“In England, the beginnings of capitalism lie in the ‘Enclosure Movement’ during which large landlords deprived peasants of tenant rights and right to use common land. This gave the landlords more property but made poor peasants propertyless and drove them into the towns.”
“The state did not originate in any form of social agreement... The state originated in conquest and confiscation, as a device for maintaining the stratification of society permanently into two classes - an owning and exploiting class, relatively small, and a propertyless dependent class... No state in history originated in any other manner, or for any other purpose than to enable the continuous economic exploitation of one class by another.”
Albert Jay Nock
With so many families uprooted and on the streets today we are again witnessing the inevitable dismal end of an oligarchic capitalism – i.e., one rooted in land enclosures and removal of people from either rural or communal independence. In today’s overcrowded urban labor camps the vast majority are utterly dependent upon a wage and lacking in any “kiss my ass” fallback farm or commune refuge from capital’s pervasive power and heartless edicts. So... no job, no wage, no life.
By capital’s enclosure-based restructuring of society thru the centuries, labor has been rendered helpless, dependent, and forever subject to wage and debt-money interest in urban settings. As a result, predation abounds and corruption becomes the norm until the inevitable ruin and uprising.
There is no real way to counter the effects of labor’s enclosure and root dependence - serving to corrupt society and eliminate truly free markets – other than to see that society resurrects and maintains what I call a “factor balance” throughout its institutions – meaning labor and capital as equal factors and forces in society. Without such factor balance we are doomed to top-down fascism or socialism leading to riot and revolution - a truly dismal wheel forever pumping out cycles of tragedy.
To this day, capital’s amoral lackey economists continue to view enclosure as breeding “efficiency” – the same classic corrupt dogma that sends your economy and jobs to China and rewards the Greater Slave while mazimizing environmental ruin.
Within the ranks of these fascist “economists,” there is virtually no concern for labor’s historic plight or the effects upon society where a few powerful capitalists come to control our land, lives, media, and political institutions. The predictable end result is huge disparities of wealth and influence inevitably leading to ruin, riot and revolution – exactly what we now see in the streets around the world today.
The debt-money based, oligarchic, predatory, and enclosure-shaped economy is now collapsing... as it should, and always will. From the ashes of this gross factor imbalanced, banker-ruled, societal structure must re-emerge the power of the vast, wage-earning, majority and a truly effective democracy and local sovereignty – a state of affairs oligarchs and one worlders hate and continue to conspire against.
Regardless, a ruthless servile state exists for any dependent, landless, and unfree labor, or equally repressed capital, where either capital or labor acquires hegemony in our affairs. A necessary balance, and balancing dynamic, is then diminished or destroyed. In this way freedom, democracy, and real free markets are thus deformed, denied, and destroyed.
Today we are caught in yet another state of gross factor imbalance wherein capital and bankers rule and so we have re-created Hilaire Belloc’s servile state - this time with wage-labor imprisoned by a ruthless and amoral global capital pursuing a fascist “free trade” unwanted by the vast majority. As a result, a forced “harmonization” and globalization of markets has, in a still very disparate and undemocratic world, given wings to capital enabling long-distance exploitation, extortion of First World labor, immense trade imbalances, and now utter monetary chaos.
In the absence of natural freedom upon the land or any effective countervailing factor power of labor, capital is then driven by its own competition toward a complete dismantling of labor’s freedom and effective democracy - all to secure a total, and most profitable, enclosure of wage-labor.
Inevitably, reactions against such crude exploitation and repression arise. Driven by the need to revenge one’s enclosure and exploitation, mankind to date has a habit of bypassing The Middle Way. Thus we bury factor balance and substitute one polarized, half-state, tyranny after another. In any case, understanding the nature of a servile, neo-slave, state is essential if we are to progress toward meaningful restorations of natural liberty, effective democracy, truly free markets and justice for all.
In the nature of things, humanity’s, post-enclosure, yearnings for re-enfranchisement upon the land may be our only constant. Caught in a servile, wage-bound, estate the rights and needs of the enclosed and exploited become the eternal subtext of nearly all debate and conflict. The nature of reform is then driven by the nature of imbalance, and by our disparate freedoms and enfranchisements.
The more band-aid “reform” fails the faster we move toward repression, tyranny, collapse and violent solutions. The challenge is to find ways and devices by which society avoids the sins and traumas of the past while moving toward real reform, re-enfranchisement, factor balance, free and democratic markets, free cooperatives and sustainable societies. Otherwise, on an increasingly overcrowded planet, we are destined to diminish and destroy our quantums of freedom, space, and potential for both market cornucopias and cooperative havens in a sustained peace and plenty.
While we may appreciate the many wonders of industrial-age economy, and seek out urban life and society, we cannot blind ourselves to the opportunities and freedoms lost, and problems birthed, due to changes in mankind’s historic freedom upon an open commons or private estate servign to provide independence from a neo-slave “free market.”
“This original state of things, in which the labourer enjoyed the whole produce of his own labour, could not last beyond the first introduction of the appropriation of land and the accumulation of stock.”
We need not worship at the altar of growth, nor condemn the engine of ingenuity, to realize that natural and social enfranchisement is a desirable “set” and “setting” enabling effective freedom and responsibility. To simply assume that Adam Smith’s laissez-faire, enclosure-driven, economy is ever benign or beneficial over the long term - without reference to the condition of the wage-earning majority and their environment - is to ensure dependency, desperation, conflict and ruin become the inevitable byproducts.
Unfortunately, factor imbalance in society has resulted in one dismal despotism after another, all claiming infallibility and a divine right to re-order and control our lives. All such one factor, one religion, belief systems can only manufacture their own antithesis and demise as they become increasingly undemocratic and self-defeating ends unto themselves.
Regardless of ruling factor or dogma, freedom and human potential are then halved as majorities become enclosed, dependent, and robbed of refuge, right, and alternative to, in today’s case, capital’s ruthless hegemony.
In sum, natural independence and/or communal enfranchisement upon a rent-free, unmortgaged, plot is not a condition which defines wage-laboring majorities in the post-industrial age. For this very reason, societies free from the tyranny of one factor or another have become the exception and not the rule.
Our challenge today is to first comprehend the consequences of the enclosure-driven societal condition and then to discover how we remedy a dismal dynamic emerging from the disenfranchised and dependent estate of the vast majority of mankind – i.e., the very conditions producing our latter-day tyranny, exploitation, conflict, war, and monetary ruin.