This article was posted on Thursday, Jun 01, 2023

Note from AOA:  “Keep in mind that the following article also applies to tenant welfare, (i.e. rent control), moratoriums and other disgusting things that politicians pass to punish rental housing owners.”

Today, we turn our heads, looking back…trying to learn from our experience in Argentina. But we begin by noticing changes in America. TIME Magazine, for example, was once respectable and intelligent.  Now look at it…

The folly of collectivism, the “curse” of capitalism and lessons from the end of the world.


We Have Put Individualism Ahead

of the Common Good for Too Long

America’s genius lies not just in our spirit of entrepreneurship and pick-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps individualism, but also in our decision to make sure that this value on personal responsibility and success is never absolute. To varying degrees over the course of our history, it has been matched by a concern for the community and the collective. We measured success both by how well we were doing and how well the communities and the country we belonged to were doing and we tended to view our individual and collective well-being as powerfully entwined.

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We take the hammer to TIME today, not because its drivel is so unique, but because it is so common. A large part of the population agrees with it. “Capitalism is a curse,” say millennials. “Yeah…people think only of themselves,” they say. Or … “successful people should ‘give back’ to the community.” Policies with billion-dollar price tags are routinely justified on the grounds not that they will make a few people rich, but that they will ‘serve the community’ and somehow be good for us all.


Come to Marx

Even the supposedly ‘conservative’ Heritage Foundation has had its ‘come to Marx’ moment. Business Insider: “Combating monopolies, redistributing income, and even guiding production in essential industries are all valid public policy options,” says a new report from Heritage. This is a sharp turn from when Heritage doubled down on free markets and opposed the industrial policy of the European Union in 2019.     

Heritage said the aim of the report was to clarify the disagreements between the two major branches of conservatism. On one side are national conservatives, like Sen. Josh Hawley who wants the government to boost domestic manufacturing and break up Big Tech. On the other side are libertarian conservatives like Sen. Rand Paul who oppose interfering with free markets.

The Reaganite fusion of free markets, social traditionalism and anti-communism “is fundamentally dead,” Geoff Kabaservice, vice president of political studies at the market-oriented think tank Niskanen Center, told Insider.

But it is all claptrap. Somebody always makes the decisions. In a free market, they’re made by shoppers, families and individuals who ‘vote’ for what they want with their own money.  In an unfree market, someone else decides.

And there are no ‘policies’ that benefit ‘the common good.’ Instead, every law and every regulation takes from some and gives to others. The only exceptions are the broad, basic, efficient and universal rules – drive on the right (or left!)…don’t steal…don’t kill…don’t rip people off. Probably less than 2% of federal spending falls into this category. In the rest, lambs get slaughtered so the wolves might eat a ‘gigot roti.’


No Consent Given

TIME begins with a typical fraud. It refers to ‘our decision’ …as if we were all in this together. But we don’t remember even being asked. Were you asked? Nope? Of course not. 

No consent was ever given. And the whole idea … that “we” can choose to put “individualism ahead of the common good” is just goofy and stupid.  “Individualism” is the source of the ‘common good,’ not an alternative to it. We each decide for ourselves what we want. Millions of these decisions – aggregated and informed by millions of transactions over thousands of years – determined what we have … what we get … and what we are. A strong community is merely one in which the people choose what they want and get what they deserve.

Calls for ‘empowering the community’ or the ‘common good’ are really just scams. Except for rare cases, human life is always collective … communitarian … associative. There are families, clubs, religions, businesses, work, love, pray – all these things bring people together. When people do business together, work together, attend church together, get married, sing in choirs, shop at a local store – all of these are voluntary ‘collective’ activities. All contribute to the ‘common good,’ because they help people get what they want.


Elitist Parasites

The only real question is whether we choose for ourselves or someone else chooses for us. Here’s an example that came up over the weekend:   The World Economic Forum (WEF) wants to make parking more expensive so you’ll be forced to travel their way.

Here’s the WEF: the challenge: In many cities, on-street parking is either underpriced, or there’s an over-abundance of off-street parking. On average, parking takes up around a third of city land mass and with around eight spots for every car. Spaces optimized for cars reduce the ability for cities to accommodate other types of transit, or solutions such as bike sharing or scooter sharing docking stations or vehicle charging stations…

Wouldn’t that be jolly? Cut out the parking so you can share a bike! Less CO2; the planet is saved!  Thank God the elite are on the case.

Impose subsidies, regulations, penalties. Better yet, take out guns and bark orders; send them to gulags; let loose the tax collectors and the thought police – old guys wear white sheets and torch crosses …young people put on arm bands and set banks on fire – for the ‘common good,’ of course.

When empires reach their decadent stage, when the elite becomes parasitic, when the money goes bad and society turns upside down – then, the thugs come out and the peacemakers disappear – the bullies and bandits become the deciders shifting power from those who have skin in the game to those who ‘talk a good game’ and from those whose decisions make their own lives better, to those who claim to be making other peoples’ lives better.  Hola! Welcome to Argentina! It happened there 70 years ago. It’s been downhill ever since.

Joel’s Note: Down here at the ‘fin del mundo’ (end of the world), reports tell us that inflation in Argentina has increased to 7.7% per month. The Ministerio de Economia reported on Friday the fastest rise in prices since 2002, taking the annual rate of inflation to a knee-buckling 104.3%.

The last time Argentina witnessed triple digit inflation, Nirvana’s Nevermind was top of the charts and Kurt Cobain (RIP) was still among the quick. Here’s a chart from Reuters (citing the official INDEC data):

  • What does this mean for the average “man on the street”?
  • ‘Zero capacity to save’ reads one headline from Reuters.
  • ‘Food or medicine? Inflation squeezing retirees in Argentina’ echoes another, from AP.
  • Here in the capital, we receive notifications in the post every other month, informing us that the cost of our healthcare coverage has gone up 10, 15, 20% or more. Same with utility bills and building expenses. The local newspapers also cite official figures, telling citizens how much to raise salaries for “empleadas domésticas” (domestic employees): up 27% so far this year.
  • Particularly hard hit are seniors, 85% of whom are reliant on government pensions, which average 58,500 pesos a month (about US $265)
  • The AP reports Argentina had one of the most advanced pension systems in South America, with retirement pensions increasing according to a mobility formula calculated by wages and taxes collected. Between January 2022 and March 2023, pensions rose 72.5%. But in the same period prices rose more than 100%.
  • Argentines head to the polls this October, with many predicting the calamitous economy will spell the downfall of the ruling Peronist coalition. People are so desperate, they are even considering voting for a (wait for it) libertarian candidate, Sr. Javier Milei. Here is a man who has promised, as his first order of business if elected, to burn the central bank to the ground.

Argentines should be so lucky.


Bill Bonner is an American author of books and articles on economic and financial subjects. He is the founder of Agora Financial, as well as a co-founder of Bonner & Partners.

Joel Bowman is Managing Editor for Bonner Private Research. 

Agora Financial provides independent economic commentary, analysis and education through print and online publications, videos and other mediums.  Agora Financial has correctly predicted some of Wall Street and Washington’s biggest moves. For more information, visit