Sunday, March 30, 2008

From Moocher to Producer

I was exploring the internet this morning when I came across this quote from Atlas Shrugged. Thanks to Dirk for excerpting it on his blog: http://econoblog101.wordpress.com/2008/03/29/atlas-shrugged-text-excerpt-2/. It is from the paperback version, pg 662.

"He chuckled. 'Market? I now work for use, not for profit - my use, not the looter’s profit. Only those who add to my life, not those who devour it, are my market. Only those who produce, not those who consume, can ever be anybody’s market. I deal with the life-givers, not with the cannibals. If my oil takes less effort to produce, I ask less of the men to whom I trade it for the things I need. I add an extra span of time to their lives with every gallon of my oil that they burn. And since they’re men like me, they keep inventing faster ways to make the things they make - so every one of them grants me an added minute, hour or day with the bread I buy from them, with the clothes, the lumber, the metal' …"

The lens through which I look at life produced a clearer vision when I read this quote. How many times have I looked at my bank account thinking it was how I knew where I was in my mastery of life? Ellis Wyatt has been through all this and has gone on strike. He's now at a more fundamental value: use. He has now selected his market based on what is useful for him rather than being a slave to the market for what he can get. Who is his market? Those who produce. Those are the only ones that are safe and fruitful for him to deal with.

So, if there is to be a shift here, what would it be like if instead of the bank deciding it can loan you money based on your bank balance and your credit report, they loaned you money based on whether you can produce? Would they not upgrade their portfolio? And would they not do something to shift people's attitude if they win the lottery or come into an inheritance?

And what if instead of getting up in the morning and asking yourself what you are going to do that day, you ask yourself what you are going to produce that day?

And what if the political candidates appealed to production as a value rather than need as a value? What if their conversations and political speeches encouraged being a producer rather than being a moocher living off the State? Both Hillary and Obama slop around in the poor, downtrodden travails of life as if their political fortune is justified by people's need, rather like Mother Teresa's except they will use a gun instead of charity as their means of providing.

If a politician is in favor of a healthy society, his policies have to encourage production as a virtue and winnow people from "moochuction" as a virtue.

I've been given a piece of advice when times are slow: "Fill the pipeline." This means that depending on the actions one puts into gaining income, one will draw out income. This is true in one sense, but where I am left with this advice is that effort and action are a virtue and we all know that effort and action can also produce no results.

I like the idea of production as a virtue better because it focuses on the essence of the matter rather than something that is involved in it but not the heart of it. A further point is that it shifts one's orientation from materialism to objectivism - a view of life that is an integration of mind and body, not a split between mind and body. It does this by integrating effort with results which are not only material but spiritual. What pride there is in producing what one says he will produce and needs to produce to forward his life. But that is a whole other subject.

What will I produce today?

3 comments:

robert574 said...

Steve, when politicians do not focus on freeing people to be productive, they inevitably give a lesson to the productive that they must protect themselves and essentially "go on strike" by hiding their production and keeping it safe or by producing only what they need to survive so it cannot be appropriated. This is why socialism, as espoused by Hillary and Obama, always results in economic decline and increasing force by government against the productive. Note their promise to tax the rich.

principlex said...

This comment comes from a friend and I am posting it because this is how things stack up in our day. It perfectly illustrates an application of the slave morality as identified by Nietzche.
_________________

She says: "To make Robert's point another way, here are two versions of the Ant and the Grasshopper."

OLD VERSION:
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and
plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

***MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!***


MODERN VERSION:
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and
plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to
be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper
next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a
country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so.

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'

Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, 'We shall overcome.' Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.

Nancy Pelosi & John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act
retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper In a
defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill Clinton appointed from a list of
single-parent welfare recipients.

The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

***MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2008***

M.S.

robert574 said...

Excellent scenario, April. But I would offer a different scenario: The ant is not found dead but disappears never to be found again. The grasshopper dies his usual death and Hillary and Obama get voted out of office once it is found that they were receiving campaign contributions from grasshoppers. lol