Galt's Gulch is on the oceans | oceanic business alliance

(Wilfried Ellmer) #1

Hypothesis: Galt’s Gulch is on the ocean.

Breakaway Civilization

Real Estate Paradigm Shift

• Ocean Colonization is a Gamechanger on many Levels

Context: | Breakaway Civilization | Oceanic Business Alliance | The key conversation | evolution - transform todays marine business into seasteading | the big five of ocean colonization | get a foothold in ocean colonization |

(Wilfried Ellmer) #2

#Seeking Galt’s Gulch

by Jeff Thomas

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force. – Ayn Rand

For those who are unfamiliar with Galt’s Gulch, it is a fictional location in the US, created by Libertarian author Ayn Rand in her prophetic book, Atlas Shrugged. In the book, the business leaders of the world finally get so fed up with the endless restrictions placed upon them by the powers-that-be that they simply walk away from their factories and move to a valley (Galt’s Gulch) where they establish a capitalistic haven.

Atlas Shrugged was written in 1957, and, at that time, Rand’s supporters were not numerous, although future Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was a pal and agreed largely with her philosophy. (How things change.) However, in the last fifty years, the book has proven to be amazingly prophetic, even in some of the details, as to where the US, and by extension, the First World in general, was headed.

If ever there were a time that a Galt’s Gulch should be created by those seeking an escape from bureaucracy, it would be now. Certainly those of us who reside outside Europe and America are seeing an influx of people seeking to escape the countries that were at one time regarded as “the best place in the world.”

So, what we are seeing is individuals and families that are, in effect, economic refugees, each hoping to find a better place than they are leaving. The concept of a purpose-built community for libertarians is, however, a less likely development; yet, some do exist.

One is Cafayate, an upscale community that is being created by Doug Casey in Salta, Argentina. For those who may not be familiar with it, it is well away from the capitol, Buenos Aires, and therefore, hopefully, removed from much of the political influence of Argentine governments, which have been serially corrupt and dysfunctional. Plans for Cafayate include golf, polo, good restaurants and locally-made wines. An upscale community hoping to attract like-minded people.

(Editor’s Note: Doug Casey is an expert “crisis investor.” He invests in markets that are bombed out, hated, and depressed. This strategy allows him to buy world-class companies at bargain prices… and to buy a dollar’s worth of assets for pennies. This sets Doug up to make big investment gains.

It’s all part of a strategy we believe anyone can use to “flip” financial chaos into a fortune. No matter their investing experience or level of wealth.

Another community is developing in Chile and seems to have a strong focus on self-sustainability – organically-grown meats, fruits, and vegetables, plus grapes for the making of wine. It is based on a large, existing farm and house lots are now for sale.

We can’t say at this point that such communities are a way of the future, but, if so, they are a worthy concept. Surely, if an individual seeks to expatriate himself, he is likely to want neighbours who share his point of view and choice of lifestyle. If such communities are to be successful over the long haul, they will need to either include locals, or, at the very least, have a symbiotic relationship with locals – an interplay in which both groups benefit significantly. (History has shown that isolation from indigenous people breeds resentment.)

Are these communities a good thing? I would say, emphatically, YES. The more, the better, and the more varied they are, the better.

Will such communities come to represent a significant percentage of the world’s population in the future? I would guess that this is unlikely, particularly as the determination to maintain the present concept of the nation-state is so prevalent and so heavily enforced. These are communities for the independently-minded, and, truth be told, most people seem to gravitate toward the concept of being ruled by others.

Some have suggested that such communities are a regressive move and represent a return to the Middle Ages. However, modern communication and transportation could make such communities vibrant. Most people today see the Middle Ages as a period in which kings reigned in their castles and communities of huts surrounded them – small fiefdoms separated from each other, with relatively little interplay. However, in the latter part of the Middle Ages, towns sprung up, many of which revolved around manufacturing.

For example, the town of Perouges, near Lyon in France, was a walled town on a mount, whose population of one thousand or so was almost solely involved in weaving. A modern version of this could conceivably develop in which entire communities would be constructed that manufactured widgets. Assuming that the power of the nation-state was diminished, it is entirely possible that such a community could establish and maintain its own moral values and legal system. Such communities would not only offer a far greater variety of jobs and lifestyles; they would, as a by-product, create a tremendous expansion of freedom in general.

The greater the number of choices of different types of communities, the greater the freedom of all individuals. If one were to try one “Galt’s Gulch” and find it not to his liking, he could then try another.

If the next stage of the development of the world was to be in this direction, not only would each person have a greater range of countries from which to select his home, but an additional development would occur: the developers of the prospective destinations would learn that to attract new residents would mean that they would need to offer options – rights – that would appeal to prospective residents. If this was to happen – if countries needed to compete for residents the way businesses in the free-market system compete for customers – those who seek freedom would indeed experience a new awakening.

Editor’s Note: We have just confirmed the dates for the next private retreat at La Estancia de Cafayate, Doug Casey’s dream community that was turned into a reality in Northwest Argentina.

This exclusive event takes place November 1-6.

Having visited almost every country in the world and lived in a dozen, Argentina is Doug’s choice for the one resort with all the facilities a well-travelled person could possibly want to nourish mind, body, and soul. Doug says “La Estancia de Cafayate is a place where neighbors will become friends and join in the feeling of having discovered a place known to only a few in the world.”

Over the course of those days, you’ll join Doug Casey and friends in an immersive experience of the good life in Cafayate.

It will be a week filled with exciting social events, including cocktail parties, horseback riding adventures, golf, tennis, luxuriating at the Athletic Club & Spa, dining out on Cafayate’s scenic plaza, and generally enjoying Argentina.

There will also be plenty of opportunities to network with successful, like-minded individuals from all around the world.

Most importantly, this retreat will allow you to fully appreciate just why, out of all the places in the world, Doug chose Argentina, and specifically Cafayate, as the place to build his lifestyle community.

As you are probably aware, there has been a massive shake-up in the country’s government with a dysfunctional populist replaced by an advocate of the free market. As a consequence, the country is positively brimming with renewed hope.

With an opening up of the markets here, there is a very good chance Argentina will offer some very attractive investment returns…

This is how 99% of the space currently avilable for expansion and business looks like.

Oceanic Planet - The oceans the new frontier

(Wilfried Ellmer) #3

Cartagena Colombia - land cities running out of development space. Narrow minded interference becomes inevitable when everybody stands on everybodies toes…

(Wilfried Ellmer) #4

How the floating future of mankind might look like

(Wilfried Ellmer) #5

(Wilfried Ellmer) #6

Context: | The oceanic frontier | seeking interference freedom on the ocean |

(Wilfried Ellmer) #7

Corporate settlements in the United States

#The criminalisation of American business

Companies must be punished when they do wrong, but the legal system has become an extortion racket

Aug 28th 2014 |

WHO runs the world’s most lucrative shakedown operation? The Sicilian mafia? The People’s Liberation Army in China? The kleptocracy in the Kremlin? If you are a big business, all these are less grasping than America’s regulatory system. The formula is simple: find a large company that may (or may not) have done something wrong; threaten its managers with commercial ruin, preferably with criminal charges; force them to use their shareholders’ money to pay an enormous fine to drop the charges in a secret settlement (so nobody can check the details). Then repeat with another large company.

The amounts are mind-boggling. So far this year, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and other banks have coughed up close to $50 billion for supposedly misleading investors in mortgage-backed bonds. BNP Paribas is paying $9 billion over breaches of American sanctions against Sudan and Iran. Credit Suisse, UBS, Barclays and others have settled for billions more, over various accusations. And that is just the financial institutions. Add BP’s $13 billion in settlements since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Toyota’s $1.2 billion settlement over alleged faults in some cars, and many more.

In many cases, the companies deserved some form of punishment: BNP Paribas disgustingly abetted genocide, American banks fleeced customers with toxic investments and BP despoiled the Gulf of Mexico. But justice should not be based on extortion behind closed doors. The increasing criminalisation of corporate behaviour in America is bad for the rule of law and for capitalism (see article).

No soul, no body? No problem

Until just over a century ago, the idea that a company could be a criminal was alien to American law. The prevailing assumption was, as Edward Thurlow, an 18th-century Lord Chancellor of England, had put it, that corporations had neither bodies to be punished nor souls to be condemned, and thus were incapable of being “guilty”. But a case against a railway in 1909, for disobeying price controls, established the principle that companies were responsible for their employees’ actions, and America now has several hundred thousand rules that carry some form of criminal penalty. Meanwhile, ever since the 1960s, civil “class-action suits” have taught managers the wisdom of seeking rapid, discreet settlements to avoid long, expensive and embarrassing trials.

The drawbacks of America’s civil tort system are well known. What is new is the way that regulators and prosecutors are in effect conducting closed-door trials. For all the talk of public-spiritedness, the agencies that pocket the fines have become profit centres: Rhode Island’s bureaucrats have been on a spending spree courtesy of a $500m payout by Google, while New York’s governor and attorney-general have squabbled over a $613m settlement from JPMorgan. And their power far exceeds that of trial lawyers. Not only are regulators in effect judge and jury as well as plaintiff in the cases they bring; they can also use the threat of the criminal law.

Financial firms rarely survive being indicted on criminal charges. Few want to go the way of Drexel Burnham Lambert or E.F. Hutton. For their managers, the threat of personal criminal charges is career-ending ruin. Unsurprisingly, it is easier to empty their shareholders’ wallets. To anyone who asks, “Surely these big firms wouldn’t pay out if they knew they were innocent?”, the answer is: oddly enough, they might.

Perhaps the most destructive part of it all is the secrecy and opacity. The public never finds out the full facts of the case, nor discovers which specific people—with souls and bodies—were to blame. Since the cases never go to court, precedent is not established, so it is unclear what exactly is illegal. That enables future shakedowns, but hurts the rule of law and imposes enormous costs. Nor is it clear how the regulatory booty is being carved up. Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, who is up for re-election, reportedly intervened to increase the state coffers’ share of BNP’s settlement by $1 billion, threatening to wield his powers to withdraw the French bank’s licence to operate on Wall Street. Why a state government should get any share at all of a French firm’s fine for defying the federal government’s foreign policy is not clear.

I’ll see you in court—in another life

The best thing would be for at least some of these cases to go to proper trial: then a few of the facts would spill out. That is hardly in the interests of the regulators or their managerial prey, but shareholders at least should push for that. Two senators, Elizabeth Warren and Tom Coburn, have put forward a bill to make the terms of such settlements public, which would be a start. Prosecutors and regulators should also be required to publish the reasons why, given the gravity of their initial accusations, they did not take the matter all the way to court.

In the longer term, two changes are needed to the legal system. The first is a much clearer division between the civil and criminal law when it comes to companies. Most cases of corporate malfeasance are to do with money and belong in civil courts. If in the course of those cases it emerges that individual managers have broken the criminal law, they can be charged.

The second is a severe pruning of the legal system. When America was founded, there were only three specified federal crimes—treason, counterfeiting and piracy. Now there are too many to count. In the most recent estimate, in the early 1990s, a law professor reckoned there were perhaps 300,000 regulatory statutes carrying criminal penalties—a number that can only have grown since then. For financial firms especially, there are now so many laws, and they are so complex (witness the thousands of pages of new rules resulting from the Dodd-Frank reforms), that enforcing them is becoming discretionary.

This undermines the predictability and clarity that serve as the foundations for the rule of law, and risks the prospect of a selective—and potentially corrupt—system of justice in which everybody is guilty of something and punishment is determined by political deals . America can hardly tut-tut at the way China’s justice system applies the law to companies in such an arbitrary manner when at times it seems almost as bad itself.

**Hypothesis:** on the long term all business will go for the the vast and [interference free spaces]( ) of the ocean.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #8

(Wilfried Ellmer) #9

(Wilfried Ellmer) #10

(Wilfried Ellmer) #11

Cartagena Floating City Expansion

Hyperloop Connections to floating oceanic cities in a submerged tunnel structure.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #12

Light honeycomb concrete composite beyond narrow coding - solve the ocean colonization bottleneck.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #13

A new Atlantis - not a sci-fi Fantasy - a survival and development need on a 7,5 billion population oceanic planet…

Vent Base Alpha | human settlement of the mid ocean ridge for mining and energy…

• [Oceanic Aquaculture](

Breakaway Civilization

(Wilfried Ellmer) #14

Is the world running out of space | BBC - Future

By Rachel Nuwer

1 September 2015

Sometimes it’s difficult to fathom that the world could actually become even more crowded than it is today – especially when elbowing through a teeming Delhi market, hustling across a frenetic Tokyo street crossing or sharing breathing space with sweaty strangers crammed into a London Tube train. Yet our claustrophobia-inducing numbers are only set to grow.

While it is impossible to precisely predict population levels for the coming decades, researchers are certain of one thing: the world is going to become an increasingly crowded place. New estimates issued by the United Nations in July predict that, by 2030, our current 7.3 billion will have increased to 8.4 billion. That figure will rise to 9.7 billion by 2050, and to a mind-boggling 11.2 billion by 2100.

Yet even today, it’s difficult enough to get away from one another. Drive a few hours outside of New York City or San Francisco, into the Catskill Mountains or Point Reyes National Seashore, and you’ll find crowds of city-dwellers clogging trails and beaches. Even more remote and supposedly idyllic spaces are feeling the crush, too. Backcountry permits for the Grand Tetons in Wyoming sell out months in advance, while Arches National park in Utah had to shut down for several hours last May due to a traffic gridlock.

For those who can afford the luxury of occasionally escaping other members of our own species, doing so often requires getting on a plane and travelling to increasingly far-fetched locales. Yet humanity’s footprint extends even to the most seemingly isolated of places: you’ll find nomadic herders in Mongolia’s Gobi desert, Berbers in the Sahara and camps of scientists in Antarctica.

This begs the question: as the world becomes even more crowded, will it become practically impossible to find a patch of land free from human settlement or presence? Will we eventually overtake all remaining habitable space?

Taking a stab at answering these questions requires examining what we know about where people will likely base themselves in the future, and what life will be like then. For starters, experts predict that – reflecting current trends – an increasing number of us will live out our lives in cities. As agriculture becomes more efficient, people abandon jobs in that shrinking and difficult sector and instead take up ones in urban manufacturing or service. This has been going on for some decades. In 1930, just 30% of the world’s population lived in cities, compared to about 55% today. By 2050, however, about two-thirds will be based in urban areas.

“Virtually all population growth between now and the end of the century will be in cities,” says Joel Cohen, head of the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University and Columbia University, and author of a book called How many people can the Earth support? “It boils down to more than one million additional people living in cities every five to six days from now until 2100.”

Around half of the world’s population will live in smaller cities of half-a-million to three million residents. The rest will live in megacities, or those that harbour 10 million or more, which will mostly be located in developing and emerging economies such as China, India and Nigeria. Because of governance challenges, however, cities themselves probably won’t exceed far beyond 10 million or so. Instead, mega-regions – places where urban sprawl continues for miles and encompasses a number of cities, as seen today in places like the greater New York City area and China’s Pearl River Delta – will become the norm. Both cities and regions will expand geographically as well as become denser.

“People can live at much higher population densities – it is possible,” says John Wilmoth, director of the Population Division of the United Nations. “As someone who lives in Manhattan, I have to say that it’s not awful.”

Manhattan’s educational, cultural and employment opportunities – as well as its health care options, safety regulations and relatively efficient infrastructure – all contribute to the high quality of life its residents enjoy. Those are not universal urban guarantees, however, and they do not necessarily develop organically as a city or country grows. As Adrian Raftery, a professor of statistics and sociology at the University of Washington, points out: “Increases in population have to be planned for.”

It takes capable governments and institutions to organise basic amenities such as freshwater, sanitation and waste disposal. “But the problem,” Cohen says, “is that managerial talent is in short supply.” Worryingly, the places that are most in need of such oversight today are also the ones where most of humanity’s growth is projected to occur. Much of the future population increase will come from Africa, which will shoot up from its current one billion people to over four billion by 2100. “The Africa projections are really scary,” says John Bongaarts, vice president and distinguished scholar at the Population Council, a non-profit research organisation based in New York City. “A large proportion will end up in urban slums, which is not a recipe for happy living.”

The problem, he continues, is that Africa’s large cities – and, to some extent, Asia’s as well – are not equipped to absorb all of that population influx.

Indeed, places like Lagos, Dhaka and Mumbai already face tremendous challenges at current levels. “People buy water at great [high] prices from street vendors, human waste is all over the place and garbage is just abandoned – not to even speak of green spaces around the city or quality of habitation,” Cohen says. “I don’t think we are preparing adequately in thinking about the placement and organisation, or the political and environmental security, of growing cities.”

Even in developed countries, however, standards of living will probably not continue to improve at the same rate as in recent years. “We’ve had a few decades of extraordinarily rapid economic growth, with poverty declining in both rich and poor countries,” Bongaarts says. “But this will become much more difficult in the future.”

The reasons, he says, are three-fold. Wealthy countries are ageing, meaning their rate of growth and innovation will begin to slow. Secondly, the environmental odds of unencumbered growth are stacked against us: we have already used up the most productive land, dammed the most energetically profitable rivers and tapped into the easiest-to-reach groundwater. Finally, inequality is becoming an increasing problem. While the average American’s median income has not budged much in the past few decades, the top 1% is doing increasingly well. “That phenomenon will continue into the future and in part will be driven by environmental issues,” Bongaarts says.

Climate change is another wild card that could have a significant impact on how both developed and developing urban centres play out in the future. Around 60% of all cities that currently have a million residents or more are at risk of at least one type of major natural disaster, many of them climate-related, and even the most well-organised, highly developed cities have yet to fully plan for these threats. “People oftentimes don’t want to have this discussion because it’s associated with an alarmist view of climate change, but it’s worthwhile to consider what catastrophic climate change would mean for habitable space,” says Michail Fragkias, an applied social scientist at Boise State University.

While the impact of many of these issues could lessen with proper planning, outside of a few progressive nations and cities, there is not much evidence that that is occurring. “No doubt the problems will work themselves out, one way or another,” Cohen says. “But likely at a cost of tremendous and avoidable human suffering.”

Cities, however, are not the only places that will experience future change due to growing populations. Rural and remote places that are not strictly protected will likely see a modest increase in human habitation, too. “With a combination of climate change and technology, it’s not unthinkable that Antarctica might become inhabited, although it’s hard to imagine it being densely populated,” Raftery says. This also means that, for those with the means to do so, finding a quiet corner free from humanity’s mark will become even more challenging. There will simply be too many other people with the same idea in mind.

None of this, however, means that we will run out of actual space to live. Around half of the world’s land currently holds around 2% of the planet’s population, whereas only about 3% of total land supports more than half of humanity. But a growing population does mean that the number of relatively pristine places left to visit will also likely decrease, thanks to an ever-increasing demand for resources needed to support urban lives. “I’d say there’s no threat of the world’s rainforests all being taken over by cities,” says Karen Seto, a professor of geography and urbanisation at Yale University. “The bigger threat is the indirect impact of urbanisation on those landscapes.” Indeed, cities require wood for creating buildings and furniture, agricultural land for growing food, space to dispose of tonnes of rubbish produced on a daily basis – and much more.

Eventually, world population will likely level off, Wilmoth says. Even with our numbers skyrocketing into the billions, growth throughout this century is actually already slowing, and is projected to continue to do so. Many decades from now, human population might even begin to decline. For the foreseeable future, however, we are headed toward an increasingly crowded Earth – although the conditions of that world are still uncertain.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #15

Is the world running out of space ? - Spezies Extinction = rivets popping out of our life support sistem…


Zzzzz … more commercial links spam posts from @Elmo. :worried:

(Wilfried Ellmer) #17

Back to Topic: Galt’s Gulch is on the oceans…

Light honeycomb truss structure | floating structure | floating city

A good example for a shell home that can be used in a train configuration…

Serious posts only - please respect this space… do not clutter your obsessive nonsense here…

• Open your own thread for the “talks you prefer” and keep them there under an adequate thread topic to avoid killing the threads by boredom… do not bore the auditorium here.

• Do not interfere, troll, molest… (frusha | dohse | special )

• Seasteading is about interference freedom.

The thread starter.

The Film Tomorrowland paints a nice picture why we need to get on the task to engineer a better future in a interference free space…

Context: | Why have we lost optimism about the future ? | Why has so little of the development we imagined to be in place for the 21st century been made a reality - are we falling short to maximize progress ?

Context : Breakaway Civilization on the Ocean

Is the oceanic real estate business a way to deliver Galt’s Gulch ? / Tomorrowland / Atlantis / utopia ?

#To Galt’s Gulch They Go
Over the boom and through the bust . . .

Thomas Frank

There was a time when Atlas would frown and the world of nations would tremble. He was as mighty as Zeus and as petulant as a teenager. His wrath was irresistible, and he was easily provoked. Badmouth him and he might just drop his burden and walk away. Elect someone he didn’t approve of and he’d put a lightning bolt up your ass.

And scream it did. Still, these were the early days of collective capitalist action, and there was a certain brutality and clumsiness to the proceedings. Not every American firm doing business in Chile went along with the program—the high-minded banks, for example, squealed about their policy of “non-involvement in the political affairs of the countries where they do business.” And in the end, Atlas’s goals for the Southern Cone were achieved only by means of an ugly military coup.Chile learned the hard way about minding the feelings of the business-class god. In 1970 that country selected as president one Salvador Allende, a socialist of the old school who quickly set about nationalizing banks, telecom concerns, and so on. American companies naturally feared these developments and laid plans to push the country down a different path. They would withdraw investments, executives mused; they would halt purchases of Chilean goods; and they would persuade others to do the same. President Richard Nixon, who was clearly thinking along the same lines, told his CIA director to “make the economy scream.”

In later years, Atlas would grow more subtle in expressing himself, more refined. When François Mitterrand was elected president of France in 1981—another socialist pursuing an array of nationalizations and expanded rights for labor—there was no need for a junta of generals to intervene. Mitterrand pumped the depressed French economy full of Keynesian stimulus, but his nationalizations were too much to take: the private sector simply refused to play along. The New York Times spoke of an “investment strike,” rich Frenchmen moved abroad, and Mitterrand himself moaned about a guerre sociale conducted by the bosses. This socialist was no Salvador Allende: he came into office at the head of a good-sized majority, he presided over one of the largest economies in the world, and he was fully committed tto the American-led security program of the era. But none of that mattered to peevish Atlas.

It took only two years for Mitterrand to capitulate. In 1983 he embarked on his famous economic U-turn, one of the most depressing episodes in the entire gloomy history of the neoliberal conquest. Economic orthodoxy returned to France in triumph. Entrepreneurs were celebrated. Labor unions went into a decline from which they have never recovered.

A similar episode took place in those days in Jamaica, where the socialist prime minister, Michael Manley, pleaded with the business community to invest, but without result: their mistrust was simply too great. Another unfolded in Canada, where large national corporations, according to one witness, threatened to pick up their marbles and go home unless Pierre Trudeau’s government abandoned plans to close certain tax loopholes.

And finally America itself got a taste of Atlas’s power. The immortal remark Bill Clinton addressed to his economic advisers shortly after being elected president in 1992—“You mean to tell me that the success of the program and my reelection hinges on the Federal Reserve and a bunch of fucking bond traders?”—will stand forever as testimony to the power of the visible hand. Seven years later, the administration had been converted to the cause so utterly that it now rationalized the things Atlas did to states that dared to regulate: “In a global economy where capital can be invested anywhere,” quoth vice president Al Gore in 1999, “red tape is like an economic noose that says: if you send your investments here, we’re going to strangle them with bureaucracy, inefficiency, and forms, fees, and requirements you can barely even understand.” Even for Americans, certain conventional acts of public administration were now beyond the horizon of the permissible. By 1999, not even a red-baiter like Richard Nixon would have been able to escape the wrath of the business god, thanks to his worshipful hours at the altar of Keynesianism. Just let the infidel try his wage and price controls in the decade of “globalization,” and it’d be his economy that would scream.

In France they have a phrase for the inveterate hostility of financial interests to the political Left: the mur d’argent, a wall of money against which reformers fruitlessly hurl themselves. In English-speaking lands we use a more active term: we call it a “capital strike.”

The phrase comes down to us from a period of economic desperation and left-wing righteousness. Faced with a severe recession in 1937–38, officials of the second Franklin Roosevelt administration chose to blame a “strike of capital” undertaken for political reasons—a collective act of sabotage by the economic royalty. Today, of course, we know that the actual cause of that recession was the Roosevelt administration’s own abrupt clampdown on Keynesian stimulus, a policy it undertook in an ill-advised attempt to balance the federal budget. But the hatred for the super-rich ran hot in those days, and the class-war explanation for the slump is what sold.

A “capital strike,” according to the 1938 understanding of the phrase, is a highly unusual event: a coordinated action directed by people like the group that Roosevelt’s advisers called the “sixty families,” a term they borrowed from a conspiracy-minded bestseller of the day. This is also the version enshrined by Ayn Rand in her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, where it’s organized money versus the idiot pee-pul, only the moral poles are reversed, and the rich supermen masterminding the walkout are heroes rather than villains.

Were we to apply the term strictly, a “capital strike” would mean a confrontation in which the wealthy decline to take short-term profits in order to gain an advantage that might open up after the capitulation of the other side—meaning the left-wing politicians who always darken the horizons of the wealthy. This strict definition would also imply a certain amount of organization in order to maintain discipline—an owners’ committee, or a sort of radicalized Chamber of Commerce. Striking capital, defined this way, wouldn’t just want to get a better return somewhere else; it would be after political changes here at home.

In this narrow sense of the term—in which the business community comes together as a politically motivated cartel—capital strikes are fairly rare. But if we understand a “capital strike” more like an investors’ version of a union work-to-rule campaign—financiers go through the motions and show up for work, but their hearts aren’t in it—we start to see examples all over the place. Now a “capital strike” is just another name for everyday financial functions: the movement or idling of money that occurs when companies go looking for optimal business environments. When companies demand concessions from a city or a county or a state, for example. Or when rich people flock to a tax haven. Or when money flees a country that has started nationalizing certain industries. Or when lobbyists threaten to move an operation abroad if a certain regulation is enforced.

By this definition, “capital strikes” are everywhere, happening all the time. We are afraid to tax financial transactions, lest the home bases for our own financial markets decamp to swinging London. We dare not regulate credit default swaps, lest the geniuses who make them decide to “shift their activity to jurisdictions that provide more appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks,” as some official someone actually said back in 1999. A presidential candidate tells us we must give big banks a tax holiday, or else they won’t ever repatriate the billions that they’ve parked overseas. Each of these is a capital strike, as is the far less exotic spectacle of a company choosing suburbs over city or locating the site for its new plant in open-shop South Carolina instead of union-friendly Illinois. And they are, if we think about the matter this way, both common and extremely effective.

Whatever specifics we associate with it, the phrase “capital strike” is intended to be an expression of great contempt. It was the deed, declared Robert Jackson, a Roosevelt official who would later become a Supreme Court justice, of an “economic oligarchy of autocratic, self-constituted and self-perpetuating groups,” which society had little power to control. Unable to get their way at the ballot box, these aristocrats now demanded it by threat of economic force. Their relationship with We the People, according to this picture, is one of constant extortion.

Of course, the preferred brand image for most businesses is precisely the opposite: pure, mystical oneness with the vox populi. The common man speaks and corporate America listens, in every situation giving the little people exactly what they want. No business wants to be seen as a peevish, grasping tyrant. The pro sports franchise owner who insists that taxpayers build him a new stadium, and skyboxes too, if you please, is hardly a beloved figure in American culture.

Over the last few years, however, certain reaches of the political Right have developed an outright cult of the capital strike. We can see it, for example, in the resurgent popularity of Atlas Shrugged and its reversal of the strike-novel tropes of the thirties. In 2011, John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, characterized the economic slump as a matter of “job creators” being “on strike.” Before long, certain conservatives were even trying to flip the script of the Great Depression itself—announcing that what happened in 1937–38 really was a capital strike. In his syndicated newspaper column, Michael Barone, the coauthor of The Almanac of American Politics, has used the supposed capital strike of the Roosevelt years as a warning for Barack Obama no fewer than seven times since 2010.

Every news item, to these apostles of the capital strike, vibrates with the universal political chorus: Do what business wants! Do what business wants! Do what business wants! Or! Else!

Hence the grasping at stray news stories for any hint that the uprising of the moneyed is finally on. Phil Mickelson, a golfer who makes almost $48 million per year, announced in January that he was considering moving out of California due to high state taxes there; the Right leapt for joy to hear it, with an editorial in the Wall Street Journal urging this man who chases a little white ball for a living to “vote with his Gulfstream” and find some low-tax somewhere to sulk in.

Libertarians cheer to see Gérard Depardieu, a star of the French film industry, give up his French citizenship in order to avoid paying the higher taxes imposed by the country’s new Socialist government. They roll over with Randy ecstasy to see Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH and the richest man in Europe, apparently do the same. In both cases, these poor tax refugees, along with their bold billionaire friends, are said to be “going Galt.” In fact, this is the second time Arnault has deprived the ingrate patrie of his genius: he also ran bravely away back in 1981, when Mitterrand got elected and frightened everyone out of their wits. In the fullness of time, however, Arnault returned to France, where the Mitterrand government kindly helped him to take over a floundering textile conglomerate; Arnault promptly dumped the less profitable divisions of the enterprise, and thus launched—with government help—his empire of tawdry luxury brands. Depardieu, for his part, has enjoyed a long career in the heavily subsidized French film industry, appearing in such government-backed winners as the Asterix movies . . .

Instead, what conservatives wonder—what confounds them utterly—is why no one is making the economy scream over here. Inside the bubble of libertarian purity, everyone knows we are suffering under the thumb of a tyrant who is worse than Mitterrand, worse than Pierre Trudeau, worse than Michael Manley—maybe even worse than Allende. You might point out to them that personal taxes are still relatively low in America; that we just finished bailing out the banks; that the stock market is booming; that organized labor is weaker today than it has been since the year 1900; that businesses get whatever they want from state and local governments; that the free-trade agreements just keep coming . . . none of it would make any difference. Inside the bubble, everyone knows that fundamental American values are under attack, that average people are persecuted by arrogant college professors and power-mad bureaucrats, that the free-enterprise system is breathing its last. Inside the bubble, this is a matter of complete conviction. It does not require proof.Ah, but I see I am beginning to wander into one of the perennial dead ends of writing about the Right: thinking that contradictions matter. In truth, Atlas just doesn’t care about such boring details. I mean, how many times have we heard that some libertarian hero earned his pile in Stalin’s U.S.S.R, or made millions off some invention pioneered for him by big government, or spent his entire career at some business-subsidized think tank, never once venturing out into the “free market” that he prescribes ritualistically for everyone else? Libertarian hypocrisy is an old story—and in the bubble world of laissez-faire, it’s a story that counts for nothing.

What it requires, given our failure to unseat the dictator Obama by conventional means, is action. Direct action.

But where are the leaders? Why is Atlas allowing this to go on? Why isn’t Wall Street issuing ultimatums to the Kenyan commie? Why aren’t the fucking bond traders crushing his program? Why has business investment grown almost 8 percent a year for the past three years? I mean, come on: Is a sulking pro golfer really the best we can do? Inside the bubble, none of it makes sense.

The only possible answer is that corporate America has become so devitalized, so compromised by the tyrant’s cash, that it can no longer fight. Big business has dropped the torch; only small entrepreneurs can save the situation, can restore the dream to the parched desert of statism. And so have flowered a hundred wild schemes in which lesser individuals imagine how they might withdraw from the life of the nation and rouse Atlas from his slumber. “How many times since Obama came to power has withdrawing your services sounded like a good idea to you?” wrote an essayist recently on one prominent right-wing website, noting that he was speaking to anyone who “works hard to make more than $200,000 a year in a small business.”

Yes, strike! Strike! Strike! But how? How can you “withdraw” the “services” that net you such an admirable annual haul without, you know, actually endangering your bank account? How can you arrange matters so you won’t have to endure the will of the majority, but they and their beloved state will still have to protect you?

Democracy is a problem, all right. Fortunately, entrepreneurs are at work on a solution. And all their innovations point in one direction: withdrawing physically into some libertarian laager—some mountaintop or island or remote state—where free-market principles will be observed with the zealotry they require.

There are, for example, several different plans floating around out there to launch a free-market hideaway named “Galt’s Gulch,” after the fictional place Ayn Rand’s fictional billionaires went to hide during their walkout. One of them is in Chile—made forever safe by that early, bloody act of free-market utopianism—while another, following closer to Rand’s text, is located in Colorado, which its organizers hope to make a center for the “Asset Management” industry.

Glenn Beck, the Constitution-minded conspiracy theorist, is also promoting a model town/theme park where entrepreneurial genius can “retreat from the world” and where all the civic gods of the nineteenth century will be restored to their rightful place. Oh, there will be TV studios, small businesses, a church, and freedom by the bushel. Beck has of course referred to it as a real-life Galt’s Gulch, and has compared it to Disneyland—or what Disneyland was meant to be before it sold out. What a combination: a veritable Skousenland.

Another model libertarian town, “the Citadel,” builds on three of the lousiest ideas in city planning, each making the others even worse. This burg, intended for an Idaho fastness, is not merely to be gated. It will be a medieval-style walled village—like Carcassonne, I suppose, only minus the nineteenth-century improvements. It is to be an American suburb, only without the rules about recycling or architecture. It is to be a factory town, like Pullman, only one that manufactures guns instead. Don’t let this last fact scare you, though. Although everyone in the Citadel is expected to be a crack marksman, there will surely be no hostility between factory owners and factory workers, since the prospectus warns “Marxists, Socialists, Liberals, and Establishment Republicans” to live somewhere else.

Places like Kansas are enthusiastically entering what economists used to call the “race to the bottom,” aiming to cut taxes to zero in the complete assurance that this is how you win the peripatetic billionaire’s favor. (And don’t fear the state’s regulatory apparatus: they’re only keeping it around to harass abortion clinics.) Legislators in Hawaii, meanwhile, have discovered a detour to the ocean floor, proposing that the state compete for the favor of the peripatetic celebrity by cracking down on annoying newspaper photographers.Then there are the usual libertarian schemes to launch a microstate in the middle of the ocean, or in space, or by seceding from the union, or by luring so many wingers to a given area (New Hampshire; the mountains of North Carolina) that its flavor is permanently altered. There’s a group of American management thinkers who want to (and probably will) carve privately owned cities out of the country of Honduras—itself delivered to “freedom” by a good old military coup in 2009—in order to set up their own free-market utopias.

A real estate developer in Michigan has dreamed up a plan in which an island off the coast of Detroit becomes an independent commonwealth and thereby transforms itself into a second Saipan, where taxes are low, schools are private, and everyone is rich (it will cost $300,000 a head to join up). The main industry in this magical place will be the good clean businesses of finance, real estate, and more finance—mmmm, you can almost see the money and the talent fleeing there already. And so packed with quality will it be, this bantustan of the rich, that it will ironically spark a revival of the city from which it has hived itself off. Unless a resentful Canadian navy has blasted it back to wilderness by then, of course.

What do you call it when average people try to mimic the behavior of bond traders and the great corporations, withdrawing into a fortified enclosure the moment they don’t get their way? Is it really Disneyland or Hong Kong? Isn’t Dubai more like it? Or apartheid South Africa? Or the Branch Davidian compound? Or maybe Brook Farm, reconfigured for the Bushmaster set?

As I read over the plans for these nasty little anti-utopias, these projects born of delusion compounded by delusion, I can’t help but think that the closest parallel is to be found in the first half of the nineteenth century, when ideologues of white supremacy launched private military expeditions in order to peel away pieces of Central America for the slaveholding American South—and then, when those endeavors failed, built their whip ‘n’ chains utopia by seceding from the insufferably righteous United States, which had just chosen as president a man they all knew to be a crazy radical. If a work of inspiring fiction is required, the utopians might consider F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story, “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” in which a Southern slave owner moves, Galt-like, to an uncharted valley in remotest Montana, convincing his human property that the Confederacy won the Civil War and thus, through a clever falsification of history, managing to keep them in bondage while he himself grows fabulously wealthy. After all, if the truth won’t set you free, well, then neither will Atlas.

The larger question of the capital strike will still be with us long after each of these schemes lapses inevitably into failure: Who really rules in this republic of ours? The people and their elected representatives? Or the crotchety god of private business? From campaign finance rules to free trade agreements to the Internet itself, it seems sometimes like nearly everything has been designed to empower business further, to persuade the self-righteous rich that they need tolerate the bullshit of democracy only in tiny amounts. We laugh today at Glenn Beck’s desperation to withdraw into a Jeffersonian Disneyland of his own. But tomorrow, when the bond traders are back on their feet, the joke assuredly will be on us.

Oceanic Business Alliance Work Hypothesis:

• Politics - less is more. | ocean colonization is about the technology bottleneck |

• If it is broken - can we fix it ? | project pipeline | try fast - fail cheap - try again |

• Big things have small beginnings | transition capacity |

• No way to do business as usual beyond the next 30 years. | sustainability |

• All business will end up in the interference free space of the oceans | Ocean Sphere | SabMiller |


It is always “on topic” to point out to any potential new readers that @ellmer isn’t really providing new information.

@Elmo is only spamming the comment threads with photos and links that ultimately lead to his phony “investment” scheme for the Elmo Association (aka, “Elmo’s Ass.”) of financial losers.

Just like the Admin wrote …
"… over and over and over and over…". :open_mouth:


(Wilfried Ellmer) #20

• Why we can not debate our plans with everybody on a 7,5 billion inhabitant planet.

• Why only “smart comments” can (and should) be responded.

• The need for a FILTER in forum discussion

• The need for “Going Galt” in general.