Friday, April 06, 2012

Credit Based Enterprise

Free enterprise is not the foundation of the free market. Ownership is the foundation.

A free society is inclusive. Not everyone in a free society is an entrepreneur, but they are all owners. Everyone starts with the ownership of their body and mind. Pundits do the free market a disfavor when they overemphasize free enterprise. Overemphasizing entrepreneurship allows the enemies of freedom to falsely frame the free market as exclusive.

Even worse, overemphasizing enterprise creates openings for progressives to undermine the free market.

I need to jump back to Adam Smith for a moment. In The Wealth of Nations, Smith described a system in which merchants gradually re-invested their profits in their business as they saw fit. This created a self regulating system.

In the last century, progressives have created a financial system that allows entrepreneurs to leverage against the property of others. For example, the Federal Reserve makes possible fractional reserve lending. Fractional reserve lending floods the market with easy money.

It takes a great deal of work for an business to earn $1M in profit. With a snap of the fingers, banks can create multiples of the hard earned profit that is equal in the market to the hard work. If a company worked hard to get $1M in the bank and the fraction is 1/8th then the bank can generate $8M to be lent to competitors.

We've created a credit based entreprise system in which entrepreneurs are seduced into taking on huge debt loads in efforts to dominate markets.

The entrepreneurs engaged in this business model will either experience over the top success, or they will crash into bankruptcy.

Most crash.

Businesses seeking to protect their market are apt to take on debt until the law of diminishing returns forces even the successful credit based businesses into bankruptcy.

I've lost alot of hard-earned money as creditors go bankrupt. Oddly, bankruptcy is not as bad for the bank as it is for people with hard earned money. The bank, after all, created the money lent from the aether. The Federal Reserve system allows for a high bankruptcy rate.

When you look at a business. It is impossible to tell if it was financed through the gradual process of increased profit or by taking on a massive debt position.

Likewise, it is difficult to distinguish the entrepreneur who took the route of building capital from the leveraged buyout artists.

By over-emphasizing entrepreneurship, progressives are able to mask the difference between debt and equity financing.

If free-marketeers caught on to this game and started emphasizing ownership over entrepreneurship, they would be able to take the high ground in debates.

They can then directly attack the credit economy by showing that loose money undermines the property rights of the people with hard earned money.

Remember:  An ownership society is inclusive. Everyone owns something ... starting with their mind and their body.

This inclusiveness is a very important point. Since everyone owns their mind and body, everyone is engaged in an ownership society to some extent.

The entrepreneur society only engages a few people who are are aggressively seeking wealth. In most cases, entrepreneurs aggressively leverage off others.

A credit based economy will always be subject to wicked business cycles in which banks flood the market with easy money at the start of the cycle and the markets come crashing when the debt load of the society is too large.

An equity based ownership society is less prone to business cycles as businesses guage the amount of profit to re-invest in the market by their knowledge of the current market.

In an ownership society, there will always be a few people aggressively seeking to increase their ownership. There will be entrepreneurs in an ownership society.

However, emphasizing entrepreneurship over ownership creates a society in which a few entrepreneurs take actions that undermine the ownership of the people at large.

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