Transcript: Episode 0052

This transcript:
  1. Was machine generated.
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Welcome to the Stone Choir podcast. I am Corey J. Moeller, and I'm still woe.

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Today's Stone Choir, we're going to be discussing the evils of capitalism. Capitalism is effectively

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a competing moral system that we have all been inculcated in our entire lives. So,

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just saying the evils of capitalism, I'm sure, made some people angry already.

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That's one of the things we enjoy doing here is pushing buttons that no one ever pushes.

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The reason that we're tackling capitalism today is that, as I mentioned a few weeks ago,

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when we're talking about the Reformation, there's a lot of confusion of kind.

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As I mentioned in the Reformation episode, that there's the history of the Western Christian

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Church, and the fact that for a long time Roman Catholicism was the only Christianity in town.

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And so, when someone looks back prior to 1500, there are those who say, well, if it's Christian,

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then it is Roman Catholic, and therefore they're interchangeable, without being able to separate

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the things that were distinctly Roman Catholic from the things that were more generally Christian.

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Capitalism kind of works the same way. We're going to go through a definition from

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As I mentioned before, I used to be huge into Austrian economics. I read a lot more about

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that than I've ever read about theology, which I could have that time back because it was a waste.

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But I learned some interesting things that turned out mostly to be false.

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They're the number one resource for finding out what the best form of these ideas are.

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So, we're going to use their definition of capitalism to show

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what complete nonsense it is. As we go through it, I'm going to be laughing a lot because

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some of it's just facially false. It's literally historically just wrong. It's a lie. And yet,

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it's the sort of thing that as you are listening, and we say capitalism is bad,

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everyone is going to be thinking, oh, you don't like private property? Oh, you don't like prices for

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things being low? Oh, you want communism? Are you a socialist? These are all the knee-jerk responses

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to any criticism of capitalism. And the problem here that we're facing is that there's been a

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complete confusion of the category of the capitalist moral system with just basic human action,

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which to Ludwig von Mises' credit, his magma opus was titled Human Action. That is a good

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description of human economic activity. It's human action. And he adopted the path of praxeology to

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describe a sort of science of human action and how people would make choices, trying to be neutral

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about it. It's kind of one of those spurgy things that is another problem when we're talking about

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a subject like this. We're going to give their definition of capitalism. You will almost undoubtedly,

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if you've ever studied this, disagree with some aspect of it. And so say, oh, well, no, there's

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this other better definition with these different terms. And so if you'd only address that one,

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instead, all your criticisms would be invalid. What we're going to do today is, firstly, we're

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going to carve out all the things that capitalism takes credit for that it has no claim on because

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they've existed for thousands of years before anything that anyone would have considered

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capitalism existed. And secondarily, we're going to illustrate that what is left of capitalism that

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is actually some of its novel contributions to human action are all evil. It's all bad things

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that hurt your neighbor in ways that you wouldn't be hurting your neighbor without the moral license

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from the religion of capitalism, which is fundamentally what it is. So we'll make that case

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throughout this hour or two. Please hear it out. One other thing that I want to say up front,

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we're not going to offer any alternative. We're not going to say, instead of this,

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do this other thing instead. This is explicitly a critique. And no, we're not being lazy. And no,

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we're not being shifty. It is entirely permissible to look at a thing as it is and say, okay,

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here's an existing functioning system. Here's what these people do. Here's how it all works.

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That's here's what we've all bought into. Is it achieving the goals it was intended to achieve?

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Is it achieving harmful things? Is it hurting people? That is entirely not only permissible,

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but it's necessary. And it's something that should have been going on for hundreds of years.

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And pretty much just kind of went by the wayside. So today, when a man speaks out against capitalism,

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of course, you're going to think he's a commie. Of course, he's some radical leftist,

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because they will criticize it. Critique itself is something that Marx sort of formalized.

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We're not being Marxist here. In fact, capitalism itself as a category is,

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in a way, essentially Marxist. It's creating the same sort of dichotomy where assets are

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in capital or allocated to various classes. And the fundamental definition of capitalism,

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provided by, not necessarily von Mises himself, the definition is

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effectively the transfer of capital from the bourgeoisie to the proletariat. That was the

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gist of the big win that they are taking credit for. So that aspect is fundamentally Marxist on

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its face. This is an episode of Marxism. We're just going to talk about when we're doing the

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things that we all think are permissible, are we sinning? And so there's going to be some

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Bible study in here, but not a whole lot, because frankly, a lot of these things are a matter of

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wisdom. You don't need a proof text, and the Bible is not an economic treatise. There are various

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legitimate ways of going about one's economic activity that don't fall afoul of what God commands.

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There are, however, numerous things that fall afoul of what God commands that are normal today.

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And not only normal, but again, capitalism as a moral framework necessitates the pursuit of

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profit, of the increase of competition and efficiency. And all of those things,

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in some cases, do have upsides. So we're not condemning those per se, but in every single case,

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the pursuit of those at the expense of neighbor will always be sin. So that's the overview of what

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we're going to tackle today. I'm just going to begin briefly by reading through a few parts

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of the definition from, and we're going to kind of discuss it. This will be a skeleton

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and jumping off point. The website begins, what is capitalism? The civilization of mankind

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can be traced to the establishment of property rights. With property rights, individuals could own

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land, capital and goods, and then trade or sell them to others. This economic activity is referred

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to as the market. This doesn't mean it necessarily takes place in a physical market. It simply means

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goods and services are voluntarily traded. For most of human history, property rights have been

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limited to those in power. For example, a king or lord had ultimate control over those who lived

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under their protection. If the king desired beets, farmers were to farm beets. If the lord needed

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horseshoes, blacksmiths forged horseshoes. Ordinary people had the ability to trade among

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themselves, but those in power could direct their production if they so desired or punish those who

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resisted. The emergence of capitalism changed this. When I said they're facially false arguments

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predicated in the definition of capitalism, this is what I'm talking about. To say that private

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property rights emerged as a function of the capitalist system flies in the face of all recorded

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human history. You can go back 3,750 years to the Code of Hammurabi, and there are numerous

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sections that deal specifically with private property rights for individuals. When you read

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through the Code of Hammurabi, I was reading it last night. It's interesting. I recommend reading it.

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We'll link in the show notes so you can just find it anywhere.

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When you look through it, there's a clear distinction in classes where there are different

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grades of men in civilization. Some are the lowest station, some are the highest station,

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and they have different rights accorded to them. Even at the very lowest station,

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anyone was accorded private property rights in the Code of Hammurabi. This is nearly 4,000 years

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ago. This is not that long after the flood. One of them reads, if anyone is committing a robbery

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and is caught, then he shall be put to death. Another says, if fire break out in a house and

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some who come to put it out, cast his eye upon the property of the owner of the house and take

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the property of the master of the house, he shall be thrown into the self-same fire. That's dealing

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not only with private property, but dealing with looters. Somebody tries to loot your house when

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it's on fire. You throw them in the fire. That is a protection of private property. Hammurabi

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didn't make this up. This is basically godly morality. We know this because 300 years later,

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about 3,450 years ago, roughly, give or take, Moses recorded the same thing from God's own hand.

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Well, God recorded unstoned tablets by his hand and handed them to Moses in the Ten Commandments.

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The entire second table of the Ten Commandments is about private property.

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Thou shalt not kill. Your life belongs to you above all other men. Obviously, it doesn't belong to you

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because, in a sense, because we're all bought with a price. In the slavery episode, we talked about

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that. Then you have your wife, you have your reputation, your goods, your chattels, everything

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that belongs to your real property. All of the different things that are listed in the second

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half of the Ten Commandments are explicitly private property, and they're not class-based.

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Everyone, every man, has accorded the same private property rights. Right off the bat,

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if we say capitalism is evil and you say, oh, you don't like private property,

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you've fallen for the trap that is found everywhere capitalism is defined. It's not just this one

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page. You can look at any of the various definitions in a dozen different places. They all

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predicate the creation of capitalism as that's the beginning of private property rights.

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It's completely falsehood. It's completely false. Right off the bat, one of the things that we do

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treasure, and we should, if you have something that's yours, that is your treasure, great or small.

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There are parables about this. If a man has a single calf or a lamb, it's a greater treasure to him

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than a king who has 10,000 cattle on the hills because the king has more than he could ever need.

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The man who has only one thing, that's everything he has. That's a greater treasure to him,

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and it's his private property. It's his possessive, the genitive. That has spiritual significance

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because these are blessings from God that are distributed by God to us unequally.

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All men are unequal. All men receive unequal gifts and abilities and talents and material.

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That's part of God's plan. The fact that there are class systems and the different men have

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different stations and different degrees of wealth doesn't reduce the value of the poorest man

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for that which has been given to him as a gift and for him as a steward. Please don't think the

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capitalism is synonymous with private property because it pre-exists, which means it exists

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without capitalism. Capitalism could have never existed. None of the promises that you hold dear

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as a capitalist are necessary for private property to exist. I think that's a crucial

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place to begin because a lot of what's downstream is predicated on just this sort of nonsense.

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And just reading through that first part of this definition from Mises, you would almost be tempted

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to try and give them the benefit of the doubt and say they're speaking about real property,

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but then they go ahead and list land, capital, and goods. And so they're speaking both about

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real property and chattel or personal property. And for those who aren't familiar with the terms,

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that's just the distinction. Real property essentially is land. There's a little more in

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the definition, but it's essentially land and personal property and chattel property are interchangeable.

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That would be all of the things you own that are not land. And so capitalism really can't claim

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either of those, but they really would have had a stronger argument if they tried to just base it

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on real property, because the emergence of more widespread ownership of real property and the

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recognition of those rights, historically, to some degree, coincides with the rise of capitalism,

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but it's not causally related to it. And of course, even historically, you had men who owned property,

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but you did have in feudal systems and others like that, it was larger ownership of property that was

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then through various contracts and such relationships delegated to others. I don't think we need to get

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into how those worked, even though they are related to how capitalism arose. And really,

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it arose as a function of usury, which we'll definitely get into in this episode,

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because you cannot really speak of capitalism without speaking of usury.

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There's one specific thing that I want to refer to on feudalism and serfdom, because

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it is true that capitalism was seen as sort of flipping the tables on those things.

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When you look at the feudal systems at Barons and Lords of the Manor and the contractual duties

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of serfs, the duties were tied to land. And so if a man was a serf, if he was either a freeman who

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made himself a serf to pay off a debt or something, he became tied to the land in such a way that it

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was transferable to his children. So when you're a serf, your kids are going to be serfs tied to the

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property. So the baron didn't own you per se, but he owned the land to which you were tied

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contractually. So he could sell the land and you effectively went with it. So if your baron sold

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the land that you lived on, that you had your small plot on, you worked on for him, to someone else,

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you would then answer them. That'd be your new boss, same as the old boss. And we think, oh,

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wow, that's slavery. Road to Serfdom is another famous book that came out of the Austrian school.

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The interesting thing about that is we still have effectively the same thing today. I was born in

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Northeast Ohio, in Ashtabula County, in a town that my family built 200 years prior.

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When I was born, I automatically became a citizen of Ohio. I had to obey the laws of Ohio. I had to

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pay taxes in Ohio. Everything, not because I agreed to any contract. I didn't sign anything. I was

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born. And because my father lived there, and I was born there, I inherited all the same legal

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obligations that he did. Now, the primary difference between a Serf and an Ohioan, well,

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there are several, but I'm not sure how many of the Ohioans actually win. The primary difference is

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that a Serf wasn't just free to leave. He was bound to the land, where someone in Ohio is free to

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leave, and many of us have. Other than that, it's kind of the same thing. You can absolutely inherit

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something that's tied to the land. As a citizenship works out, nationality, you know, small end works.

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When you are born in a place, you become a citizen of that place if it's your own people.

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And so, even though the idea of Serfdom and being tied to land sounds alien to us,

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we all have the same system today. Now, there are variations, but I own my house free and clear.

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I have no mortgage or anything. I still have a very large property tax bill every year. If I don't

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pay that, the state takes my property, my house, everything, and sells it to pay off that debt.

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And then someone else has it, and the other person will pay the property tax instead. And the state

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doesn't care who lives here as long as that tax gets paid. That's another aspect of Serfdom.

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There's a parcel with a duty on it. It's got to be paid annually. These systems are thousands of

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years old. And so, the formal structures around them change, but the principles don't. You don't

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pay your property tax, you lose your house. If you don't pay your baron when you're a Serf,

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you're going to get thrown in prison or you're going to face worse punishment. Same deal.

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Even in our system today, the penalty is always death. If I were to refuse to pay my taxes,

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and when the county said, you got to do this, the town in this case, said you got to pay your

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tax is like, no way, I'm not paying anything. Eventually, they're going to send the cops.

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And if a confrontation continues to escalate, someone's going to be hurt or killed because

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they're not going to take no for an answer. Because one of the properties of a state,

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something that the libertarians do get correct, is that the state is in essence, in one form,

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the monopoly of violence for a particular geographic area. And my town and my state

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have a monopoly on violence here. I can't go around committing violence to enforce my will.

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They can't. And their will is passed by statute. And one of the wills that are expressed by

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statute are that I have to pay property taxes. So I have to take it or leave it of option of

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selling this property and maybe going somewhere where there's no property tax. But I'm still a

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type of Serf. It's not called by that today. But again, these ancient things that were told,

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capitalism said all that aside, nonsense. It's all still here. New boss, same as the old boss.

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All they did was change the flag. Most of the rest is the same.

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I think maybe I will go into very briefly the history of some of how these systems arose,

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just because they will give people a general understanding of how we got to some of the

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systems we see today and some of the interest charges and such. And so under the feudal system,

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actually, before I get to the feudal system, I want to point out just a quick historical fact.

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We're not going to go over extensively the history of the church's treatment of the

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charging of interest and usury because we went over that previously in another episode.

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But just to give an idea of how uniform the condemnation of the charging of interest was

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historically, it was condemned by, for instance, Aristotle, Chrysostom, and Augustine. So Pagan

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and Christian alike condemned it as inherently wicked, the charging of interest. And notably,

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usury historically means the charging of any interest. It doesn't mean excessive interest,

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it doesn't mean interest over a certain percentage. It means money making a return,

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because money was held historically to be infertile, to be unproductive,

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and so it should not see a return. And that's important for this history, this little tidbit

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about feudalism, because the church knew this, and all the Christians knew this, the Christian

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rulers knew this, but they wanted to get around it. And so one of the ways they got around it

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was they set up a legal fiction, this is essentially pillpull is what we're getting into,

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but they set up a legal fiction whereby the owner of property could lease the property

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through a contract to another individual, and then that individual would pay a fixed sum back

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to the owner of the property, and you would effectively wind up with a charging of interest

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on the sale of that property, but in such a way constructed, contractually and legally in such

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a way that the church said, the Roman church said that no, that's not interest, that's fine,

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that's not usury. And so that is the beginning of where we see the charging of interest entering

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into the economic system. And we see this throughout Europe under the Roman Catholic Church.

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This is one of the things that was condemned by the conservative wing of the Reformation.

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Luther condemned this. Luther has a very good treatise on usury and just on the economy,

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trade generally. If I can find a free English version of that, that is a decent translation,

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I will put that in show notes. Again, unfortunately, the American edition is copyright encumbered.

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But that basically is the outline of where we have

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some of the modern problems we see today entering into the system in the 1500s. And this really is

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proto-capitalism is what we see. We see the rise of capitalism, the beginnings of capitalism in

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this era. And notably, those who critique capitalism in this era, the 1500s, 1600s,

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perhaps a little after that, they're not using the word capitalism. They describe the system,

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but what they call it is usury. And so for a while in Christian thought, capitalism and usury in

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certain writers, at least, are essentially interchangeable because the entire system is built

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on usury. And we see that today, obviously. Look at our system now. Everything is built on debt,

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on debt slavery. Quite frankly, it is interest slavery, it is usury, which is impermissible

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for the Christian. We went over that in the previous episode, we went over the verses,

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the parts of scripture that very clearly condemn the charging of interest. And yet that is what

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this system is built on. And so if a system is built on something that is per se sin,

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Christians cannot support that system. And that is the fundamental problem that we see

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with capitalism. But as a related point, I would want to highlight,

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neither woe nor I has a real economic ideology. I believe that is fair to say at this point,

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since you've rejected the the Mises stuff. And the reason for that is very simple.

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Economics is a tool. The market is a tool. As I've said before and elsewhere, I don't have

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an ideology of hammers, because a hammer is a tool. I don't need an ideology with regard to tools.

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Yes, you use good tools, because that typically winds up with a better outcome,

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but you don't have an ideology attached to the tool. You don't have,

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you don't look at the tool and say you must use this tool. You use the tool that is appropriate

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for the task at hand. And the problem we see when it comes to economics,

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is that certain economic ideas and certain economic systems are raised to the level,

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not of a tool, but of an idol. And so it becomes something where you have to say

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capitalism is right and you have to pursue this because it is capitalist. And that just

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doesn't make any sense, because you have to look at the point of the economy. What is the goal of

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an economy? And obviously it has a number of goals, but not least of them is serving your neighbor

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and serving all of your neighbors as best you can. Capitalism doesn't do that. And so you have to

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look at the economic system and look at what the goals are and figure out what is permissible for

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Christians to do and how best to pursue that. And capitalism does not do that, because it

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becomes this idol that you have to, you have to worship essentially, because you have to say

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capitalism is good because it is opposed to X, Y, and Z. And so I have to do A, B, and C,

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because capitalism tells me I have to do that. And that just doesn't make any sense,

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because again, economics, the market, all of these related things are tools and they should

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be used and treated as tools. There's a great clip from a Tucker Carlson interview with someone

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else that I wasn't able to find the exact quote, but the gist of it was someone was asking him

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about economics. And he said, in effect, I don't see capitalism as some sort of religious thing.

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If your economic system means that my child cannot grow up and have a family,

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I will burn your system to the ground. I believe he used those exact words. I was having trouble

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finding, maybe if I find the clip, we'll put it in the show notes, but that's pretty much

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what Corey just said. Tucker and Corey and I don't agree on many things, but we agree on others.

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And Tucker came to that conclusion as a moral conclusion. He's mentioned that he's been reading

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the Bible a lot more recently as an Episcopalian for the first time in his life. He was astonished

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after he got fired by Foxy, started reading the Bible and realized there was some great

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stuff in there and it blew him away. And so he came to that moral conclusion. That was his

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instinct to begin with, but the principle is absolutely right. I don't care about your so-called

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system. If you're going to harm my family, then that makes you an enemy. And if you want to say

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that the enemy's name is capitalism, game on. That's a moral position and it's an entirely

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illicit one. And it's one that frankly, we should all be able to at least evaluate. Even if you

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disagree with us, you should be able to separate the principles of the thing from its outcomes

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to say, well, as Corey just said, if it's doing harm, it cannot be permitted. And I don't care

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what excuses you have for it. I mentioned earlier that Mises adopted praxeology and

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fleshed it out and the idea of formalizing human action to explain why people make economic

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calculations. And that is part of this. It is valuable that we all make economic calculations

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all the time. A price is a signal. It's a signal to the customer. It's a signal to the market.

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It's a signal to competitors. And these sorts of signals exist in everything. When you

27:31.780 --> 27:36.660
spend your time on something, that is a signal. We've said before, when we first started Stone

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Choir, we were shooting for about an hour per episode. I think the first one we did was like

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75 minutes. And then the second one was 90 minutes and we were kind of shy about that.

27:45.380 --> 27:49.540
And then almost immediately we did one that was two hours long. And we called it a double episode

27:49.540 --> 27:54.100
to like, oh, this is way too long. No one's ever going to spend two hours listening to a podcast.

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And it turned out that wasn't true because we have a lot of dense content. There's good content

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here, which a lot of people agree with. We're thankful for that's our goal. We don't want a

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lot of fluff and repetitiveness. So it turned out that people are willing to allocate two hours,

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maybe more in some cases, to one podcast from just two random guys. That is you voting with your

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time, which in some ways is even more valuable than your money. Money is fungible. Money is

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replaceable. You will never get the two hours that you spend listening to us back to do anything

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else. So when you spend it, you are voting with your ears. You're voting with with the sands of

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time that are that are fading away. They come and go and you can't get them back. And so to spend them

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is it is an expression of a personal preference to say, this is valuable to me. I would rather

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spend two hours listening to these guys talk about this than you know, whatever else, you know,

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nice and loud podcast. You know, one of the reasons we don't want to do video or anything more

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demanding is that you can put on a podcast and you can wash dishes or mow the yard or

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play video games or, you know, there are a thousand things you can do and still listen.

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And in some ways you can listen even better than if you were looking at our faces. You know,

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I'm not bad looking. I wouldn't mind being on video, but there's no point. I find it stupid to look at

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people to listen to them personally. It's just, I think it's dumb. I want to listen to the words

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that you're saying that maybe your face gets in the way, maybe make weird expressions or

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the goofy eyebrows or something and it's a distraction. So when you spend two hours just

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listening, you're saying this is of good use of my time. When you spend your dollars, your hard-earned

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dollars on anything, you're voting with them and saying of all the things that I could purchase

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with the time that I spent to earn this money, I choose to spend it on this. And

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essential in the capitalist system is the claim that that is unique to capitalism.

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When you look at the history of money, it goes back to the beginning. Every civilization we've

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ever found not only has coinage, you know, the Bible is filled with different kinds of coins,

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you know, denari, shekels, all these different weights of gold and silver were specific coins

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that were used to pay certain debts. So, you know, when a man was paid his day's wages,

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he couldn't go home and eat the denarius. He had to trade it for food. That's an economic system

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that is a monetary system. It's free trade. You know, even if there was a king or a pharaoh or

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something else, he still decided what he was going to eat that day and he spent his day's wages on it.

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So, again, these claims that capitalism has sold to everybody, you think, oh, man, you know, before

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the advent of basically the Enlightenment, everybody was a serf. And that's kind of where the

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handoff fundamentally gets anchored. You know, it's not clean, as Corey is saying. Like, there's

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historical evolution that moved from the feudal system, which was the most recent version of

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something before full-blown capitalism until we got to what we effectively have today. But all

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these things like prices and commerce and markets and individual trade for objects of value,

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it's been around forever. And another thing I want to read, Max, some more from the Mises

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definition of capitalism. They claim, you know, tasselier, but it's clearly implicit.

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Specialization of labor is intrinsic to capitalism. So what is capitalism goes on?

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Capitalism is mass production of goods to satisfy the needs of the greatest number of people.

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Capitalism was revolutionary by recognizing property rights for all, regardless of background

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and social standing. Under capitalism, even the most vulnerable in society had an absolute

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claim to their own labor and property. This did not guarantee equality of property,

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but capitalism eliminated any right by anyone else to infringe upon it. So there are two things

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going on there. One, when they talk about mass production, that is implicitly talking about

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specialization of labor, meaning that no man, you know, on the frontier in the New World,

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a man had to be able to build his house, you know, chop down trees, butcher deer, kill deer,

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plant crops, you know, his wife had to be able to clean all that stuff to be able to prepare it for

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him. She had to be able to make clothes. Like out on the frontier, you had whatever little amount

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you could carry with you, and you had to make the rest when you got there. That's the opposite

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of specialization of labor. That is subsistence level of living where you basically have to be

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a full-fledged generalist and everything to the point that you can do anything that needs done

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because there's no one else around to help you. It's also in economics. It's popularly used in

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the Desert Island example of economic theory, where you'd be in Desert Island where there are

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just two people there, you know, there's no money, there's no anything, and they have to,

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they need food, they need shelter. How do they decide how to do things? And so

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when specialization of labor comes along into, you know, a population group, what that means is

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that one guy can focus on being a farmer. He can get better at farming than he is at felling trees

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or building cabins because someone else can build his cabin for him or at least do, you know,

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help him out. So the hard stuff that someone else is more efficient at, he doesn't have to worry

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about because he's more efficient at growing food. And therefore, his specialization creates

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a surplus of food where he's producing more food than he needs for himself. He can sell some of it,

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and then he can exchange for other goods. And that specialization of labor builds up and builds up

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until you get to today, where most people can't, they can do a couple things, you know, maybe

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kind of okay. And everything else, they're just at a loss. Like you have to buy it from Amazon and

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go to the store. If not for that, and you can't call somebody to help when something breaks,

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you have no idea what to do. That's where most people are today. And so work at the terminal

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end of something that capitalism takes credit for. And to some extent, you know, I don't know

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whether or not to completely hang the state of man's incompetence today, including my own,

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like there are tons of things I should know how to do that I can't. I don't know how much

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of I can hang on capitalism, but you can absolutely state certainly that specialization of labor

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is as old as mankind itself. We see in the beginning of Genesis, when it describes Cain's

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children, as it goes down the list before we get up to the men who lived at the same time as Methuselah

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and Lamech and Noah. It says, Adab or Jabal, he was the father of those who dwell in tents and

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have livestock. His brother's name was Jubal. He was the father of all who play the lyre and pipe.

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Zilla also bore Tubal Cain. He was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. And even Cain

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and Abel themselves were farmer and a shepherd. So this specialization of labor is literally as

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old as mankind itself. And intentionally also in that passage on Cain's genealogy, prior to the

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flood, you have instruments of bronze and iron. Something emerged in the 19th century, the tripartate

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system of distinguishing epochs of man as the stone age, the bronze age, and the iron age.

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And this is used by anthropologists as they're digging stuff up to help determine

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how old is something. Because even if you don't know anything about what you're looking at apart

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from where it is in the world, you can tell by what materials it's made from the degree of

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technological advancement that the people have. So I find it very interesting that bronze and iron

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are both mentioned because one of the things that's completely absent from a lot of the modern

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economic discussion as it goes back to the really ancient historical stuff is it completely ignores

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the Bible. Almost all the stuff is really predicated on evolutionary thought, relayed to man,

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where we were hunter-gatherers and then started settling and consolidating in cities,

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and that's the theory. It's false. Cain left and went to another city. He built a city, his

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children built a city. There were cities from the very beginning where they big? No, there weren't

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that many people. They got bigger and bigger. So you have cities, you have bronze, you have iron,

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all before the flood, and that flies in the face of many of the modern timelines for

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how we're told that human civilization advanced. When you look at the Bible, if you just believe

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it as a historical record, it's the oldest, most reliable historical record we have of anything

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because it was written by an infallible author. So when God says bronze and iron, and it's what

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those words actually mean, you know the theories that relate to stone and bronze and iron age

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being these distinct things that happened over much longer periods of time,

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cannot be true. If already prior to the flood, those things were occurring. So there's a lot

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that's missing just from the historical economic discussion of these things because people don't

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believe the Bible. Again, it's not that the Bible's economic treatise, but it's a historical record.

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If this was happening over 4,500 years ago, we can count on it. And so that specialization of

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labor is intrinsic to the definition of capitalism. And again, the second part of that definition,

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talking about revolutionary property rights, again, it was preserved in the Code of Hammurabi.

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It was preserved in the Ten Commandments. And other nations had similar laws. The fact that

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these codifications exist today because they're physical records that were preserved doesn't

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make them unique. It just makes them beneficial to show how old these ideas are.

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On the note of the history of coinage, I will put a link in the show notes to the Berlin State

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Museum, which has one of the most impressive coin collections in the world. And conveniently,

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they have digitized over 35,000 coins, and those can be freely browsed on their website. So

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trying to claim that capitalism is anyway connected with the rise in the use of money is

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absolutely ludicrous given the ages of some of these coins.

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I want to expand a little bit, just very briefly, on something I said previously,

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because I know that we do have Roman Catholic listeners, and I'm not being uncharitable

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to Rome when I mentioned that Rome permitted this to happen, and in some ways oversaw it,

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because Rome had a very big interest in this rise in the charging of interest

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for a specific reason. Rome was the biggest landowner of the time,

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and so they wanted to be able to profit from this system.

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One of the individuals who actually wrote on this subject at the time was none other than

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Johann Eck, yes the very same one, who was sent by Rome to oppose Luther. In 1514 he wrote a

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treatise arguing that charging interest was morally permissible, so long as it did not exceed 5%.

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Luther in part responded to that treatise, but in general was just writing on the matter more

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generally because it was happening at the time. He responded with the traditional opposition

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to the charging of interest. Yes, in some places you will find in Luther where he attempts to argue

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for capping interest at 5%, but the reason that he did that, you have to know the historical context.

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Certain loans at the time and the loans to which he was responding charged as much as 50% interest,

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and so he was attempting to mitigate the evil when he was saying that. If you read all of his

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writings generally, no, he held the traditional position that interest was inherently wicked and

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should be banned. That's what he wanted to see in society. On the point of the specialization

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of labor, I would actually say that it is fair to say that capitalism, as it has evolved,

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has resulted in men being less competent generally. Because historically,

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most men would have been producing, yes they would have been specialized to a certain degree,

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but they would have been producing some concrete, some tangible good, and if you put your mind to it

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and you put in the effort, you will get better at that over time. If you produce shoes for 40 years,

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you're going to be a pretty good cobbler at the end of 40 years. Today we don't have that,

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because capitalism, and this is why you end up with the lack of competence,

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capitalism pushes for profit and so-called efficiency, and if you push for those, what you

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end up with is cost cutting in as many places as possible, which typically means outsourcing

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in cheaper materials, and so you wind up with a product that is inferior to what would have been

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produced in an earlier economic system. The only benefit is that it's cheaper, but that's not

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actually a benefit, and the reason that it is not a benefit is because cheap products are not

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cheap. Cheap products are in fact extremely expensive, and that's not just in terms of resources

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consumed, including physical resources and time, it's expensive in terms of pollution and the

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environment, but additionally, and this is a core point of importance, it's not even cheaper

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in and of itself, because a cheaper good wears out faster, and so for instance, a great example

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of this, if you buy a cheap pair of shoes and you are someone who wears out your shoes, so someone

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who works at a physical job, you are going to need to buy new shoes practically every year,

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perhaps even more often with how low the quality is these days, whereas if you buy a good pair of

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shoes and they all used to be good, that's the problem here, capitalism has created that category

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of cheap, worthless shoes, if you bought a good pair of shoes, you could keep them for the rest

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of your life, yes you would have to actually treat them and repair them and occasionally resold them,

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but overall, they would actually cost you less money, so capitalism doesn't even

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achieve the goals that it says it does, it actually does the exact opposite, and so you wind up driving

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out the specialized artisans, you wind up driving out the competent men, because most people don't

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think through the consequences of buying the cheap item, and so they buy the cheap item,

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which means the artisan who produces the more expensive item that actually isn't more expensive

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if you run the total cost of ownership calculation, he's driven out of the market,

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and so what you wind up with is the sort of system we have today, where it is an ocean

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of cheap, virtually worthless products, and then at the far other end, extremely expensive goods

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that are still made in a traditional way, and so these things that cost these exorbitant sums of

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money today, well that's just the quality that your great great grandfather would have been able

43:48.020 --> 43:53.220
to buy at the shop down the street, and he didn't have to spend that much money on it,

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that's the consequence in concrete terms for many goods of the capitalist system,

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you wind up with lower quality, and over the lifetime of your purchasing of that category

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of goods, it costs you more, well why is that a system, why is that a thing, it doesn't make any

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sense, except it does, and the reason it makes sense is because capitalism benefits those who have

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the capital, now I know some are going to say well that sounds like a Marxist critique,

44:26.420 --> 44:33.380
Marx was not 100% wrong, this is a vitally important point that I am going to make here,

44:34.980 --> 44:41.140
some of the things that Marx said were correct, that's not the important point, the important point

44:41.140 --> 44:48.980
is, some of the things Satan says are correct, when Satan tempted Christ, at least attempted

44:48.980 --> 44:55.380
to tempt Christ, he quoted scripture, in so far as he was quoting scripture he was speaking the

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truth, was he using it in a manipulative fashion of course, was he misrepresenting it of course,

45:03.060 --> 45:09.540
but that doesn't change the fact that the core matter, the words themselves were true,

45:10.260 --> 45:17.700
it is possible for evil men to speak the truth, in fact evil men often do speak some truth,

45:18.340 --> 45:26.100
if you are a liar, if you are attempting to manipulate people, and you always lie, you always

45:27.220 --> 45:32.580
tell lies, you never tell the truth, you will not get anywhere, because no one will ever believe you,

45:34.660 --> 45:40.260
the best example of this one with which we are all unfortunately familiar these days

45:40.260 --> 45:46.580
is the politician, we all know politicians are liars, everyone knows that, no one doubts that,

45:47.700 --> 45:53.460
but they don't always lie, because if they always lied, if they only lied, no one would

45:53.460 --> 46:00.020
ever support any of them in any way, no they have to tell the truth, they have to say certain things

46:00.020 --> 46:07.460
to get into that position, the same thing is true of these systems, the same thing is true of

46:07.460 --> 46:13.700
capitalism, certain things that it says are correct are true, but look at the consequences,

46:13.700 --> 46:22.180
look at the outcome, look at what eventuates from the system, and so when you look at capitalism,

46:22.180 --> 46:27.220
because we today have the benefit of being able to look at it from a distance of centuries,

46:27.220 --> 46:34.740
this began hundreds of years ago and has been developing since, we can conclusively say it

46:34.740 --> 46:41.620
has not delivered on its promises, it claimed certain things, it said we'll get efficiency,

46:41.620 --> 46:49.300
well we got efficiency, but at what cost? We supposedly got innovation, but you can't prove

46:49.300 --> 46:53.540
the counterfactual and say that well capitalism caused the innovation, no because we see innovation

46:53.540 --> 46:59.540
in other economic systems as well, you don't see zero innovation in even communist China,

46:59.540 --> 47:03.540
you see significantly less than in the west, but that's for ancillary reasons,

47:04.100 --> 47:12.100
and so the claims of this economic system have not come true in time, and we can take that into

47:12.100 --> 47:18.660
account because we have the advantage of hindsight, not that you can't look at men like Luther and

47:18.660 --> 47:24.340
others in the history of the church who very clearly saw where this was going, they saw exactly what

47:24.340 --> 47:30.580
was going to happen, if you read their treatises, their critiques of the system as it was arising

47:30.580 --> 47:37.940
in their day, they look prophetic, I'll just read here a very short quote from Luther,

47:40.100 --> 47:45.860
daily the poor are defrauded, new burdens and high prices are imposed, everyone misuses the

47:45.860 --> 47:50.900
market in his own willful, conceited, arrogant way, as if it were his right and privilege to

47:50.900 --> 47:57.140
sell his goods as dearly as he pleases, without a word of criticism, I'll actually read one more

47:57.140 --> 48:01.860
quick quote just from the large catechism so this is in the confessional documents of Lutherans,

48:02.980 --> 48:07.540
no more shall all the rest prosper who change the open free market into a carrying pit of

48:07.540 --> 48:13.780
extortion and a den of robbery, where the poor are daily overcharged, new burdens and high prices

48:13.780 --> 48:20.020
are imposed, and everyone uses the market according to his caprice, and is even defiant and brags as

48:20.020 --> 48:24.420
though it were his fair privilege and right to sell his goods for as high a price as he please,

48:24.900 --> 48:30.740
and no one had a right to say a word against it, now certainly that echoes his earlier comment,

48:30.740 --> 48:34.340
these are from two different writings from Luther, but that's in the large catechism,

48:35.620 --> 48:41.700
that's hundreds of years ago, that's 500 years ago, it's the same thing we see happening today,

48:41.700 --> 48:46.820
because the system that was emerging in his day has reached a sort of maturity in ours,

48:47.380 --> 48:53.140
now of course it will proceed from its current mature state into let's say its final form as it

48:53.140 --> 49:00.980
were, but you can't support this sort of system as a Christian when you look at the consequences

49:00.980 --> 49:08.420
of the system for your neighbor, it goes against that fundamental rule, the fundamental command

49:08.420 --> 49:13.380
of Christ to love your neighbor as yourself, because that's not what capitalism says to do,

49:14.420 --> 49:19.620
capitalism says to charge your neighbor the highest price you can extract from him,

49:19.620 --> 49:27.060
and if you don't do that you're a bad capitalist, that is the opposite practically

49:27.060 --> 49:32.660
of what Christianity says, the scriptures tell you to lend without expecting a return,

49:32.660 --> 49:37.860
not even not to expect interest, not to expect the principal back, and you certainly aren't

49:37.860 --> 49:42.980
supposed to charge your neighbor the highest price you can, you are supposed to sell your goods for

49:42.980 --> 49:49.700
a fair price, and a fair price essentially is the effort and the cost that went into the good,

49:50.580 --> 49:56.100
not what the market will bear, not what your neighbor is able to pay, what is fair,

49:56.820 --> 50:03.060
that is the Christian standard, and it's simply not something that capitalism accepts,

50:03.060 --> 50:06.420
in fact it is something that capitalism explicitly rejects.

50:06.900 --> 50:15.140
It's worth paying attention to how scripture speaks of these economic crimes in Ezekiel 18

50:15.140 --> 50:21.140
and the application of the Levitical Law from 25 and elsewhere. Ezekiel writes,

50:21.140 --> 50:26.900
If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things, though he

50:26.900 --> 50:31.780
himself did none of these things, who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor's wife,

50:32.740 --> 50:38.900
opposes the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the

50:38.900 --> 50:45.780
idols, commits abomination, lends it interest and takes profit, shall he then live? He shall not

50:45.780 --> 50:52.260
live, he has done all these abominations, he shall surely die, his blood shall be upon himself.

50:53.780 --> 51:00.900
So in the same breath that God describes fornicating with your neighbor's wife and committing

51:01.460 --> 51:07.220
robbery and idolatry and other abominations included among those are lending an interest

51:07.220 --> 51:16.900
and taking profit and the sentence is death. That was God's law. Now it is not necessary to agree

51:17.780 --> 51:24.980
that the Levitical Law punishments must be enforced today. It is, however, necessary to agree

51:25.540 --> 51:28.900
that the Levitical Law, when it's calling these things abominations,

51:29.460 --> 51:34.340
is specifically speaking about moral matters. To lend an interest and take profit is a moral

51:34.340 --> 51:38.340
matter and the sentence God provided to his people was death.

51:40.820 --> 51:45.140
Just finishing up with the Mises definition of capitalism because it goes with what Cory was

51:45.140 --> 51:50.740
saying. Capitalism empowered consumers rather than those empowered to influence what was produced

51:50.740 --> 51:56.100
in the economy. This happens via the profit mechanism. If enough people had demand a good

51:56.100 --> 52:00.500
and it can be sold for more than it costs to produce, then that means the production of that

52:00.500 --> 52:05.220
good is profitable. Some of the richest people in the world today have made their money not from

52:05.220 --> 52:10.820
appealing to the rich but by appealing to the masses. Walmart's business model, for example,

52:10.820 --> 52:14.500
is geared towards selling goods cheaply to as many people as possible.

52:15.540 --> 52:19.620
Now isn't that an interesting contrast to what Cory was just reading from the large catechism

52:19.700 --> 52:26.340
and elsewhere in Luther? When the pinnacle of capitalist accomplishment is Walmart,

52:26.340 --> 52:32.420
which they specifically highlight, they took from the poor. They took the poorest people

52:32.420 --> 52:38.020
in the world and extracted so much money that there's an entire family of billionaires now.

52:38.660 --> 52:44.260
Not just a billionaire, but half a dozen billionaires. There is so much surplus to go around

52:44.900 --> 52:51.300
just from their portion of the profits on top of what the corporation took

52:51.300 --> 52:56.980
from all the poorest people in our country. How did Walmart do it? By destroying communities,

52:56.980 --> 53:03.140
by destroying producers, by destroying local shops. Before we record it, I looked up because I

53:03.140 --> 53:08.980
just had no idea. I wondered what a pair of jeans costs on Walmart. You can buy a pair of jeans on

53:08.980 --> 53:16.180 for 13 bucks. The libertarian capitalist argument for that is, well, that's

53:16.180 --> 53:24.260
wonderful. If someone only has $13, he can buy a pair of jeans. By itself, that's true. However,

53:24.260 --> 53:29.060
as Cory just said, you're buying a $13 piece of garbage. It's going to have a junk zipper.

53:29.060 --> 53:33.860
It's going to have junk buttons. The seams are going to be poorly done. It's going to be thin,

53:33.940 --> 53:39.940
flimsy material. It's going to wear out. If you buy a $13 pair of jeans, you're probably going to

53:39.940 --> 53:44.820
be buying several a year. Certainly, if you're using jeans the way jeans are intended to be used,

53:44.820 --> 53:51.300
it's not going to last long. If you had had the money to buy $120 pair of jeans that was made

53:51.300 --> 53:57.780
the way jeans used to be made in this country instead of in a sweatshop owned by the Chinese

53:57.780 --> 54:04.660
government 6,000 miles away, in that case, your jeans would last for many years and they would

54:04.660 --> 54:12.180
be easily repairable and be worth repairing. You would not be worse off in the end. Spending

54:12.180 --> 54:17.700
more money and putting it in your neighbor's pocket would have made you richer in the long term.

54:17.700 --> 54:23.220
You as a consumer, there's nothing in the world more expensive than being poor.

54:24.180 --> 54:28.980
If you have enough money that you can shop at one of the regular grocery stores, you have a nice

54:28.980 --> 54:34.500
selection of food. Really poor people tend to do a lot of their shopping today at dollar stores.

54:35.220 --> 54:40.420
It's one of the fastest growing segments in the entire consumer economy in the United States,

54:40.420 --> 54:46.500
the dollar store, where everything is junk. Everything is substandard. Everything is small,

54:46.500 --> 54:52.500
but it's cheap. It's super, super cheap. The poorest people in the country are buying garbage

54:52.500 --> 54:58.500
with money they don't have and it's getting worn out. It's not worth what they're paying.

54:59.380 --> 55:03.940
It's far worse for them. If you want furniture, what do you do? A really poor person,

55:03.940 --> 55:07.780
certainly if they're economically ignorant, is probably going to rent. They're going to rent a

55:07.780 --> 55:12.660
couch. When you rent from one of those rent center places where usually you pay weekly,

55:13.700 --> 55:18.180
usually within the first six to eight weeks, you pay the entire cost of the thing and you're

55:18.180 --> 55:22.900
still going to be making payments for a year or two. That is the most exploitative,

55:23.460 --> 55:29.140
revolting, wicked thing imaginable and it's everywhere in this country. You cannot drive down

55:29.140 --> 55:35.060
a single street in one of the poorer parts of any town in this country and not find a place where

55:35.060 --> 55:42.100
this sort of abuse of the poor is taking place all the time. No one has any moral outrage at it.

55:42.100 --> 55:45.300
What do we do? We say, oh, well, at least poor people are going to afford a couch.

55:45.300 --> 55:51.380
Sure, it's going to cost them $1,500 for a $200 couch because they're poor and they're dumb

55:51.380 --> 55:57.380
and they don't realize what they're paying, but they can only afford $13 a week so they get a couch.

55:57.380 --> 56:05.380
That's winning with capitalism. That is evil by any Christian moral standard. That $13 pair of

56:05.380 --> 56:13.060
jeans put my uncle in North Carolina out of business. When I was born, half my family's from

56:13.060 --> 56:17.460
the South, pretty much all in North Carolina, he worked for Wrangler Jeans. He was, I believe,

56:17.460 --> 56:22.660
a plant manager at Wrangler back when they still had plants in North Carolina. Wranglers in the

56:22.660 --> 56:29.540
last 40 years were still made in this country. His job, most of his job, he started there,

56:29.540 --> 56:34.740
I think, on the line. He pretty quickly made it up the ranks because he was smart and hard-working.

56:34.740 --> 56:41.300
He was a tough guy. He ended up overseeing the transfer of Wrangler's operations overseas,

56:41.380 --> 56:45.220
so he had to go, I believe, down to Mexico, which is where most of the stuff is made today,

56:45.220 --> 56:51.060
because capitalism says it's not enough to make a good product. You must make it cheaper and cheaper

56:51.060 --> 56:59.700
and cheaper, which is really interesting when you look at inflation. Inflation is at least several

56:59.700 --> 57:04.500
percent every year. Some years, it's a lot more. Right now, it's probably running about 12 percent

57:04.500 --> 57:09.860
across the board and maybe more than that, which means that if you had a dollar a year ago, you

57:09.860 --> 57:14.100
have 88 cents left today in that same one dollar, that's much purchasing power you have left.

57:16.260 --> 57:24.180
The value of your money is getting lower and lower, but the cost of goods is also going down.

57:24.180 --> 57:29.540
On one hand, it's nice that you can still afford something when you have less purchasing power.

57:30.260 --> 57:36.660
On the other hand, what happened in my uncle's case and happened to all of manufacturing in the

57:36.660 --> 57:45.460
United States, it was too expensive to make jeans in North Carolina where they had a lot of jobs.

57:45.460 --> 57:49.300
They were a lot of good-paying jobs. I don't know if it was a union shop, probably not in the South.

57:49.300 --> 57:55.540
I don't know. Maybe it was, but either way, union or not, they were making enough money in that

57:55.540 --> 58:01.380
community that a lot of people, it's like the joke if you've seen today, the Simpsons, when that show

58:01.460 --> 58:08.500
first started, Homer was a poor relatively single family and their single income household with two

58:08.500 --> 58:16.020
kids, three kids because they had the infant. It was a nice suburban two-story home. More than

58:16.020 --> 58:22.180
pretty much anybody can afford today. The house in the Simpsons probably goes for $500,000 today.

58:22.180 --> 58:28.020
That was a lower middle income household when the Simpsons started in the late 80s, early 90s.

58:28.740 --> 58:33.380
That's how much things have changed. That's what happened with jeans and everything else in the

58:33.380 --> 58:39.620
economy. Making in this country too expensive. What comes next, you ship it to Mexico. Then

58:39.620 --> 58:45.780
what happens? Labor in Mexico got too expensive. Most companies moved it to China, and then China

58:45.780 --> 58:51.540
got too expensive, so they moved it to Vietnam. Vietnam labor got too expensive, so they moved to

58:51.540 --> 58:56.660
India and Bangladesh and all these other places that a lot of people have never even heard of

58:56.660 --> 59:02.500
where you have people living on subsistence wages to make garbage that gets shipped at

59:02.500 --> 59:09.380
tremendous expense with tremendous pollution 10,000 miles away around the world so that someone

59:09.380 --> 59:16.500
can buy a $13 pair of jeans at Walmart. That's probably marked up 30% still. The problem with

59:16.500 --> 59:22.660
the capitalist economic calculation that, look, a guy can buy a $13 pair of jeans is that if instead

59:22.660 --> 59:28.580
of the $13 pair of jeans, if the only jeans on the market were a $50 pair of jeans, the capitalist

59:28.580 --> 59:33.140
system, the capitalist morality says that would make the world worse because his purchasing power

59:33.140 --> 59:39.140
has been reduced threefold. Instead of being able to afford three pairs of jeans for $50,

59:39.140 --> 59:45.220
four pairs, you can only afford one. The thing that's missing from that sort of single variable

59:45.220 --> 59:51.780
calculus is that if the pair of jeans that was made in this country that was made well the way

59:51.780 --> 59:58.900
things always used to be, a pair of jeans that would last him 10, 15, 20 years, if he could spend

59:58.900 --> 01:00:06.660
$50 on that, yes, he would have less purchasing power in the moment, but he as a consumer would

01:00:06.660 --> 01:00:12.900
have jeans that were going to last him for a decade or more. That $50 is going into the pockets of

01:00:12.900 --> 01:00:18.420
his neighbors. It's going to go into the pockets of someone in this country. That's a key part of

01:00:18.500 --> 01:00:24.820
what's missing from this discussion in all the capitalist calculation is no consideration

01:00:24.820 --> 01:00:32.100
whatsoever for a neighbor. The only consideration is what is the lowest dollar amount I can spend

01:00:32.100 --> 01:00:38.900
on a thing. If that is your highest good, then your neighbor be damned. You don't care what happens

01:00:38.900 --> 01:00:44.420
to your neighbor because you're going to have more money in your pocket. That's a moral calculus.

01:00:44.820 --> 01:00:50.340
That is a moral decision. You're voting with your dollars to say, I don't care about my neighbor.

01:00:50.340 --> 01:00:55.300
I don't care that if I spent $50 on these jeans, my neighbor would solve a job and he would have

01:00:55.300 --> 01:01:00.580
pride because he would be able to feed his own family and not buy stuff at a dollar store that

01:01:00.580 --> 01:01:05.300
he knows isn't doing as much as he could if he could afford more. But the factory shut down,

01:01:05.300 --> 01:01:10.420
he can't find a good job anymore because all the jobs for guys who are just completely average,

01:01:10.420 --> 01:01:15.540
maybe a little below average, maybe a little above average, in poor neighborhoods and poor parts of

01:01:15.540 --> 01:01:21.220
the country, those jobs were all destroyed by capitalism. They were shipped overseas for one

01:01:21.220 --> 01:01:29.300
reason and one reason only. It was cheaper. I think that the profit worship, the profit idolatry

01:01:29.300 --> 01:01:37.300
in capitalism is central to this entire discussion. As I said last week now, I'm Doc, so I can talk

01:01:37.300 --> 01:01:42.100
more about what I did. I worked at Apple. I left in my 15th year at Apple. I worked in hardware and

01:01:42.100 --> 01:01:47.700
I worked in software. I always worked on the Mac and since I was five years old, I've always used

01:01:47.700 --> 01:01:52.660
Apple products. I like them a lot. I know them inside and out. I'm actually a domain expert on

01:01:52.660 --> 01:01:59.540
that stuff, which is why I never talked about it. Apple is one of the most profitable companies in

01:01:59.540 --> 01:02:06.100
the universe in the history of everything. Their profit for 2022 was their revenue, their gross

01:02:06.100 --> 01:02:16.500
revenue was $400 billion. Their gross margins for last quarter were about 45%. What that means is

01:02:16.500 --> 01:02:24.100
that for the cost of goods, for every $1,000 that you give Apple as a consumer, they will give you

01:02:24.100 --> 01:02:32.100
a product that costs them $550 to make in terms of manufacturing cost. Now, gross margin doesn't

01:02:32.100 --> 01:02:39.300
account for R&D or advertising or salaries or any of that other stuff. Their net margin, after

01:02:39.300 --> 01:02:45.140
all their business expenses are accounted for, is about 24%, 25%. I will say 25%, just keep the

01:02:45.140 --> 01:02:51.220
numbers rounded nicely. What that means is that for every $1,000 that you give Apple for some

01:02:51.220 --> 01:03:00.580
widget, their total all-in cost is $750. You're giving them $750 for a product and you're handing

01:03:00.580 --> 01:03:06.740
them an additional $250 just because they're Apple and it's the only way to get it. That's

01:03:06.740 --> 01:03:12.820
the profit. That's what profit means. It's above all costs. Now, it's interesting when you actually

01:03:12.820 --> 01:03:22.020
think about the net profit. Every supplier got paid. Every bill got paid. Every salary got paid.

01:03:22.020 --> 01:03:26.900
There's some very high salaries. I can tell you that personally. Guys who work there make a lot

01:03:26.980 --> 01:03:33.540
of money. All of that, 100% of all that compensation, all that reward for everyone involved in the

01:03:33.540 --> 01:03:40.340
production of Apple's products is encompassed in the $750 of the $1,000 that it costs for

01:03:40.340 --> 01:03:49.380
you to buy a product. The extra $250 is pure profit. Now, the thing to focus on when we're

01:03:49.380 --> 01:03:56.260
talking about profit is that, as Corey was saying earlier, when Luther was dealing with this stuff,

01:03:57.140 --> 01:04:02.020
people tried to pin him down and get him to put particular numbers on things. Say, well, what is

01:04:02.020 --> 01:04:07.220
the threshold beyond which something is sinful? That's not possible when we're dealing with these

01:04:07.220 --> 01:04:14.180
or matters of wisdom. Where that comes into profit is scaling back from Apple for a second. Let's

01:04:14.180 --> 01:04:19.620
take a very small example. Let's say that you decide that you want to start making dog biscuits

01:04:19.620 --> 01:04:25.380
in your kitchen and you want to sell them in a local convenience store. You're going to charge

01:04:25.380 --> 01:04:30.820
$2 per dog biscuit that covers what you can say to your labor to be worth. It covers all your

01:04:30.820 --> 01:04:36.020
material costs. All in, you can sell them for $2. Once you get those on store shelves,

01:04:36.740 --> 01:04:43.300
they start flying. The store owners can't keep them in stock. You do a week's worth of production.

01:04:43.300 --> 01:04:48.100
You take it to the store. They list them for $2 and they're gone within three days.

01:04:48.820 --> 01:04:54.740
The capitalist morality says, this is a price signal to me as a producer that I should raise

01:04:54.740 --> 01:05:00.900
my price because, on one hand, I could produce more. I could be making more of these things,

01:05:00.900 --> 01:05:07.700
but until such time as I do and to meet demand, I can profit off of the greater demand than I have

01:05:07.700 --> 01:05:14.100
supply by jacking up the price. There's the marginal utility calculation for maybe a dog

01:05:14.100 --> 01:05:19.140
biscuit is worth $2 to some people, but at $2.50 or $3, maybe half your customer is like, no,

01:05:19.140 --> 01:05:25.140
I'm not going to pay that anymore. But as long as there are enough customers to pay $2.50 or $3

01:05:25.140 --> 01:05:30.580
to continue to sell out, what do you care? You're getting that much more money from the same number

01:05:30.580 --> 01:05:34.340
of people that could possibly buy even though it's pricing some of the people out of the market.

01:05:35.060 --> 01:05:41.780
It effectively re-orients for the consumer who's going to get it, not who shows up first,

01:05:41.780 --> 01:05:46.580
but who is still willing to pay the higher price. Capitalism says, that's perfectly fine.

01:05:47.300 --> 01:05:53.140
When you look at the historic moral arguments in these matters, it goes to what Corey referred

01:05:53.140 --> 01:06:01.380
to earlier. If you can comfortably make the thing for $2 as a Christian, it is not permissible to

01:06:01.380 --> 01:06:07.300
sell it for $3. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Just because you are able to get away

01:06:07.300 --> 01:06:14.180
with it in the market does not make it morally permissible. Now, the reason that there's wiggle

01:06:14.180 --> 01:06:19.220
room here is that you just started in your kitchen, you were making them, it was just fun,

01:06:19.220 --> 01:06:23.460
you maybe had some extras left over from baking or whatever, and you didn't know how they were going

01:06:23.460 --> 01:06:30.340
to do. When they started going like gangbusters for $2, you realize that you're just getting by

01:06:30.340 --> 01:06:37.700
at $2, but you have ideas for scaling up, and maybe a bigger mixer or whatever, bigger oven,

01:06:39.060 --> 01:06:41.540
maybe eventually you could scale the point that you'd actually hire someone.

01:06:42.580 --> 01:06:49.140
In order to do that, you're going to need additional capital. The way to get that is either take a loan

01:06:49.140 --> 01:06:54.340
based on your revenue, that's the capitalist way to do it. Another possibility is to increase your

01:06:54.340 --> 01:07:01.700
price sum and save that money and use it towards increasing your production output so that maybe

01:07:01.700 --> 01:07:09.380
you charge $2.25 or $2.50, the additional $0.50 that you bank, you will spend on more production

01:07:09.380 --> 01:07:14.020
so that you can meet the additional demand. As you scale up what you're producing,

01:07:14.020 --> 01:07:19.060
you can get at the point that you can meet all the demand for all seven days with seven days

01:07:19.060 --> 01:07:22.820
worth of production. They maybe continue to scale up from there, you get into more stores.

01:07:23.780 --> 01:07:31.540
While it is okay for you to charge $2 for something, if you want to charge $2.25 or $2.50

01:07:31.540 --> 01:07:36.020
because you want to make it available to more people, I think there's a case can be made that's

01:07:36.020 --> 01:07:41.940
okay to charge $2.50, maybe for a while, because what's going to happen, some people will be priced

01:07:41.940 --> 01:07:48.420
out of the market at $2.50 versus $2, but when you scale your production, a lot more people will be

01:07:48.420 --> 01:07:54.500
able to buy your product, which they want, and once you get scaled up, you won't need that extra

01:07:54.500 --> 01:07:58.740
income. You could cut your price again. You could take it back down to $2. In fact, you might be

01:07:58.740 --> 01:08:05.140
able to cut it to maybe $180, $175, because with the increased economies of scale from your more

01:08:05.140 --> 01:08:10.820
advanced production process, it's not actually costing you as much per batch. If you're baking

01:08:10.820 --> 01:08:15.620
something, energy input is a lot of your cost. If you have a bigger oven, you can fit a lot more

01:08:15.620 --> 01:08:23.300
cookies in there. Suddenly, your energy cost per cookie, your biscuit comes way down. All these

01:08:23.300 --> 01:08:29.140
factors are an important part of the cost calculation as a producer. There's no point,

01:08:29.940 --> 01:08:34.180
no one is going to morally say you have to sell stuff at a loss. The question is,

01:08:35.700 --> 01:08:40.260
when you're taking profit, why are you doing it? If you're charging more than it's costing you,

01:08:40.260 --> 01:08:47.300
and obviously part of your net coming into you is going to be, what do I pay myself?

01:08:48.260 --> 01:08:51.860
Maybe there's wiggle room, or maybe you pay yourself a little bit more. You probably weren't

01:08:51.860 --> 01:08:57.860
paying nearly what the time was worth at the beginning. If you have room to pay yourself

01:08:57.860 --> 01:09:01.060
a little bit more, that's fine. There's no hard and fast number. You're like,

01:09:01.780 --> 01:09:08.180
you're baking dog biscuits. What's the value of that labor? There's a reasonable realm of discussion

01:09:08.180 --> 01:09:14.100
beyond which it's like, if you're raking in well into six figures as the cookie magnate

01:09:14.100 --> 01:09:19.780
in your kitchen, you're probably charging more than you should be. Back to the Apple example,

01:09:20.660 --> 01:09:24.740
one of the problems with Apple is that they make really, really, really good products,

01:09:25.380 --> 01:09:30.660
and they significantly overcharge for the upgrades, which is where a lot of that margin comes from.

01:09:31.540 --> 01:09:36.980
If you were to get one of the new M3 MacBook Pros or iMacs, they're really good machines.

01:09:37.460 --> 01:09:41.220
I don't own stock anymore. This isn't conflicted, but they're still good machines. It's what I tell

01:09:41.220 --> 01:09:47.860
people to buy. If you were to buy it, do not ever buy the base config, because to this day,

01:09:47.860 --> 01:09:53.620
Tim Cook, the bean counter, insists on making the minimum config eight gigabytes of RAM,

01:09:53.620 --> 01:09:58.660
which is obscene. It's way too low. It makes it a worse machine than it would be otherwise.

01:09:59.620 --> 01:10:08.340
That $250 a pure profit, I did the math earlier, my best guess is that the current

01:10:08.340 --> 01:10:14.820
base config of the MacBook Pro is eight gigs of RAM and half a terabyte of SSD storage.

01:10:17.060 --> 01:10:23.380
To increase that to one terabyte of storage and 16 gigabytes of RAM, which would be a legitimate

01:10:23.380 --> 01:10:28.580
base config, that would be a reasonable base config based on the general market, would cost

01:10:28.580 --> 01:10:36.020
Apple on that $1,600. My best guess is probably about an additional $75 per unit, which would

01:10:36.020 --> 01:10:41.700
take their margins on that machine overall, like just calculating the total margins on average,

01:10:41.700 --> 01:10:48.420
that 25% net margin that they're making, if all they sold were Macs, probably closer to 20%.

01:10:49.380 --> 01:10:53.940
So that's still, they're taking 20% more from you than it costs them. So when you give them a

01:10:53.940 --> 01:11:02.740
thousand instead of 750, the product is 800, and there's $200 a profit. What Apple is doing by

01:11:02.740 --> 01:11:09.940
gouging, by charging way more than they need, their profit comes from overcharging on the upgrades,

01:11:09.940 --> 01:11:15.220
and what they do, they have an unfathomable amount of money just sitting there. It's

01:11:16.180 --> 01:11:20.340
it's something that today in capitalism is pointed to as the greatest success story,

01:11:20.900 --> 01:11:25.620
really in the history of anything arguably, like every other company wants to try to emulate some

01:11:25.620 --> 01:11:30.580
aspect of Apple's success. There's no doubt they're successful. The question is,

01:11:32.180 --> 01:11:37.300
could they be doing better if they charged less? If they were a less profitable company,

01:11:37.300 --> 01:11:41.940
would they be better people for it? And one of the reasons I left was because it was always a

01:11:41.940 --> 01:11:47.620
leftist place, but it just became worse and worse and worse. And in the end, for that reason,

01:11:47.620 --> 01:11:52.020
other reasons, I just I couldn't stand being there. Didn't matter how much money they were paying me,

01:11:52.020 --> 01:11:58.500
I couldn't stand another second. When somebody is just taking as much as they possibly can,

01:11:58.500 --> 01:12:05.300
when they're extracting the maximum amount, that is per se immoral. It doesn't matter what the money,

01:12:05.300 --> 01:12:12.820
what the exact dollar amount is, they're taking as much as they can. And again, this is the difference

01:12:12.820 --> 01:12:18.020
between capitalist morality and Christian morality. A Christian cannot do that. A capitalist not only

01:12:18.020 --> 01:12:26.020
can, as Corey said, must. You must maximize profit. Now, there's debate around to what extent that's

01:12:27.060 --> 01:12:31.380
mandatory, but it's certainly the brass ring. It's what everybody wants to be as profitable as

01:12:31.460 --> 01:12:37.940
possible to pay as much to make as much. That's avarice. That's just it's pure greed to have more

01:12:37.940 --> 01:12:42.980
than you need. Because for the capitalist morality, there's no such thing as enough.

01:12:44.500 --> 01:12:52.020
On the topic of that 13 pair of jeans, not to make myself seem too old, but I have

01:12:52.740 --> 01:12:58.020
a handful of pairs of jeans from when I was in high school, that are just now starting to wear out.

01:12:58.020 --> 01:13:02.660
So they're older, in fact, and probably a fair number of members of our audience.

01:13:03.940 --> 01:13:08.660
There's no chance that jeans I bought today, at least for anywhere near that price, even

01:13:08.660 --> 01:13:14.660
accounting for inflation, would last anywhere near as long. And so even in our own lifetimes,

01:13:14.660 --> 01:13:21.620
we've seen this precipitous decline in quality due to the incentives built into the system that

01:13:21.700 --> 01:13:28.660
we call capitalism. And Walmart, quite frankly, they picked a good example because Walmart is

01:13:28.660 --> 01:13:36.100
one of the biggest exploiters of this system. They underpay their employees. Walmart basically

01:13:36.980 --> 01:13:42.100
hires those who are on welfare and keeps them on welfare because of what Walmart pays.

01:13:42.820 --> 01:13:49.780
And so in fact, the entire system is subsidizing Walmart. And so it's exactly what I pointed

01:13:49.860 --> 01:13:58.020
out about the system. The system is designed to siphon money from everyone and give it only

01:13:58.020 --> 01:14:03.860
to the wealthiest individuals in the system. This is not a Marxist critique. This is not

01:14:03.860 --> 01:14:11.780
class warfare. This is just what capitalism does. And we see this even in the beginnings

01:14:11.780 --> 01:14:17.380
of capitalism centuries ago. This is one of the things that was pointed out by the early

01:14:17.380 --> 01:14:22.260
critiques and the subsequent critiques and subsequent centuries of capitalism.

01:14:23.700 --> 01:14:31.140
It created this gulf between the poorest and the wealthiest in society that historically

01:14:31.140 --> 01:14:37.700
had not been there. The only exorbitantly, if you want to use the term wealthy individuals in

01:14:37.700 --> 01:14:44.180
society historically had been certain kings. And even then, not by today's standards,

01:14:45.140 --> 01:14:52.340
the extremely wealthy, the 1% of the 1% in our current system are wealthier than

01:14:52.340 --> 01:15:00.980
historical kings with very few exceptions. Think about that. The king of a nation historically,

01:15:02.340 --> 01:15:09.620
relative to the poorest individuals in his country, had less wealth than is the case today for the

01:15:09.620 --> 01:15:15.060
wealthiest individuals and the poorest individuals in our system. And supposedly,

01:15:15.060 --> 01:15:18.900
capitalism, as they frequently claim, raises people out of poverty.

01:15:20.740 --> 01:15:26.420
In reality, what it has done is it has enslaved the vast majority of those living under this

01:15:26.420 --> 01:15:35.860
system to a lifetime of debt slavery. The current highest rate charged on a credit card

01:15:35.860 --> 01:15:44.580
is 36%. That's obscene. And that's not even that high because there are other loans that are

01:15:44.580 --> 01:15:49.860
permissible in this country, despite the fact that we still have so-called anti-usury laws. They're

01:15:49.860 --> 01:15:56.580
not very strong. They don't really do very much. They're basically toothless. But there are loans

01:15:56.580 --> 01:16:02.740
that charge even higher rates than that credit card. And notably, the credit card could charge more

01:16:02.980 --> 01:16:08.820
until they run up against some of those anti-usury laws. But they're ridiculous. The fact that this

01:16:08.820 --> 01:16:15.140
is permissible in our system should have Christians up in arms. This is disgusting that these things

01:16:15.140 --> 01:16:23.220
are allowed. And bear in mind that those who are exploited by this primarily are the poor

01:16:24.180 --> 01:16:30.500
and the ignorant. Those who are less intelligent are going to be more exploited by this system,

01:16:30.500 --> 01:16:35.780
because quite frankly, if you are numerate, you are going to be able to navigate this system

01:16:35.780 --> 01:16:42.820
better than if you are not. And so the particularly poor and those who are below average in intelligence

01:16:42.820 --> 01:16:48.180
are those who are most exploited by this system. And so you'll have those who will argue that,

01:16:48.180 --> 01:16:53.300
oh, capitalism did away with feudalism and slavery and all these systems. No, it didn't.

01:16:53.940 --> 01:16:57.220
It enslaved these people even more under worse conditions.

01:16:58.420 --> 01:17:06.100
Those who live in the drags of our society as it were, in the lowest echelon of society today,

01:17:06.100 --> 01:17:12.180
live under worse conditions than those who were serfs in the past or even slaves,

01:17:12.180 --> 01:17:18.820
because serfs and slaves were still provided for, to some degree, by their lords and masters.

01:17:18.820 --> 01:17:25.060
That is not the case today, because today you have exploitative corporations

01:17:25.780 --> 01:17:32.180
who see these individuals as employees. An employee, quite frankly, is just a term for abject slave

01:17:32.900 --> 01:17:36.100
when it comes to some of these larger corporations. Granted, it's going to depend

01:17:36.740 --> 01:17:44.020
on where you are employed and at what level. But if you're employed as a stalker at Walmart,

01:17:44.020 --> 01:17:48.660
Walmart doesn't care about you. Walmart sees you as entirely replaceable,

01:17:49.220 --> 01:17:53.700
and they will drop you at a moment's notice if they think they can do it and make more money

01:17:53.700 --> 01:17:59.460
somewhere else. They have no interest in you. They have no relationship with you. They have no

01:17:59.460 --> 01:18:05.300
duties to you. And that is simply not the case historically. For instance, under the feudal

01:18:05.300 --> 01:18:12.660
system, a feudal lord got all of his food from his serfs. That kind of gives him an interest

01:18:12.660 --> 01:18:19.140
in their welfare. There was a relationship there. There was a natural outgrowth of hierarchy.

01:18:19.940 --> 01:18:24.100
And not only that, but the feudal lord was probably related by blood to the serfs,

01:18:24.100 --> 01:18:30.580
granted at some attenuation, but at the level of a distant cousin. And so you have this natural

01:18:31.220 --> 01:18:37.060
ordering of things, this natural relationship between and among the individuals in the system

01:18:37.060 --> 01:18:43.140
that you do not see in capitalism. Because under a capitalist system, I have no relationship to

01:18:43.140 --> 01:18:47.940
the person who, for instance, this iPhone I'm holding. I have no relationship to the person who

01:18:47.940 --> 01:18:53.220
built that. I don't know that person. I will never know that person. It doesn't mean that you have

01:18:53.220 --> 01:18:58.900
to know every person who made every good that you buy. But if he's a man in the next town over,

01:18:58.900 --> 01:19:03.940
that is vastly different from if he is some faceless person employed by a corporation that

01:19:03.940 --> 01:19:10.020
employs millions of people on the other side of the world. And corporations know this and can

01:19:10.020 --> 01:19:15.780
exploit it. As we've mentioned before, if you can create divisions in your labor force, you can

01:19:15.780 --> 01:19:23.380
drive down their ability to organize and their ability to demand fair treatment. Capitalism

01:19:23.380 --> 01:19:29.460
encourages this. That is one of the incentives built into the system. First, it is done by exporting.

01:19:30.180 --> 01:19:34.740
It is done by importing goods from far away lands where they can be produced

01:19:34.740 --> 01:19:39.220
far cheaper and often with no regulations, including environmental regulations.

01:19:40.980 --> 01:19:46.580
And then it is done by importing those people into your own lands. Because guess what? That's

01:19:46.580 --> 01:19:54.580
even cheaper. So capitalism always exerts this downward force practically in every single way

01:19:54.580 --> 01:20:00.980
and in every single area it touches. And it just continues to cause this harm. And we are now living

01:20:01.700 --> 01:20:07.140
at sort of the tail end of it. We can see perhaps not how bad things can get because

01:20:07.140 --> 01:20:14.180
things can always get worse, but we can certainly see how bad they have gotten versus what we were

01:20:14.180 --> 01:20:19.860
told would be the good and what we were warned by certain men would be the bad.

01:20:20.820 --> 01:20:24.420
Well, the good hasn't materialized, but the bad most certainly has.

01:20:25.620 --> 01:20:32.100
The fact that you can buy that 13 pair of jeans does not make your life better. Because quite

01:20:32.100 --> 01:20:38.740
frankly, the existence of the 13 pair of jeans is the reason you can't afford the good pair of

01:20:38.740 --> 01:20:44.660
jeans if you cannot afford them. And even if you can afford the good pair, it's going to cost you

01:20:44.660 --> 01:20:52.100
relatively more than it would have cost you in the past to acquire the actual well made good as

01:20:52.100 --> 01:21:00.180
opposed to the cheap knockoff that we have today. What we're talking about for those who are versed

01:21:00.180 --> 01:21:03.380
in economics, perhaps some of you are screaming at us because we haven't used the term yet,

01:21:03.380 --> 01:21:12.100
but we're talking about externalities. There are many external costs to the things that capitalism

01:21:12.100 --> 01:21:18.580
encourages those within the system to do. And those externalities are not, or at least seldom,

01:21:18.580 --> 01:21:28.100
are taken into account. And so Apple, we could use Apple for an example. Even though Apple's

01:21:28.100 --> 01:21:34.980
products are expensive, because they are, even though they make a significant profit on them,

01:21:35.860 --> 01:21:41.140
the actual total cost of that device is not represented by the price.

01:21:42.740 --> 01:21:47.780
Because it does not take into account how much of American manufacturing has been hollowed out.

01:21:47.780 --> 01:21:51.780
Now, I'm not saying that Apple is the one who did this, because this was done before Apple.

01:21:51.780 --> 01:21:59.140
Apple has benefited from it. Apple has certainly not really reversed it, except to some small degree,

01:21:59.140 --> 01:22:04.420
as they've been incentivized to do so. But you don't take into account the hollowing

01:22:04.500 --> 01:22:09.860
out of the manufacturing, the brain drain that accompanies that, because if there are no jobs

01:22:09.860 --> 01:22:16.020
in the field, people aren't going to go into the field. And all of the other things, all of the

01:22:16.020 --> 01:22:22.580
follow on effects from that, because if someone loses his job, his good manufacturing job,

01:22:22.580 --> 01:22:28.020
well, then his family becomes poor. If his family becomes poor, that increases the burden on the

01:22:28.020 --> 01:22:32.100
welfare system. If you increase the burden on the welfare system, you have to increase taxes.

01:22:32.100 --> 01:22:37.860
If you increase taxes, other people become more poor. This is a vicious cycle that destroys the

01:22:37.860 --> 01:22:47.380
country. Eventually, capitalism destroys any country that adopts it. It is only a matter of time.

01:22:47.380 --> 01:22:54.180
And the biggest factor in how long it will take for capitalism to destroy a given country.

01:22:54.180 --> 01:22:57.620
And by country, in this case, I mean the political entity that constitutes

01:22:57.620 --> 01:23:04.740
the sovereign over a nation properly understood. But the biggest factor that determines how long

01:23:04.740 --> 01:23:14.420
it takes capitalism to destroy a country is inertia. If behind that country, you have centuries of

01:23:14.420 --> 01:23:19.940
built up infrastructure and all of these various systems that are somewhat resilient because

01:23:19.940 --> 01:23:24.980
of how long they have been around, it will take longer to destroy the system. And that's what we

01:23:24.980 --> 01:23:31.380
see. It took a long time for capitalism to destroy the West. Now there are those who will say,

01:23:31.380 --> 01:23:38.900
well, hasn't capitalism benefited East Asia, for instance? And the answer to that is no.

01:23:39.940 --> 01:23:48.020
What happened with those abjectly poor areas is that capitalists were able to bring in capital

01:23:48.100 --> 01:23:55.140
in order to drain it from other parts of the world. And this looks like you have a benefit

01:23:55.140 --> 01:24:01.940
to the local population. It seems like you have raised them out of poverty to some degree. But

01:24:01.940 --> 01:24:07.860
if you actually look at the long term, the real consequences, those living in these areas are

01:24:07.860 --> 01:24:13.460
still living in abject poverty. Now they're just enslaved to corporations. Yes, before they were

01:24:13.460 --> 01:24:19.540
serfs to a feudal lord and then above him to a king or whatever it happened to be in a given area.

01:24:21.460 --> 01:24:27.860
But they haven't exchanged slavery for freedom. They've exchanged one kind of slavery for a

01:24:27.860 --> 01:24:33.060
worse one. You have factories in China that install suicide nets on the outside of their buildings.

01:24:34.260 --> 01:24:42.100
That's not something that you saw under feudalism. Employees of large corporations

01:24:42.100 --> 01:24:50.740
live worse lives than did feudal serfs. That's just the fact of the matter and it's insane to think

01:24:51.300 --> 01:24:55.780
that people today will say that capitalism has created this wonderful world.

01:24:57.700 --> 01:25:03.860
Medieval serfs worked fewer hours than you, had more time with their families and their loved

01:25:03.860 --> 01:25:09.620
ones than you, had more holidays than you, and practically took off most of winter.

01:25:09.940 --> 01:25:15.540
And yet somehow we're supposed to believe that those who are working, 40 or more, depending on your

01:25:15.540 --> 01:25:21.220
field, certainly other attorneys out there will laugh at the number 40, but 40 hours a week,

01:25:22.100 --> 01:25:28.340
50 or more weeks per year for basically your entire life. And somehow that's supposed to be

01:25:28.340 --> 01:25:34.500
better than these historical systems. The claims of capitalism work only if you take them at face

01:25:35.380 --> 01:25:41.220
value and do not assess them at all. If you actually look at them in their historical context

01:25:41.220 --> 01:25:45.860
and you look at the consequences and you look at the promises versus what was delivered,

01:25:45.860 --> 01:25:53.060
it becomes absurd to believe that this system is good, even if you don't look at the scriptural

01:25:53.060 --> 01:25:59.220
requirements which it clearly violates left, right, and center. There is no way to look at

01:25:59.300 --> 01:26:06.420
capitalism and square it with Christianity. The only reason that Christians, particularly in the

01:26:06.420 --> 01:26:10.660
U.S. for their historical differences between the mindset in the U.S. and Europe on this,

01:26:10.660 --> 01:26:17.380
but particularly in the U.S. this is taken deep root. The reason that people support capitalism

01:26:18.100 --> 01:26:23.220
is because we have been propagandized to believe that the only alternative is communism.

01:26:23.220 --> 01:26:29.540
And if the only alternative to the system presented is communism, that's not a very hard

01:26:29.540 --> 01:26:34.180
sell, because you can look at what communism did and yes, that was worse, to some degree,

01:26:34.900 --> 01:26:39.860
because if you look at the longitudinal consequence, if you look at the long-term outcome

01:26:39.860 --> 01:26:44.660
of what capitalism has done in the West, capitalism has been just as destructive as

01:26:44.660 --> 01:26:50.020
communism. It went about it a different way. Communism usually lined people up beside a

01:26:50.020 --> 01:26:54.260
ditch and just shot them or exported them to a frozen part of the world.

01:26:56.100 --> 01:27:03.220
On the other hand, capitalism has undermined the family. It has undermined basically our entire

01:27:03.220 --> 01:27:09.140
economy. It has undermined traditional manufacturing. It has undermined not just manufacturing,

01:27:09.140 --> 01:27:14.340
but really the traditional production of any and all goods. It has caused brain drain. All of these

01:27:14.340 --> 01:27:21.460
consequences are in fact arguably harder to reverse, to overcome, than what happened in communism.

01:27:23.220 --> 01:27:30.020
But in either case, both of these systems are anti-Christ. Both of these systems are evil,

01:27:30.660 --> 01:27:35.700
and so as Christian we don't have to support either one if someone tells you that you have two

01:27:35.700 --> 01:27:43.140
choices. Unless they're offering you food, they're probably lying. Or at the very least,

01:27:43.140 --> 01:27:48.260
you should assess whether or not that person is lying. Yes, sometimes there is a real binary

01:27:48.260 --> 01:27:53.700
choice. It is heaven or hell. There are binaries. But a lot of times when someone tells you can

01:27:53.700 --> 01:28:01.700
choose A or B, they're attempting to get you not to consider C and D and E because they want you

01:28:01.700 --> 01:28:07.860
to choose B because A is so abhorrent. And that's the case with this. When someone tells you,

01:28:07.860 --> 01:28:13.140
oh well you have to be a capitalist, else you're a communist, they're not telling you the whole

01:28:13.140 --> 01:28:18.180
truth because there are other options. And we know that because historically you didn't have

01:28:18.180 --> 01:28:24.900
capitalism or communism. But you had an economy because people bought and sold, markets existed,

01:28:24.900 --> 01:28:32.260
they had coinage. And so if there is historical precedent for other options, then no, the options

01:28:32.260 --> 01:28:37.620
are not capitalism or communism. That is a false binary. The person who tells you that is trying

01:28:37.620 --> 01:28:44.260
to mislead you. And so as Christians, what our duty is, is to look at what God has said on these

01:28:44.260 --> 01:28:50.660
issues and then to deal with our neighbors in love. Because love your neighbor as yourself

01:28:50.660 --> 01:28:58.260
is the second greatest commandment. You can't do that and be a good capitalist. And if a system

01:28:58.260 --> 01:29:04.100
tells you that you have to do X, Y, and Z to be a good member of that system, a good advocate for

01:29:04.100 --> 01:29:10.180
that system, and you look at X, Y, and Z, and then you look at scripture and it says, do not do X,

01:29:10.180 --> 01:29:16.100
do not do Y, do not do Z. Well there's a very real problem here and you're going to have to choose

01:29:16.100 --> 01:29:23.780
one or the other, the system or scripture. One of the other fascinating aspects of comparing

01:29:23.780 --> 01:29:32.100
things as they stand today with serfdom is the positive obligations that the Lord had to his

01:29:32.100 --> 01:29:38.100
serfs. You know, Corey mentioned that they were, the Lord, you know, the manor was dependent on

01:29:38.100 --> 01:29:45.380
the serfs for his food. He was obligated to them to protect them, just as today, you know, I pay

01:29:45.380 --> 01:29:52.500
property taxes and my town is obligated to protect me with police protection, except they're not.

01:29:53.220 --> 01:29:58.020
Because there's been a Supreme Court ruling some time ago that ruled that the police have no

01:29:58.580 --> 01:30:03.940
positive duty to any individual to protect them from anything. You individually are completely on

01:30:03.940 --> 01:30:09.620
your own, even though there are police and even though they have a monopoly on violence in your

01:30:09.620 --> 01:30:15.940
area, if they fail to protect you, they're not liable. They have not failed in their duty in

01:30:15.940 --> 01:30:23.540
any legal sense that they can be held accountable for. So that was not true of the Lord. Now you

01:30:23.540 --> 01:30:29.700
couldn't necessarily take your bear into court if he didn't protect you from marauders, but if he

01:30:29.700 --> 01:30:35.940
didn't do that, A, he was not going to be able to eat and B, the serfs were likely to rise up and

01:30:35.940 --> 01:30:42.500
hurt him. Maybe they burned down the manor. Possibility of violence against the head was

01:30:42.500 --> 01:30:51.300
always present in those hierarchical systems. And so undergirding the entirety of the capitalist

01:30:51.300 --> 01:30:57.700
argument for the betterment of the world is that increased individual freedom.

01:30:59.380 --> 01:31:04.420
Now the problem with saying that you've increased individual freedom is freedom to what?

01:31:05.380 --> 01:31:12.820
Freedom to buy worse, more dangerous products. Freedom to live a life that is detached from

01:31:12.820 --> 01:31:19.460
your neighbor. These are all inherent to capitalism, and they are freedoms in the sense that capitalism

01:31:19.460 --> 01:31:24.180
granted a license to behave in ways that Christians would not have done in the past.

01:31:25.060 --> 01:31:32.740
But this is why we've gone after freedom in the past, it's not a positive good. You are always

01:31:32.740 --> 01:31:38.740
a slave to something, and the blessing of Christianity is realizing that as a slave to Christ,

01:31:39.700 --> 01:31:47.940
you are free from these sorts of appetites, not completely, but you are given grace,

01:31:47.940 --> 01:31:54.900
you are given sanctification to be able to resist the desire to be avaricious, to envy what your

01:31:54.900 --> 01:32:01.700
neighbor has and try to have more than him. Now there's certainly a case to be made that when

01:32:01.700 --> 01:32:06.420
you see, you know, if you're a young single guy, and you see a married guy with, you know, a new

01:32:06.420 --> 01:32:11.700
kid and a pretty wife, you should absolutely admire that. And you should say, I want that for

01:32:11.780 --> 01:32:18.580
myself. That is not envy. At least that's not envy in any sinful sense. When you look at that and

01:32:18.580 --> 01:32:23.620
you say, I want that for myself, you shouldn't be despising the man because he has something you

01:32:23.620 --> 01:32:31.140
don't. You shouldn't be lusting after his wife and saying, I want to take her and make her mine.

01:32:32.340 --> 01:32:36.900
You shouldn't hate God for giving him blessings that you have yet to receive.

01:32:36.900 --> 01:32:41.860
Those are all the ways to handle that situation improperly. The proper way is to say,

01:32:42.740 --> 01:32:47.780
that guy is further along in his life than me. He has stuff that I want for myself,

01:32:47.780 --> 01:32:51.620
that I know are blessings from God, that I know that I can want with a clean conscience.

01:32:52.260 --> 01:32:56.500
I'm going to do what I need to do in my life to try to achieve those things myself.

01:32:57.300 --> 01:33:00.500
And then it's up to God whether or not he delivers it to you.

01:33:01.060 --> 01:33:09.060
Capitalism doesn't work that way. Capitalism is dependent on you fundamentally envying the

01:33:09.060 --> 01:33:15.460
lifestyles of others and trying to emulate and do outdo them. Not because you want to share

01:33:15.460 --> 01:33:21.780
and joy, but because you want to just have more stuff. That's really what it comes down to.

01:33:22.340 --> 01:33:27.140
And when you look at the arguments on the Mises webpage and pretty much any place

01:33:27.140 --> 01:33:32.100
where there's an argument for capitalism, it's predicated in terms of lots more freedom

01:33:32.820 --> 01:33:38.020
and lots more stuff. And pro-capitalists will say, well, that's an increase in standard of living.

01:33:38.660 --> 01:33:43.860
As Corey just said, there are many standards of living by which serfs lived unimaginably

01:33:43.860 --> 01:33:48.900
better than us. Maybe they had their homes in some case, well, 20 years ago,

01:33:48.900 --> 01:33:52.740
it would be true to say that their homes probably weren't as nice as many of ours

01:33:52.740 --> 01:33:57.780
today with the completely deranged housing market, which is itself, incidentally,

01:33:57.780 --> 01:34:04.020
a terminal state of capitalism playing out in the endgame. I mean, look at housing in

01:34:04.020 --> 01:34:09.540
particular. I think it's a perfect example. For the last 20, 30 years, what have we had?

01:34:10.740 --> 01:34:15.940
Mexican laborers and other South American immigrants, so-called, they're aliens, they're

01:34:16.020 --> 01:34:22.740
invaders, most of them are illegally come to this country and they will do jobs like roofing.

01:34:22.740 --> 01:34:29.060
You know, other things in the housing sector that displaced a lot of blue collar white men

01:34:29.060 --> 01:34:33.700
in this country. My parents, when they were redoing some stuff on their house,

01:34:33.700 --> 01:34:36.980
they were so excited a bunch of Mexicans showed up to do it because they were cheap.

01:34:37.860 --> 01:34:43.380
Every boomer is like that. You get the cheapest labor, you get the best deal, and you nailed it.

01:34:44.340 --> 01:34:52.260
That's, it's seen as a moral victory when it happens, not considering the externality that

01:34:52.260 --> 01:34:56.580
when there are a bunch of Mexicans up on your roof, that means there are a bunch of white guys

01:34:56.580 --> 01:35:02.420
who can't feed their kids the tonight because you didn't give them 20% more than the illegal

01:35:02.420 --> 01:35:09.220
alien would have cost to do a worse job than the white guy would have done. When your choice is

01:35:09.220 --> 01:35:15.060
profit or failure as a capitalist, you're always going to chase the money. You're always going

01:35:15.060 --> 01:35:21.540
to take the cheapest option. The Mexican illegal day labor would have to be really, really bad.

01:35:21.540 --> 01:35:26.180
And even then, most people today are still probably going to roll the dice. And then,

01:35:27.140 --> 01:35:32.260
when all these boomers go to sell their houses, what do they do? They try to get top dollar for

01:35:32.260 --> 01:35:40.260
the house. Now, in a vacuum, you could debate whether or not that makes sense. I think that the

01:35:40.260 --> 01:35:46.340
existence of the housing market as it stands today is fundamentally dislocated from fundamentals in

01:35:46.340 --> 01:35:54.100
so many ways. There'd be a separate podcast series just to discuss that. But one of the

01:35:54.100 --> 01:35:59.620
key moral elements that's present in every housing sale is to whom are you selling your house?

01:36:00.260 --> 01:36:04.500
And over and over, we have all seen stories. Or hopefully, if you're paying attention,

01:36:04.500 --> 01:36:11.780
you've seen and heard stories from at least until the housing market blew up in the last two years.

01:36:11.780 --> 01:36:17.380
You'd have a young family. Maybe the dad's 30. He has a new wife. They have their first kid.

01:36:17.380 --> 01:36:24.260
He's finally saved up enough that he can afford to make a bid on a house. He thinks he can finally

01:36:24.340 --> 01:36:30.260
just barely squeak into a home. And what happens in the housing market, in the free market?

01:36:30.820 --> 01:36:35.620
This man, this young man with not a lot of resources, he's at the upper limit of what

01:36:35.620 --> 01:36:44.580
he can afford, is in competition with banks, with enormous commercial real estate operations,

01:36:45.300 --> 01:36:52.260
with housing flippers who are buying places, marking them up and reselling them with people

01:36:52.980 --> 01:36:57.140
for a while. We're buying them as Airbnb's just to use as profit firms,

01:36:57.140 --> 01:37:00.260
even though it would destroy the quality of the neighborhood when they did it.

01:37:01.060 --> 01:37:09.540
And so, as a buyer, you're helpless. As a seller, you are not helpless. You are culpable. If you own

01:37:09.540 --> 01:37:14.900
a house and you're putting it on the market and you were given a choice between a couple,

01:37:14.900 --> 01:37:20.340
like the young couple, that's trying to buy their first home, and a cashpire that's going to pay

01:37:20.340 --> 01:37:27.460
$50,000 more, you are sinning if you don't sell the house to the cheaper buyer. It is evil to

01:37:27.460 --> 01:37:31.940
give it to the person who's going to give you more money for it when they don't need it as much.

01:37:32.820 --> 01:37:38.820
And we're all really allergic to the idea of need. But when you look at the basic situation there,

01:37:39.940 --> 01:37:45.780
it's easy to figure out. The young guy who's just barely right at the edge, frankly, you should

01:37:45.860 --> 01:37:53.060
probably cut him a break. In those circumstances, I would knock another 5% off to help them out.

01:37:53.620 --> 01:37:58.740
That's completely within your discretion as a seller. You can sell to anyone you please,

01:37:58.740 --> 01:38:03.700
and you can sell for whatever price you please. Capitalism, the morality of this religion, says

01:38:04.260 --> 01:38:10.340
the $50,000 greater cash buyer, that's the one you got to take. Sorry, guys, I have no choice.

01:38:10.420 --> 01:38:16.900
There's a better offer on the table. I have to take it. Nonsense. Complete horse crap. You can

01:38:16.900 --> 01:38:22.660
sell to whomever you wish. And when you fail to sell to someone who's your actual neighbor,

01:38:22.660 --> 01:38:28.500
who actually has a fundamental need, not only like, hey, this guy needs a house, but this man is

01:38:28.500 --> 01:38:34.420
forming a family. He's establishing roots in a community. He's doing everything that we all know

01:38:34.420 --> 01:38:39.780
needs to occur in communities for them to be sustained and preserved. That guy is the guy

01:38:39.780 --> 01:38:45.460
who needs to be rewarded. If that means that you don't get as much money, if you're selling your

01:38:45.460 --> 01:38:52.740
house for $100,000 more instead of $150,000 more than you paid for it, it should be a no-brainer.

01:38:53.300 --> 01:38:58.740
And yet, because of capitalism, every buyer in virtually every situation is going to take

01:38:58.820 --> 01:39:02.340
the greater offer and just shrug and say, yeah, that's the market.

01:39:04.100 --> 01:39:10.420
This is a complete despising of neighbor to do such a thing. And it's completely normal in capitalism.

01:39:11.060 --> 01:39:17.540
I think that is the key element of all of these calculations, regardless of what other system

01:39:17.540 --> 01:39:25.220
might meet our lofty ideals, when you are willing to screw over your neighbor for a few more bucks,

01:39:25.220 --> 01:39:32.660
you're evil. It's an impermissible thing as a sin. And you should consider those profits

01:39:32.660 --> 01:39:38.260
to be blood money, because you have hurt your neighbor for the sake of what? Of more money

01:39:38.260 --> 01:39:43.940
than you needed in the first place, so that you can have more stuff. See, this religion just builds

01:39:43.940 --> 01:39:49.380
up and builds up. And so it's internally consistent. You look at that whole thing and like, well,

01:39:49.380 --> 01:39:54.740
I got an extra $50,000. I can give more to charity. I can get all manner of things you can do.

01:39:55.300 --> 01:39:59.860
I'm not saying that's wrong to take a profit on something when you're selling a capital asset

01:39:59.860 --> 01:40:06.420
like that. The question is, to whom are you selling it to? Because when you're doing harm

01:40:06.420 --> 01:40:14.020
to someone, that is the greater moral imperative than how much money you make for it. Neighbor

01:40:14.020 --> 01:40:20.340
is the essence of this entire argument. When you try to produce a good more efficiently,

01:40:20.340 --> 01:40:25.300
and that means you have to use cut rate parts, maybe parts from further away, where if you could

01:40:25.300 --> 01:40:31.220
just spend 10% more, you could buy from someone closer, maybe some in your own state, even your own

01:40:31.220 --> 01:40:37.380
town, your neighbor, someone who actually matters in your community, just as much as you would hope

01:40:37.380 --> 01:40:41.860
to matter. Capitalism says, don't do that. It says, don't give it to the guy who's nearby,

01:40:41.860 --> 01:40:49.620
because he costs more. Same with competition. It's very common. You will see two grocery stores

01:40:49.620 --> 01:40:55.780
side by side or very near each other, two different chains or a chain store in a local store.

01:40:56.420 --> 01:41:03.140
That is evil. Zoning in local communities should forbid that. I don't think there should ever

01:41:03.140 --> 01:41:08.900
be a case where you have one grocery store right near another. Why? Because a grocery store is a

01:41:08.900 --> 01:41:16.900
neighborhood source of food, and the only reason to set up another one adjacent is direct competition

01:41:16.900 --> 01:41:22.020
to undercut the other guy. Now, when it's megacorporations that are doing it, they could care

01:41:22.020 --> 01:41:26.020
less. The communities are just a place for them to extract as much profit as possible.

01:41:27.300 --> 01:41:30.420
We in our communities have a choice about what sort of behavior we permit,

01:41:31.060 --> 01:41:36.100
and we don't have to put up with this crap. There are some places where it's actually possible for

01:41:36.100 --> 01:41:41.380
locals to shoot down those sorts of things and say, no, not in our neighborhood. There should be more

01:41:41.380 --> 01:41:47.540
of that, not less. All these things are moral calculus. They're moral calculations that we

01:41:47.540 --> 01:41:56.340
undertake every day, usually unconsciously. You have some sort of internal compass, and you're

01:41:56.340 --> 01:42:02.180
like, I would rather buy American. Made in the USA was a thing for a while, buy local. These are good

01:42:02.260 --> 01:42:10.340
things. The more local, the better. And you need to do it with the full awareness that it's reducing

01:42:10.340 --> 01:42:15.700
your purchasing power. You're going to have to pay your neighbor who's growing stuff on a smaller

01:42:15.700 --> 01:42:23.060
plot more than you can pay Walmart for your vegetables. There are times when your resources

01:42:23.060 --> 01:42:28.740
are so tight that if the only possible way you can maybe your family is to buy the cheapest thing,

01:42:29.700 --> 01:42:34.740
that's what you have to do. We're not making a cut and dried argument that it is always

01:42:34.740 --> 01:42:40.660
impermissible to do X. What we're trying to make the argument for is that your neighbor is always,

01:42:41.540 --> 01:42:46.260
they're right there with you, whether you ignore them or not, there's always someone nearby to whom

01:42:46.260 --> 01:42:52.340
you could be buying or selling or trading or cooperating or assisting in some other way.

01:42:52.340 --> 01:42:58.340
And when you ignore him and your sole focus is on what is going to be the most profitable thing,

01:42:58.420 --> 01:43:04.340
that's how you end up with Amazon trucks and Amazon boxes everywhere in the country. There's

01:43:04.340 --> 01:43:09.220
probably more Amazon box litter than anything else in our landfills because they have managed to

01:43:09.220 --> 01:43:15.220
undercut every single local store through their centralization. And now Jeff Bezos, I don't know

01:43:15.220 --> 01:43:20.100
who he is currently, but he's certainly one of the three richest men on the planet. As Corey said,

01:43:20.100 --> 01:43:23.060
historically, he's one of the richest men in the history of the universe.

01:43:23.780 --> 01:43:30.100
In money is power. And just like the Walmart guys, he didn't accumulate that by selling things to

01:43:30.100 --> 01:43:35.460
rich people. He did it by selling it to the normal everyday guy to us. I buy a lot of Amazon stuff

01:43:35.460 --> 01:43:42.340
less now. I mean, I don't buy much anymore of anything, but we're not trying to make the

01:43:42.340 --> 01:43:49.380
case that we're guiltless in these calculations, but they should always be part of the Christian life

01:43:49.380 --> 01:43:54.420
to think, am I doing the best thing for my neighbor? And that question should always come

01:43:54.420 --> 01:43:59.700
before am I turning a profit? And just back to scripture briefly, you don't have to look very

01:43:59.700 --> 01:44:05.620
far anywhere in scripture to find that that is the norm. Am I helping my neighbor is a Christian

01:44:05.620 --> 01:44:14.100
question? Am I getting more profit? You won't find that. You will never find that in Christian discourse.

01:44:14.180 --> 01:44:18.580
In fact, today it's so common among Christians, including some of the most

01:44:18.580 --> 01:44:24.900
right staunch Christians, conservatives, super conservatives, are often the most ardent defenders

01:44:24.900 --> 01:44:30.900
of capitalism is a tremendous problem. It's a huge problem because there's a morality that is

01:44:30.900 --> 01:44:37.220
baked into their decision to say, this is good and right and moral because profit and efficiency

01:44:37.220 --> 01:44:41.620
and competition and neighbor just goes out the window. You won't hear them talk about neighbor,

01:44:42.260 --> 01:44:46.100
except why I saved a bunch of money so I can donate it to something. Well,

01:44:46.900 --> 01:44:52.740
what cost did that come from? Is that blood money or not? And in a lot of cases, it's going to be.

01:44:53.620 --> 01:44:59.220
I want to briefly give a fact pattern. And I want you as the listener, or if you're listening in a

01:44:59.220 --> 01:45:05.700
group, we know some of you do that, you as the listeners, try to figure out the decade in which

01:45:05.700 --> 01:45:13.220
this took place. So in this fact pattern, there is a political sovereign. He directs his attorney

01:45:13.220 --> 01:45:21.060
general to look into the monopolization of certain parts of the economy. That attorney general does

01:45:21.060 --> 01:45:27.940
as he is told. He finds monopolization amongst certain players in the economy. Technical language

01:45:27.940 --> 01:45:34.340
here. He begins proceedings against them under the existing anti monopoly laws

01:45:35.060 --> 01:45:41.300
to prosecute them for the monopolistic exploitation of the market. Then

01:45:43.220 --> 01:45:50.820
some individuals related to that monopolistic player go to the political sovereign and remind him,

01:45:51.700 --> 01:45:58.980
by the way, you owe us a great deal of money on these loans we gave you during your last election

01:45:58.980 --> 01:46:06.020
cycle. It would be a shame if those came due, including all of this interest. That political

01:46:06.020 --> 01:46:13.460
sovereign unsurprisingly then directs his attorney general to cease the proceedings against that

01:46:13.460 --> 01:46:21.780
monopolistic player. Now for those who are versed in legal history and related matters,

01:46:21.780 --> 01:46:25.860
that probably sounds like something that has happened any number of times in the last hundred

01:46:25.860 --> 01:46:33.060
years. The gentleman who in this case it was a letter that he wrote to the sovereign was actually

01:46:33.060 --> 01:46:41.940
Jakob Fugor of the Fugor banking dynasty. This happened in the 1520s. So lest you think that this

01:46:42.900 --> 01:46:49.940
what we have today, the sort of corruption we see, is something that is unusual for capitalism,

01:46:50.500 --> 01:46:57.700
we see it happening right at the very beginnings of the capitalist economy with the banking system.

01:46:58.260 --> 01:47:04.340
We see this sort of corruption at the beginning and we see it today. This is inherent to the

01:47:04.340 --> 01:47:09.540
capitalist system. This is not something that is novel. It is not something that happens only in

01:47:09.540 --> 01:47:18.740
our day. It is not something that is avoidable. And one of the most perverse things about this system

01:47:19.700 --> 01:47:23.140
is that not only does it make everyone guilty because inevitably it does,

01:47:24.740 --> 01:47:31.460
but because of the way it works, because of these feedback loops, every time someone participates

01:47:31.460 --> 01:47:38.900
in this system, it entrenches the system by making things worse for everyone else and also

01:47:38.900 --> 01:47:45.220
worse for the individual who has participated. But it also at the same time makes it very difficult

01:47:45.220 --> 01:47:51.540
not to participate in the system because it becomes all-encompassing, which is really the economy

01:47:51.540 --> 01:47:56.660
has become effectively what the United States is. The United States at this point is a bizarre

01:47:56.660 --> 01:48:02.500
that happens to have a very large military. That's what capitalism has done. And so when you buy

01:48:02.500 --> 01:48:09.700
something from the big box store instead of the small farm down the street, well, not only have

01:48:09.700 --> 01:48:15.460
you got something that is almost certainly going to be lower quality, but you've impoverished your

01:48:15.460 --> 01:48:21.540
neighbor because that was a sale that could have gone to him and he could have used that money to

01:48:21.540 --> 01:48:26.900
fix his roof or pay for something for his children, any number of other things. And because he doesn't

01:48:26.900 --> 01:48:34.420
have that money from that sale, he has to go and buy cheaper goods as well. And so he buys

01:48:34.420 --> 01:48:40.660
something cheap also at another big box store. And that puts out of business the cobbler down

01:48:40.660 --> 01:48:46.820
the street or the tailor or any of a number of other merchants who would have been in business

01:48:46.820 --> 01:48:52.660
if not for that patronage of the large corporate store that has come in and destroyed the local

01:48:52.660 --> 01:48:58.820
economy. And that's the feedback loop that capitalism creates. And again, it is that ever

01:48:58.820 --> 01:49:05.780
downward pressure that impoverishes everyone. Ultimately, that is what capitalism does. It

01:49:05.780 --> 01:49:12.100
does not raise people out of poverty. It does not make life better. It impoverages. It impoverishes

01:49:12.100 --> 01:49:18.740
everyone sucks all of the wealth of the local economy and basically reduces everyone to the

01:49:18.740 --> 01:49:24.740
level of a debt slave. That is the ultimate outcome, because that is the goal of the system.

01:49:24.740 --> 01:49:33.620
It is designed to do that. Satan is very fond of A.B. testing. For those who aren't familiar with the

01:49:33.620 --> 01:49:41.300
term, the most common form of A.B. testing is if you have a website, you will put up two different

01:49:41.300 --> 01:49:48.020
versions of either a sales page or copy whatever it happens to be. And you will see which one

01:49:48.980 --> 01:49:53.300
leads to a greater conversion percentage. Conversion is just whatever your goal is. If

01:49:53.300 --> 01:49:58.500
it's a product, it's to sell the product. And that's A.B. testing. You'll see which one performs

01:49:58.500 --> 01:50:02.340
better. And then you go with that one. And then you'll test that one against another B.

01:50:02.340 --> 01:50:07.060
And you keep doing that. You keep refining as you go. Satan does the same thing. He's very

01:50:07.060 --> 01:50:13.860
fond of it. He's done it many times in history. One way that he did it in the last century or so,

01:50:13.860 --> 01:50:19.300
last couple centuries, was he paired off capitalism and communism. Well, which one

01:50:19.300 --> 01:50:24.660
is more effective? Which one will cause the greatest amount of human suffering possible?

01:50:24.660 --> 01:50:30.740
Because that's his goal. Turns out that both work pretty well. Capitalism works better.

01:50:31.460 --> 01:50:38.660
Because capitalism makes everyone complicit in the system. There were many who lived under

01:50:38.660 --> 01:50:43.860
communism who accepted communism only because the alternative was to get shot and dumped in a ditch.

01:50:46.180 --> 01:50:51.060
On the other hand, many of those, particularly men who claim to be Christian,

01:50:51.060 --> 01:50:57.060
will ardently defend capitalism. You didn't see men who were Christian ardently defending

01:50:57.060 --> 01:51:07.220
communism. Communism destroys a society. But communism is so inherently per se on its face

01:51:07.220 --> 01:51:12.820
wicked that Christians really are not going to be suckered into it. Anyone who claims to be

01:51:12.820 --> 01:51:18.260
a Christian and also claims to be a communist is one of those two things. And I think we all

01:51:18.260 --> 01:51:24.420
know which one it is. But there are many men who in good conscience, seemingly, claim to be

01:51:24.420 --> 01:51:30.340
Christian and capitalist. They'll even go so far as to claim that capitalism is the most

01:51:30.340 --> 01:51:36.260
moral economic system and that Christians must support it. And so it is capitalism

01:51:36.260 --> 01:51:42.580
that is more destructive, that is more wicked than communism ultimately because of the outcome,

01:51:42.580 --> 01:51:49.220
because of how much damage and how pervasive that damage is. And we're living again at the tail end

01:51:49.220 --> 01:51:59.220
of it. We are living in the consequences of capitalism. And in some ways I have to envy Luther

01:51:59.780 --> 01:52:03.060
because when I read Luther's writings on these subjects,

01:52:04.580 --> 01:52:11.140
he is able to address himself to perhaps not Charles the Fifth, who was not very fond of

01:52:11.140 --> 01:52:16.820
Luther at this point, but he is able to address himself to godly sovereigns. He is able to address

01:52:16.820 --> 01:52:23.300
himself to a Christian prince, to a Lutheran prince. He is able to tell these men in his

01:52:23.300 --> 01:52:29.220
sermons, and he does so quite boldly in his sermons and his treatises, you have a moral duty

01:52:29.220 --> 01:52:36.580
to fix these things. You have a moral duty to stop these men from monopolizing these markets and

01:52:36.580 --> 01:52:42.500
exploiting the poor, from charging interest, from usury, those two are synonymous, from all of these

01:52:42.500 --> 01:52:51.380
various things. You, to whom god has given the sword, have a duty to address these matters. As a

01:52:51.380 --> 01:52:57.700
Christian you are duty bound, you are morally bound. And he goes so far as to say, I am burdening

01:52:57.700 --> 01:53:04.020
your conscience with this. This is your duty, and you are not a Christian if you do not do it.

01:53:05.380 --> 01:53:12.500
And I envy him because he gets to say that and we don't, because we don't have Christian rulers

01:53:12.500 --> 01:53:17.700
to whom we can address our complaint. We don't have Christian princes to whom we can say,

01:53:18.340 --> 01:53:22.660
Scripture says that you are sinning by permitting this evil to continue in your lands.

01:53:23.780 --> 01:53:28.180
We today do not have that luxury, because we live under a wicked government,

01:53:28.180 --> 01:53:35.380
we are governed by evil pagans, not by Christians. And so that leaves us in a different position.

01:53:36.740 --> 01:53:42.740
It leaves us in a position where we have to do things entirely locally, and perhaps this is

01:53:42.740 --> 01:53:49.940
good to some degree, because most things should be local. But we as Christian men have to start

01:53:49.940 --> 01:53:56.740
by doing things locally. We can build up from there, but we can't appeal to a prince because we

01:53:56.740 --> 01:54:01.780
don't have a godly prince. So we don't have the option of top down. We don't have the option of

01:54:01.780 --> 01:54:08.660
enforcing regulation and rules that will change these matters for the better, that will push them

01:54:08.660 --> 01:54:13.540
in a Christian direction. Now, if you happen to live somewhere where that's actually an option,

01:54:14.100 --> 01:54:18.660
you're very lucky and you should pursue that. But generally speaking, most of us,

01:54:19.380 --> 01:54:24.820
our options are going to be amending our own personal behavior on a daily basis.

01:54:26.340 --> 01:54:32.420
And so if you have the option to shop at the small family store, by all means do so.

01:54:33.300 --> 01:54:39.220
If you have the option for your neighbor to do your gardening, if you don't happen to have the

01:54:39.220 --> 01:54:43.940
time or the skill to do it yourself, by all means do that. Don't hire the illegal alien.

01:54:45.620 --> 01:54:51.300
These are the little things that matter. You have to build the relationships with your neighbors,

01:54:51.300 --> 01:54:55.940
build that network, build a community, because that is what Christians are supposed to have.

01:54:55.940 --> 01:55:00.900
That is what an actual functioning society looks like. But it is most certainly one

01:55:00.980 --> 01:55:08.340
that Christians should build. What we have today does not look in any way, shape, or form

01:55:08.340 --> 01:55:13.780
Christian. And that should terrify each and every one of us who lives under this system.

01:55:14.980 --> 01:55:20.420
Because surely God is going to ask us, why did you willingly participate in that and not only

01:55:20.420 --> 01:55:26.900
participate, but many of you defended it? That is not what we are supposed to do as Christians,

01:55:27.620 --> 01:55:33.780
we are to hold to what God says in his word. We are to love our neighbor as ourself,

01:55:33.780 --> 01:55:39.780
and we do not do that when we simply think, well, I can get this item 50 cents cheaper if I go on

01:55:39.780 --> 01:55:46.340
Amazon, or a dollar cheaper, whatever it happens to be, spend a little more money. And again,

01:55:46.340 --> 01:55:52.500
with the caveat, if you are able to do so, we recognize that this system, as we have said

01:55:52.580 --> 01:55:57.860
many times in this episode, creates poverty, creates debt slaves, creates

01:55:59.380 --> 01:56:05.300
quite frankly, a set of perverse incentives. We recognize that is true. But if you are able,

01:56:06.260 --> 01:56:10.180
patronize the local business, help your neighbor, hire your neighbor,

01:56:11.700 --> 01:56:17.060
don't participate in the evil system if you are able to avoid doing so.

01:56:17.780 --> 01:56:25.540
And so, at your church, get a list of men who have certain skills. If you need a plumber,

01:56:26.420 --> 01:56:33.060
hire the plumber who sits next to you in the pews. If you need a roofer, hire the one who

01:56:33.060 --> 01:56:37.940
sits next to you in the pews. That man is your neighbor, at least he should be your neighbor,

01:56:37.940 --> 01:56:43.380
I hope you don't have to commute three hours to church. If that man is your neighbor,

01:56:44.180 --> 01:56:50.820
then you should be dealing with him if you can. The Christian solution to the problems we face

01:56:50.820 --> 01:56:55.620
is local. If we are faithful in these matters,

01:56:57.860 --> 01:57:03.300
I do believe that God will give us a faithful leader, a faithful prince, at some point.

01:57:04.420 --> 01:57:09.140
I'm not as pessimistic about the end necessarily being right around the corner. It could be,

01:57:09.140 --> 01:57:16.820
I don't know, I won't speculate. But when it comes down to it, as Christian men,

01:57:17.780 --> 01:57:24.340
we ultimately have control only over our own actions. And so, it is those actions

01:57:24.980 --> 01:57:29.380
that we should conform to scripture, that we should conform to love of neighbor.

01:57:30.180 --> 01:57:35.780
And from that, we'll grow these networks of relationships, these interconnections,

01:57:35.780 --> 01:57:42.580
that build up a Christian society. It is a lot easier to stand up a Christian prince

01:57:42.580 --> 01:57:48.660
in a Christian society than it is to just sit and hope that God will give us a Christian prince,

01:57:48.660 --> 01:57:54.820
and he will impose a Christian society on a pagan people. The latter is unlikely to happen,

01:57:54.820 --> 01:58:02.420
in this day and age. And so, it is our duty, as best we can, with what God has given us,

01:58:02.420 --> 01:58:09.140
to act as Christians in our lives. And that includes, in our economic dealings,

01:58:09.860 --> 01:58:18.340
which should be, by and large, with our immediate, if possible, neighbors.

01:59:02.420 --> 01:59:03.800