written philosophy

This is a short essay that I have written to further define terms and to make sure that anyone reading this collection of essays understands the more basic principles of micro-economics.

Supply and demand is the basic concept of markets that attempts to define the relationship between the consumer and the producer of goods. It has been defined as a natural law of economic activity. Packed into that definition is the understanding that on a macro scale, human psychology trends in a generic pattern when it comes to consumption of goods and services.

In short, that pattern is that when a demand for a good or service is greater than the supply or production capacity of that good or service, the subsequent price will increase to a level that will naturally ration that good or service until supply can be increased to match demand more appropriately. Such natural rationing has proven throughout history to be more effective than synthetic rationing done by governments since it is driven by a natural consequence to supply.

When supply is interrupted by the use of extra-market force (i.e. governmental force, private cartelism, and etc.) the price of the good will increase, which will decrease the demand for that good. This is the basis for why governmental forces and private cartels tend to last only a short time relative to the overall market timeframe.

Supply and demand will, therefore, necessarily limit cartels and monopolies in a very serious way, is has been shown through the limited history of capitalism.

Murray Rothbard worked his way through the economic history of the United States and one of the topics he touched on was the cartelization of the railroads in the 1800s. The railroad industry tried multiple times to form trusts and cartels in order to corner the market and maximize profits, but they were fighting against the law of Supply and Demand and they continued to lose time and time again. It wasn't until they gained the blessing of the government through a number of laws and contracts that allowed them to prop themselves up as a sanctioned trust. It was not a movement of activists that stopped the trusts from forming, nor was it protestors, rather it was simply a loss of demand in the railroad sector of the economy because the cost was too great. People couldn't afford to use the railroads as a cartelized economic entity, so they didn't and the cartel failed.

This is why the argument for government control to stomp on monopolies fails the test of logic. The only time you would need government to solve the problem of monopoly is if the monopoly is enforced by the government, otherwise it would naturally fail simply because demand would decrease until the monoplized goods would no longer be profitable.

If Walmart decided to buy up all of its competitors so that it could raise its prices and lower how much it pays its employees in order to maximize profits, there comes in a problem. If there is no competition and prices are able to rise freely, then higher prices will necessarily exclude certain people from participating in the Walmart market. Those people would have to seek such goods from other sources. But perhaps Walmart doesn't care because that is the bottom 10% of their customers. The rest will continue to pay higher prices because they perceive Walmart as the only place to buy their food and toys and tools.

Now, losing that lower 10% of customers may seem insignificant to Walmart, but alas they must find other ways to feed themselves and this creates an opportunity for competition in the market. Demand for goods from Walmart at this point will be stagnant since they have raised prices subjectively rather than according to demand. Meanwhile, some other small company will be selling to the lower 10% at prices that they can afford. If the other 90% find out that they can get their salt for a whole lot less, then some of them may start buying from this other company. This will cause demand for salt at the other company to rise very quickly and demand for salt at Walmart to drop equally.

Perhaps then Wonderbread can be purchased more cheaply at this other company. Then demand for Wonderbread at this new lower price will rise quickly. Eventually, this new company will be making quite a bit of money and they can expand and challenge Walmart. Walmart will then be forced to lower prices to meet demand. The law of Supply and Demand is called a law because it has always worked this way. No company can keep a sector of the market cornered indefinitely, nor even very long.

Supply and demand is not a man-made law either. It isn't something that some guys got together and decided upon. It is more like a law of physics. It exists as an observation of the natural order. It is a law that must be taken into consideration when creating new frameworks for a national economy. If someone wants to create a utopia from a communalist ideology, then they must consider how their framework will interact with supply and demand. If it works against supply and demand, then such a framework will inevitably need to fight against such laws continually. If the framework takes into account the law of supply and demand, then perhaps it will have a chance to exist for more than a few short generations.


The economic system in the US continually works against the law of supply and demand, and therefore continually suffers from a misallocation of resources. The government tends to direct resources as it sees fit and the result tends to be market instability in the long term. The US government trades longterm stability for short term growth, as we can see in what is being hailed as “Trump's Economy”. He is trading longterm stability so that the economy during his term as president can look “great”.

In the end, the resources could be allocated in a more efficient and beneficial ways if the government would allow them to, but that would appear weak. How would Trump or Obama or Bush or Clinton get re-elected if they appeared weak? Even Reagan did a pretty bad job of allowing supply and demand to allocate resources, though he is called “the free market president”. His presidency was the furthest thing from acknowledging and respecting the law of supply and demand.

I would insist that my readers try reading a few things further about supply and demand to gain a fuller understanding of its roots and how it works because regardless of the type of economy a landmass claims, they must all obey this law, as it is one of the only things in economics that has yet to be contradicted effectively.

The Attempts to Form Cartels

Supply and Demand, definition

Foundations of Economic Analysis

In my last post I mentioned productivity as a concept of human action. Let's discuss the roots of the word.

Productivity is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as:

  1. Economics. The effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output (of goods, products, etc.) per unit of input (of labour, materials, equipment, etc.). Also in extended use.

To Act

But let us venture backwards a little. What is it that makes up productivity? That is simply action. As Murray Rothbard describes it:

All human beings act by virtue of their existence and their nature as human beings. We could not conceive of human beings who do not act purposefully, who have no ends in view that they desire and attempt to attain. Things that did not act, that did not behave purposefully, would no longer be classified as human.

With this definition in mind, to act is simply to be human. But it goes deeper than that. To act is to be a being with purpose. A dog may act in its own self-interest, just as a man may act in his own self interest. Objects that do not act are inanimate objects without consciousness. Therefore action is the essence of being conscious. So how do we extrapolate from this term to a more macro level?

Productivity requires action toward a certain goal. Ideally a person's productivity works towards a wholesome goal of supporting a discriminate or indiscriminate livelihood, more often to their own benefit. A person may act and become productive in order to benefit another person as well, but the key to this definition is that they act toward a productive end. There must be a goal in mind, even if that goal is not in the forefront of the mind.

As an example, let's say that you wake up in the morning. What is your first act of the day? Do you stay in bed and soak up the warmth held in your blankets? Or perhaps you get up and brush your teeth? Both of these things are acts of productivity in their own way. The first is an act to appease your body's need for warmth and the second is an act to prevent cavities and bad breath. Your actions are productive to long-term and short-term goals. Either way your actions are productive. If instead you decide to wake up and do some heroin, your act is immediately productive. It produces euphoria and good feelings initially.

Different acts produce a different set of productive environments. Brushing your teeth sets a long-term environment of productivity. You will have fewer cavities and your breath will be fresher than the person that decides to stay in bed or the person who decides to do some heroin. This will set you up for more productive acts in the future while the other two examples will set you up for fewer productive acts in the future. Therefore acts are only part of productivity. The other part of productivity must then be guided by something like reason and discernment.


Reason is a topic that can take up an entire book, so we will only define it for the purposes of this essay here.

Reason is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as:

  1. A cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event.

Reason is the ability, therefore, to justify or explain an act. On a deeper, human level, reason is the conscious explanation of an act. That is, reason is the human ability to think consciously about how current action will positively or negatively affect future productivity or action.

With that in mind we can safely say that what makes up the act of being productive is action and reason. Productivity is not the same as that which is produced. Human productivity is action and reason that results in some sort of product as a result of action/labor.


I will touch more on the Labor Theory of Value later, but for now let's just define labor

Labor is the action exerted by a person toward a specific goal. The result of labor is production. Therefore is it upon labor that an economy is built. A person could labor at a workshop with the end goal of producing tables. The tables would then be the product of his labor. These are simple concepts, but they must be stated here in order to help define the term for future argument.

Adam Smith said in Wealth of Nations:

The real price of everything, what everything really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it, and who wants to dispose of it, or exchange it for something else, is the toil and trouble which it can save himself, and it can impose upon other people… Labour was the first price — the original purchase-money that was paid for all things.

While it can be argued that labor is the first price of all costs, this concept has been extrapolated by economists like Karl Marx and David Ricardo to mean that the value is derived from labor, which is a dangerous association to make cosidering how complex human interaction truly is. Since the economy and trade are simply the evolution of how humans interact in a regulated basis and in a peaceful way, the claim that labor is the basis for cost, and therefore price, is a huge claim full of assumptions, most of which are difficult or currently impossible to resolve.

Labor is not simply a cost basis for a product. It is, rather, a form of product. Let's say that you go to a business owner who is in need of help. You can offer your labor at a cost. You are, therefore, selling the business owner a product known as labor in return for perhaps money or some other tradeable good. However, the product you sell is a single cog in the machine of industry. If you sell your carpentry labor to a table manufacturer, your labor is a single cost-point in an array of cost-points. When you combine the array of points, you get the true cost.

There could be a number of costs involved in manufacturing a hard good such as tables:

  • labor
  • lumber
  • taxes
  • regulations
  • power
  • insurance

The above are just a few of the major cost-points in the actual cost-array. The larger the business, the more complex the cost-array becomes. So to focus on labor as a primary source of cost is a grave error in the judgement of the Smithians, Ricardians, and Marxists.

Labor is, however, not a set cost-point. The cost of labor varies based on the productivity of the individual, which further complicates the equation. One person may produce more tabletops than another per hour. Therefore that person's labor provides a lower cost-point to the table manufacturer. The business owner will look at the average productivity of the workers and try to see where improvements can be made. If one worker generates half the productivity of another, it is expected that that worker will be paid half or even less than half. The less productive worker will not have as strong a bargaining position as his more productive peers because the business owner must justify the increased cost to the company.


Productivity is, therefore, a prime indicator of a person's ability to participate and contribute to the growth of a local secular economy. Natural capitalism would shift and dictate who works in which sector of the economy based on their secular productivity. If a worker is less productive in one sector of the economy, they will monetarily be encouraged to find a sector of the economy in which they will be more productive. Thus the economy on a local and broad scale can be extremely elastic when given a chance, based on the measure of productivity of the workforce. When laws such as minimum wage and various other regulations come into play, the economy — both local and global — becomes very inelastic and unstable, as we are seeing today. A rigid economy encourages booms and busts on a large scale, which causes massive corrections in workforce and productivity distribution. Instead of micro-correction over the course of small amounts of time, the correction builds up with false incentives and then when the false distribution of productivity is no longer sustainable, we get a bust in the economy on a massive scale.


Capitalism has garnered much criticism over the years, which has resulted in thousands of papers and indepth studies across the world. Online many go to Twitter, Mastodon, and Facebook to rant about how capitalism is ruining the world. I would like to take a deeper look into this to truly figure out what is going on. Is capitalism truly destroying the world and ruining lives? If so, what are the alternatives to such a theory of the economy?

First, let me suggest that you, dear reader, go look at my analysis of the linguistic values of capitalism so that we are on the same page.

The Problem With Capitalism

Capitalism is a fairly simple concept that relies on the affirmation that property exists and is able to be owned. The problem of ownership then comes in fairly quickly. One might ask, “how do I know what I own?” In this case the owner of an object must claim ownership and be able to make an argument for why they own the object. If you build a table, you have a just argument as to why you own that table. For thousands of years humanity has had an ever evolving code that attempts to discern ownership. For a time, everything that was made or created was said to belong to a king or ruling class. That was an implied contract between the rulers and the peasant classes. Over the years that code has changed so that now the product of your labor is your own. You own your labor. If you create something, you own it, assuming that you have not entered a contract with an employer in order to sell the product of your labor.

Before we go down that rabbit hole, let us focus on labor and productivity since that is the basis for value.

Labor & Productivity

Labor is simply an exertion of a person at a particular task. Productivity is the value that is exacted from that labor. Therefore, if a person labors in a workshop building tables, their productivity can be measured by how many tables they are able to build every day (or other objective measurement of time). Productivity is, therefore, variable from person to person since some people will produce more tables per day than other people. That means the labor of that more productive person is more valuable to themselves and/or their employer than others. As a result, they can exact more value for their labor than other people can.

If one person can only produce 1 table per day and another can produce 10 tables per day, the latter will gain more from their labor than the former. This is very basic. So why must I write these examples? Well, in my discussions with people online I have found that they seem to forget these basic principles of productivity when they make their arguments. So let's keep this basic model in mind as we go forward.

Why Does This Matter?

What does this all have to do with capitalism? The truth is, this simple model as I described above is the very essence of capitalism. Of course it is a little more complex than that, but not really. If you keep in mind that capitalism is simple the claim that you own your own labor and therefore you can exact value from the productivity of your labor. If you are less productive at a task, then perhaps you should try to learn and grow to become more productive. If you then feel like you have reached peak performance, then perhaps you have chosen the wrong vein of production in which to labor.

A common claim by the critics of capitalism is that “our lives should not depend upon productivity of the individual. We should work collectively for the betterment of everyone.” This claim is huge because it assumes a lot about human nature. Within this statement, there is a claim that such a collective mindset would work out in a positive way. It assumes that human beings can cast off the chains of individualism and selfishness. It assumes that no matter what everyone thinks of their compatriots as their equal in every way.

Read that last paragraph again. Such a short statement is so packed with so many assumptions. It would take years of study and hundreds of books simply to analyze these assumptions, much more so to validate them and figure out how to implement them. One more thing that it assumes is that a synthetic human construct can override an evolutionary construct. That is to say that capitalism was developed over thousands of years, slowly evolving to to state that it is in now at a base level. Capitalism only works according the the greater human psychology. It is a natural evolution of the human condition that is optimized for benefiting individuals to the greatest level possible. If it did not benefit the individual, then it would have evolved differently.

When you introduce force into the equation in order to change the current capitalist system, things can get messy. Let us take a look at what people are calling capitalism today. They look at the US economic system and call it capitalism. If you just take a glance in the general direction of the US economic system you will quickly see that it is not, in fact, capitalism in the very least. The US government places controls on capitalism in the form of taxation, regulation, and subsidies.

Capitalism itself only exists in its natural form when it is set apart from outside influence. When a government tries to use capitalism to its own ends, it no longer exists as capitalism because the basic foundations of capitalism cease to exist at that point. The end result of such a manipulation of capitalism tends toward chaos in the system.

For instance, the US governmet subsidizes the oil industry and the automakers industry to a very great extent. This increases the perceived monetary gain from productivity in this sector. Temporarily it will increase productivity in this sector as well. However, this is where the law of supply and demand must come into play. The US subsidies have incentivized the production of oil and automobiles without consideration for actual demand of those products. By actual demand, I mean, natural demand based on price and availability. In addition, the national highway system spurs false demand for the oil and automobile industries. This false demand creates what economists call a “bubble” in the economy where consumers are incentivized to use their labor to acquire something that they otherwise would not have acquired. This bubble in the economy is never sustainable because the displacement of productivity is taken from other sectors of the economy that may need it more at that given time.

As a secondary effect, oil supply has been incentivized to grow so that demand will artificially grow and therefore oil is overconsumed. In effect, the degradation of local ecology has been incentivized by the interruption of natural capitalism by the world governments. I will not contribute all of the degradation of the world's ecological health to governments, however it has greatly been impacted by the government's control of natural capitalism.

As an example, let's take the Dust Bowl from the 1930s in the US and Canada. The US government incentivized farmers in the Great Plains to grow more wheat and foodstuffs through subsidies and land grants and World War I created a massive demand for wheat. This was a false demand created by government action and it encouraged farmers in the West to over produce and eventually destabilize the local ecology, which in effect turned green and grassy prairie into dusty wasteland. If not for government incentives, the Dust Bowl would never have even been a footnote in any history book. Through natural capitalism without government force, the economy is, therefore, more decentralized and the cost of production is more spread out across a diversity of productive individuals.

As I mentioned in my article Discourse on a Decentralized Economy, what I have seen in history is that centralization of coercive power tends to be more chaotic and destructive as an end result. From what I have noticed in history is that the more decentralized and individualized an economic structure is, the more stable and sane it tends to be. Natural capitalism always seems to tend toward a more decentralized form. Every time a cartel has risen up, it tends to fail very quickly.

In the late 1800s, a few cartels attempted to rise up and corner a particular market. What economists have learned from this phenomenon is that when corporations cartelize, they do it in order to attempt to manipulate the laws of supply and demand. If there is one thing that the market has almost no tolerance for is when people attempt to manipulate its laws and the cartel will tumble down and be replaced with a diversity of companies and individuals filling the supply chain and demand needs. However, there is one way to make a cartel work temporarily; that is through the creation of monopolies. The only way a monopoly appears to have the capacity to exist is through coercive force imposed by government action.

When Union Pacific and Central Pacific embarked on their 2000 mile journey across the mountains and plains of the US, they did so at the behest of the US government. They worked to build the Transcontinental Railroad with government subsidies. These subsidies were not the only empowerments given to these companies by the government. These companies also received special priveleges and land grants that other, smaller railroads had no access to. Eventually these actions lead to a virtual cartel/monopoly created by government incentives and false demand. False demand forced the creation of a temporary boom in productivity and trickled out to a multitude of companies, such as the steel industry. A single government action led to the propping up of a select few companies who could immediately out-produce their competition and gain virtual dominance in their particular industry. As a result, these tycoons became heavily involved in politics to help keep the false demand and productivity flowing to their pockets.

If you will notice, all of the evil of this cartelization of a corporation can be derived from government action in a natural capitalist economy. Without the government taxing the populace in order to benefit the corporations of their choice, there never would have been a disruption in the economy, and it is easy to abstract this to an event that changed the path of US history forever.

2 wars and a few decades of massive government involvement in the natural economy resulted with an even more massive market correction. It was deemed “The Great Depression”. The Great Depression was the culmination of so many government actions that it would take a couple of books to explain them all. One of these events was the cartelization of the railroads and steel industry. Another was the creation of a central bank called The Federal Reserve. Yet another event that contributed to the massive downturn in the US economy was World War I. All of these events were government action that artificially creating demand where little or no demand previously existed.

As a reminder, demand is simply a sector of the economy where there exists a want or need for a certain kind of productivity. There is natural demand where individuals actually need something like clothes or food, then there is artificial demand where an outside force does demands, let's say, a railroad across the country that would perhaps be nice, but not something that there is sufficiently enough demand for at the moment. I will leave this point here, although I could write an entire essay on the effects and problems with artificially created demand.

For now, this is the end of my first essay On Capitalism. Next we will go into more depth on the history and effects of natural capitalism.

The Pinebook

Back in November I purchased a Pinebook from Pine64 and I waited. I waited and waited until finally after over a month it arrived at my door; a glorious DHL driver gently placing it in my hands. Within 5 minutes I had the packaging torn away and the lid of the little laptop open and ready to go.

When the computer first booted up, the KDE Neon logo shined brightly and the desktop loaded rather quickly. The touchpad was a little jittery, but all things can be excused for a $99 laptop. First thing's first, begin loading programs to see where the choke-point is. After installing a few programs, I tried loading LibreOffice and Firefox sumultaneously. It took a while for both programs to load, but once loaded, they both operated without too many stutters. I could surf the web and write up an essay without much ado.

I purchased this pretty little laptop for a specific purpose, though. To grind out words on the screen and push them to my blog. My favorite tool for writing has long been Wordgrinder. So I searched for it in the repositories and came up empty. I had to be doing something wrong. It is a pretty little program that doesn't really require much, so what gives?

A few minutes of internet searches left me feeling a little put off, but I finally compiled the program from source (which took a very long time) and had it up and running. Of course the RAM footprint of Wordgrinder is negligible, so it ran perfectly well. However, I still had an itch to really get this new little laptop in ship shape, which means that I needed the appropriate OS running. Neon is great, don't get me wrong, but it is too flashy and RAM intensive for my needs. What I really wanted was a minimal Debian install with just enough GUI to use a web browser. So my search began.

To my disappointment, there was no real Debian distribution that I could find. I found a few variants of Debian, but nothing that wasn't heavily modified and flashy like Neon. I just wanted to find something plain and simple, without the glamour of the heavier distros. Heck, I would even go for a GUI-less install of Debian and just use Lynx for my web browsing if I had to. But alas, therein lay the problem.

I am not exactly sure how the computer chose which drive to boot from, but there are specific requirements. There is no BIOS or UEFI menu to choose your bootable drive, so you can't just go download Debian ARM or Slackware ARM and expect it to boot, and I am not experienced enough to know what is needed to get one of those images to boot. So I was left with the short list of distributions on the Pine64 website, all of which are probably perfectly fine for most people, but of course I have that little niggling in the back of my brain that reminds me how much RAM I'm wasting everytime I turn my computer on.

So I continued to use the little Pinebook and tweak it as I went. I wrote many an article on the little machine. Eventually a friend of mine convinced me to try Manjaro Linux. Manjaro for the Pinebook was my first introduction to the LXQt project and it was relatively fantastic as experiences go. Everything worked and it worked very quickly. I still had to compile Wordgrinder from source, but I was feeling optimistic. Manjaro + LXQt was a very nice break from the flashy, bloat-filled distros that were out there for the Pinebook. There was no real work requred to get the system up and running. The only modifications that I made were purely aesthetic. In fact, dear reader, if you have or are thinking about purchasing a Pinebook, I would strongly recommend installing Manjaro Linux on your machine right away.

Eventually, however, I still longed for the familiar embrace of GTK+ and Debian and everything that went with it. After some consideration I decided that perhaps the Pinebook simply wasn't for me. My friend who suggested Manjaro was in need of another Pinebook (he already had one, but his wife wanted one), so I decided to let mine go and continue my search for the perfect little writer's laptop.

Manjaro Linux for the Pinebook Pinebook 1080 LXQt