China Wages/Living Standards...Up, Up, Up

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If people are not compenstated for their labor, they will not produce.

And if people don't use something then they won't waste it, and if their bad is regulated then the incidents of that bad behavior are fewer and the consequences minimized.

You can purify salt water. I don't know how this is delusional.

It is delusional to think that it solves the problem of wasting fresh water.

Systems can expand. Moreover, prices incentivize non-arbitrary conservation.

The earth cannot expand, not can it's systems. Essentially, we live in a closed system.

So you don't want us to produce more water... you want us to deal with whatever we have now?

We can't produce more water. The earth has only so much and its part of the hydrologic cycle.

Its arbitrary in that consumer's subjective preferences are "arbitrary". But an individual's subjective preference is very valuable to him, and nothing can supercede it without attempting to compare interpsonal utility.

The problem is in an individual's subjectivity. Objectivity can and should supercede that with respect to sustainability, environmental, and rights concerns, among others.

Actually this is a straw man. Property rights are instrumental in environmental protection. It is states who have no incentive to conserve resources.

Definitely not a straw man as property rights have never stopped environmental degradation. The Dust Bowl is a good example. States only have no incentive to conserve resources when either a) the people who comprise the state do not value anything but material wealth and/or (b) those who hold the real power, the wealthy, do not value anything but material wealth. States are the result of culture and therefore reflect the values of those in control, whether the people or some subset such as corporations.

It leads to increased production and conservation of the resource, so yes there is every reason to "commoditize" it.

Which leads to negative consequences when the only value is in its acquisition such as habitat destruction due to no value being placed on habitat and all value placed on a resource contained in that habitat. There is no reason to allow commoditization, at least to the extent that environmenatl degradation is allowed. Regulation can help minimize harm, which is the point.

Why? The future scarcity of certian commodities bids up their price, incentivizing conservation and increased production in the NOW. We don't run out of oil every few years and then need the government to come bail us out.

Civilizations have collapsed due to environmental degradation caused by economic utilization of resources without any controls in place to minimize the negative effects. Scarcity doesn't incentivize conservation, a good example is with the fur trade between Indians and Europeans or with the Passenger Pigeon, it only serves to provide pressure to maximize one's take before scarcity eliminates the resource.

If by regulation you mean protecting property rights of people who are being polluted against, then yes. I daresay true free market advocates are less willing to bend on environmental issues than you.

No, property rights has nothing to do with regulating bad behavior, other more fundamental rights do, such as the right to breath air not polluted by human activity.

These economic philosophies are wrong. You did not address my argument about government's not being able to calculate. It is called the misesian calculation problem.

Governments reflect the values of those in control and the culture of the society in which they operate. Therefore, it isn't government that can't "calculate" it is that the value system of the people is structured such that the calculations ignore certain parameters.

The industrial revolution was unprecedented. If you lived in the 1700s would you say an industrial revolution was impossible because all human societies had hietherto been hunter/agricultural? We've only had 150 years of post industrial society. All the western governments are residual from agricultural societies, which are particularly vulnerable to predation. Things are different now. The night is young.

The earth can't sustain those that exist and our activity. Nothing we do is sustainable.

This is not a rebuttal to my charge that states are monopolies, and are also bad for their consumers. Monopolies are inherently unstable on the market because competition and free entry into the market makes cartelization nearly impossible.

Humans are social animals and create hierarchies, including the controlling structure that I assume you refer to as "the state". Therefore, those that control any society, including the U.S., exert political pressure to further their desires, which is ultimately exerted through the government. This is simply the nature of being social animals.

With regards to business, monopolies, generally consisting of a limited number of cooperating members, are always the result, except at the lowest levels, and so require the government to regulate business to minimize the development of monopolies. Monopolies are very stable.

You won't be able to find an example of a free market company obtaining large portions of market share without serving consumers better than their competitors.

Sure you can. A big company assumes a smaller company and merely has to provide acceptable service or product.

Hierarchies need not be in the form of coercive legal monopolies. I.e. states. Control of "bad behaviour" is best enforced through voluntary organization. Again, there is contradiction in a system that prevents aggression by aggressing against all its members.

Of course they don't, but that depends on the culture of the masses. Control of bad behavior is best enforced through the legal system with the threat of punishment.

Sorry. So you think that if men are angels the state will work?

Men aren't angels and societies work to various extents.

Actually all western laws have their roots in common and customary anglo saxon law, developed on a non-aggressive basis outside the state.

And then as societies grew past a certain point, a codified law was needed and a formal mechanism to enforce society's rules. Thus government.

People do not create states.

Yes they do. We're social animals and always develop a "state".

So they're basically just making rights up. Fine. But they should be guided by economic logic, which entails free association and lockean homesteading as the only two rights.

You can't use economic "logic" as it is a result of a person's value system, which may not realize any rights.

The free market does not either, but through an invisible hand men are led to help eachother.

The free market is no better than the people that operate in it. For example, our free market produced a dead Lake Erie and it was a few good people who forced the government to regulate behavior to reduce pollution that allowed the lake to recover. The free market is wholly incapable of controlling bad behavior, only concerned people working through politics can, as we are political animals.

"Capitalism" is not a system based on wealth. It is a system of free association and respect for homesteading rights.

It is a system based on power derived from wealth.

jeffbiss's picture
jeffbiss
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote "jeffbiss":And if people don't use something then they won't waste it, and if their bad is regulated then the incidents of that bad behavior are fewer and the consequences minimized.
People's behavior is already economic because of the pricing system...

Quote "jeffbiss":It is delusional to think that it solves the problem of wasting fresh water.
I didn't say it solved the problem, I said you can produce more water. If consumers want to use more water for their daily needs, they will pay more for it to be produced.

Quote "jeffbiss":The earth cannot expand, not can it's systems. Essentially, we live in a closed system
There is a lot more food, water, and housing now than ever before.

Quote "jeffbiss":We can't produce more water. The earth has only so much and its part of the hydrologic cycle.
There are 1,360,000,000 cubic km of water. 3% of it is freshwater. The rest can be purified.

Regardless, for fixed supplies, such as in the oxygen in outerspace example, the price system results in an efficient allocation and production of scarce resources. You have yet to address this.

Quote "jeffbiss":The problem is in an individual's subjectivity. Objectivity can and should supercede that with respect to sustainability, environmental, and rights concerns, among others.
You can't objectively evaluate how much someone's time is worth. You can't make interpersonal comparisons of utility.

Quote "jeffbiss":The Dust Bowl is a good example
How so? Anyway, you do not address my example of city pollution. Any pollution that spills over onto someone else's property is a violation of their property rights. We are very adamant about this. Moreso than environmentalists who simply want to reduce CO2 emissions by 50%.

Quote "jeffbiss":States only have no incentive to conserve resources when either a) the people who comprise the state do not value anything but material wealth and/or (b) those who hold the real power, the wealthy, do not value anything but material wealth.
This is all the time. Aristotle has never been king. Your advocacy of a state is conditional on there being humans who robotically work for the greater good. They do not exist. If they did, you still have the misesian calculation problem and the hayekian knowledge problem that will stop States from surprassing the allocational efficiency of markets.

Quote "jeffbiss":States are the result of culture and therefore reflect the values of those in control, whether the people or some subset such as corporations
States are not the result of culture. They are the result of barbarians conquering farmers and continuously stealing their crops. Even the US government was essentially drafted by wealthy merchants who conquered peaceful farmers.

Quote "jeffbiss":Which leads to negative consequences when the only value is in its acquisition such as habitat destruction due to no value being placed on habitat and all value placed on a resource contained in that habitat. There is no reason to allow commoditization, at least to the extent that environmenatl degradation is allowed
Actually clear cutting is a great example of how private property rights are superior to state stewardship. The US government owns much of the forest. Sometimes they let lumber companies lease it for a few months in order to raise revenue. The lumber companies clear cut. They do not replant trees or try to conserve the resource because they do not own it. The state owns it. The state does not care if it continues to be a valuable resource.

Compare this to private ownership of forestry, which has lead to lumber companies undertaking sustainable practices in order to maximize the value of the property. They spend a lot of money up front replanting trees and ensuring ecosystem health so that the future value of the property will not be diminished. It is because they expect to be able to sell lumber in the future that they conserve this natural resource.

Quote "jeffbiss":Regulation can help minimize harm, which is the point
Regulation will always cause more harm than good, because you simply cannot just "eliminate waste". If you tell me not to waste gasoline, now I waste more time to bike to the store. Previously, the relatively cheap price of gasoline compared to the large subjective cost of time allowed me to pick the optimal way to get to the store. Now, in the name of conservation, you are wasting my time, which was more precious to me.

Quote "jeffbiss":Scarcity doesn't incentivize conservation, a good example is with the fur trade between Indians and Europeans or with the Passenger Pigeon, it only serves to provide pressure to maximize one's take before scarcity eliminates the resource.
I assume that the fur trade led to the overhunting of animals and their eventual extinction from particular areas? This is due to the tragedy of the commons; a lack of property rights over hunting grounds. If all land is open to hunting, the rational man overhunts/fishes before someone else does. If the land is privately owned, the rational man maximizes the value of his property by ensuring his hunting is sustainable.

Quote "jeffbiss":No, property rights has nothing to do with regulating bad behavior, other more fundamental rights do, such as the right to breath air not polluted by human activity
That IS a property right. We have all homesteaded the right to breath clean air. Any abridgment of this is a violation of property rights. You seem to think that "property" means "house and car", but it includes your person and peaceful activities.

Quote "jeffbiss":Governments reflect the values of those in control and the culture of the society in which they operate. Therefore, it isn't government that can't "calculate" it is that the value system of the people is structured such that the calculations ignore certain parameters.
You badly misunderstand the misesian calculation problem. Even non-profit organizations calculate using profit and loss. They measure revenue by the continued patronage of donors, and losses by the cost of doing business. Governments cannot calculate profits. They have no priced inputs.

Quote "jeffbiss":The earth can't sustain those that exist and our activity. Nothing we do is sustainable
In the long run we're all dead? The price system is still the most efficient allocation of resources. If food were predicted to run out in the next 20 years, its price would skyrocket, incentivizing conservation of food. The high price would cause firms to produce and store as much food as physically possible. There are no inefficiencies here.

Quote "jeffbiss":This is simply the nature of being social animals
No it is the nature of a few men who are unscrupulous enough to get on top of the political ladder. The majority of people, even though they believe in the state, do not attack or steal from innocent people.

Quote "jeffbiss":With regards to business, monopolies, generally consisting of a limited number of cooperating members, are always the result, except at the lowest levels, and so require the government to regulate business to minimize the development of monopolies. Monopolies are very stable.
You have no examples of free market monopolies. There are countless examples of cartels failing on the free market. So long as there is free entry into markets, cartels will always fail. They have always turned to government to exclude new competition. See here.

Quote "jeffbiss":Of course they don't, but that depends on the culture of the masses. Control of bad behavior is best enforced through the legal system with the threat of punishment
And "legal system" is not synonymous with the state. Again, property rights and non-aggression are rooted in customary and anglo saxon common law. Non-state law.

Quote "jeffbiss":Men aren't angels and societies work to various extents
Right. Limited Monarchy works better than communism, but we can discover why through economic and political reasoning. This reasoning leads away from statism.

Quote "jeffbiss":And then as societies grew past a certain point, a codified law was needed and a formal mechanism to enforce society's rules. Thus government
Nonsense. Government did not come about because it was needed. It came about because it was forced.

Quote "jeffbiss":Yes they do. We're social animals and always develop a "state"
To be a social animal we do not have to go out and attack people if they don't chip in to our territorial monopoly on law. There are plenty of examples of human beings not forming states.

Quote "jeffbiss":You can't use economic "logic" as it is a result of a person's value system, which may not realize any rights
Economic logic is value free. It doesn't matter if people prefer vanilla to choclate icecream, the best means to their ends are to have their desires transmitted through prices on the open market, where firms, driven by profit, will do their best to meet it.

Quote "jeffbiss":The free market is no better than the people that operate in it. For example, our free market produced a dead Lake Erie and it was a few good people who forced the government to regulate behavior to reduce pollution that allowed the lake to recover
Pollution in a lake? Sounds like a violation of the homesteading rights of the other people who use that lake. We already know the government doesn't protect individuals against corporations. This is not an example of the free-market. Its a straw man.

Quote "jeffbiss":The free market is wholly incapable of controlling bad behavior, only concerned people working through politics can, as we are political animals.
Statism cannot control mankind. States are made up of men. As I said before, anarchy is persistent.

Moreover, there is a demand for provision of security. This is why there are more private security guards than police; why there are more cases settled in private courts than in public. People demand law and order in greater quantities than the state will provide. Instead of paying cops to run around attacking nonviolent drug offenders, our taxes should be refunded so poor communites can hire private security to prevent aggression against their members.

Quote "jeffbiss":It is a system based on power derived from wealth.
So you don't know what a free market is.

Sieben's picture
Sieben
Joined:
May. 13, 2010 1:07 pm
People's behavior is already economic because of the pricing system.

Some behavior is. Not all.

I didn't say it solved the problem, I said you can produce more water. If consumers want to use more water for their daily needs, they will pay more for it to be produced.

You can't produce more water. There is only so much water on earth and that is part of the hydrologic cycle. The problem is with fresh water supply. People are already running into severe problems as fresh water is being used, for example pumped from a fossil aquifer or an aquifer that replenishes at a far slower rate than it is being depleted.

There is a lot more food, water, and housing now than ever before.

No there's not. We are operating at the edge now. China cannot feed itself and grow its economy and it is depleting its aquifers while it causes desertification in it grain growing regions. The earth has limits, and we've reached them. Also, the U.S. currently farms 100% of its arable land and so would have to expend great resources to expand production, and then only in the short term, as is the case in Brazil.

There are 1,360,000,000 cubic km of water. 3% of it is freshwater. The rest can be purified.

Sorry, but the wqorld is experiencing severe fresh water shortages now. May as well regulate how much we need to use to attain a sustainable level that allows the natural hydrologic cycle to maintain a clean and ready supply.

You can't objectively evaluate how much someone's time is worth. You can't make interpersonal comparisons of utility.

How much a person think his or her time is worth isn't relevant. What is relevant is the resource and the consequences of extracting and using it.

How so? Anyway, you do not address my example of city pollution. Any pollution that spills over onto someone else's property is a violation of their property rights. We are very adamant about this. Moreso than environmentalists who simply want to reduce CO2 emissions by 50%.

Farmers had little interest in, or knowledge of, farming sustainably. It took the dust Bowl to force the federal government to mandate changes in how farming was done to ensure that it was done so it wouldn't degrade the land.

Free markets are wholly incpable of solving pollution problems. It takes a core of concerned people to force the changes required to change operations that result in less pollution. It takes an open democracy, not a free market.

This is all the time. Aristotle has never been king. Your advocacy of a state is conditional on there being humans who robotically work for the greater good.[\quote]
States come into being the moemt people gather together. Some states are formal, as with law and constitution, and some informal, as with cultural rules that act as law and constitution.

[quote]States are not the result of culture. They are the result of barbarians conquering farmers and continuously stealing their crops. Even the US government was essentially drafted by wealthy merchants who conquered peaceful farmers.[/quotes]
States are the result of culture. An authoritarian history will more than likely produce an authoritarian state, which could change over time as the culture changes. Look at China. Their communism was essentially an extension of Imperial China and it evolved to accept a certain openness but still following Confucianism.

[quote]Actually clear cutting is a great example of how private property rights are superior to state stewardship. The US government owns much of the forest. Sometimes they let lumber companies lease it for a few months in order to raise revenue. The lumber companies clear cut


Actually, your example shows just how wealth and power corrupts our government. The government should act as the steward of our property but due to corruption it gives away our resources and destroys wildlife habitat.

Of course, there are good wood lot owners who maintain their forests well. However, there are also selfish owners who sell their property to high bidders who then clear cut or destroy the forest into housing developments. Free markets are no guarentee and government reflects the values of the citizens.

Regulation will always cause more harm than good, because you simply cannot just "eliminate waste".

Proper regulatio will always cause more good than harm as it will reduce the need for something, such as gas. You don't waste what you don't use.

I assume that the fur trade led to the overhunting of animals and their eventual extinction from particular areas? This is due to the tragedy of the commons; a lack of property rights over hunting grounds. If all land is open to hunting, the rational man overhunts/fishes before someone else does. If the land is privately owned, the rational man maximizes the value of his property by ensuring his hunting is sustainable.

You'd assume wrong. While there was no such thing as property amongst the Indians, your free market ideology was the rule. Even though there was no private property, one would think that there would still be the need to limit an activity that caused negative effects, but that would be wrong.

That IS a property right. We have all homesteaded the right to breath clean air. Any abridgment of this is a violation of property rights. You seem to think that "property" means "house and car", but it includes your person and peaceful activities.

Then the state, We the People, has the obligation to regulate behavior to limit pollution because an idividual is certainly not going to do it if there's money to be made.

You badly misunderstand the misesian calculation problem. Even non-profit organizations calculate using profit and loss. They measure revenue by the continued patronage of donors, and losses by the cost of doing business. Governments cannot calculate profits. They have no priced inputs.

I don't care about the misesian calculation problem. Keep economics constrained to what is relevant in, understanding human interactions with regards to products and resources.

In the long run we're all dead? The price system is still the most efficient allocation of resources. If food were predicted to run out in the next 20 years, its price would skyrocket, incentivizing conservation of food. The high price would cause firms to produce and store as much food as physically possible. There are no inefficiencies here.

That you're wrong is proven by the collapse of civilizations due to their ruin of their environment and famine events throughout history.

No it is the nature of a few men who are unscrupulous enough to get on top of the political ladder. The majority of people, even though they believe in the state, do not attack or steal from innocent people.

And not all government attacks or steals from innocent people. Government reflects the culture in which it operates. We have a corporatist government, that operates for the benefit of the wealthy, simply because Americans accept objectivism and Calvinism.

You have no examples of free market monopolies. There are countless examples of cartels failing on the free market. So long as there is free entry into markets, cartels will always fail. They have always turned to government to exclude new competition. See here.

You provide a good example of what no regulation does. Early, anti-trust laws were enacted precisely because free markets result in monopolies, or cartels. Then, business interests gain power through laissez-faire ideology and de-regulated markets, which resulted in reduced competition due to acquisition. To ensure competition, regulation is necessary to control the powerful.

And "legal system" is not synonymous with the state. Again, property rights and non-aggression are rooted in customary and anglo saxon common law. Non-state law.

The legal system is certainly synonymous with the state. What else is going to enforce your property "rights"? Nothing.

Right. Limited Monarchy works better than communism, but we can discover why through economic and political reasoning. This reasoning leads away from statism.

I agree. The issue is one of balance. Humans are social animals and will always create a hierarchy that requires some sort of mechanism to ensure fairness and holds people accountable for their behavior and obligations. In larger societies, that is some sort of formal government, in smaller societies, it may be a chief.

Nonsense. Government did not come about because it was needed. It came about because it was forced.

Formal government is a natural development for any society that grows beyond a certain point, as indicated above. There is a need for codification past a certain point and a means of enforcement, otherwise society will break down into warlordism, which may not be what people want.

To be a social animal we do not have to go out and attack people if they don't chip in to our territorial monopoly on law. There are plenty of examples of human beings not forming states.

As stated, "state" can be as small as a clan or tribe that operates under certain cultural rules. There is no society that doesn't have some form of "state".

Economic logic is value free.

No, every economic decision is based on the value system of the person making the decision.

Pollution in a lake? Sounds like a violation of the homesteading rights of the other people who use that lake. We already know the government doesn't protect individuals against corporations. This is not an example of the free-market. Its a straw man.

No straw man. Government has the obligation to protect, as you say, the "homesteading rights" of people who use the lake. Therefore, regulation is required to protect us from the corporations. That government hasn't is another problem created by corruption.

Statism cannot control mankind. States are made up of men. As I said before, anarchy is persistent.

Anarchy lasts only as long as it takes someone to take control. Anarchy is not persistent.

So you don't know what a free market is.

I know what they are, however I think that they apply to certain areas. In those areas they are absolutely irrelevant.

jeffbiss's picture
jeffbiss
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote "jeffbiss":Some behavior is. Not all.
How do you know? If I take a doubley long shower because I had a hard day at work, am I wasting water? No. Its the most efficient means to my ends. The opportunity cost of not taking this shower is more *waste* than not doing so.

Quote "jeffbiss":The problem is with fresh water supply. People are already running into severe problems as fresh water is being used, for example pumped from a fossil aquifer or an aquifer that replenishes at a far slower rate than it is being depleted.
And as the supply of water dwindles, it is necessary for its price to rise to incentivize conservation. Right now we run into shortages because government heavily subsidizes water consumption, leading to overuse.

Quote "jeffbiss":No there's not. We are operating at the edge now. China cannot feed itself and grow its economy and it is depleting its aquifers while it causes desertification in it grain growing regions. The earth has limits, and we've reached them. Also, the U.S. currently farms 100% of its arable land and so would have to expend great resources to expand production, and then only in the short term, as is the case in Brazil.
Do you have citations for any of this? It is so blatantly false... we do not farm 100% of our land.

Quote "jeffbiss":Sorry, but the wqorld is experiencing severe fresh water shortages now. May as well regulate how much we need to use to attain a sustainable level that allows the natural hydrologic cycle to maintain a clean and ready supply
Regulations will destroy incentives to produce, prolonging the shortage. You do not understand the free market pricing system. You never address it.

Quote "jeffbiss":How much a person think his or her time is worth isn't relevant. What is relevant is the resource and the consequences of extracting and using it
Time is a scarce resource.

Quote "jeffbiss":Farmers had little interest in, or knowledge of, farming sustainably. It took the dust Bowl to force the federal government to mandate changes in how farming was done to ensure that it was done so it wouldn't degrade the land
There were numerous non-man-made causes to the dust bowl, but whatever man-made causes there were are a violation of the property rights of the victims. They had homesteaded the right to farm peacefully, and others (mistakenly) disrupted them.

Quote "jeffbiss":Free markets are wholly incpable of solving pollution problems. It takes a core of concerned people to force the changes required to change operations that result in less pollution. It takes an open democracy, not a free market.
This does not address any of my examples or theory on how property rights should be upheld to block pollution.

Quote "jeffbiss":States come into being the moemt people gather together. Some states are formal, as with law and constitution, and some informal, as with cultural rules that act as law and constitution.
A state is defined as an aggressive territorial monopoly.

Quote "jeffbiss":States are the result of culture. An authoritarian history will more than likely produce an authoritarian state, which could change over time as the culture changes. Look at China. Their communism was essentially an extension of Imperial China and it evolved to accept a certain openness but still following Confucianism
Citation? They still follow confucianism?

Quote "jeffbiss":Actually, your example shows just how wealth and power corrupts our government.
We predict this will always happen. Common citizens are rationally ignorant. They lose only slightly if large favoritism is granted to a particular corporation. The corporation wins big. It has huge incentives to co-opt the state. Thats why its so common...

Quote "jeffbiss":However, there are also selfish owners who sell their property to high bidders who then clear cut or destroy the forest into housing developments.
Yes. On the free marketyou can cut down trees to provide houses for human beings. The horror.

Quote "jeffbiss":Free markets are no guarentee and government reflects the values of the citizens.
So our citizens value the military industrial complex? The intentional murdering of half a million innocent iraqis with tariffs after the first gulf war? I could go on and on...

Quote "jeffbiss":Proper regulatio will always cause more good than harm as it will reduce the need for something, such as gas. You don't waste what you don't use.
You offer no reasoning or evidence for this statement.

Quote "jeffbiss":While there was no such thing as property amongst the Indians, your free market ideology was the rule. Even though there was no private property, one would think that there would still be the need to limit an activity that caused negative effects, but that would be wrong
You need recognition of property rights for it to be a "free market ideology"....

Quote "jeffbiss":Then the state, We the People, has the obligation to regulate behavior to limit pollution because an idividual is certainly not going to do it if there's money to be made
The state has no incentive to reduce pollution. It has been co opted and always will be. Individual rights are the only framework that can advance society. Individuals assert their rights all the time, else how could customary law develop?

Quote "jeffbiss":I don't care about the misesian calculation problem. Keep economics constrained to what is relevant in, understanding human interactions with regards to products and resources
The calculation problem is relevant to all economic ventures, including the state. It simply means that you can only engage in rational economic activity through the price system.

Quote "jeffbiss":That you're wrong is proven by the collapse of civilizations due to their ruin of their environment and famine events throughout history
I'm sure russia was a free market utopia.

Quote "jeffbiss":And not all government attacks or steals from innocent people.
Yes it does. Taxation is theft. It is backed up by threat of force. Threats are acts of aggression.

Quote "jeffbiss":Government reflects the culture in which it operates. We have a corporatist government, that operates for the benefit of the wealthy, simply because Americans accept objectivism and Calvinism.
I thought Americans elected Obama because he was going to do all these nice things for common americans and not for corporations...

Quote "jeffbiss":You provide a good example of what no regulation does. Early, anti-trust laws were enacted precisely because free markets result in monopolies, or cartels. Then, business interests gain power through laissez-faire ideology and de-regulated markets, which resulted in reduced competition due to acquisition. To ensure competition, regulation is necessary to control the powerful.
Again, this is empty speculation. You have no examples of free market monopolies abusing consumers. Neither did the government during anti-trust. The people pushing FOR anti trust were big corporations because they knew it would stop competitors from gaining too much market share.

Is google a monopoly? It has almost 70% market share.

Quote "jeffbiss":The legal system is certainly synonymous with the state. What else is going to enforce your property "rights"? Nothing
Historically this is false. Private law was enforced by private agencies using various means. See the Law Merchant.

You don't address my charges that the state does't have any incentive to provide security for its members. I repeat. The state is more interested in fighting its war on otherwise nonviolent drug offenders than protecting people. There is a reason there are more private security guards than police. The state is a failure.

Quote "jeffbiss":I agree. The issue is one of balance. Humans are social animals and will always create a hierarchy that requires some sort of mechanism to ensure fairness and holds people accountable for their behavior and obligations. In larger societies, that is some sort of formal government, in smaller societies, it may be a chief
There is no reason you can't have competing legal systems handle large populations. Even if it had no precedent, economic logic informs us of not only its possibility, but optimality.

Quote "jeffbiss":Formal government is a natural development for any society that grows beyond a certain point, as indicated above. There is a need for codification past a certain point and a means of enforcement, otherwise society will break down into warlordism, which may not be what people want
It has only been 'natural' during agricultural economies. There are no western industrialized people who have been conquered by governments.

Quote "jeffbiss":As stated, "state" can be as small as a clan or tribe that operates under certain cultural rules. There is no society that doesn't have some form of "state"
State=government=involuntary monopoly on legal services in a territory. Iceland did not have a "state". They had polycentric law. Anarchist law. It destroys your notion that all societies naturally have a "state".

Quote "jeffbiss":No, every economic decision is based on the value system of the person making the decision
But I said "economic logic", not "economic decision". Explaining how economies work is value free.

Quote "jeffbiss":No straw man. Government has the obligation to protect, as you say, the "homesteading rights" of people who use the lake.Therefore, regulation is required to protect us from the corporations. That government hasn't is another problem created by corruption.
And instead government protects the corporation. What a surprise. If government got out of the picture, the polluting corporation could be prosecuted by the homesteaders of the lake. If they tried to do this now, they'd have to answer to the entire US military.

Quote "jeffbiss":Anarchy lasts only as long as it takes someone to take control. Anarchy is not persistent
In natural-anarchy, we have no third party to resolve disputes between us. Form a state, and it resolves disputes between its citizens, but there is no third party to resolve conflicts between the state and citizens. This relationship is "anarchic".

Quote "jeffbiss":I know what they are, however I think that they apply to certain areas. In those areas they are absolutely irrelevant
No. You defined the free market as something based on wealth and power, when it is actually the realization of free association and lockean property rights.

You have continually attempted to misconstrue my position, saying that I favor rich corporations ruling the world and don't care about the fate of the human race. I do, and my arguments are that the free market is the very best means to help everyone out; to realize as much abundance and prosperity as is physically possible.

You do not explain why waste occurs on the free market in the prescence of a pricing system. You provide no examples or evidence for any of your citations, and have done absolutely zero political philosophy. Governments won't be nice just because you say they should. There are good systemic reasons why governments have and will continue to fail. I have outlined them repeatedly. I will only spend time on one more reply.

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Sieben
Joined:
May. 13, 2010 1:07 pm
Quote jeffbiss:

The earth cannot expand, (nor) can (its) systems. Essentially, we live in a closed system.
...

We can't produce more water. The earth has only so much and (it's) part of the hydrologic cycle.

jeffbiss wrote:

People are already running into severe problems as fresh water is being used, for example pumped from a fossil aquifer or an aquifer that replenishes at a far slower rate than it is being depleted.
...as predicted by Hayek and Mises. By subverting the free market in water (and hence the all-important free-market price of water), government cannot possibly know or calculate a price that most efficiently communicates the abundance (or scarcity) of the resource. The result, as you pointed out, is wasteful use. Then, government blames, not its statist, monopolist self for creating the problem, but the "sinful, wasteful," water consumers. Still lacking the ability to calculate the free-market price, government then clumsily tries to coercively restrict the provision of water...and the people are expected to cheer.

Typical!

The same situation and explanations obtain with congested roads, electric power, forestry, and other governmentally monopolized and mismanaged resources.

jeffbiss wrote:

... wealth and power corrupts our government. The government should act as the steward of our property but due to corruption it gives away our resources and destroys wildlife habitat. ... government reflects the values of the citizens.
But not all the citizens, as you pointed out; only the wealthy and powerful citizens.

And that's one difference between government and the free market.

[/quote]

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm

MMMark wrote: ..."as predicted by Hayek and Mises. By subverting the free market in water (and hence the all-important free-market price of water), government cannot possibly know or calculate a price that most efficiently communicates the abundance (or scarcity) of the resource. The result, as you pointed out, is wasteful use. Then, government blames, not its statist, monopolist self for creating the problem, but the "sinful, wasteful," water consumers. Still lacking the ability to calculate the free-market price, government then clumsily tries to coercively restrict the provision of water".

poly replies: Generally, what government attempts to do is to make sure everyone can afford access to it. That sometimes means restricting its use. for private swimming pools and golf courses.

You posted some nonsense about people workoing 60 hours a day prior to the industrial revolution. The average work-day for many Native American Nations was under 4 hours prior to European culture being imposed upon them.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote "polycarp2":You posted some nonsense about people workoing 60 hours a day prior to the industrial revolution. The average work-day for many Native American Nations was under 4 hours prior to European culture being imposed upon them.
I posted that. What happened to native americans, being attacked and having their property confiscated is not a free market action.

Moreover, the native american lifestyle is 100% compatible with free market. They aren't hurting anyone, and should be left alone insofar as they are peaceful.

The working week for the majority of westerners, FARMERS, was 60 hours per week. 40 hours is a significant improvement over this. Also real wages doubled. Sounds pretty nice to me.

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Sieben
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Quote polycarp2:

MMMark wrote: ..."as predicted by Hayek and Mises. By subverting the free market in water (and hence the all-important free-market price of water), government cannot possibly know or calculate a price that most efficiently communicates the abundance (or scarcity) of the resource. The result, as you pointed out, is wasteful use. Then, government blames, not its statist, monopolist self for creating the problem, but the "sinful, wasteful," water consumers. Still lacking the ability to calculate the free-market price, government then clumsily tries to coercively restrict the provision of water".

polycarp2 wrote:

Generally, what government attempts to do is to make sure everyone can afford access to it. That sometimes means restricting its use. for private swimming pools and golf courses.

You're not wrong. Restricting use (as well as provision) is another way government tries to "compensate" for the waste and inefficiency created by its subversion of free-markets and free-market prices.

Different approaches to "sustainability," I guess. The government approach is "Don't use up what we've got," whereas the market approach is "If you demand more, we'll provide more."

In a statist monopolist system, consumers must go begging, hat in hand, for more "resources" from their master, government. In a market system, however, it is the consumer who is master.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm
How do you know? If I take a doubley long shower because I had a hard day at work, am I wasting water? No. Its the most efficient means to my ends. The opportunity cost of not taking this shower is more *waste* than not doing so.

Because economics explains how we interact with regards to trade and production. If you take a long shower in certain regions, then you are wasting water, regardless of what you think. In those areas, your behavior would be moderated by regulation such as only low flow toilets will be allowed and prices will increase to make it too expensive to take long showers.

And as the supply of water dwindles, it is necessary for its price to rise to incentivize conservation. Right now we run into shortages because government heavily subsidizes water consumption, leading to overuse.

Prices will increase but the need is to avoid reduction in supply. We have shortages because people waste water regardless of subsidy. Besides, many people don't think that government should charge for water, as they see it as a natural resource not owned by government.

Do you have citations for any of this? It is so blatantly false... we do not farm 100% of our land.

I said that we farm 100% of our arable land according to the USDA and the CIA.

Regulations will destroy incentives to produce, prolonging the shortage. You do not understand the free market pricing system. You never address

Regulations will reduce waste. Production has nothing to do with this.

Time is a scarce resource.

And it will never run out.

There were numerous non-man-made causes to the dust bowl, but whatever man-made causes there were are a violation of the property rights of the victims. They had homesteaded the right to farm peacefully, and others (mistakenly) disrupted them.

Sorry, but there was one reason for the Dust Bowl and that was human activity, of the very people you claim had their "homesteading rights" "disrupted".

This does not address any of my examples or theory on how property rights should be upheld to block pollution.

Because your "property rights" theory is merely a part of the whole. Not everything is someone's property and property rights are not natural rights, they are civil rights.

A state is defined as an aggressive territorial monopoly.

No it isn't. A state is defined as a set of institutions endowed with authority for governance. This could be formal or informal.

Citation? They still follow confucianism?

Citation for what?

We predict this will always happen. Common citizens are rationally ignorant. They lose only slightly if large favoritism is granted to a particular corporation. The corporation wins big. It has huge incentives to co-opt the state. Thats why its so common...

Human beings are rational sometimes, but definitely not most of the time. And yes, wealth is power.

Yes. On the free marketyou can cut down trees to provide houses for human beings. The horror.

And sometimes that needs to be regulated to ensure a healthy environment.

So our citizens value the military industrial complex? The intentional murdering of half a million innocent iraqis with tariffs after the first gulf war? I could go on and on...

Enough do. Review what those who voted Republican say about it. See what the tea baggers have to say about it. Enough Americans value power enough to want it used to further what they see as American "interests". In fact, most of our military adventures were all about furthering business interests with nothing to do with "freedom" or "liberty".

You offer no reasoning or evidence for this statement.

Because it's by definition. If a regulation were in place that allowed only low flow toilets for example, then you would flush your toilet using less water, thus not using the difference between an old high flow toilet and the new.

You need recognition of property rights for it to be a "free market ideology"....

No you don't. If the market behaves the same then what drives it must be human nature and not the ideology. That the Indians viewed property entirely different than Europeans is irrelevant.

The state has no incentive to reduce pollution. It has been co opted and always will be. Individual rights are the only framework that can advance society. Individuals assert their rights all the time, else how could customary law develop?

Of course the concept of "rights" plays a part, and the state has incentive to reduce pollution if the people demand it. When pollution was being created with government and the people's approval, people suffered. Then enough people pressured government to mandate pollution contro laws that clean things up.

The calculation problem is relevant to all economic ventures, including the state. It simply means that you can only engage in rational economic activity through the price system.

And it is irrelevant to environmental degradation and other's lives.

I'm sure russia was a free market utopia.

Where does that fit in?

Yes it does. Taxation is theft. It is backed up by threat of force. Threats are acts of aggression.

Taxation is not necessarily theft. All societies require that their members support society in one way or another, and taxation is a method of support. Whether it is theft is in the details.

I thought Americans elected Obama because he was going to do all these nice things for common americans and not for corporations...

So you did.

Again, this is empty speculation. You have no examples of free market monopolies abusing consumers. Neither did the government during anti-trust. The people pushing FOR anti trust were big corporations because they knew it would stop competitors from gaining too much market share.

Is google a monopoly? It has almost 70% market share.


It isn't speculation but fact supported by the need for anti-trust laws and the fact that every industry starts with a large number of competitors and results in a few. Whether these results "abuse" consumers isn't necessarily the point, that wealth and therefore power is concentrated is.

Historically this is false. Private law was enforced by private agencies using various means.

So your answer to "the state" is gangs, not under authority of the people. Interesting.

There is no reason you can't have competing legal systems handle large populations. Even if it had no precedent, economic logic informs us of not only its possibility, but optimality.

You mean like Virginia allowing slaves and Illinois not allowing slaves? The U.S. tried that and found that states have the authority to govern as they saw fit but must also act the same with regards to individual rights. Of course your idea is fact in weak "states", such as Afghanistan or Somalia.

Using economic theory in this area is misusing economic theory.

It has only been 'natural' during agricultural economies. There are no western industrialized people who have been conquered by governments.

Because we formed them, they are a natural consequence of complexity.

State=government=involuntary monopoly on legal services in a territory. Iceland did not have a "state". They had polycentric law. Anarchist law. It destroys your notion that all societies naturally have a "state".

And the law was the state. Anarchist "law" is an oxymoron.

But I said "economic logic", not "economic decision". Explaining how economies work is value free.

I agree in theory. However, most of the social sciences appear to suffer from the world view of the observer.

And instead government protects the corporation. What a surprise. If government got out of the picture, the polluting corporation could be prosecuted by the homesteaders of the lake. If they tried to do this now, they'd have to answer to the entire US military.

Because the people accepted free market ideology and the idea that government is an aside to life. This created a power vacuum that was filled by business interests. And you can't get government out of the picture as power is always present in societies.

In natural-anarchy, we have no third party to resolve disputes between us. Form a state, and it resolves disputes between its citizens, but there is no third party to resolve conflicts between the state and citizens. This relationship is "anarchic".

Anarchies exist only until something or someone assumes power. In your "natural anarchy", the only resolution is violence.

No. You defined the free market as something based on wealth and power, when it is actually the realization of free association and lockean property rights.

Wrong. Without regulation and a legal system, a free market is merely wealth and power, and like anarchy, doesn't exist for long as power will eventually game the system.

You do not explain why waste occurs on the free market in the prescence of a pricing system.

I did. It is because a person's personal value system may not account for the effects that scarcity causes nor have any interest in not taking al that exists. Why were all passenger pigeons killed? Because people couldn't care less about their victims and could easily slaughter other things for profit.

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jeffbiss
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
...as predicted by Hayek and Mises. By subverting the free market in water (and hence the all-important free-market price of water), government cannot possibly know or calculate a price that most efficiently communicates the abundance (or scarcity) of the resource. The result, as you pointed out, is wasteful use. Then, government blames, not its statist, monopolist self for creating the problem, but the "sinful, wasteful," water consumers. Still lacking the ability to calculate the free-market price, government then clumsily tries to coercively restrict the provision of water...and the people are expected to cheer.

Typical!

Certain resources, such as water, cannot be part of the free market as they are part of the natural system and totally outside our control and should not be left to be valued by human whim. They must be managed for the general welfare.

The problem isn't that we don't use free market ideology with regards to water, but that the government is corrupted by special interests. Look at the history of water and mineral rights and you'll the political games played by users. They essentially became the government in that they created policy to favor themselves. Had the people been more objective, then perhaps they wouldn't have relinquished enough power to allow their interests to be subverted by a few.

Fundamentally, because we are social animals and are therefore political, authority will always result. Therefore, the issue is to ensure that it is used for the general welfare. Free markets are also political, and they too will result in a concentration of power if not regulated properly, such as with anti-trust laws or ruin the commons thus requiring anti-pollution laws.

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jeffbiss
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Sieben wrote:

You need recognition of property rights for it to be a "free market ideology"....

jeffbiss wrote:
No you don't.
There is nothing to argue about here. You and Sieben simply use the expression "free market" to mean different things. If you want to understand what Sieben is saying, you should pay attention to his definitions. If you want to have a productive discussion, you should agree on which definition you will both use.

jeffbiss wrote:

Taxation is not necessarily theft. ...

I agree with you. Calling taxation "theft" is incorrect, because theft is "the act of stealing." There is nothing "stealthy" about taxation, however. It is indisputably performed at the point of a government gun. Taxation, therefore, is extortion and robbery.

Let's just call it "TaxTortion."

Sieben wrote:

Historically this is false. Private law was enforced by private agencies using various means.

jeffbiss wrote:
So your answer to "the state" is gangs, not under authority of the people.

An agency, by definition, is "under authority," so you have misinterpreted what Sieben said.

The idea that the state is somehow "under authority of the people," however, is just myth and propaganda. "The people" are allowed one measly vote, every four years, for either tweedle-dum or tweedle-dee, and this somehow makes government "an agent of the people"? In reality, government is beholden to lobby groups and large corporate vested interests. As you said:
jeffbiss wrote:

Enough Americans value power enough to want it used to further what they see as American "interests". In fact, most of our military adventures were all about furthering business interests with nothing to do with "freedom" or "liberty".

jeffbiss wrote:

Because the people accepted free market ideology and the idea that government is an aside to life.

You're inconsistent here. Either people value "power," or they value "the market." The problem is that there is no such ideologically homogenous entity as "Americans" or "the people." Some people value power, statism and corporatism, some people value the free market, some people don't know the difference, and some people don't care.

jeffbiss wrote:

If a regulation were in place that allowed only low flow toilets for example, then you would flush your toilet using less water, thus not using the difference between an old high flow toilet and the new.

Here's the reality:
The Relentless Misery of 1.6 Gallons
The Bureaucrat in Your Shower

jeffbiss wrote:

It isn't speculation but fact supported by the need for anti-trust laws and the fact that every industry starts with a large number of competitors and results in a few. Whether these results "abuse" consumers isn't necessarily the point, that wealth and therefore power is concentrated is.
Gabriel Kolko, in his book The Triumph Of Conservatism, shows that large corporations love anti-trust legislation because it allows the cartelization and restriction of competition that the free market won't tolerate.

The whole scheme is sold as "protecting the consumer," when the reality is just the reverse. And you've swallowed the myth, hook, line and sinker. You end up promoting the very interests you claim to oppose. Time to wake up and smell the corporatism, my friend.

jeffbiss wrote:

The problem isn't that we don't use free market ideology with regards to water,...
By complicating what I said, you change my message.

I didn't say "we don't use free market ideology with regards to water";
I said government has subverted the free market in water.

We don't have shortages in bottled water; we do have shortages in government-provided water. We have this shortage because government bureaucrats, no matter how powerful or intelligent or altruistic or well-intentioned, simply cannot possibly know or calculate better than hundreds of millions of self-interested consumers and producers communicating through the free market and its pricing system, how best to allocate scarce resources. As Mises and Hayek have shown, it is not possible, partly because the information the bureaucrats need is scattered all over the country, is location-specific, and is continuously in flux.

The market is an intelligent process, an economic sensory neural-network, the proverbial "invisible hand"; central planning is rigid and unresponsive, like an artificial limb. The two are antithetical. No matter how sophisticated you make an artificial limb, it never compares to the living, real thing.

jeffbiss wrote:

...but that the government is corrupted by special interests.
Of course! Humans are self-interested economic actors. A statist system encourages and rewards corruption because it is corrupt by intent and design. It allows humans to concentrate power and profits, not by serving the customer better, but by exploitation, fraud, coercion, and irresponsibility. Statism rewards the very behavior that the free market punishes. It is no wonder big business loves government and hates the free market.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm
There is nothing to argue about here. You and Sieben simply use the expression "free market" to mean different things. If you want to understand what Sieben is saying, you should pay attention to his definitions. If you want to have a productive discussion, you should agree on which definition you will both use.

I'm not arguing with him, only stating that even "property rights" essentially mean whatever a person wants it to mean. For example, he correctly claims that pollution infringes upon the "property" rights of the individual regarding their being, but there are others who subscribe to "free market" ideology who don't. I simply don't accept that "proerty rights" are the end all and be all.

Let's just call it "TaxTortion."

I'm sure you see it that way, but every society requires members to contribute and therefore taxtortion is part of the human condition.

An agency, by definition, is "under authority," so you have misinterpreted what Sieben said.

No, I got it right. A private agency is by default a gang or vigilante.

You're inconsistent here. Either people value "power," or they value "the market." The problem is that there is no such ideologically homogenous entity as "Americans" or "the people." Some people value power, statism and corporatism, some people value the free market, some people don't know the difference, and some people don't care.

I'm not. The market provides a means to wealth which is power.

Here's the reality:

Fresh water is essential to all. I couldn't care less how an economist views low flow toilets. Engineers and technologists are relevant, economists aren't.

Time to wake up and smell the corporatism, my friend.

I have, and free markets without anti-trust laws result in monopolies and cartels. So, they just result regardless of what we do. Therefore, a fascist state results from democracy.

I didn't say "we don't use free market ideology with regards to water";
I said government has subverted the free market in water.

We don't have shortages in bottled water; we do have shortages in government-provided water.


That and the fact that people use too much water, using free market systems. Areas that produce bottled water experience water shortages as the government was subverted to allow them to drain an aquifer owned by the people. So, you wouldn't expect a product that funds politicians and provides jobs to show shortages. It appears in the community that relies on the resource. Therefore, not only is the corruption of government a problem but also the people that are the free market as they sacrifice their resources for jobs.

Of course! Humans are self-interested economic actors.

No, they're not. Unless you define "self-interest" as desires versus need. If people acted in their self interest then there'd be no pollution or environmental degradation, there'd be no bancruptcy as everyone would spend within his or her means, everyone would finish school, everyone would save over 10% of their income, everyone would compare products before they buy, etc.

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jeffbiss
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I don't have much time to spend on this, and this is my last post, so I will only hit on the few major issues.

Quote "jeffbiss":If you take a long shower in certain regions, then you are wasting water, regardless of what you think.
The free market minimizes overall waste, not specifically water waste. There are opportunity costs to every action. Regulation causes us to incurr these costs, which the price system has already delineated are inefficient.

Moreover, you never provide any reubuttal or address to the method by which free prices economize commodities. Scarce goods command high prices, incentivizing conservation and increased production. This is why rationing of food is destructive, because you do not allow its price to be bid up or the market to expand, so firms do not produce more of it. This kind of regulation creates a permanent scarcity. In the worst case scenario, the good is no longer produced at all and you have food/water shortages ala south america and india.

You do not seem to realize that when something has a high price, it becomes more profitable to produce it. For example, when oil reached $100+/bbl, companies were undertaking scores of new projects in an attempt to capitalize on the high price of oil. They spent a lot of money drilling wells and increasing production because the high price told them to.

We are not farming 100% of our arable land. We can easily expand. See here for the consistent expansion in farmland growth over the last 30 years. You are saying this graph should flatline at 0.

Quote "jeffbiss": Not everything is someone's property and property rights are not natural rights, they are civil rights.
Which is why i gave utilitarian reasons for respecting homesteading property rights. The homesteading theory of ownership says that you have a right to interact with previously unappropriated resources. Undisturbed and peacefully. A really obvious example of this is farming. Someone goes out, find a patch of land that no one else is using, and does work to it. If you interfere with his work you are violating his homesteading rights. They are an extension of self ownership.

Quote "jeffbiss": No it isn't. A state is defined as a set of institutions endowed with authority for governance. This could be formal or informal
Wal-mart's board of directors is not a government.

A state is a territorial monopoly on provision of legal services. We both agree that monopolies are bad for consumers. Why is a monopoly on law different?

Quote "jeffbiss": And sometimes that needs to be regulated to ensure a healthy environment
You do not own the environment because you are not using it. If you swam in a lake every summer then you would have homesteaded a claim to continue doing so, and could prosecute anyone who polluted said lake. If there is a lake in the middle of nowhere that no one is using, then it can be homesteaded for pollution. You'll probably take issue with this but again, I will be a human chauvanist, and claim that the wants and needs of human beings come before those of plants and animals.

Quote "jeffbiss":No you don't. If the market behaves the same then what drives it must be human nature and not the ideology. That the Indians viewed property entirely different than Europeans is irrelevant
Humans have ideology. Just because someone does not have a concept of property rights does not mean it is impossible to rob or murder them.

Quote "jeffbiss":Of course the concept of "rights" plays a part, and the state has incentive to reduce pollution if the people demand it. When pollution was being created with government and the people's approval, people suffered. Then enough people pressured government to mandate pollution contro laws that clean things up.
So your system just does whatever the majority wants it to do, and the majority could want anything. I'm claiming that in spite of majority opinion, there should not be a state and no one should resort to aggression to solve problems. Economics shows us that free association and property rights are the best means to prosperity, rendering the supposed need for states/voting moot.

Quote "jeffbiss":It isn't speculation but fact supported by the need for anti-trust laws and the fact that every industry starts with a large number of competitors and results in a few. Whether these results "abuse" consumers isn't necessarily the point, that wealth and therefore power is concentrated is
Again, you have provided no examples of free market monopolies screwing over consumers. You will never be able to provide one, because Rothbard's theory about cartels is correct. They are inherently unstable. Try reading the link I sent you previously.

Quote "jeffbiss":So your answer to "the state" is gangs, not under authority of the people. Interesting
Call it whatever you want. People hire security to protect themeslves because there's a demand for it. It has historically been non aggressive, and will continue to be so, because the costs of attacking other people are so high.

Only states engage in warfare because they do not spend their own money. They merely appropriate whatever resources they need to fight wars, even men. In short, the state can fight wars because theft and kidnapping are its modus operandi.

Quote "jeffbiss":You mean like Virginia allowing slaves and Illinois not allowing slaves? The U.S. tried that and found that states have the authority to govern as they saw fit but must also act the same with regards to individual rights. Of course your idea is fact in weak "states", such as Afghanistan or Somalia.
I do not want "weak states". See the iceland example. Slavery falls apart without the state, particularly once people become better educated about economics.

Economic education was the driving force behind slavery. It used to be that tribes just flat out killed their neighbors, untill they realized they could enslave them and have them do work. The next step in logic is that its even more efficient to trade with others on a peaceful, voluntary basis. Slavery was propped up by the state because it subsidized slavery through public security and the military. Without the state, It would have died out hundreds of years before the civil war.

Quote "jeffbiss":Using economic theory in this area is misusing economic theory.
Nonsense. Provision of security is economic. It is a commodity like any other. Your opinions can not de-commoditize something.

Quote "jeffbiss":And the law was the state. Anarchist "law" is an oxymoron.
My apartment complex has rules. My apartment complex is not a state.

Quote "jeffbiss":Because the people accepted free market ideology and the idea that government is an aside to life. This created a power vacuum that was filled by business interests. And you can't get government out of the picture as power is always present in societies.
The free market ideology does not say "government+corporations". It only says free association, trade, and property rights. Any government interferance in any market is not "free" by any stretch of the imagination.

Quote "jeffbiss":Anarchies exist only until something or someone assumes power. In your "natural anarchy", the only resolution is violence.
This is an empty assertion. As I said before, security is a commodity. It is demanded. It is provided by firms. This is why there are more private security guards than police. The state is not in the business of protecting rights, and never can be.

Quote "jeffbiss":Wrong. Without regulation and a legal system, a free market is merely wealth and power, and like anarchy, doesn't exist for long as power will eventually game the system
You have no citations or evidence for this. It flies in the face of everything we have experienced these last 150 years. The *real* gap between rich and poor is smaller than ever. Bill gates has millions of times more dollars than I do, but he does not own millions of times more food or computers. Don't be confused by nominal wealth.

Quote "jeffbiss":I did. It is because a person's personal value system may not account for the effects that scarcity causes nor have any interest in not taking al that exists.
People don't just randomly ignore prices and do whatever they want. People don't go to the grocery store, load up on food, and then figure out they don't have enough money to pay for it.

Even if they did, and they went home and just threw all that new food in the trash can, would they be creating a shortage of food? No. They paid for it. That money goes to produce the food. Without them buying food it would never have been produced.

Shortages never persist on free markets. Shortages are always brought about artifically by state intervention. Ignorance of economics leads people to support these measures. People have to unlearn everything from high school history and economics, because its all statist propoganda and garbage.

The government wants everyone to be poor and dependent on state programs, because it will cause people to think the state is all the more necessary. No peoples need a state, but it would become painfully obvious should the people ever wane themselves from its support.

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Sieben
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May. 13, 2010 1:07 pm

jeffbiss wrote:

Engineers and technologists are relevant, economists aren't.
And neither, apparently, are the wishes of the lowely consumer, who has to pay for it all and take what his masters in their supreme wisdom decide he must have.

The very flower of compassion and humility!

I can't resist quoting John Maynard Keynes, an economist whose ideas are, unfortunately, neither irrelevant nor defunct:

The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.

jeffbiss wrote:

...free markets without anti-trust laws result in monopolies and cartels.
Many people believe this, although we don't have any free-market examples with which to substantiate the belief. Of course, many people believe all sorts of fallacies and unsubstantiated notions, don't they?

jeffbiss wrote:

So, they just result regardless of what we do.
All we really know is that corporations are very good at manipulating the state to suit their own selfish purposes; privatizing the profits while socializing the costs. Individuals, on the other hand, get one measly vote, once every four years. You do the math.

jeffbiss wrote:

Therefore, a fascist state results from democracy.
This is probably true, especially when large numbers of the voting public cling to economic sophisms and fail to think critically. Here is a quote that is sometimes attributed to David Hume:
As force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is, therefore, on opinion that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and the most military governments as well as to the most free and popular.

jeffbiss wrote:

If people acted in their self interest then there'd be no pollution or environmental degradation,...
Well, being human, we do have to excrete feces, urine and carbon dioxide now and then. So, the question is not "Will we pollute or not?" because, we will. The question is "How is pollution best dealt with?" Will we use coercive central planning and impose a "one size fits all" solution on people, or will we respect the wishes and property rights of all humans, and let them express their values through the choices they make, on a free market?

jeffbiss wrote:

...there'd be no bancruptcy as everyone would spend within his or her means, everyone would finish school, everyone would save over 10% of their income, everyone would compare products before they buy, etc.
Only if those values were everyone's values...which they're obviously not. People are different, difficult as that is to accept.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm

MMMArk,

And neither, apparently, are the wishes of the lowely consumer, who has to pay for it all and take what his masters in their supreme wisdom decide he must have.

Most consumers haven't a clue.

Many people believe this, although we don't have any free-market examples with which to substantiate the belief. Of course, many people believe all sorts of fallacies and unsubstantiated notions, don't they?

It's true. And regulated markets result in monopolies and cartels.

All we really know is that corporations are very good at manipulating the state to suit their own selfish purposes; privatizing the profits while socializing the costs. Individuals, on the other hand, get one measly vote, once every four years. You do the math.

Which means that democracies develop into fascisms unless the governed demand different. Part of the problem is putting so much faith into economic systems without any input from other disciplines or accepting ideologies without question.

Well, being human, we do have to excrete feces, urine and carbon dioxide now and then. So, the question is not "Will we pollute or not?" because, we will. The question is "How is pollution best dealt with?" Will we use coercive central planning and impose a "one size fits all" solution on people, or will we respect the wishes and property rights of all humans, and let them express their values through the choices they make, on a free market?

No, the question is how do we minimize the harm we cause? If we acted in our self interest ehn we'd develop a system that meets our needs without the negative effects, and if we encountered negative effects then we'd adjust accordingly. Merely believing objectivism's nonsense is the road to ruin.

Only if those values were everyone's values...which they're obviously not. People are different, difficult as that is to accept.

Which proves that people don't act in their self interest, only to satisfy their desires. One doesn't have to share values to realize that having an affair threatens one's existing relationship or buying on credit what one cannot afford with one's cash on-hand increases one's debt. Sure, people think differently, which means that they rationalize differently, not act in their self-interest. If they did that, they'd change their oil in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

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jeffbiss
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

jeffbiss wrote:

Most consumers haven't a clue.
I appreciate your candor here; it's refreshing.

jeffbiss wrote:

It's true. And regulated markets result in monopolies and cartels.
Correct...and that is intentional, by design.

jeffbiss wrote:

Which means that democracies develop into fascisms unless the governed demand different.
More or less true. A change in behavior is preceded by a change in beliefs, so the revolution must, at root, be ideological.

jeffbiss wrote:

Part of the problem is putting so much faith into economic systems without any input from other disciplines or accepting ideologies without question.
So true!

jeffbiss wrote:

...the question is how do we minimize the harm we cause?
Keeping in mind who the "we" is, and keeping in mind that "harm" is frequently subjective.

jeffbiss wrote:

Merely believing objectivism's nonsense is the road to ruin.
Quite possibly true; fortunately, I'm a subjectivist, not an objectivist.

jeffbiss wrote:

One doesn't have to share values to realize that having an affair threatens one's existing relationship or buying on credit what one cannot afford with one's cash on-hand increases one's debt...they rationalize differently,...
Precisely...since cost and benefit are subjective, your cost/benefit ratio for having an affair is bound to be different than mine, which is bound again to be different than Sieben's.

Sieben wrote:

We both agree that monopolies are bad for consumers. Why is a monopoly on law different?
Absolutely, scintillatingly brilliant, Sieben.

I've tremendously enjoyed reading your posts.

Your grasp of the concepts is rivaled only by your energetic exposition.

I look forward to the next excursion of the R.AT.T.LE. (see TLAR's My Comments for an explanation).

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm

Sieben,

The free market minimizes overall waste, not specifically water waste.

No it really doesn't. Take oil for instance. It is a finite resource and we have succeeded in wasting all of the easily extracted oil in a little over 100 years. Had people been objective, they would have studied the supply and determined a policy, such as mandating efficiency standards that would have reduced our use of it and thus extended the supply. Free markets are incapable of minimizing waste, except at the point that demand far exceeds supply, which is generally too late.

We are not farming 100% of our arable land. We can easily expand. See here for the consistent expansion in farmland growth over the last 30 years. You are saying this graph should flatline at 0.

Well, the graph doesn't tell you how much land is arable. The data from the USDA indicates that we currently farm about 18% of the U.S. and the CIA states that 18% of the U.S. is arable, therefore we farm virtually 100% of our arable land, with a little wiggle room for error.

Which is why i gave utilitarian reasons for respecting homesteading property rights.

I don't disregard "property rights" as they are important to people, however they are not the most fundamental nor important rights. Rights are the corollary to the obligations of moral beings, which require that we, as moral beings, accept certain fundamental more imperitives, such as minimizing the harm we cause others, for other rights to exist. Property is merely an extension of possession, in which a person "owns" something through title and not possession. This itself is a corollary to a fundamental moral imperitive that what one doesn't possess is not his or hers to do with as he or she pleases, and must recognize that another may "own" or require it.

Wal-mart's board of directors is not a government. A state is a territorial monopoly on provision of legal services. We both agree that monopolies are bad for consumers. Why is a monopoly on law different?

Humans live in groups and stake claim to a region, this essentially guarentees that a "state" is always part of the human condition. Therefore, a common law must govern a people otherwise you end up with warlordism, in which the powerful subdivide regions for their control. So, no matter what you do, you end up with a monopoly with regard to law.

Also, you can see what happens when there is no common law with slavery. Some states allowed it and others didn't. Not having a common law again is essentially warlordism, as blacks were subject to the whim of the majority under which they lived. With your concern for "property rights", I would guess that you would argue for a common law that recognizes the concpt of rights. While a common law doesn't guarentee that, a plurality of laws guarentees that the concept of rights is nullified, whereas at least with a common law, the concept is codified.

You do not own the environment because you are not using it.

No one owns the einvironment because it isn't ownable. It is everything's.

Humans have ideology. Just because someone does not have a concept of property rights does not mean it is impossible to rob or murder them.

True, but that is not the point. The point is that scarcity didn't result in behavior that protected a resource, it only caused people to slaughter in other areas. Had they made beaver extinct, then they simply woundn't have had any beaver and would have moved on to other things to slaughter.

So your system just does whatever the majority wants it to do, and the majority could want anything. I'm claiming that in spite of majority opinion, there should not be a state and no one should resort to aggression to solve problems. Economics shows us that free association and property rights are the best means to prosperity, rendering the supposed need for states/voting moot.

No, my "system" merely accepts human nature for what it is. Economics has been corrupted to not provide answers as to how we intereact with regards to production, trade, resources, etc. but to further ideologies.

Again, you have provided no examples of free market monopolies screwing over consumers. You will never be able to provide one, because Rothbard's theory about cartels is correct. They are inherently unstable. Try reading the link I sent you previously.

Well, for one thing, monopolies result regardless of whether there are antitrust laws or not, it's just the way things work out. Monopolies, regardless of whether they develop in free markets or an authoritarian economy, have power that they use to further their desire, and that is by default consumer abuse as it wouldn' be possible if a monopoly/cartel didn't exist.

Call it whatever you want.

Gangs then.

I do not want "weak states". See the iceland example. Slavery falls apart without the state, particularly once people become better educated about economics.

Sorry, but weak states allow others to assume power, such as with Somalia.

Nonsense. Provision of security is economic. It is a commodity like any other. Your opinions can not de-commoditize something.

Economic theory is applicable only in helping us understand how we interact with regards to production, resources, etc. and using it in any other way is misapplication.

My apartment complex has rules. My apartment complex is not a state.

And those rules are superceded by state and federal law.

The free market ideology does not say "government+corporations". It only says free association, trade, and property rights. Any government interferance in any market is not "free" by any stretch of the imagination.

I didn't say that free markets is government+corporations, only that people refusing to exercise their power as citizens through their government for the general welfare results in a power vacuum filled by those who are willing to act politically. That results in fascism, in which the business interests are the elites in control.

This is an empty assertion. As I said before, security is a commodity. It is demanded. It is provided by firms. This is why there are more private security guards than police. The state is not in the business of protecting rights, and never can be.

Private security is vigilantism. The security that you refer to is subservient to state and federal law. Otherwise, you'd have to assert that lynching Blacks was an acceptable security behavior, and I doubt that.

You have no citations or evidence for this. It flies in the face of everything we have experienced these last 150 years. The *real* gap between rich and poor is smaller than ever. Bill gates has millions of times more dollars than I do, but he does not own millions of times more food or computers. Don't be confused by nominal wealth.

I cite Somalia and Afghanistan as proof that no regulation or strong legal system results in the powerful assuming power. Bill Gates operates first under our culture, which proscribes certain behavior, and under our legal system, which restricts how he can use his wealth. He can't be a warlord here, nor would he want to.

People don't just randomly ignore prices and do whatever they want.

Of course they don't in many cases, however they ignore the consequences of waste when they don't value something. A great example is water. In many places aquifers are being depleted thus stressing regions. People could have considered their behavior, but as they didn't value a resource, they wasted it to the point that they are forced to alter their behavior. The same goes for gas, people still buy gas guzzlers and ignore the consequences.

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jeffbiss
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

jeffbiss wrote:

It is a finite resource and we have succeeded in wasting all of the easily extracted oil in a little over 100 years.
You call it "wasting," while others may call it "using." You haven't really said anything about oil, but you've said something about yourself: that you hold in contempt the values of others. Contempt for values that differ from one's own values is one of the three most common "human contempts."

jeffbiss wrote:

Economics has been corrupted...
What, all economics? Every school of economic thought? I'm not convinced your survey of "economics" has been thorough enough to make such a sweeping dismissal.

jeffbiss wrote:

No, the question is how do we minimize the harm we cause?
...and some people answer: By using coercion, via The State.

Others answer: By respect for contracts, property, and the Non-Aggression Principle.

Sieben wrote:

My apartment complex has rules. My apartment complex is not a state.

jeffbiss wrote:

And those rules are superceded by state and federal law.
Sieben's point is that a set of rules that a group of people agree to abide by does not imply a state, and a state does not imply a set of rules that a group of people agree to abide by. His apartment complex example proves this. That's all.

jeffbiss wrote:

Humans live in groups and stake claim to a region, this essentially guarentees that a "state" is always part of the human condition.
Perhaps, but libertarianism as a proposed political system is a relatively new idea.

jeffbiss wrote:

The point is that scarcity didn't result in behavior that protected a resource, it only caused people to slaughter in other areas.
True, but no one is making the claim that it did or does. What is being claimed is that a free market and its price system is the most efficient method for both signaling impending scarcity and ensuring future availability.

jeffbiss wrote:

Private security is vigilantism. The security that you refer to is subservient to state and federal law. Otherwise, you'd have to assert that lynching Blacks was an acceptable security behavior, and I doubt that.
You contradict yourself. Either "private security is vigilantism," or "the security that you refer to is subservient to state and federal law," but not both.

The security that Sieben refers to serves groups of people who have agreed to respect contracts, property, and the Non-Aggression Principle, the very antithesis of coercive behavior such as "lynching blacks."

jeffbiss wrote:

Of course they don't in many cases, however they ignore the consequences of waste when they don't value something. A great example is water.
And the price system is what allows both consumers and providers to express their values. Government, by under-pricing the water it provides, expresses the low value it places on it. The non-market price discourages the "correct" degree of prudent use by consumers. Hence the waste and shortages.

jeffbiss wrote:

The same goes for gas,...
"The same goes" for every resource in which the state has subverted the free market and free-market price.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm

"Free markets" haven't existed in this country for over a century. When we were a nation of independent farmers, craftsmen, and shop keepers, we had pretty close to "free markets"..... Individuals trading with indisividuals.

Native Americans had free markets. One was free to trade any private property....AND that excluded the land and natural resources...they were held in common.

When economists measure economic behaviors, what they are doing is measuring culturally induced behaviors.That's probably best left to Marketing firms.

The BP oil gusher is nothing more than unregulated market forces in action. Probably destroying the planet's capability to support human life isn't the best way to go...and it's beginning to catch up with us.

Personally, I'm rather glad I'm old...I don't want to see what's coming down the line...just as predictable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. It won't be pleasant.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
There isn't a nation that even comes close to being a socialst nation. Closest thing to it in the past centuries was the U.S. at its founding,,,,when the majority of the population owned their own means of livelihood as independent farmers, shop keepers and craftssmen. That;s all socialism is,,,direct worker ownership of their workplace

That makes Socialism based on "free markets".

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quaestorchickpea
Joined:
May. 12, 2010 7:02 pm

polycarp2 wrote:

"Free markets" haven't existed in this country for over a century.
I'd go much further. I'd say that "free markets" (in the libertarian sense: sanctity of contracts and property, combined with strict, universal, and consistent application of the Non-Aggression Principle) have never existed in this country. That's what I meant earlier when I said "libertarianism as a proposed political system is a relatively new idea."

polycarp2 wrote:

Native Americans had free markets.
Perhaps, but not, I suspect, in the libertarian sense of "the free market."

polycarp2 wrote:

When economists measure economic behaviors, what they are doing is measuring culturally induced behaviors.
Maybe some economists. Austrian economists don't, as far as I know, "measure behaviors," of any sort.

polycarp2 wrote:

The BP oil gusher is nothing more than unregulated market forces in action.
That's true...the blatant disregard of both property rights and the Non-Aggression Principle allows large corporations to "get away with murder," metaphorically and even literally. Libertarians are sick of this injustice, and promote the unflinching regulation and responsibility that only the free market can impose.

polycarp2 wrote:

Personally, I'm rather glad I'm old...I don't want to see what's coming down the line...just as predictable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. It won't be pleasant.
Yes, there is definitely cause for pessimism. On the other hand, there is also cause for optimism. Libertarianism is currently enjoying a degree of visibility that, even ten years ago, was only wishful thinking. The works and ideas of great libertarian scholars are being republished, read, debated, taught in colleges and universities, popularized by people like Ron Paul, and are generally infesting the internet in multiple forms. Who's to say how much progress the next ten years will yield? What political crop shall spring forth from the ideological seeds sown such a short time ago?

America has a proud, albeit brief, history of entrepreneurial individualism. I believe that spirit is still alive, but America is on the wrong path, and I don't want to see it die a statist death. I want to see it rise again, Phoenix-like, from the ashes of its flawed foundations, and build anew on the rock-solid consistency of true liberty: Property, contracts, and the Non-Aggression Principle.

May the second American revolution be libertarian.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm
Quote MMMark:

Yes, there is definitely cause for pessimism. On the other hand, there is also cause for optimism. Libertarianism is currently enjoying a degree of visibility that, even ten years ago, was only wishful thinking. The works and ideas of great libertarian scholars are being republished, read, debated, taught in colleges and universities, popularized by people like Ron Paul, and are generally infesting the internet in multiple forms. Who's to say how much progress the next ten years will yield? What political crop shall spring forth from the ideological seeds sown such a short time ago?

America has a proud, albeit brief, history of entrepreneurial individualism. I believe that spirit is still alive, but America is on the wrong path, and I don't want to see it die a statist death. I want to see it rise again, Phoenix-like, from the ashes of its flawed foundations, and build anew on the rock-solid consistency of true liberty: Property, contracts, and the Non-Aggression Principle.

May the second American revolution be libertarian.

Very well said. Good stuff - keep it coming.

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rbs
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote quaestorchickpea:
There isn't a nation that even comes close to being a socialst nation. Closest thing to it in the past centuries was the U.S. at its founding,,,,when the majority of the population owned their own means of livelihood as independent farmers, shop keepers and craftssmen. That;s all socialism is,,,direct worker ownership of their workplace

That makes Socialism based on "free markets".

poly replies: Nope. It makes for a market system as an indicator of what to produce....with regulation in the comon interest.

Libertarians..... before the current deviation from libertarianism.... advocated a lot of socialist thought. (before socialism was re-defined to mean government ownership.}. They have about as much in common with founders of libertarian thought as Stalin did with Marx. None.. They're an aberration...leaving out the core element.

An early libertarian, Benjamin Tucker (1954-1939) had this to say:: "He argued, "strikes, whenever and wherever inaugurated, deserve encouragement from all the friends of labour. . . They show that people are beginning to know their rights, and knowing, dare to maintain them." [18] and furthermore, "as an awakening agent, as an agitating force, the beneficent influence of a strike is immeasurable. . . with our present economic system almost every strike is just. For what is justice in production and distribution? That labour, which creates all, shall have all."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Tucker

Chomsky defines socialism: Short video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4Tq4VE8eHQ

On "Free Markets" : "Economic writers from the 16th through 20th centuries recognized that free markets required government oversight to prevent monopoly pricing and other charges levied by special privilege. By contrast, today’s neoliberal ideologues are public relations advocates for vested interests to depict a “free market” is one free of government regulation, “free” of anti-trust protection, and even of protection against fraud, as evidenced by the SEC’s refusal to move against Madoff, Enron, Citibank et al.). Michael Hudson, economist.

http://www.counterpunch.org/hudson02232009.html

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

polycarp2 wrote:

(before socialism was re-defined to mean government ownership.}
Libertarianism is not antithetical to the peaceful practice of socialism. What libertarians oppose is state-enforced socialism. Libertarianism demands universal and consistent adherence to the Non-Aggression Principle.

polycarp2 wrote:

He argued, "strikes, whenever and wherever inaugurated, deserve encouragement from all the friends of labour. . ."
Libertarianism is not antithetical to peaceful strikes (collective withholding of labor). What libertarians oppose is state-sanctioned coercion by striking workers. Libertarianism demands universal and consistent adherence to the Non-Aggression Principle.

polycarp2 wrote:

"Economic writers from the 16th through 20th centuries recognized that free markets required government oversight to prevent monopoly pricing and other charges levied by special privilege. By contrast, today’s neoliberal ideologues are public relations advocates for vested interests to depict a “free market” is one free of government regulation, “free” of anti-trust protection, and even of protection against fraud, as evidenced by the SEC’s refusal...
The first line of this article reads: "How is it that Alan Greenspan, free-market lobbyist for Wall Street,..." Greenspan is a statist who worked for the Fed, a state-sanctioned banking cartel. The state-created SEC, as you note, refused to prosecute fraud; its de facto function is to allow fraud by big business. Libertarians are sick of this state-enabled injustice. True libertarians recognize that true liberty is not state-sanctioned license to perpetrate fraud, nor is it state-enforced restriction of competition. True liberty means universal and consistent adherence to property rights, contractual obligations, and the Non-Aggression Principle.

Writers such as Michael Hudson and Naomi Klein confuse and conflate corporatism and "the free market," and this is an egregious error. The former is statism, the latter is libertarianism.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm
You call it "wasting," while others may call it "using." You haven't really said anything about oil, but you've said something about yourself: that you hold in contempt the values of others. Contempt for values that differ from one's own values is one of the three most common "human contempts."

Those that don't call it wasting are wrong. Whether I've said anything about oil is actually irrelevant as information about is is available. It's a finite resource that a) the global economy depends on and (b) produces polluiton and greenhouse gas.

I don't see a problem with my contempt for those that see fit to waste resources and their values.

What, all economics? Every school of economic thought? I'm not convinced your survey of "economics" has been thorough enough to make such a sweeping dismissal.

Yes, all economics that extends itself into areas in which it has no relelvance, such as geology or technology. Economics has relevance in explaining human behavior only.

...and some people answer: By using coercion, via The State. Others answer: By respect for contracts, property, and the Non-Aggression Principle.

And they're wrong, as our current situation shows. It is their view that created the "state" that nobody seems to trust. There is far more to life than "property" and far more fundamental to morality.

Sieben's point is that a set of rules that a group of people agree to abide by does not imply a state, and a state does not imply a set of rules that a group of people agree to abide by. His apartment complex example proves this. That's all.

The apartment complex is a "state".

Perhaps, but libertarianism as a proposed political system is a relatively new idea.

No it isn't. Conservatives have been arguing for it.

True, but no one is making the claim that it did or does. What is being claimed is that a free market and its price system is the most efficient method for both signaling impending scarcity and ensuring future availability.

Sure, the claim was made in that if one considers a resource his or her "property" then the person will act to protect it for their benefit. The free market is wholly incapable of ensuring future availability because the market is people acting to satify their desires, and they are generally unconcerned about sustainability, as the current oil situation and extinctionof the passenger pigeon, among others, proves.

You contradict yourself. Either "private security is vigilantism," or "the security that you refer to is subservient to state and federal law," but not both.

There is no choice here. Private security is a) subservient to state and federal law and (b) if acting extralegal then it is vigilantism.

The security that Sieben refers to serves groups of people who have agreed to respect contracts, property, and the Non-Aggression Principle, the very antithesis of coercive behavior such as "lynching blacks."

Some may, but others would view coercive behavior, such as lynching Blacks, acceptable, as the human experience shows.

And the price system is what allows both consumers and providers to express their values. Government, by under-pricing the water it provides, expresses the low value it places on it. The non-market price discourages the "correct" degree of prudent use by consumers. Hence the waste and shortages.

The government reflects those that are governed in that the under-pricing is part of the political system, society, and thus part of the free market. You can't separate the "market" from "state" as humans are social, and thus political, animals.

"The same goes" for every resource in which the state has subverted the free market and free-market price.

Because the "state" is the "market". You can't separate them.

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jeffbiss
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

jeffbiss wrote:

I don't see a problem with my contempt for ... their values
Neither do I...as I said, contempt for the values of others is one of the three most common "human contempts."

jeffbiss wrote:

Economics has relevance in explaining human behavior only.
Yes...it's a branch of Praxeology.

jeffbiss wrote:

There is far more to life than "property" and far more fundamental to morality.
Yes, such as tolerance for the values of others, peace, prosperity, progress, interaction, and individual differences, and the way they combine to create meaning and beauty.

Of course, some people also enjoy robbery, warfare, and coercion.

We are what we choose.

jeffbiss wrote:

The apartment complex is a "state".
For those who can see no difference between voluntary and non-voluntary association, I suppose such a category error is to be expected.

jeffbiss wrote:

Conservatives have been arguing for it.
If only they'd walk their empty talk. Of course, what conservatives never argue for is the Non-Aggression Principle, which is fundamental to libertarianism.

This is the fatal flaw of Conservatism, which is just another form of statism.

jeffbiss wrote:

...and they are generally unconcerned about sustainability...
Ultimately, what the free market aims to "sustain" is human life.

jeffbiss wrote:

Private security is a) subservient to state and federal law and (b) if acting extralegal then it is vigilantism.
Now that you're making sense, your point seems a bit trivial. My response is "Great! So what?"

jeffbiss wrote:

..others would view coercive behavior, such as lynching Blacks, acceptable, as the human experience shows.
Yes, and those "others" would fall into the first, non-libertarian category. So what?

jeffbiss wrote:

Because the "state" is the "market". You can't separate them.
All you've said here is that The State, or monopolized coercion, is a subset of human behavior. No one disagrees, and again I say "So what?"

Non-coercive, mutually beneficial, property-and-contract respecting behavior is also a subset of human behavior, and this subset is called "the free market."

I choose to recognize those distinctions as fundamental. You may choose to ignore them.

We choose, and we are what we choose.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm

MMMark wrote: "Libertarianism is not antithetical to the peaceful practice of socialism. What libertarians oppose is state-enforced socialism."

--------------------

And early libertarian thought was: "For what is justice in production and distribution? That labour, which creates all, shall have all."- Tucker.

Ditto Spooner.

Capital, making extractions from labor, was a no no.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

polycarp2 wrote:

And early libertarian thought was: "For what is justice in production and distribution? That labour, which creates all, shall have all."- Tucker.

Ditto Spooner.

Capital, making extractions from labor, was a no no.

Which is why they have sometimes been referred to as "libertarian socialists." As far as I know, both Tucker and Spooner advocated peaceful and voluntary human relations, and eschewed coercion. I have no problem with their brand of socialism.

The more recent libertarianism to which I alluded is sometimes called "anarcho-capitalism." See www.mises.org

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm
Yes, such as tolerance for the values of others, peace, prosperity, progress, interaction, and individual differences, and the way they combine to create meaning and beauty.

Of course, some people also enjoy robbery, warfare, and coercion.

We are what we choose.


Which is precisely why we, through our government, must control the worst in human nature, including waste of resources.

For those who can see no difference between voluntary and non-voluntary association, I suppose such a category error is to be expected.

Just as living in a given apartment is voluntary so is living in most nations or communities. All a state is a body politic, which the apartment complex is. I suppose missing the fundamental nature is to be expected.

If only they'd walk their empty talk. Of course, what conservatives never argue for is the Non-Aggression Principle, which is fundamental to libertarianism.

This is the fatal flaw of Conservatism, which is just another form of statism.


But all political ideologies result in states because,as you argue, no two people think the sameway. Therefore, people always will implement some sort of control to moderate conflict, at best, and to enforce their postition of power, at worst.

It seems to me that you incorrectly argue against a position of us, as responsible moral beings acting through our government, implementing policies that would greatly reduce the waste of the commons, that not owned by any one person but depended on by all.

Ultimately, what the free market aims to "sustain" is human life.

No, it doesn't. There is nothing in the market that indicates that that is the goal as people, who are the market, don't necessarily have that goal. If that was the goal, then pharmaceutical companies would perform research for real diseases suffered by a small number of people. They don't. They generally drop research when profit looks poor, leaving it to the public, such as government or universities. What the market is concerned with is satisfying the short term desires, as the latest crisis showed.

Now that you're making sense, your point seems a bit trivial. My response is "Great! So what?"

In post #68 you were arguing that those were mutually exclusive, I said that they weren't.

Yes, and those "others" would fall into the first, non-libertarian category. So what?

All you've said here is that The State, or monopolized coercion, is a subset of human behavior. No one disagrees, and again I say "So what?"

Non-coercive, mutually beneficial, property-and-contract respecting behavior is also a subset of human behavior, and this subset is called "the free market."

I choose to recognize those distinctions as fundamental. You may choose to ignore them.

We choose, and we are what we choose.


Then you must accept that even in a libertarian society, we would have the power to control the worst in human nature, such as coercive gang activity or wasting resources. Otherwise, everyone has the liberty to do what one wants, which means that libertarianism would be an anarchy that would devolve into warlordism because many people do not have a need for a non-coercive, mutually beneficial state of existence and do not recognize property or contracts. Sure, there is a subset of people who do, but enough that don't that would require some authority to control their behavior, which I say also includes minimizing waste of resources.

Humans are not peaceful, although we live in peace at times. Look through history and this fact is undeniable. Also what is undeniable is that in many instances conflict is over resources. to view it any other way is at best delusional.

jeffbiss's picture
jeffbiss
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

What libertarians ignore is the ultimate rise of economic powerhouses under our social structures..that have so much economic clout they capture governing institutions. In subverting them for their own interests, the economy melts down....over, and over, and over. Libertarianism doesn't address that.

Capitalism is an economic fundamental...not a social system. As long as basic fundamentals are adhered to, any social system can be designed around them. Even Native Americans adhered to the basic fundamentals. The Iroquois Confederation, for example, worked just fine for centuries.They didn't experience Depressions and economic meltowns. They also didn't have systems in place that gave rise to economic powerhouses to subvert their economic/democratic structures. They were egalitarian.

When fundamentals aren't adhered to, economies go splat. We're in the process of going splat. As the economist Krugman noted in the N.Y. Times recently, we're ushering in another Depression by adhering to market fundamentalism...which does anything but adhere to the fundamentals of capitalism.. There will be no recovery. He doesn't seem to be the only economist holding that view:

Red Flags for the Economy:

http://www.counterpunch.org/

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

polycarp2 wrote:

What libertarians ignore is the ultimate rise of economic powerhouses under our social structures..that have so much economic clout they capture governing institutions. In subverting them for their own interests, the economy melts down....over, and over, and over. Libertarianism doesn't address that.
If, by "governing institutions," you mean "the government," then your assertion "libertarianism doesn't address that" flabbergasts me. Libertarians absolutely do acknowledge the attraction of government to big business. Government is a powerful weapon that the most politically adept always succeed in subverting "for their own interests." Libertarians don't believe in reforming corruption; libertarians believe in removing the weapon.

The Federal Reserve Act and its creature, The Fed, are prominent examples of the capture of governing institutions by economic powerhouses. Libertarians want to abolish both, along with legal tender laws (the monopolization of currency). Ron Paul has written a book entitled End The Fed. Check it out.

jeffbiss wrote:

Which is precisely why we, through our government, must control the worst in human nature, including waste of resources.
Which, as you've already admitted, is a strategy strategy that not only fails, but achieves exactly the opposite to the intended effect.

The belief that only government can control "the worst in human nature" is empirically fallacious. It is faith-based, not reality-based. It is a pernicious, persistent myth.

jeffbiss wrote:

All a state is a body politic, which the apartment complex is. I suppose missing the fundamental nature is to be expected.
Locating similarities or shared qualities is not the same thing as proving equality, and this is your mistake.

The act of comparing two things (A and B) involves not only finding similarities (which is what you've done), but finding differences. When the differences are found to be trivial or non-existent, we may be justified in saying "A is B."

When the differences are found to be significant or numerous, we may be justified in saying "A is different than B."

I happen to think the differences between a state and an apartment complex are significant; you happen to think they're trivial.

Which only shows that you and I have different values. So what?

jeffbiss wrote:

But all political ideologies result in states because,as you argue, no two people think the sameway.
This alleged cause/effect relationship is not at all obvious to me; you baldly assert the existence of the relationship without offering any theory or explanation to substantiate it. You could go on all day like this, I suppose.

If you're not interested in discussing theory, perhaps you're a more pragmatic man. If that's the case, then why not try something different? You won't really know if it's better until you try. Tentanda Via, as the latin proverb advises.

jeffbiss wrote:

There is nothing in the market that indicates that that is the goal as people, who are the market, don't necessarily have that goal.
You are confusing and conflating what we already have (corporatism) with what I'm arguing for (the free market).

I'm not arguing for the status quo. I'm proposing we try libertarianism.

jeffbiss wrote:

Therefore, people always will implement some sort of control to moderate conflict, at best, and to enforce their postition of power, at worst.
...and I'm proposing libertarianism as a superior solution. While the implementation of "some sort of control" may be inevitable, it does not logically follow that The State is the only, or even the "best," system.

jeffbiss wrote:

It seems to me that you incorrectly argue against a position of us, as responsible moral beings acting through our government, implementing policies that would greatly reduce the waste of the commons, that not owned by any one person but depended on by all.
This is a very poorly worded sentence. I can't seem to divine its meaning. As an attempt to address it, I refer you to my previous comment, above.

What I'm saying is that I frankly acknowledge the significantly large difference between the propaganda and mythology of government, and the reality of it.

Government is portrayed as some institution that "the people act through," which "greatly reduce(s) the waste of the commons" and a whole host of other noble-sounding cliches. The reality, as you and polycarp2 frankly acknowledge, is that "economic powerhouses" subvert the machinery of government "for their own interests."

To continue to support an institution that is coercive and corrupt, both in theory and in practice, seems delusional at best, and malicious at worst.

Dupe, knave, ... or libertarian. The choice is yours.

jeffbiss wrote:

Also what is undeniable is that in many instances conflict is over resources.
I do not deny this. I agree with this. It is trivial and obvious.

The question is: How to resolve the inevitable conflicts?

Your suggestion: The State (i.e. the violation of property, the negation of contracts, the suppression of competition, the manipulation by special interests, and coercion - the initiation of physical violence).

My suggestion: The Free Market (i.e. property, contracts, and the Non-Aggression Principle).

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm
Which, as you've already admitted, is a strategy strategy that not only fails, but achieves exactly the opposite to the intended effect.

It fails only because people act to satisfy their desires rather than responsibly, which is precisely what you suggest is the solution. My solution of regulation fails for precisely the same reason that your solution fails, human nature, including a) people operate from selfishness celebrated in objectism and Calvinism and (b) special interest money funds our elected officials.

Imperfect though it is, my solution, regulation, has already proved itself far more effective than libertarian ideologies, simply because enough informed and responsible people used the political process to make certain behavior illegal, for the general welfare. Good examples are anti-pollution laws.

The belief that only government can control "the worst in human nature" is empirically fallacious. It is faith-based, not reality-based. It is a pernicious, persistent myth.

It isn't empirically false. We, acting through our government, already make certain behavior punishable. Under the "liberty" system, companies saw fit to pollute bodies of water, making them unfit for life. Government legislation then controlled the worst in human nature and thus cleaned up our rivers and lakes, making them fit for life once again. The only problem with government, is that selfish people are allowed to finance our officials.

Locating similarities or shared qualities is not the same thing as proving equality, and this is your mistake.

Your mistake is not recognizing the fundamental truth underlying what a state is.

This alleged cause/effect relationship is not at all obvious to me; you baldly assert the existence of the relationship without offering any theory or explanation to substantiate it. You could go on all day like this, I suppose.

The fact that people lives in groups and develop rules to live by should be all the cause/effect evidence you need.

You are confusing and conflating what we already have (corporatism) with what I'm arguing for (the free market).

And you're confusing the need for specific controls, regulation, with authoritarianism.

I'm not arguing for the status quo. I'm proposing we try libertarianism.

It is implemented. We live in a representative democracy that has developed a government controlled by special interests, business interests. This is precisely what happens when people feel that they have the "liberty" to avoid being a citizen and their only duty is to take care of themselves. Nature abhors a vacuum, and politics abhors a power vacuum. This vacuum is always filled, and in our case eith the power of wealth.

This is a very poorly worded sentence. I can't seem to divine its meaning.

In other words, you argue against individuals acting in the interest of all through our government. I don't accept that.

The question is: How to resolve the inevitable conflicts?

Your suggestion: The State (i.e. the violation of property, the negation of contracts, the suppression of competition, the manipulation by special interests, and coercion - the initiation of physical violence).

My suggestion: The Free Market (i.e. property, contracts, and the Non-Aggression Principle).


Who owns a water shed? Who owns the atmosphere? Who owns the U.S.? There exist the commons, that are not owned by anyone but held in common by all.

"State" is precisely why the concept of property or contract exist as they do not exist outside a legal system. So, your "solution" is a non-starter.

jeffbiss's picture
jeffbiss
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

poly wrote: "What libertarians ignore is the ultimate rise of economic powerhouses under our social structures..that have so much economic clout they capture governing institutions. In subverting them for their own interests, the economy melts down....over, and over, and over. Libertarianism doesn't address that."

MMMark replied:"If, by "governing institutions," you mean "the government," then your assertion "libertarianism doesn't address that" flabbergasts me. Libertarians absolutely do acknowledge the attraction of government to big business. Government is a powerful weapon that the most politically adept always succeed in subverting "for their own interests." Libertarians don't believe in reforming corruption; libertarians believe in removing the weapon."

poly replies: "Libertarianism doesn't remove the weapon. It re-loads it."

MMMark replied to Jeff: The question is: How to resolve the inevitable conflicts?

Your suggestion: The State (i.e. the violation of property, the negation of contracts, the suppression of competition, the manipulation by special interests, and coercion - the initiation of physical violence).

My suggestion: The Free Market (i.e. property, contracts, and the Non-Aggression Principle).

poly replies: The same things that brought us to where we are. Native Americans had "free markets". They also had structures that didn't enable any individual to get enough economic clout to take over their social structures.

Outside of N. America...that's been the history of humanity....individuals obtaining enough economic clout and the power that goes with it to subvert societies to their own ends. Libertarianism doesn't address that. Its own economic principles encourage its development. Re-loading the weapon .

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Double post, now deleted.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm

jeffbiss wrote:

(Government) fails only because people act to satisfy their desires rather than responsibly, which is precisely what you suggest is the solution.
You've badly misunderstood "what I suggest."

People, including politicians and government bureaucrats, always act to satisfy their desires; that's reality.

Acting through government allows certain people to satisfy their desires while avoiding responsibility for their actions, or lets them shift the costs to taxpayers. This is why big business loves statist socialism, because socialism allows big business to privatize the profits while socializing the costs.

The free market allows no such thing, because the statism, the "weapon of government," has been removed. The actor must now pay the full costs of, and bear the full responsibility for, the satisfaction of his desires.

jeffbiss wrote:

Under the "liberty" system (no, under our current, corporatist system), companies saw fit to pollute bodies of water, making them unfit for life. Government legislation then controlled the worst in human nature and thus cleaned up our rivers and lakes,
You assert things that are clearly not true, and this is why I call the belief "faith-based"; it's utopianism.

You keep wishing people would be angels, while at the same time acknowledging that they are, in reality, selfish.

If government legislation could "control the worst in human nature," then "... selfish people (wouldn't be) allowed to finance our officials," and our officials would not accept such bribery.

jeffbiss wrote:

The fact that people lives in groups and develop rules to live by should be all the cause/effect evidence you need.
Here's your logic:

jeffbiss wrote:

The fact that people lives in groups and develop rules to live by should be all the cause/effect evidence you need to show that ... all political ideologies result in states because ... no two people think the sameway.

???

I leave other readers of this forum to figure that out; I certainly can't.

jeffbiss wrote:

you're confusing the need for specific controls, regulation, with authoritarianism.
Not at all, Jeff. You've misunderstood me.

I'm simply saying that those controls and regulations, when supplied through authoritarian, coercive, monopolistic, property-violating government, tend to favor the very people they ostensibly control and regulate. The whole scheme is sold as "protecting the people," and you seem to have bought into it. Snap out of it, man.

The reality is that it protects big business.
This is intentional, and by design.

Big business bribes the politicians.
Big business writes the "regulatory" legislation.
Big business exploits and pollutes "public property."
Big business, protected from competition and responsibility, runs rampant.
Big business reaps the benefits, the taxpayer is forced to pay the costs, and government is hailed as "the protector of the people."

Faith-based:
"Government of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Reality-based:
"Government of big business, by big business, and for big business."

jeffbiss wrote:

Your mistake is not recognizing the fundamental truth underlying what a state is.
See above. I see no "fundamental truth" in utopianism.

jeffbiss wrote:

In other words, you argue against individuals acting in the interest of all through our government. I don't accept that.
This is like saying "you argue against the unicorn." I don't "argue against it"; I simply acknowledge that, like the unicorn, the concept of "individuals acting in the interest of all through government" is a utopian myth. In reality, it doesn't work that way at all.

Mine is a plea for honesty. Let's stop pretending, and face reality.

MMMark wrote:

I'm proposing we try libertarianism.

jeffbiss wrote:
It is implemented.

...and yet:

jeffbiss wrote:

...your "solution" is a non-starter.
Well for heaven's sake, Jeff, make up your mind.

polycarp2 wrote:

"Libertarianism doesn't remove the weapon. It re-loads it."

polycarp2 wrote:
...individuals obtaining enough economic clout and the power that goes with it to subvert societies to their own ends.
But before you can reload the weapon, you have to get the weapon back!

What you seem to be saying here is that if we successfully removed the weapon of statism, economic powerhouses would eventually re-establish it, and then "re-load" it.

Perhaps, perhaps not.

Consider this passage, from Murray N. Rothbard's For A New Liberty:

Once the public had tasted the joys, prosperity, freedom, and efficiency of a libertarian, State-less society, it would be almost impossible for a State to fasten itself upon them once again. Once freedom has been fully enjoyed, it is no easy task to force people to give it up.

But suppose — just suppose — that despite all these handicaps and obstacles, despite the love for their new-found freedom, despite the inherent checks and balances of the free market, suppose anyway that the State manages to reestablish itself. What then? Well, then, all that would have happened is that we would have a State once again. We would be no worse off than we are now, with our current State. And, as one libertarian philosopher has put it, "at least the world will have had a glorious holiday." Karl Marx's ringing promise applies far more to a libertarian society than to communism: In trying freedom, in abolishing the State, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm

We've had glorious holidays before....and they've always come to the same end. When any social structure allows for massive accumlations of wealth, they get captured.

Most Native American societies were exceptions to that. Social structures didn't allow it. What was private was private and could be traded freely. What was public was public, and couldn't. The land and all of its resources were held in common.

They did pursue self-interests...which after basic needs were filled were of an internal nature rather than external. Pleasure was sought in giving rather than in aquiring. or hoarding. A cultural difference.

Government was minimimal. More of a ceremonial function. Probably a libertarian paradise.

The price...giving up massive wealth accumulations built upon the labor of others. It wasn't allowed.

They removed the basic flaw built within most human societies that ultimately undermines freedom and gave rise to despots, monarchs, and now...transnational governance. Libertarians fail to address that and merely assure a return to what they are trying to abolish..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

poly, that was a well-written post.

I think I finally understand what you are saying, and what your objections to libertarianism are.

I don't think your objections are correct, but I now understand them.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm
Quote MMMark: poly, that was a well-written post. I think I finally understand what you are saying, and what your objections to libertarianism are. I don't think your objections are correct, but I now understand them.

I don't object to libertarianism as such. I object to what I see as retaining an inherent flaw found in most human socieities. Unless that is removed, it's unworkable. Remove it, and I'll sign on.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
You've badly misunderstood "what I suggest."

People, including politicians and government bureaucrats, always act to satisfy their desires; that's reality.

Acting through government allows certain people to satisfy their desires while avoiding responsibility for their actions, or lets them shift the costs to taxpayers. This is why big business loves statist socialism, because socialism allows big business to privatize the profits while socializing the costs.

The free market allows no such thing, because the statism, the "weapon of government," has been removed. The actor must now pay the full costs of, and bear the full responsibility for, the satisfaction of his desires.


I think that I have a full grasp of what you suggest. The issue is that you fail to understand that a free market can never exist as people always exert influence to further their cause, and that includes within government, which is inevitable for larger societies. As we are social animals, one can never remove the weapon of government, or at least coercion. All we can hope to do is to implement policies that help ensure that government acts to further the general welfare.

You assert things that are clearly not true, and this is why I call the belief "faith-based"; it's utopianism.

You keep wishing people would be angels, while at the same time acknowledgeing that they are, in reality, selfish.

If government legislation could "control the worst in human nature," then "... selfish people (wouldn't be) allowed to finance our officials," and our officials would not accept such bribery.


You obviously haven't understood a thing I've written. My solution, regulation, is due to the fact that people are not angels and require something to constrain their behavior including regulation. This by default requires citizens to accept that they have obligations as members of society and to force changes to the system, such as removing private funding of elections and providing officials and the staff jobs.

I leave other readers of this forum to figure that out; I certainly can't.

What I should have stated in post #79 is the following:

But all political ideologies result in states. As you argue, no two people think the same way, which means that varying means of control will be implemented, ranging from merely wanting to moderate conflict, to enforcing their postition of power. Nature abhors a vacuum, including a political power vacuum, and it will be filled.

Not at all, Jeff. You've misunderstood me.

I'm simply saying that those controls and regulations, when supplied through authoritarian, coercive, monopolistic, property-violating government, tend to favor the very people they ostensibly control and regulate. The whole scheme is sold as "protecting the people," and you seem to have bought into it. Snap out of it, man.

The reality is that it protects big business.
This is intentional, and by design.


And you misunderstand me. I'm saying that your perferred method, free market, will result in precisely the same thing. The only viable solution is that the people force changes to the system, such as removing private funding of elections and providing officials and the staff jobs, such that the government, which always exists, will regulate to control the worst in human nature.

See above. I see no "fundamental truth" in utopianism.

Maybe not, but your belief that a free market can exist and that it will provide solutions, is faith based as it never has.

This is like saying "you argue against the unicorn." I don't "argue against it"; I simply acknowledge that, like the unicorn, the concept of "individuals acting in the interest of all through government" is a utopian myth. In reality, it doesn't work that way at all.

Mine is a plea for honesty. Let's stop pretending, and face reality


No, this is saying that we have the obligation to act in the interest of all through our government. Yours is a hope in human nature that is unsupported as free markets have never solved large scale environmental problems.

Well for heaven's sake, Jeff, make up your mind.

My mind's made up. Libertarianism is implemented and it failed due to human nature. People chose to remove themselves from responsibility, to act in their self "interest", and that has lead to corrupt government and world wide environmental degradation.

But before you can reload the weapon, you have to get the weapon back!

What you seem to be saying here is that if we successfully removed the weapon of statism, economic powerhouses would eventually re-establish it, and then "re-load" it.

Perhaps, perhaps not.

Consider this passage, from Murray N. Rothbard's For A New Liberty:


It doesn't understand the human animal and so isn't worth considering. Talk about unicorns.

jeffbiss's picture
jeffbiss
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

jeffbiss wrote:

As we are social animals, one can never remove the weapon of government, or at least coercion.
One can never remove coercion, but one can withdraw one's sanctioning and legitimizing of statism. Statism is democratically-legitimized coercion.

If we oppose coercion, let's at least be consistent in our opposition.

jeffbiss wrote:

...your belief that a free market can exist and that it will provide solutions, is faith based as it never has.
It's not a belief so much as a suggestion that we try liberty instead of statism.

We've tried statism, and we can see the results. To assert that statism accomplishes what we wish it would or believe it could, when we can plainly see that it doesn't, is what I am calling "faith-based."

It's like covering one's eyes and repeating "Believe, brother, believe!"

jeffbiss wrote:

this is saying that we have the obligation to act in the interest of all through our government
I know, I know. We have the obligation, the duty, the "social contract," etc. etc. If only that darned selfishness would stop messing with our wishful thinking. If only we could get the "right people" into government.

You keep talking about the way things "should" be, and I keep talking about the way things are.

jeffbiss wrote:

Yours is a hope in human nature that is unsupported...
I have no hopes or wishes "in human nature."

I frankly acknowledge that people are selfish.

I frankly acknowledge that when you combine this selfish human nature with the weapon of government (statism), the result is irresponsible behavior that innocent others must pay for.

jeffbiss wrote:

... free markets have never solved large scale environmental problems.
...the very large scale environmental problems that corporatism and statism, the system you defend, created.

You keep defending a corrupt system. It's like you keep saying "What we're doing doesn't work, so let's do more of it."

You might enjoy learning about Norman Borlaug and The Green Revolution:
Billions Served: Norman Borlaug interviewed by Ronald Bailey

and here:
Norman Borlaug: The Man Who Saved More Human Lives Than Any Other Has Died

I also highly recommend Julian Simon's book, The Ultimate Resource 2.

jeffbiss wrote:

What I should have stated in post #79 is the following:

...Nature abhors a vacuum, including a political power vacuum, and it will be filled.

Okay, now I getcha. Thanks for clearing that up.

What you're saying is that there will always be a state, because there will always be a demand for it.

jeffbiss wrote:

... a free market can never exist as people always exert influence to further their cause, and that includes within government, which is inevitable for larger societies.
Seems sort of defeatist, Jeff. I guess I don't share your historicism.

If it's people that create social structures and institutions, then it's people who choose which ones to create and which ones to discard. I reject statism and corporatism, and I embrace liberty, and that choice is available to anyone.

I invite you to join the growing libertarian movement, or at least consider it as a desirable alternative.

polycarp2 wrote:

I don't object to libertarianism as such. I object to what I see as retaining an inherent flaw found in most human socieities. Unless that is removed, it's unworkable. Remove it, and I'll sign on.
Thank you. I'll have to give what you said some thought.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm
One can never remove coercion, but one can withdraw one's sanctioning and legitimizing of statism. Statism is democratically-legitimized coercion.

If we oppose coercion, let's at least be consistent in our opposition.


One can withdraw one's sanctioning and legitimizing of statism? OK, so you do. What does that mean? Nothing, as someone more powerful than you will impose his or her will on you. Without a legitimate legal system to defend your rights, you're done.

It's not a belief so much as a suggestion that we try liberty instead of statism.

We've tried statism, and we can see the results. To assert that statism accomplishes what we wish it would or believe it could, when we can plainly see that it doesn't, is what I am calling "faith-based."

It's like covering one's eyes and repeating "Believe, brother, believe!"


It's a belief system. Look through history and you'll many instances that "liberty" was tried and lasted only until something more powerful removed it. The only things protecting your "liberty" are a) our culture, (b) the law, and (c) the constitution. For all their imperfections, it is the state that protects you.

I know, I know. We have the obligation, the duty, the "social contract," etc. etc. If only that darned selfishness would stop messing with our wishful thinking. If only we could get the "right people" into government. You keep talking about the way things "should" be, and I keep talking about the way things are.

No, you keep talking about the way things "should" be, and I keep talking about the way things are. Read your statements. You state that you "suggest" we try libertarianism. That, my friend, is the way you think thigs should be.

I have no hopes or wishes "in human nature." I frankly acknowledge that people are selfish.

I frankly acknowledge that when you combine this selfish human nature with the weapon of government (statism), the result is irresponsible behavior that innocent others must pay for.


And what do you think happens when no power exists to control the worst in human nature? There's only one conclusion you can come to if you do indeed acknowledge that people are selfish.

...the very large scale environmental problems that corporatism and statism, the system you defend, created. You keep defending a corrupt system. It's like you keep saying "What we're doing doesn't work, so let's do more of it."

Environmental degradation is not due solely to corporatism and statism as they are themselves a consequence of people considering their "liberty" and material well being paramount. People degrade the environment because they don't care and they value satisfying their desires above all else. Teh solution is not in libertarianism or the status quo, it is in citizens accepting that consumerism is a problem and the solution is through changing the system to regulate for the general welfare.

As for those links you provided, I consider the "green revolution" nonsense. The logic of people like Bailey is that since catastrophe hasn't happened it won't happen. However, during the increase in human population we have been degrading and stressing the environment throughout and that will lead to collapse. For example, we currently farm about 100% of the arable land in the U.S. and we require intensive methods to continue crop production. There is no wiggle room. China is forced to lease land for crop production because it cannot grow its economy and feed itself. the green revolution, without population reduction is delusion.

Okay, now I getcha. Thanks for clearing that up. What you're saying is that there will always be a state, because there will always be a demand for it.

I wouldn't say "demand", but proclivity or inevitability.

Seems sort of defeatist, Jeff. I guess I don't share your historicism.

Our behavior yesterday indicates how we'll behave tomorrow.

If it's people that create social structures and institutions, then it's people who choose which ones to create and which ones to discard. I reject statism and corporatism, and I embrace liberty, and that choice is available to anyone.

Well, you have to take into account our evolution that creates the foundation for living as a social animal. Everything we do is politics. We not only have alternatives, but one must deal with others that may not share one's vision. That is where problems lie, as it requires politics to create social structures and institutions. So, you may reject statism but what can you do if a more powerful person or group want to inflict their will on you? All you have is a thought experiment because you will submit, escape, or die fighting.

I invite you to join the growing libertarian movement, or at least consider it as a desirable alternative.

I can't unless libertarianism acknowledges that we, as moral beings, have obligations to others and to a greater good. As I see it now, as libertarian arguments against rational regulation for the general welfare indicate, they don't. I see little difference between the fascist state we currently live in and the result of libertarian philosophy of governance. We end up at the same place because the same people will rise to power.

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jeffbiss
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

jeffbiss wrote:

Without a legitimate legal system to defend your rights, you're done.
Perhaps, perhaps not, but The State cannot "protect your rights" by violating them. It must choose the former or the latter, and of course, it chooses the latter. What else can it do?

jeffbiss wrote:

Look through history and you'll many instances that "liberty" was tried and lasted only until something more powerful removed it. The only things protecting your "liberty" are a) our culture, (b) the law, and (c) the constitution. For all their imperfections, it is the state that protects you.
You may notice that your first sentence contradicts your third sentence. Either the state has removed liberty, or the state protects liberty.

When you say "it is the state that protects you," this is the same sort of "protection" the mafia provides to the businessman when it "makes him an offer he can't refuse."

The only thing the state can do is initiate physical violence, and this is the opposite of "protecting liberty."

The only thing that really "protects liberty" is the fact that significantly large numbers of people tacitly agree to adhere, at least in some measure, to libertarian principles.

jeffbiss wrote:

And what do you think happens when no power exists to control the worst in human nature?
Your assumptions here:

1. Statism "control(s) the worst in human nature."
2. Without statism, "no power exists to control the worst in human nature."

Not only do I reject both of those assumptions, I would say that they are diametrically opposed to reality.

Statism doesn't control the worst in human nature, it's controlled by it. It caters to it, rewards and is rewarded by it. Statism and "the worst in human nature" go together "like a horse and carriage" (with apologies to Sammy Cahn). You seem to agree on this, but you vacillate.

As for assumption #2, it is exactly backward. It is the state that derives its power from the people, not vice versa.

The state is organized crime legitimized by popular consent.

jeffbiss wrote:

As for those links you provided, I consider the "green revolution" nonsense. The logic of people like Bailey is that since catastrophe hasn't happened it won't happen.
Actually, Bailey is the interviewer, not the interviewee, and Borlaug is a serious hero. I hope you'll check him out.

jeffbiss wrote:

So, you may reject statism but what can you do if a more powerful person or group want to inflict their will on you? All you have is a thought experiment because you will submit, escape, or die fighting.
The answer is: submit, escape, die fighting, or enlist help to kill your attackers. Of course. This is always true, whether your attackers are a group of thugs called "vigilantes," a group of thugs called "policemen," or a group of thugs called "the military."

This does not mean that we need thugs and should pay them homage, nor does democratic legitimization change the fundamental nature of thuggery.

jeffbiss wrote:

I see little difference between the fascist state we currently live in and the result of libertarian philosophy of governance.
Perhaps you're not looking closely enough? The mind you change may be your own, and the choice is always available to you.

Imagination, theory, and discussion only take us so far. Ultimately, the way must be tried. Tentanda Via.

MMMark
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Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm
Perhaps, perhaps not, but The State cannot "protect your rights" by violating them. It must choose the former or the latter, and of course, it chooses the latter. What else can it do?

And if no one agrees that you have rights then you have none. You can dream all you want and the best you can hope for is a society that accepts that rights do exist. For all its problems, the U.S. is one nation that does.

You may notice that your first sentence contradicts your third sentence. Either the state has removed liberty, or the state protects liberty.

There's no contradiction as I've denoted your term as "liberty", as in a stateless system, wheras in the third I use "state" to denote the U.S. legal system. Without a codified legal system you have no recourse to protect your "rights" or your "liberty". Even with a codified legal system in place to protect your rights, there exists the situation in which individuals may infringe your rights, precisely as it would in your stateless system. The difference is that the state, as understood by the founders, derives powers from the consent of the governed and secures rights, whereas there is nothing to protect you in a stateless condition except your own fists.

Your assumptions here:

1. Statism "control(s) the worst in human nature."
2. Without statism, "no power exists to control the worst in human nature."


I make no such assumptions. I state simply that if no power exists to control the worst in human nature then the worst in human nature will eventually be expressed, to the detriment of others.

For some reason you really seem to think that people can live together without a state ever resulting. This is wrong as states, or at least methods of control, always result as we're social animals. There is absolutely nothing in human history to support your view. People get together and create rules. This is the rule.

Actually, Bailey is the interviewer, not the interviewee, and Borlaug is a serious hero. I hope you'll check him out.

I checked him out enough. He's wrong.

The answer is: submit, escape, die fighting, or enlist help to kill your attackers. Of course. This is always true, whether your attackers are a group of thugs called "vigilantes," a group of thugs called "policemen," or a group of thugs called "the military." This does not mean that we need thugs and should pay them homage, nor does democratic legitimization change the fundamental nature of thuggery.

The answer is that in a representative democracy you have a legal system that you can rely on. To see the delusion of your position I suggest you read about the Magna Carta and what it meant. For some reason you really have deluded yourself into thinking that the pre-Magna Carta world was far better than the post-Magna Carta world. Your delusion also seems to posit that you living in the libertarian wonderland that is Somalia is exactly the same as living here.

If that's what you truly think, then there's really no point in continuing this discussion as libertarianism, as you express it, is nonsense. There has to be some rational thought here and I don't see it.

Perhaps you're not looking closely enough? The mind you change may be your own, and the choice is always available to you. Imagination, theory, and discussion only take us so far. Ultimately, the way must be tried. Tentanda Via.

Again, look at the world pre and post Magna Carta and Somalia objectively and then we can continue.

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jeffbiss
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

You have an interesting style of writing that I've seen before, and I want to briefly analyze it.

Let's consider these three statements:

jeffbiss wrote:

And if no one agrees that you have rights then you have none.

jeffbiss wrote:
Without a codified legal system you have no recourse to protect your "rights" or your "liberty".

jeffbiss wrote:
I state simply that if no power exists to control the worst in human nature then the worst in human nature will eventually be expressed, to the detriment of others.

They are all conditionals. A conditional statement takes the form "If A, then B," or "A implies B." It is called a 'conditional' because the truth of B is 'conditional' on the truth of A.

Such a statement, however, cannot establish the truth of A; it only tells us what happens once the truth of A has been established.

Some people use conditionals, however, to insinuate, without substantiation, that the truth of A has already been established, and this seems to be what you are doing here. It's a way of appearing to say something without having to actually commit to saying something.

What you appear to be saying is:

In a libertarian "society,"

1. No one will agree that you have rights;

2. There will be no codified legal system;

3. No power exists to control the worst in human nature.

jeffbiss wrote:

For all its problems, the U.S. is one nation that does.
It's interesting to watch you vacillate. Sometimes you call the U.S. statist system "fascist" and you admit that it is corrupted by corporate interests. Other times, you defend it. It's like a "love/hate thang" with you and U.S. statism.

Remember, Jeff, loving your country doesn't mean loving the government.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm
What you appear to be saying is in a libertarian "society":

1. No one will agree that you have rights;

2. There will be no codified legal system;

3. No power exists to control the worst in human nature.


What I am saying is in a libertarian society as you've presented as stateless:

1. You have no rights, only privileges at the discretion of others. Actually, this is the case regardless of the situation unless we, as moral beings accept that we have obligations to others, without regard to how we value or perceive them. The only point here is that with a state, you have recourse, without a state, you don't.
2. There is no codified legal system as there is no "state" (government), except as groups may have decided to implement government.
3. As there is no state, the only power to control the worst in human nature is peer pressure, mores, coercion, and violence as determined by the individual who feels wronged.

It's interesting to watch you vacillate. Sometimes you call the U.S. statist system "fascist" and you admit that it is corrupted by corporate interests. Other times, you defend it. It's like a "love/hate thang" with you and U.S. statism.

Remember, Jeff, loving your country doesn't mean loving the government.


I'm not vacillating. The U.S. government, in its current operation, is fascist as business interests control it for their benefit. This is due to the American people, who consent to be governed, consenting to allow business interests to fund our politicians and reward them and their staffs with jobs and consider objectivism their operational paradigm. It isn't a love/hate thang, but an objective conclusion.

What you fail to understand is that "state" will always result. I acknowldge that fundamental reality and simply state that until people refuse objectivism, and its religious analogue Calvinism, and accept that we have obligations greater than satifying our desires, we will suffer corrupt government. Government, as created by our society, merely reflects our society. We can change our values, which would change our government. Whether that happens is up to us. "States", as in government, are inevitable, make the best of that.

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jeffbiss
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Thanks Jeff, I found your response helpful. At this point, I want to make a request.

jeffbiss wrote:

...the only power to control the worst in human nature is peer pressure, mores, coercion, and violence as determined by the individual who feels wronged.
My request is: Would you please post a fairly complete list of what you mean by "the worst in human nature"?

In lieu of a fairly complete list, perhaps you could provide some guidelines that would allow people to know (if you weren't around to explain) what you would consider "the worst in human nature."

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm

Jeff wrote: "Government, as created by our society, merely reflects our society. We can change our values, which would change our government. Whether that happens is up to us."

poly replies: That's pretty much it. When societies valued monarchies...they kept them. When societies value wealth...it honors it....to the point of allowing it to capture government. Wealth always does. It's the flaw inherent in most cultures. Changes in government offer a brief respite...then it begins all over again.

Absolute monarchies were overthrown.....only to have a new set of wealthy players take their places. When the Soviet state collapsed, it was the wealthy bureaucrats of the Soviet era that captured the new Russian State.

The only time, historically, when that doesn't happen.... is within egalitarian societies.

Retired Monk "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
My request is: Would you please post a fairly complete list of what you mean by "the worst in human nature"? In lieu of a fairly complete list, perhaps you could provide some guidelines that would allow people to know (if you weren't around to explain) what you would consider "the worst in human nature."

The list would include, but not be limited to, violence, selfishness, greed, apathy, etc. You may come up with essentially the same things, if you're objective about the human condition. Therefore, while you can't stop a person from having a certain attribute, harm caused by them can be minimized through law (government). I think that that is the fatal flaw in libertarianism, in that it wants "liberty" and "freedom" without any obligation or consequences for causing harm.

If libertarians were to accept that we, as social animals, do indeed have obligations to others and that harm can be mitigated via government without the loss of "liberty" an d"freedom", then perhaps they'd have something to offer. As it stands now, all I see is that libertarians want the freedom to do what they want and liberty from obligations.

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jeffbiss
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

jeffbiss wrote:

...while you can't stop a person from having a certain attribute, harm caused by them can be minimized through law (government). I think that that is the fatal flaw in libertarianism, in that it wants "liberty" and "freedom" without any obligation or consequences for causing harm.

If libertarians were to accept that we, as social animals, do indeed have obligations to others and that harm can be mitigated via government without the loss of "liberty" an d"freedom", then perhaps they'd have something to offer. As it stands now, all I see is that libertarians want the freedom to do what they want and liberty from obligations.

I understand. Although we can't change human nature, we can hold a person responsible when he harms another person or his property.

So now, please tell me what you mean by "harm." Don't just list the obvious examples (robbing, assaulting, murdering, defrauding, property damage, etc.), but try to make a fairly complete list. Better still, try to provide a general definition of "harm" that would encompass not only the obvious examples, but the not-so-obvious ones as well.

For example, a friend of mine thinks that "harm" should include hurting people's feelings. Another friend of mine thinks that people shouldn't be allowed to "harm" themselves (through taking drugs, or smoking, for example). Another person I know told me people shouldn't be allowed to cut down trees on their property, because it "harms" the environment and "harms" other people's view.

If your idea of harm includes these sorts of things, please mention them.

MMMark
Joined:
Jul. 1, 2010 1:22 pm
I understand. Although we can't change human nature, we can hold a person responsible when he harms another person or his property.

First, it isn't all about property. Not everything is owned, such as the atmosphere. In the past Blacks were viewed as property and were treated as such by individuals, those very same people that you propose would observe the concept of rights and operate well in a libertarian society. Those individuals corrupted the system by legalizing the nullification or rights for those that they considered to not be worthy, thus nullifying completely the concept of rights in general, in legalizing slavery. Therefore, using your concept of property would hold someone who murdered a slave only responsible for loss of property and not murder.

So now, please tell me what you mean by "harm." Don't just list the obvious examples (robbing, assaulting, murdering, defrauding, property damage, etc.), but try to make a fairly complete list. Better still, try to provide a general definition of "harm" that would encompass not only the obvious examples, but the not-so-obvious ones as well.

What is considered harm would be a function of democracy and being objectively informed. For example, regulation of financial activity would be put in place to obviate the activity that caused the recent financial crisis. Regulation would be used to eliminate or minimize pollution or waste of resources. It isn't always about harm but also minimizing negative consequences. It isn't cut and dry as it depends on the specific situation.

For example, a friend of mine thinks that "harm" should include hurting people's feelings. Another friend of mine thinks that people shouldn't be allowed to "harm" themselves (through taking drugs, or smoking, for example). Another person I know told me people shouldn't be allowed to cut down trees on their property, because it "harms" the environment and "harms" other people's view.

I suppose a person could want to control hurting feelings, but personally I don't consider that as rising to the level of requiring a law, although some obviously do. As for real estate, you may hold title to the exclusion of others, but you cannot do what you want to it. We already have zoning laws to help minimize harm or conflict. For example, a person cannot open a hazardous waste storage facility on his or her lot. Land is also wildlife habitat, and their rights must be protected while allowing human use, although our behavior toward nonhuman animals nullifies the concept of rights.

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jeffbiss
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