Chapter 4 On Democracy, Redistribution, and the Destruction of Property

"[U]niversal adult suffrage did within each country what a world democracy would do for the entire globe: it set in motion a seemingly permanent tendency toward wealth and income redistribution."  Hans-Herman Hoppe, Democracy the God that Failed

Hoppe points out that the taking of private property by a government engaged in redistribution will not be merely be from the rich to the poor.  For after all, the rich are often bright and industrious; so, "frequently it will be actually the better-off who succeed in having themselves subsidized by the worse off."  He cites the example of "'free' education" where the lower class subsidizes the education of the upper class. [We can see many examples of this the US:  ethanol subsidies, where all Americans pay more for energy to subsidize wealthy Mid-western farmers, cities build billion dollar stadiums for billionaire sports team owners, attendees to the Super Bowl do not pay sales taxes on their tickets, example after example where the poor and lower classes subsidize the wealthier and more connected classes.]

Hoppe, however, sees the decivilization affects to be more destructive of humans at the lower end of the economic spectrum than the reallocation of wealth among the wealthy and connected.  He sees that welfare promotes family disintegration, a habit of non-employment, an increase in the number of children that cannot be cared for by their parents and a decrease in savings and capital formation while consumption rises.  All of these factors will contribute to an ever growing dependent class of people. Meanwhile the taxes on the producers will result in less productivity, i.e. we will experience a progressively poorer society.

[On why it makes no sense to consider government spending as part of the gross national product]

To begin, government cannot and does not produce anything.  It always takes and reallocates.  Further, "[n]o one buys government 'goods' or 'services'....[C]osts are incurred to produce them, but they are not bought and sold...[i.e.] it is impossible to determine their value....[I]t may be that they have no value at all [or even worse, that]...they are not 'goods' at all but 'bads,' [which] would mean that we are all the poorer from their having been done at all.  Because the salaries of government workers are wholly disconnected from customer satisfaction, we can expect that government workers will become increasingly careless and incompetent. Hoppe urges us to reflect to see the  growing decivilization, debt and welfare dependency surrounding us.

While Hoppe thinks this will necessarily lead to an economic collapse, it does not necessarily follow that matters will improve following such a collapse.  Here he returns to the central importance of delegitimizing democracy as the "root cause of the present state of progressive 'decivilization.'"

Democracy is both immoral and uneconomical.  It is immoral because it promotes the idea that it is proper for humans to band together deprive one of their members from the results of his labor.  [I am reminded of the story of the little red hen.  Think what a different tale it would have been if, at the end of the story, the lazy dog, the sleepy cat and the noisy duck had ended up with all of the bread, or even an equal share.  What would have been the moral of that story?]  It is uneconomical because the basis of human civilization is "private property, production and voluntary exchange" not majority rule.

Hoppe concludes with Chapter by noting that it is critical that secession be recognized as a proper and moral act for individuals and groups of individuals. Secession is always a "vote against the principle of democracy and majoritarianism."





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