fortune society

What is the meaning of the will to power on the part of moral values that have developed so tremendously on earth? The instinct of the herd against the strong and independent, the instinct of the suffering and underprivileged agsinst the fortunate, and the instinct of the mediocre against the exceptional.”

—F. Nietzsche, The Will to Power, §274 (edited excerpt).

  • Left-wing economics: People should democratically manage the collective operations that they contribute to and that affect them. Wealth redistribution is really only advocated within the capitalist system (where people are divided into owners and non-owners of collectively-operated property), and actual pushes for a socialist economy are the primary focus. Because people are divided into owners and non-owners, non-owners overwhelmingly produce the vast fortunes of owners. Society is perfectly viable without a ruling class that appropriates the great majority of value based on an arbitrary factor like their state-backed ownership over the means of production; the means of production ought to fall under democratic management because democracy and autocracy are the only two ways to handle social deliberation. Own a house, a book collection, a toothbrush, clothing, etc., as personal property, but a sole individual cannot legitimately claim ownership over common inheritance sources that other individuals need to utilize to survive.
  • Right-wing economics: I should be able to lay claim over this hundred-mile stretch of arable land because eternal authority over this land is a natural extension of individual rights, and if you use any of it without my permission you're violating the non-aggression principle. I favor "small government" and "less regulation" in the economy as long as you take the above claim, and others like it, for granted. Yes, an individual should be able to own apartments that dozens of families use for livelihood, a multitude of factories they themselves do not even use or work in, or a vast "unclaimed" stretch of land they merely planted a flag on. Why? Because the individual is sacrosanct.....just as long as we're talking about the owner individuals and not the majority non-owner individuals. I obscure class domination predicated on owners over non-owners through the use of phrases like "voluntary" and "individualism", completely ignoring the fact that free associations are only possible when social utilities are socially-controlled by the participants. In the meantime, I'll voluntarily claim ownership over this entire forest, voluntarily hire a non-owner who must utilize the stretch of forest for survival, and both of us will be in voluntary agreement that the conditions are not exploitative despite our vast power imbalance.

“I always say that I’ve done a life sentence– in installments. My behavior funneled me into the criminal justice system at the age of 17. I’ve done three state bids and numerous stints at Rikers. The cycle of recidivism is difficult to break. When you come out of prison, you have nothing: no home, no family, no money, and no job. The only thing you have is your social standing. And if your social standing in jail is perceived as higher than that on the outside, sometimes it’s preferable to go back. In prison, they called me ‘Pops.’ I got privileges. People respected me. I felt valued. When I got out, I had to start over.”

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Charles is a former client and current program leader at The Fortune Society. The Fortune Society’s mission is to “create a world where all who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated can become positive, contributing members of society.”

“I killed people, shot people, and robbed people. I’m not blaming society for my problems. These are things that I did. I was sentenced to 32 years to life. When I went to prison, I decided that I was never coming out again. I had to prepare myself for that. I got rid of all my compassion, sympathy, and pity. I had to deal with bruisers every day who might decide to throw a punch at me. So I suppressed all this stuff for three decades. Then oddly enough I was granted parole. Now I’m trying to learn to care again after spending 32 years in prison. Do you know how difficult that is?”

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I heard this man’s story while attending a support group for formerly incarcerated individuals sponsored by The Fortune Society. The Fortune Society’s mission is to “create a world where all who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated can become positive, contributing members of society.”