The Invisible Hand

Ah, you want me to define the invisible hand? I cannot. It has a depth beyond words and a complexity beyond my singular intelligence. It is the collective hand of all the hands, which create, or diminish the common good. How do we know what is right, or wrong? I can attempt to define how I’d like to steer my own course – and where I’ve failed, or succeeded. We learn rules of thumb. But some things are deeply wrong, or deeply right. Others are arguably wrong, or right. We discuss them, but can we explain the depth? Those depths, for want of a better word, are felt, not thought. I can live them, but they are beyond the reach of thought. Why is murder wrong? We cannot say. We know only that it is taboo. Some words are evocative, so that a writer can conjure those depths – we re-live them in the best verse, or prose – but still they are undefined. Music does the same.
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Without that deep, indefinable truth, societies would fall apart. I suspect that flocks, packs and herds of other species are united by similar convictions. We are all fierce in their defence.
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For me, the invisible hand weaves the culture from every contributory influence – from all the trades and pleasures, which are guided by a moral common. It is what people do for right, or wrong – its muscular power swelling, or shrinking accordingly. Of course, wrong is often not intended, but is the outcome of a mistake. Mistakes live happily on the common. Do fossil-fuelled tools empower the hand? They do not. They kill it. They have emerged inside the enclosures. Enclosure defines right to irresponsible property. Fossil fuels have not received the moral scrutiny – and the pragmatic trial and error of the common.
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How about some similes for the invisible hand? The Holy Ghost? Philip Pullman’s dust, or his secret commonwealth? – the workings of the long durée? – the bonds of love and family? And then we have a cascade of related words – honour, duty, sanctity, trust, betrayal…
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The invisible hand can only live on the common. It is killed by enclosure – starved of contribution.
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What about those arguably right, or wrong behaviours? Justification can walk, step by step across enclosures fences into the deeply wrong. We shout – By all that’s holy, stop! But justification says, why? If we kill subversives, then peace for all will return. If we charge £290 rent for our status, above our wage of £10 per hour, then we, the wise – the architects, GPs, solicitors and so on, can grow time to think and study. – But I have to work 30 hours to pay for one hour of your time and have no time to study. Precisely, says the solicitor – whose “expertise” is unnecessary to us, but is statutory – statutory to the enclosure. It is crazy and plain wrong to the moral common. It kills the invisible hand.
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Simply by that monopolistic enclosure – simply by that new middle class, ancient bonds of society fall apart.
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In UK, across Europe and in the US, we’ve recently seen how that new middle class has taken over the political parties of the Left. It regards itself as educated; as enlightened and forgets to include that it is also rich, by extracting huge rents for its “services”. Where can working people go? They belong, they are told by Enlightenment’s newspapers, such as the Guardian – to the mob.
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Here, surrounded by fellow mobsters, John Ball, Gerrard Winstanley, Martin Luther King… we appeal across the fences – by all that’s holy think about what you do! But we speak from the heart, from the ancestors, from the secret commonwealth and loved ones at home – without reason; without peer review…
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The Wealth of Nations could be an Anarchist Manifesto

To return to Adam Smith and our chapter – Reclaiming Capital. How would we define Adam’s political philosophy? I’d say, it is emphatically anarchist – with expedient compromise. He does not define the wealth of nations. He says, it is in the hands of the invisible hand of cultures settled skilfully and happily in their terrains. He defines only what will prevent its fruition – that is profit, rent, usury, monopoly and an extractive casino of currency fluctuation, stocks, bonds and shares. He says these things must be controlled both by law and the ethics and taboos of cultural tradition.
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Pure anarchism hopes for the potency of a common ethic to repel amoral insurgency. Adam is more pragmatic in defining obstacles.
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Just as we instinctively know that theft and murder are wrong and so are happy that they be recognised as unlawful, so I think, we also know that usury, monopoly, personal profit and so on are wrong – and that it is wrong that they are not recognised as unlawful. These are ancient cultural taboos. We do not allow them in the household, or in the society of friends. There, ancient commons of good behaviour remain.
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In The Wealth of Nations, Adam argues that these things should be criminalised, because they extract money for the benefit of anti-social individuals and to the detriment of society as a whole. They weaken and often destroy the invisible hand and they bleed and sometimes suck dry, the wealth and happiness of nations.
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I think his vision is simply true. It is a lesson for our times. Just as in Adam’s time, if we asked the powers to introduce laws to criminalise the principle sources of their accumulated and accumulating wealth, we’d be laughed out of the room – or worse. The lesson of the Wealth of Nations was laughed out of the room at the time of publication and in every time since. We’ve seen the worse in the recent treatment of Jeremy Corbyn, who attempted to introduce a few very mild Adamish restraints to the powers. We’ll see the same for Bernie Sanders. In many parts of the world, people presenting such moral reforms are simply disappeared.
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But here’s a thing – the more people understand the lack of basic moral probity, practiced by business people, politicians and nearly all journalists, so the more, ordinary, moral people will dream of something better. Today’s leaders are out-laws in the imaginations of nearly everyone. We know that there is one law for them and another for us. Plainly, removing “them” by violence is certain to bloodily fail. Mass demonstrations may lead to distribution of brightly packaged crumbs, or cheaply manufactured beads– but no more. As we saw in the turmoil of revolutionary Russia, people become forced to take sides. Good people could not but support “communist” factions, because the alternatives seemed far, far worse. Their least-worst option turned out not as they’d hoped, or as the communist manifesto intended. Similarly, but without violence, the Brexit choices were between rocks and hard places – a corporate-supplied, monetarist, consumerist EEU, or an exit to a more extreme version of the same, but led by bankers and stock manipulators, who yet stood as Everymen against “bonkers” EEU legislation. Voters preferred that “human” touch. Humanity is not what they got.
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So, Adam Smith’s vision of society is utterly true, but is also no immediate help, since violence is the only method by which it could succeed – and so, of course, instantly fail. It remains an excellent guide to good behaviour.
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Tipping points for climatic balance and for the survival of very many species, which are part of that balance, have already passed. Permafrost was modelled to melt over half a century in the future. It is melting today. Societies must act instantly to live inside their ecological means. That means radical upheaval for every “developed” economy. Gentle transition is now too late. It means choosing tragic economic collapse and for a Phoenix of our choosing to rise from the ashes (Fire is not the best metaphor and we may not have power to choose). No government will choose collapse. Neither will it choose the end of aviation, the family car, suburbia…
But I can and you can, taking with us the salutary lessons, which Adam Smith outlined as well as anyone in our own times. I hope everyone with deeply-held values will join us. I think that means almost everyone. We hold all the skills. Stock brokers hold none. We shall de-spend our old lives – in which we spent a corporate invasion into existence. We did that and as I’ve said, we can undo it. There remains one banner, which can fly into the future – anarchy – the moral fabric of the long durée.
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We can live in communities where “work and pleasure are walking distances from everyone’s door”. We can re-centre suburbia. We can farm and garden properly. We can live within our means. We can become ordinary again. No government can do those things for us.
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Only Slow Time can answer Rapid Decline

In every century, historians have mis-told their stories. Their narrative has been of the ephemeral – of what this leader, or that “great general” did to change the course of history. Such tales are useful to leaders. They can be presented at court, admired by politicians and entered as texts in school and university curriculums. They are mirrors for the aspiring to pose their best sides and even, by rote learning of passages – to parade an erudition for the admiration of less “extraordinary” people.
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In the same way, narratives are often mis-told by people wishing to change contemporary events – political journalists and theorists, social commentators, “climate change activists” and so on. Those narratives propose that ephemeral action can create durable change. They use the mis-telling of historical events as a precedent to similarly mis-tell the durable changes created by their own political actions.
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My readers will know of Fernand Braudel’s method for a truer telling of history – of the longue durée – of the deep and slow morphologies of societies above which, short-term and medium-term events and their effects survive for their short and medium terms – having little influence on enduring commons of social behaviour. Tolstoy tells a similar tale in War and Peace. Napoleon can disrupt events by posing as Everyman to vast numbers of followers, but he is nothing to the longue durée. Recent UK & US elections have shown the power of that Everyman stance. The pain (leaving aside climatic tipping points) will come and go.
In his book, Home, Francis Pryor unravels British history in Braudel’s way – He asks, what is common to all historical periods? – the idea of home. That simple thought unlocks the past, not as an exotic, but a familiar place – literally – where ancestors like us, in every important way, lived and loved. We find truth in the ordinary – not in praise poems of court bards. We live firstly in families, and only expediently under hierarchies.
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In her copious writings of the Fens, – of ancient field systems and commons – Susan Oosthuizen finds archaeological evidence for unchanged settlement, in spite of the spun tales of migration, or invasion – of “Neolithic star gazers”, warrior-culture “beaker people”, or Saxon “barbarians”. These “events” never happened outside history books. She presents archaeological evidence for unchanged field systems, commons and settlements from at least the late Bronze Age until the Early Medieval Period. In her book, The Emergence of the English, she shows how English speaking emerged from the social necessities and fashions of a necessarily tri-lingual people – from Latin, Brittonic and Old English – and that all three languages were probably spoken without effort, even before the Roman (indisputable) invasion of the island. Now, DNA evidence finds no differences between the people of Wales and England – even though Brittonic language survived in Wales and not in England. Language is a useful tool. It does not define ethnicity. It seems the Celtic invasion “event” – bringing Brittonic/Brythonic languages, never happened. Probably, since the Mesolithic, Welsh and English people have stuck fast in their longue durée – adopting technologies, gods and languages as time passed. We’ve no means to know how we spoke then, but we can be almost certain how we thought of home, proper and improper behaviour and the necessity to maintain those commons – common to us and common to them – common to the slow movement of time. I would append that we would have welcomed travellers, traders and traveller’s tales. We still do.
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Wait a minute! You say, climate change and species extinction need immediate action. We’ve not time to consider grand notions of deep time. We must sign petitions, appeal to powerful politicians – ask them to “act on the science”, because all is now short span.
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I say, it is foolish to appeal to Napoleon. We must turn from the ephemeral, to stir the deep time, which flows through all of us. It is foolish to ask leaders to impose a circular, steady state, or doughnut economy, when these things can only be, if we, personally and one by one, live them. The long durée is me and all of us. It is the invisible hand. It is inherited skills – the idea of home and home-making, the sanctity of the ordinary, of passing on the ordinary… Leaders can only pervert those things. They have led us astray, so that we created BP, Amazon, Tesco, Renault, Microsoft… by our collective purchasing powers. Leaders cannot create BP and co. Only we can do so and only we can undo so.
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The long durée must un-weave the delusive curtains – the sometimes beautifully-woven charisma of Hector, Achilles, Alfred and Arthur; of captains of industry; of Tech Everyman in jeans and trainers. Where a human tool meets its materials is both a sensuality and an ancestry, which joins the species to its soil. It is consequence. We are all consequence. And here’s another thing – cultures are what people do to make them. They stop, when people stop culturing. Until the industrial revolution, leaders have not interfered with the making of cultures – that is, with the skills of the trades. Leaders have relied on the autonomy of trades’ people without question. They’ve only distorted it by rent and taxes – and by recruitment to war. But when long-evolved tools, were replaced by new, coal-driven tools, leaders without skills made clumsy attempts at culturing. Now, we have the consequence.
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Here, in the long durée what then do we propose? – we people, who G K Chesterton said, have not spoken yet? Do we propose to the powers that they impose a steady-state economy? – knowing that such an action would precipitate immediate collapse of institutions, currencies, stock markets and related companies and the tax-generating wages of those they employ? We also know that the powers belong in the short span – by the mirror of last night’s opinion. There is no possibility at all, of their acting on our request.
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Instead, we can appeal to each other to abandon suicide and re-learn what drives all durable settlements – commons of good behaviour. It is a moral appeal and could be a religious appeal. Only that central and binding moral can emerge intact as consumerist and monetarist infrastructures collapse tragically around us. They must collapse.
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Our time is as epic as those remembered from the flood and the fall, which seem universal to almost all cultures. Science will not help us, nor institutional, or NGO guidance. It is simple – we must quench our fires and re-grow, or let re-grow the biomass and biodiversity of our lovely, singular Earth. The ancestral power of the long durée is in us all. Today, it survives only in the house-hold: in parental guidance, in the rationing of chores and pleasures and in inherited taboos. The household produces children – fully formed into the wider culture. But, as we’ve seen, a perverted household created Microsoft and Amazon by the power of its spending. Many millions of households did it. Then, schools and universities taught and consolidated the perversion. Education is our flood. Now is the Great Sanity. Un-spend Amazon. Many millions can do it. Where a tool meets its materials comes a spark of truth in educated darkness. First pick up the tools. De-school. Follow the sparks. As the young Geoffrey Hill sang – “Arthur, Elaine, Mordred, they are gone, under the raftered galleries of bone – and over their cities stands the pinnacled corn.”
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Is that extreme? – Well yes. We are at the extreme edge of extinction. That which goes on though dynasties pass – the pinnacle corn, children laughing at their games, the heaps of couch grass – will also enter oblivion. Leaders will not save them. Only I can. Only you can.
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A Damp Leaflet for a Lost Notice Board, January 1st 2020

Trying to change currently enclosed power structures, political processes and systems of information is futile. If we engage with these things, we give them credence. We accept enclosure.
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Instead, let’s evacuate and settle together on the common. Such a movement exists – apparent in a great diversity of skilled trade’s peoples’ green and egalitarian feeling and thinking.
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It is late – very late, and so every road we take will be through differing forms of tragedy. It is too late for painless transition. Our choice must be the best tragedy – where societies can remain a part of the ecologies, which sustain them.
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All our effects must shrink, which means that monetary systems and the casino of stocks, bonds and shares will cascade around us – bringing real tragedy. That is the tragedy we must embrace. All others are far, far worse.
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Don’t forget, we step into darkness towards a light on the other side. We walk towards delight. We’ll not find delight without a passage through the dark. New Year’s Day 2020 is dark. Embrace it. We made it. It is ours. Past ways of life made 2020. Now we must end them. Present action creates the future.
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Until now, we have asked others to create a future for us. We have asked, Tesco, Amazon, BP, British Airways, Nissan and all the rest to make our future. We have paid them to do so. We have commanded them to do so. Without our spending and without our working hours they could not exist. Jeff Bezos did not create Amazon – we did. We are the great mind, or if you like, the complex invisible hand behind it all – the expanding GDP, the crashing ecologies, the extreme poverty, the extreme wealth…
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We are the great, subconscious, comfortable, egalitarian master mind of it all.
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Wake up. Be conscious.
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We have ordered soil to vanish beneath the plants and animals, which feed us, so that soon, we cannot be fed.
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We have demanded cheap labour manufacturing from opposite hemispheres so that our own skills have died, so that invisible poverty deepens and so that atmospheric CO.2 thickens in a life-stifling blanket.
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We have asked that unnecessary life be extinguished by pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and fire, so that social pleasures can thrive – foods and sports and so that eventually, all food, and all sport will be extinguished.
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As our own skills have died, we have demanded that our servants, Amazon and etc., use their own skills better to please us. We forget that Amazon and etc., have no skills, but those we provide. We refuse, preferring dependency – but we depend on empty air.
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We subscribe NGOs into existence, as our governmental lobbyists. We rely on their expertise. We sign their petitions. But NGOs have no expertise. Governments have no expertise. Where is expertise? We abandoned it.
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We march with Extinction Rebellion, demanding that governments and corporations change to please us, forgetting that it is we who must change. We made the corporation. We spent it into existence. Only we can unspend it. Extinction Rebellion is a consumerist movement. We must abandon consumerism.
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Ah! – but the School Strike is different. Children ask that their parents change. By all that’s holy, listen to them!
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Lead the children with sheltering arms into the darkness of collapsing infrastructures. Find the skills and tools to build human-sized settlements inside humanity’s ration of Earth. Let the birds sing. Gather at the piano, until the human song also belongs.
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My Worthies, what is value?

The words, value and worth are used interchangeably and also for both deep and shallow – for that which we love at all costs and also for the relative masses of goods and money.
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What is the worth of what I’ve done? What is the value of what I do? Am I worthy? I don’t worry about which word to use and in which context. I think they have survived on my tongue from differing ancestral roots – the one from Old English and the other, Old French perhaps. Both are in use in Middle English. Gwerth is Welsh – old and new.
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When we consider the potency of money, perhaps the shallower usage is not so shallow after all. Richard Douthwaite illuminated that money-flow and energy-flow should be directly related. Energy-flow is the power of what people do. Recently, money-flow has vastly expanded, because the power of what people can do has been magnified by fossil-fuelled tools. Plainly, money-flow must rapidly shrink again to just the small power of mortal, fallible humanity. It must fit what the human frame can do to transform only that which can be monetarily valued. Much human activity is culturally valuable, but yet has no monetary value – parenthood, home-making, singing, dancing, walking to the hill-top… So, money flow must be much smaller than even the power of what people do. Such a small flow of money, is very easily managed as a tool to a more complex exchange of labour and resource both within and between cultures. Any community can create its own currency. Within Adam Smith’s definition -Goods can serve many purposes, besides purchasing money, but money can serve no purpose, besides purchasing goods. – the creation of moneyed hierarchies is severely limited. Of course, other hierarchies can evolve – military, sexual, religious, and of skills. Some, within a cultural tradition may be beneficial, others not. For instance, we may consider the positions of master and apprentice to be beneficial. How else can an apprentice begin to master her tools?
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Meanwhile, that money which now has a purpose besides purchasing goods, must also be out-lawed. It is theft – pillage. What is the power/mass of that money? I don’t care. All I know is that it is vast and that we must repel it – it contains money-interest, land rent and rent for the monopolistic enclosures of architects, “consultants”, lawyers, medical practitioners… Then we have the money extracted from the casino of stocks, bonds, shares and fluctuating currencies. Shares are an ancient way of launching an adventure – merchant shipping for example. But the buying and selling of shares as chips in a casino is something new – perhaps two hundred years old – its destructive power is plain.
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My worthies! We can find a worth, which is beyond price and we can defend it. It is plain that what peer/career-reviewed economics professors call an economy is bound to collapse sometime soon. It has no ground beneath its vast monetary illusion. It is a spun tale, which depends on the complete belief of listening punters. Even so, the collapse will be horrible. It will not be the collapse of a mere illusion, so that truth can finally dawn to contrite visionaries of a new age. Real economic infrastructures will also crumble, causing terrible physical pain. The barbed wires of flailing enclosure will rip open the real economic common. Wages, which once provisioned households to pay taxes, to spend on vital infrastructures, will be gone – leaving fear, anger, confusion, hunger…
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That is our task – to build a worthy economy, which fits, just so, inside its ration of Earth. We’ll maintain the capital, which we inherited, so that we can bequeath it in turn. There is nothing we can do about collapsing casinos and monetary systems. We must let them fall, while inviting refugees to join us in a new adventure, whose central value is the worth of people and whose central taboo is diminishment of the invaluable – that is the greater ecology on which all species depend.
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After the casino collapse, we’ll have collapsed systems of distribution. We’ll have human misery. But a passing satellite will photograph no change. Roads, streets, houses, bridges, harbours, fields, woods, rivers… will all be unchanged.
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We can occupy those commons, each to her skill and with a common vision of the values we had always held, though forgotten in a wild century or two of delusion. In the household we had always understood the fair distribution of chores and pleasures; things and the rationing of things. That is the true economy. We shall make it universal.
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Dream on, you say, lost in your dream. Your dream is for the end of times, but with the full dignity of office…
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Reclaiming Capital

It may come as a surprise to most, that my answer for the times is capitalism. What is capitalism? – it is the ethics of a society, whose aim is to maintain its capital – that is, spiritual, pleasurable and human assets, combined with that which maintains all those things – the undiminished vigour of life – in soil, sea, biomass and biodiversity. It may come as an even greater surprise that Adam Smith’s capitalism is precisely described above.
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You say, how did it go so wrong? Well as G K Chesterton replied to G B Shaw’s assertion that “Christianity had been tried and found too difficult.” – “On the contrary, Christianity has been found too difficult and has never yet been tried.” So it is, with capitalism. No one has tried it yet.
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Adam Smith told us that the invisible hand, which moved to the comparative advantages of knowledgeable and settled communities, could not function if…
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1 – Money ceased to be a medium of exchange and instead became personal property, which could charge rent (interest). “Goods can serve many purposes besides purchasing money, but money can serve no purpose besides purchasing goods.”
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Similarly, rent for land, status and ideas, malignantly bleeds beneficent capital of labour, resource and the land. As a later writer pointed out, “Property is theft”.
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2 – If moral probity, ancestral commons and the skill, dexterity and ingenuity of communities rooted in particular terrains, became undermined, or overwhelmed by empire, tyranny of kings, or (as above) by the libertarian power of money.
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3 – If either dominant leaders, or the more quietly subversive, began to extract – not a just wage, but personal profits.
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Adam proposed that the greatest wealth of nations accumulated in societies with low profits and high wages and the least by societies with high profits and low wages.
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4 – If (to neatly return to G K Chesterton) monopolies stifled the particular ingenuities and loves of particular terrains.
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Here is G K C – “Communism is Big Business run by the state, whereas, capitalism is the state run by big business. I dream of very many, very small businesses.” Of course, G K C describes the capitalist imposter and not the capitalism “which has been found too difficult and has never been tried.” Adam’s capital moves by the almost infinite complexity of his invisible hand passing assets between and within the equally complex needs and loves of communities and their terrains.
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I make no apology for regularly repeating the above quotes, in this and other passages, because I prefer to excavate my own (limited) memory, which is attached to my more certain and slowly-evolved ethics, rather than seeking the dignity of a false scholarship to shore-up doubtless fragilities. By far the greatest source of knowledge comes by personal perception of people, things and the land, which is then given meaning, for the greater part by simple, inherited family values, which then evolve further as we experience work, joy, grief, love, loss, the wind, sunshine and rain. Books and studies are a pleasure and occasionally a revelation of new possibilities, but always, they are measured against our senses – the actuality of being.
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Where we moderns perhaps differ from Adam is in the manufacture of pins – economies of scale – division of labour. We cannot dispute that he is right, but are uneasy. However, if we followed the true logic, then we’d become easier – such efficiencies mean we need less labour and gain increased leisure. History has shown the opposite – increased toil for those who labour, because increased output has not become increased leisure, or increased wages, but on the contrary – increased profit. Pins can also be sold at a lower price, which is to the comparative disadvantage of other, more egalitarian manufacturers of pins. What today, would be regarded as marketing success, would be a cultural failure to the eyes of Adam Smith – increasing both poverty and working hours and also the wealth of one man – the factory owner. Eventually of course, the factory owner would probably face bankruptcy as his rivals achieved a still lower price. The wealth of all nations, which manufacture pins, would shrink, unemployment would increase…
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Ha! – we’ve seen what Adam thinks of profit, I think he might have said, Profit is theft – so yes, he still has the last laugh in the matter of pins and pin heads. And I think, his head is in his hands at our brutish* understanding of the comparative advantages of communities moved (in both senses) by the almost infinitely-complex, invisible, even spiritual hand of moral probity, sacred springs and the musical rhythms of time.
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* I apologise to brutes of the woods and fields
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Proponents of modelled doughnut, circular and steady-state economies, would do better to bring their models under the beautiful gaze of Adam Smith. All those models fail to confront the certainty that if they became reality, then the collapse of currencies and of currency trading, stocks bonds and shares would follow. With those comes the collapse of real businesses, mass unemployment, crashing tax revenues and of so of vital social infrastructures. So, instead of proposing changes to the current system, we need a movement to evacuate it – to ignore it – to start afresh from the soil upwards as the casino eventually crashes around us.
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Of course, capitalism is also a model, but unlike those above, it can only function by that mysterious, egalitarian hand whose energies arrive from many millions of sources, which are all embedded deep in both the culture and its terrain. In current phraseology, it is bottom up, not top down. Because it is an essentially moral system, it needs protection from amorality. That protection can come from both social taboos and from law. So, all we ask of governance is that it is protectionist. As we’ve seen, durable societies must be protected from money-property, currency manipulation, share and bond trading and other forms of enclosure/monopoly/rent.
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Adam’s capitalism is essentially moral – in the duties and pleasures of learning/evolving skills to maintain otherwise forever-escaping capital. Capitalism is protectionist. It is conservative. It protects cultural commons from monetarist, corporate/consumerist trade-blocks, such as the European Economic Union. It refuses the free flow of money and accepts the free flow of people and ideas. It refuses property, rent and amoral, immoral casinos and liberates both ancestral commons and the receptive sensuality of commoners to ingeniously adapt to changing times.
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We capitalists (Adam Smith and I) use GDP as a useful measure of diminishing capital, increasing CO.2 emissions, shrinking human happiness and increasing money-flow. Increasing GDP means that our economy has been invaded.
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As an arrow to true-cost accountants and to those measuring eco-system services, stop it! – that which you’d measure has no price – it is beyond intelligence to measure. Professed measurement diminishes it from the imagination into mere idle fancy. (Please read John Keats and Samuel Taylor Coleridge). All we capitalists know, is that we exist by the beneficence of always mysterious nature and that the source of our existence must be protected at all costs. Natural damage is taboo. Tax-generated cultural commons such as roads, harbours bridges, hospitals, libraries, electricity grids… and so on, are easier to quantify. Commoners have their stake. That stake is human ingenuity, dexterity and labour. It cannot be sold. It cannot add to an expanding GDP. We maintain capital.
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For the sedge is withered from the lake and no birds sing

How will I face my market customers tomorrow, sixty, or seventy percent of whom may have voted jackboots into the Reichstag again, along with a license for the extinction of most of the species of the Holocene – including our own? Will a steely politeness be appropriate – or a wry smile? Shall I say, Have a happy Christmas? For the sedge is withered from the lake and no birds sing.
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Poverty will walk into our communities like a deepening frost – life-blood syphoned into the laughing jaws of off-shore hyenas. My Guardian-reading friends will also delight in the spoils, for they helped to create them. Yet, as in 1930, this is democracy. It may be dangerous to speak. The culture will be preserved in tightly-folded papers of samizdat. For the sedge is withered from the lake and no birds sing.
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Is this extreme? Yes. It is appropriate. Is this despair? No. It is truth. Only by truth can we hope and hope remains appropriate.
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Of course, as in 1930’s Germany, most of those who voted for jack boots, had no idea what they’d done – just as the merry laughs which jet off to holiday destinations also have no idea what they do. Today, it is worse – in 1930, the vote produced a nightmare – a temporary end of times. Today, the UK vote is for the permanent end of times – full stop – and an end to sweetest dreaming, or nightmares. No generations can fight back, when the previous generation has voted in and endorsed the end of all generations.
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However, now we know what we should have known, which is that it is too late for a political process – too late for the IPCC. The coup in the Conservative Party and so also in Westminster has not just happened – it began fifty years ago, in our newspapers, radios and televisions – the generals becoming more and more confident as the years passed. After centuries of utter control, they’d been shocked by democracy into retreat in 1945. Now that democracy is fading, we need a mass exodus guided by common, ancient and filial ethics – a moral movement to leave the Guardian, the Sun, the Telegraph, The Times, The Express, The BBC… unheard and unread. We must build a society, which fits happily within much shrunken demands. Such a thing cannot, and never has happened (successfully) by coercion, advice, imposed tyranny, or the ballot. It is too complex a happening for any but the mingling of personal loves, skills, responsibilities and needs with those of others. Of course, Jeremy Corbyn dreamed just such a movement, which is why the verbal jack boots have spent such energy kicking down the doors of his dream. I am proud to say that I stood by Jeremy Corbyn and had no time for the yobs and louts of the Guardian and so on, who have destroyed their reputations forever by their efforts to destroy him. In a few decades (how many are left?) they’ll attempt to rewrite their biographies. Rising seas may then have engulfed their holiday homes…
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So yesterday, before the 2019 election and today, are no
different. Our aims are the same and although a more beneficent government may have removed some obstacles from our paths, even so, the currently malignant government will probably not interfere with our choices in how and what we trade, barter and share with each other – that is – how we abandon the enclosures and re-settle the common. In fact, the EU would have been viciously opposed to such an exodus. We can count that blessing.
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That, I leave to the next chapter – Reclaiming Capital.
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