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A National Sham

Updated on September 15, 2017

Nationalization is not elderly people freezing and naked children in the streets. The fact that a country does not take from its citizens is a good thing.


So just what is Nationalization? Outright theft? Democratic re-appropriation? Envy of the haves, by the have-nots? Hatred of the good for being good? The application of selflessness? Hatred or love? The application of the alleged "common good." Altruism?

And should we care?

Do you think you have a right to own stuff? And does that right fail at some point? It's okay to own a house, flat or mobile home, but not an large tract of land that contains valuable resources?

Why do some European Countries nationalise industries? Why do these industries then become corrupt, inefficient bureaucratic nightmares, hated by nearly everyone? Despised even more than they were when they were government sponsored monopolies?

Is Nationalization theft on the a grand scale?

Before We Get Started

Do You Believe in the Nationalization of Private Property?

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...'nationalizers' really don't want to make things fair...

Honest, hard working people who happen to own large tracks of land containing oil and natural gas does not make them evil.

Often the excuse used to take from large corporations, is because they have become coercive monopolies. But they are made this way by the actions of government. Companies cannot become powerful, without special privileges granted by governments. In the real world, the customer decides which company survives.

Once the government granted monopolies run foul of the populace or some enterprising politician, the drum-beat of the nationalizers begins. Usually in the guise of the common good, governments then confiscate the targeted industry. At what point has theft, then become a moral justification?

The answer seems to be that it is okay to take something, so long as you are doing it for a good cause. If one is starving, it is okay to steal? That does not apply here. What applies here is the ends justifies the means. The means is theft. The ends?

Just what are the ends? That's the part the nationalization never defines. It is ignored or purposely avoided. Why? Because the nationalization is not about the common good or about being fair. Nationalization is about leveling. Making everyone the same. It is not fair, in their minds, that one person has more stuff than the next person. To nationalize then, is to steal one's bread.

...'taking' the private property of individuals...

Nationalization is Confiscation

Nationalization is the process of taking private property, whether said property be in the form of assets or if it is an entire industry. The private property is then handed over to a national government or if they really want to dumb it down, to the public. And just remember, that the public is really the national government, not you.

Often, you will see that in the many calls for taking the private property of individuals, nationalization glosses over what it really means.

Modern U.K. Electricity Box (Product of Nationalization)

Reason #1: Confiscation without Permission

So what is wrong with the taking of private property? On the most basic level is the fact that taking is theft. This is the first hurdle nationalization must leap.

The most obvious way to obfuscate thievery is to somehow obscure it. Whitewash the truth or ask, pleasantly, that you change your old mindset. Think outside of the freedom box now. Be the Avant Guarde for freedom, but not.

Where did my company go? The public says that your property is really everyone's property. How could it be otherwise? It is far too dangerous to allow one company, such as British Petroleum (BP), to own anything.

What? What did BP do? Employ thousands of citizens? I guess that is a bad thing in the UK. Or maybe it is the layoffs, due to falling oil prices, where the average consumer wins at the petrol pump? That's bad too? I guess it is in Scotland especially.

But BP is the victim of OPEC and the American Frackers. Both are racing to reduce oil prices, but OPEC is under-cutting them for now. It won't be long before OPEC turns its pumps on slo-mo. They can't sell at a loss forever. At that point the U.S. Frackers will become active again.

Sorry OPEC. That is, unless the world economies fail. After all, all money was nationalized and made worthless many years ago.

But some in Scotland want the UK to bill the taxpayer to prop up embattled companies in a effort to eventually, and somehow, in some way, move away from fossil fuel dependence. Well, good luck to you UK, if you should take that leap into the future by further dragging down your populace with more burdensome taxation.

The moral dilemma of 'stealing' is always a sticky-fingered situation for those wishing to hide the practice by placing a seemingly innocuous label on 'nationalization'. To state that the public, which we really know means the government, has the authority to move in and either forcibly take over a private company, build a road through your house or even install a microwave antenna in your back yard, is to assert that property rights do not exist. In this case, you really don't have the absolute right to own anything at all. You are essentially a servant, when it comes to the UK.

The former Soviet Union was worse of course. The Soviet model was more honest at least. They jailed the property owner and just took his stuff. Putin still uses this old playbook. He's Mr. Eminent Domain himself. Why pay for it?

The United Kingdom is a bit nicer about stealing from its citizens. But a bit worse than the USA. They actually pay you for your private property, then kick you out, then bill the taxpayers to support the confiscated industry. Like they did with their Coal Industry. Like the steel/iron industry was stolen then given back. Like the Central Electricity Generating Authority runs all of the power companies on that Island Nation. One big mass-owned coercive monopoly, compliments of Parliament. Pay up Brits! Don't call the CEGA, it will call you! But first, pay your bill!

Strangely or maybe not so strangely, these nationalized UK industries had/have all kinds of problems after nationalization, which for some reason rarely occurred before the theft, when private owners, who actually cared about their companies, ran them much more efficiently.

What a racket! The ailing dinosaurs of nationalized industries in the UK were and are subsidy gobblers, costly, bloated, subject to political pressures and often behind schedule. But this is true of any nationalized organization in any country.

Modern Car In Cuba (Post-Nationalization, Circa 2008)

Reason #2: There is no Private Property

The easiest way to separate a fool from his property, is to convince him that there is no such thing as private property or that such a right is only applicable for small stuff, like cars and clothing, but not things like oil wells or doctors' offices. No, these are just too big.

It is the Emperor's Robe methodology. This is accomplished by persuading people that nothing is absolute, that rights of ownership are flavor of the month niceties, that one must go with the flow and if government wants something, well of course, its just for the public. It's just for you and me. It's the old con game. The Emperor is naked...and the naked truth is, that he is lying through his false teeth.

This public idea sounds great, but what are we missing here?

Private property, of course, is yours, if you traded for it and did not steal it. You can dispose of it as you see fit. You can use it or simply keep it until you die. You can refuse to sell it at any price. If anyone or any government takes your property, which you acquired by free and fair trade, without your consent, even if they pay you for it, you have been robbed, burglarized and boondoggled.

This even applies to the Eminent Domain Theories in the United States. No government can take or buy anything from you without your consent. If it does and the United States has done this, it commits the crime of 'robbery'. Strong armed robbery in some cases.

But the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...Wait a minute, this is not Star Trek's real stuff. The many can't order the few to fork over the coal. The few can't order the many to pay for their Master's Degree in Pharmacology because sometimes people need medicine.

But the above examples are often cited as a prime reasons why we need to nationalize property. I mean, how else would we build roads if our government or some local road building company had to actually ask people to sell their property, rather than force them to sell? Why ask? Just order?

What are we missing here? How about the absolute freedom to own one's property?

John Maynard Keynes (Nationalizer of Money)

Reason #3: The Common Good

Sometimes it referred to as social responsibility or democratic choice, or even the common good.

Think of it like a robber does. The robber goes into the privately owned store, pulls his gun, points it at the owner, tells him to vacate the premises and on the owner's way out, the robber, feeling some measure of guilt, hands the owner a roll of bills, which the robber has stolen from the taxpayers. The robber has somehow become the Robin Hood of the People. He's just a robber.

In the real world, it goes something like this:

Everyone needs this particular product, therefore, wouldn't it be nice if we could take all of those companies, all their stuff, and put it all under one big roof and make things more efficient? Never mind that it is stealing. Never mind that no public company has ever operated efficiently. Never mind that you are creating a coercive mass-ownership government controlled monopoly, responsible only to, well to who or whom? Itself? Or maybe to the local politicians.

And how does anyone agree on social responsibility? How about the Common Good?

Here's my reasonable definition of social responsibility. To me, society should provide for all of my needs for FREE. (Yes, I know that nothing is FREE.)

So, here's want I'd need. Seriously.

My Social Responsible list of things I need:

  1. a house on the beach
  2. three expensive cars
  3. six wives, if I were a Mormon
  4. a lot of different types of alcoholic beverages in pretty colored bottles
  5. a permanent supply of rich shaving cream and not that cheap stuff from Walmart. (After all, I'm worth it. I'm common.)
  6. another house in the Rockies
  7. a Condo in Bermuda
  8. free medical care for life
  9. a billion dollars a year for retirement (hey, I'm worried about devaluation)

And maybe...well you get the picture. There is no common good. There is no such thing as 'social responsibility'. Everyone will have a different idea about what is good for them and what is and is not common. It's a recipe for stupidity.

These are phrases for the uneducated or for the educated, when used as verbal weapons against the masses. People, the masses, know that the 'Snake Oil' salesman is doing his thing, but they just can't quite figure out how to debate the issue, especially when pleasant sounding words are used. Common Good? Sounds good to them, until they lift up that rug and see what the public has swept under there.

But that is not what the social responsible characters really mean. No. They are a bit sneaky. What they really mean is that everyone will get the same thing. They will be leveled to the least common denominator. Nobody should have more than the next guy. If you have a boat I have a boat. If you have a nice car, I have a nice car. If you have a big house and a dog, I get the same thing. It's only fair. Even if I'm a cat person.

So when anyone starts to recite the merits of social responsibility as an excuse for government take overs, just ask them why they think nationalization (but use the word theft, since it really irks them) is responsible? They usually get all red in the face and start thumping their various manifestos.


Reason #4: War Needs Conscripts

Here's another good one. Invasions. It goes like this. If my country is invaded by bad guys, well, we need to pass a law so that the government, as efficient as it is, can own certain industries, so we can defend ourselves.

Why? You can't ask the citizens to defend their own country first? You have to enslave them to fight bad guys? What does that make you?

In the U.S., Henry Ford pumped out so many B-24 Bombers that NAZI Germany began to look like the moon during WWII. The US never nationalized Ford Motors. The US sold war bonds and did other stupid things like nationalize the currency, explode the debt and nearly crashed the economy, but they never nationalized the War Industry itself.

Yes, the U.S. Government did briefly take over much of steel production and coal production during the Korean War, but the U.S. Supreme Court made them give it back. The U.S. Government also seized the Railroads in 1917 for about three years, for troop movements, but backed off eventually.


Reason #5: Climate Change is caused by Mankind

Dear Climate Change enthusiasts, the jury is still out.

Of all the reasons to steal, this is one of my favorites. You buy gasoline and put it in your cars and drive around town and pollute the air. You are killing us. It is best you to pay a tax so that the government can fund another bureaucracy. Better yet, you buy Carbon Credits, if you would like to pollute excessively.

Climate Change? Shouldn't the argument be settled first? We need to verify that volcanoes and sun spots do not actually regulate our planet's climate. Many scientists now debate the issue, stating often, that our pollution levels are not what is driving Climate Change. The most recent theories revolve around sun activity and volcanoes.

But I'm all for catalytic converters and less smog anyway.


Reason #6: The Poor own your Wallet

Nationalization will somehow help the poor?

So you are broke. And? Does this give you the right to steal from others? Nope. Not even from the public treasury. Why? Because Mr. Poor person, it ain't your stuff. To require the nationalization of an industry in the name of the poor, is to state that the poor have a mortgage on your wealth. They don't. The poor have no more right to your money that your next-door neighbor has to your beer.

The poor can only ask for money and food. They cannot obtain funds from the public treasury and say it is not theft. The poor can only obtain cash from willing givers. You and me. It's a voluntary thing. Churches and charities voluntarily give billions each year. That's the big clue here. It must not be compulsory giving.


Reason #7: Oligopolies and Coercive Monopolies will run Rampant

Another excuse used to scare us, is the concern that some big bad company or a small group of them (they call groups like this oligopolies) will obtain control over a vast market or a resource we all use and thereby have a guaranteed customer base. Once this sinister agent has cornered the market he or they will have the opportunity to close the market altogether.

Fat chance. Even an oligopoly has to eat.

Oligopolies and coercive monopolies are beasts formed in the halls of governments.


Reason #8: You Don't have any Rights

Here the nationalization takes on a sinister character.

What are rights they ask? Do we even have them? Some say we do. Others say we do not. That rights are mere social contracts which are flexible, according to majority rule.

It all depends upon one's ideology. There is no right or wrong way, say some.

Then there are those that flip the tables. We all have rights, they say, but they are unlimited. In other words, you have a right to a free education, free health care, and free garbage pick-up. But who will pay? Not important. We will all pay. No choice. No freedom to disagree.

But you say I had to pay anyway? True you did, if you wanted an education, for example. The difference is that we could choose our payee before. Now, under nationalization, we are all ordered to pay.

Now that you have fully absorbed the subject matter...

Do you think that 'Nationalization' is Theft

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4 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of 'Nationalization is Theft'


  • Cuban Car: By Photo: gildemax (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Electricy Box: Graham Horn [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
  • John Maynard Keynes: By IMF [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

© 2015 Jack Shorebird


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    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 2 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello again jgshorebird. This is where we differ.

      The history behind the nationalisation of the railways, the steel, coal, power and mining industries over a couple of decades in the UK was down to working conditions, safety and pay in those industries.

      The current situation here doesn't exactly advertise the benefits of private ownership. Although on the railways currently there have been no tragic accidents for passengers or employees for a few years, this isn't altogether thanks to Railtrack, the organisation 'hived off' from the various regional railway boards who are responsible for the upkeep, safety standards and property owned by the railways formerly privately owned (LNER, LM&SR, GWR, SR). Money was wasted by the various boards on non-essential work such as re-liverying of stock and stations, electrification schemes undertaken and abandoned or cancelled, the building of steam power stock until 1958 that was scrapped within less than five years in the haste to 'dieselise' (they suddenly wanted to keep up with Europe and the US), but then the boards were made up of executives at top level drawn from the earlier companies who still maintained their pre-War loyalties and were disinclined from 'making a go' of the nationalised system - despite drawing excellent remuneration at the expense of the taxpayer.

      Steel, power and coal employed many, in some areas being the only employer. Working conditions and pay were poor compared with the US and Europe (still are), safety was dismal. The executives and owners didn't seem to be burdened with social considerations. Power tools and safety equipment in the mines, for example, were either unavailable or poorly installed. Accidents were numerous, as in the steel industry, and sales executives were heard abroad to discourage customers, scaring them off with stories of strikes, neverthelesss drawing good salaries.

      Shipbuilding was a case in point, accident rates only going down in wartime with increased vigilance. The same executives who ran the pre-nationalised companies ran them afterwards with different job titles. Whatever happened to the industries, they would come away with their pockets full and a new career or fat pension awaiting, (membership of a golf club included).

      Back to the present, there are 'zero hours' contracts in many companies, which means employees are not even legally employees. My cousin Paul, who works at the steel plant at Redcar does twelve hour shifts. His pay is less than I was earning as a machine minder for Royal Mail. His employers could easily 'up sticks' if they felt threatened by a 'leftie' government.

      Don't get me wrong, though. I don't think nationalisation is the answer to all our ills, and at the last election I put my cross against the local Conservative candidate. I live in a Labour 'safe seat'. The last Labour government did nothing for the workers, Gordon Brown messed up the private pension market (he allowed the providers a 'pension holiday', meaning they no longer had to pay their share into the pot).

      Currently the Labour opposition are up in the air with their leadership squabble. I can't see them forming the next government and it's probably a saving. Clement Attlee's government didn't think things through thoroughly enough, aside from the welfare programme and that's under severe strain now with all the migrants who want to come here because they think we're a soft touch.

      We're 'ham-strung' by the EU in Strasbourg with their ideas of Human Rights.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      Jack Shorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Thanks for your comments as usual.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      So many eye-openers in your article--like this basic one all should understand: 'Public' is really the national government, not you. Thanks for sharing your valuable insights on this topic.