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Economics and Mental Symmetry (2010)

I should preface this section by saying that I am not an economist, and so, if I make some factual errors, then please let me know. However, the connections between economics and mental symmetry are so obvious and so significant that I have to stick out my intellectual neck and write something on the subject.

Mental symmetry suggests that the mind contains two basic circuits, which I refer to as practical Contributor thought and intellectual Contributor thought. In the human, practical Contributor thought uses the physical body to interact with the natural world, while intellectual Contributor thought uses words to build abstract theories.  In essence, I suggest that economics is an analysis of practical Contributor thought—limited to the realm of external objects and services. Let me repeat that: 1) Economics uses the mental circuit of practical Contributor thought. 2) Economics limits its analysis of this circuit to the realm of the external.

I will be quoting a lot from Ludwig von Mises, one of the founders of the Austrian School of Economics, because he looks beyond mere numbers and figures to the mental processes that drive economics. In general, I think that von Mises makes many profound observations about human behavior, but that his analysis is also limited to a subset of the human mind. I have taken these quotes from

Practical Contributor Thought

Since economic behavior is primarily a description of practical Contributor thought, we need to begin by reviewing how this mental circuit functions.

I have placed two boxes on the diagram as well as adding a dotted arrow. The dashed box tying Mercy and Perceiver together indicates the map of value. The solid box connecting Server, Contributor, and Perceiver contains the modes which use economic activity to improve value, while the dotted line indicates the path by which the bottom line motivates economic behavior.

The map of value requires a combination of emotional Mercy experiences and logical Perceiver facts. The emotional Mercy experiences provide the goal. I may want to get rid of a unpleasant Mercy experience, or I may want to achieve a good Mercy result.

The Map of Value: Everyone has personal Mercy feelings, but it is the ability to compare one personal emotion with another which makes economic activity possible. This comparison is provided by Perceiver facts. For instance, suppose that I am shopping for breakfast cereal. When I look at the store shelf, I see rows upon rows of cereal boxes, each attempting to appeal to my personal emotions in some way through color, design, packaging, novelty or flavor. Perceiver strategy looks at all of these various cereals and looks for facts that they have in common, such as price, nutritional content or package size.

The goal of comparing value is to come up with a personal feeling: I like that cereal the most. But, this emotional conclusion is guided by Perceiver facts which are independent of feeling: cereal A contains 31% sugar; cereal B contains 12% sugar. Or, cereals A and C are sold in economy sizes; cereals B, D, and E are packaged in large sizes.

Value is ultimately a Mercy feeling. But, economic choices can also be driven by Mercy thought. But, they can also be In that case, I will glance at the shelves and one of the cereals will catch my eye: “This cereal has blueberry flavoring. I like blueberries; I will buy this cereal.” Perceiver connections are functioning, but under the surface. Maybe I walked by the fruit section and saw some blueberries, or maybe I was reminded of the time that I went picking blueberries. When economic choices are driven by Mercy thought, then it will usually be some isolated feature that motivates my choice, and not the product as a whole.

Economic choices can also be guided by Perceiver connections and Perceiver thinking. I will focus upon some Perceiver fact, and then examine the various items in the light of this fact: “Let’s look at sugar content. Which cereal has the least sugar?” This may cause me to choose the corn flakes. If I have time, I may think about several Perceiver facts, choose the best alternatives for each parameter, and then compare these candidates in order to pick the overall winner: “Corn flakes have less sugar, but I like the taste of shredded wheat. However, the Rice Krispies come in the largest box. Why don’t I take the Corn Chex. Its sugar content is quite low, it tastes pretty good and the box is fairly large.” The end result is still a personal Mercy feeling for a specific item, but more conscious thought went into coming to this emotional conclusion.

A lot more can be said about the mental map of value. However, notice that it involves the combination of two mental factors which don’t normally get together: personal feelings and logical facts. It is very difficult to think logically when personal feelings are involved, and according to MBTI®, it is not possible to combine Thinking with Feeling. Mental symmetry, in contrast, suggest that these two can be combined—to the extent that one builds the Perceiver confidence that is required to handle emotional pressure without falling apart.

The Perceiver/Mercy map of value is also used to define ‘me’. Most maps in large malls or public places will contain a big arrow pointing to a location on the map with the words, ‘you are here’. Similarly, Perceiver strategy looks at the Mercy experiences which continue to reappear in my personal presence and concludes that these form part of ‘me’. These two aspects go together. In order for a map to be of any personal use, it must include the location of ‘me’; I must know where I am in the map. Likewise, there is no point in defining who and where I am if I do not know where I came from and where I can go to.

Exhorter Drive: Let us move on now from the dashed box to the dotted line. Economic activity is driven by the connection from Mercy thought through Exhorter strategy to Contributor mode. Exhorter strategy finds emotional experiences exciting, and it provides energy for the mind when a strong emotion shows up on the scene. Exhorter strategy finds both pain and pleasure equally exciting, which is why economics can be defined either as a way of removing personal discomfort or else as a way of achieving personal comfort.

Exhorter strategy is also strongly driven by novelty, and it becomes bored when a situation does not change. Thus, I may choose something which is not the best economic alternative, simply because it is new, or because I have not chosen that alternative for a while.

Contributor Choice: The actual economic choice is made by Contributor thought. First, Contributor strategy can access Perceiver facts and therefore is aware of the map of value. Second, Contributor thought is driven by Exhorter strategy to choose the option which is the most exciting. Contributor strategy views the combination of these two aspects as a sort of grid placed upon visual imagination. The imagination comes from Exhorter strategy, the grid is provided by Perceiver facts.

Exhorter excitement and Contributor choice often struggle with one another. For the typical consumer, Exhorter excitement plays a major role, and many economic choices are made on the basis of novelty. For the Contributor person, the value of the bottom line is the overriding factor, and the Contributor person will often stick with a boring alternative for some time if it continues to have the best bottom line. Saying this another way, the typical Contributor person is willing to repeat the same limited activity for years, if he can make good money with it.

Since most economists are Contributor persons, and everyone assumes that other people are just like they are, economics tend to base their analysis upon the bottom line, not realizing the fundamental role that excitement plays in the typical partially informed consumer. On the other hand, the average advertising expert does realize the role that Exhorter excitement plays, and does his best to trigger this excitement in the consumer.

The Perceiver person is good at constructing a mental map of value. But, he finds it difficult to go beyond building the map to actually using it. That is because using a map of value means losing control of his mind to subconscious Contributor thought. In contrast, the Contributor person is quite willing to work with value, but he finds it difficult to learn about value.

Using a map of value means adding Server actions to Perceiver facts. Perceiver facts tell me where I am, whereas Server actions change my location. Contributor choice connects Perceiver fact with Server action; it chooses which action will be used to move through the map of value.

And what does Teacher thought do? It provides the overall framework for economic activity; it holds on to the general theory of economic activity which makes all of this possible; it provides the structure which encourages private enterprise to function.

Summarizing: Economic activity is driven by subjective Mercy emotions. These emotional experiences are tied together by Perceiver facts to build a map of value and to place me and potential opportunities within this map of value. Exhorter strategy is attracted to exciting possibilities within this map which Contributor strategy sees as an opportunity. Contributor thought then chooses which Server action it will pursue in order to get from my present location to the opportunity.

Economic Activity

Now that we have the general picture, let us go over the details, using quotes from von Mises to guide our discussion. After each quote, I will also mention the specific book in which this paragraph can be found.

We will begin with a general quote: “Action is purposive conduct. It is not simply behavior, but behavior begot by judgments of value, aiming at a definite end and guided by ideas concerning the suitability or unsuitability of definite means. It is impossible to deal with it without the categories of causality and finality. It is conscious behavior. It is choosing. It is volition; it is a display of the will.” The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science.

Notice that all the basic elements of practical Contributor thought are present in this quote—viewed from the perspective of a Contributor person. The Server person may perform Server actions, but the Contributor connects Server actions with Perceiver facts, turning mere behavior into ‘purposive conduct’. This purposive behavior is guided by Contributor choice: ‘It is choosing. It is volition; it is a display of the will.’ In the Contributor person especially, this choice is conscious: ‘It is conscious behavior’. And, what guides Contributor choice? ‘Judgments of value, aiming at a definite end.’ What happens when Server actions are added to Perceiver facts? you get cause and effect; Perceiver facts acquire the dimension of time, no longer just connecting elements that are spatially close, but also bridging present location with ends via the Server connection of means: This is where I am; that is my goal; this is how I get from here to there.

How does Contributor choice interact with the map of value? Mises describes the concept of cost and benefit: “Action is an attempt to substitute a more satisfactory state of affairs for a less satisfactory one. We call such a willfully induced alteration an exchange. A less desirable condition is bartered for a more desirable. What gratifies less is abandoned in order to attain something that pleases more. That which is abandoned is called the price paid for the attainment of the end sought. The value of the price paid is called costs. Costs are equal to the value attached to the satisfaction which one must forego in order to attain the end aimed at.” Human Action

In the words of mental symmetry, economic exchange means mentally leaving my present location and traveling to a better place. My ‘present location’ may be a physical location, like a house in which I currently live, or it may describe an object which I possess,  or possibly my present level of education. Whatever it is, Perceiver thought in my mind knows that it is connected with ‘me’. Moving to a better ‘location’ requires paying the cost of letting go what I presently have, along with the cost of traveling to the better location. The benefit that I receive is the personal pleasure of achieving the goal.

Contributor strategy is the part of the mind which handles the linking and the relinking of ownership; it is the mental mode which does the actual exchange. Perceiver strategy knows that ‘this is mine’ and that is yours’. But, Contributor strategy makes the transition from ‘this is mine’ to ‘this is yours’. The rest of the mind provides the background which makes exchanges possible: Server strategy provides the labor that constructs the Perceiver objects; Server actions physically move the object from the seller to the buyer. Perceiver thought learns the facts that are required to truly own an object, while Mercy strategy enjoys the object and produces the feelings of personal pleasure.

It is easy for the Contributor person to fixate so fully upon economic exchange that he loses to ability to derive any personal pleasure from what he is exchanging. For such an individual, what matters is turnover. Every object must be at work, gaining more wealth through the process of monetary exchange. So, a speedboat may be acquired in order to settle some economic debt, but that speedboat will not be used, because that would diminish its value. Instead, it will be traded as quickly as possible for some other item of greater value. And, when one is trading, taking physical delivery of goods adds time and expense, therefore, what will preferably be traded is the slip of paper or the number in the computer indicating who owns what. And, the successful trading Contributor person may not even know what he is buying and selling, because all he cares about is the exchange and whether or not it leads to a better monetary state. Therefore, the Contributor person is drawn to the concept of using symbolic Server actions to exchange imaginary Perceiver objects, because this permits him to make the most Contributor exchanges.

Division of Labor: So, what makes business possible? Why do people exchange items and services with one another? “We owe the origin and development of human society and, consequently, of culture and civilization, to the fact that work performed under the division of labor is more productive than when performed in isolation.” Epistemological Problems of Economics

The theory of mental symmetry agrees with this statement but adds a deeper reason. People have different cognitive styles. Each cognitive style has a complete mind, but is only conscious in one part of the mind. Thus, each cognitive style is naturally good at functioning in certain ways, but can only become mentally complete by cooperating with other cognitive styles.

The Contributor person is the best at being an entrepreneur, because he is conscious in Contributor thought, the part of the mind which lies at the center of forming plans and carrying them out, the part of the mind which performs an economic exchange. Mises himself realizes that the ability to do business well is an inborn ability, for he says that “An entrepreneur cannot be trained.” Human Action

Thus, the principle of natural specialization also applies to the Contributor entrepreneur who focuses his efforts upon economic exchange. He depends upon both the producer of goods and the consumer of goods for his very existence, and if he himself wants to enjoy life, then he must develop and use the parts of the mind that consume and appreciate goods. Similarly, if he wants the satisfaction of producing a good and not merely exchanging it, then he must develop the parts of the mind which produce items.

Unfortunately, the Contributor person is both helped and hindered by another inborn ability: his natural ability to concentrate upon a plan. On the one hand, this allows him to devote all of his energy to reaching the bottom line without getting distracted. On the other hand, this permits him to specialize in some small area of activity, such as economic exchange, while remaining ignorant of other regions of thought.

Calculating Value

Let us turn our attention now to the details, beginning with a definition of the bottom line: Economics is driven by a desire to improve personal Mercy feelings. Each person has his own personal identity which resides within Mercy strategy. “Each individual is the only and final arbiter in matters concerning his own satisfaction and happiness.” Theory and History

These personal feelings do not come from the object itself but are added by the mind and the body to the external experience: “Value is not intrinsic. It is not in things and conditions but in the valuing subject.” Theory and History

This leads us to a major problem. Economic activity exchanges one valuable item for another. This can only be done if it is possible to compare the value of one item with another. But, value is ultimately a personal feeling, and there is no way of measuring the personal feelings of an individual: “There is no means of comparing and measuring the happiness of different people and of the same people at different times.” Human Action

And, it is difficult to use Perceiver logic when dealing with emotional Mercy experiences: “There are no such things as absolute values, independent of the subjective preferences of erring men. Judgments of values are the outcome of human arbitrariness. They reflect all the shortcomings and weaknesses of their authors.” Bureaucracy

But, Contributor strategy is based upon Perceiver facts and is driven by Exhorter excitement; it can only function with a mental map of value which uses Perceiver facts to guide personal Mercy feelings. Thus the Contributor person must assume the existence of a rational map of value. He must act as if people choose rationally. “The assertion that there is irrational action is always rooted in an evaluation of a scale of values different from our own. Whoever says that irrationality plays a role in human action is merely saying that his fellow men behave in a way that he does not consider correct.” Epistemological Problems of Economics

But, the childish mind is not rational. Instead, it uses Mercy emotions and personal status to define Perceiver truth. “Man is born an asocial and antisocial being. The newborn child is a savage. Egoism is his nature. Only the experience of life and the teachings of his parents, his brothers, sisters, playmates, and later of other people force him to acknowledge the advantages of social cooperation and accordingly to change his behavior.” Omnipotent Government

So, how can this fundamental problem be solved? One way is to abrogate personal responsibility and blame the consumer: “It is not the fault of the entrepreneurs that the consumers prefer liquor to Bibles and detective stories to serious books, and that governments prefer guns to butter. The entrepreneur does not make greater profits in selling bad things than in selling good things. His profits are the greater the better he succeeds in providing the consumers with those things they ask for most intensely.” Human Action

Thus, the typical Contributor entrepreneur accepts the personal feelings of the consumer as absolute and ignores whether they are mentally healthy or not: “The fundamental law of the market is: the customer is always right.” Economic Freedom and Interventionism

A more technical solution is to apply the ordinal utility theory and assume that even though personal emotional satisfaction cannot be directly measured, it is still possible to make general statements based upon order of preference, together with the concept of diminishing marginal utility. However, this is simply a more sophisticated way of saying that ‘the customer is always right’.

‘Me’ versus Mine

We have looked at the issue of economic value and have seen that it is based in personal Mercy emotions, something which cannot be measured. Economics handles this fundamental problem by assuming personal feelings and externalizing the problem. Let us explore this further by continuing to compare economic activity with practical Contributor thought.

Using this mental circuit can itself be compared with taking a journey. When I take a physical journey, then the various required elements are provided externally. However, when I go on either an economic journey or attempt to make internal progress, then these elements must first be constructed.

One basic requirement for taking a trip is to know where I am. Some big, friendly arrow has to point at ‘me’ and say, ‘you are here’. In addition, if I want to be able to look at the map and choose intelligently where I will go, then every location on the map needs to be clearly defined. (I put the word ‘me’ in quotes because I am assigning a technical definition to it.)

But, the basic unit of economics is ‘me’ and my personal emotions, which are inherently difficult to define clearly. Therefore, instead of defining ‘me’, economics defines mine:  “The foundation of any and every civilization, including our own, is private ownership of the means of production. Whoever wishes to criticize modern civilization, therefore, begins with private property.” Liberalism

But, mentally speaking, ‘me’ and mine and both treated in a similar manner: Perceiver thought is observing Mercy experiences and organizing them into solid categories. For instance, if I continue to see the same car sitting in my driveway, then Perceiver strategy will notice this repetition and conclude that the car and ‘me’ belong together. Similarly, if every time that I look in the mirror I see the same face staring back at me, Perceiver thought will also conclude that ‘me’ and this face belong together. And, if I have a natural ability to carry out economic calculations, then Perceiver thought will observe this repeated behavior and also conclude that it belong to ‘me’.

That is why mental symmetry defines ‘me’ as the collection of experiences, skills, and knowledge that always follow me around. This may seem like a circular definition with both me and ‘me’ appearing in the same sentence, but this actually involves a progression from external to internal. Because the human mind lives in a physical body which occupies a physical location, the mental concept of personal identity begins by defining ‘me’ as a Perceiver object which ties together specific Mercy experiences. 

So what exactly is the difference between ‘me’ and mine? Basically, ‘me’ is more attached than mine. I can sell my car because it is mine. But, I cannot sell my body because it is an aspect of ‘me’. However, when it comes to my knowledge and my skills, then these can be sold to a certain extent, even though they form a basic part of ‘me’. However, the selling takes a different form. When I sell a car, the entire object is transferred; the object ceases to be mine and it becomes yours. However, when I sell my knowledge or skills, then instead of transferring the entire object, I share merely an aspect of them. If I give you an hour of my time, for instance, I can share with you a small piece of my understanding of mathematics. But, I cannot open up our two heads and transfer my entire knowledge into your brain. In addition, after sharing part of my knowledge, I do not lose the knowledge that I already have, but instead may myself gain a more clear understanding.

Economic activity is based upon private property—clearly defining what is mine and what is yours. But what is more basic, ‘me’ or mine? Obviously, ‘me’. Similarly, what is the ultimate source of the personal emotions that drive economic activity? ‘Me’. Repeating a quote from Mises: “Value is not intrinsic. It is not in things and conditions but in the valuing subject.” Theory and History

Therefore, when economists suggest that private property is the basis for economics, then I suggest that they are only partially correct. What is really required is a mental sense of ownership. I must know very clearly what belongs to ‘me’ and what does not.

So, why does the economist focus upon mine instead of ‘me’? I suggest three possible reasons: First, mine is much easier to define than ‘me’, because mine is external. Second, learning accurate facts about ‘me’ means gaining the Perceiver confidence that is needed to think logically in the realm of subjective emotions. Finally, defining ‘me’ accurately leads to feelings of guilt and personal inadequacy.

We can understand this last point by looking at the results of private property. What happens when objects are divided into mine, yours, and his? It does not take very long before one person owns more than another. One person has only an old car in his driveway, while the other has purchased a brand new vehicle.

Tribalism and Socialism

When private property leads to an inequality of wealth, then economic growth faces two main enemies, one a traditional foe rooted in Mercy idolatry and childish identity, and the second a Teacher based enemy rooted in a theory of fairness and equality.

Let us look first at the tradition foe of tribalism. It is driven primarily by force, face, and tradition. It does not accept the existence of Perceiver thought, but instead uses Mercy force and Mercy importance to establish Perceiver ‘truth’. So, if my neighbor likes my car, then he will take it from me. In fact, when ‘might makes right’, then there is no such thing as private property. Instead, the person with the greatest Mercy status simply grabs what he wants.

This describes the behavior of childish identity, which uses emotional Mercy experiences to define Perceiver ‘truth’. It also describes the inherent nature of the animal: “What elevates man above all other animals is the cognition that peaceful cooperation under the principle of the division of labor is a better method to preserve life and to remove felt uneasiness than indulging in pitiless biological competition for a share in the scarce means of subsistence provided by nature. Guided by this insight, man alone among all living beings consciously aims at substituting social cooperation for what philosophers have called the state of nature or bellum omnium contra omnes or the law of the jungle.” The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science

Private property, in contrast, limits the power of the tribal leader. “Private property creates for the individual a sphere in which he is free of the state. It sets limits to the operation of the authoritarian will. It allows other forces to arise side by side with and in opposition to political power.” Liberalism

Tribalism is also strongly driven by face. When Perceiver ‘truth’ is determined by Mercy status, then what really matters is Mercy status. I want people to think that I am important; I want to be at the top of the pecking order; I want others to look up to me; I want to be the source of ‘truth’. When a person improves himself, he makes others look bad. For instance, suppose that someone in the village uses new methods of agriculture to improve his crop yield, earn some money, and build a brand new house. The mansion of the village chief will no longer look so grand. Plus, the villagers will begin to ignore the chief and start turning to the successful entrepreneur for advice. This will cause the village head to lose face. Eventually the situation will come to a head and there will be a face-off. (OK. I’ll quit.)

Finally, tribalism is rooted in tradition. The childish mind that worships Mercy idols is built around its immediate external environment. If you cut down the large oak tree in the middle of the village, then people start to fall apart inside, because that tree, along with a host of other physical and cultural traditional items, defines their identity and their mental structure. Thus, tribalism will reject the improvements of the entrepreneur simply because they are different. “The essence of an individual’s freedom is the opportunity to deviate from traditional ways of thinking and of doing things.” Theory and History

Put these three factors together and you get two contradictory impulses: If I like what you have, then I will take it from you. But, if you do something new and better, then I will stop you from doing it so that you do not make me feel bad.

How does one escape traditional tribalism? By using Perceiver thought to define personal identity: this is ‘me’ and that is you. “Individualism resulted in the fall of autocratic government, the establishment of democracy, the evolution of capitalism, technical improvements, and an unprecedented rise in standards of living. It substituted enlightenment for old superstitions, scientific methods of research for inveterate prejudices.” Omnipotent Government

The second enemy of personal inequality is rooted in Teacher understanding. A Teacher theory looks for universal principles; it wants an explanation that will apply everywhere without exception. Socialism uses the Teacher theory of fairness: everyone should have exactly the same slice of pie. He who has a bigger slice should have part of his pie taken away from him and given to the one who has less. I have suggested that Contributor thought, when used by itself, leads to the pure marketplace in which everyone is buying and selling but no one is producing anything or enjoying anything. In contrast, raw Facilitator thought uses mixing to blend everything together. It believes in averages. As far as it is concerned, the individual who sticks out from the crowd is a statistical outlier who needs to be brought back into line or else eliminated. In the same that Contributor planning and exchanging works best when coordinating the activity of several modes of thought, so Facilitator mixing plays an essential role when balancing existing mental circuits. However, if Facilitator mixing ever tries to take over the mind and define mental content by itself, then one of the results will be a Teacher theory of fairness, which basically takes blending and averaging and turns it into a universal Teacher theory.

Mises recognizes that socialism has intellectual roots: “The first socialists were the intellectuals; they and not the masses are the backbone of Socialism.” Socialism

In essence, socialism pits one half of the mind against the other, because it programs intellectual Contributor thought with a Teacher theory which demands the destruction of practical Contributor thought. Because these two ways of thinking mentally contradict one another, they cannot coexist: “Capitalism and socialism are two distinct patterns of social organization. Private control of the means of production and public control are contradictory notions and not merely contrary notions. There is no such thing as a mixed economy, a system that would stand midway between capitalism and socialism.” The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality

But, people are not the same. They are individuals who are different: “Nothing, however, is as ill founded as the assertion of the alleged equality of all members of the human race.” Liberalism. “Men are unequal; individuals differ from one another. They differ because their prenatal as well as their postnatal history is never identical.” The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science

When a universal Teacher theory is not based in reality, then it must be imposed by force. For instance, if I tell you about the law of gravity, then I do not have to force you to believe in this law. Instead, I only have to tell you to look around and observe for yourself. In contrast, if I tell you that everything falls up, then you will only believe in this Teacher theory if I use Mercy importance to impose it upon your mind.

“The essence of Marxian philosophy is this: We are right because we are the spokesmen of the rising proletarian class. Discursive reasoning cannot invalidate our teachings, for they are inspired by the supreme power that determines the destiny of mankind. Our adversaries are wrong because they lack the intuition that guides our minds.” Human Action

When the intellectual imposes a unified Teacher theory upon the population, it is natural for him to continue imposing general Teacher theories upon the population, for general Teacher theories like to expand and grow; they want to be applied in more areas and in more ways: “The planner is a potential dictator who wants to deprive all other people of the power to plan and act according to their own plans. He aims at one thing only: the exclusive absolute preeminence of his own plan.” Planned Chaos

Why does the average person join the socialist planner? He does not have a Teacher understanding. Instead, he is driven primarily by the Mercy-based tribal instincts of jealousy, face, and tradition: “What pushes the masses into the camp of socialism is, even more than the illusion that socialism will make them richer, the expectation that it will curb all those who are better than they themselves are. . . . There will no longer be any room left for innovators and reformers.” The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science

The Reasons for Socialism

We have briefly described the reaction of socialism and traditional culture to the entrepreneur. However, in order to examine the mental reason for this reaction, we need to go beyond Mises. That is because economics describes practical Contributor thought, whereas socialism and the factory worker involve intellectual Contributor thought.

For practical Contributor thought, the bottom line is personal Mercy feelings, the utility of economics. The goal of intellectual Contributor thought, in contrast, is to build a general Teacher theory. When using practical Contributor thought, Perceiver strategy is the passive partner, using facts to construct a map of value, while Server thought plays the active role of using actions to move through this map. In contrast, Server thought plays the passive role with intellectual Contrbutor strategy while Perceiver thought uses facts to move from one Server sequence to another.

The machine provides a good physical example of intellectual Contributor thought. Each part of a machine carries out a specific function, or a Server sequence of actions, such as spinning, pumping, or oscillating. These various parts are then assembled into a complete Perceiver object: the gear goes here, the pump goes there, and so on. The end product is Teacher order within complexity, a structure in which the various parts combine their efforts to produce a unified result.

The machine came into prominence during the industrial revolution. The factory worker also emerged during that time, who worked with machines, was treated like a machine, and did his job in a machine-like environment.

Flipping Modes and the Factory Worker

When a person acts and thinks like a machine, then this leads to what I call ‘flipping modes’. Normally, a human being lives in a world of personal Mercy experiences guided by a general Teacher understanding of the universe. This is the combination which the entrepreneur uses and which the economist understands. But, it is possible for a human being to use a form of thought which is completely the opposite, a method of operation which is inhuman. In fact, my hypothesis is that this inhuman realm is the natural ‘home’ for aliens, angels and supernatural beings. However, we are concerned here with the human factory worker who turns mentally inhuman.

What is responsible for this flipping of modes? The industrial revolution, and the machine-like environment which it created. You can find more on that near the end of my technical analysis of Christianity.

For a normal human being, his personal identity is defined by Perceiver thought. Perceiver strategy looks at the Mercy experiences that are associated with ‘me’ and decides that they belong together. However, the factory worker is defined by his personal Server skill: pipe fitter, carpenter, boiler man, and so on. Normally, a human makes friends with people who are physically related to him, or else physically close to him, relationships which are defined by Perceiver thought. In contrast, the skilled laborer relates to people with similar Server skills. Thus, one pipe fitter would find himself attracted other pipe fitters, leading to the formation of professional associations. The factory system reinforces this professional bond by treating all pipe fitters as replaceable cogs within the production system.

What drives the factory worker? Not the economic bottom line of money. Yes, he is a human being who wants to take a pay check home at the end of the month, but money and utility are not an aspect of his normal every day thought. This means that the entrepreneur who owns the factory lives in a completely different mental world than the laborer who mans this factory. The factory owner finds it inconceivable that someone would not be motivated by money, while the factory worker sees the entire capitalistic system of money, value, and ownership as irrelevant, because the owner measures value in Perceiver terms of money whereas the worker measures value in Server units of time and labor.

As economists point out, these two definitions of value are not the same. What the factory owner sells his products for is always more than the wages that the worker receives for his labor. That difference pays for capital costs and provides a profit for the factory owner. But, the laborer thinks in terms of Server value. He does not understand Perceiver value. Therefore, he will think that he is being exploited by the factory owner—and when profits are excessive, then he is right; he is being exploited.

So, what motivates the factory worker? Teacher function and efficiency. His goal is to do his job as efficiently as possible. This may mean performing the task as fast as possible, but it could also mean expending the minimum amount of physical effort that is necessary to perform an acceptable job. The owner controls his workers by changing their Mercy benefits—paying them more or less. The workers manipulate the owner by controlling Teacher results. What makes Teacher strategy feel good? A system that functions properly, in which all the workers combine their efforts to make the production flow smoothly. What gives emotional pain to Teacher thought? A system that falls apart; a factory that stops functioning. Thus, when the workers want to hurt the owner, they think in terms of Teacher pain and go on strike, either shutting down the factory or else working to rule.

Which of these two ways of measuring value is more fundamental? For the human, it is the Perceiver method of the entrepreneur. That is because humans inhabit physical bodies within a physical universe, and the bottom line of the human body is personal subjective feeling. But, the average factory worker does not know that. He does not realize that his Server method of measuring value is a secondary method which depends upon the primary Perceiver method for its existence. Thus, when the factory worker goes on strike, he does not grasp that the owner will only keep the factory running if the factory itself remains profitable.

Finally, normal human behavior is guided by a general Teacher understanding of my natural surroundings. When a person flips modes, he looks for a general Mercy environment. Part of this is provided by the factory itself, in which thousands of people combine their efforts to produce the desired products. But, the workers themselves band together into general Mercy groups, such as the International Brotherhood of Pipefitters. These unions and professional associations reinforce the inhuman nature of the factory floor: First, they put tight definitions on the specific Teacher names that are used: you cannot call yourself a professional pipefitter unless you meet the official list of qualifications and pass the official exams. Second, they limit the Server actions that can be performed by each specialization: A pipefitter doesn’t change the lights. If you want to change the lights, then you have to call a certified electrician.

In terms of MBTI®, the factory worker lives in Sensing. He uses his physical body, guided primarily by Teacher emotions.

The Socialist Intellectual

We have looked at the factory worker and have suggested that he flips modes, going from specific Mercy and general Teacher to general Mercy and specific Teacher. I have also suggested that his mode of operation is dominated by Sensing. On the other side of Sensing is iNtuition. I suggest that this describes the thinking of the intellectual socialist.

Like the factory worker, the intellectual is also driven by Teacher emotions. However, while the worker flips modes and deals with specific Teacher names, functions, machines, and skills, the intellectual uses Teacher thought to come up with universal Teacher theories, in line with the normal human mode of operation. Thus the worker and the intellectual share a common interest in Teacher thought and are both driven by Teacher emotions. But, they differ in the way that they use Teacher thought: The worker uses his physical body and lives in Sensing; the intellectual uses words to build general theories and lives in iNtuition.

What distinguishes the socialist intellectual from other intellectuals is his doctrine of fairness: Everyone should have the same piece of pie. No one should have a bigger slice of the pie than another. Fairness is an instinctual reaction of Teacher thought to Mercy individuality, guided by Facilitator mixing. Let us look at the logical progression:

Practical Contributor thought, which the entrepreneur uses, is based in the idea of private property, in which Perceiver thought is used to distinguish between mine and yours. The inevitable consequence of private property is individuality along with differences in personal wealth. Each person does his own thing; some individuals own more than other individuals.

This Mercy individuality has two emotional results: First, it makes Mercy thought feel bad in other people. What happens when someone moves into town and does things different and better? It makes everyone else look stupid and shows up their results as inadequate. Second, Mercy individuality also makes Teacher thought feel bad. Teacher strategy likes structure and order. It hates exceptions to the rule. The entrepreneurial newcomer is an exception to the rule. He refuse to conform and he sticks out like a sore thumb.

The obvious response is to ‘hammer down the nail that sticks out.’ This solves both the Mercy problem and the Teacher problem. On the Mercy side, it gets rid of the individual who is making everyone feel bad. On the Teacher side, it removes the exception to the rule—and remember that Teacher strategy hates individuals who violate universal Teacher order.

When the mind uses practical Contributor thought, Perceiver thought builds the map of value together with the facts of ownership which make business possible. We will examine this in more detail later on. When these Perceiver facts change, then the marketplace cannot function.

However, when intellectual Contributor thought is used, then Perceiver thought become the active element. Instead of using Perceiver facts to define a static map, Perceiver facts are used to generate change. This means that the intellectual socialist will suggest and implement policies which the entrepreneur finds unthinkable because they change the Perceiver facts upon which economic activity depends. And, these policies will find a ready and willing audience in the factory worker—policies such as redistributing wealth, taking the factories away from the owners and giving them to the workers, setting prices, or even abolishing the free market altogether.

Therefore, one of the basic defences against socialism is to ensure that the Perceiver map of value remains fixed: “A sound monetary policy is one of the foremost means to thwart the insidious schemes of communism.” Economic Freedom and Interventionism

So, why will the factories be given to the workers? Because, for intellectual Contributor thought, Server strategy defines the map which must remain solid. Therefore, ownership will be defined in Server terms and not Perceiver terms; the workers labor at the factory, therefore both the intellectual socialist and the factory worker will think that the workers should own the factory.

Moving on, remember that Perceiver facts can be defined in one of two ways: either emotional Mercy experiences are used to overwhelm Perceiver thought and define Perceiver ‘truth’, or else Perceiver strategy gains the confidence that is needed to hold on to facts in the middle of emotional pressure.

This distinction, I suggest, describes the primary difference between communism and socialism. Communism uses Mercy force to change the Perceiver facts of ownership and overrule the Perceiver principles of private enterprise. Socialism, in contrast, pursues the same goal through the use of government imposed Perceiver laws. Thus they differ mainly in method rather in intent: “In regard to economic policy, socialism and communism are identical.” Nation, State, and Economy. However, because socialism respects the concept of the rule of law, it is much easier for private enterprise to recover from socialism than it is from communism.

Let us look briefly at the development of the Russian version of communism, which began with the factory worker. Remember that there are two major groups: The leaders live in iNtuition and build general Teacher theories based upon the concept of removing individual differences by tearing down the Perceiver walls which separate one person from another. The workers live in Sensing and flip modes by focusing upon specific Server skills within a general Mercy environment.

The leaders will decide that they are different than the average factory worker, because they are dealing with theories while the workers are rooted in action. And, the leaders will conclude that they are more important than the workers, because they handle general theories that produce strong Teacher emotions, whereas the workers limit themselves to specific, insignificant actions. Because the leaders consider themselves both different from and better than the laborers, the leaders will set up a human-friendly environment for themselves. First, they will think that they deserve it. Second, they will want a human environment because they have not mentally flipped modes. Their theories may be vague and inadequate, but, like the capitalists that they despise, they still appreciate the good life. And so, there will be special stores and special restaurants to cater to the personal Mercy needs of the leaders. Like the pigs in Animal Farm, the leaders will say that all animals are equal, but they will conclude that some animals are more equal than others and will eventually move into the house to live a human existence.

And what sort of general Teacher theories will the leaders develop? Ones that are consistent with the general approach of challenging any Perceiver facts which violate the universal Teacher theory of fairness. And, if the regime came into power through revolution, then one additional factor will be added: Government will use the Mercy pressure of physical force to change any Perceiver facts which violate the universal Teacher theory of fairness, and will use force to punish any person who establishes Perceiver facts which violate the universal Teacher theory of fairness.

Thus, if some 'rich peasant' has two cows while every other peasant has only one, then this peasant has established a Perceiver fact which is unfair, this individual is an enemy of the state because the state stands for fairness, and this enemy needs to be punished.

And, because the leaders are being driven by Teacher emotions of greatness and universality, progress will also be measured in terms of words, theories and generalities. Therefore, the goal may be to produce 250% more grain and pig iron within five years—a verbal description of a generic item placed within a general theory. If this plan fails to produce the desired results, then obviously the solution is to apply more of the same Teacher theory—because Teacher theories love to expand. Therefore, the leaders will conclude that failure occurred because there were too many Perceiver differences between the people. After all, the leaders know that private property produces economic disparity and allows the rich to exploit the poor. The obvious solution is to tear down these Perceiver differences in order to further enforce the doctrine of fairness. This may mean removing all private property and moving people into communes, in which everyone lives in rows of identical apartments. Similarly, if a general plans is not working, then this means that it is not general enough and needs to be applied more universally in a more uniform fashion.

But, won’t the leaders realize that a central plan has to be adapted to meet the local conditions? No, because it takes Perceiver thought to recognize local differences, and Perceiver thought is not supposed to recognize individual differences. And, won’t the leaders come to their senses and recognize that their plans are failures? No, because it is Perceiver thought which points out contradictions in universal Teacher theories, and Perceiver thought is not being allowed to function. But, won’t the leaders see the dreadful results of their plans? No, because the leaders are living in special human surroundings, separated from the inhumanity which their plans have created. But, why don’t the leaders add some details to their plans? Why don’t they learn something from the workers? Because, the leaders live in iNtuition and the workers live in Sensing, and Perceiver thought is needed to bridge these two. But what about the rule of law? Won’t this place some limitations on the leaders? No, because the rule of law requires solid Perceiver content, and the leaders do not believe in solid Perceiver content. Instead, the leaders have become emotionally convinced that they are the emotional source of the Perceiver truth that is needed to transform society, for remember that when dealing with intellectual Contributor thought, Perceiver strategy is the active agent.

Therefore, it is only a matter of time before the revolution turns into a dictatorship: “Tyranny is the political corollary of socialism, as representative government is the political corollary of the market economy.” Planning for Freedom

The Socialist Worker

Now let us turn our attention from the leader to the worker. He will be subject to the trauma of revolution, the confiscation of private property, the arbitrary laws of the land, the dictatorial government and the disastrous central plans. But, what will happen in the end, after several years, when things begin to settle down? He will learn what it means for a human to flip modes and spend his entire existence within an inhuman environment. He will see what it means to be a machine and live in a factory.

When mental modes flip, then Mercy individuality means nothing. Instead, Mercy strategy works with generality. Therefore, the physical environment of the worker will be filled with uniform sameness. Everyone will live in the same type of generic apartments, cloned row upon row from one city to another, receiving the same generic medical care and eating the same generic food. Personal Mercy feelings are also irrelevant. Therefore, this uniform sameness will be uninterrupted by any local color, both real and figurative. Instead, what will matter is the universal Mercy feelings of the country as a whole—the amazing accomplishments being accomplished by us, and the Mercy status of the state among other countries. On the positive side, this will also mean that no individual will have to worry about his own personal needs because the state will take care of everything—in a generic way.

Bureaucracy will become all-powerful, with daily existence turning into a flipped mode of factory-like operation in which every request is made by going to the appropriate agency housed in its generic government architecture and populated with rows upon rows of identical cubicles and counters, filling out the proper form in triplicate with all the necessary statistics and ID numbers, and then waiting for this request to slowly wend its way from one cog in the state machine to another.

In the words of Mises: “The Russian pattern of socialism is purely bureaucratic. All economic enterprises are departments of the government, like the administration of the army or the postal system. Every plant, shop, or farm stands in the same relation to the superior central organization as does a post office to the office of the postmaster general.” Omnipotent Government

What will matter is personal Teacher feelings: comrades will attempt to get the right social classification, the best ID number, specialize in approved fields, and practice the right personal skills. And, these last two points will eventually lead to the emergence of a new class of individuals, together with a way for the individual to escape the monotony of Mercy uniformity. Remember that there are two ways of defining self-image. The Perceiver way is to use Perceiver facts to make conclusions about my personal Mercy experiences. The Server way is to know what I can do and to make conclusions about my personal skills. Under communism, only the Server method counts. But, it does count. So, if a person becomes exceptionally good at some activity, or becomes an expert in some specific area of knowledge, then he will be given personal privileges, especially if his personal skills improve the status of the country as a whole. Thus, for instance, the Olympic athlete will be highly honored, because his Server skills increase the Mercy importance of the country in the eyes of the world. In more general terms, this focus upon Server identity will lead to the emergence of a social stratum of educated and skilled individuals.

This intermediate class of skilled intellectuals will start to crack the wall that separates the leaders in iNtuition from the workers in Sensing, because these individuals will learn the Perceiver facts that are needed to bridge general Teacher theory with specific Server practice. Contributor persons who would normally become Mercy driven entrepreneurs will devote their energies to pursuing the Teacher bottom line of intellectual and technical expertise in order to differentiate themselves from the crowd. However, the split between iNtuition and Sensing will still be very evident, with the leaders ensuring that the central authority of general iNtuitive Teacher theory always takes precedence over the bureaucracy that grows out of Sensing. As a result, every agency, factory, and bureaucracy will have a representative from the leadership who wields the real power.

In addition, consumer goods will be scarce. On the one hand, consumer goods are meant to satisfy the personal Mercy needs of individuals, and when society flips, then Mercy individuality becomes irrelevant. On the other hand, consumer goods do not add to the universal Mercy status of the country as a whole, therefore the leadership will see no need to produce them. For similar reasons, what the factories do produce will also lack the personal Mercy emotional touch of colorful packaging and attractive form. Instead, everything will look and feel like a heavy duty machine, driven by function and lacking in form. 

The Capitalist’s Response to Socialism

The capitalists living in other countries will respond to the threat of socialism with several arguments, and here we can go back to quoting Mises.  The capitalist will point out that his method of operation does not need the support of Mercy status or importance: “The market economy needs no apologists and propagandists. It can apply to itself the words of Sir Christopher Wrens epitaph in St. Pauls: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice. [If you seek his monument, look around.]” Human Action

Plus, the approach of capitalism is consistent with the structure of the real world: “At least one of the characteristic marks of a true theory is that action based on it succeeds in attaining the expected result. In this sense, truth works while untruth does not work.” Theory and History. “Capitalism needs neither propaganda nor apostles. Its achievements speak for themselves. Capitalism delivers the goods.” Money, Method, and the Market Process

And, moving on to the realm of the intellectual, if one wants to be able to develop a general Teacher understanding, then one must first become an individual who knows how to think: “All rational action is in the first place individual action. Only the individual thinks. Only the individual reasons. Only the individual acts.” Socialism

Thus, the same political climate that allows the enterpreneur to make a profit, also makes it possible for intellectuals to develop rational Teacher theories: “It was in the climate created by this capitalistic system of individualism that all the modern intellectual achievements thrived.” The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science

And, when one is building a theory, then Facilitator averaging is the wrong method to use: “Truth is not the halfway point between two untruths.” On the Manipulation of Money and Credit

Plus, one should not start from a grand Teacher theory which has no basis in reality: “The market economy was not devised by a master mind; it was not first planned as an utopian scheme and then put to work.” The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science

In addition, socialism suffers from the fatal flaw of taking the Teacher ideas of a single finite person and attempting to apply them everywhere: “That Socialism would be immediately practicable if an omnipotent and omniscient Deity were personally to descend to take in hand the government of human affairs is incontestable.” Socialism

Finally, if one really want to organize people and encourage them to cooperate, then the best way is by giving them the freedom to focus upon what they do best and to encouraging them to share their results with others: “The main achievement of economics is that it has provided a theory of peaceful human cooperation. This is why the harbingers of violent conflict have branded it as a dismal science and why this age of wars, civil wars, and destruction has no use for it.” Economic Freedom and Interventionism

Planting the Seeds for Socialism

What Mises says about socialism makes sense and it is consistent with the theory of mental symmetry. However, it is not the whole picture. Instead, I suggest that the capitalist is at least partially responsible for creating the Frankenstein’s monster of socialism.

First, the capitalist set up the factory which created the factory worker and which forced him to leave his traditional bottom line of personal Mercy feelings and embrace the inhuman bottom line of specific Teacher function. And, because of the Western split between subjective and objective, when a person goes to work, he leaves his personal life behind.

Second, the capitalist says that the marketplace is completely free and that anyone can compete, but Contributor people do their best to turn this market into something that focuses upon Contributor exchange to the exclusion of anything else, thus ruining it as a useful tool for the population as a whole. When the economist writes his textbook, he talks about buying apples and selling haircuts, but when it comes to the real financial and stock markets, nothing could be further from the truth. The real money is being made trading derivatives and futures and margins, imaginary items which are completely divorced from Perceiver objects and Server processes and which focus totally upon Contributor exchange. Or, now that everything is done by computers, there is the day trader, who uses computer algorithms to make money off the minute by minute fluctuations of the market, again divorcing the trade from the item being traded.

Thus, the market may be free as far as the Contributor person is concerned, but in the minds of the other cognitive styles, it represents the central tool by which Contributor persons exploit the rest of the world and freeload off the hard work of others. When stock traders and bankers make more in yearly bonuses than the average person earns in a lifetime, then something does not compute.

Third, capitalism ignores the subjective Mercy bottom line of personal pleasure and focuses instead upon external wealth, thus setting itself up for revolution, theft, and expropriation. That is because objects can be stolen, but personal emotions must be personally acquired. The more that the Contributor capitalist focuses upon external wealth, the more he signals to others that wealth can be stolen and does not have to be acquired.

Why does the typical Contributor person make this basic blunder? Because, facing the subjective emotions of value means gaining sufficient Perceiver confidence to handle Mercy emotions, and that means turning away from running practical Contributor thought to programming it, and for the Contributor person that means losing control to another part of his mind and admitting that he is not a superior subspecies of human being, and the typical Contributor businessman is willing to do anything to further his bottom line—except admit personal inadequacy.

Fourth, when one deals with ‘mine’ and leaves ‘me’ out of the equation, then there is another, less obvious, result. I have suggested that flipping modes produces an inhuman environment. That does not have to be the case. Flipping modes can be made compatible with humanity by explicitly including a place for ‘me’. The inhumanity results when the flipping occurs and ‘me’ is not included. Practical Contributor thought assumes the presence of ‘me’—it is based upon an assumed bottom line of personal subjective desire. Thus, even when ‘me’ is ignored, it will still be present. However, intellectual Contributor thought, the flipped mode of operation, neither needs ‘me’ nor assumes the existence of ‘me’. In order to include ‘me’, personal identity must be made part of the equation; the factories, machines, bureaucracies, and calculations must all include ‘me’ along with subjective, personal emotions. And that is where capitalism makes its mistake. By assuming the existence of ‘me’ and by creating an objective work environment which ignores 'me' and my personal life, it ensures that flipping modes will occur without including ‘me’, leading to an inhuman environment in which the individual ceases to exist and becomes a mere cog in the machine.

Expanding on the fourth point, capitalism replaces the internal Perceiver connections that are used to compare emotional Mercy experiences with the external measure of money. If one examines communism, one sees a complete absence of internal Perceiver content. But, Perceiver thought is required to define the individual; it separates ‘me’ from the group, protects ‘me’ from the group, and allows ‘me’ to be free of the group.

However, when the capitalist focuses upon money and private property—external expressions of personal identity—then he too is devoid of internal Perceiver content. Practical Contributor thought may assume the presence of a mental map of Perceiver value, but if the capitalist does not make this internal requirement explicit, then how can he blame the socialist and the communist for concluding that internal Perceiver content is not required. After all, the socialist is simply practicing what the capitalist preaches.

Calculating Value Internally

If internal Perceiver facts and personal Mercy experiences are so fundamental to economic activity, then we need to examine the internal circuits which lie behind the approach of the entrepreneur.

The basic element of practical Contributor thought is cause and effect: “Cognizance of the relation between a cause and its effect is the first step toward man’s orientation in the world and is the intellectual condition of any successful activity.” The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science

Reviewing the mental basis for cause and effect, Perceiver thought organizes Mercy experiences into objects and categories. This leads to the concept of a spatial object: A knife is a blade plus a handle. These two elements are spatially connected. Practical Contributor thought uses Contributor strategy to connect Perceiver facts with Server actions: If I walk on to the freeway, then I will get hit by a car. These two Mercy experiences are separated by time, first I walk on to the freeway, then I get hit by the car, and they are connected by the Server action of ‘walking onto the freeway’. The core activity of practical Contributor thought is connecting Perceiver facts of value with Server actions of cause and effect: If I invest money now, then I will get more money back later.

What do you get when you add subjective Mercy emotions to personal cause and effect—emotions which economists say are totally foundational to economics but which economists refuse to address directly? The mental result, I suggest, is conscience. Cause and effect says, ‘If someone walks on to the freeway, he will get hit by a car.’ Conscience says, ‘If I walk on to the freeway, I will get hit on to a car.’ Guilt goes one step further and says, ‘I did walk on to the freeway, and that is why I was hit by a car.’

That explains why the typical Contributor person, especially the male, finds it so difficult to apologize or admit that he made a mistake. Personal failure hits the core of his being. That also explains why I insist upon including an analysis of Christianity in my cognitive theory. If one wants to internalize the mental circuit used by economics, then one must have a rational explanation and solution for conscience, sin and guilt.

Economics and Religious Blind Faith

Historically speaking, Christianity with its message of conscience, truth, sin, and redemption has been based in blind faith in the words of a holy book. This is discussed in much greater detail elsewhere. We will look here at the relationship between religious blind faith and economic activity.

The goal of economic activity is to improve my personal condition—to make things better for me. Obviously, this cannot happen if ‘me’ does not exist or if ‘me’ is being mentally suppressed. As I mention elsewhere, whenever Perceiver truth comes from important people or from an important book, then Perceiver thought will only remain mesmerized into ‘believing’ this truth as long as the emotional status of ‘me’ remains insignificant compared to the emotional status of the source of ‘truth’. Saying this more simply, a religion based in blind faith demands an attitude of personal self-denial, while economic activity requires an attitude of selfishness and assumes that the goal of each person is to improve himself.

As Mises says: “With all the regard due to the sublime self-effacement of saints, we cannot help stating the fact that the world would be in a rather desolate condition if it were peopled exclusively by men not interested in the pursuit of material well-being.” Planning for Freedom

While it is possible to maintain an attitude of religious self-denial for most of the time, every human being lives in a physical body with physical needs and even the most devout religious believer occasionally focuses upon ‘me’ and personal pleasure: “Notwithstanding all declarations to the contrary, the immense majority of men aim first of all at an improvement of the material conditions of well-being. They want more and better food, better homes and clothes and a thousand other amenities. They strive after abundance and health.” Human Action

Focusing as he does upon the operation of practical Contributor thought, the Contributor person may conclude that everything depends upon using the mental circuit of practical Contributor thought to improve 'me': “Individualism resulted in the fall of autocratic government, the establishment of democracy, the evolution of capitalism, technical improvements, and an unprecedented rise in standards of living. It substituted enlightenment for old superstitions, scientific methods of research for inveterate prejudices.” Omnipotent Government

But, the attitude of self-denial which the Contributor entrepreneur tends to dismiss has historically been responsible for programming the mental structure which lays the foundation for using practical Contributor thought.

As Mises states in Bureaucracy, “ the alternative to the rule of law is the rule of despots.” In the language of mental symmetry, there are two ways of programming Perceiver thought with solid content. Either people with emotional status can mesmerize Perceiver thought into ‘knowing’ what is true, or else Perceiver strategy can gain the confidence that is needed to apply a common set of Perceiver rules to different people. The former describes the rule of despots, the latter is the rule of law. Either Mercy emotions determine Perceiver facts, or else Perceiver facts apply in spite of Mercy emotions.

It is the attitude of Christian self-denial which helps the individual—and the society—to make the mental transition from the rule of despots to the rule of law, by using emotional importance to tell people that the ultimate judge of human behavior is an Invisible, All-powerful Being who sees everything and judges impartially, and that this Universal Judge has revealed his Truth in a book which is Solid and Does Not Change. And yes, all those capital letters are necessary, because without them, a belief in a moral God would not be strong enough to cause a person to obey God rather than man.

Saying this more specifically, the invisibility of God means that Perceiver thought cannot turn to any external Mercy person, object or ritual for Perceiver truth; the all-seeing nature of God ensures that the Perceiver truth of God applies at all times and in all places; the impartiality of God means that the Perceiver truth of God is solid and does not change; while the emotional importance assigned to God ensures that these internal, universal, and stable Perceiver principles acquire more emotional weight than the external, limited, fickle judgments of humans. What is the rule of law? It is a set of solid Perceiver truths that apply equally to all people in all circumstances. Blind faith in the Christian God uses the childish method of Mercy importance to program the mind with content that is consistent with the rule of law.

And Mises knows that the rule of law is the only thing that preserves the society of man:  “It is the rule of law alone which hinders the rulers from turning themselves into the worst gangsters.” Planned Chaos

But, the level of emotional reverence that is needed to internalize such a set of Perceiver rules will also lead inevitably to an attitude of religious self-denial. Thus, when Perceiver truth is determined by blind faith, then the entrepreneur can only use practical Contributor thought by turning his back upon the attitude of self-denial that was required to develop practical Contributor thought.

Is religious belief in a moral God the only possible source for the rule of law? For Western society, it was the main source. And, as respect for historical Christianity has faded in North America, rulers have increasingly turned into ‘the worst gangsters’. However, the ultimate goal is for Perceiver thought to develop sufficient confidence to be able to hold on to Perceiver facts in the midst of emotional pressure. Blind faith in a moral God is significant because it encourages Perceiver thought to develop and it helps Perceiver rules to apply equally to everyone. But, I suggest that the ultimate goal is not religious blind faith, but rather Perceiver confidence in the rule of law, and that religious blind faith is helpful to the extent that it assists in leading the mind to the rule of law.

“It is the social function of the laws to curb the arbitrariness of the police. The rule of law restricts the arbitrariness of the officers as much as possible. It strictly limits their discretion and thus assigns to the citizens a sphere in which they are free to act without being frustrated by government interference.” Planned Chaos


Value is ultimately a subjective personal Mercy emotion. Economic activity depends upon comparing value. This comparing is mentally done by Perceiver thought. Externally, money takes the place of this Perceiver thought: “Economic calculation can only take place by means of money prices established in the market for production goods in a society resting on private property in the means of production.” Socialism

One problem with money is that it is a single dimension. It reduces a complex set of emotions down to a single number. For instance, suppose that you asked a mother which of her children she liked better. Her answer would be, “John is better at these things, but Jack excels in those areas. John is really nice in some ways, but Jack stands out in other ways.” Money forces a person to ignore all of these subtleties and reduce all value judgments to a simple preference; it forces mother to say either that she likes John better than Jack, or that she prefers Jack more than John.

But, says the economist, the consumer is not so stupid as to reduce all value judgments to a single number. The customer may see the price tag on the shelf, but his internal calculations of value are far more complex. Often this is the case, and corporations do emphasize non-monetary factors such as features, service, and reliability. But, if calculating value is more than simply assigning a number to an item, then why does the economist go to such great lengths to reduce all activity to the single number of monetary value? And, when the ‘bean counter’ in the large corporation is trying to cut costs, he usually knows very little about these ‘other factors’. Instead, all he cares about is the bottom line, measured as a single number—and economic history is littered with bean counters who have destroyed companies in order to save a few dollars, totally unaware of where the real value of their company lay.

This does not mean that money should not be considered. It does play a very useful role in comparing value. But, if a person is going to make major decisions regarding value, then he needs to learn about these other factors before doing something like firing his local ‘human resources’ and outsourcing design, production or support to a foreign country just because the immediate monetary costs are lower.

Another problem with money is that even when it is divorced from personal emotions, it still acquires its own personal feelings. Mises says in Planning for Freedom that “Money is merely the commonly used medium of exchange; it plays only an intermediary role.” And, technically speaking, he is correct. But, that is not how the mind operates.

This principle relates to Plato’s concept of forms. Mercy strategy remembers specific experiences and attaches emotional labels to these experiences, such as the comfortable plush red chair in the library, or the soft sofa in the living room with the hard bar that sticks in the middle of your back. Perceiver thought looks at all these various experiences of specific chairs and decides that they all belong into the Perceiver category of chair. This Perceiver category of chair then creates in Mercy thought the image of an ideal chair, a sort of average of all possible chairs—a mental image which does not correspond to any specific chair in real life. This platonic form of a chair can itself acquire Mercy emotions through association and connotation.

And that describes what happens with money. Paper money is nothing more than a medium of exchange; it is merely a piece of paper with some printing on it. But, it acquires emotional overtones by being associated with items of value. When a businessman talks about money, he is not merely referring to a number. Instead, dollar signs flash before his eyes and his heart pumps a little faster. By ignoring the emotional content that lies behind actual value, the businessman becomes emotionally driven by the subjective Mercy feelings that become associated with the platonic form of money. Thus, he becomes emotionally driven to horde money itself, and not just to pursue money for the objects that it can purchase. However, when one looks at the classic functions of money, what is listed is medium of exchange, unit of account, and store of value. ‘Object of worship’, or ‘ultimate goal of my life’ is not mentioned, even though everyone knows the subjective appeal which $money$ has upon Mercy thought and personal feelings. The economist may try to pretend that he can divorce money from its emotional appeal, just as he tries to pretend that subjective emotions can be ignored when analyzing economic activity, but pretending doesn’t make it so.

Who is naturally better than anyone else at making money? The Contributor person. Like the economist, he may say with his mouth that money is simply a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and a store of value, but at the same time he builds his personal identity and his self-worth around his ability to acquire this ‘medium of exchange’. Is every businessman this way? No. But enough of them are to twist the market completely out of shape.

Flipping Modes Economically

When economics removes the emotions from value, then it is possible for people to start loving the form of money instead of using money as a medium of exchange to gain value. However, if the Mercy feelings associated with doing business are insufficient to provide excitement for Exhorter thought, then the businessman may flip modes and start using intellectual Contributor thought. When this happens, then he will be driven, not by the Mercy bottom line of value, but rather by the Teacher emotion associated with numbers and general theories. Money will then be viewed as a number, and the goal will be to get this number as large as possible using new methods that are developed by Teacher thought. When a financial manager uses intellectual Contributor thought to handle money, then is possible for a single individual to destroy an entire financial corporation and threaten the global economy.

This happened with the junk bond market in around 1990 and also with the credit default swaps which at least partially caused the global financial meltdown of 2008.

Remember that when the mind flips modes, then the normal economic circuit of practical Contributor thought will no longer being used. Instead, the goal is to increase Teacher emotion, Server sequences provide the solid map, Perceiver facts are used to move through this map, and everything is guided by a fixed general Mercy network of interconnected people and experiences.

In both of these example, I suggest that a similar progression occurred. Some financial ‘whiz kid’ looked at the market as a whole and developed a new set of Teacher theories. He examined the existing ways of doing business, repackaged these existing methods, and then sold these financial packages as something new. Saying this in the language of mental symmetry, the trader assumed the existence of the universal Mercy structure of the financial market, he examined the Server sequences that were being used by this market, and then he used Perceiver thought to package some of these Server sequences into a structure that produced Teacher feelings of order and generality. This financial expert was then driven by Teacher feelings to increase the Teacher domain of his new method by investing more money and applying his method in more areas. The Teacher emotion associated with manipulating billions of dollars was so bright that it mesmerized the market and captivated the minds of fellow traders.

But, the financial expert who flips modes makes three fundamental faulty assumptions: First, he assumes that investors will continue to do what they are presently doing. In other words, he views the Server actions of the investors as a fixed map. But, investors are driven by a Mercy bottom line. If the market turns, then the investors will alter their behavior and the assumed Server map of the financial expert will shift. Second, the financial expert assumes that he is still functioning within the financial realm. Instead, he has left the economic realm of Mercy value and is now functioning within a secondary realm of numbers, equations, and procedures which have nothing to do with economic value. The financial expert may pretend that he is creating value, but in fact he is simply manipulating existing value in novel ways. Finally, the financial expert assumes that the universal Mercy environment of the marketplace will always continue to exist. But, the Teacher driven realm which the financial expert has created is economically parasitic upon the primary Mercy-driven market, and if the parasite becomes large enough, it will suck the life out of its economic host, in essence killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

What makes this financial manipulation possible? The loosening of government laws regulating banking and financial trading. If the government places strict rules about what a bank or investment firm can or cannot do, then this has the obvious result of protecting the market from fraud. But, it also has the less obvious benefit of preventing a rogue trader from flipping modes. When the mind flips modes, Perceiver thought becomes the active agent. As long as the government regulates the Perceiver rules of finance, then the financier cannot change these rules, and if the financier cannot change the rules, then the financier also cannot flip modes, and if the financier cannot flip modes, then he will not come up with some hifalutin' Teacher motivated way of mesmerizing the market and eventually destroying the market.

One final comment about flipping modes. The rogue trader often thinks that he is simply applying math and science to the financial market, because both math and science are examples of thinking that has successfully flipped modes. At first glance, this comparison is valid, however there are two very important distinctions: First, mathematics builds isolated systems of Teacher order and theory which do not depend upon anything else for their existence, whereas the financial experts constructs his Teacher theories upon the Mercy driven system of the financial market.

Second, it is true that the financial expert applies a sort of scientific approach. Science does look at the fixed external Mercy world of nature and it does search for Server sequences which are being repeated. Similarly, the financial expert studies the fixed external Mercy world of the financial market and looks for Server sequences which are being repeated. But, the physical world really is solid. It will not suddenly disappear. Similarly, the Server sequences of natural cause and effect really arerepeated. They will not suddenly change. In contrast, the Server actions of investors do change suddenly, and the marketplace could suddenly disappear. If one really wants to study human behavior, then I suggest that the theory of mental symmetry is a better starting place then the lemming-like behavior of a herd of market investors.


Let us move on to the next topic, which is inflation. Monetary inflation occurs when more money is needed to buy the same items. But, remember that the real economic item is not the object being purchased but rather the emotional satisfaction which that item produces. Therefore, the real question regarding inflation is ‘how much money does it take to produce the same level of satisfaction’.

Economics realizes with its principle of diminishing marginal returns that the first banana which you devour probably produces more pleasure than the fourth or fifth banana that you eat. However, there is a far deeper mental inflation which relates to a person’s mental capacity for emotional enjoyment. And this mental inflation is a function of the emotional sensitivity of Mercy strategy. When I really love someone, then even a small token gift from that individual will bring me great pleasure. Similarly, when I am poor and don’t know where my next meal will come from, then a gift of ten dollars has great value.

In contrast, think of the typical businessman who tries so hard to approach the subjective topic of value in a non-emotional manner. He actually is destroying his mental capacity to generate the very value which he claims to be pursuing. That is like destroying your eyesight while you are searching for great works of art. What is the point of possessing great art if you cannot see it? Similarly, what is the point in having great wealth if you cannot enjoy it? The result is major subjective inflation. For the financial manager, it takes millions of dollars in personal bonuses to produce the same sense of personal joy and satisfaction which a gift of a few thousand dollars would generate in the average citizen. That is the real inflation, and that sort of inflation will totally warp the market, as the financial trader and his Contributor partners twist the nature of the market so that it becomes both easier and emotionally more necessary for them to make millions of dollars than it is for Joe average stock investor to gain a few thousand.

So, who likes inflation? The person who owes money. It is much easier to pay off a debt with money that has been become devalued through inflation. What is a debt? It is a monetary transaction that leaves me ‘in the hole’, a sequence of economic cause and effect that leaves me with less value. The internal equivalent is a sequence of mental cause and effect that leaves ‘me’ feeling bad. Possibly, someone else does me a favor, leaving me in his emotional debt, or I do someone else a disfavor, leaving me with a guilty conscience. And, in times past, when people owed others money, they also felt morally responsible.

But isn’t that taking things too far to associate a monetary debt with a guilty conscience? I suggest not. After all economists tell us that value is primarily a subjective feeling and they also inform us that economic transactions are rooted in economic cause and effect, or financial sowing and reaping. When personal feeling is added to cause and effect, then the result is conscience, and when conscience tells you that you have incurred a personal debt, then the result is guilt. So who likes devaluing the standards of society? The one with a guilty conscience, because it makes him feel that his moral debt is not so great. And, one can also conclude that if financial debt still had moral overtones, then most financial scams and get-rich-quick schemes would be quickly abandoned.

Saying this in monetary terms: “If inflation is pushed to its ultimate consequences, it makes any stipulation of deferred payments in terms of the inflated currency cease altogether.” Human Action. In mental terms, if you can degrade the rules of morality sufficiently, then you will not feel guilty any more, because there will be no more moral debt to repay.

Mises insists in The Theory of Money and Credit that “Inflation is the fiscal complement of statism and arbitrary government. It is a cog in the complex of policies and institutions which gradually lead toward totalitarianism.” Saying this in terms of internal value, when Perceiver truth loses its meaning, then important people become the source of ‘truth’, and that is called totalitarianism.

And when one group of people is using Mercy status to impose its ‘truth’ upon another group of people, then moral decay is very helpful for eliminating moral debt: “One can say without exaggeration that inflation is an indispensable intellectual means of militarism. Without it, the repercussions of war on welfare would become obvious much more quickly and penetratingly; war-weariness would set in much earlier.” Nation, State, and Economy.

Absolute truth is the mental equivalent of sound money, because both describe Perceiver standards which are solid and which do not change: “It is impossible to grasp the meaning of the idea of sound money if one does not realize that it was devised as an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments. Ideologically it belongs in the same class with political constitutions and bills of rights.” The Theory of Money and Credit

If you want an example of moral inflation, think of United States and the policy of torture. Before 2001, waterboarding was considered to be torture by the American government. But, war broke out and a subset of the military decided that it needed to use waterboarding and other forms of torture to gain information from the enemy. Eventually this official application of torture became publically known. And how did the American public respond? Basically with a yawn. Most people did not care. Why? Because of moral inflation. The average American no longer cares if the government lies, cheats, steals—or tortures. In economic terms, the huge moral debt that was incurred as a result of war atrocities could be repaid with devalued moral currency.

But currency, be it moral or physical, can only be devalued so much: “But the certain fact about inflation is that, sooner or later, it must come to an end. It is a policy that cannot last.” Economic Policy. If moral or monetary decay continues, then the end result will be disaster: “Continued inflation inevitably leads to catastrophe.” Defense, Controls, and Inflation.

What type of disaster? Eventually, Perceiver confidence is shaken to the point where it can no longer hold the mind together. When this happens, then people look for a strong leader who can use his emotional status and his powerful words to mesmerize Perceiver thought into ‘knowing’ what is true. In the words of Mises, “Inflation is the fiscal complement of statism and arbitrary government. It is a cog in the complex of policies and institutions which gradually lead toward totalitarianism.” The Theory of Money and Credit

Mises makes a perceptive comment regarding monetary inflation which applies equally well to its internal counterpart of moral inflation: “Inflation can be pursued only so long as the public still does not believe it will continue. Once the people generally realize that the inflation will be continued on and on and that the value of the monetary unit will decline more and more, then the fate of the money is sealed. Only the belief, that the inflation will come to a stop, maintains the value of the notes.” On the Manipulation of Money and Credit

Using the language of mental symmetry, Perceiver thought looks for facts which are solid and which do not change. The reason that a person can get away with changing the facts is because the average individual still assumes that facts are solid and do not change. Saying this another way, the only way that someone can get away with lying is because the average person assumes that people tell the truth. If the average individual ever came to the conclusion that people lie, then lies would no longer work. This is one of the classic examples which the philosopher Kant gives in his definition of the categorical imperative.

Combining the thoughts of Mises with those of Kant, we conclude that inflation is an example of radical evil, because it can only continue as long as people think that money is sound. Stating this in moral terms, why can the American government get away with immoral acts such as officially torturing people or allowing millions of citizens to lose their homes in order to save the banks and give bonuses to the bankers? Because the average American still thinks that he lives in a godly, moral country with solid truth and sound money.

Creating Currency

So how is moral truth created? The same way that money is created, because both involve Perceiver connections between emotional Mercy experiences.

When Perceiver facts are determined by Mercy idols, then it is not possible to compare the Mercy experiences within one context with those of another, because each context determines its own ‘truth’. In monetary terms, there can be no common market because there is no common currency—no way of comparing the value of one object with the value of another. Perceiver ‘truth’ can also be defined by important people. This describes the situation where the monarch or the state uses its status to impose a certain price upon an item.

The marketplace emerges when Perceiver truth is created and is then allowed to exist on its own, independently of objects and people. The most common way of building independent Perceiver thought is through the method of common sense. Perceiver thought observes the external world and looks for objects which do not change. If some external object is more solid than other objects, then it will be viewed by Perceiver thought as a source of absolute truth. Plus, if this solid object generates good Mercy emotions and is somewhat rare, then it will accepted by Mercy thought as something desirable. Combine Perceiver stability with Mercy desirability and you end up with value. And, if this solid, desirable material is also easy to work with, then these useful Server qualities will lead Contributor strategy to consider this material valuable as well—because Contributor strategy adds Server actions to Perceiver facts. Finally, if this valuable item is small and compact, then it can be used to represent other objects.

Gold satisfies all of these qualities. It is the most malleable and ductile pure metal in existence, it shines with a bright yellow lustre, and it does not tarnish or oxidize in either air or water. Unlike silver and other base metals, gold can survive the ‘acid test’ of being subjected to nitric acid. And, it is a heavy, dense material. Thus, it makes sense that gold would be used as a standard for currency: it is beautiful, rare, useful, compact, and doesn’t decay.

The next step in the development of money is to add Perceiver confidence. Gold contains inherent Perceiver stability because it does not tarnish or oxidize. Therefore, it is easy for Perceiver thought to accept it as something solid and lasting, and only a modicum of Perceiver confidence is needed to exchange an item for gold, because the value of gold is quite obvious. But, suppose that instead of giving you an ounce of gold, I give you a piece of paper which can be exchanged for one ounce of gold. We now have gold-backed currency. This has both advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, a piece of paper is much easier to carry than real gold. I can turn all my gold into paper in one city and then change it back into gold in another city.

However, carrying a piece of paper requires far more Perceiver confidence than carrying some gold. Gold is valuable; the piece of paper represents value. I have to know that this paper can be turned back into value. The Server action of exchanging paper and money is not that difficult, neither is the Contributor exchange very complicated. But, knowing that I can turn the paper back into gold takes a healthy dose of Perceiver confidence. And, as every economist will tell you, confidence places a defining role in the economy.

Gold is an obvious standard for a currency, and Mises says in The Theory of Money and Credit that “Sound money still means today what it meant in the nineteenth century: the gold standard.” But, if sufficient Perceiver stability and confidence are present, then it is possible to back a currency with anything that is regarded as valuable. For instance, my grandfather ran the main general store in a small prairie town. During the 1920s and 30s, hard currency was in short supply, so my grandfather issued aluminum tokens, ‘redeemable in merchandise at Friesen’s General Store’. And, these tokens became accepted as a form of currency throughout the town, because everyone knew that they would eventually shop at the general store, everyone believed that the general store would not go out of business, and everyone knew that my grandfather was an honest businessman who would redeem the tokens for merchandise.

Fiat Money

Once a Perceiver fact becomes divorced from physical reality, it can then be altered to be different than physical reality. And, everything will continue to function as before—as long as Perceiver thought believes that the connection with reality still exists. Thus, it did not take bankers long to realize that they could print several pieces of paper for every physical ounce of gold they possessed. As long as only some of the people asked to change their paper back into gold, then nothing would change.

So, is the banker creating money out of nothing? He likes to think so, as he ‘laughs all the way to the bank’. But, what he is really doing is basing the external currency of paper money upon the internal currency of Perceiver confidence. His trick only works as long as people still believe that they can redeem all of their paper for gold.

But, as we saw in our look at inflation, once it becomes possible to create money out of nothing, then it is very tempting for bankers and governments to start creating money out of nothing. Saying this another way, when Perceiver truth becomes the accepted standard and people believe that everyone is telling the truth, then telling a lie is very tempting.

According to Mises, sound money is fundamental: “It is impossible to grasp the meaning of the idea of sound money if one does not realize that it was devised as an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments. Ideologically it belongs in the same class with political constitutions and bills of rights.” The Theory of Money and Credit. Why do sound money, constitutions and bills of rights all belong in the same class? Because they all involve Perceiver confidence; they all deal with truth, honesty, and the rule of law.

Most currency today is not backed up by any precious metal. Instead, it is called fiat money, which means that it is backed up by nothing and is literally created out of thin air. In the US, the so-called Federal Reserve has the right to print ink on paper and call it money. I say so-called, because it is privately owned and not a part of the ‘federal’ government, and it is not a ‘reserve’ because it creates money out of nothing, without being backed up by any sort of reserve. So, who owns the ‘federal reserve’? Nobody knows for sure. Saying this in plain English, the international currency of the American dollar is supported only by Perceiver confidence and is created out of nothing by an unknown group of people.  

Does this mean that everyone has Perceiver confidence in the almighty dollar? Not necessarily. That is because it is also possible to bring stability to Perceiver thought by the method of blind faith and revealed truth. For several hundred years, blind faith in the words of the Holy Bible provided the mental foundation for personal morality in the West. Everyone gave great emotional respect to the Bible, and this emotional status mesmerized Perceiver thought into ‘knowing’ that the facts of the Bible were ‘true’. And, because these facts were written down in a book which everyone knew and respected, this blind faith provided a common set of Perceiver rules—a common moral currency.

Fiat money is no different. Why do people know that their pieces of paper are worth something? To some extent, the repetition of continually exchanging paper for valuable objects builds Perceiver confidence. But, ultimately, the only reason that modern money is worth something is because the government says that it is worth something and the government is big and powerful. Thus, it is American might which convinces the world to accept the American dollar as an international currency.

But, what type of American might? Economic might or military might? Economic might is based in production, consumption and trade—in the functioning of practical Contributor thought. If the American dollar is almighty because the American economy is almighty, then using that dollar will lead one in the direction of a capitalistic economy and its use of practical Contributor thought.

However, if the American dollar is almighty because the American military is almighty, then coming into contact with that dollar, either as an individual or as a country, will eventually bring one face to face with the American military, which is based in Mercy status and not in Contributor function. It is disturbing to note today that while the American economy is faltering, America spends as much on its military as the rest of the world combined, and it is quite willing to use its military to impose economic policies upon other countries.

And, what happens when military might takes precedence over economic might? “The characteristic feature of militarism is not the fact that a nation has a powerful army or navy. It is the paramount role assigned to the army within the political structure. Even in peacetime the army is supreme; it is the predominant factor in political life. The subjects must obey the government as soldiers must obey their superiors. Within a militarist community there is no freedom; there are only obedience and discipline.” Omnipotent Government

The same choice occurs with a holy book. Initially, people believe in the book because of its emotional status. However, if this book is treated as a textbook with logical facts and rational theories, then this blind faith can turn into rational thought. In contrast, if the book is treated as a holy book with emotional status, then there is no way for Perceiver thought to ‘wake up’ and escape from blind faith.

American Capitalism

Let us take a step back and look at the bigger picture. We have compared capitalism with socialism. What is the difference between these two? In the words of Mises: “Capitalism means free enterprise, sovereignty of the consumers in economic matters, and sovereignty of the voters in political matters. Socialism means full government control of every sphere of the individuals life and the unrestricted supremacy of the government in its capacity as central board of production management.” Bureaucracy

The United States has both the world’s largest economy and the world’s most powerful military. A strong economy comes from capitalism: “The characteristic mark of economic history under capitalism is unceasing economic progress, a steady increase in the quantity of capital goods available, and a continuous trend toward an improvement in the general standard of living.” Human Action.

However, maintaining a powerful army has a corrupting effect upon personal freedom and democracy: “For all nations the necessity of being ready for defense will mean a heavy burden. Not only economic but moral and political conditions will be affected. Militarism will supplant democracy; civil liberties will vanish wherever military discipline must be supreme.” Omnipotent Government. And, Mises is convinced that war and capitalism are mutually incompatible:  “In the long run war and the preservation of the market economy are incompatible. Capitalism is essentially a scheme for peaceful nations.” Human Action

Saying this is the language of mental symmetry, capitalism uses Perceiver thought to build bridges of trade between the Mercy experiences of one person and another, whereas war uses Mercy status to impose the Perceiver ‘truth’ of one group upon another. Capitalism is guided by the Mercy bottom line of subjective emotion; the military organizes itself using Teacher feelings of order, rank and domain.

So, how well is capitalism doing in America? Everyone thinks that the United States stands for capitalism, free enterprise, private property, the free market, and the ‘American Way’ motivated by the ‘American Dream’. But, we have just seen that military power eats away at personal freedom and democracy.

Let us go further. We have seen that there is both an external and an internal economy. The external economy works with ‘mine’ and uses money to compare the value of one object or service with that of another. It gives people the personal freedom to make economic choices based upon external principles of cause and effect.

The internal economy works with ‘me’ and uses Perceiver facts to compare the personal value of one experience or action with that of another. It gives people the personal freedom to make moral choices based upon internal principles of moral cause and effect.

So, which is more fundamental, the external economy or the internal one? According to Mises, the bottom line of value which drives the entire economy is internal and not external: “All judgments of value are personal and subjective. There are no judgments of value other than those asserting I prefer, I like better, I wish.” Theory and History

And when the economy of the world is based upon fiat currency, then money—the glue that makes the economy function—is backed up entirely by internal Perceiver knowing, because it no longer has the support of anything external. And, without money, an economy cannot function: “Without the aid of monetary calculation, bookkeeping, and the computation of profit and loss in terms of money, technology would have had to confine itself to the simplest, and therefore the least productive, methods.” Epistemological Problems of Economics

Thus, we conclude that what really matters today is the internal economy. If it falls apart, then the external economy will fail as well, because both the Mercy feelings and the Perceiver facts of the external economy are based upon internal content.

Therefore, let us examine the internal economy of the United States, beginning with a quick review of capitalism and socialism.

Capitalism is based in private property. Private property leads to inequalities of wealth. Capitalism says that private property is paramount and that rich people provide an example for others to emulate: “Most of us have no sympathy with the rich idler who spends his life in pleasure without ever doing any work. But even he fulfills a function in the life of the social organism. He sets an example of luxury that awakens in the multitude a consciousness of new needs and gives industry the incentive to fulfill them.” Liberalism

According to capitalism, economic disparity is the engine that drives economic growth: “The luxury of today is the necessity of tomorrow. Every advance first comes into being as the luxury of a few rich people, only to become, after a time, an indispensable necessity taken for granted by everyone. Luxury consumption provides industry with the stimulus to discover and introduce new, things. It is one of the dynamic factors in our economy. To it we owe the progressive innovations by which the standard of living of all strata of the population has been gradually raised.” Liberalism.

Using the language of mental symmetry, when my neighbors have more than I do, then Exhorter strategy in my mind gets attracted to their wealth, which motivates practical Contributor thought in my mind to ‘keep up with the Joneses’.

Socialism, in contrast, treats economic disparity as a sickness which must be cured through the application of fairness. Fairness is the universal Teacher theory of socialism: everyone must have the same slice of pie; no one should have more value than another person. Communism goes one step further and declares that anyone who insists upon gathering more value than his neighbor is an enemy of the state who must be punished by the state.

America and Socialism

So, what happens today in the United States when someone makes a value judgment and suggests that one person or group is more valuable than another person or group? He is condemned and is treated as an outcast of social society. “How dare you believe in moral disparity! Everyone is entitled to his own lifestyle and no lifestyle is better than another.” And, if one attends the typical American church, one hears a similar message: “God loves and accepts everyone equally and unconditionally. Nothing that a person does will change God’s love for him or God's acceptance of him.” Similarly, when one looks at American education, then one sees a similar trend: “Everyone deserves a gold star. It is demeaning to assign an A to one student and a C to another.” Having taught in an American accredited school for several years, I can definitely tell you that ‘C’ is not considered an average mark any more. Instead, the typical student feels that he is entitled to at least a ‘B’.

In other words, as far as the internal economy of the United States is concerned, America is dogmatically socialistic. And, when the state steps in and forces organizations and churches not to make any moral judgments, then one concludes that America is making the transition from internal socialism to internal communism. And, we just established that the modern external economy depends upon the internal economy for its existence.

Mises is convinced that capitalism and socialism cannot coexist: “Capitalism and socialism are two distinct patterns of social organization. Private control of the means of production and public control are contradictory notions and not merely contrary notions. There is no such thing as a mixed economy, a system that would stand midway between capitalism and socialism.” The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality

What happens when military might is added to socialism? One ends up with the rather nasty combination of communism—socialism imposed by military might. But, when internal socialism combines with military might, when armed force is used to impose the ‘right thinking’ upon a population, then one ends up with a 1984 sort of communism, with thought police, double-speak, inescapable pervasive surveillance, and being punished for having the wrong thoughts. One is reminded of the ‘self-criticism’ practiced by communism in which comrades had to confess their wrong thinking to others in hopes of being politically rehabilitated.

Reading a person’s mind is beyond the level of current technology. But, with people spending so much of their time on the internet and sending most of their communications via e-mail, it is possible to guess fairly accurately what a person is thinking about by examining his online activity. And, as far as we can tell, the American government is currently attempting to practice wholesale electronic surveillance upon its own people. In addition, what happens when the government demands to search a person’s e-mails and browsing history in order to determine what that person has been thinking? It places a gag order on its investigation, forcing people to lie to friends and family about even the existence of the investigation. Quoting from the linked article,  “Living under the gag order has been stressful and surreal. Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case -- including the mere fact that I received an NSL -- from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been. I hide any papers related to the case in a place where she will not look. When clients and friends ask me whether I am the one challenging the constitutionality of the NSL statute, I have no choice but to look them in the eye and lie.”

And what happened when the existence of this massive surveillance operation became publicly known? The US senate provided retroactive immunity to the companies who were illegally spying on American citizens, and the average American citizen responded with a big yawn—another example of moral inflation.

When internal socialism is combined with external capitalism, then private property will apply to ‘mine’ but not to ‘me’. Mentally speaking, what does private property do? It puts a box around my personal feelings; it says that I must find my excitement on my own land and not trespass onto the private property of others. Similarly, when Perceiver facts are used to define ‘me’ internally, the result is Exhorter frustration, because Exhorter strategy will feel mentally boxed in. Capitalism solves this problem by channeling the bottled up energy into useful work through the use of practical Contributor thought.

What is more fundamental, ‘me’ or ‘mine’? Obviously, ‘me’. Therefore, when ‘me’ is free to express itself however it wishes while ‘mine’ is strictly boxed in, then people will behave in ways that are unlawful—because there are no limitations on ‘me’—and then find themselves externally boxed in as a result—because there are strict controls on ‘mine’.

And when one examines the statistics, one finds that the United States has over two million prisoners,  the highest number of prisoners in the world, compared with communist China, the second highest, with 1 ½ million prisoners. America is also #1 in prisoners per capita, at 715 per 100,000 people.

Is the United States the only country in this type of situation? No. In the Vancouver region of Canada where I live, the provincial supreme court just ruled that four Anglican congregations should lose all of their church property because they took a moral stand on the issue of same sex marriage which opposed the official local Anglican church policy that ‘no lifestyle is better than another’. Thus, the penalty for opposing the socialist dogma of moral fairness was a government mandated loss of property.

But America has the largest economy in the world, along with the most powerful army. Which one of these two will win? As Mao Zedong, the founder of Chinese communism said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

In contrast, Mises concludes that “Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. Only economic action has created the wealth around us; labor, not the profession of arms, brings happiness. Peace builds, war destroys.” Socialism

And what other country in the world is so staunchly capitalistic with its external economy while being so fervently socialist in its internal economy?

Oh, yes, Communist China. But, when one visits China, one sees construction cranes and entire cities filled with factories churning out consumer goods—evidence of a strong economy focused upon the personal acquisition of wealth. It is true that before the 1990s, China was not capitalistic by any stretch of the imagination. But, that does not describe the China of today, nor the direction in which China appears to be heading.

American Capitalism?

Since we are talking about the direction of a country, in what direction is the external economy of the United States heading?

Let us begin with private property and individuality, the Perceiver bedrocks of capitalism. How are they doing? Well, as I mentioned before, one of the repercussions of the financial crisis of 2008 was that millions of Americans lost their homes. In 2010 alone, it is estimated that over three million American homes will be foreclosed. In fact, one recent article suggests that the foreclosure is so big that it may paralyze the housing market.

What about individuality? In the United States, a corporation is legally recognized as a person with all of the rights of a person. And, in January 2010, the US supreme court ruled that a corporation or labor union can spend as much as it likes on political campaigns. Compare that with Canada, where the corporation is regarded as less than a person and where in 2007 all political contributions from corporations or unions were banned. What the exact situation is in Europe, I do not know, however when it comes to a question between state or corporate power and personal privacy, America usually seems to choose power over privacy, whereas Europe consistently places more emphasis upon personal privacy.

In plain English, there are two classes of people in the United States. There is the ordinary mortal human with his personal wealth and personal opinion, and there is the immortal corporation with his huge coffers and corporate opinions. And, legally speaking, ‘his’ is the correct pronoun. Which has the bigger clout? When a corporation can take out a patent upon living organisms, then the answer is obvious.

But, the big corporation is still driven by capitalist thinking; it is still an example of private enterprise and the market economy, isn’t it? According to Mises, “Big business depends entirely on the patronage of those who buy its products: the biggest enterprises loses its power and its influence when it loses its customers.” Economic Policy

This may be the case for some big businesses, but I am afraid that this is wishful thinking on the part of Mises. Even he concludes that “In the United States, the two-party system of the old days is seemingly still preserved. But this is only a camouflage of the real situation. In fact, the political life of the United States . . . is determined by the struggle and aspirations of pressure groups.” Economic Policy. And, “No politician is any longer interested in the question whether a measure is fit to produce the ends aimed at. What alone counts for him is whether the majority of the voters favor or reject it.” The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science

In other words, the average American politician no longer thinks in terms of cause and effect. Instead, all he cares about is listening to the right pressure groups in order to get re-elected. And which people have the biggest voices and can exert the greatest pressure upon the politician? The imaginary ‘people’ of large corporations.

Not only is the corporation regarded as a ‘superperson’ in American with far greater Mercy status than the average citizen, but the people who run the corporations also make the Perceiver rules which govern these corporations. If you want evidence for that, simply google ‘Washington’ and ‘revolving doors’. Here is one sample site.

And, what happens when a big corporation threatens to go out of business? Mises says that “big business depends entirely on the patronage of those who buy its products: the biggest enterprises loses its power and its influence when it loses its customers.” That principle definitely does not apply to the American entertainment industry, which has responded to its loss of customers by suing them for all that they are worth, and by attempting to use its Mercy status to secretly change the Perceiver laws of the entire world

In other words, when a corporation gets big enough, then it no longer has to play by the rules. And when it really gets big enough, then it can create its own rules. (This is discussed further in another essay.) Mental symmetry says that this is a result of the relationship between Perceiver confidence and Mercy importance. Remember that Perceiver confidence measures the level of Mercy status that a Perceiver fact can handle without falling apart. When a company or person becomes ‘above the law’, then one can tell that Mercy status has successfully attacked Perceiver confidence. And, when such a company or person becomes a source of the law, then one can conclude that Mercy status has managed to mesmerize Perceiver thought into an attitude of blind faith.

As Mises admits, “Most cartels and trusts would never have been set up had not the governments created the necessary conditions by protectionist measures.” Socialism

Flipping Modes: Next, there is the whole issue of flipping modes. Capitalism uses practical Contributor thought to pursue a personal Mercy bottom line. The factory worker, in contrast, uses intellectual Contributor thought to improve the specific Teacher ‘bottom line’ of his profession. According to Mises, the size of a business does not matter, because all business is ultimately driven by the bottom line of economic profit and loss. However, we have just seen that the size of a company does matter, because of the interaction between Perceiver confidence and Mercy status.

In addition, I suggest that when a corporation becomes sufficient large, then it flips modes. It ceases to become a business and turns into a factory or bureaucracy. Let us look at this in more detail:

For a normal business worker, what matters is profit and loss. For the employee of a large company, this is replaced by adherence to company policy. The average employee does not worry or even care about how much his company is making, because this does not affect him personally. Instead, he is expected to follow company policies and he is rewarded with personal promotions. Company policy guides Server actions and does not involve Perceiver based value; promotions lead to greater Teacher generality: the promoted person has more responsibilities and is now in charge of more individuals. Yes, at the end of the month the pay check still matters very much, but during the other 29 or 30 days, personal behavior is being guided by Teacher emotions and not by Mercy feelings.

In addition, the corporate employee becomes part of a Mercy group. When a person goes to work, he leaves his personal life behind. At work, he is no longer an individual with personal feeling. Instead, he is now an employee of the XYZ corporation, who represents XYZ to the public. When the customer sees the XYZ employee in his uniform, he sees not a person, but rather an expression of XYZ Incorporated.

As for the CEO of the large company, is he really driven by a need to satisfy the personal Mercy needs of his customers, or is he interested more in building an empire—increasing the Teacher generality and universality of his corporation.

Hyper-emotion: Finally, there is the question of existence itself. So far, we have talked about Mercy and Teacher emotions. However, there is a hyper-emotion which goes beyond normal feelings and which deals with integration and fragmentation. Normal emotion involves individual items. Hyper-emotion deals with networks of items. You will find a chapter on hyper-emotion here.  

Suppose that some company becomes so large that it defines a significant part of the economy. It then becomes ‘too big to fail’, because if it did fail, then the entire economy would fall apart and crash to pieces. The bottom line is now no longer Teacher or Mercy emotion, but rather hyper-emotion. Similarly, when market activity is being driven by mergers and acquisitions, then the bottom line is also hyper-emotion, because attempting to turn two disparate corporations into one coherent entity always involves substantial corporate fragmentation and often leads eventually to corporate divorce due to ‘irreconcilable differences’. And, if this personal analogy seems somewhat strange, then remember that, legally speaking, the corporation is a person in the United States.

Hyper-emotion takes precedence over normal feelings. When people, corporations, or marketplaces are threatened with the hyper-pain of fragmentation, then they no longer act rationally. The economic circuit ceases to function and classic economic reasoning no longer applies. As long as hyper-emotion rules, the marketplace is incapable of creating accurate calculations of economic value. That is because hyper-emotion takes precedence over normal emotion.

Since 9/11 on 2001, the American government and the American economy have been driven primarily by the hyper-emotion of societal fragmentation. The main emotional focus has been trying to ‘avoid another terrorist attack’. The downing of the twin trade towers hit the entire nation with the hyper-pain of national fragmentation, and that hyper-pain has consistently been the motivating factor for government regulation, overruling any normal feelings or common sense economic considerations. One thinks, for instance, of the Patriot Act, which massively reduced personal freedom for the average American citizen for the purpose of 'preventing terrorism'. And, as I write this, the TSA has just introduced ‘enhanced patdowns’ and full-body scanners also in the name of preventing terrorism, even though it looks like this may cause many people to drive instead of fly, negatively affecting the bottom line for an already troubled airline industry. When the hyper-emotion of preventing terror takes precedence over the normal economic emotions of profits for airlines, then one can conclude that the marketplace is not functioning normally. And, when the hyper-emotion of preventing terror causes the government to violate physical privacy on a massive, national scale, then one can tell that the core of capitalism is itself being threatened.

Hyper-emotion can be an effective tool for getting rich for a subset of the population, as long as the hyper-emotion being triggered involves the rest of the people, and not the group making the money. That is because hyper-emotion trumps normal emotion. Therefore, if I can come up with a product which addresses someone's hyper-emotion, then I know that I will have a certain sale. Even better, if I can trigger hyper-emotion in the population, then I can cause people to stop putting their hard earned wealth into other products and devote their money to my product. And, it appears that this describes what is currently happening with the sale of full-body scanners.

This also explains why ‘sex sells’. Sex triggers physical and mental feelings which go beyond normal feeling and which enter the realm of hyper-emotion, because sex involves the integration of two minds and the coupling of two bodies. Therefore, if a product can deal with sex or at least obliquely refer to sex, then it will tend to sell better than a normal product. That is because hyper-pleasure trumps normal pleasure, and the bottom line of business is personal pleasure and satisfaction.

However, as I mention in my analysis of hyper-emotion, it is very easy for the hyper-pleasure of integration to turn into the hyper-pain of fragmentation. Treating sex as a succession of unrelated physical encounters will always end up in hyper-pain. That is because hyper-pleasure comes from integration, and mental integration occurs when two networks come together and stay together. But, when sex is reduced to an isolated act, then no one stays together, and therefore the hyper-pleasure of the act of sex eventually turns into the hyper-pain of the consequences of empty relationships. By definition, sex only has meaning to the extent that it includes a lasting relationship, because any lesser relationship means mental fragmentation which is, by definition, hyper-pain. That explains why the sex industry is always looking for ‘fresh faces’. Working in the sex industry may bring external rewards, but the internal price that must be paid is very high.

Hyper-emotion also provides a rationale for the ‘military/industrial complex’. Except, here the bottom line is the pure hyper-pain of fragmenting the buildings and infrastructure of the enemy and facing the foe with the ultimate personal fragmentation of physical death. As a Mennonite whose ancestors have shunned war and violence for half a millennium, I find it incomprehensible why the merchant of sex is shunned while the merchant of death is celebrated. At least the merchant of sex provides some temporary pleasure, whereas the merchant of death sells pure, distilled hyper-pain. But, hyper-emotion trumps normal emotion, and selling death is a ‘great’ way of making money, as long as someone else does the suffering and dying.

I mentioned earlier that Contributor strategy handles the actual exchange that is involved in business transactions and that the Contributor person tends to focus upon performing this exchange to the exclusion of other factors. In addition, economics analyzes primarily the external symbols of value instead of dealing with internal value itself. War and sex provide good examples of what happens when business is handled in this way.

Think first of the soldier in a firefight. In the language of economics, he is involved in an exchange of fire and he is pursuing an external goal such as securing some house or controlling a parcel of land. But, what happens if he steps on a landmine and loses a leg? Now the exchange has lasting internal results. For the rest of his life, he will no longer have that leg. It is gone. His personal identity will be completely different as a result of missing a limb. That is what happens when a person does business in the area of hyper-pain. The down-side does not quit. There is a life long cost. As Mises says, "The sacrifice that is demanded of the soldier serving by compulsion can be compensated only with intangible values, never with material ones." Nation, State, and Economy

Now think of the person having sex for money. As far as economics is concerned, he or she is performing an exchange of body fluid and receiving a monetary benefit. But, just as war can demand the 'ultimate sacrifice', so sex can provide the ultimate benefit, because it makes it possible for two human beings to transcend their personal identities and become internally one. It is this long-term, internal integration which produces the hyper-pleasure and provides the ultimate value for sex. Just as the soldier can lose a leg, so the couple can gain each other. But, if an individual has sex with person A and person B and person C and so on, then his mind becomes filled with a number of mutually incompatible, partially connected, emotional networks. The mental potential for hyper-pleasure has now become still-born.

Summarizing, Contributor strategy working by itself is incapable of discovering the ecstasy of hyper-pleasure or realizing the horror of hyper-pain. That is because hyper-emotion goes beyond individual experiences to deal with integrated networks. By itself, Contributor thought is only capable of working with individual experiences and specific exchanges. Contributor strategy needs to cooperate with the rest of the mind if it wants to deal successfully with hyper-emotion. If the Contributor person attempts to work with hyper-emotion without including other aspects of thought, then he will eventually pay a heavy price. For the returning soldier, the mental price is post traumatic stress syndrome, long term emotional insensitivity, and years of recurring nightmares, assuming that his body still remains in one piece.

Returning to our look at American economic society, we conclude that the present American economy contains a combination which is very similar to socialism: A socialist economy is guided by party members with their vague concepts, special lifestyles, and continual overturning of Perceiver rules in order to implement the general Teacher theory of fairness. Similarly, the current American economy is being guided by the CEOs with their MBAs, special lifestyles, and continual overturning of Perceiver rules in order to increase the general Teacher domains of their corporations.

As for the common laborer, in both systems he is forced increasingly to work within an inhuman environment which has flipped modes and no longer cares about the Mercy bottom line.

Finally, when the hyper-emotion of terrorism is being used to establish the Perceiver laws of the country and these laws consistently head in the direction of more government control, more government surveillance, and less personal privacy, then the socialist-like behavior begins to appear increasingly like communism.

So, is America capitalistic or socialistic? If one listened to what American politicians and American people said, then one would conclude that America is staunchly capitalistic. However, if one examined the internal economy of the United States, then one would see that the majority of America is strongly socialistic, heading in the direction of communism. And, if one looks at the external economy of America, one comes to a similar conclusion.

Let us give the final word to Mises: “Capitalism and socialism are two distinct patterns of social organization. Private control of the means of production and public control are contradictory notions and not merely contrary notions. There is no such thing as a mixed economy, a system that would stand midway between capitalism and socialism.” The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality

And, it appears that Mises is correct. The American combination of external capitalism and internal socialism is unstable, and internal socialism is displacing external capitalism.

But, socialism, by its very nature, is inhuman, creating an environment which is not designed for human life:  “A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.” Human Action

In Conclusion

Why do I take the time and effort to focus upon American politics and the American economy? First, I am trying to point out which factors are truly fundamental for maintaining capitalism and which are merely peripheral. Second, as a Canadian living a few miles from the American border, I am personally involved, because when the American giant rolls over, then Canada tends to get crushed.

So, how does one solve the problem? Should Christians be elected to government office so that they can impose Christian morality upon the American population? No, that simply uses Mercy status to mesmerize Perceiver thought into ‘knowing’ what is true—and that type of mindset is part of the problem.

Instead, if you look at Mises, he says that if you want to build a capitalistic economy, then you need private property, personal freedom, common currency, solid money, and you should allow the marketplace to determine value. In addition, the inevitable disparity of personal wealth that follows private property should be permitted to continue, so that the wealth of the rich can provide a motivation to those who are poorer and drive them to use practical Contributor thought to acquire the same wealth for themselves.

Translating these external economic qualities into internal moral terms, if you want to build a moral society, then you must begin by accurately defining self-image—the internal equivalent of private property. People must ‘own up’ to who they are and what they have done. In addition, each person must take personal responsibility for his individual choices, for personal freedom and free will go hand in hand.  Next, a common currency of moral truth is required, which means examining the facts, holding on to them, and comparing them. Once this is in place, then the marketplace of Perceiver truth can be used to determine the relative moral value of each action and each person. And, just as it does not make sense for the government to set prices, so I suggest that attempting to legislate morality does not work. Instead, what the government needs to enforce is honest money, honest business, honest people, and honest facts.

And, the Bible says the same thing, because it says that Christians should be guided by the Holy Spirit, a spirit of truth who will lead a person towards all truth. In contrast, the Bible calls Satan a father of lies.

When truth prevails, then certain people and groups will end up looking better than other people and groups. There will be moral disparity. This moral disparity must be allowed to continue, even if it makes certain people or groups feel bad or personally inferior. If feelings of personal inferiority are permitted to continue, then these painful emotions will motivate people to change their behavior and shape up.

And, if dealing with personal guilt and moral disparity is a problem, then I strongly suggest reading my analysis of Christianity. It describes a solution which preserves internal capitalism and does not require the use of internal socialism.

Speaking of ‘shaping up’, let me end with one simple example of using Perceiver truth to shine on personal Mercy identity. The United States is the 8th fattest country on earth, with 79% of the population overweight, surpassed only by some minor Pacific Island nations. Let us apply the principles of capitalism to this situation. When the average 3rd world person looks in the mirror, he is forced to say, “I am poor.” Similarly, when the average American looks in the mirror, he needs to say, “I am fat.” And, if a rich American can point at a poor Mexican and say, “You are poor”, then a skinny Asian should be able to point at a fat American and say, “You are fat.” And, just as the poor 3rd world native does not have the right to demean or attack the rich American tourist who is visiting his country, so the fat American has no right to stop the skinny Asian from calling him fat. Instead, in the same way that the material prosperity of the West should provide a motivation for the 3rd world citizen to acquire his own wealth, so the physical fitness of the typical skinny Asian should provide a motivation for the fat American to lose weight and get into shape. And, if government corruption or foreign intervention is preventing the 3rd world native from improving his financial situation, then this corruption and intervention needs to change. Similarly, if national diet or ubiquitous corn syrup are preventing the fat American from losing weight, then this situation also needs to change.

“But,” complains Joe average citizen, “I can’t do that because it would make me uncomfortable and would threaten my way of life.”

Exactly. As Mises says, “The essence of an individual’s freedom is the opportunity to deviate from traditional ways of thinking and of doing things.” Theory and History

“But,” continues Joe very average citizen, “that would mean taking a stand and no longer receiving the approval of society.”

Precisely. “For it is an essential difference between capitalist and socialist production that under capitalism men provide for themselves, while under Socialism they are provided for.” Socialism