Sorry, Alt-Right. America Doesn’t Have a “Culture of Consumerism”
by I, AnCap
To start, I’d like to point out that there is no discernable way to truly measure the alt-right’s political opinions. It would be comparable to asking the communist position on guns. Some communists, like Marx, believed the workers must be armed. Others, like Mao, believed only the party should own guns. Nevertheless, I will be addressing a specific segment of the alt-right that criticizes a market based economy.
A common criticism I hear from self identified members of the alt-right goes something like, “Capitalism is better than communism, but consumerism is still decaying our values”, or, “Capitalism is fine, but certain institutions like healthcare are ‘too sacred’ to be left to the market.”
You’ll see arguments like this come out of prominent figures within the alt-right like Richard Spencer, who’s been rather open about his support for universal healthcare in the past, and recently came out saying “we should be open to socialism”. These figures have a fundamental misunderstanding of the market economy and how it operates.
When people have little disposable income, time preference rates go up, because time itself is scarce. That is to say, the poor must spend a higher percentage of their money and therefore consume more just to survive. This makes it so they cannot plan for the future.
Investment in family and adherence to tradition are less likely to occur in individuals with high time preference.
This is why the welfare state, which necessarily traps people in poverty, raises the time preference rates of a large segment of society. The right could learn a thing or two from people like Hans Hermann-Hoppe, who covers this in detail in his book, Democracy the God That Failed.
The “culture of consumerism and worship of the dollar” can therefore be directly attributed to the high time preference rates of the poor. This isn’t a result of private ownership of the means of production or libertarian dispute resolutions. It’s a result of central planning, designed to procure state dependent voters.
Only through lowering time preference rates can adherence to family values be restored. Unfortunately for the socialist “right”, more white people or a more reactionary government will not make America a more right-wing country.