An Open Letter to Russell Brand

by Jeff Berwick
Nov. 06, 2013

Russell Brand,

"An unexpected pundit," pundits have called you.

To me, you're something different. You're more in line with the classic comedians of our time, the Bill Hickses and the George Carlins. You are not a pundit.

You've certainly been in the spotlight since you called for revolution on BBC. Some hate you, some love you, but most of all, you got yourself some excellent press. I've got to admit: well-played.

You're obviously a brave man. You've appeared on The Alex Jones Show. You are outspoken. You are unswerving in your dedication to justice and an end to global inequities. Me too, Russell. I feel your frustration, your anger, your dismay.

You amused me on the BBC. Thank you. I spend a life in airports, and mainstream media television is on in each one I find myself in. It is mind-numbing. "Low-vibration," communication, as you call it. And it drives me insane.

But, not when you were on BBC. That was something I could get behind, especially compared to most of the drivel I see on the globe's propaganda networks.

Some comments surely made me cringe. One? "Profit is a filthy word."

In my opinion, "prophet" is filthier.

In my opinion, profit is the way we know if someone is doing a good job of something. In my personal endeavors with my multinational company, TDV Media, profit is how I know whether or not I am providing good services and products to our customers.

To quote you directly:

“I say profit is a filthy word, because wherever there is profit there is also deficit.”

I disagree with this statement, Russell. In my opinion, wherever there is theft, like taxation at the greedy hands of States, there is deficit. Where there is profit, there is an exchange, and both parties leave the transaction "made-whole", both feeling that they are better off than they were before the exchange. The businessman gets his payment, and the customer gets his good or service. Both profit.

As Mises wrote, “The elimination of profit, whatever methods may be resorted to for its execution, must transform society into a senseless jumble. It would create poverty for all.”

I also cringed when you called for a "socialist egalitarian system."

But, I also understand you weren't aiming to devise an alternative system during your BBC spot. Rather, it's almost as if you spouted the first thing that came to mind.

That's okay with me. You were entertaining. That was your goal. That and to make people think for a second. You've obviously succeeded. Kudos.

But, I want to share with you some of the things I've learned in my journey as an entrepreneur, which have led me away from "socialist egalitarianism." I want to tell you what I learned about profit.

In the late eighties, I started a rap group that became one of the most popular in Canada. We did well initially, but our popularity waned, and I learned something: There wasn't overwhelming demand for me as a rapper.

So I started a company, StockHouse, in the late nineties. I grew the company to $240 million USD, before the dotcom bubble burst. My company, StockHouse, lost basically all its value. I learned that, in the absence of a financially manipulated bubble, the demand for StockHouse's service wasn't quite what I originally thought it was.

After the dotcom bubble collapsed, and my company lost most of its value, I was quite confused, to say the least.

Eventually, I found myself traveling the world. It's what I saw while traveling the world, as I am sure you can understand, which changed me the most.

I eventually learned about how the financial markets are manipulated. Sure, they might be manipulated by banks, but if it weren't for central banks (creatures of the state), as well as corporate welfare (money stolen by the state and given to legal fictions of the state that protect people from the consequences of their actions with corporate "personhood"), none of these banks would be in a position to manipulate so much as a small, gullible child. (I imagine they couldn't afford the candy to take advantage of the small child, let alone exist as a "Too Big To Fail" institution.)

During my travels, I learned of libertarianism, and I learned of anarchism. I found out that I was an "anarcho-capitalist," but this does not mean that I love to feed on the blood of the poor.

Instead, it means I love to create, and I love to offer what I create to the people around me without anyone getting in the way of that free exchange with violence. And, although I consider myself an anarcho-capitalist, I do give and give and give. That's because, despite what you may think, profit doesn't mean deficit. Profit means offering something of enough value to people that they are willing to trade their own wealth for it. You've amassed profits in the millions by providing millions of people with the kind of humor that has them handing you their money. So I'm sure you can understand.

I also give in the form of time, seemingly all of the time. I am sure you can also relate to a hectic schedule, in which you're constantly being whisked around. I speak all around the world, sharing what I've learned on my journey. And, although I might be a dirty capitalist, the burners of Burning Man might even be surprised at how much giving some of us capitalists do. Charity is fine, by the way, as long as it is done voluntarily. And voluntary charity doesn't create the dependent, permanent underclass the way forced "charity" does with that centralized redistribution you want more of.

Again, I refer to Mises, "After all, it is not the frivolous doctrines of the Bohemians that generate disaster, but the fact that the public is ready to accept them favourably. The response to these pseudo philosophies on the part of the molders of public opinion and later on the part of the misguided masses is the evil. People are anxious to endorse the tenets they consider as fashionable lest they appear boorish and backward."

You call for a revolution, but the revolution you are calling for has already come and gone. The 20th century was full of the revolution you are calling for. Millions of people were murdered and as many other lives were mired in collectivist misery as misguided masses let ambitious men try to beat nations into your egalitarian socialist society where profit was a dirty word.

If there is to be a revolution, it will be one that dispels a couple of very persistent lies. The first is that there needs to be rulers in order for there to be order and progress (in fact there is a negative correlation between having order and having a rulers). The second is that wealth is a zero-sum game in which profit comes at at least one party's expense...that profit represents a deficit. The opposite is true here as well. Wealth is created as people constantly reshape the world to make life better for everyone and in the process...profit.

The revolution starts here, Russell. In fact, it already has.


Jeff Berwick
Anarcho-Capitalist. Libertarian. Freedom fighter against mankind’s two biggest enemies, the State and the Central Banks. Jeff Berwick is the founder of The Dollar Vigilante, CEO of TDV Media & Services and host of the popular video podcast, Anarchast. Jeff is a prominent speaker at many of the world’s freedom, investment and gold conferences as well as regularly in the media including CNBC, CNN and Fox Business.

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