Gekkonomics

Ideological burps from an NZ market anarchist

Gekko

Since I’m (quite probably) NZ’s only Austro-Rothbardian market anarchist (or, perhaps more accurately, agorist), I need somewhere to vent. Somewhere to download all this crap out of my head so that it doesn’t drive me insane. This is it.

Market anarchist? Ok, I explain in more detail here, but basically I hold a libertarian philosophical ethical position for freedom and against the initiation of force. A bit like Ghandi, just with less emphasis on all the nationalism and civil disobedience stuff. I hold the same general ethical principles as most people but I try to apply those principles consistently, even in situations where others would say it’s impractical. For instance like most sane and civilised people I reject criminals who initiate or threaten force or fraud, but unlike most people I include the state in that group (and for good reason). Indeed the state is by far the largest and most dangerous aggressor you are ever likely to meet.

Since I reject the state I’m technically an anarchist (from the Greek anarchos: without master/ruler). This definition is quite specific: it doesn’t say without law (which would be anomy, from the Greek anomos ), and neither does it say without leader. Despite the popular image of Hobbesian violent chaos, anarchism is about rejecting the predation of one upon another, of master upon slave. I believe that human interaction is only ethical when it is voluntary, and that ideally humans would move towards completely voluntary self-organising societies. For those that say that government (particularly in the form of our much vaunted liberal democracy) is ethical as it’s the ‘mechanism of civilisation’ or some other such nonsense, I would question their use of the word ‘civilisation’ when they would choose coercion over voluntary interaction.

Although the ‘anarchist’ label tends to scare old ladies and middle-class civil servants, who immediately jump to the conclusion that I can’t be allowed near a McDonalds in case I react violently, the truth is sadly rather more pedestrian: I don’t actually dislike McDonalds that much, at least not to the point where I’d put a dustbin through their windows to save the planet. I have been known to wear trenchcoats, but not ones that have been spray painted with skulls or worn while hurling eco-friendly invective at world leaders (despite disliking them far more than McDonalds, which is at least trying to earn an honest crust). Nor do I have any radical revolutionary Che Guevara underwear or tattoos, and all of my current piercings are of the vaccination kind. I can even wear a tie without feeling like an oppressed foot-soldier in the class war.

So just a normal guy really, but one with a head so full of passion and craziness that some of it was bound to leak out. For those who are interested in my obsession or who simply want to experience a viewpoint they may not have seen before, the other ‘about’ pages give more detail on what I believe and why it drives me, (and drives those around me mad), starting with wtf am I talking about?

Feel free to debate, but in return expect to be exposed to stuff you might find difficult to agree with and (probably) won’t like. It took me a long time to accept where this line of thinking was taking me, with a lot of uncomfortable readjustment of my world view after taking the ‘red pill’ so it’s not like I’ve just pulled this stuff out of my backside without giving it any thought. However now that I’ve grown with it and understand the concepts better, it seems unnatural to think any other way. But it’s all a journey, and perhaps next year I’ll think something completely different. So before you turn the heavy artillery on me remember I’m not crazy, I believe I have good reasons for thinking what I do and you’re going to need strong arguments to convince me otherwise. Be as forthright as you like in comments, I don’t care. I just won’t engage with anyone who uses ad-hominems or refuses to follow a reasonable discussion.

Oh, and why ‘Gekkonomics’? Well basically because I grew bored of the NZ ‘tall-poppy’ syndrome: the hand-wringing, suspicion and faux-guilt about success in general but business success in particular. The idea that to be successful in any kind of substantial business you must look like the moustachioed chap from the lid of the Monopoly box and be making a profit by conning money out of the sackcloth pocket of some poor, oppressed and hardworking ‘ordinary kiwi’. So I picked Gordon Gekko, the most wonderfully overstated nasty, conniving, unethical, profit-obsessed caricature I could think of that matches what the left-liberal kiwi appears to believe is representative of ‘capitalism’ and adopted him as my dark anti-hero.

So that’s me. Have at it.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Gekko

  1. You do realize that Gekko was a criminal and a low-life scum? Surely, he’s the last person we would ever want to emulate.

    If it were up to him, he would rape and pillage (the environment and the people) in order to get richer. Right? It reminds me of the Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, where a ship lands on earth full of politicians and accountants. They decided that they will use leaves as money, but there are too many around and the currency is devalued, so they decide to burn most of the forests.

    I can see why Gekko would agree to your premises, i.e. it’s immoral for the government to make me pay – it certainly serves a guy like Gekko completely.

    Can you explain to me why the libertarian view would not lead to a plutocracy, where the rich have even more power than they have already? Ultimately, corporations would end up with all the power and people would have less freedom, not more.

    Freedom is one of your basic premises isn’t it?

    Like

    1. “You do realize that Gekko was a criminal and a low-life scum?”
      I think I made it fairly clear in the associated paragraph that I understood exactly what he was.

      “Surely, he’s the last person we would ever want to emulate”
      I do not want to ’emulate’ him. In case you missed my unfortunately heavy-handed attempt at irony, I was parodying the use of the character to epitomise state-controlled mercantilism (crony-capitalism). He is the modern incarnation of the wax-mustachioed bad guy in the cloak and top-hat, tying the helpless innocent maiden to the railway tracks while cackling at his own genius. The fact that he is presented by many as in some way representative of the concept of free-exchange speaks volumes either of their paucity of thought and understanding or to their cynical use of the image to advance an ideological agenda. It is a childish and vacuous image, akin to characterising employees as all wearing cloth caps, tugging their forelocks and calling each other comrade. Oliver Stone created the character to make a statement about what he saw as ‘Capitalism’. I use him to highlight the misunderstanding behind the difference between Stone’s mercantilism and free market exchange.

      “If it were up to him, he would rape and pillage (the environment and the people) in order to get richer. Right?”
      It must be clear to you by now that I would oppose anyone who uses violence to achieve their ends. Leaving aside the absurdity of discussing the intentions of a fictional character, you are saying that he would physically rape people and commit armed robbery ‘in order to get richer’. As a fictional character he can do whatever you might suppose I guess.

      “It reminds me of the Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, where a ship lands on earth full of politicians and accountants. They decided that they will use leaves as money, but there are too many around and the currency is devalued, so they decide to burn most of the forests”
      You have chosen an analogy where the problem is lack of scarcity, something which is eerily similar to our own state monopolised system of monetised debt. Additionally, in your Golgafrinchan example there is clearly no stated objection to the burning of the trees. Why do you suppose that might be?

      “I can see why Gekko would agree to your premises, i.e. it’s immoral for the government to make me pay – it certainly serves a guy like Gekko completely.”
      Those are not my premises. My premise is that it is immoral to initiate force to achieve an end that has not been voluntarily agreed by both parties. When Gordon Gekko defrauds he is acting just as immorally as when the state imposes it’s one-sided ‘contracts’. He doesn’t have a free-pass because he is not the state. My position is that all those who violate the property rights of another are immoral, whether they are Gordon Gekko, Don Corleone or the PM.

      “Can you explain to me why the libertarian view would not lead to a plutocracy, where the rich have even more power than they have already?”
      What do you mean by power? Power to enter into exchange with you for mutual benefit? You have the power to deny them that if you wish, as do they. What power do they have now that is not granted to them by the state? Or do you mean that they might get richer? Maybe, maybe not. But since capital in a free market would flow to those most able to create value for others your ‘corporations’, once stripped of the protection of their politcal patriarchs, may be shown to be the inefficient behemoths that they really are and wither when faced with more nimble and effective competitors. On the other hand, a particular corporation may be the best at delivering certain values, in which case why shouldn’t they get the rewards?

      Under any authoritarian regime, including democracy, everyone attempts to use the power of state violence to their own benefit, whether it be a grovelling in front of the monarch to court favour, a corporation lobbying for legislation that gives them a competitive advantage, or an individual voting for a policy that benefits their preferred causes (including themselves). It is disingenuous to criticise corporations for using the system in the same way that you do.

      “Ultimately, corporations would end up with all the power and people would have less freedom, not more.”
      Again you don’t explain what this ‘power’ is and what kind of freedom people would lack?

      “Freedom is one of your basic premises isn’t it?”
      I prefer my freedom to not be at the point of a gun.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: