A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 18, 2010
“From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed”

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” is a famous statement of Karl Marx (1818-1883), written in 1875.

“From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed” was written by Henry Fairlie (1924-1990) in the 1980s. In February 2010, pilot Joseph Stack flew his plane into an Austin (TX) IRS office. Stack had written “The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed” at the end of his anti-government letter to explain his actions.


Wikipedia: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need
From each according to his ability, to each according to his need (or needs) is a slogan popularized by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program. The phrase summarizes the principles that, under a communist system, every person should contribute to society to the best of his or her ability and consume from society in proportion to his or her needs, regardless of how much he or she has contributed. In the Marxist view, such an arrangement will be made possible by the abundance of goods and services that a developed communist society will produce; the idea is that there will be enough to satisfy everyone’s needs.

Origin of the phrase
The complete paragraph containing Marx’s statement of the creed in the ‘Critique of the Gotha Program’ is as follows:

In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!

Although Marx is popularly thought of as the originator of the phrase, the slogan was common to the socialist movement and was first used by Louis Blanc in 1840, in “The organization of work”, as a revision of a quote by the utopian socialist Henri de Saint Simon, who claimed that each should be rewarded according to how much he works.

Wikipedia: Henry Fairlie
Henry Jones Fairlie (13 January 1924 London, England - 25 February 1990 Washington, D.C.) was a British political journalist and social critic. Best known for coining the term “the Establishment”, an analysis of how “all the right people” came to run Britain largely through social connections, he spent 36 years as a prominent freelance writer on both sides of the Atlantic, appearing in The Spectator, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and many other papers and magazines. He was also the author of five books, most notably The Kennedy Promise, an early revisionist critique of the U.S. presidency of John F. Kennedy.

In 2009, Yale University Press published Bite the Hand That Feeds You: Essays and Provocations (ISBN: 9780300123838), an anthology of his work edited by Newsweek correspondent Jeremy McCarter.

Papers Past
2 July 1921, New Zealand Truth, “The Critic,” pg. 1:
Socialism—To every man according to his deed.
Communism—To every man according to his need.
Capitalism—To every man according to his greed.

October 1965, Nation’s Business, “Handouts unlimited,” pg. 130:
Even the socialist ideal, “to each according to his need,” thus has been exceeded.  It seems we now have a new political philosophy:  “To each according to his greed.”

Google Books
The Income Tax Is Obsolete
By Joseph S Duarte
New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House
1974
Pg. 26:
“To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability to pay” could be called the capitalist creed of the income tax system.

15 May 1987, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “TV’s preachers face reckoning” by Bruce Buursma, Chicagoland, pg. 7:
The credo of the video vicars, observed British essayist Henry Fairlie in the New Republic, might be updated to something like: “From each according to his gullibility.”

Google Groups: alt.fan.rush-limbaugh
Newsgroups: talk.politics.guns, alt.fan.rush-limbaugh, alt.politics.clinton
From: (Jim Grunewald)
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 1994 20:16:37 GMT
Local: Wed, Apr 20 1994 2:16 pm
Subject: Re: Clinton Says: F**k The Poor

From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Google Groups: comp.os.linux.setup
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.setup
From: Jim Grunewald <74226....@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 1996/05/17
Subject: Re: Slakware 3.0 Man Pages

From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Google Groups: rec.models.scale
Newsgroups: rec.models.scale
From: (rfranklin)
Date: 1999/04/18
Subject: Re: Pirates, Profiteers and Online Auctions

This is just free enterprise at its finest:

“From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.” (appologies to the ghost of K. Marx).

Google Groups: rec.guns
Newsgroups: rec.guns
From: Jim Grunewald
Date: 22 Dec 2001 21:55:52 -0500
Local: Sat, Dec 22 2001 8:55 pm
Subject: Re: American Shooter gone!

From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Google Books
Microeconomics
By Stephen L. Slavin
Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill
2008
Pg. 72:
Henry Fairlie has come up with a capitalist credo: From each according to his gullibility. To each according to his greed.

Los Angeles (CA) Times
Friends and band mates say they never saw Texas pilot’s passion for a bitter feud with the IRS
JAY ROOT, JEFF CARLTON
Associated Press Writers
February 18, 2010 | 5:18 p.m.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Joseph Stack felt the federal government — especially its tax code — robbed him of his savings and destroyed his career while allowing corrupt executives to walk away with millions.

It’s clear from the 3,000-word manifesto posted on a Web site registered in his name that the bitter feud with the Internal Revenue Service was his passion — a passion so deeply held that it apparently drove him to commit suicide Thursday by slamming his single-engine Piper PA-28 into an Austin office building that houses the IRS.

Jay Bookman - Atlanta (GA) Journal-Constitution
Pilot in Austin IRS attack, Joe Stack, linked to anti-government rant
2:33 pm February 18, 2010, by Jay
The pilot who flew a private plane into an IRS office in Austin, Texas has been identified by federal officials as Joseph Stack.

A man using that name has also posted a lengthy diatribe against the IRS and the U.S. government. Our fellow Cox newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, has posted the full rant on its website. Here are its concluding paragraphs:
(...)
I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (3) Comments • Thursday, February 18, 2010 • Permalink


Hi Barry,

I have to admit that I was stunned when I heard Glenn Beck on his radio show quote Joe Stack’s rant (let’s not dignify it with the title of manifesto) that quoted me ("From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed"). I had to see where from where he got it and I hoped it wasn’t me (well, a little bit of me wanted to be immortalized in some way, don’t we all?). I did a cursory search and didn’t find my name. I just did another search and found your study of the origins of that phrase with an attribution to me in 1994.

I have no idea if I am the first to come up with that phrase or where any of the other people who quoted it got it, but I will tell you that I came up with it independently. Now that the sicko Joe Stack used it and made it famous (and now I’m fearing that I may at some time be brought into this somehow), I feel the need to explain what I had considered to be obvious.

I have no idea what others mean by it, but I was certainly not describing Capitalism but rather of the welfare state. The gullible people are the ones who want their money taken from them and given to greedy people who have done nothing to earn it and always seem to think they are entitled to more. Of course, it’s worse than that because the gullible rarely think THEIR money will be given away, but rather someone else’s money will be used for this “noble” purpose and in that sense they are both greedy. Can we agree there is no higher greed than feeling entitled to what belongs to somebody else even if it is used for some “noble” purpose? Can we also agree that the only thing truly more noble than giving of yourself to others in need is to give and make sure the recipient is actually helped?

There are few people more “Capitalist” than I and I’m not happy if this loon has hijacked my quote and misrepresented it.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify the intended meaning of my phrase.

Posted by Jim Grunewald  on  02/22  at  07:43 AM

I have found a much earlier form of the Capitalist Creed from a book Stack may have read. The title is “The Income Tax is Obsolete” by Joseph S. Duarte published in 1974. From page 26:

“To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability to pay” could be called the capitalist creed of the income tax system. ...

Posted by Stillwaterising  on  02/26  at  04:10 PM

I think the “free and independent society/ capitalist” version should be something like, From each according to a fair and equal mechanism, to each according to his ability to earn.

All the Marxists out there need to read some Ayn Rand and educate themselves on the foolishness of their ideal system of governance.

Posted by make solar panels  on  10/20  at  03:45 PM

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