low, but, in spite of adding 2 billion to the planet’s population, the overall number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen too.

As Johan Norberg writes in his book Progress, “if you had to choose a society to live in but did not know what your social or economic position would be, you would probably choose the society with the lowest proportion (not the lowest numbers) of poor, because this is the best judgement of the life of an average citizen.” Well, in 1820, 94 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty (less than $1.90 per day adjusted for purchasing power). In 1990 this figure was 34.8 percent, and in 2015, just 9.6 percent.

In the last quarter century, more than 1.25 billion people escaped extreme poverty – that equates to over 138,000 people (i.e., 38,000 more than the Parisian crowd that greeted Father Wresinski in 1987) being lifted out of poverty every day. If it takes you five minutes to read this article, another 480 people will have escaped the shackles of extreme of poverty by the time you finish. Progress is awesome. In 1820, only 60 million people didn’t live in extreme poverty. In 2015, 6.6 billion did not.

To continue reading: The World’s Poorest People Are Getting Richer Faster

Your Options: To Serve, Or To Serve, by Robert Gore

There are three ways for a person to obtain something of value from another person: receive it as a donation, steal it by force or fraud, or exchange for it. It’s not much of an oversimplification to say that the advance of civilization has hinged on its movement from the first two methods to the third. The right to exchange, and the right to promise as part of a future exchange—the right to contract—are now taken for granted, but those rights are delicate and a whole complex of rights, assumptions, and obligations are subsumed by them. Their intellectual foundations are being undermined as the equality of rights implicit in contract and exchange gives way to a regressive inequality of rights: servitude.

The essence of exchange is choice; it’s voluntary. Both parties have the choice of whether or not to transact, and neither will do so unless they subjectively value what they receive more than what they give up. That is not to say that there will be equality of resources, bargaining power, or negotiating skill between the parties, or that they will be equally happy with their bargain, only that both parties have the same choice to accept or reject the proposed transaction. Exchange embodies that equality of rights between parties, but not an equality of outcomes.

The right to exchange implicitly assumes that parties are the best judges of their own interests, and that such determinations will be respected by both the parties and those outside the transaction. The rights to exchange and contract are individual rights, and the obligation to fulfill one’s side of the bargain an individual obligation. A collective entity such as a business can contract and exchange, but either the members of that entity have agreed that they will, collectively, do so, or have, by their membership in that entity, recognized implicitly or explicitly the right of those directing the entity to do so.

The concept of a social contract is a contradiction in terms. With whom does a society contract? An entity cannot contract with itself. The notion has come to mean acceptance by the governed of the government, whatever its form. However, individuals have no choice to opt out of the collective entity known as society, as they would any other voluntarily chosen entity they joined, and the social contract supposedly binds not just those who were part of the society when the contract was made, but future generations. Thus, the term social contract wrongly connotes voluntary choice of an institution whose establishment has always been the product of chance and force, and has no meaning at all for the unborn who will nevertheless be compelled to live under the government so established.

Exchange evokes hostility because it is a private decision in which the resulting agreement excludes everyone but the two parties, and it increases, by their own evaluations, their wellbeing. As it increases wellbeing, a rational government will do all it can to protect the rights of its citizens to contract and exchange for any licit purpose. However, a government relegated to protecting private contracts and exchange is a government subjugated; there is no opportunity for the exercise of coercive power. When contracts are breached, the government’s role is adjudication and remedy, not coercion. Even that role is unessential; parties can agree beforehand to nongovernmental dispute resolution.

Nobody goes into government to refrain from exercising power. Governments ban certain contracts and exchanges, or dictate their terms in the name of regulation. They are humanity’s most rapacious and regressive institution; they arrogate to themselves the right to legally engage in theft. Outlawing or regulating certain exchanges furthers larceny as well; enforcement offers opportunities for extortion and accepting bribes.

Historically, there has been a virtually straight line relationship between the share of activity within a society demarcated by voluntary contract and exchange and the progress made by that society. Voluntary exchanges and the private choices they incorporate are, by definition, made only when they enhance wellbeing. Once a government “escapes” the subjugation of enforcing private agreements and choices, they constrict the scope of such agreements and choices and extract value by force, that is, involuntarily, from the citizenry. Notwithstanding the delusions and lies of their many proponents, constricting choices and theft cannot further progress, they only retard, stop, or reverse it.

Neither the relationship between donor and recipient nor between thief and victim is that of equals. The proper characterization for both is servility: recipients begging donors for donations and victims implicitly or explicitly begging thieves to spare some of their property or their lives. If a truth serum could be administered to ensure an honest answer, perhaps no single question would be more psychologically revealing than whether a person prefers relationships of servility or equality. A preference for the former is the most accurate marker for sociopathy available, and is not a bad one for psychopathy, either.

So runs the sociopathic, psychopathic scam known as government. The productive are robbed and just enough is doled out to the beggars to keep them quiescent and voting correctly. The rest lines the pockets of the sociopaths and psychopaths, the “served.” This can be the only result when exchange is replaced with theft and begging as the basis of social and commercial interaction. Collectivist hostility to exchange stems not from its misattributed flaws, but from deep-rooted psychological hostility to a process that involves free choice and confers equally to both parties the option not to engage in it. Exchange presumes that individuals are capable of directing their own lives, and protecting the freedom to contract and exchange enshrines that autonomy. Freedom, exchange, and equality of rights under the law are inseparable.

As exchange dies, the nation founded in revolution and independence descends into docile servility. Equality of rights under the law, a difficult but not impossible goal, gives way to a deluded and malignant drive for equality of outcomes. Exchange, contract, and freedom are inconsistent with equality of outcome. In order for voluntary exchange to occur, both parties must have something to exchange, which implies both parties have produced something and either retained it or exchanged it for something else of value. Productive ability is not equally distributed. Nor is the ability to benefit from exchange; some are better at it than others.

Spurious promises of equal outcomes implicitly rely on begging, theft, and the coercive power of the sociopathic, psychopathic scam. There has never yet been a government in which the government, especially ones devoted to “equality,” did not become, in Orwell’s words, “more equal” than its begging and enslaved citizenry. Keep that in mind the next time you hear a blowhard bastard bloviating bromides about the beauty and nobility of “service.” You’re to be served…as the next course.



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Main Street Since 2000—–Century of the Damned, by Bill Bonner

A not so funny thing has happened in the 21st century: progress has slowed, indeed almost stopped. As Bill Bonner notes: “We are 15 years into the 21st century. Can you think of a single innovation that is equal to the automobile or the airplane? Or air-conditioning?” From Bonner, via davidstockmanscontracorner.com:

A Great Time to be Alive

What a great time to be alive!

Mankind stood on the foothills of Olympus ready to join the assembly of gods – rollicking, frolicking and generally misbehaving without regret.

The World Wide Web was gaining velocity. It was widely believed that breakthroughs in communications had “removed the speed limits” to economic growth. Information was now readily and easily available to everyone.

Any dope in Peoria could go on the Web and find out how to manufacture a bomb in his basement or make a cherry pie in his kitchen.

And the genius in Kuala Lumpur or Kabul was now liberated from the lowbred, backward and benighted people around him; he could see what fun it would be to have a Beverly Hills ZIP code.

And he could reach across the World Wide Web and get a chisel and a steel file to create a killer website … and free himself from his miserable circumstances.


To continue reading: Century of the Damned