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You Will Own Nothing - Including Books
Amazon joins the great reset to feudalism
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”
— Proverbs 22:7
After completely missing Christmas and spending a month laid out with the flu, I’m just now starting to get back on my feet. This week’s task: Sort my New Year’s resolutions and plan the year ahead. As I was scheduling projects this morning, a phrase came to my mind:
DO LESS BETTER.
An excellent “to do” for all of us, really.
And wouldn’t that make a fabulous book title?
Whenever I come up with something that could be a potentially great book title, the first thing I do is go on Amazon to see if such a book already exists.
Sadly, in this case, it does.
The book is called… of course… Do Less Better.
And let me tell you, it is atrociously expensive:
Who is paying $37.14 for a short-ish paperback by an unknown author?
And who in the world is paying an insane $28.20 for a digital file?
I couldn’t understand it.
Then, suddenly, I noticed the vile reason why the hardcover, paperback, and ebook versions were all so expensive.
Amazon has gotten into the rent-seeking game:
I can hear your sighs from here.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a trillion-dollar e-tail monopoly that exploits hundreds of thousands of workers also wants to monopolize books in order to rent them back to you for more money than you use to be able to purchase them for.
I’ve been saying it for a while and I will continue saying it until the world experiences a revival or a revolution:
Rent-seeking will destroy humanity’s freedom and well-being.
Rent-seeking is not new.
We humans are overwhelmingly greedy (and lazy) and love something for nothing. It’s in our very nature.
And there’s no easier way to get something for nothing than to monopolize resources that human beings want or need.
A textbook example is shelter. Rather than creating a product or service that adds new wealth and value and well-being to humanity, land-lorders simply outbid families and monopolize houses so they can extract rents from people in desperate need of shelter from the elements.
(If this sounds horrible and immoral, it’s because it is. The Bible is vehemently against all forms of usury. Interest is rent on money. Rent is interest on houses. All interest is usury, and all usury is rightly forbidden.)
If you want to see how the rent-seeking end-game plays out… you really won’t own anything by 2050… open this article in a new tab:
In closing, let me emphasize the real point I’m trying to make here today:
Renting makes life more expensive.
It’s called financialization. If greedy people can turn an item into an income-producing asset by monopolizing it, other investors quickly want in on the game and bid up the price of that thing beyond what the average end-user (AKA you) can afford.
We’ve seen it with land.
We’ve seen it with houses.
We’ve seen it with software.
We’ve seen it with companies.
And now we’re seeing it with books.
If we keep on our current trajectory, within our lifetime the globe’s resources will be owned but a few hundred hyper-corporations. Owning financialized items like houses and books and clothing will be completely out of reach for we bottom eight billion.
We will rent what we need, and we will work like dogs to pay all our infinite rents.
Make no mistake, my beloved readers: rent-seeking destroys human freedom and well-being.
Our freedom disappears when we are totally reliant on the corporations that monopolize Earth’s assets.
Our well-being disappears when we have to slave to earn corrupt money to pay top dollar for every single item we want or need, because we can’t afford to own it.
So what are we do to?
The first step is to think and pray and seek wisdom on how we as individuals should respond to the specter of corporate dominion.
The second step is likely to buy — not hoard — assets, and then share them generously with others. Individually, we stand no chance against the trillion-dollar hedge funds that seek to own everything and everyone. But collectively — and maybe I’m being far too hopeful — they do not stand a chance against us.
Because never forget: Corporations and their billionaire owners go bankrupt without workers to create wealth and consumers to pay rent.
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