Standard Oil, Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes (Bust the Trusts! The Right Way for Once!)

Standard Oil, Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes (Bust the Trusts! The Right Way for Once!).

What is it with me and bashing evil corporations of late (not necessarily on this blog, though I’m sure if you look through the archives…)? I hope it’s not habit-forming.

Well, could be that some of them, at least at some point in their history, became what they are with special thanks to the government. Could also be that some of them have been grandfathered in and are protected from competition from those who haven’t been grandfathered in. Might also have a little something to do with the fact that some of them have benefitted from foreign policy meddling and institutionalized theft committed by the state. But other than that, I have few complaints. Here’s a comment I left (since edited) at the end of a survey that sparked this article:

“I like surveys that have political and societal relevance. I believe in the desirability and functionality of free markets. And Exxon Mobil is a great company all things considered. However, they could not have gotten to where they are today without a little outside help. Some of this came from the consumer, to be sure. But some of it came from the state through the virtual cartel status granted to all major [US, Dutch, and British, at least] oil companies going back at least to the 1953 [CIA instigated] Iranian Coup… [This] greatly benefitted the Seven Sisters oil companies (a number of which [were Standard Oil descendants that later] merged to become Exxon Mobil) and is one of the main causes of unease in the Middle East and around the world today. They, like all oil companies, great and small, foreign and domestic, have also benefitted from oil’s status as de facto commodity backing for the US dollar. The world reserve currency known as the Federal Reserve Note is denominated in crude oil. The oil companies have a vested interest in maintaining this corrupt arrangement.”

Federal Reserve Octopus

What say you? Are some/most/all big corporations what they are today more thanks to competition or more thanks to monopoly? Here’s one for extra points: what about “small business,”? Aren’t they also protected from competition, in certain industries more than others, by regulations that keep newcomers out and by subsidies that keep competing technologies down?

For the record, anti-trust legislation actually has the effect of restraining competition, thereby securing monopoly, so when I say “bust the trusts” I don’t advocate anti-trust legislation, I simply want to let free market competition give some of these bigger guys a run for “their” money! The burden of proof is on them to show that they would really be as big as they are today were they under a system of laissez-faire capitalism. I guess you could say I’m with the left-libertarians on this one (except for the fact that I dared to use the word “capitalism”).

Standard Oil Octopus

Also, Brandon and I had our little chat on conspiracy theories. The collusion of big businesses (usually involving the state at some level) to form cartels (take note that Standard Oil, known to us today as Exxon Mobil and Chevron, was owned by John D. Rockefeller, who also had a hand in creating the Federal Reserve; I wouldn’t say everything that has happened in regards to these two was meticulously plotted, but I wouldn’t call it mere coincidence, either) happens to be one of the ones that I subscribe to. I think Adam Smith can back me up on this one. And unlike some who use the quote to support anti-trust legislation, I’ll give you more than just the first two sentences in order to show why such laws are not the best conclusion:

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary.

Monopoly Octopus

What I’ve Been Working on the Last Two Weeks

What I’ve Been Working on the Last Two Weeks.

Hey all, go check out my latest! Sorry, it’s not the first installment of the much-promised series on the standing army in the United States. I am stalling on those still. No, it’s for the Thorpe-Freeman Blog Contest, and who knows, if they like it I may walk away with $250 (to be put to good use, I assure you), some subscribers for NOL, and a little name recognition.

Something like this is relatively hard for me to write because 1) there’s an actual deadline, 2) it’s got to be under 1000 words, 3) I have to riff off of a piece already in The Freeman, and 4) ideally, it should be better than standard fare. I gave it my best. Be sure to let me know what you think either here or at the article itself.

So, because it has to be under 1000 words, I couldn’t say all that I wanted to say unless I either dumbed it down or limited myself to just the more savory tidbits, leaving the readers to fill in the gaps on the rest, if they have any interest. In the piece I managed to drop enough names and ideas and book titles to where readers hopefully won’t be at a loss as to what to do. Most regular visitors to NOL and FEE likely wouldn’t need much direction anyways. Perhaps they would simply get some enjoyment out of the piece. After all, my little essay is a modest paean to the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the great Leonard Read.

An FYI for my Christian readers: Read, who died thirty years ago last week, was a dedicated member of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles (don’t be so shocked at its current state, it’s in California after all!) and along with his pastor, the Rev. James W. Fifield, an opponent of the New Deal and the Social Gospel. Fifield was the founder of Spiritual Mobilization, Inc., which published Faith and Freedom. This monthly journal went on to have a profound impact on a young man called R. J. Rushdoony, the first Christian Reconstructionist. Just some food for thought.

Comments Related to Tucker/Wenzel Feud (Hint: ©)

Comments Related to Tucker/Wenzel Feud (Hint: ©).

The feud has to do with their respective stances on intellectual property, but seems to have spilled over into very petty nitpickery of late. Tucker criticizes IP as monopolistic. Wenzel defends it as no different than private property. I think that economics* and Natural Law Theory are on Tucker’s side and that Wenzel, like most anyone on at least one issue, has his blinders on. In a related debate between Kinsella and Wenzel, I see the same thing going on. My comments touch on this a little, but also briefly on the distinctions between Anti-IP Natural Law anarchists (Tucker, Kinsella, Hoppe), Pro-IP Natural Law anarchists (Rothbard and Wenzel), and certain minarcists (in this specific case, the Theonomist, Gary North, but for other minarchists that support IP, look to the Objectivist school of Ayn Rand, and for minarchists that despise IP, start with this wonderful article), as well as the similarity between Rothbard’s “Pro-IP” views and certain later Rothbardians’ “Anti-IP” views. This similarity resides in their agreement that the human will trumps contracts. So, technically, even Rothbard was Anti-IP where enforcement of copyrights as contracts amounted to “voluntary slavery.”

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One Year Later at PTPOL

One Year Later at PTPOL.

Well, this blog has been registered at WordPress.com for one year now. It took a while to get it off the ground, but it hit the ground running. (How’s that for a mixed – and contradictory – metaphor, by the way?) Click here to learn more about the blog, and here to learn a little bit about it’s author.

140 posts, 6,602 views, 482 comments, 200 WordPress likes, 192 Facebook likes, 54 followers on WordPress, 1150 followers on Twitter.

Not bad for an amateur one-man team, right? Well, its the readers that are more to thank. Without them there really is no point in writing.

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The Worse Rise to the Top? More like the Willfully Ignorant! And the Implications that has on Copyrights.

The Worse Rise to the Top? More like the Willfully Ignorant! And the Implications that has on Copyrights.
High IQ isn’t worth a darn if you refuse to or are unable to acknowledge that sometimes you just might be wrong. You can be the smartest person in the world, but when you make a mistake, and out of pride or fear refuse to recognize it, all your intelligence might as well not exist.

The person I just described is rarely a particularly evil person. They are simply human. And they are found in high numbers amongst the Powers That Be, precisely because of their higher level of intelligence. This is not the same as, but neither is it incompatible with the traditional Hayekian take on the subject. Continue reading

There is, However, Another Way of Looking at, or for, Socialism.

There is, However, Another Way of Looking at, or for, Socialism.

Hey all, it’s been ten days since my last post (but I’ve got more than 30 drafts, some of which I will discard, others may be outdated, yet a decent amount of which I hope to post in the near future). I’ve been somewhat busy with researching environmental organizations and “green” energy subsidies. I won’t bore you with any of the details (yet?), but I’d like to share some of my general observations.

The pattern I have seen develop for the different types of energy, as well as their advocates, is that, Continue reading