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RAAD Fest 2019 Announcement of U.S. Transhumanist Party 2019 Primary Election Results and Johannon Ben Zion Acceptance Speech

RAAD Fest 2019 Announcement of U.S. Transhumanist Party 2019 Primary Election Results and Johannon Ben Zion Acceptance Speech

Gennady Stolyarov II
Johannon Ben Zion


At RAAD Fest in Las Vegas on October 6, 2019, Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP), announced the results of the 2019 USTP Electronic Primary for President of the United States, and introduced the winner of the Electronic Primary and the USTP-endorsed candidate for President of the United States in 2020, Johannon Ben Zion.

Watch the video recording of the announcement and Candidate Ben Zion’s acceptance speech here.

See the detailed results of the 2019 USTP Electronic Primary here.

Read about USTP’s endorsed candidate, Johannon Ben Zion, here.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party for free, no matter where you reside. Click here to apply in less than a minute.

Endgame for the Fed? – Article by Ron Paul

Endgame for the Fed? – Article by Ron Paul


Ron Paul
September 25, 2019
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The Federal Reserve , responding to concerns about the economy and the stock market, and perhaps to criticisms by President Trump, recently changed the course of interest rates by cutting it’s “benchmark” rate from 2.25 percent to two percent. President Trump responded to the cut in already historically-low rates by attacking the Fed for not committing to future rate cuts.

The Fed’s action is an example of a popular definition of insanity: doing the same action over and over again and expecting different results. After the 2008 market meltdown, the Fed launched an unprecedented policy of near-zero interest rates and “quantitative easing.” Both failed to produce real economic growth. The latest rate cut is unlikely to increase growth or avert a major economic crisis.

It is not a coincidence that the Fed’s rate cut came along with Congress passing a two-year budget deal that increases our already 22 trillion dollars national debt and suspends the debt ceiling. The increase in government debt increases the pressure on the Fed to keep interest rates artificially low so the federal government’s interest payments do not increase to unsustainable levels.President Trump’s tax and regulatory policies have had some positive effects on economic growth and job creation. However, these gains are going to be short-lived because they cannot offset the damage caused by the explosion in deficit spending and the Federal Reserve’s resulting monetization of the debt. President Trump has also endangered the global economy by imposing tariffs on imports from the US’s largest trading partners including China. This has resulted in a trade war that is hurting export-driven industries such as agriculture.

President Trump recently imposed more tariffs on Chinese imports, and China responded to the tariffs by devaluing its currency. The devaluation lowers the price consumers pay for Chinese goods, partly offsetting the effect of the tariffs. The US government responded by labeling China a currency manipulator, a charge dripping with hypocrisy since, thanks to the dollar’s world reserve currency status, the US is history’s greatest currency manipulator. Another irony is that China’s action mirrors President Trump’s continuous calls for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates.

While no one can predict when or how the next economic crisis will occur, we do know the crisis is coming unless, as seems unlikely, the Fed stops distorting the economy by manipulating interest rates (which are the price of money), Congress cuts spending and debt, and President Trump declares a ceasefire in the trade war.

The Federal Reserve’s rate cut failed to stop a drastic fall in the stock market. This is actually good news as it shows that even Wall Street is losing faith in the Federal Reserve’s ability to manage the unmanageable — a monetary system based solely on fiat currency. The erosion of trust in and respect for the Fed is also shown by the interest in cryptocurrency and the momentum behind two initiatives spearheaded by my Campaign for Liberty — passing the Audit the Fed bill and passing state laws re-legalizing gold and silver as legal tender. There is no doubt we are witnessing the last days of not just the Federal Reserve but the entire welfare-warfare system. Those who know the truth must do all they can to ensure that the crisis results in a return to a constitutional republic, true free markets, sound money, and a foreign policy of peace and free trade.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

 

4 Ways Employers Respond to Minimum Wage Laws (Besides Laying Off Workers) – Article by John Phelan

4 Ways Employers Respond to Minimum Wage Laws (Besides Laying Off Workers) – Article by John Phelan

John Phelan
September 25, 2019
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Most of you will be familiar with a supply and demand graph. This shows a demand curve, which graphs the relationship between the price of something and the quantity demanded of that something, as well as a supply curve, which graphs the relationship between the price of something and the quantity supplied of that something. It is probably the most basic—and useful—model in economics.Whether the something in question is a good or a service, shoes or labor, the basic supply and demand model predicts that, ceteris paribus, an increase/fall in the price of something will lead to a fall/increase in the quantity demanded of that something—this is Econ 101.

In the context of minimum wage laws, this model predicts that setting a minimum wage above the equilibrium level or raising it will lead to a lower quantity of labor demanded. Often, people think this means fewer workers employed. So, when minimum wage hikes aren’t followed by increases in unemployment, people cite this as evidence that minimum wage hikes don’t reduce employment.

But a model is an abstraction from reality. In that messy reality, there are a number of things employers can do in response to a minimum wage hike that don’t involve laying off employees.

Remember, the simple supply and demand model says that increasing the price of labor leads to a lower quantity of labor demanded. But an employer doesn’t need to cut workers to achieve that. They can cut their hours instead.

Research from Seattle illustrates this. In 2014, the city council there passed an ordinance that raised the minimum wage in stages from $9.47 to $15.45 for large employers in 2018 and $16 in 2019. In 2017, research from the University of Washington examining the effects of the increases from $9.47 to as much as $11 in 2015 and to as much as $13 in 2016, found:

…the second wage increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees’ earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016. [This was later revised to $74]

As the model predicts, the price of labor increased, and the quantity of labor demanded fell.

A follow-up paper looked at the impact on workers who were employed at the time of the wage hike, splitting them into experienced and inexperienced workers. It found that, on average, experienced workers earned $84 a month more, but about a quarter of their increase in pay came from taking additional work outside Seattle to make up for lost hours. Inexperienced workers, on the other hand, got no real earnings boost—they just worked fewer hours. Again, as the model predicts, the price of labor increased and the quantity of labor demanded fell. Instead of more money, they got more free time.

An employer could try to raise worker productivity to match the new minimum wage. One way to do this is simply to work their employees harder.

One paper by Hyejin Ku of University College London looks at the response of effort from piece-rate workers who hand-harvest tomatoes in the field to the increase in Florida’s minimum wage from $6.79 to $7.21 on January 1, 2009. It found that worker productivity (i.e., output per hour) in the bottom 40th percentile of the worker fixed effects distribution increases by about 3 percent relative to that in the higher percentiles. The author concludes:

These findings suggest that while an exogenously higher minimum wage implies a higher labor cost for the firm, the rising cost can be partly offset by the increased effort and productivity of below minimum wage workers.

Another recent study by economists Decio Coviello, Erika Deserranno, and Nicola Persico looks at the impact of a minimum wage hike on output per hour among salespeople from a large US retailer. “We find that a $1 increase in the minimum wage (1.5 standard deviations) causes individual productivity (sales per hour) to increase by 4.5%,” they note.

Importantly, tomato harvesting and sales are labor-intensive work. Any increase in output per hour can be assumed to come from increased physical effort.

Supporters of higher minimum wages talk almost exclusively about wages. But this is only one part of a worker’s total remuneration. The cost of an employee to the employer is not just the wage but total remuneration, including benefits such as health insurance. If legislation increases the wage, the employer can keep overall remuneration the same by reducing other elements.

A new paper from economists Jeffrey Clemens, Lisa B. Kahn, and Jonathan Meer finds that this is what happens in practice. The authors “explore the theoretical and empirical relationship between the minimum wage and fringe benefits, with a focus on employer-sponsored health insurance.” They find:

[There is] robust evidence that state-level minimum wage changes decreased the likelihood that individuals report having employer-sponsored health insurance. Effects are largest among workers in very low-paying occupations, for whom coverage declines offset 9 percent of the wage gains associated with minimum wage hikes. We find evidence that both insurance coverage and wage effects exhibit spillovers into occupations moderately higher up the wage distribution. For these groups, reductions in coverage offset a more substantial share of the wage gains we estimate.

Simply put, as the minimum wage rises, other elements of worker compensation fall.

If a business that plans to add 10 jobs over a year cancels these plans on the passage of a minimum wage hike, those 10 jobs have been destroyed without ever showing up in the data.

Economists from Washington University in St. Louis use wage data on one million hourly wage employees from over 300 firms spread across 23 two-digit NAICS industries to estimate the effect of six state minimum wage changes on employment. They find “…that firms are more likely to reduce hiring rather than increase turnover, reduce hours, or close locations in order to rebalance their workforce.”

As we look at responses over time, we also see the possibility that employers can substitute capital inputs for labor inputs.

Economists Grace Lordan and David Neumark analyze how changes to the minimum wage from 1980 to 2015 affected low-skill jobs in various sectors of the US economy, focusing particularly on “automatable jobs – jobs in which employers may find it easier to substitute machines for people,” such as packing boxes or operating a sewing machine. They find that across all industries they measured, raising the minimum wage by $1 equates to a decline in “automatable” jobs of 0.43 percent, with manufacturing even harder hit.

They conclude that

groups often ignored in the minimum wage literature are in fact quite vulnerable to employment changes and job loss because of automation following a minimum wage increase.

Minimum wage hikes are bad public policy. Economics, like all social sciences, has difficulty testing its models against data, but even where we can, the evidence bears this out.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment and fellow of The Cobden Centre.

This article was originally published by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

Who Are The Real Extremists? – Article by Ron Paul

Who Are The Real Extremists? – Article by Ron Paul

Ron Paul
September 25, 2019
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The recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have re-ignited efforts to pass “Red Flag” laws, which allow the government to take away a person’s guns without due process, and expanded background checks on those wishing to purchase a gun. Some supporters of these measures acknowledge they would not have prevented the Dayton and El Paso shootings, but they think the government must “do something,“ even if that something only makes it more difficult for average Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

The fact that one of the shooters may have been motivated by anti-immigrant views has led to calls for government surveillance of “right-wing extremists.” There are talks of developing computer programs to search social media and identify those whose extreme views supposedly make them likely to commit violence. There are also calls for legislation giving the government new powers to prevent “domestic terrorism.”

Proposals targeting individuals based on their political beliefs — no matter how noxious they are — are a step toward criminalizing those beliefs. If the government gains new powers to treat those with abhorrent beliefs as potential criminals, it will not be long before those powers are used against anyone who challenges the welfare-warfare status quo.

The current use of “right-wing extremism” as a justification for expanding the surveillance state is the mirror image of the use of “Islamo-fascism” to justify the post 9-11 infringements on civil liberties. That is why it is distressing to see progressives and Muslim advocacy groups pushing for new federal authority to crack down on “domestic terrorism,” just as it was disappointing when so many conservatives who opposed Bill Clinton’s attempt to expand the surveillance state endorsed the exact same proposals when they were included in the PATRIOT Act. It is ironic that progressives are supporting new laws against domestic terrorism while simultaneously protesting FBI targeting of Black Lives Matter activists as domestic terrorists.

This is not to say there are not those with extreme ideologies who threaten our liberty and safety, but they are the Republicans and Democrats located in Washington, DC! The most obvious example of DC-based violent extremism is the war party propagandists who spread falsehoods to build support for regime change wars. By the time their falsehoods have been exposed, it is too late: America is stuck in another no-win quagmire and the war party has moved on to its next target.

Demagogic politicians also fan fear and hatred to protect and expand the welfare state. Right-wing nationalists scapegoat illegal migrants without distinguishing between those who come here to take advantage of the welfare system from those who come here seeking economic opportunity — while left-wing progressives demonize the wealthy without distinguishing between those who made their fortunes in the market serving consumers and those who made their fortunes by manipulating the political process. These extremists use scapegoating and demagoguery to gain power and keep the people from focusing on the real source of their discontent: the welfare-warfare state and the fiat money system that makes it possible.<

As the welfare-warfare-fiat money system collapses, we will see increased violence. This will result in an increase in police state power. The only way to avoid this fate is for good people to unite and replace the extremist ideologies of the mainstream of both left and right with the ideas of liberty. A good start would be applying “Red Flag” laws to remove neocons from any influence over US foreign policy!

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Fourth Virtual Debate Among U.S. Transhumanist Party Presidential Candidates – September 17, 2019

Fourth Virtual Debate Among U.S. Transhumanist Party Presidential Candidates – September 17, 2019

Johannon Ben Zion
Jonathan Schattke
Matt Taylor
Moderated by Gennady Stolyarov II


During the Fourth Virtual Debate among the U.S. Transhumanist Party Presdidential Primary candidates, held on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, Johannon Ben Zion, Jonathan Schattke, and Matt Taylor, answered crowdsourced questions on character and leadership, radical life extension, health care, universal basic income, foreign policy, the U.S. federal budget, and various other matters. Watch this debate here.

This debate was moderated by U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II and co-hosted by Steele Archer of the Debt Nation show. See the original debate stream on the Debt Nation show (Part 1 and Part 2), including the pre-debate and post-debate shows held on the same day.

Please forgive the technical difficulties and the occasional audio lag arising from a weak and once-interrupted Internet connection.

Learn about the USTP candidates here.

View individual candidate profiles here:

Watch the Third Virtual Debate among Candidates Holsopple, Haywire, Forsythe, Kerecz, and Harris here.

Join the USTP for free here, no matter where you reside. Those who join by September 21, 2019, will be eligible to vote in the Electronic Primary which will begin on the next day.

Third Virtual Debate Among U.S. Transhumanist Party Presidential Candidates – September 14, 2019

Third Virtual Debate Among U.S. Transhumanist Party Presidential Candidates – September 14, 2019

John J. Kerecz
Charles Holsopple
Rachel Haywire
Kimberly Forsythe
Kristan T. Harris
Moderated by Gennady Stolyarov II


The Third Virtual Debate among the U.S. Transhumanist Party Presdidential Primary candidates has been the highest-quality and most substantive debate yet! Watch it here.

The first of the final two official debate segments among the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party primary candidates for President of the United States occurred on Saturday, September 14, 2019, at 5 p.m. Pacific Time and was co-hosted by Steele Archer of the Debt Nation show. In this segment candidates John J. Kerecz, Charles Holsopple, Rachel Haywire, Kimberly Forsythe, and Kristan T. Harris answered crowdsourced questions on character and leadership, radical life extension, health care, universal basic income, foreign policy, the U.S. federal budget, and various other matters.

See the original debate stream on the Debt Nation show here, including the pre-debate and post-debate shows held on the same day.

Learn about the USTP candidates here.

View individual candidate profiles (5 of 9 candidates spoke in this debate; the remaining 4 are scheduled to speak on Tuesday, September 17, 2019):

All of the candidates were thoughtful, substantive, and contributed many excellent ideas to a complex and civil discussion. We hope for the same with the September 17, 2019, Fourth Virtual Debate among Candidates Johannon Ben Zion, Jonathan Schattke, Matt Taylor, and Vrillon! (Tune into The Unshackled YouTube channel to watch that debate live at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time on September 17, 2019.)

Join the USTP for free here, no matter where you reside. Those who join by September 21, 2019, will be eligible to vote in the Electronic Primary which will begin on the next day.

Transhumanist Political Developments in the United States – Gennady Stolyarov II Presents at the VSIM-2019 Conference

Transhumanist Political Developments in the United States – Gennady Stolyarov II Presents at the VSIM-2019 Conference

Gennady Stolyarov II


On September 6, 2019, Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP), presented virtually to the Vanguard Scientific Instruments in Management (VSIM-2019) Conference in Ravda, Bulgaria, on the subject of recent transhumanist political developments in the United States. Watch Mr. Stolyarov’s presentation here.

See Mr. Stolyarov’s presentation slides (with interactive hyperlinks) here.

Subjects covered during the presentation included the following:

– Version 3.0 of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights
– The #IAmTranshuman Global Campaign – (See the two video compilations here and here)
– The USTP’s first legislative success in Nevada in hosting the Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum and achieving an amendment to Assembly Bill 226
– The USTP’s project to create an abundance of free transhumanist symbols, available for anyone to use –
– The forthcoming USTP Presidential Primary Election (see the candidate profiles)

Join the USTP for free, no matter where you reside, here. Those who join by September 21, 2019, will be eligible to vote in the Electronic Primary which will begin on the next day.

Become a Foreign Ambassador for the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Apply here.

Announcement of Third and Fourth Virtual Debates Among U.S. Transhumanist Party Presidential Candidates – Gennady Stolyarov II Interviewed by Steele Archer of Debt Nation

Announcement of Third and Fourth Virtual Debates Among U.S. Transhumanist Party Presidential Candidates – Gennady Stolyarov II Interviewed by Steele Archer of Debt Nation

Gennady Stolyarov II
Steele Archer


On September 10, 2019, U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II was again interviewed by Steele Archer of Debt Nation, this time to discuss the two forthcoming official final virtual debates of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Presidential primary season.

Watch the interview here.

3rd Virtual Debate: Candidates ForsytheHarrisHaywireHolsopple, and Kerecz – Saturday, September 14, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time – See more details here.

4th Virtual Debate: Candidates Ben ZionSchattkeTaylor, and Vrillon – Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time – See more details here.

The Debt Nation show will co-host the debates, which will be livestreamed from The Unshackled YouTube channel.

Remember to join the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free before September 21, 2019, in order to be eligible to vote in the Electronic Presidential Primary that follows. Join here, no matter where you reside.

 

Will Persian Gulf ‘Tanker War’ Become a Shooting War? – Article by Ron Paul

Will Persian Gulf ‘Tanker War’ Become a Shooting War? – Article by Ron Paul

Ron Paul
September 2, 2019

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The UK got a taste of its own medicine  in late July 2019, as Iran seized a British tanker, the Stena Impero, just two weeks after UK Royal Marines seized a tanker near Gibraltar carrying two million barrels of Iranian oil. As could be predicted, the US and UK media are reporting Iran’s seizure of the Stena Impero as if it were something out of the blue, pushing the war propaganda that “we” have been attacked and must retaliate. Media criticism of the UK is limited to claims that it has not put enough military into the Persian Gulf, not that it should never have seized the Iranian ship in the first place.

The truth is, the UK seizure of the Iranian ship was calculated to force Iran to retaliate and thus provide the pretext the neocons need to get their war.

As usual, Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton is in the thick of this operation. Bolton Tweeted that he was so surprised – but pleased – by the UK move against the Iranian tanker. However it is becoming clearer that Bolton was playing a role behind the scenes pushing London to lure Iran into making a move that might trigger the war he’s long been yearning for.

The ramping up of tanker wars comes just as the Pentagon has announced that it will send 500 US troops to Saudi Arabia – the first such US deployment since the US withdrew its troops in 2003. At that time, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz hailed the move out of Saudi Arabia as denying al-Qaeda one of its prime recruiting tools – US troops in their holy land. What will 500 troops do in Saudi Arabia? Some say they will help prepare the Prince Sultan military air base for a possible US air squadron deployment.

We must be clear on how we got to the very edge of war with Iran. President Trump pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) promising he would exchange it for a much better deal for the US. He quickly re-applied all previous US sanctions on Iran and demanded that our allies do the same. The US policy would be to apply “maximum pressure” to Iran which would result in Iran capitulating and agreeing to all US demands.

US economic warfare against Iran would bring the country to its knees, the Administration claimed, and would deliver a big win to the US without a shot being fired. But the whole plan has gone terribly wrong.

Iran did not back down or beg for mercy in the face of Trump’s actions, and the Europeans have at least attempted to keep the JCPOA agreement alive. And the UK following neocon orders has led the country in a serious and unnecessary crisis that does not look to be easily resolved.

How could the US administration have miscalculated so badly? Many of us could have told President Trump that the neocons always promise a “cakewalk” when they are talking up a military action. Time and time again – Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria – they promise a quick victory and deliver a quagmire.

The American people overwhelmingly do not want to go to war with Iran and the president wants to be re-elected. Will he return to the political base that elected him on promises of getting along with the rest of the world, or will he continue to follow his neocon advisers down the road to a failed presidency?Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

This article was first published July 22, 2019.

The Right to Repair: Shouldn’t Americans Have the Right to Fix Their Own Stuff? – Article by Brittany Hunter

The Right to Repair: Shouldn’t Americans Have the Right to Fix Their Own Stuff? – Article by Brittany Hunter

Brittany Hunter
September 2, 2019

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If you’ve ever felt the hurt of shelling out $200 to fix your MacBook or repair your broken iPhone screen, then you might know how important it is to break the monopolistic hold huge corporations have on the world of consumer product maintenance, which is where the right to repair comes in.

Recently, Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled his plans to overhaul the agriculture sector and “Revitalize Rural America” on his 2020 presidential campaign website. While much of the text in this section is predictable and on brand for Sanders—who blames the business sector and capitalism for most problems, there is one area that stands out: his stance on the issue of the right to repair.

“In rural America today, farmers can’t even repair their own tractors or other equipment because of the greed of companies like John Deere,” the site reads. It then promises that, if elected, Sanders will “pass a national right-to-repair law that gives every farmer in America full rights over the machinery they buy.”

Sanders may be wrong on a number of issues, but when it comes to a consumer’s right to repair, he is absolutely correct. And while he may not recognize it, his stance on this issue is actually more aligned with free-market economics than it is with democratic socialism.

For anyone unfamiliar with the term, “right to repair” refers to each individual’s right to fix or alter their own purchased property without having to go directly through the manufacturer to do so. Often times, this means paying high costs or facing negative consequences—like a voided warranty—if repairs are made by a third-party or by the individual consumer themselves.

Today, many have to pay a large fee just to have their equipment digitally unlocked by John Deere before it can be fixed.

It might seem almost absurd that the “right to repair” is even an issue, especially since many of us have routinely attempted, to varying degrees of success, to fix many of our own household appliances and devices. Yet, many corporations and companies from PlayStation to Apple have erected barriers that make it harder for consumers to repair the property that belongs to them.

As Wired explains:

Increasingly, companies use a variety of tactics to block access to repair. Companies either don’t sell replacement parts, or they sell them at big markups. They don’t make repair information, such as manuals or schematics, publicly available or open-source. They manipulate the software so that if you get unauthorized repairs done, the device locks until the manufacturer unlocks it. This forces the customer to take any problem to the original manufacturers, who can charge whatever they want. This also means the manufacturing companies have all the cards to decide if, when, and how much it costs to fix something.

John Deere, who Sanders mentions specifically because of the role the company plays in the agricultural sector, has been a huge culprit of inhibiting a consumer’s right to fix what is rightfully theirs, which has caused major financial burdens for farmers.

As farming equipment has become more sophisticated and tech-reliant, it has become increasingly more difficult for farmers to perform their own repairs. Today, many have to pay a large fee just to have their equipment digitally unlocked by John Deere before it can be fixed. And if they cannot afford to pay the manufacturer’s price, they are unable to use their equipment to earn a living. However, John Deere is just one company of many utilizing this strategy.

Another company inhibiting a consumer’s right to repair is Apple. Apple relies on what are called “End User License Agreements” to monopolize the repair of its products. If you’ve ever noticed that some iPhone repair establishments boast of being an “Apple Authorized Dealer,” this means a shop has had to pay a fee to Apple in order to be given the authority to repair its products, effectively monopolizing who is allowed to fix Apple products.

Unfortunately, a consumer does consent to the terms of the contract when buying a product with a manufacturer’s warranty.

This causes prices to go up for consumers who are limited as to where they can take their devices to be repaired. For those who choose to go to an unauthorized dealer, their warranties with Apple become void.

In addition to Apple and John Deere, the video game industry is also guilty of impeding the right to repair. They do this by attempting to control who is allowed to repair their gaming consoles. In 2017, The Entertainment Software Association, a trade organization that includes Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and others, worked diligently to block legislative efforts in support of right to repair legislation in Nebraska. Additionally, both Sony and Microsoft have “tamper-proof” stickers on their consoles, which warn the user that their warranty is void if they attempt to fix their device themselves.

Although this is most certainly a slimy move by many corporations to void warranties, make extra money on repairs, and force consumers to buy completely new products, a consumer does, in fact, consent to the terms of the contract when buying a product with a manufacturer’s warranty.

However, this situation became especially frustrating when both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 had significant, widespread problems that left many consoles broken and useless to users. While Xbox 360s plagued by the infamous “red ring of death” were refurbished free of charge, so long as consumers were willing to send back their machines to Microsoft for repairs, PlayStation 3 consoles cost $200 to be fixed.

The flaws in both systems did not sit well with the gaming community, who were unimpressed with the handling of the situation. Had independent parties been allowed to fix these consoles, both companies might have saved themselves from angry consumers who were dealing with a manufacturing flaw and not a problem born of their own doing.

Interestingly enough, these “tamper-proof” stickers are actually illegal under a federal law called the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty. However, most consumers cannot afford to pay all the legal costs associated with taking these giant corporations to court. And thus, most never challenge the warranties. Not to mention, so long as no one is being physically harmed, passing legislation that restricts how a private company can conduct business is not an ideal solution, even if its actions are shady.

Lexmark placed a chip in its single-use cartridges that rendered them useless if a consumer attempted to refill it with ink.

Lexmark, the printer company, took the fight against the right to repair even further than these other companies, eventually arguing its case in front of the Supreme Court in 2017. Everyone with a printer knows that it is exorbitantly expensive to replace the ink cartridges. Impression Products wanted to help consumers save money by refilling their existing Lexmark printer ink cartridges with toner instead of having to buy an entirely new cartridge.

Lexmark had placed a chip in its single-use cartridges that rendered them useless if a consumer attempted to refill it with ink. Impression Products, along with other small companies, found a way to disable the chip and refill the cartridges at a low cost.

Impression Products’ innovative solution to a frustrating consumer problem didn’t sit well with Lexmark, who sued for patent infringement and fought the company all the way to the highest court in the land. Unfortunately for Lexmark, the court ruled against it, declaring that the company’s patent rights were exhausted with the first sale of its toner cartridges and that consumers had every right to alter or fix property they rightfully owned.

To some extent, Sanders is correct to call out corporate greed over the struggle for a consumer’s right to repair. Many corporations resort to shady tactics in order to charge consumers more to fix their products or force them to buy entirely new products, as Lexmark has demonstrated.

The antidote to corporate greed is actually found within free market principles.

However, whether Sanders and his supporters realize it or not, above all, the argument in favor of the right to repair is actually an argument in favor of private property rights—something democratic socialists are typically against.

Once a product is purchased and money exchanges hands, the consumer becomes the sole owner of said property. This gives them the right to alter or repair a product in any manner they see fit. If manufacturers can literally remotely lock you out of your own property for having “unauthorized” repairs done, effectively holding your property hostage until you take it to an authorized dealer or until you pay their ransom to get it back, then whose property is it?

Sanders might not be a fan of big corporations, but the antidote to corporate greed is actually found within free market principles, like an individual’s right to do as they will with their own private property.