Libertarianism

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sardia
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby sardia » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:22 pm UTC

Oooh, but that 30-50% tax rate, very very practical. Also, this is America, we don't need to be afraid of some business moving out. For one thing, it's a large market. The Chinese force companies to give up crown jewels just for market access, & part ownership in their own local branch. I'm sure the US can get a better deal over some taxes. *

If the benefits are worth the expense, companies won't mind paying for it. For example, high quality infrastructure & educated work force. Or an efficient government bureaucracy that doesn't take forever to process anything because it's underfunded or corrupt.** There's this assumption that taxes are a blackhole where money never comes back or is wasted. Not always true.

*Assuming supermajority levels of support & stubbornness.
**India is the classic example of bureaucracy hurting economic growth. Also an example of corruption/bribery inhibiting growth.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:04 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Oooh, but that 30-50% tax rate, very very practical. Also, this is America, we don't need to be afraid of some business moving out. For one thing, it's a large market. The Chinese force companies to give up crown jewels just for market access, & part ownership in their own local branch. I'm sure the US can get a better deal over some taxes. *


To some extent, there does appear to be an advantage for developed countries. The higher tax rates are invariably among countries that are fairly developed. I'd presume that a more educated workforce, etc allows efficiency gains that allow a somewhat higher tax rate to be possible. This probably doesn't apply equally to all industries. Textiles, well, not a lot of potential gains, so it's an easy outsource.

Note that when we're talking about large market, we mean a large market for things which those companies are selling. When we're talking about companies locating in the US(or any other country, the US is merely the example case here), we're talking about a large market for what the companies are buying, labor. They can sell to the US in any case.

Part of China's strategy is to force the purchase of Chinese labor in order to sell to them. Since Chinese labor is cheap, this is generally considered acceptable, and works out well. We could indeed copy China, and adopt a stronger trade policy. However, if you allow foreign companies to sell without significant tariffs, then the size of your consumer market is not actually a lever that matters. They have access to it either way.

Our one lever is labor, but we lean on it a fair amount, and outsourcing does happen already because that lever is insufficient.

If the benefits are worth the expense, companies won't mind paying for it. For example, high quality infrastructure & educated work force. Or an efficient government bureaucracy that doesn't take forever to process anything because it's underfunded or corrupt.** There's this assumption that taxes are a blackhole where money never comes back or is wasted. Not always true.

*Assuming supermajority levels of support & stubbornness.
**India is the classic example of bureaucracy hurting economic growth. Also an example of corruption/bribery inhibiting growth.


100% agreed with regards to India.

However, I'm not sure that the US has a competitive advantage in general with regards to bureaucratic turnaround. If one's required to do environmental assessments, etc before building a factory, approvals can take years. China, and many other developing nations care fairly little about the environment, and approval can be much more rapid. I wonder if there's some sort of metric to measure this. Light googling doesn't find anything directly assessing this, but a good proxy probably exists.

Infrastructure also varies. The US sometimes handles it poorly. There's pretty much no street in Baltimore, for instance, that isn't pothole ridden. The whole area's also got some rough traffic issues. Our educational system is spotty in some respects. The elements being trumpeted as a competitive advantage, I'm not sure the US is actually best at. It's possible that if we improved them, then possible/optimal tax rates might be higher once the effects of those changes trickle out to the labor market.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Kit. » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:29 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Fair, the extreme point doesn't inform us of the exact shape of the curve. However, both endpoints, 0 and 100% prove to be generally unworkable.

In addition, heavy taxation chases out business. How much is too much depends on the alternatives businesses have, but the rich generally have significant freedom to move.

I think you are confusing businesses and households (we were talking about wealth distribution between households, not between businesses). I also thinks that the rich are more inclined to move from countries with more poverty to countries with less poverty.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:50 pm UTC

Household taxes are more complicated in general. A similar principle exists, but it's not as convenient for examples. Businesses don't generally have the progressive taxation structure individuals do*.

As for the movements of the rich, well, they value comfort, sure. If a country becomes a hellhole, the millionaires bail. See also, Turkey. Post failed-coup/instability, the rich bail. That's obvious. However, they also value remaining rich. Last year, 12,000 millionaires left France. France has a high taxation rate, and this is among the top reasons listed for the rich to leave. The US, on the other hand, is gaining millionaires immigrating from foreign lands at present, and the rate at which we are doing so has increased. This is probably not because Trump is so well loved, because Trump has been pro-immigration, or because we have such good income equality, but because his tax rates directly help them.

*Exceptions exist, some businesses are taxed as individuals, etc. Taxes are ridiculously complicated.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Kit. » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:16 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Household taxes are more complicated in general.

So, the business taxes play the role of the proverbial lamp post?

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:45 pm UTC

All examples are simplified to discuss the principle at hand.

So, what is it you're proposing? That other forms of taxation are different from household taxation, and that we ought to expect very high rates of taxation to work for households, but not for businesses?

What's your proposed reason for this? You're also welcome to contribute evidence, if you have any.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Kit. » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:19 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:So, what is it you're proposing? That other forms of taxation are different from household taxation, and that we ought to expect very high rates of taxation to work for households, but not for businesses?

I am proposing that the difference in the forms of taxation results in a difference in their effect on businesses, as well as in a difference in their effect on households.

Tyndmyr wrote:What's your proposed reason for this? You're also welcome to contribute evidence, if you have any.

What's your proposed reason for searching under the lamp post? You're also welcome to contribute evidence, if you have any.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:33 pm UTC

You're proposing a non-continuous curve for taxation. You support it.

If it's consumer or business, we have a pretty good idea that the endpoints of 100% or 0% don't work, and that middling rates common today work, well, about as well as we see today. Raising/lowering taxes appears to have a fairly modest, continuous effect. Ideas based on dramatic results due to modest tax changes(say, the Reaganomics interpretation of the Laffer curve) have not held up in reality.

You're responsible for finding the evidence for your oddball claim.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Kit. » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:56 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:You're proposing a non-continuous curve for taxation. You support it.

I don't understand what you mean by that.

Do you mean that I'm saying that asymptotically lowering the difference in the incomes to zero may produce a different result than immediately starting to enforce the zero difference? Yes, that may happen. For example, in machine learning by employing gradient descent, it is common to exponentially decay the learning rate over time in order to train the model better, but it is meaningless to start with zero learning rate.

Tyndmyr wrote:If it's consumer or business, we have a pretty good idea that the endpoints of 100% or 0% don't work,

Have you got this idea from your graph showing 14 countries with 0% corporate tax rates?

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:18 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:You're proposing a non-continuous curve for taxation. You support it.

I don't understand what you mean by that.

Do you mean that I'm saying that asymptotically lowering the difference in the incomes to zero may produce a different result than immediately starting to enforce the zero difference? Yes, that may happen. For example, in machine learning by employing gradient descent, it is common to exponentially decay the learning rate over time in order to train the model better, but it is meaningless to start with zero learning rate.


It appeared you were proposing that the effects of tax rates were discontinuous. IE, that a 99.99% tax rate behaves wildly differently than a 100% tax rate.

If you are instead merely proposing that changes are often better done gradually, sure, that's true. It mitigates transitional costs. However, even apart from those, a UBI is quite expensive.

Tyndmyr wrote:If it's consumer or business, we have a pretty good idea that the endpoints of 100% or 0% don't work,

Have you got this idea from your graph showing 14 countries with 0% corporate tax rates?


0% personal tax doesn't provide money to run the government. So, every government taxes the populace. It may not be wholly income tax, instead being sales, VAT, or whatever else, but in practice, no country runs a 0% tax rate*.

100% tax rates have only existed occasionally, and are generally described as nationalization. I don't know of any government that's tried a 100% tax on the entire population, since it's so obviously punitive. Nazi Germany approached 100% taxation/seizure on Jewish citizens, for instance, even billing them for train tickets to camps.

I'm not sure why you require further evidence that the above conditions are not great. Talking about the differences between a 30% tax rate and a 50% tax rate is interesting, and different strategies emerge, but the extremes are so obviously a bad idea that I'm not sure why you're expressing doubt.

*I suppose one could argue for one or two niche places that make money off of being a tax shelter, etc, but they're largely strategies that rely on sponging money from inefficiencies of larger, higher taxation scheme countries. It's not a model that everyone can adopt.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:01 pm UTC

With 0% overall tax rate, the government can still borrow/print money in order to pay for it's services, and with a 100% tax rate there will still be voluntary labor, and prices simply will represent the relative costs of non-labor resources. It doesn't seem like there is any rate at which things are necessarily unworkable.

With a 100% corporate income tax rate, operator-owned businesses will still be able to pay the owner in wages to avoid it. It's only really absentee owners who are affected.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:15 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:With 0% overall tax rate, the government can still borrow/print money in order to pay for it's services, and with a 100% tax rate there will still be voluntary labor, and prices simply will represent the relative costs of non-labor resources. It doesn't seem like there is any rate at which things are necessarily unworkable.

With a 100% corporate income tax rate, operator-owned businesses will still be able to pay the owner in wages to avoid it. It's only really absentee owners who are affected.


Printing money rather than taxing it is inflationary, and is effectively a perfectly flat tax. This isn't necessarily bad, so long as it's kept to reasonably modest amounts, as it is remarkably fair and hard for anyone to avoid. But in practice, as you're still appropriating value, it's a tax. Likewise, if instead of taking the money directly to government, you force folks to spend the money on certain things, that too is a tax.

Ultimately, if you accept that a government is necessary, the need for the government to have a bit of money follows swiftly, and you need some form of income. Taxation is largely that method. It'd be interesting if we could switch to another form of government funding(donations, perhaps), but at the present time, that does not appear terribly practical. There's a whopping, what, five countries in the world without an income tax? All of them largely fit into the area of "tax shelter that gets by based on helping rich folks circumvent higher tax systems".

A 100% tax rate results in an unworkable system. If you have examples of a system that kept functioning after the imposition of a 100% tax rate, I'd like to see them. If the result is "people avoid the tax rate by routing through another system, not paying taxes", then I'd question the idea that the 100% tax rate is working. In that case, folks are treating that system as unusable and routing around it.

Edit: I find it somewhat amusing, as a libertarian, to have to argue for the existence of taxes. Traditionally, we're endlessly arguing why they ought to be lower, as much opposition usually revolves around folks proposing the government needs more money. It's fairly rare to have to defend the idea that taxes are necessary at all, save for when talking to ancap sorts.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:25 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:A 100% tax rate results in an unworkable system. If you have examples of a system that kept functioning after the imposition of a 100% tax rate, I'd like to see them. If the result is "people avoid the tax rate by routing through another system, not paying taxes", then I'd question the idea that the 100% tax rate is working. In that case, folks are treating that system as unusable and routing around it.


You are making a claim that it's unworkable. That requires a hell of a lot more of an argument than "Show me where it's been done, or we must assume it won't work", which is just the argument you always fall back on when you lack an actual reasoned argument.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:34 pm UTC

If everything you can possibly make off of a deal will be taken from you, then you have absolutely no reason to do a deal under that system. Basic game theory, here.

Maybe you'll find a different system to do a deal under instead. Folks are quite creative about finding ways around problems.

I've already provided one example of attempted 100%/near 100% taxation, the confiscation of property by the Nazis from Jewish folks. This was horribly detrimental to those being taxed. I suppose one could make a particularly cynical case for those doing the taxation if they truly do not care about the welfare of those being taxed, but such a strategy seems short sighted. Killing the goose that lays golden eggs, in a proverbial sense. Even setting aside questions of morality, it wasn't a good system in any sense.

There's also the argument that many a greedy politician has existed, and if they could find a way to pull off 100% taxation in a fashion that worked, they'd have done so. Therefore, the lack of any such systems in real life is significant evidence against such a system being practical.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:41 pm UTC

But there is a UBI; everything you can possibly make isn't simply taken from you, it's distributed to everyone, including you, and you always make more from working than not working. In fact, if absolutely nobody works, everyone starves to death. If people do enough work so that people have enough to eat, then they don't starve to death. Therefore, people will work at least as much as necessary not to starve to death. Furthermore, people have stuff they want; if no one does those, they won't get them. So someone will provide that stuff, because otherwise people will be sitting around doing nothing.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:47 pm UTC

100% taxation and a 100% UBI is entirely untested.

Under such a scenario, though, nobody has any incentive to perform the taxed work. If nobody does the taxed work, there's no money to pay out the UBI. Will volunteer work exist outside of the traditional economy in such a situation? Sure. But that doesn't pay the taxes necessary to keep the system working.

In such a situation, I am incentivized to do those things I want to do, not things society needs. If I want to benefit by filling social needs, I must work outside the system, in a grey/black market fashion, avoiding taxation.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:51 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It'd be interesting if we could switch to another form of government funding

If a government needs revenue equivalent to an x% per capita income tax to function, it needs only to own x% of the productive capital of the country to collect that revenue without having to raise any taxes at all.

This is the kind of thing I mean when I advocate pitting statism and capitalism against each other to their mutual destruction. This is a case of using capitalism to combat statism. An UBI is a case of using statism to combat capitalism. Put them together -- a government funded by large widespread investments using those proceeds to fund socioeconomic equality -- and you end up with market socialism.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:52 pm UTC

1) Untested, sure, but you claimed unworkable
2) Property taxes
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:03 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:1) Untested, sure, but you claimed unworkable
2) Property taxes


1) Untested, and based on combining two ideas that lack a good track record in themselves.

2) Yes, one can tax property, but ultimately, if nobody can make money via work, they can only pay off existing property ownership for so long. If nothing new's coming into the pool, and you're constantly spending, you'll exhaust any static reserve. This methodology incentivizes the purchase of services, not goods. However, it doesn't incentivize the selling of goods or services, so a necessary part of the market is simply missing.

Pfhorrest wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It'd be interesting if we could switch to another form of government funding

If a government needs revenue equivalent to an x% per capita income tax to function, it needs only to own x% of the productive capital of the country to collect that revenue without having to raise any taxes at all.


Government as a lender? Maybe. I'm concerned that there'd be conflict between sound fiscal management and political desires, but...that's already a problem. And it's a problem I'm not sure I have a complete solution for, there's always *some* tension there. It's just mitigation, for the most part. Monaco is probably closest to this, there's significant bank/government ties there.

Government owning the means of production is a thing, and is closer to the USSR model. It's messy. When you have a company competing against government, there's an inherent inequity in power there. So, it's hard for the government to end up in any other state than dominating the entire industry.

Both of these options would get you something like a wholly unfettered corporation with governmental powers. It's just adding corporate aspects to government instead of the other way around. Balance of powers in either case is not strong.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby DaBigCheez » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:06 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:100% taxation and a 100% UBI is entirely untested.

Under such a scenario, though, nobody has any incentive to perform the taxed work.

Pedantically, under such a system, if you perform taxed work, your final income *does* increase, as it'll increase the amount of UBI paid out, and your share will grow accordingly. It might be by a fraction of a cent, but the incentive is not technically nonexistent. For additional pedantry, the discussion early regarding "discontinuous" taxation curves doesn't require an actual discontinuity to see different effects in the 30-50% regime than at higher regimes, without monotonically approaching the 0/100% points - merely more than one inflection point.

Discussing points that aren't at the extremes, however, it does seem like an income tax hike to fund a UBI is qualitatively different than a tax hike for, say, defense spending. Since the UBI is inherently redistributive, it doesn't have the apparent "siphoning money off" effect for low-to-middle incomes, though it appears roughly identical in the high-income case. Ideally, all taxation-funded government spending would have a broadly applicable benefit, so it would never feel like the money's disappearing into a black hole, but, well, even when it *is* universally beneficial, it's often harder to see the effect than when it just appears as a check.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:42 pm UTC

Fair, pedantry accepted. But in practical terms, I think we can call it effectively zero. Taking a job, for instance, would be a net loss, as the additional gas costs from your commute would certainly outweigh any possible advantage.

We do already have welfare cliffs to show us that when incentives are structured so that taking a job provides no benefit, or is a loss, people end up trapped in a cycle of poverty. A 100% taxation rate/UBI would provide that same structure for the entire nation. We'd have equality, but only in poverty.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:50 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:2) Yes, one can tax property, but ultimately, if nobody can make money via work, they can only pay off existing property ownership for so long. If nothing new's coming into the pool, and you're constantly spending, you'll exhaust any static reserve. This methodology incentivizes the purchase of services, not goods. However, it doesn't incentivize the selling of goods or services, so a necessary part of the market is simply missing.


It's assumed that if the government is taxing, it's also spending; the money doesn't disappear. If it's a 100% tax to cover a UBI, which was what was being discussed to start this conversation, then the UBI ends up being the per-capita rental value of the property itself, wages end up being zero, and all work is purely voluntary. If it's a 100% tax to cover government spending in general, then presumably that will cover all of the public's needs.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:10 pm UTC

Money only matters so long as it represents value.

Nobody is motivated to go to work, since they are paid the same either way.
As people cease going to work, goods and services stop being produced.
At this point, the fact that there is plenty of money ceases to matter, because we have shortages.
The same quantity of money chasing scarce goods and services results in inflation, probably brutally rapidly.
A black market probably springs up of non-taxpayers who try to buy and sell essentials.

Any existing accumulated wealth you tap to keep the cycle going only prolongs the collapse for a fairly short time. An entire nation of people who have no reason to go to work will chew through resources pretty rapidly. Anyone who does go to work ends up behind, having spent time, effort, and likely scarce resources to no personal benefit.

A 100% UBI would quite literally be a society ending event.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:13 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Government as a lender?

How is it that everyone repeatedly fails to realize there are kinds of investment besides lending at interest? Owning a business isn't lending at interest. Owning a piece of a business isn't lending at interest. Owning lots of pieces of lots of different businesses isn't lending at interest. Therefore investing in stocks is not lending at interest.

Government owning the means of production is a thing, and is closer to the USSR model. It's messy. When you have a company competing against government, there's an inherent inequity in power there. So, it's hard for the government to end up in any other state than dominating the entire industry.


The government having an enormous index fund portfolio is nothing at all like Soviet-style state capitalism where every individual business is directly chartered and controlled by the government. It's a normal market economy, with the government as a major institutional investor. It needn't (and probably shouldn't) even own a majority of any of the constituent companies, and it wouldn't have reason to care which of them succeeded over the others, so long as someone or another was making money.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:17 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Money only matters so long as it represents value.

Nobody is motivated to go to work, since they are paid the same either way.
As people cease going to work, goods and services stop being produced.
At this point, the fact that there is plenty of money ceases to matter, because we have shortages.
The same quantity of money chasing scarce goods and services results in inflation, probably brutally rapidly.
A black market probably springs up of non-taxpayers who try to buy and sell essentials.

Any existing accumulated wealth you tap to keep the cycle going only prolongs the collapse for a fairly short time. An entire nation of people who have no reason to go to work will chew through resources pretty rapidly. Anyone who does go to work ends up behind, having spent time, effort, and likely scarce resources to no personal benefit.

A 100% UBI would quite literally be a society ending event.

I'm not sure that you read my post, but I've pretty much already covered all of this.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:17 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Government as a lender?

How is it that everyone repeatedly fails to realize there are kinds of investment besides lending at interest? Owning a business isn't lending at interest. Owning a piece of a business isn't lending at interest. Owning lots of pieces of lots of different businesses isn't lending at interest. Therefore investing in stocks is not lending at interest.


There is no meaningful economic difference between the government holding 50% of the stock of all corporations in perpetuity to collect half the profit via dividends and taxing them all at 50%.

Thesh wrote:I'm not sure that you read my post, but I've pretty much already covered all of this.


You have not proposed any solution to the lack of incentive. "all work is purely voluntary" is merely saying that the incentive doesn't matter. Thanks to the existence of welfare cliffs, we know that it does.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:23 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:You have not proposed any solution to the lack of incentive.


Thesh wrote:But there is a UBI; everything you can possibly make isn't simply taken from you, it's distributed to everyone, including you, and you always make more from working than not working. In fact, if absolutely nobody works, everyone starves to death. If people do enough work so that people have enough to eat, then they don't starve to death. Therefore, people will work at least as much as necessary not to starve to death. Furthermore, people have stuff they want; if no one does those, they won't get them. So someone will provide that stuff, because otherwise people will be sitting around doing nothing.


Look, you have this ridiculously simple view of human behavior that is just completely unreasonable in this circumstance. Literally, your conclusion is that everyone will let themselves die rather than work without compensation, which is something people do all the time. Please stop.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:26 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:There is no meaningful economic difference between the government holding 50% of the stock of all corporations in perpetuity to collect half the profit via dividends and taxing them all at 50%.

But there's a super important political and ethical difference, the one that you profess to care most about. If the government taxes people, it's stealing what is rightfully theirs on threat of violence. But if the government owns stock and collects dividends, they're just peacefully collecting the rightful proceeds of their property-ownership.

Them having the same economic effect is the point: we want the latter to be able to substitute for the other as a source of income, and that money has to come from somewhere one way or another. The difference is entirely in the structure of rights and permissions underlying that. It's not stealing to take what's rightfully owed to you, so if you want to fund the government without it stealing, you have to arrange for it to be rightfully owed an equivalent amount of money.

How do you arrange that? That's the hard problem. But from what you've said in this thread, we could let it go on stealing for a while in a manner that causes it to accrue ownership of enough profit-generating capital that it doesn't need to steal anymore, and then a generation or two from now say that that's all water under the bridge and there's nothing to be done about it now (then), they're the rightful owners now (in the future) even if they got that way via theft generations ago (now).
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:36 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:You have not proposed any solution to the lack of incentive.


Thesh wrote:But there is a UBI; everything you can possibly make isn't simply taken from you, it's distributed to everyone, including you, and you always make more from working than not working. In fact, if absolutely nobody works, everyone starves to death. If people do enough work so that people have enough to eat, then they don't starve to death. Therefore, people will work at least as much as necessary not to starve to death. Furthermore, people have stuff they want; if no one does those, they won't get them. So someone will provide that stuff, because otherwise people will be sitting around doing nothing.


Look, you have this ridiculously simple view of human behavior that is just completely unreasonable in this circumstance. Literally, your conclusion is that everyone will let themselves die rather than work without compensation, which is something people do all the time. Please stop.


Individuals are not the group. If I go to work eight hours a day farming food, and it's distributed to the country at large, there are so many people that the effective benefit to me is effectively zero. I've expended my time and effort, and am effectively no better off for it. Someone who opts to be a free rider is no worse off than me, and has eight hours a day in addition to devote to whatever he pleases.

It isn't that I have a simple view of human behavior, it's that you're not understanding simple concepts, and your idea is unfortunately so fatally flawed that it is simple to explain why it fails.

Pfhorrest wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:There is no meaningful economic difference between the government holding 50% of the stock of all corporations in perpetuity to collect half the profit via dividends and taxing them all at 50%.

But there's a super important political and ethical difference, the one that you profess to care most about. If the government taxes people, it's stealing what is rightfully theirs on threat of violence. But if the government owns stock and collects dividends, they're just peacefully collecting the rightful proceeds of their property-ownership.


If they're just taking the stock/dividends and declaring it theirs, it is no more or less peaceful than taxation. How could it differ?

Even if it were a forced sale, that's still coercion. A transaction isn't freely made unless both parties can legally say no.

Pfhorrest wrote: But from what you've said in this thread, we could let it go on stealing for a while in a manner that causes it to accrue ownership of enough profit-generating capital that it doesn't need to steal anymore, and then a generation or two from now say that that's all water under the bridge and there's nothing to be done about it now (then), they're the rightful owners now (in the future) even if they got that way via theft generations ago (now).


You burning the evidence implicating criminals would prevent their crimes from being redressed in the future, and the responsibility for that wrong would rest not on the future people who are unable to fix your misdeeds, but upon you.

One does not fix past misdeeds by wronging others. Even if you cover it up.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:45 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I've expended my time and effort, and am effectively no better off for it.


Of course you are. You can feel better about yourself, the group will give you status, and you may even enjoy your work, plus what else is there to do? And again, if no one works, then what? Everyone starves. So people will obviously work, and it's not obvious that it isn't a workable system. Will it encourage people to do the maximum amount of work the market will bear? No, but that doesn't mean it's unworkable.

Tyndmyr wrote:Someone who opts to be a free rider is no worse off than me, and has eight hours a day in addition to devote to whatever he pleases.


Which is what?
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:56 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I've expended my time and effort, and am effectively no better off for it.


Of course you are. You can feel better about yourself, the group will give you status, and you may even enjoy your work, plus what else is there to do? And again, if no one works, then what? Everyone starves. So people will obviously work, and it's not obvious that it isn't a workable system. Will it encourage people to do the maximum amount of work the market will bear? No, but that doesn't mean it's unworkable.


Ever done group projects in college? Free rider problems exist, even in small groups that all know one another, and still have some impact on one's own results. This is the same principle dialed up to a ridiculous degree. The remaining direct reward from your work is so small as to be negligible.

As for feeling virtuous getting people to do the right thing, religion has been trying that for rather a long time. Good luck with that.

Tyndmyr wrote:Someone who opts to be a free rider is no worse off than me, and has eight hours a day in addition to devote to whatever he pleases.


Which is what?


Literally anything. Life has a lot in it besides work. Perhaps they'll read a novel, play a video game, watch a movie, hang out with friends, or whatever else they like to do.

Again, this is not hypothetical. When welfare programs are constructed so that people are not rewarded for working, they don't. That's the entire problem with a welfare cliff. We have a huge volume of real world evidence to demonstrate exactly what happens when you construct this kind of a system.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:01 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Ever done group projects in college? Free rider problems exist, even in small groups that all know one another, and still have some impact on one's own results. This is the same principle dialed up to a ridiculous degree. The remaining direct reward from your work is so small as to be negligible.


Who the fuck cares about the freerider problem? Why does that make the economy unworkable?

Tyndmyr wrote:As for feeling virtuous getting people to do the right thing, religion has been trying that for rather a long time. Good luck with that.


I have no clue what you are trying to say here.

Tyndmyr wrote:Literally anything. Life has a lot in it besides work. Perhaps they'll read a novel, play a video game, watch a movie, hang out with friends, or whatever else they like to do.


Ultimately, all of these things require labor.


It seems to me that your biggest concern in economics is that poor people will get stuff they don't deserve.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:02 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If they're just taking the stock/dividends and declaring it theirs, it is no more or less peaceful than taxation. How could it differ?

Even if it were a forced sale, that's still coercion. A transaction isn't freely made unless both parties can legally say no.

I think you're confusing two different things here:

- the ongoing ethics of a government that's funded by a large investment portfolio,

and

- the ethics of some set of actions that bring about such a government.


The former scenario is so clearly more just than taxation that I have no idea where your misunderstanding might even be to make you think it's not. Unless you think that everyone collecting dividends from any investment was as unjust as taxation is, but I'm pretty sure you don't think that. You suggested "donations" earlier. Suppose somehow some people put together a trust fund large enough that it generated profits enough to fully fund the government, and it donated those profits to the government, and then the government could stop taxing entirely without collapsing. Fine, yeah? Now suppose those people just donated the trust fund itself to the government, and with the ongoing proceeds from it the government can stop taxing entirely without collapsing, and without any further donations. Also fine, yeah?

That end state of affairs is the thing we're talking about.

How we get to there is a separate issue.

In an ideal ethical vacuum, governments would have been founded in the first place by community donations large enough to build a trust fund that the government can function without taxation. But we're not operating in an ideal ethical vacuum so that's unlikely, to put it mildly. Meanwhile, the government is stealing. It's always been stealing. Every government for all of time has always been stealing. If ever we made a government stop stealing, it would collapse, and in its place some people would call themselves the new government, and resume stealing. Or else someone else would step up to stop them, need resources to do that, steal them on the grounds that it's necessary to stop someone even worse, and become the new government and say it's not really stealing when they do it, but it's still stealing.

Since it looks pretty inevitable that we're not going to be able to stop this theft from happening by just telling the current thieves to stop, or even by forcing them to stop since someone, perhaps ourselves, will just end up stealing again anyway, wouldn't it be better if we could funnel the proceeds from that the currently ongoing, eternal, apparently-unavoidable theft, into creating something that would eventually allow it to stop for good?
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:18 pm UTC

I'm having trouble breaking things down to a more basic level. Your line about labor is particularly baffling, and I have trouble understanding it as anything other than a misunderstanding of economics on an incredibly basic level.

The fact that they are consuming things that require labor, and not laboring is the problem. This results in a lack of stuff.

The economy needs both supply and demand, not merely demand. If you focus only on demand, you cannot understand an economy.

Everyone, everywhere wants stuff. The person in the middle of a developing country wants nice things just as the person born in a developed one.The difference is the the latter economy is capable of supplying more of those desires.

Money is merely the medium by which value is exchanged. If value ceases being created somewhere, those that live there become poor, and that place dies. One can shuffle around money easily, but this only matters so long as the money is backed by real value. If you get rid of all of the value creation, everything economic grinds to a stop.


I'm gonna construct a small example here.

A national, 100% UBI is instituted. Bob, instead of going to his boring factory job making housewares, stays home and watches a movie. That day, no housewares are made. Jane, the filmmaker, instead of making a movie stays home and redecorates her house.

After a while, Bob has no more movies to watch, and Jane has no more housewares to buy. Even if they're somehow produced, very few people see driving commercial trucks as their ideal way to spend time off, and pretty much nobody works retail because it fulfills them.

Yes, all of these things still require labor to make, but the person who wants them is not the same as the person who makes them. Just because Bob likes movies doesn't mean Bob can make a movie. Just because Jane would appreciate some new dishes doesn't mean she's got the skills or equipment to make them from scratch.


If a bill like this ever has a shot at passing, I'm gonna start prepping for apocalpyse level shit.(slight hyperbole. The reality would be almost certainly government turnover before things got too far)

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:29 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:The fact that they are consuming things that require labor, and not laboring is the problem.


Why is that a problem? That you don't like it doesn't mean it's economically unworkable. People get paid without working all the time; hell, when I talked about people spending millions they didn't work for even while people were starving you explained it wasn't a problem.

Tyndmyr wrote:This results in a lack of stuff.


You said that they are consuming it, so obviously there isn't a lack of stuff.

Tyndmyr wrote:Money is merely the medium by which value is exchanged. If value ceases being created somewhere, those that live there become poor, and that place dies. One can shuffle around money easily, but this only matters so long as the money is backed by real value. If you get rid of all of the value creation, everything economic grinds to a stop.


It doesn't cease to be created, nor does the money cease to represent anything. As I've said, with property tax it ends up measuring the value of the physical resources, while labor becomes voluntary.


You have not in any way shape or form explained why this would be unworkable, just how some people will get more than they deserve, which will put everyone on equal footing so is less unjust than only the very wealthy getting what they don't deserve.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:34 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:If they're just taking the stock/dividends and declaring it theirs, it is no more or less peaceful than taxation. How could it differ?

Even if it were a forced sale, that's still coercion. A transaction isn't freely made unless both parties can legally say no.

I think you're confusing two different things here:

- the ongoing ethics of a government that's funded by a large investment portfolio,

and

- the ethics of some set of actions that bring about such a government.


The former scenario is so clearly more just than taxation that I have no idea where your misunderstanding might even be to make you think it's not. Unless you think that everyone collecting dividends from any investment was as unjust as taxation is, but I'm pretty sure you don't think that. You suggested "donations" earlier. Suppose somehow some people put together a trust fund large enough that it generated profits enough to fully fund the government, and it donated those profits to the government, and then the government could stop taxing entirely without collapsing. Fine, yeah? Now suppose those people just donated the trust fund itself to the government, and with the ongoing proceeds from it the government can stop taxing entirely without collapsing, and without any further donations. Also fine, yeah?

That end state of affairs is the thing we're talking about.


Can I create a new company without somehow conveying shares of stock/dividends to the government in this hypothetical scenario? If not, there's no meaningful difference from taxation.

In an ideal ethical vacuum, governments would have been founded in the first place by community donations large enough to build a trust fund that the government can function without taxation. But we're not operating in an ideal ethical vacuum so that's unlikely, to put it mildly. Meanwhile, the government is stealing. It's always been stealing. Every government for all of time has always been stealing. If ever we made a government stop stealing, it would collapse, and in its place some people would call themselves the new government, and resume stealing. Or else someone else would step up to stop them, need resources to do that, steal them on the grounds that it's necessary to stop someone even worse, and become the new government and say it's not really stealing when they do it, but it's still stealing.

Since it looks pretty inevitable that we're not going to be able to stop this theft from happening by just telling the current thieves to stop, or even by forcing them to stop since someone, perhaps ourselves, will just end up stealing again anyway, wouldn't it be better if we could funnel the proceeds from that the currently ongoing, eternal, apparently-unavoidable theft, into creating something that would eventually allow it to stop for good?


Taxation is a necessary evil, sure. However, the nature of free riders means we can't simply rely on voluntary donations, etc. Or at least, nobody's successfully yet made a system that is entirely voluntary that actually works for government. Some have gotten reasonably close, perhaps, but true perfection isn't there. That's fine. Real life isn't perfect, and striving to improve things even if you can't hit perfection is great.

Basically, what you're arguing is essentially an economic version of something common in religious thought. IE, is it right to shoulder a sin to prevent others from later having to shoulder more. The fun hypothetical to ask a Christian is to ask if he'd choose go to hell if it'd save two souls. They don't like this question much, of course.

Anyways, your scenario is basically, "If we steal a whooole lot now, we can set up a situation in which we won't have to steal in the future". This is possible. It is also possibly true for literally any thief, and yet stealing is still wrong. We may be unable to address all past instances of theft, but whoever chose to commit those thefts still committed an ethical wrong. This is your typical argument against all of these.

Your second order argument against these is that the actual results of plans are often worse than the proposal. The thief may have the finest of motives, but once he has embarked upon a career of theft, has gotten away with it, and has the power to do so again, he may not continue to act nobly. This is particularly true for government. Folks sometimes propose that a benevolent dictator is theoretically wonderful, but how do you keep the dictator benevolent? History indicates that this goes poorly.

My particular favorite counter-argument, if more cynically minded, is that a corporate-government proposal sets up a government that doesn't actually need it's citizens. It's essentially fascism, in which government and corporate interests are on the same side, and intermingled, and the common citizen doesn't really rate much in terms of power or importance. If you don't really matter to the government in any sense, the potential for wrongdoing can be large.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:40 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The fact that they are consuming things that require labor, and not laboring is the problem.


Why is that a problem? That you don't like it doesn't mean it's economically unworkable. People get paid without working all the time; hell, when I talked about people spending millions they didn't work for even while people were starving you explained it wasn't a problem.


This has nothing to do with if I, or anyone else, approves. This isn't a morality thing, it's a math thing.

Tyndmyr wrote:This results in a lack of stuff.


You said that they are consuming it, so obviously there isn't a lack of stuff.


It'll be consumed until existing stocks are depleted. Goods and services are constantly being consumed. If creation falls off, once existing stocks are expended, yes, the shortages set in, and folks become unable to consume further.

At this point, people either seek to circumvent the system, or fight over the scraps. The apocalyptic viewpoint would focus on the latter, I'd hope for the former. Real world examples are mixed.

Tyndmyr wrote:Money is merely the medium by which value is exchanged. If value ceases being created somewhere, those that live there become poor, and that place dies. One can shuffle around money easily, but this only matters so long as the money is backed by real value. If you get rid of all of the value creation, everything economic grinds to a stop.


It doesn't cease to be created, nor does the money cease to represent anything. As I've said, with property tax it ends up measuring the value of the physical resources, while labor becomes voluntary.


If nobody is incentivized to perform labor, labor will stop. Or at least, greatly slow. This means poverty.

If the goods and services run out, it doesn't matter what you say the money represents. It only matters what you can trade money for.

You have not in any way shape or form explained why this would be unworkable, just how some people will get more than they deserve, which will put everyone on equal footing so is less unjust than only the very wealthy getting what they don't deserve.


You're projecting pretty hard here. This has literally nothing to do with who deserves what, and will happen to deserving and undeserving alike. The economy doesn't care about your morality.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:43 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Can I create a new company without somehow conveying shares of stock/dividends to the government in this hypothetical scenario? If not, there's no meaningful difference from taxation.

Of course. Though if you trade it publicly, the government can buy some of it just like anyone else. And if you end up with a huge market cap, the government will likely end up buying a lot of it, like any reasonable index fund would.

As far as that making the government indifferent to the wellbeing of its citizens who are no longer its source of income: is a mutual fund indifferent to its investors? Is a business indifferent to its owners? We're talking about a scenario where an organization that belongs to the people, a democratic government, owns shares of lots of businesses, and uses the proceeds from those businesses to benefit the people to whom the organization (the government) belongs. How does that lead to the government finding the people irrelevant?
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:49 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Can I create a new company without somehow conveying shares of stock/dividends to the government in this hypothetical scenario? If not, there's no meaningful difference from taxation.

Of course. Though if you trade it publicly, the government can buy some of it just like anyone else. And if you end up with a huge market cap, the government will likely end up buying a lot of it, like any reasonable index fund would.


How would this work for companies that haven't gone public? Only a handful of companies are actually publicly traded after all.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:51 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The fact that they are consuming things that require labor, and not laboring is the problem.


Why is that a problem? That you don't like it doesn't mean it's economically unworkable. People get paid without working all the time; hell, when I talked about people spending millions they didn't work for even while people were starving you explained it wasn't a problem.


This has nothing to do with if I, or anyone else, approves. This isn't a morality thing, it's a math thing.


And reason says that at least enough people will work so that all people can meet their basic needs. Most likely more. Your only real argument here is one of personal preference.

Tyndmyr wrote:It'll be consumed until existing stocks are depleted. Goods and services are constantly being consumed. If creation falls off, once existing stocks are expended, yes, the shortages set in, and folks become unable to consume further.


And when they do, someone will do the job to make more.

Tyndmyr wrote:At this point, people either seek to circumvent the system, or fight over the scraps. The apocalyptic viewpoint would focus on the latter, I'd hope for the former. Real world examples are mixed.


Because there is not a single person on this planet who would work without compensation.


Tyndmyr wrote:If nobody is incentivized to perform labor, labor will stop. Or at least, greatly slow. This means poverty.


Even if 80% of the work stops, there wouldn't be poverty. Everyone in the US would still be above the poverty line, as long as there is equality.

Tyndmyr wrote:If the goods and services run out, it doesn't matter what you say the money represents. It only matters what you can trade money for.

Goods and services will never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever run out. That you think this will happen tells me you are a sociopath who would rather die than risk someone else benefiting from your labor without compensation.

Tyndmyr wrote:You're projecting pretty hard here. This has literally nothing to do with who deserves what, and will happen to deserving and undeserving alike. The economy doesn't care about your morality.


In this context, the free-rider problem here is literally only about who deserves what.
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