Strange people, those ancaps

A man, John Galton, was murdered in Acapulco. The proximate reason: he was growing marijuana in Mexico, and the drug cartels wanted to shut him down. The ultimate cause: he was deeply involved in the anarcho-capitalism cult.

Anarcho-capitalists (“ancaps”) believe in dismantling the state and allowing unchecked capitalism to govern the world in its place. Even within the small anarchist world, ancaps are fringe. Anarchists typically describe their movement as inherently anti-capitalist. Their philosophy describes anarchy as the rejection of hierarchical structures, which they say capitalism enforces. Anarcho-capitalists, meanwhile, see money as a liberating force. They promote a variety of libertarian causes like using cryptocurrency, legalizing all drugs, and privatizing all public institutions like courts and roads. The movement reveres the novelist Ayn Rand, whose work outlines a philosophy of radical selfishness and individualism. Her best-known character, an idealized capitalist named John Galt, appears to have inspired Galton’s name.

Peter Kropotkin wept. It’s all a fraud, with everyone involved desperately trying to con people out of money. They’re into cryptocurrency, drugs, and various paper-shuffling schemes, all of which rely on parasitizing other people’s wealth instead of generating their own, and they carry a lot of weird baggage.

They made their money off Forester’s hand-blown smoking paraphernalia and fundraised on their frequent blog posts. They adopted a dog named Rebel and a cat named Satoshi (named after the pseudonymous founder of bitcoin). The pair hosted “meat-ups” for people interested in carnivorism, an all-flesh diet popular in some right-wing and libertarian circles, particularly among libertarians with an interest in cryptocurrency.

The unofficial leader of their community of selfish expatriates, Jeff Berwick, is also a notorious con artist.

Berwick’s passport company, TDV Passports, also appears to have stumbled. The site used to sell “professional facilitation services for those seeking to establish citizenship in countries abroad.” In practical terms, that meant putting clients in touch with people who could fast-track immigration and citizenship applications. Various versions of the site charged from $12,000 for the Dominican Republic citizenship process to $40,000 in “legal fees” for U.S. citizenship. The company appears frequently on scam-reporting websites, where alleged TDV Passports customers complained of spending tens of thousands of dollars without ever obtaining immigration documents.

He’s also running a conference which will feature Ron Paul and Judge Andrew Napolitano, and charges extravagant fees for everything — it’s another scam. But what I thought most revealing was his comment on the horrifying murder of his friend:

Anarchapulco will go on as scheduled next week and might be even bigger due to the murder, Berwick says.

“We’ve received nothing but love from attendees and expect this will not affect attendance in a negative way at all,” he said. “In fact, it could increase attendance as more people are exposed to our message this week due to media coverage of this tragic event.”

I suppose you don’t have to be a sociopath to be an ancap, but it sure helps.


  1. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    AH! But doesn’t anti-capitalist also shorten down ancap? Hmm, makes u think! Thinky-face emoji

    I should probably take this more seriously, but I’m at work and have only really skimmed the post…

  2. doublereed says

    I got caught on twitter by some ancaps who kept mocking me for wanting taxes and infrastructure. I was extremely confused.

  3. Reginald Selkirk says

    Who is John Galt(on)?
    Was he prone to breaking out into monologues tens of pages long?
    Is there a more likely pseudonym for a Randian?

  4. davidnangle says

    Many people want the world to be simple. Some want it so badly, they delude themselves ruinously.

  5. voidhawk says

    I love how Ancaps assume that capitalism is even viable without the arms of the state to back it up. What they’re describing is Feudalism, not Anarchism.

  6. erichoug says

    Damn! Now I need to re-assess my categories of Libertarians

    1) Racists
    2) Tax Cheats
    3) The Ridiculously Naive.

    And now a new category

    4) Con-Artists / Criminal dirt-bags.

    And yes, I know, they are not affixing the label of “Libertarian” to themselves. But, c’mon, if it quacks like a duck…

  7. says

    I remember John Galton from the beloved series, “The Galtons.” The dad was John, and the son was John-Boy.

    “Night, Dad.”
    “Night, Emmy-Lou-Who.”
    “Night, John-Boy.”
    “Night is the objective removal of solar illumination. Two people can agree upon this in a mutually beneficial transaction, Maw!”
    “Night, Beans.”

  8. hemidactylus says

    Ayn Rand wept too. I doubt she would cotton to this. She was a minarchist not an anarchist and IIRC wasn’t very fond of the ancaps of her day.

    “The libertarianism we oppose is a specific set of ideas, the essence of which is a dedicated, thoroughgoing subjectivism. Libertarianism in this sense was spearheaded by Murray Rothbard and his followers in the 1960s and 1970s.”

    Arguably Objectivism could be a gateway drug to anarchcapitalism, but then one leaves the flock of Galt.

  9. Akira MacKenzie says

    If you ever want a window into the Ancap’s mind and how they think their political philosophy will work, dredge up the… ahem… “science fiction” of one L. Neil Smith. Essentially it all boils down to:

    *If it weren’t for all those laws, taxation, regulation, and fiat money, we’d be living in a space-faring utopia.

    *The profit motive is enough to make sure restaurants don’t serve tainted food or that private security firms that have replaced the police won’t fight one another.

    *Social Darwinism: welfare statism isn’t just coercive redistribution, it allows the lazy and stupid to keep breeding rather than letting them die of starvation.

    *War, racism and sexism are the result of government. And since most of his main characters of his novels are non-whites (who don’t seem to know diddly about their culture) he is TOTAL not a racist.

    *And, most important of all: Guns for everyone! Guns for kindergarteners! Guns for sentient uplifted gorillas! Guns you can buy out of vending machines! The ability to own and openly carry a sub-machine pistol on your hip is THE most important “freedom” in Mr. Smith’s tiny little mind.

  10. says

    I remember in 1975–6, when I was leaning Libertarian (and voted it in my first election), and Smith came into my comic shop. We chatted amiably and blue-skyed over doing a Libertarian comic together. I have his first novel, signed maybe, but I don’t think he ever came back, and the second installment in the series didn’t do a lot for me, and then I gradually evolved into a liberal, complete with a conscience and a heart capable of bleeding. (The process began with me noticing that Reagan would say things that were bugfuck nuts, and nobody even remarked on them.)

  11. jrkrideau says

    @ 5 voidhawk
    What they’re describing is Feudalism, not Anarchism.

    Unless I am completely misunderstanding they are definitely not describing feudalism which functioned as a as a higihly organized hierarchical state–at least in theory.

    At best, they are probably describing a failed state such as Somalia or Libya.

    More likely they have some confused ideas based on fantasies, bad computer games and bad comic books totally uncontaminated by any knowledge of history, political science or cultural anthropology.

  12. raven says

    A man, John Galton, was murdered in Acapulco. The proximate reason: he was growing marijuana in Mexico, and the drug cartels wanted to shut him down.

    He was in Alcapulco because he was on the run after being arrested in the USA for marijuana.

    The Daily Mail:
    In a separate video posted to a YouTube channel called Press For Truth, John and Lily described how, in early 2016, they fled drug charges in the U.S.

    John said they each faced up to 25 years in prison for manufacture of a controlled substance – specifically, condensing marijuana into powerful extracts – that Lily used for chronic pain.

    Or so they say.
    I’m not sure how much of anything clowns like this say, that you can believe.
    I can however, easily believe they were on the run from US law enforcement for something.

    Oddly enough, marijuana is legal in one form or another in half the country.
    In 10 states you can buy THC extracts by walking into a store.
    Or make your own at home as long as it is below the legal possession limits on amounts
    and you do it in a safe way.
    IIRC, some states outlaw using butane because using butane as a solvent can cause explosions.

  13. raven says

    PZ Myers:

    It’s all a fraud, with everyone involved desperately trying to con people out of money.

    This sort of sums up Loonytarianism in general and the Ancap version in particular.

  14. raven says

    As PZ stated, it’s all a con.

    Company loses $190 million in cryptocurrency as CEO dies with sole ……cryptocurrency-ceo-dies…/story?id…
    6 days ago – A 30-year-old cryptocurrency CEO’s death has created chaos for his customers. Over $190 million in deposits have disappeared into the ether after the CEO of Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, QuadrigaCX, took the password to his grave.

    I don’t get cryptocurrencies.
    I know what they are and what blockchain is, as much as any amateur.

    As a currency they vary widely in value depending on what appears to be a lot of random fluctuations in their markets.
    And quite often, people’s cryptocurrency bank accounts just seem to go “poof” and disappear.

    Just last week, some guy running a cryptocurrency bank died.
    No one knows the passwords to the accounts.
    $190 million just went “poof”.

    Or did it?
    He died in India on a trip.
    Or did he?
    He was only 30 years old.
    It’s not even known if there really was any money in his online bank.

  15. unclefrogy says

    I love how Ancaps assume that capitalism is even viable without the arms of the state to back it up. What they’re describing is Feudalism, not Anarchism.

    they do not directly describe feudalism I doubt they understand how feudalism would work. they seem to think that people would act in a socially positive way without any social sanctions.
    There is more than one way for a feudal system to organize itself besides the one that developed in europe.
    what they advocate would by necessity evolve into a feudal system in a rather short time and it would have to develop some outside entity to function as an arbitrator maybe not a religious based organization and from time to time an extreme or top leader or owner, the richest or most powerful individual that would dominate all the rest and I am sure that that power, wealth or influence would probably be inheritable. Without any agreed structure to insure the freedom and the security that they think would flow from such a utopian ideals some kind of organization to insure order and equality for all,
    a state which would need support to carry out it’s function even if that would just be a strongman who takes over by mean force.

    More likely they have some confused ideas based on fantasies, bad computer games and bad comic books totally uncontaminated by any knowledge of history, political science or cultural anthropology.

    fools one and all
    uncle frogy

  16. chrislawson says

    “privatizing public courts” — yeah, I can see how that would be an improvement.

  17. chrislawson says


    Yep. Cryptocurrency enthusiasm relies on the beliefs that (1) cryptocurrencies are secure because their blockchain proves ownership through a distributed record of all past transactions, and (2) cryptocurrencies can be used to make untraceable transactions.

    Two premises that are each demonstrably false…and mutually contradictory — perfect for scammers and arch-libertarians.

  18. says


    Ancaps share another feature with the wider libertarian movement which explains their interest in cryptocurrencies: they are obsessed with the gold standard and getting back on “sound money”. Bitcoin, which has a hard limit on the number of coins that can be issued baked right into the protocol, scratches that particular itch for them. In fact, the whole ideological underpinning of Bitcoin is pretty solidly rooted in right-wing libertarian/ ancap Austrian school economic theory, something David Gerard (who occasionally comments around here and who has written a book on Bitcoin along with contributing much of the linked RationalWiki article) and David Golumbia in his book The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism (cited by Gerard) talk about extensively (disclosure: I’ve read both books and follow David Gerard’s blog but have no interest in cryptocurrencies, financial or otherwise, unless schadenfreude counts 😉). I’m not sure many of the Bitcoin/ cryptocurrency boosters outside the ancap true believers realise the extent to which the whole thing is based on some pretty fringe economic theories.

  19. zenlike says

    Thanks for the reading recommendations Cat Mara.

    Of course, where it fails is that Bitcoin might have a hard limit, but as can already be observed in reality, there is no hard limit on the amount of different cryptocurrencies available. Hell, any self-respecting computer nerd can start their own crypto-currency tomorrow, if they really wanted to.

    The link with gold was not apparent to me before, but indeed, it seems to attract the same crowd. What is it about this limitation to the “valuable object” that attracts them though? Is it linked to their view of the world as a zero-sum game? Each piece of gold or BC in the hands of someone means it cannot be in the hands of someone else? (Caveat only said half-jokingly though, I know what they will answer.)

  20. says

    @zenlike: Well, yeah, it’s not really a solution. The Bitcoin protocol has already been “forked”– several times, in fact– to increase the block size in an attempt to increase the transaction rate (it hasn’t worked). I don’t know enough about the basic protocol to say whether a similar trick could be pulled with the number of coins but given that most of the protocol works by consensus, I suspect if that if 51% of the network could be talked into going along with it, it could be made to happen.

    (BTW, that is another issue with Bitcoin: although it was originally sold as being completely decentralised, the difficulty of mining blocks is set to automatically ratchet up to keep pace with improvements to hardware. When Bitcoin was first floated in 2009, you could mine blocks– and the coins you get as a reward for mining blocks– on a desktop PC. Then you needed to use specialised algorithms running on the PCs video card. Then custom hardware. Now all the mining is centralised in companies that can afford this specialised hardware. So much for decentralisation. It’s also horribly inefficient.)

    The “gold” thing is completely irrational– as Gerard points out in his book, there are plenty of metals now that are way more valuable than gold but you never hear of people hoarding them. It seems to be linked to some notion of a “store of value”, that precious metals cannot depreciate in value and they have mental images of newsreels from the Great Depression and the economic collapse in 1920s Germany of people standing in bread-lines with wheelbarrows full of worthless banknotes– when it was precisely an economy tied to a gold standard that caused such a precipitous collapse in the first place.

  21. jrkrideau says

    @ 19 chrislawson

    “privatizing public courts” — yeah, I can see how that would be an improvement.

    According to David Graiber in his Debt: The first 5,000 years this seems to have been how a lot of commercial dispute resolution functioned in the Islamic world at its height though IIRC it was more that disputes did not get resolved in government courts.

    It appeared to me to need a particular set of circumstances but it seemed possible. Still, I think there must have been the ultimate threat of state power if everything went blooy.

  22. hemidactylus says

    A bit OT: Pinker’s invoking CP Snow on “two cultures” in EN provoked me to read Snow in original and part of his argument was the importance as he perceived it back then for industrial capitalism to be pushed in underdeveloped countries as an aid to the poor. This is also a theme in Pinker’s book, but reading either author I keep thinking of Ayn Rand telling us to embrace a smokestack. Rereading her strawman anti-ecology essay “The Anti-Industrial Revolution” I was floored by the context of the smokestack thing, quoted here (she actually cites evidence):

    “In Western Europe, in the preindustrial Middle Ages, man’s life expectancy was 30 years. In the nineteenth century, Europe’s population grew by 300 percent—which is the best proof of the fact that for the first time in human history, industry gave the great masses of people a chance to survive.

    If it were true that a heavy concentration of industry is destructive to human life, one would find life expectancy declining in the more advanced countries. But it has been rising steadily. Here are the figures on life expectancy in the United States (from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company):

    47.3 years
    53 years
    60 years
    70.2 years (the latest figures compiled)

    Anyone over 30 years of age today, give a silent “Thank you” to the nearest, grimiest, sootiest smokestacks you can find.””

    And there may be a harsh kernel of truth to that dovetailing with Pinker’s progressive enlightenment thesis that often enough sounds like Cato Institute think tank talking points. If I kiss any smoke stacks make mine natural gas, except for the fracking.

    And for the countries being industrialized I cite Foxconn suicides and the Rana Plaza collapse. Progress marches on.

  23. John Morales says

    hemidactylus, kernel? More like a nut, but duh. Externalities. Tragedy of the commons.

    So, in a nutshell, short term prosperity by essentially eating one’s seed stock and frivolously spending one’s inheritance, leading to long-term poverty.

    (Ecosphere is so bloody big that rapacity lasted a good long while in human terms, but the cold equations don’t care)

  24. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @13: Ding ding ding! They even try to defend Somalia under the standard that it’s doing better than it was under Barre. Noteworthily, the ostensibly scholarly literature they cite for this point barely even meets that standard, let alone the standard that they’re doing better than comparable African societies with working governments.

    I have to admit, there’s a part of me that likes ancaps. I’ve met some who are good people and emphasize private charity. They actually can escape the Randian bug of saying selfishness is literally good because, as an anarchist, they can just say that it shouldn’t be forced.

    But they have no response for the fact that there’s no difference between a social contract and a neighborhood covenant you sign when buying property, and, yes, their position boils down to disgustingly disorganized and crappy neo-feudalism. Warlordism, really.

  25. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @22: Who cares if it has a hard limit? So does gold! Having your currency unable to inflate, so that you’re eventually dealing in fractions of units (“I’ll pay for my groceries with this fleck of gold”), isn’t the problem. The problem is that nothing actually holds value. If you’re dying in a desert, you don’t care about gold. Gold is no more or less fiat than anything else. It’s just that these people are so spectacularly unimaginative that they don’t realize that we valued gold at a particular time in history where we could afford to trade something but weren’t quite ready to trust paper money yet.

    It’s just childish economics. To quote my favorite debunking of neoclassicalism outside of Michael Albert’s:

    “So what’s the problem? It’s the term “short run.” What happens in the long run? According to Mankiw: “A higher level of prices is, in the long run, the primary effect of increasing the quantity of money.”

    That makes sense until you think about it. Look at it this way: In the short run, if you print money, you increase economic activity and decrease unemployment. People develop better job skills and can afford to educate themselves better, get better medical care, eat better, and remain non-homeless. They’re mostly less stressed (which means their freaking brains don’t shrink), commit suicide less, and so on. Meanwhile, sellers faced with increased demand do their best to find more efficient ways to produce (creating new inventions that bring down prices in the future). How in God’s name does that all just automatically disappear in the long run, replaced by an economy that looks like what it would have looked like anyway but with higher prices?

    Duh, it doesn’t. Increasing the money supply can increase prices to match in the long run, but it doesn’t have to, and even when it does, just because the general price level is higher doesn’t mean that that everything else looks just like it would have without the increase.

    Now: sometimes the experience of the 19th century is given as evidence for this “principle.” Back then currencies were backed by gold and the general price level, although it fluctuated wrenchingly year by year, barely varied in the long run. Gold is constant, prices were constant, Q.E.D., right?

    But gold wasn’t constant. In the 19th century we stripped entire continents of their gold (think of the gold rushes in the Yukon, California, Australia, Colorado, and especially South Africa), multiplying the gold supply faster even than population rose, which had the same effect as printing money. So we increased the money supply and prices didn’t rise in the long run. This is evidence that a higher level of prices is not “in the long run, the primary effect of increasing the quantity of money.”

    So where did this dumb idea come from? It’s another example of how hard it is for economics to get away from old bad ideas. The idea of “monetary neutrality” — that changing the money supply changes prices and nothing else – was just an axiom in the 18th century, asserted without direct evidence. But we can excuse that; good economic data were rare back then”.

    Somehow they seem to forget that we were stripmining whole continents for the stuff so the supply was nowhere near constant.

  26. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @25: Yet another sign that she was an imbecile. We could even say that murder isn’t bad because murder increased in some years during those times she surveyed and yet net mortality didn’t. It’s almost like you need to track multiple variables, and pollution was never a cause of health…

  27. Akira MacKenzie says

    Kip T.W. @ 11

    Smith eventually got to see a graphic novel versions of ”The Probability Broach” published along with his ”Roswell, Texas” novel see print.

    I’ll confess, on socio-sexual iissues Smith seemed spot on with LGBTQ issues and reproductive rights. It just his economic beliefs, racial cluelessness, alt-med flirtation (i.e. he believed that bad nutrition and ”toxins” was a cause of disease rather than viruses and bacteria), and obsession with the absolutely private ownership of any weapon–frow clubs to nuclear weapons–that were a real turn off.

    Also, his weird idea that, in another universe, Hitler would be a nice guy seemed really… creepy,

  28. KG says


    Yes indeed, it’s vitally important to distinguish between the Judean Peoples’ Front and the Peoples’ Front of Judea!

  29. hemidactylus says

    To add more (or perhaps less) clarity to the point I was trying to make, in Snow’s essay “The Two Cultures” he casts a negative glance on intellectual writers who reacted to industrialization with uncomprehending “screams of horror”. He wrote: “It is hard to think of a writer of high class who really stretched his imaginative sympathy, who could see at once the hideous back-streets, the smoking chimneys, the internal price—and also the prospects of life that were opening out for the poor, the intimations, up to now unknown except to the lucky, which were just coming within reach of the remaining 99.0 per cent of his brother men.”

    Rand’s thankful smokestacks? He goes on a little later in a passage quoted by Pinker:

    “It is all very well for us, sitting pretty, to think that material standards of living don’t matter all that much. It is all very well for one, as a personal choice, to reject industrialisation—do a modern Walden if you like, and if you go without much food, see most of your children die in infancy, despise the comforts of literacy, accept twenty years off your own life, then I respect you for the strength of your aesthetic revulsion. But I don’t respect you in the slightest if, even passively, you try to impose the same choice on others who are not free to choose. In fact, we know what their choice would be. For, with singular unanimity, in any country where they have had the chance, the poor have walked off the land into the factories as fast as the factories could take them.”

    Pinker went on in Enlightenment Now to show the upside for women of shifting from agragian to industrial work (rice fields to factories) saying: “The benefits of industrial employment can go beyond material living standards. For the women who get these jobs, it can be a liberation.” And his cites include this article from a Cato/ Templeton funded thinktank person:

    My concern and fascination lies in the odd dovetailing of Rand, Snow, and Pinker. Industrialization has brought improving living standards, but at what cost? The Foxconn suicides and horrific collapse of the Savar building in Bangladesh are some salient examples.

    But Pinker does acknowledge downsides:
    “To appreciate the long-term benefits of industrialization one does not have to accept its cruelties. One can imagine an alternative history of the Industrial Revolution in which modern sensibilities applied earlier and the factories operated without children and with better working conditions for the adults. Today there are doubtless factories in the developing world that could offer as many jobs and still turn a profit while treating their workers more humanely.”

  30. hemidactylus says

    @31- KG
    There are distinctions to be made between Objectivists, L/libertarians, and anarchocapitalists. Objectivists bask in Rand’s perceived golden aura, and instead of being politically organized to elect representatives like the despised Libertarians, they seem content to provide ideologically driven social critique. And they are not anarchists. It is a continual source of amusement for me to see people like Glenn Beck and Paul Ryan come out proclaiming the importance of Rand and then deal with backlash because of the awkwardness (eg- her atheism and other aspects that don’t resonate well with GOP base).

  31. says

    hemidactylus @ 33:

    And they are not anarchists.

    I’m not sure who the “they” you mention here are referring to but it should be re-iterated that no-one else in the anarchist tendency regards anarcho-capitalists as anarchists. It’s pretty much the only thing you can get any two anarchists to agree on. 😉

  32. Dunc says

    hemidactylus, @32 – The problem with Pinker’s argument there (as it so often is) is that he’s missing out a lot of messy historical detail… While it technically is true that “in any country where they have had the chance, the poor have walked off the land into the factories as fast as the factories could take them”, I can’t think of any example where it they did so entirely voluntarily, and in all of the cases that I know of in any detail, there was actually a very great deal of pretty brutal compulsion involved. I’m pretty sure that even Pinker wouldn’t point to China’s Great Leap Forward as a positive example, but the truth is that it only really differs from the Enclosures of the British 16th and 17th centuries in rapidity, scale, and degree of central planning.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the people who really weren’t free to choose were the rural poor who were forcibly driven off the land and into the factories.

  33. Kagehi says


    How in God’s name does that all just automatically disappear in the long run, replaced by an economy that looks like what it would have looked like anyway but with higher prices?

    Ew, ew!! I know this! “Libertarian business owners up all the prices on things to ‘make up for’ their higher expenses, until people end up unable to afford their products again.” This is standard right wing excuse – prices “have to go up”, if you increase something like the minimum wage. The fact that they almost always “go up” first among right wing run companies, in reaction to the wage increase, then every place else because its almost impossible to not have at least one supplier some place that is run by one of these assholes, is just pure coincidence.

    That said, I find it hilarious that we do have one example. Was it Brazil? I don’t remember, where they “Solved” their inflation problem by just creating a fake currency, against which all other, including the national one, was compared, and once the “prices” for everything stabilized at the new, un-inflated level, threw out the old money, and started printing bank notes in the new “fake one” they had invented.

    That being said, I am vaguely amused as well by the idea promoted in the Union Station series, in which the “value” of the coin you held “degraded” the longer you held onto it, and the more you had, over time, the longer you refused to actually spend it on something. So, someone “saving” a few thousand to buy a house, say, would see it “devalued” by a few bucks over 10 years, but someone hoarding millions over 20-30 years would rapidly find themselves losing thousands of dollars, possibly every single day, because of how long they kept it, without spending it, and how much of it they freaking hoarded. Talk about an incentive to put it back into the economy… lol

  34. ck, the Irate Lump says

    hemidactylus wrote:

    Rereading her strawman anti-ecology essay “The Anti-Industrial Revolution” I was floored by the context of the smokestack thing, quoted here (she actually cites evidence):

    If it were true that a heavy concentration of industry is destructive to human life, one would find life expectancy declining in the more advanced countries. But it has been rising steadily. Here are the figures on life expectancy in the United States (from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company):

    47.3 years
    70.2 years (the latest figures compiled)

    I’m no historian, but that seems completely ahistorical to me. As far as I’m aware, industrialisation of western nations was a phenomenon of the 18th and 19th century, not the 20th century. I’m more inclined to credit the labour rights movement and environmental movements with those life expectancy improvements since they seem to coincide better. Not chaining people to their workspaces which are prone to spontaneous ignition might’ve improved life expectancy. Not dumping industrial waste poisons into the local water supply might’ve improved life expectancy.

  35. hemidactylus says

    @37 ck
    Vaccinations, potable water, and food regulations among other factors may have played some part. Rand’s was I think the starkest apologia for industrial capitalism of the lot.