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All you really need is a population that needs access to certain infrastructure - cell phone networks, broadband services, etc - but that cannot pay for these things with their own income, so they have to take on debt. The debt can be rolled over, but never completely purged. As long as you can service the debt, you can get the access to infrastructure you need, but you'll always be in a subservient position.

AT&T's new data pricing scheme strikes me as a form of this - or at least a 21st century version of sharecropping.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 02:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.

Punishment, rewards, and expropriation

Masters also rewarded slaves who performed will with patches of land ranging up to a few acres for each afamily. Slaves grew marketable crops on these lands, the proceeds of which accrued to them. On the Texas plantation of Julian S. Devereux, slaves operating such land produced as much as two bales of cotton per patch Devereux marketed their crop along with his own. In a good year some of the slaves earned in excess of $100 per annum for their families. Devereux set up accounts to which he credited the proceeds of the sales. Slaves drew on these accounts when they wanted cash or when they wanted Devereux to purchase closthing, pots, pans, tobacco, or similar goods for them.

Occasionally planters even devised elaborate schemes for profit sharing with their slaves. William Jemison, an Alabama planter, entered into the following agreement with his bondsmen.

"[Y]ou shall have two thirds of the corn and cotton made on the plantation and as much of the wheat as will reward you for the sowing it. I also furnish you with provisions for this year. When your crop is gathered, on third is to be set aside for me. You are then to pay your overseer his part and pay me what I furnish, clothe yourselves, pay your own taxes and doctor's fee with all expenses of the farm. You are to be no expense to me, but render to me one third of the produce and what I have loaned you. You have the use of the stock and plantation tools. You are to return them as good as they are and the plantation to be kept in good repair, and what clear money you make shall be divided equally amongst you in a fair proportion agreeable to the services rendered by each hand. There will be an account of all lost time kept, and those that earn most shall have most."

[Engerman and Fogel, Time on the Cross, p 148 - 153]

And you will learn to like it, this master plan of modern monetary policy, or you will discover an alternative means to make your livelihood and master it.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:29:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Masters also rewarded slaves who performed well with free development tools. Developers produced marketable apps with their tools, some of the proceeds of which accrued to them.

On the Apple plantation of Steve Jobs, developers operating such land produced as many as three or four apps per year, and Jobs marketed their products along with his own. In a good year some of the slaves earned in excess of $1000 per annum for their families. Jobs set up accounts to which he credited the proceeds of the sales. Developers drew on these accounts when they wanted cash or when they wanted to purchase clothing, pots, pans, tobacco, or new hardware.

Occasionally masters even devised elaborate schemes for profit sharing with their slaves. Steve Jobs entered into the following agreement with his bondsmen:

"[Y]ou shall have 70% of the App Store revenue and 60% of iAd sales. I also furnish you with software updates and beta versions for this year. [...] Those that earn most shall have most."

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:46:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol. FOCs!!!!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:57:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See Brad DeLong quoting John Holbo on why libertarianism is the road to slavery.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 04:16:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I particularly appreciate the fact that the libertarian notion of property seems to be based on the idprinciple of living in a forest and collecting pointy sticks.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 07:29:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brad's post is a mess.

He invokes LOCKE but doesn't relate archetypal property legitimized by GOD, ROME, or RES PUBLICA to any argument either to refute Holbo's disquisition of a paper written by Samuel Freeman, "Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism is not a Liberal View", Philosophy and Public Affairs, 30, 2 (Spring 2002), 105-151. (Holbo's citation.) or Bryan Caplan's thesis of "libertarian nostalgia" in "How Free Were American Women in the Gilded Age?"; whence arises Holbo's attempt to distinguish thresholds of tolerance for liberty among authors of libertarian political philosophy for whom the expression of property rights represents a fundamental, ontological conflict between individual and group --corporate or industrial-- enterprise. (Let us note momentarily how the political issue of property from sex that inspired this cross-talk sure as hell didn't survive the voyage to ET and move on.)

Then, Brad dismembers Holbo's article to disguise the coherence of Holbo's thesis ( what are thick and thin libertarian ideologies?) so that Freeman's statements are indistiguishable from Holbo's in the pull-quotes he's provided.

But wait: There is more of the sophic humor one might expect from a professor of macroeconomic revelation who's also, apparently, averse to Oliver Williams and Veblen. Brad whets his accusation of Holbo's disingenous thesis by alluding to his own citation to LOCKE and hagiography of (paranthetically, theocratic) ROMAN antiquity: "That's how serfdom got started. The Roman Empire collapses...."  

The jiggin' must stop, people.

Today, right now, the state's interest in you is a claim of ownership of your person. So.

How would you differentiate authoritarianism and socialism?

How would you differentiate so-called liberals' exhortations for "adult" government from so-called authoritarians' deprecations of "nanny state"?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 11:02:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The economic significance of the property rights in man

In recent years economists have extended the use of the concept of capital beyond its usual application to machines, building, and othe inanimate objects. They have applied the concept of capital to the wealth in herent in the capacity of human beings to perform labor, calling such wealth "human captial." This extension of the concept seemed odd at first because it was applied not to explain behavior in nineteenth-century slave societies but in twentieth-century free societies. Nobody doubts that human beings were a form of capital in slave society. Slaves who wer traded commanded prices as specific and well-defined as thos on land, buildings, or machines. Since prices of slaves varied by age, health, skill level, and geographic location, it is clear that the vocational training of slaves or their relocation from on region to another were just as much forms of investment as the erection of a building or extension of a fence.

What made the application of the concept of human capital to free societies seem odd is that free people are not traded in well-defined markets and hence do not command market prices. However, the absence of explicit market prices on human being usually prevenets their capital values from being mad explicit. Legal reconition of the fact that free people continue to have capital values takes place whenever courts grant cash awards to the widows of men killed in industrial accidents. The amount of such an award usually turns on a debate regarding the capital value of the deceased at the time of his death.

Viewed in this light, the crucial difference between slave and free society rests no on the existence of pproperty rights in man, in human capital, but on who may hold title to such property rights. Under freedom, each person holds title, more or less, to his own human capital. He is prevented by law from selling the title to this capital except for quite limited periods of time and then only under a very restricted set of conditions. Moreover, one generally cannot sell the title to the human capital of others, or if such sales are permitted (as in the cases of the contracts of movie and athletic stars, or as in the case of the parents or guardians of minors), the title is transferred only for relatively short intervals of time and under strictly defined limitations. In slave societies, however, a large number of individuals were permanently deprived of the title to their own human capital. Those who held the titles ( the maters) were virtuall unrestricted by law in the abilitity to sell them. And ownership of a female slave brought with it title, in perpetuity, to all her descendants.

How did the special way in which the antebellum South treated the matter of property rights in man affect the economic behavior of that society? What special economic advantage, if any, did the system of property rights which prevailed under slaver give the slaveowners? How did this system of property rights affect the real income of the masters, of slaves of free Southerners, and of free Northerners? While these are not new questions, certain of the findings of the cliometricians suggest new answers.

  1. Economies of scale in sourthern agriculture were achieved exlusively with slave labor.
  2. While the urban demand for slave labor was quite elastic, the agricultural demand was very inelastic. ...

[Engerman and Fogel, p232 -238]


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 11:07:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The economics of sharecropping are one step above those of slave holding; neither are advantageous.  Which is why both were phased-out.

Them Who Hath figured-out there was more profit in lending money to ag producers than having anything "real" to do with crop production.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:48:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Phased out? No.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:58:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sharecropping only came to an end in the middle of the 20th century. From about 1915 onward African Americans in the South were able to find work in the industrial North that paid better and provided more freedoms than in the South. That began to produce a labor shortage in the South, which along with innovations and federal agricultural policy in the 1930s, fueled mechanization that made the remaining sharecroppers redundant.

The key was the availability of industrial work at decent wages. If we lose what's left of that, any newer feudalistic system could be difficult to escape.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:41:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In light of the diminution of manufacturing and promotion of proprietary, automated industrial technologies, for example, Monsanto's business model, which the corporation executes worldwide,  is it accurate to state that sharecropping came to an end in the middle of the 20th century?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 11:12:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be an Old Fashioned Old New Leftie ...

The answer is intentional or co-operative communities.  I don't know about pricing in SoCal anymore.  In NM's Big City - Albuquerque - four and eight-plexus can be had for around $50,000/apartment at, about, 1,000 sq. ft. per versus $175 sq ft cost for new construction or $175,000 for a comparable single detached dwelling.

Combining basic utility services would save - NM pricing - $50 per unit or $150 to $300 month for water, sewage, and garbage collection and about the same for electric: total (rough) $300 to $600 month.  

"Savings," meaning money not duplicatedly disbursed, for the community would range from $2,000 to $10,000 a month and could easily go much higher.

The main problem is financing: banks hate co-operatives and come up with all sorts of bullshit reasons not to lend.  Credit Unions used to be more amenable, tho' that may have changed.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:44:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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