reply to post by harvib
There is nothing material to address in your post and I have already demolished all your previous arguments, so I will just say this: unlike you, I
have plenty of experience of the kind of 'self-sufficiency' you propose. It was an unmitigated nightmare for all concerned and utterly useless to
Many years ago, the South Asian country I call home went through an experiment with socialism that lasted half a generation and coincided, more or
less, with my childhood and adolescence. In that time, the government severed its commercial ties with the western world and embarked on a wholesale
programme of industrial nationalization, land reform and redistribution, all the time fulminating against big corporations--just as you do--and evil
landowners, which meant anyone who owned over fifty acres. Imports of 'luxury goods' (anything that wasn't a staple of life, essentially) were
banned and the State became almost the only manufacturer or importer of anything, as well as nearly the only distributor. Private enterprise wasn't
forbidden, but it was severely legislated against and heavily taxed; the result was a near-comatose private sector. How you would have loved it,
harvib, to see the corporations tumble!
But we didn't love it, for our lives were growing ever more deprived and miserable.
Pretty soon, the national economy had collapsed. The government couldn't discharge a moiety of the responsibilities it had taken upon itself. It
turned in desperation to China and the USSR for support, but the Communist giants weren't exactly munificent towards their wannabe comrades, and
besides they had economic troubles of their own. There was 'aid' of a sort--for example, a cement factory and a steel plant, decommissioned and
condemned in the USSR, were broken up and shipped to my country, where they were reassembled to provide rather a lot of employment for people with
government connexions but very little cement or steel.
So in despair the government urged us to be 'self-sufficient' (self-sufficiency was the great national mantra of those times). Since the shops and
warehouses were empty as drums four days of the week and mobbed the remaining three, we had little choice. We were told to grow our own food. Children
were taught how in school.
Flowerbeds became allotments, lawns turned into vegetable patches. At school, we dug up the quadrangle and the playing-fields to plant vegetables.
When harvest-time came, the school had more vegetables than the boys in the boarding-house could eat, and no-one to buy the surplus except the State,
which did so at derisory prices that didn't compensate the school for the expense of growing the damned things in the first place (not even allowing
for the fact that labour cost nothing--we schoolboys were the labourers, child labour mandated
by the government).
There was--understandably--an attempt at a military coup and another at proletarian revolution. Both failed. At length, for reasons too complex to go
into here, the government was forced to hold an election. It was trounced, reduced to a rump, and the country went back to the social-democratic model
of former times (free-enterprise capitalism with substantial social provision, e.g. free education and health care for all). The economy has continued
to grow steadily and healthily ever since. We have had many other troubles since, largely political, but economic growth has been strong and steady in
an integrated, strongly entrepreneurial economy.
You will say that what I have just described is socialism, the state gone mad, and what you prescribe is the opposite: individual self-sufficiency and
survivalism. But what my country tried to do, on a national level, is just what you are prescribing for individuals, and after a while what was
mandated for us on the national level was forced on individuals, too. Guess what: it didn't work.
The outcome of your prescription would be anarchy and chaos. Your armed, self-sufficient survivalists would never produce enough to keep society
going. Because of scarcities, shortages and conflicts over land, they would be engaged in an endless war of all against all--either that, or the state
would have to reestablish order with draconian laws and punitive enforcement. America might still be the Home of the Brave after that, but you'd have
to kiss the Land of the Free goodbye. Good thinking, Harv.