The Poor Masses

John K Clark (
Mon, 30 Sep 1996 22:38:41 -0700 (PDT)


On Sun, 29 Sep 1996 Suresh Naidu <> Wrote:

>I`m sure everybody on this list knows what these two
>businesses [ Nestle and Shell] do to the Third World.

Certainly we know, they and companies like them are the only thing that keeps
the entire third world from starving to death, in spite of incredibly stupid
socialist governments that keep pushing things in the direction of poverty.

>face it, folks, our freedom is built on other peoples

I'm certain that's not true, but if it was, tough. A word of advice, you're
not going to get much mileage singing the wonders of self sacrifice, at least
not on this list. Altruism is not an Extropian virtue, but on the other hand,
if you want to give me your place in the lifeboat I won't try to talk you out
of it.

>A business is driven to make profits, not make the best

Yes, a wonderful product is of no use if nobody can afford it.

>They will cut the corners and do everything in their power
>to keep production costs low as long as it doesn`t undermine
>consumer interest.

Exactly, but you almost make that sound like a bad thing. They are making a
product that people like as cheaply as they possibly can. Consumers have
something they like at a price they want to pay, employees have a job,
stockholders make money, everybody wins.

>You`ll notice that the public is only a small minority of

You lost me.

>While I don`t like union structures, they are necessary

Fine, if you want to join a union then join a union, I'm a libertarian and
wouldn't dream of stopping you.

>Governments are villainous, I agree, but not as much as big
>business. [...] if corporations are going to be this evil.

Evil compared to what? States? Governments, those paragons of charity and
morality, those defenders of the weak and powerless, the source of all virtue,
have butchered hundreds of millions of people this century alone, often their
own citizens. Corporations would have to work very hard to break that record.

>the government _gets_ its money by forcefully taking it

Correct. A corporations may charge more for a product than you want to pay,
but they don't put a gun to your head and make you buy their "services".
A corporation may not be willing to pay you what you think your time is worth,
but they don't enslave you as governments do when they need labor to serve on
a jury or fight a war. If I tell the government that I'd rather not work for
them, very soon men will knock on my door and make me an offer I can't refuse.

>The fact that products like the electric toothbrush,
>disposable diapers, are demanded by the public scares me.
>[...] Assuming consumers are enlightened enough to know
>[what is best for them]. This is where that tool of
>oppression known as mass media comes in. Advertisers can
>direct the news by controlling what shows they sponsor.

What scares me are arguments that the public doesn't know what's best for
it but the speaker, of course, does, so what is needed is a regularity agency
for the mass media that has the exact same values that you do and also has
God's telephone number so it can always tell truth from falsehood and good
from evil and will never be corrupted by its vast power.

John K Clark

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