The Unseen Hand - Ralph Epperson

Economic Terms

It will be helpful at this point for certain economic terms to be defined to assist the reader in understanding the Conspiratorial View of History.

Two of these terms are:

  • Consumption Good: goods acquired for consumption purposes (food, drink, etc.)
  • Capital Good: goods utilized for producing consumption goods

The distinction between these two economic terms can be illustrated by the use of a simple example, such as a primitive tribesman living in a remote jungle. His diet consists of the rabbit (a Consumption Good) which first must be caught before it can be consumed. The tribesman quickly learns that the rabbit is exceptionally quick and that catching it for a daily meal is rather difficult. But, by using his intelligence, the tribesman fashions a crude blowgun to assist him in acquiring the Consumption Good. The moment that the tribesman builds the blow-gun, he becomes a Capitalist, because the blow-gun is a Capital Good: it is created to assist the tribesman in acquiring Consumption Goods.

Therefore, it is possible now to define Capitalism as:

  • Capitalism: any economic system that utilizes Capital Goods in acquiring or producing Consumption Goods

Notice that by this definition even the most primitive economic systems are Capitalist if they choose to utilize Capital Goods in meeting their Consumption Good needs.

It follows logically, then, that the blow-gun is only effective when the tribesman agrees to use it, and that without his efforts the blow-gun is a meaningless wooden tube. The tribesman gives utility to the blow-gun only by using it.

It follows then, that the acquisition of Consumption Goods is not dependent on Capital Goods alone, but by someone using the Capital Goods. Human effort is the key ingredient in any Capitalistic economy. Without human effort, there will be no Consumption Goods produced.

Should the tribesman not wish to secure the needed Consumption Goods by use of the Capital Goods, he and all those dependent on his efforts will go hungry. Increasing the number of Capital Goods, or blow-guns, will in no way alleviate the problem. The only way to produce Consumption Goods is for the individual to decide to utilize the Capital Goods for that purpose, and that without that human decision, there will be nothing produced.

The ultimate Capitalistic society is one, then, where all things become Capital Goods, including the individual efforts of all of the individual workers who comprise the society. The individual himself becomes the ultimate Capital Good, for without his efforts, there will be no Consumption Goods produced.

It follows logically for some, unfortunately, that the society has the right to make certain that efforts are made towards the production of Consumption Goods, even if the individual members of the society do not wish to produce any.

The Soviet Union, for instance, was cited in 1974 for forcing the ultimate Capital Good, man himself, to produce against his will. The article identifying Russia's use of forced labor stated:

"The Soviet Union has been officially cited under the rules of the International Labor Organization as having failed to meet its commitment to observe the organization's ban on forced labor. . . . the failure concerns the convention, a binding international obligation, outlawing 'forced or compulsory labor in all of its forms' that Moscow ratified in 1956. The panel of experts noted in a report. . . that Soviet law permitted 'idlers' to be given a one year jail or 'corrective labor' sentence if they refused to take a job assigned to them."

Since each society needs Consumption Goods to survive, it follows that the society needs the productive efforts of all members of that society, or it will fail.

There are only two ways by which these goods can be produced: either through the use of force against the producing individuals, or through the creation of an economic environment wherein the individual is encouraged to produce the maximum quantity of Consumption Goods.

All Capitalistic societies soon discover that all Capital Goods tend to deteriorate through time and usage and therefore lose their utility. The blowgun in the primitive society breaks or bends and becomes worthless. When this occurs, the tribesman must discard the useless Capital Good and construct a replacement.

But other Capital Goods, humans themselves, also lose their utility. They grow tired, old or become injured. There are societies today that also discard tired, old and injured human Capital Goods as well as old, tired or broken Capital Goods such as a broken blow-gun. One such society is the nation of Russia. A Russian native, Igor Gouzenko in his book The Iron Curtain, confirmed this, by writing:

"Lishnetzy is the Russian word for the aged and ailing who have become the superfluous ones. . . . as an ardent young Communist I never regarded the Lishnetzy as something monstrous. It seemed practical and just to me then. As Komsonols (young Communists) . . . we had actually reached the conclusion that when one became a lishnetz (an old Capital Good), that is one condemned to this form of civic extermination, one should be duty bound to free the country of a useless consumer by having the courage to commit suicide. That opinion was nationally encouraged to such an extent that, even today, the suicide rate in Russia is higher than in any other country in the world."

If Capitalism, then, is an economic system that utilizes Capital Goods to produce Consumption Goods, what is the difference between the Communist system and the Capitalistic system in the United States? Both systems utilize the same type of Capital Goods: the factories, the railroads, and the other factors of production.

The difference is not in the existence of these Capital Goods, it is the ownership of the goods. In the Communist system, the state owns the Capital Goods, and in the Free Enterprise system, a better name for America's economic system, the individuals own the Capital Goods.

In brief, the difference between the two systems (Regarding the ownership of Captial Goods) can be summarized thus:

Economic System Capital Owned By: Capital Controlled By:
Free Enterprise private owners private owners
Communism the state the state

Control of the factors of production is equally as important as ownership: ownership of an automobile is meaningless if someone else drives (controls) it.

But there is an economic system not included in the above definitions: the system where the individual private owner owns the factors of production, but the state controls them. This system is called Fascism. It can be added to the above summary as follows:

Economic System Capital Owned By: Capital Controlled By:
Free Enterprise private owners private owners
Fascism private owners the state
Socialism the state the state

Perhaps the most well-known advocate of the Fascist economic system was the titular head of the Italian government just prior to and during World War II, Benito Mussolini. It has been said that Premier Mussolini, a dedicated Socialist, did not wish to oppose the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope, both housed inside the territory of Italy, and feared that the Church would officially oppose any economic system not favored by the hierarchy of the Church. It was well known that the Church had long opposed any form of Socialism (the ownership and control of property by the state) so Mussolini, aware that control is equally as important as ownership, asked the Catholic population of Italy to support the compromise that he offered: Fascism, the economic system where the Catholic population could legally own their property, in accordance with the wishes of the Pope and the Church, but where the state would control it. The net effect, as Mussolini knew, was still the same as offered by the Socialists: the state would own the factors of production through control of the factors of production.

". . . Fascism recognizes the legal right to private ownership. . . . Such ownership still means little in practice, for the state can and does tell the owner what to produce, what prices to charge, and what to do with the profits."

Those who advocate that the Capital Goods should be owned or controlled by the state frequently justify their position by declaring that they are doing so in the name of the poor, the workers, the aged, or any other minority deemed to be voiceless in the society and hence unable to be in a position to own any Capital Goods. However, those who lose sight of man's God-given right to own property also fail to see the connection between the right to private property and the right to one's own life. It is the Socialists and Communists who support the state's right to own all Capital Goods. In addition, they also support the right of the state to divide the property between those who have varying amounts of goods. Once this process starts, the state must decide who is to receive the society's surplus. It then logically follows that the state has the right to terminate the lives of those that the state feels are not worthy of receiving their share of the surplus.

One who took great care in pointing this position out in detail was George Bernard Shaw, a leading Socialist of his day. Mr. Shaw wrote a book entitled The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism in which he detailed his concern about this problem:

"I also made it quite clear that Socialism means equality of income or nothing, and under Socialism you would not be allowed to be poor.

"You would be forcibly fed, clothed, lodged, taught, and employed whether you like it or not. If it were discovered that you had not the character and industry enough to be worth all this trouble, you might be executed in a kindly manner, but whilst you were permitted to live, you would have to live well."

The Socialist government would permit all to live (their right to life becomes a privilege) only so long as the government felt each was worth "all the trouble." But should the government feel that the individual's value had decreased, the government would terminate that individual's life in an unspecified "kindly manner."

Mr. Shaw also connected the economic philosophy of Socialism with the truth that human labor is essential to the production of all Capital Goods, and that those who do not produce have no right to life, when he wrote: "Compulsory labour with death as the final victory is the keystone of Socialism."

In the Socialist scheme of things, the individual is not to be free, and it is not intended that he be free. Karl Kautsky, to this day one of the leading theoreticians of the Socialist position, wrote:

"Socialist production is not compatible with liberty of work, that is to say, with the worker's freedom to work when or how he likes. In a socialist society, all the means of production will be concentrated in the hands of the state, and the latter will be the only employer; there will be no choice."

Proof that Kautsky's argument can become official government policy lies in what happened in the Socialist country of Germany, just prior to the beginning of World War II:

"No German worker could change his job without obtaining permission, while if he absented himself from work without proper excuse, he was liable to imprisonment."

Obviously, this type of government is not popular with the working class, the supposed benefactor of the economic philosophy of Socialism, so the strategy became one of deceiving the worker so that the Socialism that the worker is induced to support in theory is different from the Socialism that the worker would experience once the Socialists came to power. The problem exists in how to conceal this truth from the worker. Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party presidential candidate for about twenty years, and the leading Socialist in the United States prior to his death, said:

"The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism, but under the name of Liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program until one day America will be a Socialist nation without knowing how it happened."

Mr. Thomas was never successful in his quest for the Presidency as an identified Socialist, but he was extremely pleased with Socialist progress nevertheless. The American people were buying his Socialist ideas by electing others not publicly identified as Socialists, but who supported the economic and political ideas of the Socialist Party. Thomas wrote:

" . . . Here in America more measures once praised or denounced as socialist have been adopted than once I should have thought possible short of a socialist victory at the polls." "The United States is making greater strides towards Socialism under Eisenhower than even under Roosevelt."

Most people would agree that President Roosevelt gave the American government more control over and ownership of the factors of production than any other president, but few would feel that President Eisenhower did more than Roosevelt. Yet the Socialist candidate for President praised the "non-Socialist, pro free-enterprise" Dwight Eisenhower for his support of Socialist programs. This means that Socialism has been concealed from the American people.

That the American people are being lied to by those who could be called "closet Socialists." Someone once described the deception as: "One way they look, another way they steer." The strategy is to promise the American people one thing and to deliver another. Never make it appear that you, the candidate, are supporting socialism or are a Socialist, even though the platforms you will support after your election are indeed socialist in nature. And you must never deliver so much socialism that the American people will discover the exact nature of the game and remove you from office.

Arthur Schlesinger Jr., a noted historian, outlined the program of giving the American people their socialism in gradual doses:

"If socialism is to preserve democracy, it must be brought about step by step in a way which will not disrupt the fabric of custom, law and mutual confidence There seems no inherent obstacle in the gradual advance of socialism in the United States through a series of new deals."

The reason the socialists must deceive the unsuspecting citizen was made clear by the London, England, Sunday Times which stated that Socialism was defined as: "competition without prizes, boredom without hope, war without victory, and statistics without end."

In other words, most people don't want Socialism and they don't wish to live under the Socialist economy, so the Socialists must resort to trickery and deception, by a series of lies offered to the people by lying politicians.

For the sake of the purist, is there any difference between Socialism and Communism? The absence of any essential differences was explained thus:

"There is no economic difference between socialism and communism. Both terms . . . denote the same system. . . . public control of the means of production as distinct from private control. The two terms, socialism and communism, are synonyms."

This position was confirmed by no less a Communist luminary than Marshal Tito, the now deceased dictator of the Yugoslavian Communist government, who said:

"Communism is simply state capitalism in which the state has absolute ownership of everything including all the efforts of the people."

Notice that Marshal Tito has confirmed that everything, including the efforts of the people, becomes a Capital Good under Communism. Perhaps this is the sole difference between these two economic systems: the Communists readily admit that the human itself is a Capital Good, and the Socialist conceals it. But in both systems, the individual and all he produces belongs to the state.

Most Communists have made this point abundantly clear in their writings. Karl Marx, the so-called "father of modern Communism," once wrote: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

This basic tenet of Communism has become a principle of the Russian Constitution, which states:

"Article 12: In the U.S.S.R. work is a duty and a matter of honor for every able bodied citizen in accordance with the principle: 'He who does not work shall not eat.' The principle applied in the U.S.S.R. is that of Socialism: 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his work.'"

It is interesting that the last word of Marx's dictum has been changed from "need" to "work." Notice that if one doesn't work, one doesn't eat. How does this system provide for those unable to work? This question has been answered by others, one of whom has stated that these individuals would be "executed in a kindly manner." Others have suggested that they should commit suicide (become a "lishnetzy.") In other words, to restate the principle, when a Capital Good becomes unable to produce, it is discarded, even if that Capital Good is a human being.

Once the Socialist/Communist decides that the state exists to divide Consumption Goods and Capital Goods, then it behooves him to involve himself with politics. Sam Brown, President Jimmy Carter's director of ACTION, the voluntary agency, is one who has discovered this truth. He said: "Politics is a struggle to redistribute power and wealth."

Notice that Mr. Brown admitted that this political process of goods redistribution is a "struggle," which means that some will not want to give up their property. Since Mr. Brown didn't say, one can only wonder what Mr. Brown wished to do with those who resisted.

Another "closet communist" who agrees with those who feel government exists to divide surplus goods, wrote the following:

"We are going to try to take all of the money that we think is unnecessarily being spent and take it from the 'haves' and give it to the 'have-nots' that need it so much."

Notice that this statement is nearly identical with that of the Communist Karl Marx who wrote: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Only the words have been changed. That means that the speaker, the "closet communist," supported the Marxist philosophy that government exists to take from one to give to another. Those who know President Lyndon Johnson, the speaker of the words above, and his "Great Society," know that this was indeed his goal: to redistribute wealth from the wealthy to the poor.

[Illustration] from The Unseen Hand by Ralph Epperson


Few, however, will dare to compare Johnson's governmental philosophy with the writings and teachings of Marx. But the comparison is inevitable: the action and its results are the same, no matter whether it is called the "Great Society," or Marxist Communism. Both seek to use government to divide wealth. But it is not fashionable to favorably compare the two by noticing the similarity between the "Great Society" and the teachings of Karl Marx.

Sometimes the support of this Marxist philosophy about the purpose of government comes from the "respectable right," from those the observer would never suspect of being a "closet communist."

Take, for instance, the thoughts on this subject from two respectable "right wing Conservatives." One has written:

"Congress shall appropriate funds for social welfare only for the benefit of those states whose per capita income is below the national average."

This writer advocated a newer brand of Marxism: "From each state according to its ability, to each state according to its needs." (emphasis added.) This writer advocated that the national government divide the wealth, taking it from the wealthier states and giving it to the less productive. Pure Marxism, except the writer involved both the state and the federal governments rather than just the federal government as Marx envisioned. This is only expanding Marx one step: the result is the same. Property is distributed by the government just as before. The shock is that this new thought came from the pen of William F. Buckley, Jr., hardly a paragon of Marxism. But notice that Buckley's intent is the same as that of Marx: to use government to redistribute Consumption and Capital Goods.

Another method of income redistribution by government was proposed by another respected member of the "Conservative Right" His proposal is called the Negative Income Tax, which would use the Income Tax as a method of redistributing wealth. Under this proposal, the poverty level individual would have but to show his non-income on the Income Tax form, and the government would take some of the taxes paid by the more prosperous tax-payers, and give it to the poorer individual in the form of an income tax "refund." The utilization of the income tax as a vehicle to divide wealth apparently must satisfy the concern of those who wish to use government as an income distributor, but do not wish to become associated with the Marxist "Left" which openly advocates Marxist theories. In other words, if it bothers the listener to be recognized as a supporter of the preachings of an open Marxist, he might find relief by supporting the proposals of a member of the "Conservative Right," Professor Milton Friedman, the "Free Enterprise Economist," who proposed the Negative Income Tax.

Sometimes a member of the clergy becomes involved in the subject of income distribution. Here is the statement of a Pope, in this case Pope Paul VI, who wrote the following at Easter, 1967:

"But nowadays, no country can keep its wealth just for itself alone. It should be normal, now, for the developed nations to help the under-developed with some agreed percentage of their additional income."

Here the Pope speaks in favor of a national income distribution program where one country taxes itself for the benefit of another nation in accordance with the principle: "From each nation according to its ability, to each nation according to its need." (emphasis added.)

But the American people must never fear or despair: the American government will save them from this creeping Socialism.

"Administration opens battle on socialism" reads the headline of an article written on January 26, 1975. The article explained:

"Concerned about what it fears is a national drift toward socialism, the Ford (President Gerald Ford) administration is mounting a major campaign to restrain the growth in Social Security benefits and other income redistribution programs."

The writer of the article informed the reader that the purpose of the Social Security program was ". . .income redistribution." One must honestly admire the cleverness of the administration in concealing this fact from those who have believed that it was intended to be a retirement plan for those of the working population who reached retirement age. The article went on to point out that the concern of the Ford administration was that the spending for Social Security would rise to where it would be one-half of the total Gross National Product. If this happened, the United States would be irreversibly on the road toward a controlled economy. (Fascism.)

The ultimate purpose of all income redistribution schemes is people control. This was graphically illustrated by Leon Trotsky, one of the founders of the Communist government in Russia in 1917, who wrote:

"In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition (to the State) means death by slow starvation. The old principle . . . 'who does not work shall not eat' has been replaced by a new one . . . 'who does not obey shall not eat.'"

The ultimate Communism is total control over all mankind. All of the efforts of the people belong to the state and if the worker does not produce, he will be slowly starved unto submission, or unto death. Here the difference between Socialism and Communism shows itself in the attitude of what to do with the unwilling worker: the Socialist wishes to execute him in a "kindly manner," while the Communist wishes to slowly starve him to death. It is hardly a difference worth debating.

The socialist machine slowly climbs the ladder to total control of the market place. The next logical step in the climb is to have the state become the final employer of all workmen and for that state to issue a "worker's card" so that the government can say who shall have the privilege of working. Without the card, the worker cannot find work. Leon Trotsky didn't recommend a card, apparently, but he certainly would have supported the concept as being consistent with the principle: "who does not obey shall not eat."

The proposal for a work card issued to the American people was the idea of Benjamin Civiletti, former President Jimmy Carter's Attorney General, according to an Associated Press article of June 28, 1980. The article read "Civiletti urges 'card for all U.S. workers.' Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti yesterday said he favored requiring Americans and aliens in this country to carry a 'work card' in order to apply for a job."

If the American citizen doesn't obtain a card, the American citizen doesn't work. And if the American citizen doesn't work, the American citizen starves.

Others have continued the thought that the national government should issue a worker identification card. The Arizona Daily Star of March 25, 1981 carried an article with the following headline: "(Senator Dennis) DeConcini (Democrat from Arizona) 'not averse' to national worker ID to curb alien influx."

The article went on to detail that various senators were supporting legislation that would require an identification card for all Americans that would do away with the "tremendous benefits there are in coming over here illegally."

The bill would require the possessor of the card to show it when applying for a job. The illegal alien would presumably not have the card, and therefore would not be able to get a job, according to the reasoning of those who support the legislation. How they would handle the problem of those Americans who did not feel it was Constitutional for the American government to issue such a card was not answered by the article. What would happen to those dissenters is apparently not worthy of an explanation.

An article that appeared on March 21, 1982, should be of interest to those supporters of President Ronald Reagan who are certain that their "conservative" President would never allow such an unconstitutional abomination as the national ID card. The article was entitled: "Reagan 'open' to national ID card," and included this comment: "It was the first time the Reagan administration had indicated it is not opposed to plans for creating a nationwide identity card to deal with illegal immigration."

So now the American people can begin to understand why the United States government is not doing more to prohibit the immigration of millions of illegal aliens. The problem of illegal immigration serves to justify the "solution" which is a national ID card. The American people must have an identification card and the borders must come down so that there will be a reason for the issuance of the card.

The Vietnamese Communists apparently do not have an illegal immigration problem so they avoided all of the formality of the issuance of cards to their workers. They just resorted to the use of the radio to broadcast the following work order: "All citizens who have the strength and the ability to work must absolutely carry out the state mobilization orders, and serve in any capacity or any mission assigned to them by the state. Those who do not want to work or do not carry out the state's orders will be forced to carry out work in order to be useful to our society."

One of the North Vietnamese generals during the war made it clear that the Communists have nothing but disdain for human life. He is quoted as saying:

"Every minute hundreds of thousands of people are dying all over the world. The life or death of a hundred or a thousand or tens of thousands of human beings even if they are our own compatriots really represents very little."

Fortunately for those who love their freedoms eloquent spokesmen occasionally arise to oppose the intrusion of government into every aspect of human life, and their words are terse and to the point One such spokesman was Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the following: "That government is best that governs least."

And for every such advocate there arises an equally eloquent spokesman for more and more government intrusion. Take for instance, the following statement of a former U.S. Senator, Joseph Clark:

"The size, range and complexity of government increases, and will likely continue to do so I would defend the proposition that this expansion is good not bad.

"Surely we have reached the point where we can say, for our time at least, that Jefferson was wrong: that government is not best which governs least . . .

"The fallacy in Jefferson's argument is the assumption that the expansion of government leads to curtailment of individual freedoms.

"That just is not true."

This position was further expanded by the Ford Foundation, which in 1969 published a "think piece" entitled Planning and Participation, in which it declared:

"The world is too complex for an abatement of government powers. If anything, the role of government must be strengthened "

And so we have those who wish to extend the government's control into all aspects of human activity and those who wish to reduce it.

The remaining chapters deal with this battle.

And with those who are winning.