Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Redistribution

Conservatism Leads to Fascism

With a provocative title like this one, it’s best to get clear immediately not on what this piece is but on what it is not–I am not going to claim that there is really no difference between conservatives and fascists, or that conservatives are secret fascists, or in any way imply that if you are conservative you in any way shape or form an advocate for any of the policies of Adolf Hiter, Benito Mussolini, or like figures. What I wish to argue in this piece is that conservative economic policies generate conditions that favor the rise of extreme-right fascist parties and that economic conservatism indirectly and unintentionally increases the risk that fascist states will arise.

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Thoughts on Russell Brand

Over the last several days, the interview Russell Brand had with Jeremy Paxman has been travelling around the internet. My Facebook feed has been chock-full of links to the Brand interview from excited left-leaning friends, vigorously exclaiming their support and excitement that someone with as high a profile as Brand is openly criticizing the political system on a program readily  viewable by millions. As a critic of our political system myself, I am indeed pleased to see elements of the critique echoed in the media. That said, Brand’s emotional passion for change nonetheless requires rigorous analysis to parse out which elements of his critique are valuable and which are incomplete or otherwise defective. That’s what I’m on about today.

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Deepening the Critique of Marxism

I found myself in another lecture on Marxism yesterday. Why do I say “another”? I did a cursory search of my own website and found that just shy of a year ago, I was responding to a lecture about Marxism on this blog. In that piece, my focus was primarily a criticism of the solutions Marx and the Marxists offer. Specifically, I was objecting to the Marxist belief that it is possible for people to be socially rewired so as to become more altruistic or otherwise capable of working hard without a scale of variant material incentives. Rereading that argument, I found myself agreeing, but I also found my critique had deepened, that there was somewhat more to it than I said last year. That’s what I’d like to develop today.

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The Swiss Plan to Throw Money at People

The Swiss are apparently going to hold a vote on a rather radical proposition–giving every Swiss citizen a universal monthly income of 2,500 francs (about $2,750), for an annual income of 30,000 francs (about $33,000). For perspective, this amounts to about twice what an American working for the federal minimum wage would earn annually if he were to work 40 hours a week every week without any breaks. I very much doubt that the Swiss will vote for this proposal due to how very radical it is, but I’d like to discuss the implications it would have for Switzerland if they were to do so and contemplate what a similar program would do in the United States.

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The Lost Quarter Century?

I’ve run across some fascinating statistics which, taken together, indicate that the average American earns little more than he did in the late 1980’s. Does this mean the American economy is experiencing a lost quarter century? Let’s take a look.

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