May Day, Reimagined

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker, financial journalist, and money manager.

Today is May 1, a day that’s also known as “May Day” in many countries around the world. Think of May Day as a sort of Marxist version of the same holiday we celebrate in the United States called Labor Day. Now, when I say a “sort of Marxist version,” I am not being at all hyperbolic. You see, in 1889, an international federation of socialist groups and trade unions designated May 1 as a day in support of workers, and it did so in commemoration of the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886.

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These socialist groups were in essence Marxist, although they organized themselves under the umbrella of greater workers’ rights (a worthy objective in theory). Yet the underlying philosophical premise behind socialism is that the means of production should be owned or controlled by the state, and not by the capitalists. This, according to Marx, should be implemented for the benefit of all, and is part of a natural transition from capitalism into a stateless and classless society without private property.

“Workers of the world, unite!” is the slogan from Marx and Engels’s “The Communist Manifesto,” published in 1848. It means that the working class should work together to get rid of capitalism — and the capitalist producers — and win a class war. And make no mistake; that concept is at the philosophic root of May Day.

Well, to me, this thinking is supremely flawed, and that means that May Day requires a reimagining into what I think is a far more appropriate celebration.

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So, I propose that we in The Deep Woods community promote May Day under a new name, “Capitalist Day.”

By capitalist, I am referring to anyone who works hard to create wealth. Anyone who has made the noblest of choices, the choice to cast their mind, body and spirit into the world in pursuit of productive achievement of the sort that creates the goods and services we need to survive and thrive in a hostile environment.

Make no mistake about it, the world is a hostile environment. Before there were any dinner tables, grocery stores, electrified homes, televisions, internet, etc., there was the cold, harsh and unforgiving state of nature. Yet in the face of this adversity, a producer of goods (aka a capitalist) chose to forage ahead and mold reality into all the comforts we enjoy today, and that Marxists around the globe all-too-often take for granted.

Now, one might argue that as Americans, we have been blessed with incredible natural resources and that we should thank the heavens for this blessing. But I see it differently.

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In my view, natural resources are neither natural nor resources. It takes man’s mind to create resources from nature.

Think about it. Nearly every value you hold as a human — safety, security, shelter, clean water, ample food supply, the ability to traverse the globe — indeed, modern civilization itself, is made possible by a thinking human’s efforts to produce such things.

It’s man’s mind; his reason, ingenuity, science, hard work and capital, put in the service of his attempt to achieve values, that is responsible for your worldly bounty. And this bounty is the virtuous result of man’s ability to shape nature into the byproducts of his will.

So, today, as you see the world stage protests and demonstrations around May Day, I want you to reject this paradigm and celebrate “Capitalist Day.”

Even better, if you also are a capitalist/producer (and if you are reading this, I am fairly certain that you are), then take a moment to celebrate yourself.

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You’ve earned it.

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Sowell’s Superpower

“We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.”

–Thomas Sowell

The brilliant economist’s superpower is putting truth into pithy yet eminently profound intellectual bites that even the most emaciated of minds can find nourishing. Here, Sowell’s superpower is on full display as he critiques the current cultural notion that responsibility is everyone else’s domain but yours. Love you, Tom Sowell.

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Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.

In the name of the best within us,

Jim Woods

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