From Bill Buckler, author of The Privateer
The Rulers And The Ruled
The truth that without property rights, no other rights are possible has been known for millennia. In the formalised study of politics, it is more than 300 years old, having been articulated with great care by John Locke in the late 17th century. The modern study of economics is well over 200 years old. Adam Smith’s Wealth Of Nations was published in 1776 - the same year as Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration Of Independence. The great work which finally integrated money with politics and economics celebrates its centennial this year. Ludwig von Mises published his Theory Of Money And Credit in 1912 - the year before the US inaugurated an income tax and a central bank. Ten years after that in 1922, von Mises published Socialism - a book which established beyond refutation the fundamental truth that any form of central planning and/or government control of the means of production cannot work because it makes economic calculation impossible. Picture if you will the state of ANY other branch of human endeavour if ALL the knowledge about it gained over the past three centuries had been summarily dismissed.
Property rights are a prerequisite for any kind of exchange - direct or indirect. The ability to exchange is fundamental to any type of viable economic activity. The efficiency of exchange is fundamental to the success of that economic activity and the resultant prosperity of the nation that engages in it. Indirect exchange using a MEDIUM of exchange or money is hugely more efficient than direct exchange or barter. That makes money the most important economic good in existence. The tragedy of our present global plight is the simple fact that money is also the least understood economic good in existence.
The first pre-requisite of the establishment of a “society” of the rulers and the ruled has always been the same. The rulers must gain control over the medium of exchange. For obvious reasons, no nation can ever progress to a state of advanced economic activity until a medium of exchange is established. Once it is established, there is no going back. An advanced economy cannot operate by means of barter. The problem is that once the government or the rulers gain control of money, it progressively ceases to be a medium of exchange and becomes a medium of control. That impinges on the functioning of markets which in turn impinges on the maintenance of property rights. Thus, we come full circle from a free society to a command society. There has never been any shortage of those who want to rule. The problem has always been with the vast majority who are content to be ruled. Today’s global outcry for the manufacturing of more and more “money” out of thin air is an eloquent testimony. It shows that most people have no understanding of freedom, markets or money. Lacking such understanding - and having no desire to gain it - most people have accepted government as their masters.
As Robert Heinlein stated the problem - it is impossible to free a serf or a slave. He or she must free themselves and most are much more terrified of that prospect than they are resentful of being ruled.