Tag: State Intervention

Americans Have Forgotten How to Boycott

TJ Roberts | United States

Since Nike released their new ad in support of Colin Kaepernick, the mainstream American Right has been losing their minds, showing images of them burning their Nike shoes or cutting the logos off of their gym clothes. The same can be said about the American Left’s revulsion towards In-N-Out and Chic-fil-A after they announced their support for conservative causes. The calls for boycotts, however, fall on deaf ears. This is simply because Americans have forgotten how to boycott, whereas they have come to rely on State intervention to achieve their social goals.

The Failure of the Boycott

When Chic-fil-A came out in support of traditional marriage, the American Left slammed them in the public sphere, but they never truly boycotted the franchise. Rather, they gave them free advertisement. They are now doing the same thing for In-N-Out due to their donation to the California GOP. American culture has become so materialist that people can’t even fathom doing without a product in order to enact the change that they desire.

This is largely due to the rise of the modern State. Whereas economic interventionism has become the immediate means by which society changes, the public does not realize their power in the market. This comes from two primary reasons. First, if a well-connected business goes under, the US federal government is likely to bail it out of its economic struggle. Second and most importantly, it is far easier for the government to change something than the private sector.

Government is a monopoly on violence. All state action is backed by either the barrel of a gun or the edge of a blade. Why would the people boycott if they could simply use government force to enact their social preferences? In the private sector, one must compete with the status quo in order to bring about change. With government, all it takes is for a bureaucrat to enact a new arbitrary legislation or law forcing businesses to stop whatever they are doing that is hurting the sensitivities of the thoughtless masses.

Refusing to Buy Goods is Not Enough

Conservatives tend to be able to actually refuse to buy/use products that they find despicable. Their belief in a relatively free market lets them at least realize that they have some power over corporations. But businesses don’t go under simply because they lose a small chunk of their consumer base (they will also gain customers due to controversial moves). While they may lose growth due to traditional boycotts, a boycott can only be effective if consumers are actively competing with businesses.

Instead of throwing an online fit and burning Nike products, it would behoove conservatives to sell their lightly used Nike products at unreasonably low prices in the secondary market as Dr. Robert Murphy, author of Contra Krugman, so brilliantly pointed out. Doing this would not only rid you of the products of a company that would dare to refuse to worship a cloth, but it would also push the price of their products down. This would hurt future sales.

While the Left and the Right are dramatizing minor issues, there is an economics lesson we can all learn from this. A boycott can and will work, but only if the public not only refuses to purchase a business’s goods/services but also compete with the business in order to hurt future sales. If the Left wants to push progressive “values” and the Right wants to push idol worship upon the people, then they may want to learn how an actual boycott works. Or they could focus on real issues such as the fact that the US is committing genocide in Yemen as you read this.


This post was originally published in LIFE.

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College Prices are Proof That the Government is Ineffective

By Will Arthur | USA

Ask any hopeful, current, or recently graduated college student what the worst part of college is and they will most likely come up with answers such as “the price of tuition”, “student loans”, or “college debt”. Today students can be found burying themselves in debts (sometimes the size of a mortgage) to get a degree: sometimes a hopeful STEM or medical degree other times a virtually worthless liberal arts degree. The worry of getting the price of tuition, room & board, textbooks, etc. paid has not always been a huge issue for college students though. According to Business Insider In the 1980s the cost of living on campus and pursuing a four-year degree with all costs included was $9,438 per year. Students were able to work there way through school to pay the cost of attendance and graduate with relatively small loans to pay off. Business Insider goes on to say that between 1980 and 2014 the price has skyrocketed 260% to $23,872 per year. Someone may say that the rise in price comes from inflation, but Business Insider says otherwise because the CPI (Consumer Price Index) has only increased by 120% since the 1980s. Why have college prices gone so far up while the average of all other prices has increased regularly with inflation?

Just like many other financial problems our country has seen, the root of the problem can be seen to be too much government involvement. This time the government involvement takes the form of federal student loans: loans are given to students by the government to pay for secondary education expenses. Federal loans sound great in theory because everyone can get a loan without discrimination and the government can guarantee low-interest rates to students. In reality, however, these two aspects that seem good are actually two reasons why tuition prices are rising so high.

Traditionally if an individual wanted a loan for a house or car that individual would go to a bank to try and get a loan. When asked for the loan the bank will ask for personal information about annual income, how the income is earned, debts still owed, assets, credit scores, and many other topics. Banks do this so they can assess the risk of a possible borrower, or in other terms calculate the odds based on the likelihood of a borrower paying back the bank. Some may say this form of questioning an individual and profiling them as low, medium, or high risk is discriminatory and unfair to poor people. Those people need to realize that banks only make money on a loan if they sell it or the borrower pays them back, and the odds of those two happening greatly decrease if the potential borrower has a low income, massive debt, no assets, and/or a bad credit score (if the potential borrower is poor). So banks, to be sure that they are profitable, have to “discriminate” against poor people.

Banks do not only use this technique of profiling individuals based on risk to decide if an individual should receive a loan, but they also use an individual’s risk to determine the interest rate of a loan. Higher risk individuals being given higher interest rates so banks have a larger payoff to offset the likelihood of a defaulted loan. Lower risk individuals being given lower interest rates because a bank does not need a larger incentive when there is a low likelihood of a loan being defaulted.

If we were to look through this time period of 1980 to 2014 we would see that as the price of college rises higher and higher, the amount of people on these cheap federal loans also rises. But how could people being able to receive cheap loans raise the price of college tuition?

When college first started becoming a mainstream path after high school for the average person it would cost the student a couple to a few thousand dollars which could be worked off with minimal student loans. When getting first involved in the student loan industry the government came in to give people, who were discriminated by banks for being high risk, loans with low interest rates. The government could do this because they are backed by taxpayer dollars and the federal reserve, so they can “afford” loan defaults. When these poorer people were just given the money by the government they had no reason to complain to colleges that they were priced too high, because they technically had the money to pay for it. In turn, the colleges did not need to lower the price.

The government did not only guarantee a loan to anybody with the lowest interest rate. The government guaranteed a loan to any tuition no matter how high the price was. This created an opening for the colleges to price tuition and other costs at whatever price they wanted because college students are handed this “cheap” money, so the college students do not have to worry about the price. As the prices rise higher and higher for a secondary education the government just continues to subsidize these prices more and more. This pattern has created an endless cycle where government involvement is the issue, but government involvement is also seen as the way out. Bringing prices to where they are now: astronomically high.

If the government never got involved in the college industry the price of college would probably only have raised as much as the general CPI, remained neared it, or even gone down. College prices certainly would not have raised 260% in a thirty-four year period. Colleges would not be able to build fancy recreation centers and dining spots while charging an engineering student to take credits in an ethnic studies course that they will never use again. If the free market was the only driver in college price and function, colleges would be forced to reach the lowest price while still getting the maximum education from a degree. Instead, the government tries to help students by getting involved, and the colleges receive huge profit margins that the students have to pay for.

 

 

The True Enemy of the People and How They Make You Think Otherwise

By Dylan Byrne | USA

Asking the average American what force poses the most danger to humanity will most commonly generate answers such as ISIS, North Korea, and climate change, among others. The state appears only as an anomaly within this group of answers, and this is precisely what the state desires. The government need not lift a finger to grow a public distaste for those who defy the status quo; the people, so blind of their enslavement, will be swift to cast away these defectors themselves. Those who wish nothing but to open the eyes of the public to the infringement upon basic human rights by the elite are labeled as lunatics, uninformed, and utopian; a risible circumstance if this were not to be the cruel reality. As Abraham Lincoln once famously stated, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and, after reviewing the evidence and tactics of the state, it becomes quite clear that they are currently demolishing the foundation of the house of America so that they may erect a most formidable human plantation.

I cite Operation Northwoods as a prime example of the state’s desire to amass popular opinion for an otherwise unethical goal. The operation was drafted by military officials in 1962 who wished to commit terror attacks upon American civilians only to blame it on Cuba so that a war between the two nations may be justified. To quote the document, “The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere.” Quite obviously, this was rejected by President Kennedy (thankfully) but still stands as a testament to the inner workings of Washington and their complete disregard for the lives of its citizens. One must ask themselves if any other catastrophic events in modern American history could have been precipitated – or at the very least, taken advantage of – by the federal government.

More examples of these false accusations can be brought to attention. For instance, the second red scare heightened American fears of the growing popularity of communism around the globe and ushered in McCarthyism, a tactic exclusively used to instigate fear into the public’s mind. But did communism prove to be an immediate threat to America during the scare? No. It was arguably the people that proved to be their own worst enemy; in their insatiable fear of communism, they allowed for the government to expand to combat this fictitious idea that communists were infiltrating American politics. The state couldn’t possibly pass this opportunity up, and thus, anti-communist propaganda was mass produced and spread across the nation intensively. This occurrence has seemed to manifest itself in similar circumstances involving different issues but ultimately leading to the same outcome. As explained by former Nixon advisor John Ehrlichman, the Nixon White House’s two main enemies, that being black people and the anti-war left, attributed these groups with heroin and marijuana, respectively, and heavily criminalized both. They lied about the drugs so that they could overreach the boundaries of their allowed power and expand the police force to further their agenda. The drug war is still happening today because of the lies perpetrated by hateful politicians, and the people, ignorant of the true problem, continue to legitimize the actions of the state. Fast forward a couple decades after Nixon’s presidency and, yet again, this blueprint for increasing government power was followed once again. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the nation was consumed by trepidation. The people called for their government to take action, and their government was happy to abide by their wishes, signing the Patriot Act on October 26, 2001, and thereby obliterating the security of the American people inside their own homes.

Now we enter a new cycle of this state-induced scheme in the form of the conflict between the United States and North Korea, but why are they the enemy? Have they ever committed an attack upon another country anytime recently, let alone our own? No. Have they proved to be a legitimate threat towards other parts of the globe? While they may act like they do, mutually assured destruction debunks this claim in the fullest. So what exactly does the United States accuse them of? Why the state must know that their threats don’t mean anything. While the politicians may be nefarious, they are certainly not inept or stupid. The government’s main claim is that their attempts to obtain nuclear weapons must be stopped at all costs. But what value does their nuclear arsenal hold if utilizing it will result in total destruction of the country, something which is the antithesis of the current dictator’s interests? It must be made clear that North Korea is nothing but a vehicle which the government will abuse to further their own powers.

The government has done nothing but expand over its lifetime. According to the US Department of Labor, the size of the government has increased from roughly 6 million in 1950 to nearly 22 million in 2015. By this statistic alone, it is evident that the American people have abandoned the values which were instilled during the founding of the nation; that being limited government and equal division of power. So I direct this to you, the reader: do not fall for the propaganda of the state and its social conditioning institution it calls “media”, but instead think critically of the country’s enemies and the role they play in domestic politics.