on August 23, 2009 by eldar in Evolutionary Marxism, Knowledge Worker, Comments Off

Something That The King Cannot Take Away From Me

Long time ago in a fairy land that does not exist anymore… actually, it was the Soviet Union,… my friend Michael studied Math and Computer Science in the college. Today we think that people there could not earn money and were not allowed to be entrepreneurs. While there is some truth in that, it was not that bad. A lot of people were working hard to earn more money and a lot of people succeeded back there in earning more money and having more stuff for themselves. But not Michael.

Michael wanted out. He did not like fairy tales, he wanted to escape into the real world. “What’s the use to earn money and getting property, if the state won’t allow me to take it with myself, when I will leave the country? Knowledge is the only property that they cannot take away from me at the customs!”

We are lucky. We live in the Free World and we can have property. Can we?

Just two days ago I was driving from my home and noticed a sign “Estate Sale”. It usually means that somebody died and left a lot of stuff. In Ancient Egypt they’d throw it into the burial chamber for the use in afterlife, but in the modern times we know that they won’t need it. So, we sell it. That’s what the word “estate” means: your earthly possessions, your stuff, your property.

We are accustomed to think of property as something that we OWN, that’s unquestionably ours, that’s something we can rely on being available, when we need it, that’s there at our disposal because we have the right to it. Have we?

Think about an American holy of holies, an American dream, your home, Real Estate. Do you know why real estate is called “real”? Most people think that’s because it’s the only kind of property that is truly real, as “not fake”, material, substantial. Alas, they are wrong.

In fact, “real estate” comes from Spanish. It’s not “real” estate, it’s “royal” estate. That is something that belongs to the King, and you are just granted the privilege to use it.

Ok, ok, we don’t have a King anymore, do we? Then, what do you think will happen if you’ll stop paying property taxes? Do you still think it’s a “real” property or does it begin to feel like a sort of a rent or a lease?

Yes, all property still belongs to the King or, at least, to the Crown. It’s just we have other entities in place of the King: state, county, city, but the point is still the same. You don’t own your property, you’ve just got the right to use it, and a very expensive right by the way. You buy this right for hundreds of thousand dollars, and then you pay a rent that’s called property taxes. Stop paying that rent, and the landlord – state, county, city – we’ll get you out cold on the sidewalk. Here, in the Free World, we still don’t own our property.

Let me share another story with you. About a year or two ago one of very successful Internet marketers Perry Belcher made a mistake. He decided to promote some diet product. I don’t know what happened, maybe he’s got too high share of the market to attract attention of the big boys in the industry, maybe the product was really not on par with its promises – like the most of diet products are, but one day a local county sheriff walked in and sealed all his property. It was not even FDA or FTC, that was just the local county, which got a few complaints from the customers and, in the end, got a few millions in its budget – everything that Perry had. Notice, I don’t claim that it was the reason, I am just stating the facts: money belong to Perry and went where? To the county or state budget. I don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong, that’s not the point of my story. The point is that he lost everything: real estate, bank accounts, business, you name it. Everything was confiscated. The King came in and took his Estate just like in medieval Europe or Rome during the soldier emperors or Nero.

Still, in a year and a half, Perry is back on his feet and again making millions. Yes. In a year and a half after he lost everything. Yes, millions. There was one thing the King could not take away: Perry’s knowledge, skills, friends, and ability to market goods and services.

Today in America, it’s still the Soviet Union all over again. The King can strip you away of anything you own with a snap of fingers of lawyers, courts, or government officials. And just like in the Soviet Union, there is still something he still cannot take away: your intrinsic value.

That’s the essence of the knowledge economy. The first time in history of the human kind, we have something that the King cannot take away. At last, we are not interreplaceable slaves, we have an intrinsic inseparable value of our knowledge, skills, and friends.

Don’t get me wrong, money is important. I work hard for the money I earn, some would say that I work too hard and I should do it smarter instead. Hey, I am learning. That’s what I do. Learning. Learning from other people, who hopefully will become my friends. Because learning gives knowledge, skills, and friends.

Because that’s my only Real (”real”, not “royal”) estate that the King cannot take away from me.

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