Jul. 7, 2012 at 12:58pm with 2 notes
Any increase in unemployment, particularly when coupled with a reduction of social protection, is tantamount to an effective decrease in personal freedom. The importance of having an occupation which provides a reasonable income is directly commensurate with the magnitude of private consumption. In a society of this kind - that is to say, in a capitalist society - effective freedom is, in the final analysis, largely the freedom of the individual consumer. Where the consumer is ‘sovereign’, those who have no gainful occupation and no personal fortune are de facto disenfranchised. Conversely, those who are rich are freer; they can do more. It is the possession of money which transforms many formal rights into real, effective rights. No amount of liberal rhetoric, no shrill protestation of concern for the rights of the individual, can possibly disguise the fact that where the market rules, those without money effectively lose thier membership of the consumer society. As they sink into the demoralising morass of poverty, they are not only disempowered from obtaining so-called luxuries (the term which designates the necessities of the rich), and those commodities which make life comfortable and pleasant, but they are also effectively denied ‘access’ goods, such as culture and education. Eventually, they are condemned to a life dominated by an obsessive preoccupation with the cash nexus, by the endless worry of making ends meet, by the anger of being unwanted, unemployable, unacceptable, by the frustration of having become a human surplus which cannot be absorbed - a human mass whose only economic raison d’etre is to keep those who are in employment pliant and disciplined and their wages lower than they would be otherwise.
Oct. 5, 2011 at 10:14am with 43 notes
I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off.