Here Thar Be Monsters!

From the other side of the argument to the other side of the planet, read in over 149 countries and 17 languages. We bring you news and opinion with an IndoTex® flavor. Be sure to check out Radio Far Side. Send thoughts and comments to luap.jkt at gmail, and tell all your friends. Sampai jumpa, y'all.

3.11.16

Uber Alles

In order to make today's point, we need to clarify a couple of definitions.

Socialism is when a small number of elite control government (oligarchs), which in turn controls the corporations and the means of production.

Fascism is when a small number of elite control the corporations (oligarchs), which in turns controls government and the means of production.

A Republic is a limited government whose sole purpose is to protect the individual from overzealous government and corporate power by protecting a core set of rights for every human being.

A Democracy is little more than formalized anarchy, where rights are really privileges that can be voted away, and even the right to vote depends on the will of the majority.

These are the primary forms of government in use today, and even though the words are used interchangeably to obfuscate their real meanings and hide inconvenient truths about the nature of individual governments, the definitions are basically what you will find with a bit of research.

This leads us to an article about Uber's recent loss in UK courts, requiring it to treat drivers as employees rather than contractors, and thus Uber must pay minimum wage and offer the standard set of benefits.

Many people will cheer this decision, as it seems to protect the drivers and make their lives better, but there's a problem here.  The right to contract is a foundational concept of free societies.  If I sign a contract with another entity agreeing to certain benefits and responsibilities, the government's job in a republican society is to protect my contract, regardless of what anyone else thinks about the terms.  After all, I was free to negotiate those terms and to accept or refuse to contract based on my perception of the costs and benefits to me.

In a free republic, government's sole purpose is to adjudicate disputes between contracting parties when one side believes the other has not lived up to the terms and conditions set forth in the contract.  Otherwise, government has no interest in the contract and cannot intervene or change the conditions agreed to by the parties.

In fascist and socialist states, the government retains the right to amend or cancel contracts that do not protect the government's interests.  The main difference between the two is whether the corporate interests or the State benefit from this arrangement.  In other words, the State is an assumed third party in every contract.  Obviously, this is an assault, no matter how subtle, on the rights and liberties of the individual.

A hallmark of fascist states is the ability to corporate interests to use government power to tilt the playing field in favor of their interests.  Regulations and enforcement are heavily biased to protect the oligarchs from competition.  A socialist state is basically the same, except the State itself is the beneficiary of the control.

Putting it "country simple," if your country has a lot of state-owned corporations, you live in a socialist state.  If your country has a lot of public-private partnerships, you live in a fascist state.

The Uber article sums up the situation thusly:
  • Uber claims drivers are self-employed - but courts do not agree with them
  • Drivers brought legal action against private hire firm in row over their pay
  • They claimed they should get the minimum wage, holiday pay and breaks
  • Uber said they were self-employed and should manage their own finances
  • But Central London Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of Uber drivers

You can cheer the drivers' victory if you choose, but what this makes quite clear is that the UK is likely a socialist/fascist state.

First of all, the courts should have adjudicated the terms of the contract.  The drivers read and agreed to perform certain services in exchange for certain compensation.  One assumes these terms were clearly spelled out in the contracts and that the drivers knowingly entered into contract knowing these terms.  If they were not happy with the terms, they were free to renegotiate the terms, or to set up competing businesses that offered more equitable terms.  If the drivers did not have the financial means to set up a competing business by themselves, they could have banded together to pool resources, and thus become owners of the new entity.

Alas, this was not to be.  Instead of pursuing the capitalist route, the drivers banded together to sue Uber, and the courts upheld their complaint and forcefully broke the private contract in a way that favored existing, State-licensed corporations.  Assuming those existing corporations are private entities and not State-owned, then we are looking at pure fascism.

Uber, whose business model followed the right of individuals to freely contract, was forced to accept regulations that act as a barrier to competition from upstart companies.  The oligarchs of the establishment had set up a system that placed additional cost barriers on new competitors to prevent a loss of market share to better operations and ideas.  Since the oligarchs likely control both the corporations and the financial resources, they effectively tilt the playing field in their favor.  By controlling government regulations, they add a layer of backup protection by making government restrictions a firewall of burden to new competitors.

This adds one more definition to our list: the so-called Third Way, which completes the evil Trinity of State-Corporate-Finance control over markets and competition.  This marriage made in Hell effectively eliminates private initiatives and entrepreneurship, in favor of a protectionist racket surrounding the core of elite oligarchs.

The Third Way is precisely what we see in place in countries such as the US and UK, and which scandals like the Clinton Email are revealing in rather dramatic fashion.  Also known as Mercantilism, the bond of finance, production and regulation creates the perfect barrier to outsiders, the right of the individual to contract, and the ability of new competitors to enter the market.  Control of finance prevents upstarts from getting funding.  If they pass that barrier, then onerous regulations and biased courts favor the establishment over the new guy.  No matter which way you turn, if you aren't part of the club, you ain't gonna play.

I am a big fan of Uber, AirBnB and other similar new-tech companies that use the internet to circumvent the Big Boys and State Regulatory barriers to produce truly capitalistic enterprises.

Sure you hear a lot of criticism and fear-mongoring about these types of operations and how they run circles around the Old Guard and their rules.  What you are really hearing, though, are the established interests complaining that they are losing money because they didn't think of it first.  However, this is an essential part of true capitalism: new ideas and entrepreneurs bring fresh and more efficient operations to market, and the Old Guard (oligarchs) must evolve or die.

When you hear folks pushing internet controls, what you are really hearing are the oligarchs screaming that their territory is being eaten away by faster, leaner operations that they can't control.

In the end, the Uber court case here is an example of the oligarchs using government power to protect their profits.  Pure and simple.  It is a naked example of Socio-Fascism in action.  Uber made it past the financial and regulatory barriers, so the last line of defense was simply to negate private contracts in favor of the ruling paradigm.

Viewed in this way, suddenly all the headlines make sense and can be boiled down into some aspect of this model.  The Clinton-Trump election represents two sides of the Unholy Triad (government and industry) vying for control of the Federal Reserves (finance).  The Uber case, and others like it, represent the battle of entrepreneurs to break into the Inner Circle's protected playground.  The court decisions are the last line of defense for the oligarchs, since there are no higher authorities to whom one can appeal.

And while the Big Picture allows us to see the machinations of the oligarchs at work, it doesn't give us any surcease of anxiety.  Fundamentally, the entire system is rigged from top to bottom, no matter which route your local government has gone.  It is incredibly hard to find any extant example of true capitalism at work in the world, except in the virtual realm of the internet, and what we see there is a slow but panicked attempt by the Unholy Triad to take over control of that outlet, as well.

This is the battleground on which GlobalRev is being played out.  From this point of view, we can see the various sides lobbing grenades and skirmishing over front lines.  The Old Guard have pulled out all the stops to maintain their hammerlock on markets, and ultimately your labor and wealth, that they have had since at least the Middle Ages.  East (BRICSA) battles West (EU/UK/US).  Old Economy battles New Economy.  Establishment battles Entrepreneur.

Bottom line?

Only the individual asserting his/her right to contract and taking responsibility for his/her choices and decisions will ultimately destroy the Old World Order.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave your own view of The Far Side.