Dark Satanic Cubicles – It’s time to smash the job culture!

Note: O Loompanics! When will we see thy like again? SIG

Dark Satanic Cubicles was originally published in 2005 on Loompanics Unlimited, written by Claire Wolfe.

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
St. Peter don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go.
I owe my soul to the company store.
Merle Travis, chorus of the song Sixteen Tons

Back in 1955, thunder-voiced Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded that song as the B-side of a single. Soon, nobody could even remember what the A-side was. DJ’s all over the country began flipping the disc – and within two months of its release Sixteen Tons had become the biggest single ever sold in America.

Sixteen Tons is a John Henry style fable about a coal miner who’s tough as nails – one fist of iron, the other of steel.

He’s able to do the most back-breaking job and slaughter any opponent. But even though he’s been working in the mines since the day he was born, he can’t get ahead. Merle Travis wrote and recorded the song in 1946. But until Ford covered it, Sixteen Tons hadn’t done Travis a bit of good.

Far from it. Although Travis was a patriotic Kentucky boy, the U.S. government thought any song complaining about hard work and hopeless debt was subversive. The song got Travis branded a communist sympathizer (a dangerous label in those days). A Capitol record exec who was a Chicago DJ in the late 40s remembers an FBI agent coming to the station and advising him not to play Sixteen Tons.

Pretty big fuss over one little song.

By 1955, when the song finally became a mega-hit, most Americans had already moved away from coal-mine type jobs. It was the era of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, the corporation man, the efficiency expert, and brokenhearted distress about conformity – from people who continued helplessly to commute, consume, cooperate, conform – and gobble their Milltown tranquilizers and beg doctors to treat their tension-spawned ulcers. This was a world far, far, far from the coal mines, with a seemingly very different set of tribulations.

Yet somehow that chorus still resonated: Another day older and deeper in debt.

Beyond all the fantasy lyrics about being raised in the cane-brake by an old mama lion, Sixteen Tons still resonates.

We don’t work for mining companies that pay in scrip redeemable only at the company store. But we work our asses off and end up with credit cards that hit us with 19.99 percent interest, $40 late fees, and other hidden charges so heavy it’s possible – even common – to pay for years and actually owe more than you started with.

We work even longer hours than our fathers, pay higher taxes, depend on two salaries to keep one household together, shove our alienated children into daycare and government education camps, watch our money steadily inflate away, and suffer mightily from a raft of job-related mental and physical ills.

We may not do manual labor. But we work even longer hours than our fathers, pay higher taxes, depend on two salaries to keep one household together, shove our alienated children into daycare and government education camps, watch our money steadily inflate away (while the TV tells us the consumer price index is holding steady) and suffer mightily from a raft of job-related mental and physical ills.

What’s changed but the details? For all our material possessions, we’re in the same old cycle of working, hurting, and losing.

And even though the FBI may not pay us a visit for complaining about it, rebelling against jobs is still a threat to the powers that be.

The government doesn’t have to worry about rebellion much, though. Because today we’re programmed from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed to value jobs, big corporations – and the things jobs buy us – over the real pleasures – and real necessities – of being human.

The news says it every day:

  • 130,000 jobs were created in July. Jobs = Good.
  • We’re losing jobs overseas. Losing jobs = Bad.
  • Leading economic indicators say. Economic indicators (whatever the hell they may be) = Important.
  • The Dow-Jones industrial average rose… The stock market = Vital.

Every day in the media, the health of the nation is measured – sometimes almost exclusively measured – in jobs and stocks, employment and corporations.

I don’t mean to imply that income, production, and other such measures aren’t important. They are important – in their place. In perspective. But why do we (via our media) believe these very few factors are so vitally and exclusivelyimportant when it comes to determining the economic health of our society?

We take it as a given that jobs = good, that high stocks = good, and that working harder and spending lots of money = more jobs and higher stocks.

Then we go off to jobs we mostly detest. Or jobs we enjoy, but that stress us out, take us away from our families, and turn our home hours into a frenzied burden, in which we have to struggle to do everything from entertain ourselves to making artificial quality time with kids who barely know us.

There’s something wrong with this picture.

In our current economic setup, which is an evolutionary, not revolutionary, development from 250 years ago, when the Industrial Revolution got started, yes, jobs are important. But that’s like saying that puke-inducing chemotherapy is important when you’ve got cancer.

Uh, yeah. But better not to get cancer in the first place, right?

In a healthy human community, jobs are neither necessary nor desirable. Productive work is necessary – for economic, social, and even spiritual reasons. Free markets are also an amazing thing, almost magical in their ability to satisfy billions of diverse needs. Entrepreneurship? Great! But jobs – going off on a fixed schedule to perform fixed functions for somebody else day after day at a wage – aren’t good for body, soul, family, or society.

Intuitively, wordlessly, people knew it in 1955. They knew it in 1946. They really knew it when Ned Ludd and friends were smashing the machines of the early Industrial Revolution (though the Luddites may not have understood exactly why they needed to do what they did).

Jobs suck. Corporate employment sucks. A life crammed into 9-to-5 boxes sucks. Gray cubicles are nothing but an update on William Blake’s dark satanic mills. Granted, the cubicles are more bright and airy; but they”re different in degree rather than in kind from the mills of the Industrial Revolution. Both cubicles and dark mills signify working on other people’s terms, for other people’s goals, at other people’s sufferance. Neither type of work usually results in us owning the fruits of our labors or having the satisfaction of creating something from start to finish with our own hands. Neither allows us to work at our own pace, or the pace of the seasons. Neither allows us access to our families, friends, or communities when we need them or they need us. Both isolate work from every other part of our life.

And heck, especially if you work for a big corporation, you can be confident that Ebenezer Scrooge cared more about Bob Cratchett than your employer cares about you.

The powers-that-be have feared for the last 250 years that we’d figure all that out and try to do something about it. Why else would the FBI try to suppress an obscure faux folk song? American history is full of hidden tales of private or state militias being used to smash worker rebellions and strikes. In the day of the Luddites, the British government went so far as to make industrial sabotage a capital crime. At one point crown and parliament put more soldiers to work smashing the Luddites than it had in the field fighting Napoleon Bonaparte.

Now, that’s fear for you.

But today, no worry. We’ve made wage-slavery so much a part of our culture that it probably doesn’t even occur to most people that there’s something unnatural about separating work from the rest of our lives. Or about spending our entire working lives producing things in which we can often take only minimal personal pride – or no pride at all.

We’re happy! We tell ourselves. We’re the most prosperous! free! happy! people ever to live on earth! We’re longer-lived, healthier, smarter, and just generally better off than anybody, ever, at any time on planet Earth. So we go on telling ourselves as we dash off to our counseling appointments, down our Prozac, or stare into the dregs of that latest bottle of wine.

Horsefeathers! You know what we sound like, assuring ourselves of our good fortune? We sound like the mechanized voices whispering to the pre-programmed bottle babies in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World:

Alpha children… work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas.

To believe how happy we are we have to ignore our rising rates of drug abuse, our soaring rates of depression, our backaches, our carpal tunnel syndromes, and our chronic fatigue syndrome. We have to ignore the billions of dollars and billions of hours we spend on mood-altering pharmaceuticals, drug-abuse counseling, headache remedies, mindless escape entertainment, day-care centers, status purchases, unhealthy comfort foods, shop-a-holic sprees, and doctor’s care for all our vague, non-specific physical and mental ills.

You think that’s how a happy person spends his time and money? Gimme a break!

Quit listening to that little mechanical corporate-state whisper that tells you what you’re supposed to consider important – that tells you jobs are supposed to be the central focus of your life. Quit listening to that voice that tells you you’re happy when your entire body and soul are screaming at you that you’re unhappy.

Here’s something to shout to yourself: Jobs suck! Jobs are bad for you!

Shout it until you really hear yourself shouting it – then get out of the job madness, out of wage slavery, out of the grind that keeps you indebted to government, the boss, the bank, and the credit-card company.

Oh, but wait! You’ll die if you don’t have a job, just like a cancer patient might die without chemo. In our society, if you don’t have a job, you’re on the skids. You’re a poor unfortunate. You’re a lazy bum. You’re a leech. You’re a loser. And really, truly, if you don’t have regular employment of some kind, you’re in danger of going down life’s drain.

As an individual, of course you can escape the job trap to a certain extent. As a freelance writer, I have. I still have to work for other people, but I get to do it at an organic pace. When the sun is shining, I can often sit on the deck or go for a walk.

The man who sometimes mows my lawn has escaped somewhat. He can schedule his own day without having to ask permission or without screwing up anybody’s production line.

My ex-boyfriend the software engineer has escaped, too. He works out of his spare bedroom and gets to live and work in the computer dream world he most enjoys.

That’s the way it was for most people, prior to the Industrial Revolution. They may have worked hard and may not have had much. As in every age, they had to put up with the savageries of rulers’ power struggles, rulers’ wars, and rulers’ property confiscation. But generally they could move through their days as the seasons and their own needs (and the needs of their families and communities) dictated. They had a direct, personal connection to the goods they made and the services they performed.

Avon ladies, self-employed carpenters, security consultants, people who earn their living selling goods on eBay, reflexology practitioners, swap-meet sellers, self-employed gardeners, contract loggers, drug dealers, home-knitters, psychics – today they’ve all made a partial, personal escape from the job trap.

But escape can be perilous. When you’re self-employed, you often can’t afford to provide yourself the “safety net†that comes with a job (health insurance, vacations, sick pay, unemployment insurance, etc.). And the even deeper problem is that society – that hard-to-pin-down, but vitally important abstraction – still inflicts its values and its problems even upon those of us who make our best personal efforts to escape from them.

You and I may be smart and lucky enough to create for ourselves hand-crafted employment that doesn’t force us into gray cubicles, 9-to-5 routine, ghastly commutes, indigestion-inducing lunches gobbled at our desks, co-workers and bosses who grate on our nerves, three-piece suits, pantyhose, and total exhaustion at the end of the day.

But you and I, the cagey self-employed, are still stuck dealing with the consequences of a system that produces neglected, ill-bred kids, frantic consumer culture, impersonal corporations, television and drug abuse as a means of numbing the pain, unhappy and unfulfilled neighbors and family members and many, many more problems that hurt us as bad as they hurt the job holders.

Is it possible, then, to create a society in which work is more personally fulfilling and fits more organically into the rest of our lives? Is it possible to create such a choice for all who want to take it?

Nearly every writer who advocates the abolition of jobs and the celebration of leisure repeats the same handful of interesting, but slightly unhelpful messages.

First, they look back to hunter-gatherer societies (who work, on average, 3-to-4 hours a day) and say, If they can do it, why can’t we? They fail to note that hunter gatherers, whatever their other virtues, don’t invent vaccines, construct high-tech devices, or have such amenities as indoor plumbing.

Writers against jobs also talk about making work into a species of fun. That’s another great trait of hunter-gatherer societies. It’s easy to have fun when you’re harvesting berries or chasing deer with a group of friends. But nobody builds precision medical equipment for fun. Nor do they plunge a mile underground to “load sixteen tons of number nine coal†for amusement.

Finally, anti-job writers are big on utopian theory: Society could work so well, if only, if only. Utopian proposals are inevitably lite on key details. They fail to consider how to wean ourselves away from corporate job culture without coercion. They fail to note how modern goods and services could be produced without the large, well-funded – and job-based – institutions that provide so much of modern life. (You cannot splice genes, split atoms, or build computer chips in your quaint Amish workshop.)

So the questions are:

  1. Is it possible to have an organic, work-and-leisure culture without slipping back to subsistence-level survival?
  2. And is it possible to have the benefits of advanced technology without having to sacrifice so much of our time, our individuality, and our sanity, to get them?

As long as government and its heavily favored and subsidized corporations and financial markets rule our work days, the answers to these questions will never come. We can find our way to a humane work-and-leisure society only through experiment and experience. And we’ll be able to make those experiments only in conjunction with (pardon my using the cliched-but-accurate expression) a paradigm shift. The current job culture, which imprisons us in the silver chains of benefits and the iron shackles of debt, looms blackly in our way.

The necessary sea-change seems far away now. Yet paradigms do shift. Institutions do fall. And often they fall just when the old paradigms seem most entrenched or the old institutions seem most immovable.

Some of the machinery of change may already be in place. For instance:

  • Although automation hasn’t yet put us out of jobs, as it was supposed to, it still has the potential to eliminate many types of drudgery.
  • Although computer-based knowledge work hasn’t enabled millions of us to leave the corporate world and work at home (as, again, it was supposed to), that’s more a problem of corporate power psychology than of technology. Our bosses fear to let us work permanently at home; after all, we might take 20-minute coffee breaks, instead of 10! But what if, say, a fuel crisis or epidemic made it imperative for more of us to stay home to do our work? The paradigm could shift so fast our bosses would fall over.
  • A wide-scale attitude change could also topple the traditional job structure. And that, too, may already be happening. How many parents are looking around and saying, This two-job crap isn’t getting us anywhere? It’s only a short leap from there to the real truth: one-job crap doesn’t satisfy our real needs, either. How many of us have spent 10 or 20 or 30 years buying into the jobs = good; spending = good hype only to decide to walk away from the rat maze and do something less lucrative but more gratifying?

Do you hear many people wailing with sorrow after walking away from the job world and establishing a more home-centered, family-centered, adventure-centered, spirit-centered, community-centered life? Only those few who, through bad planning or extreme bad luck, tried and didn’t make it.

Until the larger job = good illusion shatters, it’s certainly possible for millions of individuals to live more organic lives, without job-slavery. As more people declare their independence, more support networks rise to help them (for example, affordable health insurance for the self-employed, or health care providers opting to provide more affordable services through cash-only programs like Simple Care.)

And we can begin to consider: What types of technology let us live more independently, and what types of independence still enable us to take advantage of life-enhancing technologies while keeping ourselves out of the life-degrading job trap?

Take a job and you’ve sold part of yourself to a master. You’ve cut yourself off from the real fruits of your own efforts.

When you own your own work, you own your own life. It’s a goal worthy of a lot of sacrifice. And a lot of deep thought.

In the meantime, unfortunately, anybody who cries, Jobs aren’t needed! Jobs aren’t healthy for adults and other living things! is crying in the wilderness. We Elijahs and Cassandras can be counted on to be treated like fringe-oid idiots. And anybody who begins to come up with a serious plan that starts cutting the underpinnings from the state-corporate power structure can expect to be treated as Public Enemy Number One and had better watch his backside. Because like Merle Travis and Ned Ludd, he threatens the security of those who hold power over others.

15 thoughts on “Dark Satanic Cubicles – It’s time to smash the job culture!

  1. Tennessee and Kentucky – the biggest difference that I know is that Tennesse has lower goverment spending than Kentucky (as a percentage of total economic activity) and, therefore, no State income tax.

    Tennesse does indeed have a better recent economic record than Kentucky (for the above reason), but the post is not about that.

    So what is the post about?

    Well there is an attack on “corporate employment” – but it soon becomes clear that this is a diversion, as someone who hated the “job culture” would not care if the coal mine was owned by an individal or a company.

    So why does not this (fictional) coal miner not go into business for himself? Say washing windows in town or cutting the lawns of old people?

    The fictional character does not do that – because he woud earn less money (less money – not more money).

    So if he is getting into debt on his present income – he would be even more in debt if he went into business on a lower income.

    Of course the “libertarian” left would encourage him to “go on strike” and use his big fists to smash the faces of anyone who tried to do “his job” (which somehow belongs to him – even if chooses not turn up) , or to plant explosives and blow up people down the mine (the “libertarian” left love Hollywood movies about union “heros” doing that).

    So is using “picket lines” (a military term of course) and planting bombs going to increase the man’s income? Well in the short term it actually may – but in the longer term (as Mises, W.H. Hutt and so many others explain) the “strike threat system” will just undermine economic development and get the man either on lower (not higher) wages than he woud have been otherwise – or unemployed.

    “No Paul you misunderstand – I do not support picketing and bomb planting, I just want the man to go into business on his own”.

    Fair enough – he can, and always could.

    Of course (as mentioned above) he will most likely earn less money (not more money – otherwise he would already have gone into business washing windows or whatever), but that is his choice and always was his choice.

    He could also give up drinking (which would save him a lot of money and so on) – but that is too radical to consider.

  2. Being employed (by an individual as well as by a company or whatever) “slavery”.

    And “smash” the job culture.

    And I am wrong to think that that the “libertarian” left are a bunch of arseholes?

  3. Paul, you may have jumped to a conclusion. The piece was written by Claire Wolfe who is, besides all else, female.

    Also, I think an essential step towards Liberty is the smashing of the jobs culture and the concept of “employment”. So I must be a Leftie too. We need to move to an economy based on the paradigm of free economic agents trading production, rather than “bosses and workers”. We need to replace the “work ethic” with a “productivity ethic”.

    I myself have always had a strong gut reaction against the “corporate” world. It was a long while before I realised that the corporate culture is eerily similar to communism and other authoritarian regimes; think of a stereotypical “grey suit” business; there’s the glorious leader’s photo up on the wall, you all wear the same clothes, you sing company anthems, there is no *internal* market whatsoever. IBM in its “blue suit” days was a classic example of this and as a consequence so internally bureaucratic and stifling that when it came to entering the PC market, they had to set up an internal “company-within-a-company” to do it, free of the normal IBM culture, because otherwise they literally could not create a new product to compete with the new, flexible, more libertarian company structures arising in Silicon Valley.

    Sean has made the point very well in the past, that people who work in such environments are so far removed from the free market that they are not good candidates for liberty. Their relationship with their company- externally capitalist but internally “communist”- is the same love-hate-passive-aggressive-dependency experienced by the citizen of the socialist State. Of course any business is free to organise itself as it wishes. I am not saying they should not be allowed to do so. But the effects of working inside such organisations on the staff is something that Libertarians should be interested in, because it affects what kind of external society they will expect and vote for.

    So, there are some important issues I think in this post and even from the “Libertarian Left” on occasion. I have argued myself several times before that a key component of a transition to liberty is the abolition of employment-as-we-know it. There have already been attempts, by individuals, to do this, which has angered the State considerably. For instance, here in Blighty, IT workers setting up companies to bill “employers” rather than being “employees. This was derided as a “loophole” and stamped on by the Government and Tax Bastards. Now doing that- an employee-in-all-but-tax-status is not an end point. It is a first step. But it is a step. And changing such relationships is going to be essential in getting to a genuine free market.

  4. Micro-businesses are a good way forward. As a start, an enlightened State could allow people to do small business stuff, and earn money from it, say up to a threshold like thay do with VAT, before they need to (a) file accounts at all whatever, or (b) pay any tax.

    I think a threshold of £5,000,000 (gross sales before indirect costs) would be reasonable, for starters. It would have to be “inflation-indexed”, as the State is the robber-burgulator here and not the firm. So next year, if the bastards are honest, the floor will be say £5,780,000.

    Later, it could be moved up to £10,000,000, or even more. Depending on the type of business, a £10,000,000 microbusiness could easily support, say, 50-100 breadwinners of 50-100 families, even today, taking them out of “social security” or “tax credits” or whatever the StateNazis are calling it today, if it didn’t have to pay any protection-monies to the StateNazis in order to be allowed to exist and trade.

    In a liberal society, we could see microbusinesses turning over £100,000,000, or a billion, or more, almost totally uninterfered with by the StateNazis, whose existence would then not matter as nobody will need to be their clients any more (they bastards will hate this), so they can go and grow cowshit outside “their” Welsh cottages if they want to for their Agas, and it won’t matter any more.

  5. Ian – I did not make the mistake of mentioning the author of the article (of whom I know nothing).

    My point is a general one – about those who claim that employment is “slavery” (a clear insult to all the real slaves in history) and that the “job culture” should be “smashed”.

    I have no idea (because of the odd way the post was written) whether those are the opinions of the author – or whether she is just talking about the opinions of other people.

    As you know we face a global war – one that has been going on since at least the time of Bastiat (indeed some time before).

    On one side are the supporters of “capitalism” on the other side are the enemy.

    The word “capitalism” is itself unfortunate – indeed it was coined by the enemy, But that is life.

    After all both “Whig” and “Tory” were insults (Scottish bandit and Irish bandit) which, over time, people came to accept as names.

    The enemy call us “capitalists” – so be it, that is our name. Mises accepted the term as a name – so it is good enough for thee and me.

    A libertarian is actually an ultra capitlist – in that we do not accept the “mixed economy” (i.e. the vast government spending and endless regulations) of most large Western countries. Indeed the ultra hard core libertarians (the anarchocapitalists like Rothbard and co) want no government at all.

    The enemy are the enemy – whether they call themselves Marxists or Fascists or Syndicalists (or whatever). They all hate “capitalism” and pledge themselves to “social justice”.

    That is how one knows who the enemy are – they identify themselves that way.

    My specific problem is with people who call themselves “libertarians” but are enemies of capitalism, and supporters of social justice.

    I hate these false flag types more than I do any other faction of the enemy.

    • In the long run (and sometimes it is not that “long”) “collective bargaining” (i.e. the government backed “strike threat system” with “picketing” and so on) does not just mean higher unemployment – it also means that wages and conditions of work are worse (worse – not better) than would otherwise be the case.

      There are a two questions when determining whether someone is friend of foe.

      Are they defenders or enemies of “capitalism”? Certainly this word was orignially coined by the enemy, but the words “Whig” and “Tory” were originally just insults also (Scots bandit and Irish bandit), eventually they became names. If the word “capitalism” is good enough for Ludwig Von Mises and Ayn Rand it is good enough for thee and me.

      Someone either supports the private ownership (real ownership – not the businessman as a “shop manager” under government control) of the means of production, distribution and exchange – or they do not.

      The second question is whether someone supports traditional justice (to each their own) or social justice (the doctrine that all income and wealth rightfully belong to the collective and should be “distributed” according to some political rule).

      Fascists, Marxists, Syndicalists even Islamists all oppose capitalism and support social justice.

      These are the defineing features of the enemy – opposition to capitalism and support for social justice. This is how the enemy identify themselves.

      I have never beaten a confession out of anyone, or used electric shocks (or anything lke that), but if someone voluntarily (by their own free will) identify themselves as part of the enemy – I note it. After all there is a global war going on (and has been since even before Bastiat’s day) and it is useful to know which side someone is on.

      A libertarian is an ultra capitalist – in that we do not accept the vast Welfare State government of the West (taking up about half, 50%, of the economy in government spending – and dominating everythying with reguations). Nor do we accept the corporate welfare “easy money” or “low interest rate” policies of governments.

      Indeed some libertarians (anarchocapitalists such as the late Murray Rothbard) do not want any government at all.

      However, all libertarians oppose the vast size of modern governments – both unlimited Welfare Statism (the main part of that half or so of the economy that government spending takes) and the corporate welfare monetary policy of “cheap money”, “monetary expansion”, “low interest rates”.

      That is what makes us different from more moderate capitalists.

      The difference with the enemy – with the enemies of capitalism (i.e. the private ownership, and control [no businessmen being reduced to just “shop managers” under government control – as with Fascism and National Socialism], of large scale means of production, distribution and exchange) and supports of social justice (i.e. the principle that all income and wealth are rightfully owned by the collective and should be “distributed” according to some political rule) is even more stark.

  6. It’s a conceptual error to conflate “Capitalism” (an economic system) with Libertarianism (a personal philosophy). The Arts, Sciences and much else besides are not “Capitalist.”


    • Both the arts and sciences were, in the main, capitalist in Britain till World War II.

      For example the Arts Council (created by the request of Lord Keynes) did not even exist. The arts were either funded by voluntary donation (donations from capitalists or by those employed by them) or were commercial ventures themselves – for example an Opera Comany (the Karl Rosa – spelling alert) had a private train and used to give performances all round the country in a way that is supposed to be “impossible” today.

      The wonderful anti capitalist state with its “compassion”? It closed this company down.

      Being dependent on the state for your daily bread is far more close to “slavery” than working for a living.

      “Capitalism is an economic system” – that reminds of J.S. Mill in “On Liberty” who made the utterly false statement that free trade was not a moral principle.

      There is no division.

      One does not talk about what is correct in moral terms in contrast to in terms of economic betterment – because, in the long term, theft (“distribution”) is no more efficient than it is moral.

      Also “an” economic system – implies “historical stage” thinking.

      In reality economic law is unversal.

      There is no “Jewish logic” or “Ayran logic” – there is just reason.

      There is no difference between what was the correct economic policy in Roman times – or now.

      There is no “geographical” reason and no “historical” reason – there is just reason.

      Race does not matter – and “historical stage” does not matter either.

      Sound money, low taxes, balanced budgets, and a law that protects non aggression principle property rights – and does not choke business enterprises with regulations.

      This is the way to go.

  7. In what way are “the Arts” not “Capitalist” Tony? Capitalism simply describes a system in which property and the fruits of production are privately owned and traded. People sell and buy pictures, novels, comics, music, movies, etc etc. That looks like Capitalism to me.

  8. By the way a big comic convention at the park today (and tomorrow if you want to come Ian).

    A capitalist venture (even those comic and graphic noval writers who say they are socialists are producing a product and selling it) – the convention was organised by a for profit enterprise.

    However, a lot of people come and take part in these things just for the fun of it – their profit is mental (but just as real).

    “But comics are not art…..”

    It is the same for painting and the rest of “high artt” – at least it should be.

    There is no need for statism in such things.

  9. Paul- agreed.

    Tony- that some people are hobbyists does not deny the existence of a capitalist market. People draw and paint and strum the guitar for fun. These things are very cheap to do. Nonetheless we might note that the paint and canvas and the guitar are manufactured by capitalists and thus even the “hobbyists” are part of the free enterprise market, even if they choose not to earn money with their paintings and strummings- perhaps because they are not good enough. Many’s the hobbyist who would like an capitalist income from their hobby. The internet is indeed full of amateurs and semi-amateur artists who say they are “available for commissions”.

    But hobbyism is proportional to capital costs of the art. Movies are capitalist. Television is capitalist. Theatre is capitalist (other than the State funded stuff adressed by Paul above). The world is full of professional artists and musicians, actors and writers and directors and set builders and costume designers and special effects technicians. Even subsidised theatre pays its workers and performers.

    Art is a capitalist enterprise as much as any other industry. Hobbyism and capitalism are not mutually exclusive.

  10. Ian – yes agreed.

    Tony – I did say that the word “capitalist” was unfortunate (even that it was actually coined by the enemy).

    But it is our name – and there is no good crying about it.

    Someone who supports civil society (i.e. voluntary coperation) is on the capitalist side of the war – even if they do not own a factory and so on (after all I am dirty poor – and always have been).

    Just as Edmund Burke was a “Whig” (an “Old Whig” but still a Whig) – even though he was not Scottish and not a bandit.

    But, by the way, if you want large scale art (ballet, opera and so on) then it has to be paid for.

    Either by private enterprise – or by the state.

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