Capitalism and Unfair advantage

What people call “crony-capitalism” is a private party gaining an unfair advantage in the marketplace over his competitors by the means of governmental intervention in trade. This happens by lobbying the Government to pass trade regulations in their favour, creating state sponsored monopolies. But when the Government is accorded such power to intervene in the market, by the citizens, the market is no longer free, and the political-economic system is not Capitalism.

Allowing governmental interference in trade activity will incentivise the private parties to lobby, and makes the bribery of governmental officials possible. Absent governmental interference, there is no way an individual can have an unfair advantage in the market.

Observe that “fairness“ doesn’t mean “equality”. Fairness is a concept to be understood in the context of economic freedom. A free trade is fair trade. It means that the consumer is choosing by his free and voluntary will, with his complete knowledge, the best product in the market he can afford, from the producer he wishes to buy from. The choice is not unfair, if it is not forced upon him.

Competence makes wealth possible, not the other way around. In a capitalist system, wealth is produced through competence, and lost through incompetence. How the individual spends his wealth is completely his choice. If a poor producer is not able to compete with a rich producer in creating and selling a better product at a lower price, it is not unfairness. It is unfairness if you are forced to buy from the poor producer, by the government, because he needs money, though he is incompetent. It is unfairness if any producer, poor or rich, is not allowed to sell his product in the marketplace through governmental interference. It is unfair because then, your choice to trade is no longer free.

In a Capitalist society, the institution that protects the individuals against the abuse by a producer who sells his goods to his customers by cheating or stealing, or by physically forcing his customers to buy from him, or by forcing his competitors out of the market by physical violence, is Government.

Individual rights are the means of preserving an individual’s morality in the society. They are the principles that protect an individual from the immoral choices of his neighbours. The only proper purpose of Government is to protect the individual rights: Life, Liberty and Property, whose meaning is in essence, to safeguard the freedom of action of the individual.

Capitalism is the only morally proper system of economy, because it is the only system that is made possible by, and works on the principle of individual rights.

– Avinash Kumar.

Note: This article is originally my answer to the question on Quora: How can capitalism be a success in India if there are too many people in India who lack proper morals & ethics and thus misuse capitalism to promote crony capitalism in order to cheat and abuse people for their own benefits?

Alleged fulfilment of the American dream in the Nordic countries

The American dream was the ideal that any individual can make his fortune according to his ability, irrespective of his background or lineage, and keep it— by voluntarily dealing with other individuals, absent physical force and compulsion. The forefathers made sure that necessary conditions exist for the survival of a rational individual: the kind who can produce wealth, and keep it without the fear of being robbed or looted of it by others, especially the Government. They laid foundations for a nation to be built on the Principle of Individual Rights— a relatively new concept to grasp.

Individual rights are not entitlements. They are the principles safeguarding a man’s “freedom to take action” in a social setting: the freedom to pursue his own chosen course of action for the fulfilment of his own life without compulsion, freedom to produce and trade his own wealth on his own terms. Such conditions, especially the implicit right to free trade made it possible for the individuals to create unprecedented wealth, improved their living conditions drastically, and anyone who exercised his freedom to voluntarily produce and trade his products, benefitted tremendously, in proportion to his competence.

This was true until the late 19th century, when the Government still maintained a reasonable —but dangerously reducing distance — from the economy, primarily acting to protect the individual rights. It is no longer true today. America is not a capitalist country. It is a highly regulated mixed economy, like most other countries.

The existing conditions, projected as allegedly desirable aspects of Nordic Countries, are in fact, violations of the principle of individual rights. The government providing unearned income— no matter how high or low the amount provided might be— to non-productive individuals: at the expense of productive individuals, maintaining an “accessible” or “free” universal health care system: at the involuntary expense of individuals, including those who do not intend to use or pay for such a service, providing free and “high” quality education to all: at the involuntary expense of individuals, including those who do not intend to use or pay for it, attempting to fix the “gender gap”: when the employment of an individual ought to be a voluntarily made contract exclusively between two free individuals, are all violations of individual rights, by creating systems that institutionalise the involuntary sacrifice of an individual’s life(time, energy, efforts) for the benefit of others.

This is a from of moral cannibalism. It doesn’t matter if they arrive at such a system democratically. A man’s individual rights cannot be voted away through majority will in a society where individual rights are recognised. Unless of course, the meaning and the principle of individual rights is perverted —as it is being done today across the world—by changing it from “freedom to take voluntary actions—and bear the expenses” to “freedom to take the products of actions of others—and pass on the expenses to those who take productive actions.” A rational man would have no choice but to move out of a society which institutionalises injustice.

The Nordics who think that they happily agree with their existing heavy wealth redistribution system —and many think that many do—miss the point that agreement is never an issue in any society. It is the individual’s freedom to disagree with the collective, that requires protection. What choice does a rational man have in Nordic countries other than to leave his country?— A man who only cares to live within his means, neither sacrificing others to himself, nor sacrificing himself to others. Forcing a man to leave the society, not because of his vices, but for his virtues, is not the characteristic of a civilised society.

It has been recently said,—by the World Economic Forum — economists found that people withdraw from economic life if they perceive that opportunities and wages are “shared unfairly”.

The idea that economic opportunities ought to be “shared” fairly or unfairly, can only arise in a society where people accept that wealth earned by a man is not his own by right, and that he is bound by an obligation to spend it in ways prescribed by those who didn’t produce it. In a society where trade and government are completely separate —a Laissez Faire Capitalist society— a man who provides economic opportunities to those who do not deserve them, will lose his wealth in the market. The price for his wrong assessment of an individual’s worth, is paid from his own pocket. It is justice, and no rational man can have any problem with that.

People do not withdraw from economic life if they cannot get an economic opportunity for which they do not qualify according to an employer’s judgement. They are forced to do so, —as is happening across the world today— when it is made impossible for them to get an opportunity from any other employer, who would have employed them,—and they would have taken it—but didn’t, because of some democratically approved “progressive legislation” which forces the employer to pay his employees a wage which he cannot afford, forces him to hire and manage his employees on the basis of gender, and forces him out of existence—qua an employer— through taxation, for supporting the services which he would never otherwise intend to use, offered by those, who he would never voluntarily employ.

Government —as a force that is authorised to appropriate your products— can never solve economic problems. It is the source of all widespread economic problems that plague nations.

– Avinash Kumar, 16 June 2020.

The meaning of political equality

Political equality means that the individual rights of all the citizens are equally recognised, and protected by the Government. It is the essential condition for existence of a free society, and the only kind of equality possible between individuals.

Remember that the concept, “rights” only pertain to the Freedom to take actions: the individual’s freedom to live, to think, and consequently take actions to produce and trade values, without compulsion or intrusion from other individuals, including and especially, the Government.

If a group of individuals is accorded any exclusive rights, that are denied to others, its meaning and unavoidable logical consequence is a state-sponsored monopoly on production and trade.

Observe that the violation of your freedom to produce and trade, by others(especially the government), essentially implies and requires the violation of all your rights: It implies the violation of your right to think(since the purpose of thinking is to take action, and your freedom to think is redundant if you are not free to act and produce values in accordance with your judgements), and the violation of your right to live(your life, ie., a life proper to man: a non-parasitic life, requires that you think and act to produce and trade values, in order to sustain your own life). This is the reason why a free mind and a free market necessitate each other.

In this context, economic equality may be understood only in the sense that all men must possess the same political-economic right: the right to free trade. ie., the freedom to produce and trade any values with other individuals, with the voluntary consent of both the parties involved in the trade.

This doesn’t mean that all the individuals should be equally wealthy. It only means that all the individuals must possess the same freedom to think and act, to produce and to trade: the same freedom to live. In a laissez faire capitalist society, —ie., a society where individual rights are absolutely protected, and the government is completely separated from trade: making the state-sponsored monopolies impossible— your wealth is a consequence of your competence in exercising your freedom to produce.

– Avinash Kumar, 7 June 2020.

Note: This article is originally my answer on Quora to the question: “What is the relationship between political equality and economic equality?”

Objective Morality

Morality is the code of values that a man chooses to practice. I showed in my previous article: The Bridge between Metaphysics and Ethics that morality can be objectively defined. Since the value of life is objectively ultimate, it is only to living entities the concepts good or bad are applicable. It is for Man the choice is open to act against his own good: his own life. Hence it is Man, whose life requires making voluntary choices, that needs the science of Ethics: to choose his moral code for his own good. Remember that a value is never separate from the beneficiary: A value is always a value to someone.

Since men live in varying circumstances, the choices open to them are always in the context of their particular living conditions, that must never be omitted while making value choices.

A choice being objective is not equivalent to the choice being the same for everyone. Studying an introductory course on addition of numbers is an objectively good choice for a student who is a beginner, but not for an advanced mathematician: keeping in view their relative contexts. Observe here that making a choice relative to the context involved doesn’t mean that the choice is subjective.

All the contexts that men exist in, are absolute. A man’s history is not open to change. He cannot be a beginner and a scholar at the same time. He cannot be hungry and be satiated at the same time. He cannot be penniless and be a millionaire at the same time. He cannot both exist and not exist at the same time. Hence, the choices he can make in the face of his context and alternatives are always open to objective evaluation.

Do not turn into a moral dilemma the issue such as: whether you should write your response in black ink or blue, when both are permitted while writing an essay. That is not an issue worth pondering by reviewing the whole context of your life to identify the roles played by those two colours in your cognitive development so far. Most appropriate issue to spend your time on in this context is, to think about the topic of the essay you chose to write on. That is unless if the topic of essay is moral significance of colours.

Observe that the issues you can ponder on, and the choices you can make are limited by the time span of your life. You cannot and you do not need to pursue the truth of everything in existence. Suffice it to know that objective truths can always be established in any context.

I’ll end this article by quoting Ms. Rand: “The pursuit of truth is not important. The pursuit of that truth is important which helps you in reaching your goal that is provided you have one.”

– Avinash Kumar, 27 May 2020.

The bridge between Metaphysics and Ethics

The meaning of ‘value’ is that which is valued by an entity capable of valuing. ie., value is that for which an entity acts to achieve or preserve, in face of at least one other available alternative course to pursue. Where there are no alternatives possible, no choices are possible, hence no question of valuing anything arises.

The premise I identified here is, Value is the chosen. The choice is made by the entity: Either it is explicitly made by conscious choice or implicitly by evading cognitive effort.

Life is the fundamental alternative chosen by every entity possessing it, in the face of the other alternative, death. Existence of life is not unconditional, since life is a process of voluntary, self-sustaining activity to be pursued throughout the course of organism’s existence as a living being. Entity that fails to recognise and meet the requirements of its choice to live, will implicitly choose death, and becomes inanimate matter.

Since life is the fundamental choice of any living entity, which makes all other choices possible, it is its ultimate value. In this context, I present the meaning of ‘ultimate value’: Ultimate value is that which makes all other values possible, and acts as the standard for the organism to choose all other values which are required for its continued preservation. It is irrelevant in this context whether this primary choice of organism is conscious or unconscious. For any living entity, to be a living entity, the value of life is objectively ultimate. Ie., independent of its recognition and preferences.

All its choices:values, that further its life are good for it, and all the values that threaten its life are bad for it. This is the imperative bridge between “what is” and “what ought to be”. The bridge between Metaphysics and Ethics, which most philosophers couldn’t identify, or evade, thus proclaiming that Ethics cannot be defined objectively.

Man being a rational animal, Reason is his primary means of survival: his primary value. Reason is the Man’s faculty that identifies and integrates material provided by his senses, hence his guide to make choices. Man is free to act irrationally: ie., free to make choices that are not consistent with the nature of his existence, but not free to succeed in furthering his life. If such a man survives, it is only in the capacity of a parasite. And only by the grace of other men who choose to be rational: that make his life possible, and only until such men exist.

Man “ought to” place no values inconsistent with his reason, if furthering his life in his full capacity as a Man is his goal. In this context, I give a brief note on the nature emotions. All of Man’s emotions are dependent on his chosen values. His fundamental emotions: Happiness and Sadness are results of his estimates on whether he succeeded or failed in accomplishing his values. Discussing the range of human emotions is outside the scope of this article. What is relevant here is to identify the existence and nature of causal connection between man’s value-accomplishments and his emotions. Observe that emotions are effects, and they are to be treated as such. They are not a guide to his action. Emotions will indicate whether a man succeeded or failed in his endeavours, but it is the province of Man’s reason to identify the endeavours he ought to pursue in the first place. ie., what makes a man happy is not necessarily what is good for him. But if a man pursues rational values consistently, he is bound to experience happiness. Inconsistent emotions experienced by Man are a result of pursuing inconsistent values that compromise his life.

Now, to appreciate the contrast with Objectivist ethics, observe the completely antithetical ethical system devised by Immanuel Kant, who was allegedly projected as a philosopher of reason. Kant’s ethics proclaim “duty” as a value. Observe that Self-sacrifice is the virtue (as Kant will have you practice it) that makes it possible. He held that a thing cannot be of value if you have a personal interest in it: His purpose is to detach value from the one valuing it. The unstated ultimate value that Immanuel Kant conferred upon man here is Death.

To convince a man to pursue irrational values, Kant must invalidate his objectively primary value: Reason. He approached that task, not by outright proclaiming reason as invalid, but by giving sanction to the irrational. He asks you to give benefit of doubt that a thing doesn’t exist, (which includes your own existence) because you perceive it, and because you are “limited” by the nature of your perception. The unstated premise which he wants you to accept, without making it explicit is, “Contradictions can exist because you cannot perceive them.” Its metaphysical meaning is, a thing can be not itself: A can be non A.

To arrive at a contradiction is the indication of an epistemological error. ie., to confess that an A has been falsely identified as a non A. To proclaim, and worse, to accept that A can be non A is as good as invalidating everything you know, which incidentally also includes Kant’s philosophy. It is by far the most evil as evil can go.

To protect yourself from this evil, observe that a thing that cannot be perceived, and which doesn’t bear any relation whatsoever with that which exists and can be perceived: does not, and cannot exist. Do not frustrate yourself by trying to prove the non-existence of non-existence by means of existence. It cannot be done. The meaning of proof is to show that something exists and bears an intelligible relationship with that which exists. The purpose of proof is affirming the existence of that which exists. ie., Existence can only be proved in terms of existence. Because only Existence exists: This is the Axiom of Existence.

– Avinash Kumar

Primacy of Existence

Existence is everything that exists. Consciousness is the faculty which perceives that which exists. Two contending fundamental premises that direct the course of Philosophy in opposite directions, depending on which one accepts as the truth, are: “Primacy of Existence” vs “Primacy of Consciousness”. ie., the claim that “Existence is an absolute, which exists independent of any consciousness” vs the claim that “Consciousness is an absolute, which can exist independent of existence”.

Philosophical theories that propose to abandon reason, either outright, or which sanction mysticism after reaching a point of enquiry,—including theistic theories— are structured on the primacy of consciousness, and all such theories are false, because the premise is false.

Since consciousness is the faculty which perceives that which exists, it cannot exist independent of that, which it perceives. ie., to claim a content-less state of consciousness is a contradiction in terms. To be conscious is to be conscious of something. To claim that consciousness can be conscious of nothing but itself is also a contradiction in terms. Because, to be conscious of itself, it must first be conscious of existence other than itself: an act through which consciousness acquires its content and identity. ie., it is the fact of existence which makes the fact of consciousness possible, not the other way around.

By the time consciousness becomes aware of its own existence, the knowledge is implicitly available to consciousness: that its perception is not a necessary condition for existence of that which exists—that existence exists, independent of whether any consciousness exists to perceive it or not. 

In this context, a similarity can be observed between the organisms possessing consciousness and digital computer systems. The organism’s sensory system can be compared to the hardware components, while the consciousness is comparable to the software/operating code, which derives its content from the external world, through the hardware. The fallacy one perpetrates in claiming the “primacy of consciousness” is similar in nature to the fallacy of claiming that software can exist independent of external world, and that it is software which makes the external world—including the hardware— possible, while the reverse is the truth.

– Avinash Kumar.

Nature of Rights

Rights are the fundamental principles governing the conduct of relations among men in a free society. The concept of rights has its origin in the nature of man: that he is a rational animal, and his nature requires that he is to be dealt-with only in ways that are conforming/right to his nature. Rights are neither gifts endowed upon men by non-existing entities nor entitlements granted upon a man at the expense of his fellow men by the establishment.

As required by Man’s nature, his first right in a society is the Man’s right to his own life. Its meaning is, in his capacity as a rational animal, it is right for a man to perform the activities required to maintain and further his own life, without being coerced.

The only rational inference of a Man’s right to his own life is his right to the products of his work. That is the meaning of the right formalised by Man’s right to his own property. A man in his capacity as a rational animal is the sole proprietor of his life, his ability to do productive work using his own rationale, and the sole proprietor of the product of such work, when and only if such work is committed by him. When two individuals in a free society need each others’ products, whatever they are, the only way to exchange them is by Contract: A list of Mutually agreed terms.

Claim to another man’s product in a free society is only through contract.

In a society where anyone can use and dispose of the product of a man’s life, calling their need to consume his product as a claim over his product, no rational man can survive, no rights can exist and such a society is bound to collapse. Observe the fates of monarchies, oligarchies, communist regimes or unlimited democracies throughout the recorded human history as examples.

A state that recognises a Man’s right to his own life, his right to his own property and their applications in its constitution, necessitates an institution of free men to preserve such rights of individuals. That is the reason, Government is needed and elected by men in a free society and only for that reason. It is the only institution which has monopoly over force, and the use of such force is strictly limited to ensure the defence of the individual rights of citizens, while the individuals perform their desired productive activities.

As a compensation for such efforts of individuals that form the machinery of the establishment, citizens are taxed. An establishment in a free society can be said to be corrupt when it starts making laws other than the applications of man’s original rights of life and property, and starts taxing individuals for the services they can perform to each other on their own, through making contracts. Only proper function of Government in this context is to ensure the honouring of contracts made by the individuals involved.

Constant inflation of the bill of rights that place taxing obligations on citizens by stating “needs of the moment” is the hallmark of a society transitioning into the tyranny of an unlimited democracy.

Rights can never be obligations over an individual to perform any activity. They can only be restraints over his fellow men to abstain from activities that violate his rights.

Notice that a man’s right to his own life doesn’t place an obligation over his fellow men that they perform the activities required to maintain his life: that would be slavery. It only means that no one can interrupt a man from performing the tasks he deems necessary to maintain his own life at a standard he desires. A man’s right to his own property doesn’t place an obligation over his fellow men to work and earn properties for him: that would be slavery. It only means that any product of a man’s life and his work is his own property, and that if he earned it, no one can take it away from him without him authorising it through a contract. Such is the Nature of Rights.

Avinash Kumar

Theories and Concepts

A Theory is an abstract structure of non-contradictory statements based on an assumption. Its purpose is to explain a fact of existence, or to make a calculated prediction about a future event, or to create a new structure from other existents, that has no existence of its own, till then. For example, Theory of Relativity was used to predict the motion of the planet mercury. Theory of GOD was used to create caste system which was in turn used to maintain inequality of men before the establishment of the days past.

The assumption, which is the first statement of the theory being stated, can be a reasonable one, ie., which does not contradict the known facts of existence: like in the case of theories of physical sciences. Or a blatant contradiction of the fundamental laws of existence, especially the law of identity: like in the case of the theory of God (Refer my previous article, “Atheistic nature of an objectivist”). If the assumption contradicts existence, the assumption is false, so must be the entire theory built on it.

Validity of a theory is judged by its conformity to knowledge. And all valid knowledge exists in terms of concepts, the integrations of facts of existence. A concept can be an integration of either previously defined concepts, or it can be an integration of percepts: the data directly gathered by the senses, and processed by the consciousness.

Hence a concept cannot be formed by integrating non-existents, since that which doesn’t exist cannot have characteristics(let alone defining characteristics), and no definition can be framed to describe it.

The goal of sciences is to establish and further the knowledge by means of concepts. It is done by collecting and subsuming the evidence into a defined concept, and only when that cannot be done, develop a new theory by making a reasonable assumption to explain the collected evidence, with an understanding that a new definition(a new concept) will be framed in the future, which makes the assumption, and the associated theory, redundant. Till the day a concept is defined and integrated into the entire knowledge by a human consciousness, it must be cautiously observed to never accept the theories as concepts. Theories are what they are: reasonable(or contradictory) assumptions. Concepts are valid knowledge.

Root of human suffering lies in trying to counterfeit science. ie., creating and propagating false theories as concepts and accepting the associated false assumptions as facts of existence. The creation part is done by conscious cheats, propagation is done by ignorant liars, and this entire business is silently accepted by billions of sufferers.(Refer my previous article: “You are what you are”).

The trick to rule over men is to make them accept the false theories as concepts, particularly and especially in two major fields of science: Economics and Politics. The typical bright student anywhere in the world will readily find these two sciences nonsensical and boring right from the beginning in majority of the countries, and in majority of the countries these fields are not considered sciences at all. This is not happening by accident.

Popular economic and political theories taught in the university classrooms are devised ambiguously, by purpose, and PhDs being awarded are to those who are the most dissociated from existence, by purpose. To create the so called “experts” of Economics and Politics that will make the masses accept: that the only way to lead lives is to maintain the status-quo, or to not deviate too much; that suffering is eventual to anyone and must be accepted by everyone at some scale, irrespective of any crime being necessarily committed; that it is the purpose of the Government to offer free services to the non-productive at the expense of the productive; that Man’s authentic rights, especially his right to his own property are not necessarily valid all the time; that the new rights being conferred by the constitution of the country can sometimes “acceptably” contradict the Man’s right to his own life.

An objectivist will never betray the law of identity, and every theory he is being thrown at, he will, independent of others, verify its truth or falseness by means of valid concepts, ie., with existence as the standard. He can’t be made to lie that A is not A. He can’t be made to conform to anything less than a completely free society, where authentic individual rights are absolutely respected.

Avinash Kumar

You are what you are

If you are teaching what you know is false, you are a conscious cheat. If you are teaching what you do not know is false, you are an ignorant liar. If you have accepted another man’s word as truth, when its truth or falseness is not validated, you are a self-made victim, who has wilfully accepted suffering as a way of life.

All the suffering in this world is initiated by a few conscious cheats, propagated by thousands of ignorant liars, and accepted by billions of self-made victims.

If you have decided to cease to be a self-made victim, do not accept anything as knowledge, when it cannot be validated as truth. Check the validity of your premises: Statements that you have accepted as truth. If they contradict with any knowledge that can be validated as truth, your premises are false. Stop deriving your actions from false premises.

If you are an ignorant liar, you wouldn’t listen to anyone but your master: the conscious cheat. You have made yourself a slave to his teachings. I do not deal with slaves because they cannot take their own decisions.

If you are a conscious cheat, you know what I am, and what I am doing. You have the intelligence to understand that your game is up.

Avinash Kumar.

Problems of the World

All the problems plaguing the world today are in fact problems of Science. And all of them are completely solvable within a time span of few decades, by understanding the identities of existents, especially Man. First thing to grasp is the fundamental law of existence. The rule that makes all knowledge possible: A is A.