Buckminster Fuller said the progress of humanity can be measured by the ability to do more and more with less and less. The logical conclusion of Fuller’s theory of “ephemeralization” is the ability to do absolutely everything with nothing at all.
Herein lies the real promise of wealth: that capitalism will make everything so cheap that material goods approach the cost of zero. Forbes describes this situation as “bad news.” The magazine of “affluent lifestyles,” Forbes argues, “If it costs less to produce goods, companies can make more of them for the same price. This can result in more supply than demand and lower prices.” Sounds like a disaster, doesn’t it?
The only thing stopping capitalism from reaching this goal is capitalism. Successful corporations have taken over the mechanism of the state to gain unfair competitive advantage, which they use to suppress or eliminate competitors, including competition from their own employees and contractors for an equitable share of the revenue.
Corporate Control of the State
Witness how corporations and rich individuals have invested huge sums into controlling the mechanism of the state. Hedge funds and dark money billionaires donate millions of dollars to approved political candidates. The Koch Machine invests in races all the way down to local school boards and city councils. No position of power is too small to avoid the attention of America’s oligarchs, who want no attention at all.
Large corporations, hedge funds and billionaires do not want to be monitored. They do not want to be required to report on their activities. They do not want to be audited or second-guessed. They don’t want to be taxed and they don’t want to be fined. They are willing to pay handsomely for the privilege of continuing their profit-making activities as though invisible to the government, to regulators, to the media, and to the people.
How The People Can Beat the Corporations
The way to beat these corporations and billionaires at their own game is to improve yourself so that you can do more and more with less and less until you can do anything you want with nothing at all. The power to do this is absolutely at your fingertips. The division of a single atom can generate enormous power. This ability to create enormous power from miniscule substance has been used to confound the desires of demagogues for centuries. Today, it’s called “asymmetrical warfare.” Just as the Houthi rebels were able to use drones costing a few thousand dollars each to take out millions of dollars worth of refining capacity in Saudi Arabia. Very small, steady improvements can yield stunning results.
Each of us has within us enough energy to destroy the Earth many times over. The question is whether we can do anything with that power to pry away profits from the super wealthy. If we can’t, capitalism will make permanent paupers of all of us. More and more of the revenue generated by corporations will go to the excess profits of a few individuals and less and less will go to workers, employees, contractors, or anyone other than a select group of owners.
Curbing Corporate Power
How do you contain the corporate power that results from capitalism’s undeniable tendency toward concentration of wealth? States can no longer compete with corporations because they are outnumbered and outflanked. States unleash corporations, according to Theodore Kaczynski, explicitly because the state cannot grow fast enough without the power of profit. Capitalism makes growth possible. Without the profit motive, states lack the physical capabilities to compete and are quickly taken over by foreign capitalists who know how to get the growth going, how to turn physical assets into Bitcoin.
You curb corporations through the power of the people changing the laws to strip them of their assets, strip them of their profits, revoke their limited liability, take away their legal protections, and beat them into fucking submission. It’s happened many times in U.S. history, to railroads, banks, radio stations, airlines, and others. The people used the government to beat down the robber barrons, to bust up Standard Oil, and to effectively nationalize the auto industry during World War II.
I have no doubt that the people will use the government to beat Amazon to a pulp, to beat Google to juice, to beat Facebook and kick it while it’s down. Twitter will get smacked. Koch Industries will get nationalized. All the Vegas casinos will pay a percentage to the people’s house. Car companies, power companies, agribusiness will learn to get by on one-tenth the profit or get nationalized. Every single person capable of reading this sentence has the power to make this happen.
The Anti-Corporate Agenda
When the shit goes down, here’s a list of changes the people are going to make:
* No limited liability for corporations. If a corporation is a person, that person is liable!
* No one can make more than the living wage until every person makes a living wage. No more subsidizing corporate wages with public benefits!
* Not one dollar of profit may be taken until every person working at a business is paid a living wage.
* Any profit in excess of 10% of revenue belongs to the people and must be transferred to the federal government. The only way to make more profit is to grow the revenue, grow the pie for everyone.
* No one may earn more than 100 times the living wage. Any excess is paid to the federal government, whether from earnings or investments. One hundred times is enough. Fuck your yachts, fuck your spaceships.
Perfect Yourself to Protect Yourself
How can you develop the power you possess in a way that stops the trajectory of history? Recognize that by simply dividing a single atom of skin cell tissue, you could blow up the whole fucking planet. Who can help you turn tissue into terror? A scientist.
Science can help you isolate the source of your power and develop it into something useful. The science of alphabet enables you to “hear” ideas and interpret them in a way beneficial to you. When you learn to focus on something, it becomes your North Star and the path to your liberation. By pursuing one simple, odd, eccentric obsession you can change the course of history. You can see the world the way you want it to be seen, and you can share that vision with others so that they, too, can see a future you describe as something possible.
Through that focus on what you love, you become a branch for others to follow. They see the strength of your personal expression and are drawn to it. People sense that power, in literature and art, in music and drama: the strength of one who knows themself and searches themself for a solution of how to live a proper life. In this manner, just by focusing on your own improvement and awareness, you demonstrate an alternative to the incorporeal corporation.
Our wealth does not come from profit but from competency and happiness: our ability to create our own reality within the bounds of our mortality. We share rather than buy and sell. We share our knowledge with each other for our mutual benefit. And we mutually benefit from an alphabet of agreement, from a language none of us made and all of us use. We mutually benefit from our love of music and composition, from our knowledge of the scale and the mechanics of musical instruments. We all mutually benefit from a rainbow of colors arranged by the spectrum, so that we know a word can stand in for a hue, and a color can be seen just by being named.
Our wealth comes from mathematics we all own and share as a right of passage: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. These are ideas nobody owns, everyone shares, and they are outside the economic process. One does not pay to use numbers or alphabet or the names of the colors, yet they are priceless!
Property is a Fantasy
One way to recognize your invisible power is to realize you own everything that is. That’s right, you have as much ownership in everything as everyone else does. When you walk out the door of your house, smile at all the people who labor each day to improve all your houses, fix your roads and tend your gardens. You have lying around you all the assets you need to fulfill your dreams of self-development. You have a legal right to all of it, so take what you need, take what you can get away with, and build the life of your dreams.
All property is your property and everyone else’s, too. No chain of false titles leading back to theft washes property clean of collective ownership. All purchases are attempts to obscure the origins of assets in crime. All assets are a crime, a theft from the commons using brute force. Don’t kid yourself: every penny of interest you earn and every dollar of appreciation of your assets is stolen loot from the commons and is no more yours than the stars are yours.
Supposedly, property rights come with a wedge of mineral rights down to the center of the Earth and the airspace rights above to the heavens. If that is true, human beings should be considered moving cylinders of rights extending from their feet to the center of the Earth and above their heads to the edge of the universe. Any oil extracted from the earth is your oil, any gas is your gas. All the crops that grow are yours and all the water that flows is yours. Everything that moves through the sky is using your airspace without permission. Every signal from every satellite and tower travels through your space so feel nothing for intercepting or interrupting it.
Property is a fairy tale told to keep African Americans from collecting their fair share of what they built as slaves. It is a sum that can be calculated fairly accurately. Every transaction involving money is money laundering, and most of them are meticulously recorded, the exchange of stolen property and stolen labor somehow washed by transforming it into currency and hiding its origins.
Property is a fairy tale used to expropriate the common property of Native American tribes. Most native North Americans considered property to be communal and beyond ownership, although they often fought and killed to control the use of property. The Native Americans didn’t own North America any more than Christopher Columbus. No one owns North America. Everyone owns everything.
Everyone Owns Everything
If you build a house with stolen bricks, it does not magically become yours. If you grow crops on stolen land with stolen seeds using stolen methods, they’re not your crops anymore than they’re mine. Every bit of the alphabet is communally owned and anything made from it belongs to the public. All the numbers and mathematical symbols belong to all the people and any equations or algorithms derived using them belong to the people collectively. Just because you arrange the leaves in a field into a smiley face does not make the leaves or the field or the smiley face your property.
Every note in the scale is public and every bit of sheet music is collectively owned. The only thing a person owns is their own performance. Any duplication or broadcast of any performance requires the people’s technology and belongs to all of us. All the colors belong to all of us and their arrangement into patterns does not end their collective ownership. All works of art are the people’s art and no auction can eliminate the collective ownership of everything physical.
There’s No Such Thing as Theft
I’m a member of an online forum restricted to merchants in the area. When merchants need things, they ask, and other merchants often have the answers or equipment needed to make progress. About a month ago, a merchant posted that an individual had stolen a very expensive musical instrument from his store. The fool was caught on a surveillance camera posing with the instrument.
The merchant notified the police and posted a photo of the thief to the online forum. Suddenly, a posse was forming, as merchants shared the photo up and down the valley. Another merchant remembered seeing the same man in his shop earlier that day. The hunt was on!
Suddenly, another member of the group offered to make the merchant whole and pay for the instrument if the merchant would withdraw the police complaint. That stopped the posse in its tracks. Over the next several days, a price was established, the merchant was reimbursed, and a precedent was set.
The thief did not “steal” the instrument, he took it. He shouldn’t have done that. He should have asked for it and the merchant should have given it to him. Neither of them own it, ever owned it, can own it, ever. They could have struck a bargain as we all do when we buy anything. But the instrument itself is a thing without ownership incapable of doing anything wrong no matter whose hands it ends up in.
I’ve had instruments stolen from me and I smile thinking about the joy they are bringing to some children in New Orleans, which is probably where they ended up. I am happy to have facilitated that transfer. When I thought about all the wonderful things people were doing with money and objects they took from me, I stopped locking my doors. You can come to my house anytime and take whatever you want and you’ll be doing me a favor while making the world a better place.
Tapping Your Invisible Power
Violence is violence and there is no condoning it. Theft is not violence. Only a corporation thinks theft is equivalent to violence. The ownership of all assets is ambivalent at best. The taking of an asset may be something that needs to be adjudicated but it does not need to result in violence and should never result in detention or incarceration. I can make a good case in a court of law that you don’t own one goddam thing you think you own, so there should be no reason to use violence against someone for “theft.” You can negotiate the return of what you think was stolen, and perhaps a penalty or fee for your deprived use, but you have no right to detain or incarcerate anyone anywhere for a property crime.
Once you realize that all property is a sham, that we live in a world of controlled use where the terms for control are negotiable, you realize the invisible power you have as co-owner of everything. No one is legally allowed to do squat without your consent. You have the world over a barrel. All the houses are yours and all the land they’re on. All the fields are yours and the fruits they yield. All of space is yours and everything sent through it is borrowing your bandwidth. Every wavelength that strikes you is an intrusion. Anything carried on your beams is hitchhiking. This is the power you have any moment you wish to exercise it.