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Guns and capitalism


The NRA exists to increase the profits of America’s gun makers.

It does so by constantly stimulating the market for guns, which, as in the case of so many other consumer goods, is dominated by the behavior of the tiny percentage of Americans who buy an enormous percentage of the item in question.

While around 30% of Americans own at least one gun, the much more salient statistic, from the perspective of gun manufacturers, is that one tenth of that cohort — made up of 3% of Americans — collectively own half the guns in the nation.

Again, this is a common pattern.  Consider alcohol consumption.

Half of American adults never or almost never drink.  Another 30% of the population collectively averages about one drink every other day.  Even the ninth decile of the population still only averages a couple of drinks per day.

But the tenth decile — ten per cent of the population — averages more than ten drinks per day.  That, obviously, is where the real money is, i.e., in selling alcohol to alcoholics.

In the case of guns, the real money is in creating and nurturing an obsessive compulsive fetish for firearm acquistion in a small percentage of the population.  This in turn is done by pushing a hysterical, reactionary, and essentially fascistic political rationale for gun ownership onto those potential consumers who are most receptive to this message.

This is all the more crucial because, unlike alcohol, guns are (very) durable goods. For example, a well-made hunting rifle, if properly maintained, will last for several generations.

Consumer capitalism requires constantly increasing demand to maintain ever-precarious profit margins.  If gun manufacturers only sold the number of guns Americans actually needed for hunting and personal protection, under any even minimally sane definition of “need,” that would be a catastrophe for the economic interests of the American gun industry as it is currently constituted — that is, an industry which nearly quadrupled its manufacturing between 2003 and 2013, to eleven million weapons per year.

Hence, Dana Loesch:



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