So let’s imagine ourselves as detectives with lots of reports of toil-earned jewels being stolen and the rich being found with bulging bags of them. If these were real jewels we might be able to rely on forensics to establish these were the same jewels. If they were nicking cash we might have the serial numbers or have marked the stuff with Smart Water.
Now possession of stolen goods isn’t per se a crime and certainly doesn’t mean the people found with them actually nicked them. You have to knowingly be in possession of stolen goods for the crime of ‘handling’ and something has to fit you to the theft, burglary or robbery for a conviction on those particular grounds.. English law requires an illegal act (actus reus) and guilty knowledge (mens rea). This is not as simple as it sounds, but is enough for these purposes.
The possession of great wealth or large numbers of toil-jewels is not an offence, but in our metaphor stealing other people’s wealth or toil jewels would be, as would being in possession of stolen wealth or toil-jewels even if you bought them at such a price a reasonable person would have thought them stolen (‘handling’ is more complicated, but again this will suffice).
Now we could imagine our rich, vestigial virgins of our society that they are, would just cough to the stealing or unlawful possession. We’d more likely be drowned in a flood of lawyers. Toil-jewels are as untraceable as Bitcoin or boxes of cash in Kabul. This kind of near dead end even happens in pedal cycle theft. This rich might fob us off with a story that they produced the toil-jewels through a toil-jewel engine or their superior skills, knowledge and productivity. This is, if you think about it, pretty much what they say about their bulging wealth.
The ‘New Untouchables’ (us as detectives) don’t give up that easily. ‘Show us the toil-jewel engine, let is measure your toil jewel output’, we’d say. What’s the chance the rich could show and tell? It’s possible they might amaze us by producing something as efficient as a tractor when all we’d known was a man-drawn plough. Years ago, as a fit rugby player and young man, I went peat digging. My new mates were 40 to 50 years of age and were still drinking ling after I went to bed in the pub I stayed in. The following day I was working at half their production rate and knackered after an hour. I was used to digging footings and other construction site work. They were great blokes and passed on their skills and I almost got to stand at the end of a finished line sharing a tab by the end of my 6 weeks. They wouldn’t hear of me being paid less, but I never got up to their output. They reckoned it took nearly a year, not that anyone had been brought on for a decade. Some people can produce more toil-jewels than others.
So we have found these rich people with shed loads of toil-jewels. If you check up on wealth you cannot be find that most of the world’s wealth is in the hands of very few. Really, only carrots and turnips should need to be told where to look. It’s a good idea to write down what you think the score is before visiting ONS on even the on-line CIA world-facts book. I’d recommend looking through posts at Leftbanker, because I don’t keep facts like this in my head. We know where the toil-jewels are, but we can’t lift any bodies for the ‘crime’ or establish, yet, there has been one.
I’m reminded a bit of the old jokes my elder brother used to tell me. There’s this bloke who works in Customs and everyday he sees a guy wheel a wheelbarrow-load of straw through his post. He pulls apart the straw everyday, and everyday for years he finds nothing. He knows this bastard is up to something, and pulls his hair out trying to work out what. After 40 years he starts to pull his pension. He meets the guy outside the post on his first day off, explains he no longer works for customs, and ask him, for pity’s sake, to tell him what he’s been smuggling all these years. “Wheelbarrows”, says the bloke.
Most of us would regard people who do twice as much real work as us as entitled to twice the reward for their efforts. There are examples where this won’t be true as in the ‘Tragedy of the Commons‘ – where their extra effort might deplete our share (look it up – we are doing this with the planet). Even this thinking is probably flawed. But let’s not get too complicated – we’re cops not piss poor human rights lawyers getting unsupervised access for a paedophile to his kids.
What can we do to make toil-jewels identifiable so they can remain with rightful owners and allow us to bang up bastards stealing them or otherwise coming by them illegally and being able to hang on to them? We generally expect our cops to catch the scum who nick our stuff, get it back and bang up the perpetrators. If this idea is a bit mythical, we understand what it’s about and why we have law. The amounts at stake in this kind of crime are very small compared with those in the general ‘distribution of wealth’.
The rich are almost ‘bang to rights’ in that we have caught them in possession of nearly all the wealth or toil-jewels. At today’s rates my peat digging was minimum wage – about £5 an hour; an hour’s lecturing is about £35. This looks like a 1:7 ratio but in income terms it’s nearer 1:2 (dig 40 hrs/week for 48 weeks – lecture 10hrs/week for 40 weeks). Back in peat digging times, winning rugby pay was £37.50 and losing pay £8.00. We were so bad in the first quarter of the season I’d have had to play three times a week to make my digging money! Won the league the next year and I made three times my income as a cop. I digress – must be all the digging!
Most of us know why we have law in the general sense, but why are we so non-curious and knowledgeable on the ‘mechanisms of toil-jewel distribution’? We are very pissed when the products we buy with our toil-jewels are nicked; yet seem no so moved by another form of the removal of our toil-jewels.
The Scottish diggers came to see me play; apparently a reward from my distant uncle who ran the operation. Winning pay didn’t cover the bar bill. I was, as is the case in Stone Age economists like me, returning what I could of their gift, given without obligation and inevitably honoured. I had no pigs and only a sister to offer for marriage! She would smile, knowing I’d rather die.
If you look at the total wealth and earnings of the bottom decile in Britain and then at what we standardly regard as ‘crime’ you won’t find many of the toil-jewels. These are in the province of the top 20%. What if they are amassing them through theft and fraud? Or even something less criminal we still would regard as something we would not authorise?
What we do know is that they legitimate their holdings of toil-jewels. Those of us who have heard scum legitimating their crimes are not generally impressed. We do not, at least technically, allow the rich special excuses on either crime or wider morality. We seem to have few problems regarding benefit recipients with disgust, and they get a tiny fraction of our toil-jewels. This seems strange when we don’t have the same regard for those taking nearly all of them.
The rich tell us that toil-jewels are traded in a legitimate market and that’s how they get hold of so many of them. This is more or less the real-world argument on wealth. But we’re in metaphor-world. Toil-jewels are a direct product of real toil and represent labour-value that can only be added to human beings starting equal. Note this can’t happen in the real-world as some people start out with wealth.
In areas near the ‘peat farm’, Scots had once been tenant farmers on the better land for 500 years before they were evicted by the land-owners and forced into new industries like going to sea in open boats to fish. They were replaced by sheep. This economic reasoning was defeated by ‘Australia’. Keep this in mind for later.
Toil-jewels are produced all over the world. Let’s say in sum that they represent all work done that needs doing. If this sum amount is divided by all the people who do this work on a reasonable equitable basis and could not be accumulated beyond a limit of ten times a year’s average production by a particular toiler (otherwise reverting to common holding), anyone in possession of shed loads would hold them illegally. This is clearly not the case with real-world wealth. .
We have, of course, long given up on labour-value theories and practice in economics. But remember, the rich often say they work hard for their wealth or are so smart what they work at is so much more valuable than what the rest of us shit. They only say this for the consumption of us plebs or maybe in some conscience salving. The peat diggers were good enough to tell me I was a better rugby league hooker (winger then) than any of them and I marked myself at half a peat digger. You don;t get chance to try your hand as a rich bastard or Queen. I’d be the best King ever, simply by abolishing the monarchy. The point here, if you’re thinking about the oxygen rights of this windbag, is that as detectives in this metaphor-world, we are going to be denied a lot of practical tests that scientists devise as experiments.
In the real-world there is a kind of toil-jewel. If all the money in the world disappeared overnight we could still be productive. We would do the toil necessary to survive – we don’t eat money, shelter under it or (with exceptions) engage in sex because of it. The toil jewel is directly related to this.
The rich say they have either bought the toil jewels we’ve caught them with or somehow produced them through superior toil-jewel making properties they possess. Sadly, we have not been able to Smart Water the jewels as the stuff doesn’t take on them. There is no way to identify them for identification purposes.
Real-world detectives deal with a lot of unidentified stolen property. Finding the 90 inch plasma on the wall in some munter’s flat, visited after nicking him for burglary, the excuse that she bought it from a friend for twenty quid or a door-to-door salesman without a receipt isn’t going to wash. Are the words of the rich concerning their possession of the toil-jewels worth any more consideration? Whatever the munter tells us we will put to the test. Her sister gave it her – so we go to the sister (if there is one) and she says no or has to explain where she got it. The ’20 quid excuse’ just gets her nicked and perhaps even the chummy who sold it to her. She’s screwed, though one hopes not literally as in Terry Sneed cases!
I’ll leave the toil-jewel case now – but we can gather from it the questions we should be asking about the wealth of the rich. In the US, people who have riches they can’t account for and haven’t paid due tax on can go to jail. That’s how Al Capone was nicked. I haven’t made much clear, but detectives need to work in uncertainty. We need to loosen up in metaphor to get into interrogation not stacked with the mundane.
I’m fairly smart though occasionally so dumb it’s embarrassing. I can manipulate equations and do most sums I come across if I’m bothered, which is rare these days. The answers don’t lie in ‘intercoursing Gaussian copulas’. Outside of a few fields in real science this is all ‘Sooty’s Magic Wand’ (Sooty was a UK yellow glove puppet with a brilliantly dumb mate called Sweep who was the only one who really knew what was going on – an old mate and I used to teach industrial relations using them).
If we could produce toil-jewels we wouldn’t need economics and might well be a lot happier. There are academic ideas around now we should be turning into a new economics. To do this means pulling down the existing system in which the rich get nearly everything and this ‘nearly everything’ itself is largely a crock of what we don’t need. Some of this is utterly disgusting, like getting rich in order to be able to afford to be on a beach in Kenya so you can shag the children of someone so poor the kid does it to support them – and some of us can tell real tales of this happening much closer to home.
We can’t even (generally – I know some detectives who have had limited success with fraud gangs) trace crime money in the simple sense of drugs, rackets and major blags – the estimate is about a trillion. Or capital flight from poor countries where some despot or set of kleptocruds get hold of aid and loan money and send it to “Switzerland”. My own detective suspicion is much of this never reaches Mugabe (whomever) and is trousered by the banksters – how could they be so dumb as to keep up this kind of ‘lending’ over decades of the same old criminal-business-as-usual. Even my own institutions have trousered (admittedly to central university funds) cash from my hard-won research and project bids. I would have to buy my project equipment at double and thrice the market price from approved suppliers. I once thought this must be direct trousering in the form of bribes to corrupt vice-chancellors, but actually what happens is the suppliers send an end of year discount back to the university central fund. Hardly simple accounting. And you end up asking academics to do extra work in this process for book-tokens You end up keeping a few people employed but never really being able to use the money to stimulate anything, let alone economic growth,
Economics is now a matter of legalising stealing by the rich. I say this like a burned out cop trying to pin down the villains fueled by booze.and hatred of bureaucracy who has let his personal life go to hell. In the mainstream we get Harvard professors of very little morality and over-conservatised brains discussing whether Wayne Rooney and other lottery winners deserve their “pay”. The discussion is as self-absorbed as anything ‘Greek’ – gas that passes from good food and living based on slavery. The question itself is morally corrupt. What would Rooney be ‘worth’ if he played for an average wage and was devoted to changing lives in poverty with the rest? Maybe the poor sods being kept as slaves by travelers in Merrie Olde England?
Economics makes one in six Americans poor. Education has been no answer. I cringe when politicians bloat out crap on highly skilled jobs and the knowledge society. I’ve tried beyond anything that could be expected for some students, found ESN-branded kids in projects and turned the odd one to university level – but I know I’ll struggle even with my grandson – there’s usually not much you can do. The peat diggers were men stout and true and out of school as soon as they could. What ‘education’ (considerable) went into to producing them? Or Irish, English and Chinese navvies who could outwork three men?
What we do today is make up loads of unnecessary work and urge people to be self-sufficient, hard-working and loads of other stuff where there is no field of endeavour that can educate them -schools and university are only of use in this sense for those equipped for the learning on offer in schools and universities.
There is work to be done and education to be had from doing it. To get to this we need to stop the rich and the system of indenture to them that is economics. A young woman came into my office when I was teaching in a third-rate English university, threw her arms around me and gave me a kiss. I asked why? She said she’d come to the place expecting a business degree to get her a BMW. I had apparently taught her that was stupid, she wasn’t and she was joining the police force. The majority (despite the university’s claims) end up in dull jobs they don’t like and could have done on leaving school. They are now paying for this privilege, indentured to the tune of around £50K and much more if you count the loss of three year’s earnings and a job record I would find more impressive than a degree as an employer.
When we get into the detective investigation of the rich in part three, I believe we will find evidence the rich are ‘stealing souls’.