This is a post about GOVERNMENT.
Politically, I am a voluntaryist, I think that as many human interactions as possible should be voluntary. This means that anyone has the right to say no to anything that is put to them, for any reason or none.
It's not that simple of course, but then very few things are.
Anyhoo, I want to post about one of the more genius aspects of the government and it's propaganda, which is the idea that the government is incompetent and useless. One of the standard rebuttals of conspiracy theories or the idea that a handful of people can control millions and billions of others is that everything the government does is crap.
And it is. Seen from one angle, through one lens.
The government and the people who work for it are bloody awful at providing roads, hospitals and schools. There is no start to their talents when it comes to providing goods and services that anyone would find more than passable and want to buy voluntarily. Pretty much everything they touch turns rotten the moment they grasp it.
I believe the classic phrase is "They couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery."
If the government is so terrible at everything, how come it controls so much?
And heres the thing. The government is very, very good at taking control of things. The clue should be in the name, but it slips by a lot of people. Governments control. They take over. They dominate. They infest, they creep, they play long term games to acquire more power. In this, all sectors of the government are united - control is good and more control is better.
Seen through this lens - that everything the government does it does to either maintain or gain more power then every crisis makes a lot more sense. It doesn't really matter whether the crisis is real (Hurricane Katrina) or the crisis is fake (credit crunch) the government will swiftly act to use the opportunity to their advantage. New taxes, new laws, new quangos, new regulations, new jobs for the boys.....this is what a crisis means to a government.
What does this mean? What can you do with this knowledge?
Very simply, you can make money from it. Predicting the future in a free market is difficult, old products die, new ones are born all the time Todays hot trend is next years hula hoop.
Predicting what the government will do is pointlessly, mindlessly, shooting-fish-in-a-barrel easy. Lets say you see a story about some new technology - an RFID chip, one which will track a human being anywhere and everywhere they will go. Your stomach heaves at the potential loss of your liberty, your mind recoils at the intrusion. As soon as you see something which has such upside for a government in controlling you then it should be obvious that it being brought in is inevitable, no matter the cost, the waves of protest, the opposition to it......inevitable.
Buying shares in such things is what I sometimes do. You may as well be paid for wearing chains as not.
Look at them again.
See them through the lens of a controlling eye. It's a horrible question to consider but ask yourself, "If I was a power mad loon with delusions of grandeur and a desire to make everyone else my personal slave, what would I do right now?"
Ask this question and you can predict a good 80% of what the government will get up to.
It also means that apparent failures of government policy are revealed as anything but. When you see George Bush handing out stimulus checks to a bedraggled american consumer and all the serious economists are going, "Can't possibly work, the guy is an idiot!" then put on the lens I just suggested.
When you hear that fannie and freddie are going broke and that a government bailout will cost trillions, debauch the currency, drown the consumer in taxes and debts..only ask - "Does the government get more control by bailing them out, or less?"
If it's less, then they won't lift a finger. If it's more, then they will move heaven and earth. This is the governments criteria for acting. This is how they respond to events.
Thanks for reading. Next time I'll be using this idea with some news stories and making some predictions, we can test the idea out in real time.