Monday, March 16, 2009

Holy Crap! It looks like the commies had a point!

From Kevin Carson's The Subsidy of History:
Contrary to Mises’s rosy version of the Industrial Revolution in Human Action, factory owners were not innocent in all of this. Mises claimed that the capital investments on which the factory system was built came largely from hard-working and thrifty workmen who saved their own earnings as investment capital. In fact, however, they were junior partners of the landed elites, with much of their investment capital coming either from the Whig landed oligarchy or from the overseas fruits of mercantilism, slavery, and colonialism.

In addition, factory employers depended on harsh authoritarian measures by the government to keep labor under control and reduce its bargaining power. In England the Laws of Settlement acted as a sort of internal passport system, preventing workers from traveling outside the parish of their birth without government permission. Thus workers were prevented from “voting with their feet” in search of better-paying jobs. You might think this would have worked to the disadvantage of employers in underpopulated areas, like Manchester and other areas of the industrial north. But never fear: the state came to the employers’ rescue. Because workers were forbidden to migrate on their own in search of better pay, employers were freed from the necessity of offering high enough wages to attract free agents; instead, they were able to “hire” workers auctioned off by the parish Poor Law authorities on terms set by collusion between the authorities and employers.

The whole thing is worth reading. Carson, Molyneux and Tom DiLorenzo (I'm currently reading his Hamilton's Curse, which charts the course of British Mercantilism and Crony Capitalism in American history) are turning me into a Left Libertarian.

No comments: