WE DEBATE MR. BILLIONAIRE
The Mr. Billionaire/Mr. Egalitarian Debate
E. Mr. Egalitarian
B. Mr. Billionaire
B. I’m a billionaire. Call me greedy if you want. But if it weren’t for me and others like me our society would go to hell in a hand-basket. You’re lucky people like me are running the show.
E. Well, yes you are greedy. But you’re wrong about everything else. You’re so wrong that we should remove the rich from power and have no rich and no poor!
B. You’d regret that, believe you me.
E. On the contrary, Mr. Billionaire. We have to do it. Otherwise, we’ll have one-dollar-one-vote fake democracy. We’ll have rich people telling poor people life-crushing lies:
“You’re poor because you’re not as smart as the very rich. You’re not as hard-working as the very rich. You’re not as beautiful as the very rich or as deserving as them.”
We’ll have unsafe working conditions and pollution in working class neighborhoods so that Big Money can make a buck. We’ll have people without food security or homes to live in while the rich own lots of mansions and live in luxury. Our sons and daughters will kill and be killed in wars based on lies to make us obey politicians who only serve the rich; and if we refuse we’ll be called unpatriotic. So again I say, let’s remove the rich from power and have no rich and no poor!
B. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
E. Oh yeah? Why’s that?
B. Without us rich folks, there’d be no jobs. There’d be no businesses hiring people like you. Call us greedy, scream about the unfairness of inequality all you want. But without the rich, poor people would all be unemployed and even worse off.
E. Without you rich folks owning everything we wouldn’t need a job in the first place.
B. What do you mean, you wouldn’t need a job? Without a job you’d have no income; you’d have no money to buy food or to pay the rent or anything, you idiot.
E. Without you rich folks owning everything we wouldn’t need money either.
B. Now you’re talking utter nonsense. Everybody needs money.
E. Sure, in a society based on money, you need money. But in an egalitarian society, a society that is not based on money, you don’t need money.
B. OK wise guy. In your egaaaaaaaaalitarian society with no rich and no poor and no money either, tell me, if you’re so smart, how do you buy your groceries, uh?
E. Easy. I’d just go to the grocery store, put the food I need in my cart, go to the place where the cash register used to be, show the clerk my ID that shows I am a member of the sharing economy, let the clerk record what food items I’m taking, and walk out with my food. No money is involved. Even a greedy billionaire like you can understand that, right?
B. I may be greedy but I’m not dumb. This grocery store in your egaaaaaaaalitarian society would go bankrupt in a week, giving all its food away for free.
E. Not so. Since it doesn’t pay for the food it can give it away for free. Why not?
B. What do you mean, “It doesn’t pay for the food?” Where does the food come from, manna from heaven? Get real!
E. I’m very real. The food comes from farmers; where did you think it would come from?
B. Well then the farmers would go bankrupt, giving away their crops for free. Without getting money for their crops they’ll have no way to buy farm equipment or clothing or medical insurance or anything, you ignorant imbecile!
E. You just don’t get it do you? The farmers get all these things for free just like I get my food for free. See, in a moneyless society, you don’t need money. The clerks in the grocery stores, for example, don’t get paid money but instead can take everything they reasonably need or want for free. Same thing for everybody else who is a member of the sharing economy.
B. Oh wonderful! In your shaaaaaaaring economy everybody takes everything they need or want for free. Everybody takes. One little problem, buddy. Nobody produces. Why should they? Like your farmers and store clerks, nobody gets paid for working. So how long do you think they’re going to work? Five minutes? Ten? Before you can say “Bill Gates” everybody’ll be complaining that the store shelves are all empty and the streets stink to high heaven because nobody’s picking up the garbage. And people will be begging for the return of the rich people to get people working again.
E. You might be rich, but you don’t know how to listen very well do you?
B. What do you mean?
E. Didn’t you hear me say that when I got my food at the grocery store I had to show my ID that said I was a member of the sharing economy?
B. Yeah. So what?
E. Well, how do you think I became a member of the sharing economy?
B. How should I know? Probably you just have to be alive. That’s all that’s required for lazy bums to get those EBT welfare cards today, thanks to imbeciles like you and the rest of those bleeding heart liberals.
E. Well, Mr. Smarty Pants billionaire, you’re wrong! To be a member of the sharing economy a person has to work! They have to work reasonably, taking into account their age and health and ability and so forth. Ordinary people will decide what is or isn’t reasonable. And since ordinary people are quite reasonable, they’ll make reasonable decisions. Children and the elderly wouldn’t have to work; being a student would be considered reasonable work. Common sense would prevail. People would have to, you know, be a farmer or work in a factory or clerk in a store or paint houses or pick up the garbage or be a teacher or entertainer or do child care or provide health care or be a dog walker or a wait person in a restaurant—things like that, which you rich people never do yourself.
B. Oh, they have to work reeeeeeeeeasonably, you say. Listen, with rich people in charge, we make people work reasonably and we fire them if they don’t; and that’s why people work. That’s why they pick up the garbage. But in your egaaaaaaaaalitarian fantasy world, people aren’t paid to work and so they can’t be fired, can they? Who’s going to tell some lazy good for nothing faker that he’s not working reasonably? Like I said, in your dream world nobody would work.
E. OK Mr. Billionaire, I know you can’t imagine a world where people work for their mutual benefit instead of working to make people like you rich, but believe me, people do that when they are able to. The sharing economy is based on mutual agreements between people to share freely with each other the products and services they produce by working. You know, the way members of a family share things like meals without buying and selling them. As for picking up the garbage, people will figure out a way to do it that is mutually agreeable, just as families figure out a way to take out the garbage that is mutually agreeable.
B. There you go again, avoiding my question with goofy talk about your utopia.
E. My point about mutual agreements was to give your greedy self-centered brain a way to understand this answer to your question. The people who will tell a lazy good for nothing faker he’s not working reasonably are the other people in the sharing economy who don’t want to share with a lazy good for nothing faker, that’s who. Capisce? They’ll tell the lazy bum, “You’re out of the sharing economy and when you present your ID card anywhere it will say you get nothing for free.” They’ll tell the lazy bum that there is no longer a mutual agreement to share with him.
B. Are you crazy? How are the millions of other people in your shaaaaaaaring economy going to keep track of every Tom Dick and Harry to decide if he’s working reasonably or not? How can millions of people come to an agreement on whether even one person is working reasonably, never mind every working person? You and I both know it’s impossible.
E. Thank you Mr. Billionaire for proving just now that you don’t have to be smart to be a billionaire. Have you ever selected a hospital to care for yourself or a loved one?
B. Sure. What does this have to do with deciding who’s working reasonably?
E. You’ll see. When you selected the hospital to use, did you personally investigate every doctor and nurse and orderly and food preparer in the hospitals to decide which one to use?
B. Of course not, you idiot. I made my decision based on the reputations of the hospitals.
E. Well guess what? In a sharing economy the economic enterprises that people work in will also have reputations, and the members of the sharing economy, using their democratic government, will use the reputation of an enterprise as a whole to decide whether to mutually agree with its employees to share with them (all of them). No need to investigate every single employee individually, any more than you did when you selected a hospital.
B. Nice try, but you still haven’t answered my question. Who will make a decision about an individual worker, whether he’s working reasonably or not?
E. Isn’t it obvious? The worker’s economic enterprise (factory, hospital, whatever). The enterprise will want to keep its good reputation. A good reputation comes from providing useful good quality products or services to people who need or want them, using only a reasonable number of workers. The people in an economic enterprise will tell any individual worker whose laziness or ineptness threatens that reputation to shape up or leave. A worker who is told to leave can go anywhere else and offer to help out and work reasonably and get back into the sharing economy that way; but nobody can refuse to do their fair share and remain in the sharing economy.
B. OK. Fine. In your shaaaaaaring economy workers will work enough to retain their membership in it. They’ll work the bare minimum. But nobody will be motivated to work hard or smart, to invent a better mouse trap or take a risk, to make something new and better, like a smart phone, because this requires the good old-fashioned PROFIT motive, the chance to get richer than other people, to become a billionaire like me.
E. You’re wrong. Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine and never received, nor wanted, a dime for it. Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity while he worked as a clerk in a patent office, never concerned with getting paid for his scientific creativity. Alan Turing invented the idea of computers with software without any concern for making money from it. In the days of slavery, slaves invented new technology even though they couldn’t make money from it. A slave invented a new screw propeller for steam-driven ships; another one invented a device for removing seeds from cotton (which Eli Whitney famously mechanized in his cotton gin.) In Spain from 1936 to 1939 egalitarians controlled an area with four million people and economic production went UP, not down. So stop lying about how we need billionaires to high productivity, ok?
B. Fine. But the lure of big money is what gives us nifty things like Steve Jobs’ smart phone.
E. BS! Steve Jobs didn’t invent the smart phone, he only marketed it. And Bill Gates never invented anything; he just got rights to software that others invented and signed a deal that made him rich off of it. Lots of people who never became rich contributed to what we now call a smart phone, especially IBM employees. The software Bill Gates got rich off of was invented by two Dartmouth professors who never saw or ever dreamed about getting the big bucks Gates got. We’d probably have far MORE useful inventions in an egalitarian society. Why? Here’s why. Workers know better than anybody how their tasks could be done more efficiently with fewer workers, but they also know that if they told their rich employer how to do it the result would be worse for them: some would lose their job. So they keep their ideas to themselves.
B. So you think you have an answer for everything, uh? Well here’s the monkey wrench in your “no rich and no poor” society: It’s gonna have to be a totalitarian dictatorship like the Soviet Union. Drab. Grey. Everybody exactly the same. No individuality. No spice. Everybody does what the government tells them to do. There’ll be no rich and no poor, and no fun!
E. You want people to believe this nonsense so they’ll let you keep your wealth and privilege and power, don’t you? You want people to think the Soviet Union is what “no rich and no poor” means, don’t you. But you’re wrong.
B. What do you mean, “I’m wrong”? The Soviet Union and East Germany and Poland—all those Communist Iron Curtain countries—were just like I say, weren’t they?
B. So I’m right then?
E. You’re right about Communism being ugly. But you’re wrong about egalitarianism being like Communism.
B. Well, it’s just the same thing, really.
E. Not at all. Egalitarianism is about genuine democracy for ordinary people. Would you say Communist societies were democratic?
B. Of course not. All the power was in the hands of a small Central Committee of the Communist Party.
E. OK then. In an egalitarian society there is no government above the level of a local community that can make laws or tell people what they can or cannot do. It’s not at all the same as Communism.
B. Well if there’s no law-making body above the local community level, then there’s going to be utter chaos. There won’t be any large scale anything—no complex economic production, no great universities, just a bunch of primitive little villages heading back to the stone age. That’s even worse than Communism, you moron!
E. For a man who claims to be rich because he’s so smart, you’re forgetting something pretty obvious. Local communities can perfectly well coordinate large-scale endeavors on a regional, national, even global scale on the basis of mutual agreement. Remember how the sharing economy we talked so much about is based on exactly that?
B. Yeah, right! Millions of people are going to coordinate things by all mutually agreeing to this or that. In your dreams.
E. What? You’ve never heard of voluntary federation before? [Note to reader. Click here to read about it in real life today.]
B. What’s that?
E. It’s what your capitalist school system obviously—and not surprisingly--never taught you about. Voluntary federation is how millions of people can coordinate things by all mutually agreeing. It starts with local assemblies open only to all the people in a community who support egalitarian principles of equality and mutual aid and democracy. They, as equals, can make laws for their local community and decide things like what is or is not reasonable work and how the resources of the community will be used. Local assemblies coordinate with other local assemblies by sending delegates to meet. But here’s the key thing. These delegates don’t write laws. Instead they craft proposals for the local assemblies to implement or not as they wish. Only local assemblies that mutually agree to carry out a proposal (typically after back and forth negotiations and amendments) do so.
B. Wait just a damned minute! Did you say that only people who support equality and mutual aid and democracy can participate in these local assemblies? What about me and my rich buddies who don’t buy all this equality and mutual aid nonsense? We’re excluded?
E. That’s right. People like you are a tiny minority and until you stop claiming the right to own far more than others and to boss people around, you’re excluded. Of course once you agree to support equality and mutual aid you’ll be invited to join us. Your call.
B. Aha! Not only are you denying society the leadership of its best and smartest people like me, but, like I said, you’re going back to a world of independent little villages or small groups of villages. Primitive. Terrible!
E. Again, I see you’ve just got no imagination. The delegates from one group of local assemblies can, in turn, send a delegate to meet with more such delegates sent by other groups of delegates from more distant local communities. These delegates can craft proposals for very large regions, even the entire planet. This way, there is both order on a large scale (by mutual agreement) and at the same time real democracy. No egalitarian is required to obey any law that he or she was not able to help write, in full equality with all other egalitarians, in his or her local community. Nobody can tell a local community they have to obey a law written by a higher body. Communists hate this. But most people love it.
B. As much as I hate Communists, I agree with them that voluntary federation would be a disaster. If you let the ignorant self-centered riff raff have the final say then nobody who’s concerned for the big picture and the good of all society will be in power. Society will go to Hell in a hand-basket for sure, on a road paved with good intentions. Even the damned Communists knew this much, which is why they kept all power in the hands of their Central Committee instead of those local assemblies the Russians called soviets. Sure, the Communist slogan “All Power to the Soviets” got them the support they needed to take power, but they weren’t so stupid as to stick with that insane idea afterwards.
E. You and the Communists are exactly the same in having nothing but contempt for ordinary people. That’s obviously why you both hate real democracy. Neither of you want equality; you both rely on inequality to make people work harder. The only difference is the phony promises you use to control people. You promise people that if they work hard and smart they’ll get rich one day and the communists promise that if people obey them then one day in the distant future there will be a truly equal classless society.
B. Well there’s one promise we capitalists make that we keep. Capitalism makes for a world where you can compete to be best. People will hate your mutual aid society. It means no competition. No sports. No contests. No pride in being best. Drab, boring, no fun, just like an ant colony, no individualism. Awful!
E. Who said no competition? People like competition in sports and people like competition in contests and people like showing they’re best. In a real democracy then, people will have sports and contests with winners and losers and all of that. People with ideas for nifty new things or better ways of doing things will get a green light to give it a try, and this will count as their reasonable work in the sharing economy. And if it’s a success these entrepreneurs will enjoy fame and respect and the satisfaction of knowing they did something wonderful.
B. But people will still all be the same, like ants in an ant colony, won’t they?
E. No! People will be as different from each other as they are today, with all their different individual tastes and strengths and weaknesses. People will have different needs and wishes too. Big families will need bigger houses than small ones; sicker people more health care than healthy ones. The only way people will be all the same is when it comes to the right to enjoy, according to reasonable need and desire, the fruits of the economy and the wealth that is produced by all of society. The child of a janitor and the child of a doctor (and the child of a former billionaire!) will equally enjoy the same standards of education, healthy food, quality health care, comfortable living space, quality clothing, leisure time, fun vacations, healthy and attractive environment. You have a problem with that?
B. Yes I do. It is a terrible idea! I need servants and personal trainers and private chauffeurs and much more. If I can’t be a billionaire, how will I be able to make people work for me?
E. You got me there. [arms raised, palms facing up]
B. How will I be able to make sure that yachts and jet planes and such things are mine to enjoy instead of somebody else’s? I NEEEEEEED those things. Poor people don’t need them. How will I keep them if I’m not a billionaire?
E. Again, you’ve got me stumped.
B. See, I win. You lose.
E. Yeah. Right.
B. My billion dollars of wealth is rightfully mine! It’s my private property. You have no right to take my property away from me. That’s theft. It’s against the Constitution. It’s morally wrong!
E. Just curious, Mr. Billionaire, but what exactly do you own that is worth a billion dollars?
B. I’m proud to have you know I own General Equipment Corporation and ten thousand acres of prime farmland in Illinois. More than YOU’LL ever own.
E. Yes, no doubt. So you like to farm, do you? What do you grow?
B. Mostly corn.
E. Where did you learn how to grow corn?
B. Well, I don’t actually grow it myself. Farmers rent my land and they do the farmwork.
E. I see. Ten thousand acres. How long does it take you to inspect your land?
B. Well, I haven’t ever actually inspected it personally. I don’t even live in Illinois. But I hear it’s excellent farmland. The realtor who helped me buy it was well informed and assured me it was.
E. Oh yes, speaking of buying it. Who did you purchase those ten thousand acres from?
B. The previous owner, of course. I bought it with profits I made from General Equipment Corporation.
E. Yes, of course. The previous owner. And who did HE buy it from?
B. The previous owner to him, obviously.
E. So if we keep going back in time we get to the original owner, right?
B. I suppose so.
E. Native Americans, such as the Chippewa, once lived on that land and considered it their home. If anybody was the original owner, they were. The Native Americans didn’t claim to own land because they understood that land belongs to all people the same as the air we breathe and that whoever actually uses the land to support life has a right to it. But they were driven off that land by military force, by violence. They were swindled with treaties that the U.S. government routinely ignored in order to take their land from them. That’s how the land became the private property of somebody and how you came to own it—even though you don’t actually farm any of it or even live in the state where it is. Your ten thousand acres is stolen property. And you dare to say that if we return that land to society to be used for the common good, and let real farmers farm it and belong to the sharing economy that way, that that is THEFT!
B. You can talk all you want about ancient history, but the fact is I paid for that land with my own hard cash. So it’s mine. Period.
E. Oh yes. Your hard cash. Came from profits made from your General Equipment Corporation, right?
B. It sure did. Profits made fair and square.
E. How many employees do you have at General Equipment?
B. Ten thousand. And I pay them all a good fair wage too. There’s a union and they get medical benefits and everything.
E. Good for you. Now let’s see where your profits come from. You make the profit by selling GE equipment, right?
B. Exactly. We don’t jack up the price either. We’re not a monopoly. We sell it for competitive prices.
E. Good for you again. But in order to make a profit your cost of doing business must be less than the money you get from selling the equipment, right.
E. So the total cost of raw materials and maintenance of machinery and buildings and labor—wages and benefits—must be less than what you get from selling the equipment at a fair price, right?
B. Yes, of course. That’s called making a profit.
E. So let’s get this straight. You sell the equipment for what it is really worth; you don’t unfairly jack up the price.
E. And from what you get by selling the equipment you pay for all the costs of producing it, raw materials and labor and so forth? Right?
E. But there’s still money left over, which is your profit, right?
E. Well then, how come that left over money belongs to you instead of the workers who actually produced the equipment?
B. Because I’m the one who owns General Equipment!
E. You mean you own the workers, like slaves?
B. No, you idiot! I own the factory, the land it’s on and the buildings and the machinery.
E. Well, we’ve already seen that the land is stolen property. But what about the buildings and machinery? Did you personally construct those buildings and build those machines with iron that you personally mined?
B. Of course not. What’s your point?
E. My point is this. Just as with the land, you claim as your personal property things that you didn’t make—things that many other people labored to produce, but not you. And based on your unfounded claim to own General Equipment you make an unfounded claim to own the profits that come from selling equipment that other people—again not you—labored to produce. You, my good sir, are nothing but a thief. A thief who happens to have the law on his side. It’s called capitalism. And it is as immoral as hell!
B. You DARE to call me immoral? Why I’ll have you know I’m far more moral than you and your self-righteous egaaaaaaaaaaalitarians. How much money did YOU ever give to philanthropy, to make a better society? I give millions of dollars to philanthropy, just like Bill and Melinda Gates do. I give it to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, knowing it will be spent smartly for the common good of all—improving our schools and ridding the world of disease.
E. It’s funny how you billionaires love to point to your philaaaaaaaaaanthropy to make people think you’re God’s great gift to the poor. Do you know, by any chance, who started this billionaires being philanthropists thing?
B. Don’t know and don’t care.
E. Well, it was the first American super-rich guy, John D. Rockefeller the first. Do you know why he became a philanthropist?
B. To make a better world, obviously.
E. Not quite. He was advised by the father of modern public relations, a man named Ivy Lee, to become a famous philanthropist. Rockefeller hired Mr. Lee to advise him how to handle a very big problem. Rockefeller was the most hated man in America. He was hated because he ordered his private goon squad—the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency (forerunner to your FBI)--to massacre 53 striking mine workers (including 13 women and children) in Ludlow, Colorado who worked for Rockefeller’s Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. The public was outraged, and Rockefeller only regained some tolerance for his enormous greed by painting himself as a philanthropist.
B. Even so, his philanthropy made things better for people.
E. So you’re saying the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is making things better for people? Really?
B. Of course it is.
E. You’re either a shrewd liar or just a fool. The truth is the very opposite. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation talks about curing diseases, but it’s actually about something very different. It’s about increasing the profits of big pharmaceutical companies by arranging for them to use third world people as guinea pigs and thereby avoid the costs they would incur if they used the ethical and safe procedures enforced in developed nations like the United States. Here’s just one of many similar examples. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds and therefore controls the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), which conducts large scale clinical trials in Africa and South Asia. In 2010 seven adolescent tribal girls in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh died after receiving injections of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccines as part of a large-scale “demonstrational study” funded by the Gates Foundation and administered by PATH. The vaccines, developed by GSK and Merck, were given to approximately 23,000 girls between 10 and 14 years of age, ostensibly to guard against cervical cancers they might develop in old age.
Indian physicians later estimated that at least 1,200 girls experienced severe side effects or developed auto-immune disorders as a result of the injections. No follow-up examinations or medical care were offered to the victims. Further investigations revealed pervasive violations of ethical norms: vulnerable village girls were virtually press-ganged into the trials, their parents bullied into signing consent forms they could not read by PATH representatives who made false claims about the safety and efficacy of the drugs. In many cases signatures were simply forged.
An Indian Parliamentary Committee determined that the Gates-funded vaccine campaign was in fact a large-scale clinical trial conducted on behalf of the pharmaceutical firms and disguised as an “observational study” in order to outflank statutory requirements. The Committee found that PATH had “violated all laws and regulations laid down for clinical trials by the government” in a “clear-cut violation of human rights and a case of child abuse.”55 The Gates Foundation did not trouble to respond to the findings but issued an annual letter calling for still more health-related R&D in poor countries and reaffirming its belief in “the value of every human life.” [Go here for the source, which has a changed web location now.]
B. Well India is far away and I don’t know about what the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation does there. But in the United States it is a fact that the Foundation is paying millions of dollars to improve our public schools. What’s wrong with that, my friend?
E. Improve? Are you kidding me? Here’s what those millions of dollars are actually doing to our schools. They are paying all of the institutions that shape public education to shape the schools so as to serve Big Money at the expense of working class children. They are turning our schools into standardized test-prep centers where working class children are subjected to an abusive school environment designed to make them doubt they are smart enough or hard-working enough to deserve a decent-paying job when they grow up. They are foisting high stakes standardized tests on our children that are designed to have high failure rates no matter how well the students learn their lessons.
B. Hey, hold your horses. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is striving to get our schools to adopt a curriculum to prepare our students to compete in the global economy, and this means there needs to be rigorous standards that are the same for all the states.
E. “Compete in the global economy?”—you mean be the kind of obedient low paid worker that Big Money wants? The "Common Core" standards promoted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and its agent in the government--Secretary of Education Arne Duncan--are designed to make our children believe that our capitalist society based on competition and buying and selling to make a profit is the natural order of things. The Common Core standards that you love so much are to teach our children that a few people like you are vastly richer than everybody else because they’re smarter and work harder and the rest are not so smart and don't work hard. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations is paying to make our schools teach that this is the natural order of things. It is designed to make our children unable even to conceive of a society based on sharing according to need (instead of buying and selling for profit) and mutual aid and equality with no rich and no poor.
B. Oh get off your high horse. You’re just spouting rhetoric. You just don’t like Bill Gates because he’s richer than you are, so you accuse him of destroying our schools when all he’s doing is injecting high quality standards into them.
E. “High quality,” uh? As just one of many examples of this “high quality,” one of the biggest textbook companies—the Pearson School Company—is producing books to comply with Gates’s Common Core standards. It has first graders—yes FIRST graders—required to learn a vocabulary so patently designed to make them think like little capitalists that it almost seems like a parody, except it’s for real. Here’s the list of vocabulary words they say first graders should learn in their first unit of study: goods, services, want, needs, collects, taxes, producers, farmers, consumers, earn, income, sells, saves, choices, cash register, inventory, groceries, average. With “help” for our schools like this, they don’t need enemies. Philanthropy indeed! [See this source here.]
B. You know, you can complain all you want about our capitalist system, but the fact is it is based on free choice. It’s not like slavery at all. Nobody holds a gun (or a whip) to a worker to force them to work for a capitalist. No! Any employee of any company can quit and walk off anytime they want. There’s no Iron Curtain keeping people where they don’t want to be, like the Communists used. In fact, it’s the opposite. Workers complain about NOT being hired, about there NOT being enough jobs. Workers LOVE that there are people like me willing to hire them. You say you want society to be based on mutual agreements? Well every single employer-employee relationship is exactly that—a mutual agreement freely entered into by both the worker and the employer. You’ve got nothing to complain about.
E. Did you say, “freely” entered into?
B. I sure did. Nobody forces anybody to do anything.
E. Well, what if the workers freely decide not to work for capitalists but instead to create a sharing economy? You know: share according to need all of the land and natural resources that belong to society like the air we breathe, and the mines and buildings and machines and computer hardware and software that were created by countless working people, and all the products and services they create with these things? Are the workers free to do that instead of working for some capitalist who claims all of the profits for himself alone?
B. Of course not; that would be theft of private property.
E. Aha! Now I get it. You’re saying that capitalism is a system based on people NOT being free to use things that capitalists claim to own as their private property—things that they have simply stolen with laws that made their theft legal. You’re saying that people who don’t own the things needed to produce a product or a service are free only in the sense that they are free to be unemployed and starve or to find a capitalist to work for. You know, Mr. Billionaire, that may sound fine to you, but to decent people it sounds immoral as hell.