Friday, October 18, 2013

EBTers Sack Walmart

Obamacare isn't the only government program having computer problems. Recently the EBT program went down.

EBT's the electronic replacement for Food Stamps. It's a debit card that gets refilled every month so that welfare recipients can use them to buy food.

When EBT went down most merchants stopped accepting EBT payments. But two Walmart stores in Louisiana decided to honor EBT purchases anyway.

So what do you think the good EBT folks did when Walmart kindly let them continue shopping on the honor system? Did they thank Walmart for letting them shop even though nobody could verify whether they had a balance on their EBT cards?

No they didn't. What they did was to buy up the stores and loot them, buying not just food but clothing and electronics.

It's a dramatic illustration, as if we needed one, of the difference between government and business, a difference that I dramatize in my American Manifesto.

Government is force. A government is an armed minority occupying some territory and funding itself by requisitioning or taxing the local inhabitants. Who need it? The argument is that you need an agency of force to prevent the robbers and pirates from running rampant. Yet governments maintain themselves by paying their supporters from funds extorted from ordinary people. This may be in wages and pensions paid to modern government employees, or in a license to loot, like crony capitalists, liberal grant recipients, Social Security Disability Insurance, and EBTers.

So wherever you find it, government is an armed minority doling out loot to its supporters, even though it says that its whole reason for being is to defend against the looters.

But business is different. Business is not about force and loot, because business does not start with the problem of how to maintain the apparatus of force, but how to find or make something, some product or service, that people are willing to pay for.

So right away business starts not with Ego's needs, but with Alter's needs, to use the lingo of modern Marxists. It means that business must spend every waking hour thinking about what other people want not what I want.

Suppose you have discovered a product that other people want. Then you have a new problem. How do you get the customers to come back and buy again? The answer is simple. You must build a relationship with your customers; you must treat your customers well, and get them tolike you and feel that they are treated well. There is a word for this sort of thing. It is called Trust. There is even a book about it, by Francis Fukuyama.

So when the EBT system goes down, Walmart thinks of its EBTers as valued and trusted customers. Unfortunately, Walmart is wrong.

EBTers and the other supporters of the welfare state are not trusted "others." They are like the soldiers of a warrior chieftain. They are like the warriors in the Iliad. They only know looting and pillage. They range the world looking for things to steal and loot, just like Sherman's "bummers" or the Russian soldiers that, reportedly, raped every single German woman east of the Elbe on their way from Moscow to Berlin in World War II.

The modern global underclass is just like the licentious soldiery of old. They are not connected into the market economy by a web of service and reciprocal obligation, by long-term relationships of trust. On the contrary, they are looters and pillagers, and they owe loyalty only to the political chieftain of the moment, the one that offers them the best opportunity for ripping off free stuff.

The sooner we stop it the better.

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