I remain committed to the faith of my teenage years: to authentic human freedom as a precondition for the highest good. I stand against confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives, and the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual. For all these reasons, I still call myself “libertarian.”
But I must confess that over the last two decades, I have changed radically on the question of how to achieve these goals. Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible. By tracing out the development of my thinking, I hope to frame some of the challenges faced by all classical liberals today.
But in a broader sense we did not achieve all that much for all the effort expended. Much of it felt like trench warfare on the Western Front in World War I; there was a lot of carnage, but we did not move the center of the debate. In hindsight, we were preaching mainly to the choir — even if this had the important side benefit of convincing the choir’s members to continue singing for the rest of their lives.
The decade that followed — the roaring 1920s — was so strong that historians have forgotten the depression that started it. The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics. Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron. – Peter Thiel (bolding mine) Link
A few years later, Heartiste caught up with him. It’s no secret that women are the primary consumers behind most fast growing web properties like Groupon, Pinterest, Facebook and Apple (Apple is huge in universities, where women are over-represented). Women make the bulk of spending decisions for households, even on high dollar items.
Studies show that women are responsible for buying 80% of household goods.1Although it is often played down, it is clear that women have a great deal of influence in the economy as consumers, in other words, a lot of spending power.
Increasingly, women take responsibility for buying larger items such as houses and cars. And women are also often responsible for buying gifts on behalf of their families. When kids go to birthday parties, it is usually the mother who purchases and wraps the gift. It often works the same way when a couple attends a wedding or anniversary. Women are faced with endless choices and decisions in their lives as consumers.
In developing nations, women’s earned income is growing at 8.1 percent, compared to 5.8 percent for men. Globally, women control nearly $12 trillion of the $18 trillion total overall consumer spending, a figure predicted to rise to $15 trillion by 2014. Link
1. Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, including everything from autos to health care
2. Women make 80% of healthcare decisions and 68 percent of new car purchase decisions
3. Seventy-five percent of women identified themselves as the primary shoppers for their households
4. Women influenced $90 billion of consumer electronic purchases in 2007
5. Nearly 50% of women say they want more green choices, with 37% are more likely to pay attention to brands that are committed to environmental causes
And the trend remains the same across racial lines:
It’s no secret women like to shop and with the buying power of African-American consumers projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015, women will be the primary driver of most of those purchases according to a new report on the State of the African-American Consumer from Nielsen. Link
“Rising consumer confidence, aggressive promotional activity, and technological advances have propelled sales of cosmetics and toiletries in the United States by 2.4% to reach $36.5 billion in 2010 at the manufacturers’ level… After experiencing a 0.8% decline in 2009, the current increase has brought sales to above pre-recession levels.”
And according to this feelingunique.com report, women are more willing to skimp on food before cosmetics. And apparently many women don’t plan on skimping at all: the 2009 Retail Theft Report listed cosmetics are the 2nd most shoplifted items (after razorblades). Link
The gist of this is, if you want people to vote with their money, focus on the women, even in married households. In modern markets, masculine products are a niche, products by default must be made to be compatible with female consumers. It’s easier to pull women’s levers to buy things providing you can grab a hold of the levers of social proof. There is less divergence in IQ and other forms of intelligence as women tend to cluster around the mean in abilities, so it’s much easier to tailor a broad message and product to them.
Other writers like Ian Ironwood have went into length about the female social matrix, and how it tends alter how a society operates, so I will merely quote and link:
That doesn’t mean that there are no female leaders — far from it. Indeed, the entire point of the Female Social Matrix is to dominate the group without the appearance of dominating the group. The emphasis is not on gentle competition with words or demonstrations of competence. It is far more a matter of establishing social position through consensus and alliances and then defending it. Meanwhile, the role of the group is to ensure that no one leader gains enough power to dominate the consensus. All-female groupings have traditionally been seen as naturally more democratic . . . but that observation likely misses the subtleties of female group dynamics.
For women all-too-often impose their mating-oriented social ordering on group dynamics in a way which actually rewards inefficiency if it means advancing a particular woman or clique to a dominant position in the Matrix even at the expense of the stated group mission. In other words, it’s more important in all-girl groups that things are “fair” that it is that they “get done”.
The perception of involvement is almost always given higher status and credit than achievement.
Secondly, understand that you are never dating “just one girl”. You are intersecting with a node on the Matrix, a node that will communicate and continue to interact with the rest of the Matrix. Your actions will undoubtedly be communicated in one form or another, as gossip and information is the life’s blood of the Matrix. Women’s ability to network and communicate are justifiably praised as sophisticated, compared to the laconic nature of masculinity.
Indeed, it wouldn’t make any sense for someone to create a currency without factoring women and the female social matrix into that currency. Most of the options haven’t been very successful, except in some cases of local currency. The Libertarian efforts to create gold backed currencies have suffered from this lack of insight, males simply don’t connect as much as females and won’t circulate the currency as much. Liberty Dollars were promoted to a narrow, largely male anti-inflationary demographic, which was easily marginalized by the government.
Of course you will have male outliers who will be an incredible boon to the currency, but having a backbone of legitimacy that comes from the female social matrix is a key hurdle in making a currency work. The deeper your hooks are, the harder it will be for the government to justify shutting you down for fear of angering the matrix and it’s vast quantity of votes.