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Free markets by Pierre Poilievre

Miles Report No. 9 Annex - Pierre Piolievre on free market capitalism.

Pierrre Poilievre, October 07, 2011

I found this small item on M. Poilievre’s website, and while I do not want to go through it all as I did with the last article, there is much for critiquing in this as well. He is, I must admit, a very easy target for criticism.

Mr. Speaker, as I begin, I note that the previous speaker from the Liberal side stated that he was happy to continue to pay taxes in order to live in the best country in the world. He provoked enthusiastic applause from his opposition colleagues, which indicates to Canadians that those members on the other side believe that what makes our country the best in the world is taxes. Quite the connection here, no cause and effect simply his own juxtaposition of items. Yet in a limited sense it is true: taxes pay for the health, educational, retirement, anti-poverty, maternal day-care and other benefits that should be part of a country that cares for its families, seniors, women, and workers.

We understand that it is not taxation, but the hard work of workers, small businesses, entrepreneurs and the Canadian people who make us the best country in the world.

Hardly. Workers’ wages have flat-lined since about 1970, while corporate profits and thus corporate payouts to their senior executives have skyrocketed. Certainly there is truth in that the small business entrepreneurs help make us the best in the world, but the greatest wealth of the country goes to the large corporations overwhelmingly more than to the small business man. Is M. Poilievre trying to say that the large corporations are not making Canada great? If so, he is correct in that. Small businesses are taxed proportionally more than large corporations, pay lower wages in general, and more frequently go bankrupt without government assistance to bail them out (see StatsCan). Just great!

Those members have illustrated the clear difference between the two sides of the House of Commons. I dedicate part of this speech to those on the other side who believe, for example, that the solution to the debt crisis in Europe is to have more debt in Canada, who think we can create jobs by taxing those who hire and who say that the individual cannot be trusted with his own money, but a collection of individuals can be trusted with the money of others.

Those people on the other side say that the individual is too flawed to make his or her own decisions, but that those same flawed individuals, when they combine their flaws in the collective, can make decisions for everyone else.

Another re-interpretation of what others have said to fit the dogma of the Conservative party. A nice twist that those in the choir will accept but it carries no rational line of logic.

We on this side understand that it is the basic tenets of freedom, as laid out, for example, in the Bill of Rights of the Right Hon. Prime Minister Diefenbaker. Those freedoms are what make Canada great: freedom of speech; freedom of religion; freedom of association; and also freedom of enterprise and freedom of trade.

On the subject of trade, I will just share a bit of an excerpt from one of the finest economists of the last century, [this is a real stretch, it is the Friedmanites who helped create the current global financial meltdown in the first place] Milton Friedman. He says:

As usual, M. Poilievre quotes someone more recognized than himself in order to sound erudite and profound. The quotes are cute and make good sound bites, but when critically examined, they lose much of their intended meaning.

Look at this...pencil, there is not a single person in the world who could make this pencil. Remarkable statement? Not at all. The wood from which it's made, for all I know, comes from a tree that was cut down in the State of Washington.

Yes, much of the state of Washington is now devoid of old growth trees and has little forestry left, as the forestry companies clearcut and ran with the profits.

To cut down that tree, it took a saw. To make the saw, it took steel. To make the steel, it took iron ore.

Yes, iron ore, dug from some mountain somewhere where the indigenous population sees little benefit for the huge profits made by the corporation, and whose environment has been seriously degraded or destroyed by mine waste and chemical pollution and loss of other indigenous resources - I.e. farmland, forestry, grazing et al.

This black center, we call it lead but it's really compressed graphite, I am not sure where it comes from but I think it comes from some mines in South America.

See above comment - the local crony politicians are probably reaping great rewards, but the indigenous population of South America see little real reward for this. I could go on about how “free trade” has done its best to overthrow most of the South American governments at one time or another in order to harvest the wealth of South America - think Pinochet in Chile overthrowing a democratically elected government as the most egregious example.

This red top up here, the eraser, a bit of rubber, probably comes from Malaya, where the rubber tree isn't even native. It was imported from South America by some businessman with the help of the British government.

Really now! Yeah this is true when taken in context. That context is of the British Empire and its military might taking over land in South America - British Guyana being the only British colony in South America - creating plantations there with forced or indentured labour, if not black slaves. After the seeds were cultivated in England they were shipped to their Asian colonies, also under the rule of British military might, where more slaves and/or indentured servants worked the plantations for the wealth harvesting of the colonial government.

This brass feral [sic]- I haven't the slightest idea where it came from or the yellow paint or the paint that made the black lines - or the glue that holds it together.

A brass feral? Really? Although this could be a spelling mistake on Hansard or a pronunciation mistake as the word should be ferrule. Oh come on, no ideas, really? M. Poilievre has no shortage of ideas on other topics taken out of context. Not a great point of argument.

Literally thousands of people cooperated to make this pencil.

Cooperated? Certainly the governments and their cronies cooperated, and the above mentioned businessman cooperated with the government and the bank. How about all the indentured servants, the slaves, the indigenous people kicked off their land. Did they cooperate? I guess I would to if I had the threat of death or starvation hanging over my head because some British imperialist - in the past - or some corporation with corporate hired “security guard” - or some U.S. trained death squad - wanted to harvest my wealth. There I go again repeating a phrase over and over and over again, I must be catching something conservative.

People who don't speak the same language; who practice different religions; who might hate one another if they ever met. When you go down to the store and buy this pencil, you are, in effect, trading a few minutes of your time for a few seconds of the time of all of those thousands of people.

This has much deeper implications. Workers in North America and Europe, thanks to the efforts of trade unions and cooperative associations, have raised their standard of living to where they spend very little of their money on food for subsistence and can afford to cheaply buy dozens of pencils.

Cheap why? Because the workers in the third world are paid dirt cheap, with no benefits, and no protections. At the same time there is no cost accounting for the use of that areas water, and other infrastructure resources, so the minimal cost we pay for the pencil is because the workers in these foreign countries with different languages and different religions are paying the price for us of extracting that product for our easy consumption.

Remember also that North and South America, or most of it, was ethnically cleansed of the Indians allowing the European settlers to move in and harvest/extract the wealth of the land they stole from the natives. Genocide has not worked as well in other areas of the world, so they need to use military force, locally cooperative or imposed from outside, in order to make the world work as it does.

What brought them together and induced them to cooperate to make this pencil?

Great question, that I believe I have already answered. But to reiterate, they were brought together by the imperial powers, by the corporations, by the cronies in their own countries who wished to get rich and harvest/extract the wealth that should belong to the indigenous people.

There was no Commissar sending out orders from some central office.

Correct, just corporate bosses who do not really give a damn about the native peoples of some distant country.

It was the magic of the price system - the impersonal operation of prices that brought them together and got them to cooperate to make this pencil so that you could have it for a trifling sum.

It’s magic! I knew it! Milton Friedman preaches magic! So true! There is no rationale to economic theories, and I hold economists to be the lowest of ranks of professions in the world. They pretend to be fully rationale, totally impersonal (then what about those thousands of people who cooperated? Quite a contradiction!) and offer their studies up as scientific and mathematical. There are only invented maths to support economics, and the true realm of science that should study markets is psychology - as it does, which is why we have so much advertising - propaganda in Italian - to support this supposed impersonal operation. If it were truly impersonal, there would be no economists to tell us about it, no advertisers to tell us what we think we need to buy, and no media pundits telling us what the latest greatest fad is!

It would just be magic!

That trifling sum is not magic. As I explained above, it is the result of the predatory habits of corporations aligned with governments to extract the wealth of countries and peoples who cannot defend themselves well enough to actually receive the full value for their product or their labours or to protect their environments.

That is why the operation of the free market is so essential. Not only to promote productive efficiency, but even more, to foster harmony and peace among the peoples of the world.

This is one of the biggest lies of this century - and the last. It certainly is efficient in harvesting the wealth of other peoples, but even more so, it does little to foster harmony and peace among people.

A lot of those people are dead, murdered by U.S. trained death squads (in South America in particular), or by U.S. trained militaries (the Philippines killed 500,000 people during the period following the overthrow of the democratically elected leader Sukarno, to be replaced by the U.S. CIA supported puppet Suharto).

Of course that covers all continents and most western countries. The Belgian Congo, has seen nothing but military disasters stemming from it original ‘acquisition’ as a personal fiefdom of Leopold of Belgium. Most of Africa still suffers from the legacy of colonialism, and more importantly for this argument, it is now currently disadvantaged because of the depredations economically of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. All their “structural adjustment plans” created a wage slave poor underclass while crops became cash crops to pay off the created debts….

I could continue on this tack until I had filled up several large volumes, but the reading is out there if you wish to actually understand what is really happening in the world of “free markets” - the biggest lie of our society.

And that’s it - I could continue on with this speech, especially where M. Poilievre goes on about the workers of Canada sharing in the wealth of the country through their ability to invest in the stock market for their pensions. It wouldn’t do to pay them a decent living wage in the first place, now, would it! No, let them pay even more money into the corporations pockets to play with and earn even more money with - especially in our financialized corporate world - while they continue to work at 1970s wages with decreasing health and safety benefits….a form of forced financial collectivization. The workers may own one ten millionth of a company, but that gives absolutely no power, only the pretence of capitalist “free markets.”

Jim Miles

These reports are now posted on my website:


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