Make Buggy Whips Great Again!

horse buggy

Interesting that that 11,000 scientists call for population control in the developed world to fight climate change when the birth rates are falling below replacement rates in most of the countries in the “developed” and “developing” world.

The US, the EU, South Korea and Japan – all are experiencing historic low birthrates. The Western world is already reducing population. The marginal utility of children is zero (or in many cases, negative).

It’s the third world where birthrates are going up. The marginal utility of children in the third world is still positive

It’s also the third world that is the most inefficient in energy production and usage, the most inefficient in food production, generates the most pollution and produces the most environmental damage.

An increasing population in the third world is both a response to archaic systems still dependent on manual labor and a lack of efficient economic systems that drive technological developments that increase productivity while reducing the need for more humans. It’s not a coincidence that the invention and introduction of the automobile eliminated the horse as the primary method of motive power and therefore reduced the horse and mule population in the Western world.

It’s no different for mankind. Nature is rebalancing. It’s simple supply and demand. Humans are not exempt from economic laws.

I haven’t seen any studies to prove it but anecdotally, one can see a correlation between a declining need for people and increased productivity in western, capitalistic countries. I think it is nature correcting the balance – people are not getting married and having children in the frequency or magnitude of the past because a family workforce is no longer needed in an industrialized society.

Looking back, pretty much every significant development (both product and the processes necessary to create them) of the past century and a half have been produced by the strength of the mind rather than the strength of the back.

That’s why, when it is juxtaposed against that reality, I see the general affection for Marxism to be such an anachronism.

Marxism is based on the idea of labor creating value (one of the basic tenets of Marxism is literally called the Labor Theory of Value) and as such, intellectual labor (innovation) is discounted as the tool used by the bourgeois to reduce their necessity and to keep the worker oppressed as a consequence. It would seem obvious why the Marxist resists modernity and productivity created through innovation because of the reduced need for physical human labor.

The argument that Marxists always make is that capitalism increases wealth and income inequality because it fails to share income equally. The “living wage” fight is an example of Marxist attempts to decouple a wage rate from the value produced by a unit of labor, to set an arbitrary price for that unit of labor even if it doesn’t produce the same unit of value.

But the idea that capitalism doesn’t share its benefits is a lie.

Income is only a part of it – and when the totality is considered, a very small part.

While that sharing may not be measured in dollars, it can be demonstrably measured in VALUE. People all across the spectrum benefit from cheaper, more readily available products (Walmart, Amazon), the efficiency of transactions (electronic banking), an improved physical environment (sanitation, safe water delivery systems) and public services (i.e. public transportation, free clinics).

The fact is that the base of Maslow’s pyramid, the basic needs of life – food, clothing, shelter – have never been cheaper or more readily available than they are in the Western world today.

People of the lower economic category already benefit from the wealth transfer of a progressive income tax program where almost half of income earners have no income tax liability. The other half (with the top 10% paying the lion’s share) funds the efforts of various government entities which include welfare, infrastructure and education.

I find it interesting how people like Bernie Sanders, Lieawatha Warren and AOC and her Squad are selling Marxism as if it is the new and improved economic philosophy when it is as antiquated as a buggy whip manufacturing company.

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