DEMOCRACY vs THE MARKET

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Pierpont
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  Often lost in the discussion of Citizens United or yesterday's CU2 is the basic distinction between democracy and the market. Democracy is often described as a marketplace of ideas… and the market is often described as a place where consumers vote with their dollars. But these descriptions confuse the real distinction between the two.  
In a democracy each citizen's voice, their vote, weighs the same… and they have that vote merely because they are citizens, regardless if they are penniless. It's the reason the political Right, which has a minority agenda to protect the interests of money, inherently distrusts democracy... they've just never trusted the rabble. This is a tradition in the US where the Senate was, in Madison's words, created to protect "minority of the opulent".   
 
In the market money rules and those with the most money have the biggest influence. Those without money have no "vote". This is why the Right inherently loves the market.    
What the Right wing members of the USSC have done with Citizens United is made our already defective political democracy even more dysfunctional. For them the constitutional protections of wealth were not enough. They are not content unless the rich rule…  where our democracy is just another commodity for those with money to buy. This is why we see the biggest defenders of Citizen United, predictably, are on the Right... and if that's not despicable enough, they want those who are corrupting our system to have legal anonymity. 

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Pierpont
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Pierpont wrote:In a democracy

Pierpont wrote:
In a democracy each citizen's voice, their vote, weighs the same… and they have that vote merely because they are citizens, regardless if they are penniless.
I should add that by this standard, the US is NOT a democracy. Because the Constitution created a system of dual suffrage between the People and the States, we have under the guise of state suffrage a system of vote weighting/dilution schemes where the weight of one's vote is determined by their choice of state residence. For instance the weight of any one Wyoming citizen's vote weighs about 72x in the Senate than any one California citizen's vote. With the Electoral College it's about 3x. In election 2000 the vote of any one of the 500+ voters in Bush's Florida lead weighed 1000x that of any voters in Gore's national lead. Such vote weighting schemes are ILLEGAL on all other levels of government in the US... except the federal level. And despite the delusions of the Right... such an anti-democratic system is NOT inherent in the concept of a republic.

 

 We've gotten to this crisis in our "democracy" because this anti-democratic vote weighting ...and the GOP has used that advantage to consolidate power. For instance Clarence Thomas was ratified by Senators representing less that 50% of the US population. Thomas then becomes a key vote in Bush v Gore even afer Bush was REJECTED by the People.

So much for being a nation where our government derives its JUST power from the CONSENT of the governed.

TheFirstLeftist
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Pierpont wrote:   Often lost

Pierpont wrote:

  Often lost in the discussion of Citizens United or yesterday's CU2 is the basic distinction between democracy and the market. Democracy is often described as a marketplace of ideas… and the market is often described as a place where consumers vote with their dollars. But these descriptions confuse the real distinction between the two.  
In a democracy each citizen's voice, their vote, weighs the same… and they have that vote merely because they are citizens, regardless if they are penniless. It's the reason the political Right, which has a minority agenda to protect the interests of money, inherently distrusts democracy... they've just never trusted the rabble. This is a tradition in the US where the Senate was, in Madison's words, created to protect "minority of the opulent".   
 
In the market money rules and those with the most money have the biggest influence. Those without money have no "vote". This is why the Right inherently loves the market.    
What the Right wing members of the USSC have done with Citizens United is made our already defective political democracy even more dysfunctional. For them the constitutional protections of wealth were not enough. They are not content unless the rich rule…  where our democracy is just another commodity for those with money to buy. This is why we see the biggest defenders of Citizen United, predictably, are on the Right... and if that's not despicable enough, they want those who are corrupting our system to have legal anonymity. 

One minor correction.  The political right says they support the market.  But that doesn't mean they do. 

Let me give you my reason why the market is superior to Democracy.  If people "vote" in the market by buying one product, does that mean I have to buy that product. There's room for almost everybody's wishes.  Think of all of the consumer goods out there.  Even in our corporatist economy, I still don't have to buy anything I don't want to.  Contrast to the government and politics.  Any policy is imposed on everyone.  The minority is not protected.  The Constitutional is supposed to limit the power of the government but it doesn't.  If each State could operate independently, or nearly independently, I would have less of an argument.  If Vermont passd single-payer, I could move to Maine or New Hampshire.  But if the US passes single payer, where do I go.  By the way, under a Federalist system, I would not interfere with the Blue states passing anything.  As long as I, in another State, don't have to pay for it. 

Let me add one more thing.  While I oppose the Montana  law, I don't thing the SCOTUS had the authority to review it.  But you guys do!!!  You want a strong central government but then complain when it gets in the hands of right-wingers.  Shouldn't that be a lesson for you.

Dr. Econ
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TheFirstLeftist wrote:...

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
... Even in our corporatist economy, I still don't have to buy anything I don't want to. ...Contrast to the government and politics.  Any policy is imposed on everyone.  The minority is not protected.  

By natural necessity, you are forced to buy things to survive. What those things are determined by the market, where the more money you have, the more influence you have on the products and prices for sale in that market.  One could imagine a government that offers stuff that poor people desire over a market which is geared to the wealthy. Yes, it would extremely unlikely, but so would a libertarian soceity.  In fact, most people choose to have governments do things like welfare, health care and education precisely because the wealthy skew these things so they are out of the reach of many.

TheFirstLeftist
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Dr. Econ

Dr. Econ wrote:

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
... Even in our corporatist economy, I still don't have to buy anything I don't want to. ...Contrast to the government and politics.  Any policy is imposed on everyone.  The minority is not protected.  

By natural necessity, you are forced to buy things to survive. What those things are determined by the market, where the more money you have, the more influence you have on the products and prices for sale in that market.  One could imagine a government that offers stuff that poor people desire over a market which is geared to the wealthy. Yes, it would extremely unlikely, but so would a libertarian soceity.  In fact, most people choose to have governments do things like welfare, health care and education precisely because the wealthy skew these things so they are out of the reach of many.

Do you some alternative system whereby goods and services just appear out of nowhere and nobody has to produce anything.  Of course, I have to buy things to survive.  So does everyone.  That's one of the reasons we trade.  Where does the government get these goods?  A Mercedes is out of my reach but a Hyundai isn't.  I don't care that rich people can get better goods and services than I do.  That's a benefit and an incentive to become rich.  Compare a poor person now to a rich person in the 1700's.  Who is better off?

Pierpont
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TheFirstLeftist wrote:Let me

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Let me give you my reason why the market is superior to Democracy. If people "vote" in the market by buying one product, does that mean I have to buy that product. There's room for almost everybody's wishes.
Thanks for that whacky theory of politics.

The point of my post was that democracy and the market are separate realms with different ways of making decisions… and that's the way it should be.

In the market, when people have no money... they have NO say. So much for there being room for everyone's wishes. The power is all in the hands of those with the dollars. When democracy itself becomes just another commodity the rich can buy, then there's NOTHING left that money doesn't control. That you can find that desirable is troubling.

Pierpont
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  TheFirstLeftist

 

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Compare a poor person now to a rich person in the 1700's. Who is better off?

And let me guess... this was ALL the doing of the private sector. The government played NO role in creating the conditions for the private sector to flourish. Again, thanks for your amusing rewrite of history.  

ah2
Let me just start by saying

Let me just start by saying the distinction here is a little off.  The title of the thread should be Democracy vs. the Capitalist Market.  It is possible to create a type of democratic market hybrid which is variously called market socialism, Libertarian Socialism, and various other things that have similar structures.  That said, I will address the comments here rather than delve into another sermon about market socialism.

Here is the problem with your theory Leftist.  For what you describe to actually exist, you would have to have a democratic/socialist market system, not a Capitalist one.  You are missing a step in the chain by focusing only on the consumer aspect of a market and not the production side. Furthermore, you cannot simultaneously recognize that money is distributed unevenly, in a heiracrchical way and then suggest that all consumers have equal opportunity to purchase goods.  That is a contradiction.

The point that Dr. Econ was making is related to what I am going to talk about so I will clarify for you why he brought it up.  You said that "I don't have to buy anything that I don't want to."  But the fact of the matter is, all of us have to fullfill certain needs - things that have little to no choice involved like healthcare, food, and shelter.  That is why they call them necessities.  In unregulated markets, these necessities become ripe for abuse from a production and sale standpoint.  The price is inflated past actual demand because there is no ability for consumers to opt out of the transaction.

So, let's talk about two things related to that to get a fuller picture.

Demand is a funny thing.  Most people talk about demand as if people have demands for "products" but this not entirely true.  What people actually demand are solutions to needs, problems, or desires.  Products are a means to an end, not the end itself.  I buy a cell phone not because I want the cell phone but because I want to be able to call people from where ever I am at any time.  I buy a microwave not because I want a microwave but because I want to cook faster than a conventional oven.  What markets are theoretically supposed to do is solve people's needs, desires, and problems through production and trade.  Here is the problem with Capitalist markets - the solutions to needs, problems, and desires that they produce are NOT the best solution for the consumers.  What Capitalist markets produce are the solutions to needs, problems, and desires which leverage the most profit for Capitalists.  Capitalists get to decide what is produced.  There is a VAST amount of negative selection (removal of viable solutions or options for consumers) before they get to make a decision on what to buy.  I have mentioned this elsewhere but energy products are a great example.  A Capitalist market will NEVER produce something like solar panels to a large degree without subsidy to produce a whole lot of momentum first.  This is because Energy companies want solutions to energy needs that require people to continually to pay them money.  A solar panel is a discrete sale and then, beyond maintainence, generates no more revenue after it is sold.  A nuclear power plant, on the other hand, requires consumers to continually pay out cash.  Additionally, it is so complex that it requires highly trained specialists to manage.  This is a perfect natural "monopoly" of sorts (not in a literal sense).  So, you have choices in a Capitalist market.  They may just be a whole bunch of shitty ones that ALWAYS leverage the most benefit to the producer/Capitalist rather than being the utopian completely voluntary and mutally beneficial trade that Libertarians like to pretend actually exists.

Secondly, when you combine this with the fact that when markets are unregulated, competition NATURALLY disapates, this will develop into a system which eventually collapses on itself.  The fact of the matter is, in the industries that produce products to fullfill needs, there is an extremely high probability that you would develop natural monopolies or oligopolies.  Without regulation, there is nothing stopping companies with the most resources from colluding and price fixing.  The health care system in this country has a anti-trust exemption and this is what allows them to price fix costs across the entire country and is also why we spend about twice as much on health care as a % of GDP than any other industrialized nation in the world.  Most other counties make it illegal for health care to be produced by for-profit companies (one of the softer ways of democratizing markets).

Put those two things together and you have a recipe for disaster.  Capitalist markets are inherently unstable because of their hierarchical nature.  That is the only reason they need be regulated in the first place.

Here is a little test - make a list of the top 100 innovations of the last century.  Think about what those might be.  I garauntee you that about 90% of them had governmental R&D or subsidy at some point.  Let's think of what the big ones might be:

Mass transit - almost all government.

Nuclear Power - largely developed out of military research

the internet - also military and governmental research

satelites - yep

all manners of avionics and flight tech - tons of governmental and military spending in here

The only huge things I can think of that may not have had some governmental investment like this was perhaps cars and television.  But even with cars, a large part of the reason they were affordable enough to become so common was wartime production and the massive governmental contracts companies like GM, Jeep, and Ford received.

I challenge you to find something like this that did not have some element of governmental investment.  In reality the only thing markets "innovate" is how to screw consumers out of more of their money.  REAL innovation has almost ALWAYS come from collective or democratic investment.

Pierpont
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Pierpont wrote:In a democracy

Pierpont wrote:
In a democracy each citizen's voice, their vote, weighs the same… and they have that vote merely because they are citizens, regardless if they are penniless. It's the reason the political Right, which has a minority agenda to protect the interests of money, inherently distrusts democracy... they've just never trusted the rabble.

Sadly, the other side of this issue is that the Democrats also refuse to defend democratic concepts. The Party's implicit position is that any talk of true democracy is unacceptable thought. They wear democracy on their sleeve as Thom does. They can talk about Motor Voter and other minor tweaks to the system. But they can NEVER find it in themselves to actually define democracy because once they do they'll come face to face with their own intellectual bankrupcy... that they support a federal system that is at its heart… antidemocratic.

TheFirstLeftist
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Pierpont

Pierpont wrote:

 

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Compare a poor person now to a rich person in the 1700's. Who is better off?

And let me guess... this was ALL the doing of the private sector. The government played NO role in creating the conditions for the private sector to flourish. Again, thanks for your amusing rewrite of history.  

To the extent that the government enforced contracts and protected the human right to own property (the only human right there really is), yes.  To the extent that the government got in the way of people trading with one another, no. 

TheFirstLeftist
TheFirstLeftist's picture
Pierpont

Pierpont wrote:

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Let me give you my reason why the market is superior to Democracy. If people "vote" in the market by buying one product, does that mean I have to buy that product. There's room for almost everybody's wishes.
Thanks for that whacky theory of politics.

The point of my post was that democracy and the market are separate realms with different ways of making decisions… and that's the way it should be.

In the market, when people have no money... they have NO say.

No say over what?  What decisions should be made politically and what decisions should be made on the market?  I would submit, from the limited government libertarian point of view, that the only decisions to made politically are when to go to war and how to fund the limited functions of government.  From a zero government libertarian point of view, no decisions should be made democratically.  What gives someone else the right to get together with a bunch of other people and tell the whole country what to do.  As long as somebody isn't stealing, murdering, committing fraud, etc. the their actions should not be proscribed by "the people", "the majority", "Democracy", or whatever.  At the same time, if someone is living their life in a way you don't approve or running a business in a way you don't approve, you don't have to deal with them.  You can even use your time and money, as well as getting together with others voluntarily, to try to persuade the person to change his ways.

TheFirstLeftist
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ah2 wrote: Let me just start

ah2 wrote:

Let me just start by saying the distinction here is a little off.  The title of the thread should be Democracy vs. the Capitalist Market.  It is possible to create a type of democratic market hybrid which is variously called market socialism, Libertarian Socialism, and various other things that have similar structures.  That said, I will address the comments here rather than delve into another sermon about market socialism.

Here is the problem with your theory Leftist.  For what you describe to actually exist, you would have to have a democratic/socialist market system, not a Capitalist one.  You are missing a step in the chain by focusing only on the consumer aspect of a market and not the production side. Furthermore, you cannot simultaneously recognize that money is distributed unevenly, in a heiracrchical way and then suggest that all consumers have equal opportunity to purchase goods.  That is a contradiction.

The point that Dr. Econ was making is related to what I am going to talk about so I will clarify for you why he brought it up.  You said that "I don't have to buy anything that I don't want to."  But the fact of the matter is, all of us have to fullfill certain needs - things that have little to no choice involved like healthcare, food, and shelter.  That is why they call them necessities.  In unregulated markets, these necessities become ripe for abuse from a production and sale standpoint.  The price is inflated past actual demand because there is no ability for consumers to opt out of the transaction.

So, let's talk about two things related to that to get a fuller picture.

Demand is a funny thing.  Most people talk about demand as if people have demands for "products" but this not entirely true.  What people actually demand are solutions to needs, problems, or desires.  Products are a means to an end, not the end itself.  I buy a cell phone not because I want the cell phone but because I want to be able to call people from where ever I am at any time.  I buy a microwave not because I want a microwave but because I want to cook faster than a conventional oven.  What markets are theoretically supposed to do is solve people's needs, desires, and problems through production and trade.  Here is the problem with Capitalist markets - the solutions to needs, problems, and desires that they produce are NOT the best solution for the consumers.  What Capitalist markets produce are the solutions to needs, problems, and desires which leverage the most profit for Capitalists.  Capitalists get to decide what is produced.  There is a VAST amount of negative selection (removal of viable solutions or options for consumers) before they get to make a decision on what to buy.  I have mentioned this elsewhere but energy products are a great example.  A Capitalist market will NEVER produce something like solar panels to a large degree without subsidy to produce a whole lot of momentum first.  This is because Energy companies want solutions to energy needs that require people to continually to pay them money.  A solar panel is a discrete sale and then, beyond maintainence, generates no more revenue after it is sold.  A nuclear power plant, on the other hand, requires consumers to continually pay out cash.  Additionally, it is so complex that it requires highly trained specialists to manage.  This is a perfect natural "monopoly" of sorts (not in a literal sense).  So, you have choices in a Capitalist market.  They may just be a whole bunch of shitty ones that ALWAYS leverage the most benefit to the producer/Capitalist rather than being the utopian completely voluntary and mutally beneficial trade that Libertarians like to pretend actually exists.

Secondly, when you combine this with the fact that when markets are unregulated, competition NATURALLY disapates, this will develop into a system which eventually collapses on itself.  The fact of the matter is, in the industries that produce products to fullfill needs, there is an extremely high probability that you would develop natural monopolies or oligopolies.  Without regulation, there is nothing stopping companies with the most resources from colluding and price fixing.  The health care system in this country has a anti-trust exemption and this is what allows them to price fix costs across the entire country and is also why we spend about twice as much on health care as a % of GDP than any other industrialized nation in the world.  Most other counties make it illegal for health care to be produced by for-profit companies (one of the softer ways of democratizing markets).

Put those two things together and you have a recipe for disaster.  Capitalist markets are inherently unstable because of their hierarchical nature.  That is the only reason they need be regulated in the first place.

Here is a little test - make a list of the top 100 innovations of the last century.  Think about what those might be.  I garauntee you that about 90% of them had governmental R&D or subsidy at some point.  Let's think of what the big ones might be:

Mass transit - almost all government.

Nuclear Power - largely developed out of military research

the internet - also military and governmental research

satelites - yep

all manners of avionics and flight tech - tons of governmental and military spending in here

The only huge things I can think of that may not have had some governmental investment like this was perhaps cars and television.  But even with cars, a large part of the reason they were affordable enough to become so common was wartime production and the massive governmental contracts companies like GM, Jeep, and Ford received.

I challenge you to find something like this that did not have some element of governmental investment.  In reality the only thing markets "innovate" is how to screw consumers out of more of their money.  REAL innovation has almost ALWAYS come from collective or democratic investment.

ah2,

I apologize for any mischaracterizations but I scanned through your lengthy post.  I think I got the gist. 

First of all, I am not a Capitalist.  I support voluntary free market transactions.  That includes coops and other socialist-like organizations.

I think it is a non sequitur to say that because government was involved in industry A, then industry A would not have arisen.  I could just as easily say that government involvement slowed the development of industry A. 

Of course people don't have the same amounts of money.  But you're missing the point, in a free market economy people become wealthy by satisfying the consumer.  You focus a lot on profits.  But you neglect losses.  Losses mean you are not satisfying the consumer and you should go out of business.  NO BAILOUTS!  In a voluntary society, no one forces you to participate in capitalist ventures.  If you and your friends want to set up a commune, do it.  But in a centralized socialist society, people aren't free to set up their own "capitalist" commune.  That's the difference.

Also, it is not government "investment".  It was the government forcibly taken money from you and giving it to a politcally connected company.  In effect, they made you do business with someone you might not have done business with if given the choice.  I don't find government subsidies to be a rationale for further government subsidies, do you?  Thanks.

 

Bush_Wacker
Bush_Wacker's picture
The idea of free markets is a

The idea of free markets is a great one.  However there is a dark side to our so called free market system that without regulation can be more destructive than productive.  I remember about 30 years ago when there were no digital cameras.  Our town had a place to get your pictures developed at a very reasonable price and that store was doing very well.  Too well I guess because the local Kodak facility decided to overwhelm the little store with several massive film developing orders that they knew they could not meet.  They did this over and over again for several months until the little photo developing shop had to close down.  Now the majority of town had to use the Kodak developing shop and life returned to the good old monopoly for them that they had before.  If there were some kind of regulation in place to protect the little guy then that would have never happened.

That is just one small example of how large companies can crush small ones in order to monopolize the markets that they choose.  If we don't have regulations then we will eventually have less choices and that leads to more fixed prices.  I've seen too many places where a Malwart comes to town and it closes a dozen smaller family stores and even closes some of the other larger chain stores.  What we really have is an illusion of a free market.

Pierpont
Pierpont's picture
  TheFirstLeftist

 

TheFirstLeftist wrote:

Pierpont wrote:

And let me guess... this was ALL the doing of the private sector. The government played NO role in creating the conditions for the private sector to flourish. Again, thanks for your amusing rewrite of history.

To the extent that the government enforced contracts and protected the human right to own property (the only human right there really is), yes. To the extent that the government got in the way of people trading with one another, no. [/quote]

You seem to pretend you're a Libertarian but if one of the key principles is freedom is the ability to do anything that doesn't harm another, you... like all Libertarians, fail miserably to understand the implications of that key principle. The market is a thin veneer that ignores most of the economic realities in real life. Companies by their nature try to impose the costs of their private profit making activities on innocent third parties in the form of pollution, poor worker safety etc. It takes GOVERNMENT to bring these costs into the market. If you were a true Libertarian you'd agree no one should subsidize with the degradation of THEIR health and private property the private gain of others. But you don't. You're just a corporate apologist masquerading as a Libertarian... and revealing your moral bankruptcy in the process even if you believe you have a monopoly on economic morality. Please take your Libertarian clap trap nonsense elsewhere.

As for your other point… it brings me back to a question I've asked before… What's a killer idea for a product or service worth in an impoverished 3ed or 4th world nation without the infrastructure to exploit it? Probably nothing.

Libertarians and those on the Right fail, or pretend not to understand that good ideas, free choice, and markets alone do NOT make people wealthy. In reality for an inventor to exploit an idea requires the infrastructure built up by previous generations.

Getting rich requires a stable currency, a legal infrastructure of contract and patent law, a functional court system to enforce those laws. It requires a military infrastructure to keep a nation safe from external threats. It requires an educational infrastructure that can produce an educated workforce with the skills needed in the inventor's area. It requires a public health infrastructure for clean water, air, a vaccinated public to prevent pandemics. It requires a scientific and technological base of research that can be built upon. Often someone gets rich for only providing one last piece in a puzzle worked on by others for years. It requires domestic tranquility provided by law enforcement infrastructure. It requires physical investments be safe behind a fire fighting infrastructure. It requires an infrastructure of highways, sea ports, and airports for transportation of raw goods and parts to a factory and to bring finished goods to market. I could go on.

A good idea in an impoverished nation won’t make someone rich, but it will here in the US because previous generations have paid taxes and built up this nation’s infrastructure which allowed the private sector to flourish which then can be taxed to create more infrastructure. When working well, the public and private sectors BOOTSTRAP EACH OTHER to higher and higher levels of prosperity.

Yet Libertarians and the far Right seem to believe no one should feel there is much of a debt to society for that opportunity even if it's the rich who arguably most exploit those public resources. In fact they claim we're supposed to believe we owe everything to the rich who must be coddled lest they not throw their crumbs our way.

Pierpont
Pierpont's picture
TheFirstLeftist wrote:From a

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
From a zero government libertarian point of view, no decisions should be made democratically. What gives someone else the right to get together with a bunch of other people and tell the whole country what to do.
See my post above. Libertarians can come to such conclusions because they make a fundamental error in their core assumptions. They actually believe that the market reflects all economic realities and therefore people should be free to make any decisions they want. But the market does NOT reflect all economic realities… if left to its own the market tries to AVOID costs. In your dystopia a citizen whose health and private property are degraded by the private profit making activities of megacorporation's pollution has NO intrinsic right to be FREE of that assault through regulation… they can only go to court for relief or to be awarded damages. Justice will then be a matter of who has the resources to win that legal battle. We know how the lone citizen will fare in those battles. 

Either you believe in the principle we should be free to do anything that does not harm others or you don't. And  either you believe those decisions on what constitutes harm should be made democratically or you don't.

I do. Apparently you don't.

So who's standing up for more just and balanced Libertarian principles?

 

TheFirstLeftist
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Pierpont wrote:     Getting

Pierpont wrote:

 

 

Getting rich requires a stable currency, a legal infrastructure of contract and patent law, a functional court system to enforce those laws. It requires a military infrastructure to keep a nation safe from external threats. It requires an educational infrastructure that can produce an educated workforce with the skills needed in the inventor's area. It requires a public health infrastructure for clean water, air, a vaccinated public to prevent pandemics. It requires a scientific and technological base of research that can be built upon. Often someone gets rich for only providing one last piece in a puzzle worked on by others for years. It requires domestic tranquility provided by law enforcement infrastructure. It requires physical investments be safe behind a fire fighting infrastructure. It requires an infrastructure of highways, sea ports, and airports for transportation of raw goods and parts to a factory and to bring finished goods to market. I could go on.

 

 

a stable currency - government failed The dollar has lost 95% of its value since the inception of the Fed, which is not a market institution

 

a legal infrastructure of contract and patent law, a functional court system to enforce those laws - patents are grants of monopoly, libertarians generally opposed them

 

.It requires a military infrastructure to keep a nation safe from external threats-  as young people say "epic fail".  We have an empire

 

 It requires an educational infrastructure that can produce an educated workforce with the skills needed in the inventor's area-  educational system 90% of which is run by the government is in terrible shape.  Look at private schools and homeschools.

 

 It requires a public health infrastructure for clean water, air, a vaccinated public to prevent pandemics-  water is polluted, run by government.  Air is polluted in some areas, supposed protected by government.  I need hard evidence that vaccines are efficacious and protect against pandemics.

 

 It requires domestic tranquility provided by law enforcement infrastructure- police state, failed

 

 

 

Pierpont wrote:

Yet Libertarians and the far Right seem to believe no one should feel there is much of a debt to society for that opportunity even if it's the rich who arguably most exploit those public resources. In fact they claim we're supposed to believe we owe everything to the rich who must be coddled lest they not throw their crumbs our way.

Actually, the rich are dependent on the masses of people to buy their goods and services.  However, if they try to use the government is enrich themselves then libertarians would be 100% with you.

By the way, libertarians and the far Right don't have too much in common.

TheFirstLeftist
TheFirstLeftist's picture
Pierpont, Pollution is a

Pierpont,

Pollution is a trespass.  It is a violation of property rights.  No libertarian supports corporations being able to pass costs on consumers by polluting. 

Supporting the right of people to do as they wish provided they don't harm others does not in any way endorse what they do with that right.  I didn't think I had to explain that to a liberal.

For me, harm is murder,theft,rape, etc.  Lowering of property values due to change of consumer preferences is not harm.  For example, if vegetarians were able to convince all Americans to give up beef, the price of cattle would drop.  Does this mean cattlemen are harmed?  Yes, financially. but not physcially.  There exists no right to a set property value. 

TheFirstLeftist
TheFirstLeftist's picture
Bush_Wacker wrote: The idea

Bush_Wacker wrote:

The idea of free markets is a great one.  However there is a dark side to our so called free market system that without regulation can be more destructive than productive.  I remember about 30 years ago when there were no digital cameras.  Our town had a place to get your pictures developed at a very reasonable price and that store was doing very well.  Too well I guess because the local Kodak facility decided to overwhelm the little store with several massive film developing orders that they knew they could not meet.  They did this over and over again for several months until the little photo developing shop had to close down.  Now the majority of town had to use the Kodak developing shop and life returned to the good old monopoly for them that they had before.  If there were some kind of regulation in place to protect the little guy then that would have never happened.

That is just one small example of how large companies can crush small ones in order to monopolize the markets that they choose.  If we don't have regulations then we will eventually have less choices and that leads to more fixed prices.  I've seen too many places where a Malwart comes to town and it closes a dozen smaller family stores and even closes some of the other larger chain stores.  What we really have is an illusion of a free market.

Are you telling me that the local developer didn't catch on to what Kodak was doing after the 1st time?  Why didn't they refuse subsequent orders if they knew Kodak was trying to overwhelm them.  Why didn't they hire more workers?  Sounds like they should have gone out of business.

Pierpont
Pierpont's picture
@ TheFirstLeftist Can a well

@ TheFirstLeftist

Can a well run government be hijacked or sabotaged? Sure. And it's usually corporate interests doing the hijacking, and the nuts on the far Right doing the sabotaging. Does that then mean we need to remove government oversight of corporations that are by design amoral and often sociopathic? I think not. 

 

Bush_Wacker
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TheFirstLeftist

TheFirstLeftist wrote:

Bush_Wacker wrote:

The idea of free markets is a great one.  However there is a dark side to our so called free market system that without regulation can be more destructive than productive.  I remember about 30 years ago when there were no digital cameras.  Our town had a place to get your pictures developed at a very reasonable price and that store was doing very well.  Too well I guess because the local Kodak facility decided to overwhelm the little store with several massive film developing orders that they knew they could not meet.  They did this over and over again for several months until the little photo developing shop had to close down.  Now the majority of town had to use the Kodak developing shop and life returned to the good old monopoly for them that they had before.  If there were some kind of regulation in place to protect the little guy then that would have never happened.

That is just one small example of how large companies can crush small ones in order to monopolize the markets that they choose.  If we don't have regulations then we will eventually have less choices and that leads to more fixed prices.  I've seen too many places where a Malwart comes to town and it closes a dozen smaller family stores and even closes some of the other larger chain stores.  What we really have is an illusion of a free market.

Are you telling me that the local developer didn't catch on to what Kodak was doing after the 1st time?  Why didn't they refuse subsequent orders if they knew Kodak was trying to overwhelm them.  Why didn't they hire more workers?  Sounds like they should have gone out of business.

They did handle it at first.  It went to court and the judge ruled that they had to be able to process anything that was dropped off.  They couldn't and were sued.  I knew the people who owned it personally.  They were very adept at their business but they were crushed and they moved on.  Best Buy and Malwart have put dozens of local computer and electronic shops out of business in the last 10 years.  Little guys can't compete against the giants and the giants gain all the power.  The free market at it's best.

Pierpont
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TheFirstLeftist

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Pollution is a trespass. It is a violation of property rights. No libertarian supports corporations being able to pass costs on consumers by polluting.
Yes it is... and given this what is the proper remedy if not prior restraint through regulation? What's the market's "solution" to including in the price of production those costs like pollution which market imperatives seek to avoid? Do you believe the courts will deal with this? If they do, it's after harm is done and it would be done piecemeal with different states having different pollution laws... as if pollution doesn't cross state lines. Even the so-called market approach using pollution credits, which has to be organized by government, leaves many citizens victims of pollution because polluters can just buy the right to pollute from cleaner companies.

As for what so-called "libertarians" believe... I've yet to see one say we need prior restraint though regulations which is the only solution that protects the most people BEFORE harm is done.

 

Pierpont
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  TheFirstLeftist

 

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Supporting the right of people to do as they wish provided they don't harm others does not in any way endorse what they do with that right. I didn't think I had to explain that to a liberal.

I'm not a f*cking Liberal. I believe as I said, liberty is the right to do anything that doesn't harm anyone else. We probably disagree on what harm is. I believe it’s an evolving concept. I believe government has the duty to expand rights for responsible citizens while protecting society against irresponsible citizens. I own a gun but don't believe that right comes from the Second Amendment but is protected by the Ninth. I believe any law that exceeds legitimate intent is an abuse of power. So I'm against blanket prohibition of recreational drug use by responsible adults. On the other hand I also believe the market is inherently inefficient in some areas and I'm for Single Payer... that this can free people from living in fear of not being able to afford health care. It could also free employers from the headache. Having dealt with level funded contracts as health care costs rise… I know we have an insanely inefficient system. Rather than looking at banning anything people choose to do, I also believe in personal responsibility so I believe potentially unhealthy activities like smoking, drug use, and drinking should be taxed in direct proportion to what it costs to treat the social costs with that money dedicated to the health care system. Conversely we should probably give away free helmets for kids who ride bikes. Can you find contradiction in the above principles, sure. I don't have to write legislation.

TheFirstLeftist
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Pierpont

Pierpont wrote:

 

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Supporting the right of people to do as they wish provided they don't harm others does not in any way endorse what they do with that right. I didn't think I had to explain that to a liberal.

I'm not a f*cking Liberal. I believe as I said, liberty is the right to do anything that doesn't harm anyone else. We probably disagree on what harm is. I believe it’s an evolving concept. I believe government has the duty to expand rights for responsible citizens while protecting society against irresponsible citizens. I own a gun but don't believe that right comes from the Second Amendment but is protected by the Ninth. I believe any law that exceeds legitimate intent is an abuse of power. So I'm against blanket prohibition of recreational drug use by responsible adults. On the other hand I also believe the market is inherently inefficient in some areas and I'm for Single Payer... that this can free people from living in fear of not being able to afford health care. It could also free employers from the headache. Having dealt with level funded contracts as health care costs rise… I know we have an insanely inefficient system. Rather than looking at banning anything people choose to do, I also believe in personal responsibility so I believe potentially unhealthy activities like smoking, drug use, and drinking should be taxed in direct proportion to what it costs to treat the social costs with that money dedicated to the health care system. Conversely we should probably give away free helmets for kids who ride bikes. Can you find contradiction in the above principles, sure. I don't have to write legislation.

The "liberal" comment wasn't meant as an insult.  I consider myself a true liberal.  Government spends or controls at least 50% of every health care dollar now.  We don't have anywhere near a free-market system.  I'm against single-payer for moral, economic and constitutional reasons.  If everyone has to pay for others' unhealthy habits, control of habits will inevitably follow.  Economically, if you make a good free or nearly free, demand will shoot and supply will fall.  There will be artificial shortages.  Rationing will inevitably follow.  Constitutionally, there is no authorization for it.  States can do it, though.

Nothing is free.  Everything good and service must be provided by someone.  "Health care" is goods as well as services.  Markets are more efficient than government.  That doesn't mean that whatever markets produce is good.  It is just what the sum total of consumers want.

ah2
TheFirstLeftist wrote: ah2

TheFirstLeftist wrote:

ah2 wrote:

Let me just start by saying the distinction here is a little off.  The title of the thread should be Democracy vs. the Capitalist Market.  It is possible to create a type of democratic market hybrid which is variously called market socialism, Libertarian Socialism, and various other things that have similar structures.  That said, I will address the comments here rather than delve into another sermon about market socialism.

Here is the problem with your theory Leftist.  For what you describe to actually exist, you would have to have a democratic/socialist market system, not a Capitalist one.  You are missing a step in the chain by focusing only on the consumer aspect of a market and not the production side. Furthermore, you cannot simultaneously recognize that money is distributed unevenly, in a heiracrchical way and then suggest that all consumers have equal opportunity to purchase goods.  That is a contradiction.

The point that Dr. Econ was making is related to what I am going to talk about so I will clarify for you why he brought it up.  You said that "I don't have to buy anything that I don't want to."  But the fact of the matter is, all of us have to fullfill certain needs - things that have little to no choice involved like healthcare, food, and shelter.  That is why they call them necessities.  In unregulated markets, these necessities become ripe for abuse from a production and sale standpoint.  The price is inflated past actual demand because there is no ability for consumers to opt out of the transaction.

So, let's talk about two things related to that to get a fuller picture.

Demand is a funny thing.  Most people talk about demand as if people have demands for "products" but this not entirely true.  What people actually demand are solutions to needs, problems, or desires.  Products are a means to an end, not the end itself.  I buy a cell phone not because I want the cell phone but because I want to be able to call people from where ever I am at any time.  I buy a microwave not because I want a microwave but because I want to cook faster than a conventional oven.  What markets are theoretically supposed to do is solve people's needs, desires, and problems through production and trade.  Here is the problem with Capitalist markets - the solutions to needs, problems, and desires that they produce are NOT the best solution for the consumers.  What Capitalist markets produce are the solutions to needs, problems, and desires which leverage the most profit for Capitalists.  Capitalists get to decide what is produced.  There is a VAST amount of negative selection (removal of viable solutions or options for consumers) before they get to make a decision on what to buy.  I have mentioned this elsewhere but energy products are a great example.  A Capitalist market will NEVER produce something like solar panels to a large degree without subsidy to produce a whole lot of momentum first.  This is because Energy companies want solutions to energy needs that require people to continually to pay them money.  A solar panel is a discrete sale and then, beyond maintainence, generates no more revenue after it is sold.  A nuclear power plant, on the other hand, requires consumers to continually pay out cash.  Additionally, it is so complex that it requires highly trained specialists to manage.  This is a perfect natural "monopoly" of sorts (not in a literal sense).  So, you have choices in a Capitalist market.  They may just be a whole bunch of shitty ones that ALWAYS leverage the most benefit to the producer/Capitalist rather than being the utopian completely voluntary and mutally beneficial trade that Libertarians like to pretend actually exists.

Secondly, when you combine this with the fact that when markets are unregulated, competition NATURALLY disapates, this will develop into a system which eventually collapses on itself.  The fact of the matter is, in the industries that produce products to fullfill needs, there is an extremely high probability that you would develop natural monopolies or oligopolies.  Without regulation, there is nothing stopping companies with the most resources from colluding and price fixing.  The health care system in this country has a anti-trust exemption and this is what allows them to price fix costs across the entire country and is also why we spend about twice as much on health care as a % of GDP than any other industrialized nation in the world.  Most other counties make it illegal for health care to be produced by for-profit companies (one of the softer ways of democratizing markets).

Put those two things together and you have a recipe for disaster.  Capitalist markets are inherently unstable because of their hierarchical nature.  That is the only reason they need be regulated in the first place.

Here is a little test - make a list of the top 100 innovations of the last century.  Think about what those might be.  I garauntee you that about 90% of them had governmental R&D or subsidy at some point.  Let's think of what the big ones might be:

Mass transit - almost all government.

Nuclear Power - largely developed out of military research

the internet - also military and governmental research

satelites - yep

all manners of avionics and flight tech - tons of governmental and military spending in here

The only huge things I can think of that may not have had some governmental investment like this was perhaps cars and television.  But even with cars, a large part of the reason they were affordable enough to become so common was wartime production and the massive governmental contracts companies like GM, Jeep, and Ford received.

I challenge you to find something like this that did not have some element of governmental investment.  In reality the only thing markets "innovate" is how to screw consumers out of more of their money.  REAL innovation has almost ALWAYS come from collective or democratic investment.

ah2,

I apologize for any mischaracterizations but I scanned through your lengthy post.  I think I got the gist. 

First of all, I am not a Capitalist.  I support voluntary free market transactions.  That includes coops and other socialist-like organizations.

I think it is a non sequitur to say that because government was involved in industry A, then industry A would not have arisen.  I could just as easily say that government involvement slowed the development of industry A. 

If this were true, these industries would have cropped up prior to the government getting involved.  Additionally, in virtually all of these cases, the government did not prevent private industry from developing these technologies on their own.  If the private industry were actually going to do anything with these industries at the time, then you would have seen parallel development in the private sector, but you didn't.  I think it is pretty clear, and not debateable that the governmental involvement in these sectors were essential for their development.

Typically there are three reasons that markets will not produce industries like these:

1.  They don't have enough capital by themselves to make the investment needed.

2.  They don't have the insight to see the profit potential for particular technologies.

3.  The risk aversion is too high for them to engage in development.

Quote:
Of course people don't have the same amounts of money.  But you're missing the point, in a free market economy people become wealthy by satisfying the consumer.  You focus a lot on profits.  But you neglect losses.  Losses mean you are not satisfying the consumer and you should go out of business.  NO BAILOUTS!  In a voluntary society, no one forces you to participate in capitalist ventures.  If you and your friends want to set up a commune, do it.  But in a centralized socialist society, people aren't free to set up their own "capitalist" commune.  That's the difference.

It is clear by this statement that you did not read the second half of my post.  Either that or you are intentionally ignoring my point.

I have a problem/need/desire:

Potential solution are A, B, and C.  Solution A can represent all the bad ideas that would create losses.  Solution B represents the best possible solution that does not necessarily create a lot of revenue stream for the producer.  Solution C represents a solution that creates the maximum amount of revenue for the producer, is not the best solution but is good enough to fullfill the need/desire of the consumer - it solves the problem but does so in a way that maximizes profits for the producer but not necessarily benefit to the consumer.

Consumers do not choose what gets produced.  In our system, capitalists do.  As long as that is the case, they will ALWAYS choose Solution C.  The solution that maximizes benefit will never be produced.  The capitalist "satisfies the consumer" but the market has not produced the maximum possible benefit to them in preference for revenue for the capitalist.

You operate in a world where the market ALWAYS produces this magical solution that maximizes benefit to all parties involved.  This is simply unrealistic - completely unhinged from reality.  Part of this is that Libertarians like yourself seem to think that the nature of the good has no bearing on market exchange.  A good is a good is a good.  You pay little to no attention to the physical realities of the goods themselves and how that effects both market distribution and use value for the consumer.

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Also, it is not government "investment".  It was the government forcibly taken money from you and giving it to a politcally connected company.  In effect, they made you do business with someone you might not have done business with if given the choice.  I don't find government subsidies to be a rationale for further government subsidies, do you?  Thanks.

Here you intentionally misrepresent my statements.  I don't appreciate it.  First off, government doesn't forceably take money.  You can vote for someone who operates on a zero government policy and engage in political activity to bring about this change if you wish.  You are represented in the government and as such you have a voice there.  Now, I am not naive enough to claim that this is completely true.  I too recognize the problems with the current system - too much money, too much lobbying, no proportional representation, a severe lack of direct democracy, etc.  that interferes with our individual voices influencing the system.  However, you and I tend to look at this is divergent ways.  I believe government would function well if you fix the mechanism that are broken.  You seem to think that government as a concept is inherently flawed.

However, you make this claim on the premise that government is flawed because of its coersive nature and the power structure it imposes on the public.  Where you go wrong is that you seem to believe that if you elminate government that everyone is simply going to "play nice" and that all asymmetrical power relationships and coersion would simply vanish.  I would wager to say that this premise is perhaps the most naive thing I have ever heard in my entire life.  People, corporations, capitalists, etc. spend billions upon billions of dollars every year to influence the government and get their little slice of pie of their coersive power.  I don't deny that.  What I deny is that in absence of government, those same people will just throw up there hands and say, "I guess it is all over!!  We have to play nice now and do what is right for the consumer!!"  Bullshit.  Within months companies like Lockheed and Martin, Smith and Wesson, Exxon, BP, and probably even companies like Goldman Sachs, etc. would all have hired their own little militias and private armies.  Those who had served in the military would turn mercenary.  And communities would be left to fend for themselves.  It would be Wild West except with fully automatic weapons, explosives, nuclear bombs, and chemical weapons.  Awesome.  Great idea.

 

Pierpont
Pierpont's picture
  TheFirstLeftist wrote:

 

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Constitutionally, there is no authorization for it. States can do it, though.
Of COURSE there's authority in the Constitution for Single Payer... under Congress's power to tax to provide for the General Welfare of the US. The legal precedents go back to 1798 when Congress passed a tax on shipping to provide hospitals for disabled seamen. This was done, as Thom just mentioned when 17 Framers were in Congress. They probably knew a bit more about Original Intent than the Right wing today. There are no restraints on Congress defining what the General Welfare is.

 

TheFirstLeftist
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Pierpont wrote:    Of COURSE

Pierpont wrote:

 

 Of COURSE there's authority in the Constitution for Single Payer... under Congress's power to tax to provide for the General Welfare of the US. The legal precedents go back to 1798 when Congress passed a tax on shipping to provide hospitals for disabled seamen. This was done, as Thom just mentioned when 17 Framers were in Congress. They probably knew a bit more about Original Intent than the Right wing today. There are no restraints on Congress defining what the General Welfare is.

 

"Left-liberals have been arguing that the 1798 Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen, which none of them knew about until well after Obama’s health-care bill passed, makes Obama’s bill constitutional. Touching as this sudden constitutional scrupulosity may be, the 1798 act proves no such thing. Rob Natelson sent me a note to this effect that he has permitted me to share on this blog. (Prof. Natelson, formerly of the University of Montana Law School, is Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute in Colorado.) What follows is in addition to the more fundamental point that the mere fact that something has been done once is no proof of its constitutionality; such a principle would require us to endorse all manner of enormities.

As you have reported in your weblog, some “progressive” commentators have argued that 1 Stat. 605 [the Act for Sick and Disabled Seamen] was adopted pursuant to the Constitution’s General Welfare Clause, and they have cited it as a constitutional precedent for Medicaid and for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

As you have pointed out, however, the measure was not passed until nearly a decade after the ratification of the Constitution. This renders it only weak evidence, if it is evidence at all, of the understanding at the ratification.  (See my book, The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant, p. 40, for a discussion of the appropriate time limits for evidence of original understanding.)

More importantly, though, the “progressives” appear to be sadly mistaken as to the constitutional basis for the law. The historical record makes it clear that it was not adopted under the General Welfare Clause, but was considered a constitutional regulation of  foreign commerce precisely because it targeted directly workers involved in navigation.

There are several bases for this conclusion:

First, at the time of the Founding  the legal term “regulate commerce” was defined to include the regulation of navigation.  See Robert G. Natelson, The Legal Meaning of “Commerce” in the Commerce Clause, 80 St. John’s L. Rev. 789 (2006) (collecting over 500 uses of the term “commerce” in prior and contemporaneous legal materials). That is why Chief Justice John Marshall could write in Gibbons v. Ogden that “all America is united in that construction which comprehends navigation in the word commerce” and why he included regulation of mariners and merchantmen within that term.

Second, in congressional debate the bill’s advocates compared the measure to an act of Parliament for British sailors dating from the reign of Charles II. That program was discussed—and approved—by James Otis, one of the most famous pre-revolutionary American advocates, in his highly influential pamphlet, The Rights of the British Colonists Asserted and Proved. Otis, like other colonial pamphleteers, laid heavy emphasis on the distinction between British exactions for revenue (taxes), which they rejected, and British impositions for the regulation of inter-colonial trade, which they accepted. Thus, Otis’ acceptance of the British mariners’ law strongly suggests that he and his contemporaries considered such measures to be no more than regulation of navigation, and therefore of commerce.

Third, in congressional debate the exaction was discussed as offsetting or complementing bounties on fishing and the duty on salt—quintessential “regulations of commerce” as the term was used then.

Fourth, although the word “tax” appeared in earlier drafts of 1 Stat. 605, the word was removed before passage.

Fifth, as a check-off from mariners’ pay, the program was analogous to other self-funded regulations of commerce, such as fees imposed for the funding of inspection laws (cf. U.S. Const. Art. I, Section 10, Clause 2).

Sixth: The only constitutional opposition to the act in Congress arose to earlier bill drafts, when the exaction was still referred to as a tax. The ground of opposition was that might be an unconstitutional unapportioned direct tax. The lack of other constitutional objections (it passed overwhelmingly), coupled with its precedent in the British Empire, suggests a consensus that 1 Stat. 605 was authorized as a regulation of foreign commerce.

Seventh: The foregoing is strengthen by the historical context of the bill: It was adopted during the Napoleonic Wars, when the U.S. was trying to protect our shipping from measures taken against it by France and Britain and when there were increased risks to American seamen. Again, this suggests that it was a measure passed under the Commerce Power in facilitation of navigation.

Obviously, therefore, 1 Stat. 605 is not a serious precedent for modern federal health care programs, which are supported by taxes and go far beyond serving people directly involved in navigation."

http://www.tomwoods.com/blog/does-that-1798-act-make-obamacare-constitutional/

TheFirstLeftist
TheFirstLeftist's picture
Pierpont

Pierpont wrote:

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Pollution is a trespass. It is a violation of property rights. No libertarian supports corporations being able to pass costs on consumers by polluting.
Yes it is... and given this what is the proper remedy if not prior restraint through regulation? What's the market's "solution" to including in the price of production those costs like pollution which market imperatives seek to avoid? Do you believe the courts will deal with this? If they do, it's after harm is done and it would be done piecemeal with different states having different pollution laws... as if pollution doesn't cross state lines. Even the so-called market approach using pollution credits, which has to be organized by government, leaves many citizens victims of pollution because polluters can just buy the right to pollute from cleaner companies.

As for what so-called "libertarians" believe... I've yet to see one say we need prior restraint though regulations which is the only solution that protects the most people BEFORE harm is done.

It would be a tort.  Pollution credits are NOT a market solution.  It's a pseudo-market solution proposed by beltway types.

Professor Rothbard has an answer for you,

"

If the problem of water pollution can be cured by private property rights in water, how about air pollution? How can libertarians possibly come up with a solution for this grievous problem? Surely, there can't be private property in the air? But the answer is: yes, there can. We have already seen how radio and TV frequencies can be privately owned. So could channels for airlines. Commercial airline routes, for example, could be privately owned; there is no need for a Civil Aeronautics Board to parcel out — and restrict — routes between various cities. But in the case of air pollution we are dealing not so much with private property in the air as with protecting private property in one's lungs, fields, and orchards. The vital fact about air pollution is that the polluter sends unwanted and unbidden pollutants — from smoke to nuclear radiation to sulfur oxides — through the air and into the lungs of innocent victims, as well as onto their material property. All such emanations which injure person or property constitute aggression against the private property of the victims. Air pollution, after all, is just as much aggression as committing arson against another's property or injuring him physically. Air pollution that injures others is aggression pure and simple. The major function of government — of courts and police — is to stop aggression; instead, the government has failed in this task and has failed grievously to exercise its defense function against air pollution."

Read the whole section.  Dr. Mary Ruwart discusses pollution in this pamphlet  She wrote a book called "Healing Our World, The Other Piece of the Puzzle".  It's perfect for liberals/progressives.  Here's a chapter that expands on the pamphet.

Sorry for the quotes and the links but while the libertarian philosophy can be boiled down to a couple of lines, the explanation can't.

ah2
You basically just provided a

You basically just provided a rational for pollution regulations - something that Libertarians constantly rail against.

Pierpont
Pierpont's picture
TheFirstLeftist

TheFirstLeftist wrote:

Pierpont wrote:

Of COURSE there's authority in the Constitution for Single Payer... under Congress's power to tax to provide for the General Welfare of the US. The legal precedents go back to 1798 when Congress passed a tax on shipping to provide hospitals for disabled seamen. This was done, as Thom just mentioned when 17 Framers were in Congress. They probably knew a bit more about Original Intent than the Right wing today. There are no restraints on Congress defining what the General Welfare is.

"Left-liberals have been arguing that the 1798 Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen, which none of them knew about until well after Obama’s health-care bill passed, makes Obama’s bill constitutional. Touching as this sudden constitutional scrupulosity may be, the 1798 act proves no such thing.

Yawn… I said SINGLE PAYER was Constitutional. I have problems with ObamaCare's individual mandate.... though that too has a 1792 precedent in the Militia Acts where all militia members were required to have a musket plus other equipment. As for the 1798 Act... Madison first raised it as one of the first matters of business in the FIRST CONGRESS.  Time to find a more credible blog.

Pierpont
Pierpont's picture
TheFirstLeftist

TheFirstLeftist wrote:

Pierpont wrote:

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Pollution is a trespass. It is a violation of property rights. No libertarian supports corporations being able to pass costs on consumers by polluting.
Yes it is... and given this what is the proper remedy if not prior restraint through regulation? What's the market's "solution" to including in the price of production those costs like pollution which market imperatives seek to avoid? Do you believe the courts will deal with this? If they do, it's after harm is done and it would be done piecemeal with different states having different pollution laws... as if pollution doesn't cross state lines. Even the so-called market approach using pollution credits, which has to be organized by government, leaves many citizens victims of pollution because polluters can just buy the right to pollute from cleaner companies.

As for what so-called "libertarians" believe... I've yet to see one say we need prior restraint though regulations which is the only solution that protects the most people BEFORE harm is done.

Professor Rothbard has an answer for you...

Please spare me all your Libertarian clap trap. I'm quite content with a well run publicly owned commons and certainly don't believe the environment will be protected by rich, beneficent overlords. But feel free to believe all that nonsense if you want. Nonsense? Because no belief system, no matter how loony, will be accepted if it doesn't meet three conditions… that 1: it sounds plausible, there's some internal consistency… 2: it convinces people they are moral… and 3… they are convinced they working for on in behalf of something bigger than themselves… God, History, Nation, Race, the Market, whatever.

anonymous green
and the Pharaohs walked

and the Pharaohs walked toward the sea
which parted, incidentally

and thinking it was safe to pass
they lifted Romney by the ass
and walked like gods between the floods
with gold and diamonds in their mouths
to hide them from each other's eyes
right here
where now calm waters rise

TheFirstLeftist
TheFirstLeftist's picture
Pierpont

Pierpont wrote:

TheFirstLeftist wrote:

Pierpont wrote:

Of COURSE there's authority in the Constitution for Single Payer... under Congress's power to tax to provide for the General Welfare of the US. The legal precedents go back to 1798 when Congress passed a tax on shipping to provide hospitals for disabled seamen. This was done, as Thom just mentioned when 17 Framers were in Congress. They probably knew a bit more about Original Intent than the Right wing today. There are no restraints on Congress defining what the General Welfare is.

"Left-liberals have been arguing that the 1798 Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen, which none of them knew about until well after Obama’s health-care bill passed, makes Obama’s bill constitutional. Touching as this sudden constitutional scrupulosity may be, the 1798 act proves no such thing.

Yawn… I said SINGLE PAYER was Constitutional. I have problems with ObamaCare's individual mandate.... though that too has a 1792 precedent in the Militia Acts where all militia members were required to have a musket plus other equipment. As for the 1798 Act... Madison first raised it as one of the first matters of business in the FIRST CONGRESS.  Time to find a more credible blog.

Even if you dismiss the arguments given, just because some of the Founders violated the Constititution right from the start, doesn't justify violating it further.  How is single payer Constitutional?  It's not under the Commerce Clause and it's not under the General Welfare Clause, so where is it?

Phaedrus76
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removed by self

removed by self

Pierpont
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TheFirstLeftist wrote:Even if

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Even if you dismiss the arguments given, just because some of the Founders violated the Constititution right from the start, doesn't justify violating it further.
Gee, let's see if I can follow your "logic", such as it is. Those closest to the ratification of the Constitution, are ignorant of Original Intent... yet some right wing blogger 220 years later must be believed. So in your hardly humble opinion, you know more about the Constitution than Madison? And if that wasn't enough... you accuse him of proposing unconstitutional acts?  

Quote:
How is single payer Constitutional? It's not under the Commerce Clause and it's not under the General Welfare Clause, so where is it?
Some Commerce Clause arguments have always been a stretch. But who says Single Payer could NOT be covered by the General Welfare provision in Article 1, Sec 8?  It's pretty open-ended. Show me where in the Constitution Congress is restrained from deciding for itself what the General Welfare is! As long as what Congress decides doesn't violate some other part of the Constitution, it's pretty much free to do what it wants in this area... just as, apparently, it can decide that the defense of the nation requires worldwide empire… though there are restraints on funding a standing army for more than two years.

  

Pierpont
Pierpont's picture
TheFirstLeftist

TheFirstLeftist wrote:

Pierpont wrote:

Yawn… I said SINGLE PAYER was Constitutional. I have problems with ObamaCare's individual mandate.... though that too has a 1792 precedent in the Militia Acts where all militia members were required to have a musket plus other equipment. As for the 1798 Act... Madison first raised it as one of the first matters of business in the FIRST CONGRESS. Time to find a more credible blog.

Even if you dismiss the arguments given, just because some of the Founders violated the Constititution right from the start, doesn't justify violating it further. How is single payer Constitutional? It's not under the Commerce Clause and it's not under the General Welfare Clause, so where is it?

I await your argument that the Militia Acts, which required militia members to own or buy a musket and other suitable equipment, was unconstitutional. Article 1, sec 8 of the Constitution is quite clear that Congress has the power

Quote:
"To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;"

The Militia Acts simply fulfilled that constitutional mandate and required

Quote:
That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack. That the commissioned Officers shall severally be armed with a sword or hanger, and espontoon; and that from and after five years from the passing of this Act, all muskets from arming the militia as is herein required, shall be of bores sufficient for balls of the eighteenth part of a pound; and every citizen so enrolled, and providing himself with the arms, ammunition and accoutrements, required as aforesaid, shall hold the same exempted from all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes.

http://www.constitution.org/mil/mil_act_1792.htm    

But of course, your right wing blogger knows best.

 

Dr. Econ
Dr. Econ's picture
TheFirstLeftist wrote: Dr.

TheFirstLeftist wrote:

Dr. Econ wrote:

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
... Even in our corporatist economy, I still don't have to buy anything I don't want to. ...Contrast to the government and politics.  Any policy is imposed on everyone.  The minority is not protected.  

By natural necessity, you are forced to buy things to survive. What those things are determined by the market, where the more money you have, the more influence you have on the products and prices for sale in that market.  One could imagine a government that offers stuff that poor people desire over a market which is geared to the wealthy. Yes, it would extremely unlikely, but so would a libertarian soceity.  In fact, most people choose to have governments do things like welfare, health care and education precisely because the wealthy skew these things so they are out of the reach of many.

Do you some alternative system whereby goods and services just appear out of nowhere and nobody has to produce anything.  Of course, I have to buy things to survive.  So does everyone.  That's one of the reasons we trade.  Where does the government get these goods?  A Mercedes is out of my reach but a Hyundai isn't.  I don't care that rich people can get better goods and services than I do.  That's a benefit and an incentive to become rich.  Compare a poor person now to a rich person in the 1700's.  Who is better off?

Do I need to repeat myself? Your first question is foolish - I am advocating something close to what we have now.  Your second question is obvious - the government gets them by taxing and spending. Your last question is also silly - the mixed economy is the only feasible economic system and has made the largest economies and wealth in history.

 

Dr. Econ
Dr. Econ's picture
TheFirstLeftist

TheFirstLeftist wrote:

Pierpont wrote:

 

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Compare a poor person now to a rich person in the 1700's. Who is better off?

And let me guess... this was ALL the doing of the private sector. The government played NO role in creating the conditions for the private sector to flourish. Again, thanks for your amusing rewrite of history.  

To the extent that the government enforced contracts and protected the human right to own property (the only human right there really is), yes.  To the extent that the government got in the way of people trading with one another, no. 

Doesn't the improvement of economic output at lest since 1900 prove that Libertarianism doesn't work?

Dr. Econ
Dr. Econ's picture
TheFirstLeftist

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
...you're missing the point, in a free market economy people become wealthy by satisfying the consumer. 

My point earlier is that a consumer can be more satisifed with a political process if his dollar votes are not too great in the free market.

Politicians who supply public education, health, safety and banking regulations also "satisfy" the consumer.

They do this because either people's preferences are reflecting better in a political sphere of democracy, or because of market failures - not that you believe in the latter, but I am including it for completeness of the arguement.

Dr. Econ
Dr. Econ's picture
TheFirstLeftist wrote: a

TheFirstLeftist wrote:

a stable currency - government failed The dollar has lost 95% of its value since the inception of the Fed, which is not a market institution 

I think it is better than having 200 currencies in the state of Minnesta alone in 1860, when private banks issued their own currency.

 

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
.. educational system 90% of which is run by the government is in terrible shape.

Compared to European counterparts who have even more public education and unionization.

Dr. Econ
Dr. Econ's picture
TheFirstLeftist wrote:

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
Professor Rothbard has an answer for you [handle environmental crimes through the courts]

I would say half the regulations liberals want are things to mitigate corporate fraud and abuse. And the Libertarians are generally against these things, leaving them to our court system.

I find this absurd, as anyone who has studied cases like these. There is a great deal of uncertainity as to who causes the pollution, and if regulations are not enforced, there is often no way to prove that a firm actually engaged in a crime. Corporations, who have millions in profits, take advantage of this uncertainty and often get away with murder. Read any of Greg Palast's books. That is why we need to regulate corporations right down to a tee.

drc2
Ah Dr. Econ, more cogency

Ah Dr. Econ, more cogency that FL can handle.

FL, before you post one more word on the power of the Market and how consumers drive what is produced, go to RT on Ron Paul for Antifascists excellent summary of the problems with the whole idea of markets and consumer choice or power.  The basic problem is that there is no "natural law" reality under the dogma of markets as realities in themselves.  They are created and designed to fit societies, not the reverse.

pshakkottai
pshakkottai's picture
   RE ah2 :   “Let me just

 

 RE ah2 :   “Let me just start by saying the distinction here is a little off.  The title of the thread should be Democracy vs. the Capitalist Market.  It is possible to create a type of democratic market hybrid which is variously called market socialism, Libertarian Socialism, and various other things that have similar structures.  That said, I will address the comments here rather than delve into another sermon about market socialism.”

 

I give an example of market socialism which is democratic.

My suggestion is this. The civil servant can be a “strong hand of careful wisdom”. The framework is where the wisdom resides. I give this using the example of India with a better constitution. India has a better government with “socialism” and “fraternity” added and “pursuit of happiness” deleted. I copy the preamble from the wiki:
WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Preamble_to_Constitution_of_India.pdf&page=1

 

India supports the commons well, low taxes to the agriculture sector, free university education, rural employment for infrastructure development, funding for science and technology development etc. Its banking is mostly government owned and operated by well qualified civil servants (from the Indian Administrative Service) and the plutocracy is kept away. Letting banks be private is a disaster because it gives money creation power to the wealthy which leads to corruption of the government.

 

Railways, oil and gas, National Airlines, post and telegraph, Ship building, Steel Industry are government owned. There are also many private airlines. Private enterprise is not discouraged.

 

The treasury and fed are combined into a central bank and money creation is not restricted by “debt limits”. It offers T bills for sale but is not required to do so. It is left to the banking department. There are commercial banks too and are controlled by the central bank with good regulation and larger reserve requirements.

 

There are many parties and proportional representation in elections. In general, coalitions govern better than a two party bought-and- paid- for government as in USA. In the lower house of the parliament, 33% is reserved for women. The idea “government is your enemy” will never fly in India.

 

The wealth inequality in India is similar to that of Canada and Australia.  Of course, India is much poorer than western democracies but is doing the right things for the future of the country.

 

 

 

 

 

nimblecivet
nimblecivet's picture
Funny how there aren't any

Funny how there aren't any so-called "libertarians" decrying the Obamacare tax on medical device manufacturers. These are small businesses, as independant as they can be, on the cutting edge of innovation. Once they are taxed out of existence the mega-complex of corporations and financiers will move in and take over this crucial market sector. Then the "libertarians" will gloat over how well the "market" works.

DynoDon
An open, transparent, fair

An open, transparent, fair and honest free market would be a great thing. But it will never happen with the greed of human nature-everyone wants an advantage and ethics goes by the wayside.

LysanderSpooner
LysanderSpooner's picture
Dr. Econ

Dr. Econ wrote:

TheFirstLeftist wrote:

a stable currency - government failed The dollar has lost 95% of its value since the inception of the Fed, which is not a market institution 

I think it is better than having 200 currencies in the state of Minnesta alone in 1860, when private banks issued their own currency.

 

TheFirstLeftist wrote:
.. educational system 90% of which is run by the government is in terrible shape.

Compared to European counterparts who have even more public education and unionization.

The more currencies the better.  Remember, each bank would take bank notes from other banks and demand redemption.  Any bank that printed more notes than they could cover would go bankrupt.  Compare that to the cartellized system we have now where banks can inflate and not have to worry about redemption in specie.

Pierpont
Pierpont's picture
LysanderSpooner wrote:The

LysanderSpooner wrote:
The more currencies the better. Remember, each bank would take bank notes from other banks and demand redemption. Any bank that printed more notes than they could cover would go bankrupt. Compare that to the cartellized system we have now where banks can inflate and not have to worry about redemption in specie.

Redemption in what? Gold? Silver? How are countless private money systems more efficient than a single national currency based on a precious metal standard? Will the value of those metals be allowed to float causing the value of the paper currency to expand or contract? If not, who sets the value of those precious metals and why can't that price be politically manipulated?

anonymous green
Pierpont

Pierpont wrote:

LysanderSpooner wrote:
The more currencies the better. Remember, each bank would take bank notes from other banks and demand redemption. Any bank that printed more notes than they could cover would go bankrupt. Compare that to the cartellized system we have now where banks can inflate and not have to worry about redemption in specie.

Redemption in what? Gold? Silver? How are countless private money systems more efficient than a single national currency based on a precious metal standard? Will the value of those metals be allowed to float causing the value of the paper currency to expand or contract? If not, who sets the value of those precious metals and why can't that price be politically manipulated?

Lincoln just used paper and ink, and funded the Union Army and won the civil war.

Why do you think all the cries of wolf have echoed around 'printing more paper money'?

Because it works, and no Federal Reserve Bank can stop you, if true patriots use the paper instead of the Feds debt dollars.

Why do you think Lincoln was killed?

It was over his ability to create an independent free country.

Dr. Econ
Dr. Econ's picture
LysanderSpooner wrote: The

LysanderSpooner wrote:
The more currencies the better.

There is no way a country could industrialize if you have 200 bank notes in the economic and population size of Missouri. It would simply be chaos. When I buy something, I need to know that the money will be accepted somewhere else at the same value. Yes, today, if I hang on to the money to long, it looses value. But it is not something that can't be predicted with some amount of accuracy.  But holding money for a long period of time is probably not too smart anyway.

Dr. Econ
Dr. Econ's picture
  Let me just add that people

 

Let me just add that people all over the world are buying dollars at a loss in terms of inflation. That is how much faith they have in the government's dollar.

Pierpont
Pierpont's picture
anonymous green wrote:Lincoln

anonymous green wrote:
Lincoln just used paper and ink, and funded the Union Army and won the civil war.
If it were that easy, then the Confederacy would have won by printing even more money than Lincoln. Ya don't think resources and strategy might have played a wee part in the war?  Guess not.