Libertarianism

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ucim
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:43 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I disagree with ucim's assessment of all transactions as somehow exploitative.
It's not my basic claim; rather, it's a conclusion that is forced on me as a consequence of the list of things that have already been called (by others here) expolitative. There's a (high) threshold before I'd use the word to describe a transaction, but others seem to have a much lower threshold, given the things they've named. After all, exploitation is nothing more than seeking (and gaining) advantage based on some inequality that pertains to a transaction and all transactions involve this to some degree.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:03 pm UTC

I agree that all transactions involve inequity to some degree, but I would use the term only to describe someone benefiting at someone else's expense*.

If I make one dollar, and the person I'm doing business with makes five, well, cheers. We are both the better off. Neither of us has exploited the other. Does that seem like a reasonable assessment?

If I'm making five dollars, and he's losing two, well, then it's exploitation, and since a person generally wouldn't freely choose that, we should regard it as a sign to investigate further to figure out what's amiss. Exploited people are a symptom of a broken market.

*All of this is assuming the principles mentioned earlier, of course. No fraud, freely chosen, all that.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:20 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If I make one dollar, and the person I'm doing business with makes five, well, cheers. We are both the better off. Neither of us has exploited the other. Does that seem like a reasonable assessment?
I think that looks at it the wrong way. It has less to do with how much somebody makes in a deal than it has to do with what kinds of bargaining advantages one has over the other. It is the disparity of bargaining position that can breed exploitation (which, the way I look at it, is the extreme end of simply driving a hard bargain).

Tyndmyr wrote:If I'm making five dollars, and he's losing two, well, then it's exploitation...
Again, this is a narrow view. I may be happy to lose two dollars if I'm gaining something else. Not all deals are strict money exchanges. When I buy something, I "lose" money every time.

There are two key factors that come into play the way I think of exploitation, and they are all forms of strength.
Spoiler:
It is a proper function of government to protect the weak from the strong. It is therefore arguably also a proper function of government to protect the ignorant from the savvy. Both are protecting people from exploitation. This is one place where strict libertarianism and unrestrained capitalism fall.
Facebook and google and those in bed with the internet of things are exploiting our ignorance. We are too slow to realize that these companies are scooping up our personal information and will use it against us, so strongly that we will one day end up in a gilded cage of our own creation. Cambridge Analytica is just the beginning of the surveillance state that is arising without our awareness. Yes, we are certainly gaining; we have unquestionably greater access to wonderful things because of this, but our (metaphorical) pockets are being picked at every keystroke.

Another example is the way (some) companies use their advanced knowledge about us to figure out the top dollar we're willing to pay for something, and customizing prices based on that. Insurance, books, airfares... all of this. You could argue that we willingly pay that amount (grumble grumble), but on the other hand, these companies are also willingly selling (to others) for less. So, why not have them sell to us for that same "less"? If we had knowledge of their algorithms and they had no knowledge of our profiles, we could exploit those companies. But that's not the way it actually is. They have the advantage.

People with no skills and desperate for work will be willing to work for far less than companies would be willing to pay... so this disparity in bargaining position leads to exploitation ("wage slavery"). For any individual worker, they can take the job or starve. The company doesn't care, there are more in line behind them.

I can list many other examples: "Your money or your life" is a form of exploitation (I have a gun and am willing to use it. You don't.) This kind of exploitation has a name and a prison sentence associated with it, but it's the same thing: taking advantage of a position of strength.

On the low end, there is bargaining. On the medium end, there is driving a hard bargain. On the high end there is exploitation. They are differences in degree, not in kind. The question is where to draw the line, and why that should be the place to draw it. If we don't agree on that (which is the problem in this thread), then the word is merely an emotional call-to-arms that has no actual meaning in the conversation.

Jose
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:45 am UTC

The problem isn't that we don't know where to draw the line, the problem is that wherever we draw the line, private property ownership leads to some people being in a situation in which no matter how much they work their lifetime wealth is zero with government assistance. We have a situation in which, due to wealth inequality itself, some people are incapable of working for more than they need to survive. This is occurring all over the world, including the US, and it's because of the legal structure caused by property laws.

The fact that wages vary so much from region to region tells you there is a massive level of exploitation in the economy today; you shouldn't expect income to differ that much on a regional basis except for what can be explained by cost of living differences. Labor productivity in the US is around $60-$70 per hour worked; that median wage before taxes isn't sitting somewhere around there in the US is because of the wealth inequality itself.

Rent and profits are equivalent to debt payments; equity itself is equivalent to debt in that respect, it's just that the debt is owed by your community rather than you, yourself. The existence of impoverished regions that most people won't get out of (or even be able to own property in those regions) means many many people are unable to shed the debts that they were born with, and have to keep paying other people for their entire life because they lack the ability to move somewhere where pay is decent. The economic barriers created by wealth inequality function as chains to restrict the movement of the poor.

You cannot give some people more power without giving others less. You cannot have freedom without equality. The only way you could possibly be able to say there is no slavery with private property ownership is if literally everyone in the world is truly capable of getting through life without working. All private property ownership is about making some people pay others for things other than their labor, which is inherently exploitative.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:03 am UTC

Response to Thesh spoilered for OT (wrt libertarianism)
Spoiler:
Thesh wrote:... the problem is that wherever we draw the line, private property ownership leads to some people being in a situation in which no matter how much they work their lifetime wealth is zero...
Being rich involves having private property. What you are saying is that rich people are rich, and poor people aren't. You see this as a problem, and your solution is to make nobody rich. I think that's a bit extreme, and taken to that extreme, very counterproductive. We already have a more moderate version of this, it's called taxes, but that doesn't seem to be enough for you. Correct?

If you disallow private property, and disallow the accumulation of wealth, you make it impossible for me to aspire to (say) having my own house where I can invite my friends (and nobody else) for a barbecue, having my own swimming pool where I can go skinny dipping at night just because I feel like it, and/or having my own cello to practice on whenever I want. I may not have been born deserving such things, but denying private property prevents me from, by dint of my own effort, even hoping to achieve such things.

It also prevents me from ensuring that in my retirement I can live reasonably comfortably and free from worry about any unexpected needs I may have in the (unpredictable) future. In fact, it pretty much prevents me from having a secure retirement at all; I would be no longer a productive worker but rather a leech on society, which would (I can only hope) take care of all my needs....whatever the governing body decides "all" is. And what "needs" are. This is the opposite of being a responsible citizen.

Thesh wrote:The fact that wages vary so much from region to region tells you there is a massive level of exploitation in the economy today;
No it doesn't. Different regions have different weather, different soil, different terrain, different society, different infrastructure, different job opportunities, different recreation opportunities, different pretty much everything. I would certainly expect wages and prices to be different in different regions. To the extent that national transportation is easy, some things get a bit homogenized, but NY can't ship water to California to put out their fires, and California can't ship their heat and sunlight to NY in the winter to melt the snow. Globally we're even more isolated.

Thesh wrote:...equity itself is equivalent to debt in that respect, it's just that the debt is owed by your community rather than you, yourself...
I don't know what this means, except that equity ("what I own") represents the debt that my community owes me for work done in the past. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is the basis of property rights. This applies to real, chattel, and intellectual property equally.

Thesh wrote:The economic barriers created by wealth inequality function as chains to restrict the movement of the poor.
This much is true. This is why I favor ways to give people a chance to get on the ladder and climb it themselves. Things like education, basic health care, some form of safety net that isn't a trap... It is a proper function of government to promote the general welfare in this manner. I don't thing society owes anybody an elevator however.

Thesh wrote:The only way you could possibly be able to say there is no slavery with private property ownership is if literally everyone in the world is truly capable of getting through life without working. All private property ownership is about making some people pay others for things other than their labor, which is inherently exploitative.
"Slavery"? Again with the emotional distortion with a word taken out of context stolen from a more brutal time employed solely to rape the minds and pillage the rational thinking of everyone on this message board.

Oh... and "things" are little more than condensed labor anyway, so charging for things (or the use of things) is just how somebody enjoys the fruits of their (past) labor, the enjoyment of which they chose to postpone for reasons of their own choosing.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:44 am UTC

ucim wrote:Being rich involves having private property. What you are saying is that rich people are rich, and poor people aren't. You see this as a problem, and your solution is to make nobody rich.


No, my solution is to make everyone equally rich. If you have an 80 year life expectancy at birth, and you receive a $12,500/yr unconditional basic income, then you are born with a million dollars in cash wealth. I'm advocating for people to be born rich and die poor, while being able to improve their quality of life along the way.

ucim wrote:If you disallow private property, and disallow the accumulation of wealth, you make it impossible for me to aspire to (say) having my own house where I can invite my friends (and nobody else) for a barbecue, having my own swimming pool where I can go skinny dipping at night just because I feel like it, and/or having my own cello to practice on whenever I want. I may not have been born deserving such things, but denying private property prevents me from, by dint of my own effort, even hoping to achieve such things.

It also prevents me from ensuring that in my retirement I can live reasonably comfortably and free from worry about any unexpected needs I may have in the (unpredictable) future. In fact, it pretty much prevents me from having a secure retirement at all; I would be no longer a productive worker but rather a leech on society, which would (I can only hope) take care of all my needs....whatever the governing body decides "all" is. And what "needs" are. This is the opposite of being a responsible citizen.


That's all a complete load of nonsense that indicates you don't understand that other types of property rights exist that are not ownership.

ucim wrote:
Thesh wrote:The fact that wages vary so much from region to region tells you there is a massive level of exploitation in the economy today;
No it doesn't. Different regions have different weather, different soil, different terrain, different society, different infrastructure, different job opportunities, different recreation opportunities, different pretty much everything. I would certainly expect wages and prices to be different in different regions. To the extent that national transportation is easy, some things get a bit homogenized, but NY can't ship water to California to put out their fires, and California can't ship their heat and sunlight to NY in the winter to melt the snow. Globally we're even more isolated.


See, this is the point I keep making, you just keep rationalizing, not thinking; not only did I say "vary so much", but you didn't even attempt to understand the relationship between land and people. Your argument flat-out assumes every single property is locally owned and managed, and that the only differences in wages are entirely due to the value of those resources. You don't explain why labor itself is more productive in areas with natural resources, or why things don't even tend towards equality which you would expect with free movement of people and equal opportunity.

ucim wrote:
Thesh wrote:...equity itself is equivalent to debt in that respect, it's just that the debt is owed by your community rather than you, yourself...
I don't know what this means, except that equity ("what I own") represents the debt that my community owes me for work done in the past. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is the basis of property rights. This applies to real, chattel, and intellectual property equally.


Again, you are confusing property rights with property ownership. And no, equity does not pay people for past work; it pays people for property. The past work was paid off the instant a loan could be repayed; the equity continues paying throughout future time, and when it comes to land the payments grow with population. There is no economic mechanism for the value of equity to equal the value of the labor.

ucim wrote:This much is true. This is why I favor ways to give people a chance to get on the ladder and climb it themselves. Things like education, basic health care, some form of safety net that isn't a trap... It is a proper function of government to promote the general welfare in this manner. I don't thing society owes anybody an elevator however.


All the education and healthcare in the world does not matter if people don't actually have jobs that let them work for enough money to move up that ladder, and safety net spending will never be enough to allow the bottom 20% to compete with the top 20%.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:34 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:If I make one dollar, and the person I'm doing business with makes five, well, cheers. We are both the better off. Neither of us has exploited the other. Does that seem like a reasonable assessment?
I think that looks at it the wrong way. It has less to do with how much somebody makes in a deal than it has to do with what kinds of bargaining advantages one has over the other. It is the disparity of bargaining position that can breed exploitation (which, the way I look at it, is the extreme end of simply driving a hard bargain).


Anyone can drive a hard bargain, and that's expected. It all boils down to choice. If one corporation monopolizes most of the jobs in a small town, and basically all of the good jobs, then worker choice is limited. I notice that historically, many areas where unions proved necessary had such a setup. One giant employer basically acting as a monopoly for the local labor market.

Sure, you can describe this as bargaining position, I guess, but I often hear that term used to describe other things as well.

Tyndmyr wrote:If I'm making five dollars, and he's losing two, well, then it's exploitation...
Again, this is a narrow view. I may be happy to lose two dollars if I'm gaining something else. Not all deals are strict money exchanges. When I buy something, I "lose" money every time.


Dollars worth of value. If you value a product at $5, and find a way to purchase it for a fraction of that, cheers. You've made a great trade. Someone buying a house is likely not becoming impoverished as a result, they're merely conducting a transaction.

Money's just being used because it makes for easy examples.

There are two key factors that come into play the way I think of exploitation, and they are all forms of strength.
Spoiler:
It is a proper function of government to protect the weak from the strong. It is therefore arguably also a proper function of government to protect the ignorant from the savvy. Both are protecting people from exploitation. This is one place where strict libertarianism and unrestrained capitalism fall.
Facebook and google and those in bed with the internet of things are exploiting our ignorance. We are too slow to realize that these companies are scooping up our personal information and will use it against us, so strongly that we will one day end up in a gilded cage of our own creation. Cambridge Analytica is just the beginning of the surveillance state that is arising without our awareness. Yes, we are certainly gaining; we have unquestionably greater access to wonderful things because of this, but our (metaphorical) pockets are being picked at every keystroke.


Most people don't care. They place very little value on privacy, and no matter how often they are told, will cheerfully click whatever privacy disclaimer anyways.

I don't think it's ignorance, merely a different set of values than you have.

Another example is the way (some) companies use their advanced knowledge about us to figure out the top dollar we're willing to pay for something, and customizing prices based on that. Insurance, books, airfares... all of this. You could argue that we willingly pay that amount (grumble grumble), but on the other hand, these companies are also willingly selling (to others) for less. So, why not have them sell to us for that same "less"? If we had knowledge of their algorithms and they had no knowledge of our profiles, we could exploit those companies. But that's not the way it actually is. They have the advantage.


Perfect price discrimination is often an artifact of IP law. Medicines in the US often cost ridiculously more than in the US for this reason. College textbooks, the same.

It's not ignorance. Pretty much everyone is aware that US medicine is expensive, and our textbooks are unreasonably expensive. Seriously, find college students who don't feel this way. It's a problem that largely exists because of government. If you want to remove this, you want to look at IP reform.

People with no skills and desperate for work will be willing to work for far less than companies would be willing to pay... so this disparity in bargaining position leads to exploitation ("wage slavery"). For any individual worker, they can take the job or starve. The company doesn't care, there are more in line behind them.


Ultimately, there will always be some workers who are unwilling or unable to provide value sufficient to justify their employment. How to handle this is a significant social problem to chat about, but the spectrum goes all the way to those who simply cannot work. Their existence is not really the fault of any particular business. The fact that a business is unwilling to hire those that do not wish to perform the job is true of the entire spectrum. Nobody is being treated unfairly, and their lack of skills/life circumstances are not the fault of the business unless the business has specifically created them.

I can list many other examples: "Your money or your life" is a form of exploitation (I have a gun and am willing to use it. You don't.) This kind of exploitation has a name and a prison sentence associated with it, but it's the same thing: taking advantage of a position of strength.

On the low end, there is bargaining. On the medium end, there is driving a hard bargain. On the high end there is exploitation. They are differences in degree, not in kind. The question is where to draw the line, and why that should be the place to draw it. If we don't agree on that (which is the problem in this thread), then the word is merely an emotional call-to-arms that has no actual meaning in the conversation.

Jose


That's not merely a difference of quantity, but of identity. The former example is an overt threat. The only thing the stick-up man is offering protection from is himself.

The businessman is not responsible for creating your need for food, shelter, etc. He is merely offering a solution to it. If it is not as good a solution as you would like, you are free to find a better one. Or at least, you ought to be.

Thesh wrote:
ucim wrote:Being rich involves having private property. What you are saying is that rich people are rich, and poor people aren't. You see this as a problem, and your solution is to make nobody rich.


No, my solution is to make everyone equally rich. If you have an 80 year life expectancy at birth, and you receive a $12,500/yr unconditional basic income, then you are born with a million dollars in cash wealth. I'm advocating for people to be born rich and die poor, while being able to improve their quality of life along the way.


Someone who makes $12,500 a year is considered poor in the US. Yeah, the "million dollars" in total may sound impressive, but what you're advocating is poverty.

See, this is the point I keep making, you just keep rationalizing, not thinking; not only did I say "vary so much", but you didn't even attempt to understand the relationship between land and people. Your argument flat-out assumes every single property is locally owned and managed, and that the only differences in wages are entirely due to the value of those resources. You don't explain why labor itself is more productive in areas with natural resources, or why things don't even tend towards equality which you would expect with free movement of people and equal opportunity.


He quite obviously understands that regional advantages exist. Sunlight, water, these things are natural resources, and he discussed them explicitly.

He doesn't expect regions to equalize out(neither do I), so we do not share your surprise that things are not equal. Why should they be?

Thesh wrote:All the education and healthcare in the world does not matter if people don't actually have jobs that let them work for enough money to move up that ladder, and safety net spending will never be enough to allow the bottom 20% to compete with the top 20%.


I think you're underestimating education. Education correlates quite highly with wealth. If memory serves, there is no better indicator of how well you will do in life.

You fix some of the horribly dysfunctional aspects of our educational system, and you give bottom quintile folks a far better chance at upward mobility.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:19 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Thesh wrote:
ucim wrote:Being rich involves having private property. What you are saying is that rich people are rich, and poor people aren't. You see this as a problem, and your solution is to make nobody rich.


No, my solution is to make everyone equally rich. If you have an 80 year life expectancy at birth, and you receive a $12,500/yr unconditional basic income, then you are born with a million dollars in cash wealth. I'm advocating for people to be born rich and die poor, while being able to improve their quality of life along the way.


Someone who makes $12,500 a year is considered poor in the US. Yeah, the "million dollars" in total may sound impressive, but what you're advocating is poverty.


That's just a really stupid thing to say. A $12,500 per person per year UBI is enough to completely end poverty in the United States. It would also lead to wages being a lot more equal all over the country, which would put most regions closer to labor productivity ($60-$70/hr) in terms of wages before taxes.

Tyndmyr wrote:He quite obviously understands that regional advantages exist. Sunlight, water, these things are natural resources, and he discussed them explicitly.


Yes, I realize these things exist, but the transportation costs are pretty tiny compared to the overall economy, whereas you and ucim seem to assume it is 100% of wage differences, because that's the situation that causes the least amount of cognitive dissonance. And it doesn't matter where the natural resources reside; if there is more solar power in California, then it doesn't make sense to ship it to someone in the middle of the country, but equality does not require everyone has the same amount of electricity available; if you have a single power cooperative that controls all the energy, and everyone owns it equally, then everyone owns the same monetary value of electricity. It doesn't matter where you reside, it matters what you own.

Tyndmyr wrote:He doesn't expect regions to equalize out(neither do I), so we do not share your surprise that things are not equal. Why should they be?


If ownership isn't tied to residence, and people have free movement, why wouldn't you expect it to equalize? Literally, it takes less effort to earn money in a rich area vs a poor one, regardless of natural resources, so why wouldn't people just move and make more money? Why would people choose to live somewhere where everyone is in poverty if it's simply a matter of natural resources?

Tyndmyr wrote:I think you're underestimating education. Education correlates quite highly with wealth. If memory serves, there is no better indicator of how well you will do in life.


Wealth of the parents is the highest quality indicator, and also a highly accurate predictor of the education of the children, but the rewards for education are zero if you live in an area where there are no good jobs.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:44 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Thesh wrote:
ucim wrote:Being rich involves having private property. What you are saying is that rich people are rich, and poor people aren't. You see this as a problem, and your solution is to make nobody rich.


No, my solution is to make everyone equally rich. If you have an 80 year life expectancy at birth, and you receive a $12,500/yr unconditional basic income, then you are born with a million dollars in cash wealth. I'm advocating for people to be born rich and die poor, while being able to improve their quality of life along the way.


Someone who makes $12,500 a year is considered poor in the US. Yeah, the "million dollars" in total may sound impressive, but what you're advocating is poverty.


That's just a really stupid thing to say. A $12,500 per person per year UBI is enough to completely end poverty in the United States. It would also lead to wages being a lot more equal all over the country, which would put most regions closer to labor productivity ($60-$70/hr) in terms of wages before taxes.


The federal poverty line for a single person family is $15,060(2017), and medicaid eligibility remains up to $20,783.

A UBI of $12,500 isn't going to completely end poverty. It's a very significant wealth transfer, but people will still be poor, particularly if other safety nets are replaced.

Tyndmyr wrote:He quite obviously understands that regional advantages exist. Sunlight, water, these things are natural resources, and he discussed them explicitly.


Yes, I realize these things exist, but the transportation costs are pretty tiny compared to the overall economy, whereas you and ucim seem to assume it is 100% of wage differences, because that's the situation that causes the least amount of cognitive dissonance. And it doesn't matter where the natural resources reside; if there is more solar power in California, then it doesn't make sense to ship it to someone in the middle of the country, but equality does not require everyone has the same amount of electricity available; if you have a single power cooperative that controls all the energy, and everyone owns it equally, then everyone owns the same monetary value of electricity. It doesn't matter where you reside, it matters what you own.


You can't just transport everything. Transporting water from the east coast to the west would require ludicrous volume.

If you "own" some share of the electricity, but it cannot be transported to you, and you don't get to use it, that still matters a great deal. Having a resource available where you live matters quite a lot.

Tyndmyr wrote:He doesn't expect regions to equalize out(neither do I), so we do not share your surprise that things are not equal. Why should they be?
If people can simply move somewhere and make more money, why wouldn't they?

If ownership isn't tied to residence, and people have free movement, why wouldn't you expect it to equalize? Literally, it takes less effort to earn money in a rich area vs a poor one, regardless of natural resources, so why wouldn't people just move and make more money? Why would people choose to live somewhere where everyone is in poverty if it's simply a matter of natural resources?


Cluster effects, in part. If you're starting another tech company, doing it in an area with a large tech labor market makes sense. If you're an aspiring tech worker, going to an area with a lot of hiring tech companies makes sense. Result: Lots of tech companies in a single area.

That's just one effect, and not even one related to resources.

Also, you keep saying things like "simply move". Moving is expensive and kind of a pain. People often prefer to live where they grew up, and not abandon everything to relocate across the country. Significant costs are involved. Expecting people to do that to level out every difference is not reasonable.

Tyndmyr wrote:I think you're underestimating education. Education correlates quite highly with wealth. If memory serves, there is no better indicator of how well you will do in life.


Wealth of the parents is the highest quality indicator, and also a highly accurate predictor of the education of the children, but the rewards for education are zero if you live in an area where there are no good jobs.


This is patently untrue. Educational achievement is beneficial even in areas with rougher economies. Yes, you may be managing the McDonalds instead of working the counter, but educational achievement is correlated with success consistently. It's not just a thing for expensive areas. It grants you an advantage in the area, and it also gives you better mobility if you choose to move.

Also, the correlation between education and income is an r-value of about .865*. The correlation between education and income is quite solid. I was unable to find any source indicating a larger correlation for parental wealth. I'd appreciate a source for your statement.

*Specific numbers from statcrunch.com. We can use numbers from wherever, but education appears to be very closely tied to income regardless of where you check.
**As an additional source for "it benefits even in areas where there are no good jobs", Cornell has a paper at http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf discussing how education provides advantages in developing countries. "Education is highly helpful" doesn't seem like the kind of thing that ought to need a source, but hey, it's apparently being challenged, so....

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:11 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:The federal poverty line for a single person family is $15,060(2017), and medicaid eligibility remains up to $20,783.


https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/fed ... level-FPL/

It's $12,140 for individuals.

Tyndmyr wrote:A UBI of $12,500 isn't going to completely end poverty. It's a very significant wealth transfer, but people will still be poor, particularly if other safety nets are replaced.


Are you assuming no one will work or own any other wealth? If you own a home, you can easily retire off of a $12,500 UBI.

Tyndmyr wrote:You can't just transport everything. Transporting water from the east coast to the west would require ludicrous volume.

If you "own" some share of the electricity, but it cannot be transported to you, and you don't get to use it, that still matters a great deal. Having a resource available where you live matters quite a lot.


Are you arguing that wealth differences are caused by impoverished regions not having enough actual water and electricity to go around, or are you arguing that there are situations in which it could be a problem? Because if you can move the money, and there are no actual shortages, then that is completely irrelevant. It seems like you have found a hypothetical reason why there can be wage differences, and are then declaring that the be the primary cause.

Tyndmyr wrote:Cluster effects, in part. If you're starting another tech company, doing it in an area with a large tech labor market makes sense. If you're an aspiring tech worker, going to an area with a lot of hiring tech companies makes sense. Result: Lots of tech companies in a single area.


That doesn't have anything to do with anything being discussed.

Tyndmyr wrote:Also, you keep saying things like "simply move". Moving is expensive and kind of a pain. People often prefer to live where they grew up, and not abandon everything to relocate across the country. Significant costs are involved. Expecting people to do that to level out every difference is not reasonable.


You really do not put any thought into any reply you give, do you? Not everyone has to move, just enough so that population declines in areas with high poverty and increases in areas with low poverty. Sure, there are barriers to movement, but if it's simply a matter of natural resource wealth, it should tend towards greater equality, even if it's one person moving from a middle class area to a neighboring upper class town, another moving from a lower-middle class town to a neighboring middle class town, and another moving from an impoverished town to a lower-middle class town.

Tyndmyr wrote:This is patently untrue. Educational achievement is beneficial even in areas with rougher economies. Yes, you may be managing the McDonalds instead of working the counter, but educational achievement is correlated with success consistently. It's not just a thing for expensive areas. It grants you an advantage in the area, and it also gives you better mobility if you choose to move.


Managing McDonalds doesn't require more than the ability to do arithmetic and experience working at McDonalds.

Tyndmyr wrote:Also, the correlation between education and income is an r-value of about .865*. The correlation between parental income and income is quite solid. I was unable to find any source indicating a larger correlation for wealth. I'd appreciate a source for your statement.

*Specific numbers from statcrunch.com. We can use numbers from wherever, but education appears to be very closely tied to income regardless of where you check.


There is also a large correlation between parent's wealth and children's education, which means you can't just treat them as independent variables.

This is parent's wealth versus children's wealth, which is a better indicator of cost-adjusted lifetime income (i.e. ease of saving for retirement).
http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/erik.hu ... ec2002.pdf

Using data from the PSID, we document substantial intergenerational persistence in wealth. The age-adjusted elasticity of child’s wealth with respect to parents’ wealth is around 0.37. These intergenerational relationships are large, especially since we only focus on households who have not yet received bequests from their parents. Results from transition matrices indicate that much of this persistence arises from what occurs in the tails: children of very low wealth or very high wealth parents rarely end with wealth substantially different from their parents’.

We assess alternative accounts for this persistence. We construct indices for the level, expected growth and expected future variance of income, the aspects of income which the theoretical literature has emphasized as being important for household wealth accumulation. We find that these income measures explain over one-half of the intergeneration wealth correlation at the mean, and virtually all of it in the middle of the wealth distribution. Income’s effect is by far the largest of the possible explanations we study. Over one-half of the wealth correlation is attributable to income, and controlling for income almost completely removes the relative intergenerational persistence in the middle of the wealth distribution. And, the effect of other factors such as previous gifts, education and expected bequests is very small once income is accounted for. That we find only a modest effect of education once income is controlled for is particularly noteworthy, as previous authors have speculated that wealthy parents principally transfer their position by easing liquidity constraints that their children face in financing schooling.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:09 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The federal poverty line for a single person family is $15,060(2017), and medicaid eligibility remains up to $20,783.


https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/fed ... level-FPL/

It's $12,140 for individuals.


Ah, looks like there's actually a state-specific exclusion(AK, HI are higher than the rest). Yours is the common number, fair enough. It still won't *entirely* end poverty as it is federally defined, but it will make a large dent.

There will still be poverty in practice, though.

Tyndmyr wrote:A UBI of $12,500 isn't going to completely end poverty. It's a very significant wealth transfer, but people will still be poor, particularly if other safety nets are replaced.


Are you assuming no one will work or own any other wealth?


I mean, if they had good jobs or wealth, they wouldn't be poor now. A UBI doesn't remove unemployment.

And if you justify a UBI on the basis of say, removing medicaid and other safety nets, someone who has an expensive medical condition and cannot work will actually be poorer in real terms.

Tyndmyr wrote:You can't just transport everything. Transporting water from the east coast to the west would require ludicrous volume.

If you "own" some share of the electricity, but it cannot be transported to you, and you don't get to use it, that still matters a great deal. Having a resource available where you live matters quite a lot.


Are you arguing that wealth differences are caused by impoverished regions not having enough actual water and electricity to go around, or are you arguing that there are situations in which it could be a problem? Because if you can move the money, and there are no actual shortages, then that is completely irrelevant. It seems like you have found a hypothetical reason why there can be wage differences, and are then declaring that the be the primary cause.


California is not particularly poor, but California does have water problems. Understanding the Californian economy requires looking at it, not merely sorting it into wealthy or not.

Moving money is also unlike moving goods. Moving money is fairly easy, because that's a basic purpose of money. Goods are generally harder to move. Again, California objectively has money, but has a lot of problems with water. Sure, you can haul water in with money, but transportation costs can quickly become very large. The EPA estimates the average family at 12,000 gallons/month. Normally, the price of water is quite low, but if you're trucking it from states away, the price rapidly climbs.

So in practice you fight over local water rights and try to minimize usage and particularly waste. Tossing on a UBI or something doesn't make regional differences vanish.

Tyndmyr wrote:Cluster effects, in part. If you're starting another tech company, doing it in an area with a large tech labor market makes sense. If you're an aspiring tech worker, going to an area with a lot of hiring tech companies makes sense. Result: Lots of tech companies in a single area.


That doesn't have anything to do with anything being discussed.


You're discussing why wage differences exist. This is huge, dude. It's a big reason why various areas with weak job markets have difficulty breaking into good jobs. It's a large part of why cities exist.

Tyndmyr wrote:Also, you keep saying things like "simply move". Moving is expensive and kind of a pain. People often prefer to live where they grew up, and not abandon everything to relocate across the country. Significant costs are involved. Expecting people to do that to level out every difference is not reasonable.


You really do not put any thought into any reply you give, do you? Not everyone has to move, just enough so that population declines in areas with high poverty and increases in areas with low poverty. Sure, there are barriers to movement, but if it's simply a matter of natural resource wealth, it should tend towards greater equality, even if it's one person moving from a middle class area to a neighboring upper class town, another moving from a lower-middle class town to a neighboring middle class town, and another moving from an impoverished town to a lower-middle class town.


A. It isn't simply a matter of natural resources. See the aforementioned cluster effect.
B. Nobody is preventing anyone from moving to low income areas. People in general would rather not.
C. Basically everyone has families, ties, etc. Saying that you only need to make some of them move is just ignoring this.

You seem to have this idea that complete equality is some natural state that things ought to just gravitate towards. This is not an expectation you share with...pretty much anyone else in this thread, I think.

Tyndmyr wrote:This is patently untrue. Educational achievement is beneficial even in areas with rougher economies. Yes, you may be managing the McDonalds instead of working the counter, but educational achievement is correlated with success consistently. It's not just a thing for expensive areas. It grants you an advantage in the area, and it also gives you better mobility if you choose to move.


Managing McDonalds doesn't require more than the ability to do arithmetic and experience working at McDonalds.


Regardless of what is practically required, many jobs are easier to get if you have a degree. Merely saying that the degree is not needed, somehow, ignores the reality of employment.

Tyndmyr wrote:Also, the correlation between education and income is an r-value of about .865*. The correlation between parental income and income is quite solid. I was unable to find any source indicating a larger correlation for wealth. I'd appreciate a source for your statement.

*Specific numbers from statcrunch.com. We can use numbers from wherever, but education appears to be very closely tied to income regardless of where you check.


There is also a large correlation between parent's wealth and children's education, which means you can't just treat them as independent variables.

This is parent's wealth versus children's wealth, which is a better indicator of cost-adjusted lifetime income (i.e. ease of saving for retirement).
http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/erik.hu ... ec2002.pdf


Sure, parental wealth and education are correlated. No worries about that.

Access to better education is probably one of the major mechanisms for parental wealth providing advantages. If you're concerned about parental wealth, addressing education is one of the best ways to go about it.

Also, your own source puts parental wealth as making up a tiny minority of generational wealth advantage, and that inheritance is absolutely irrelevant to their study.

Note that they said that education was only irrelevant to wealth if one controlled for income. Given that the mechanism by which education affects wealth is via income, this is trivially obvious, and your source isn't actually disproving the thing you seem to think it is.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:25 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:There will still be poverty in practice, though.


There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe this, but if believing poverty is inevitable is the only way you can justify our inequality, then so be it.

Tyndmyr wrote:Regardless of what is practically required, many jobs are easier to get if you have a degree. Merely saying that the degree is not needed, somehow, ignores the reality of employment.


Unless if everyone has a degree; then it doesn't matter at all and the mobility doesn't change. It's not that education itself doesn't matter at all, it's just that the actual contribution of education is tiny outside of a handful of specializations that require higher education, and there are not many jobs that require higher education in impoverished areas.

Anyway, it seems quite clear that you don't care about anything but dismissing the possibility that wealth inequality contributes to wage inequality in and of itself.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:00 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:There will still be poverty in practice, though.


There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe this, but if believing poverty is inevitable is the only way you can justify our inequality, then so be it.


$12,500 is a bit low to live off of, particularly in many areas. Cost of living varies, after all. It might be possible to live off that here in MD, but it'd be extremely challenging. Rent for the tiniest apartment you can find would likely consume the vast majority of it, and we're talking low budget, single room apartments in bad areas, maybe split with another person in similar circumstances. Toss in food and what not and it's maaaybe doable, but you're definitely barely scraping by. If you have medical issues or other necessary costs, it gets pretty unreasonable.

For comparison, minimum wage here is $10.10, so full time employment gets you $21,800. This is still not good for the area, but the former standard of living is definitely poverty. Fed minimum wage would still get you $15,080, so even in the lower cost of living areas, it's definitely less than minimum wage.

I am not arguing from the standpoint that poverty is inevitable no matter what, I'm explicitly arguing that your plan is not a cure for poverty.

Tyndmyr wrote:Regardless of what is practically required, many jobs are easier to get if you have a degree. Merely saying that the degree is not needed, somehow, ignores the reality of employment.


Unless if everyone has a degree; then it doesn't matter at all and the mobility doesn't change. It's not that education itself doesn't matter at all, it's just that the actual contribution of education is tiny outside of a handful of specializations that require higher education, and there are not many jobs that require higher education in impoverished areas.

Anyway, it seems quite clear that you don't care about anything but dismissing the possibility that wealth inequality contributes to wage inequality in and of itself.


If absolutely everyone has a degree, then yes, nobody has a comparative advantage. Being educated is of value in itself. Everyone being educated might mean you are on the same comparative footing as if nobody is educated, but the former society is much better, and will be wealthier. Largely, the people who go uneducated are those who have the bad luck to be born into low income areas. Improving education can be expected to improve equality as a result. If we end up at a state where everyone is equally educated...okay, awesome. That's not a problem.

Your own source says that wealth inequality is mostly due to income inequality, and that inherited wealth is irrelevant*. You can't expect me to take your argument seriously when your own source is contradicting you.

*It has a few other factors that are interesting, such as parent/child shared risk tolerance, and preferred investment styles. I definitely suggest folks read it if such things interest them, but these largely boil down to learned behavior outside of formal education.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:09 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:$12,500 is a bit low to live off of, particularly in many areas.

I am not arguing from the standpoint that poverty is inevitable no matter what, I'm explicitly arguing that your plan is not a cure for poverty.


Wow. You are a fucking ridiculous person.

Tyndmyr wrote:If absolutely everyone has a degree, then yes, nobody has a comparative advantage. Being educated is of value in itself. Everyone being educated might mean you are on the same comparative footing as if nobody is educated, but the former society is much better, and will be wealthier. Largely, the people who go uneducated are those who have the bad luck to be born into low income areas. Improving education can be expected to improve equality as a result. If we end up at a state where everyone is equally educated...okay, awesome. That's not a problem.


Uh huh. And since you fail to address the lack of opportunity in impoverished areas, people born in impoverished areas won't get out.

Tyndmyr wrote:Your own source says that wealth inequality is mostly due to income inequality, and that inherited wealth is irrelevant*. You can't expect me to take your argument seriously when your own source is contradicting you.


As I quoted "children of very low wealth or very high wealth parents rarely end with wealth substantially different from their parents’", and "We find that these income measures explain over one-half of the intergeneration wealth correlation at the mean, and virtually all of it in the middle of the wealth distribution." i.e. if you are middle class, your wealth is primarily a matter of income, if you are rich or poor it is primarily a matter of parents' wealth.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:13 pm UTC

I'm obviously not arguing against an UBI, but without anything else changing, $12.5k/yr would just barely pay my rent and health insurance and nothing else. If I didn't have a bunch of super high obligate expenses like that, then yeah, that'd be a pretty comfortable baseline of money to live off of. Adding that to the existing social programs we already have would pretty much solve poverty, sure. But if we're substituting the UBI for those programs then it needs to be higher (which it easily could be; I'd have it about double that), or else something else has to change to eliminate those huge cash-sucking costs like rent and insurance.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:19 pm UTC

It was ridiculous because I didn't claim that a UBI would allow absolutely no poverty without anyone having to work, just that it would end poverty. To say that it won't, Tyndmyr would need an actual argument; if the majority of people can be out of poverty without a UBI, everyone can be out of poverty with a UBI at the poverty line, given that per capita GDP is about 5 times the UBI proposed. The UBI will also lead to more equal wages in general, as fewer people will need to work to live, giving people at the bottom more bargaining power, while also leading to lower inequality in property values across regions.

In 2016 the mean income for the bottom 20% of households is $12,943; $12,500 for everyone would be absolutely huge.
https://www2.census.gov/programs-survey ... /h03ar.xls
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:45 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:If absolutely everyone has a degree, then yes, nobody has a comparative advantage. Being educated is of value in itself. Everyone being educated might mean you are on the same comparative footing as if nobody is educated, but the former society is much better, and will be wealthier. Largely, the people who go uneducated are those who have the bad luck to be born into low income areas. Improving education can be expected to improve equality as a result. If we end up at a state where everyone is equally educated...okay, awesome. That's not a problem.


Uh huh. And since you fail to address the lack of opportunity in impoverished areas, people born in impoverished areas won't get out.


Education creates opportunity. Or at least, the knowledge to understand how to make and seize opportunities.

If you grow up somewhere awful, never get a proper education, then you have trouble getting a decent job, it is wildly unsurprising that the cycle continues. Education is particularly effective at breaking cycles of poverty.

I explicitly pointed out developing countries, which are areas that are definitely impoverished relative to the US. Education is of immense value both to the individual and to the society.

Tyndmyr wrote:Your own source says that wealth inequality is mostly due to income inequality, and that inherited wealth is irrelevant*. You can't expect me to take your argument seriously when your own source is contradicting you.


As I quoted "children of very low wealth or very high wealth parents rarely end with wealth substantially different from their parents’", and "We find that these income measures explain over one-half of the intergeneration wealth correlation at the mean, and virtually all of it in the middle of the wealth distribution." i.e. if you are middle class, your wealth is primarily a matter of income, if you are rich or poor it is primarily a matter of parents' wealth.


You're only reading part of the quote.

If you remove income from consideration, there is almost no generational discrepancy in wealth overall. In short, it's almost meaningless to talk about wealth inequality apart from income inequality.

I mean, if you want to continue to imply that the poor generally have high incomes and no wealth, or high wealth and low incomes, have fun finding sources for that? Poor people generally have neither, rich people have both.

Thesh wrote:It was ridiculous because I didn't claim that a UBI would allow absolutely no poverty without anyone having to work, just that it would end poverty. To say that it won't, Tyndmyr would need an actual argument; if the majority of people can be out of poverty without a UBI, everyone can be out of poverty with a UBI at the poverty line, given that per capita GDP is about 5 times the UBI proposed. The UBI will also lead to more equal wages in general, as fewer people will need to work to live, giving people at the bottom more bargaining power, while also leading to lower inequality in property values across regions.

In 2016 the mean income for the bottom 20% of households is $12,943; $12,500 for everyone would be absolutely huge.
https://www2.census.gov/programs-survey ... /h03ar.xls


I mean, obviously if a person has a UBI and a good job, they'll be doing alright. But that's not the critical case for a safety net. The person with a decent job is doing pretty much the same either way. The person at the low end of the extreme is generally the example case for what a safety net is to solve.

So, an individual with no other income, and perhaps some other disadvantages. Not having a job and also having to pay rent, food, medical bills, etc seems like a very reasonable example case, yeah? If you're talking about the bottom, talk about the bottom.

Now, giving it out for everyone would be of benefit to families with small children, I imagine. Multiply times a few kids, and we're talking about a decent income. That said, expenses are generally somewhat non linear. A household of two costs more than a household of one, but not twice as much. Existing safety nets usually take this into account, and attempt to balance things accordingly.

I'm still unsure if you're planning to phase out existing safety nets with your proposal or not. It makes a significant difference as to the outcome. In either case, I feel comfortable describing an individual making $12,500/yr as in poverty in many areas of the country. A single flat standard across the entire nation doesn't quite match reality. If a person cannot manage food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and other basic needs consistently, they're in poverty. Looking on apartments.com, I can find....one result for a rental place under $800/month. It currently has no availability. But even if a person *could* get such a place, it would occupy enough of their budget that other necessities would eat the rest.

Edit: The idea of focusing on cost reduction as a general strategy to assisting with poverty is one that gets brought up in libertarian ideology a fair bit. As Pfforest notes, the sheer scale of expenses is a big part of the equation. I don't think cost reduction will end poverty entirely, mind. That'd be a really strong claim. However, it might usefully reduce the problem to a more manageable chunk. We *have* seen reductions in food costs pretty consistently over the long term, similar reductions to other necessities would decrease the effective poverty level in real terms.
Last edited by Tyndmyr on Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:02 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:00 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Education creates opportunity. Or at least, the knowledge to understand how to make and seize opportunities.


If you don't own the business in your area, you don't get to choose what opportunities are available in your area, and given that incomes have been stagnating at the bottom, regardless of educational attainment, that should tell you that you are full of shit.

Tyndmyr wrote:You're only reading part of the quote.


You are ignoring the fact that the income effects are different depending on your parent's wealth level. You are ignoring the part about very rich and very poor rarely ending up with different wealth from parents, because that's inconvenient for your argument.

Tyndmyr wrote:In either case, I feel comfortable describing an individual making $12,500/yr as in poverty in many areas of the country.


Fucking hell, man. You just refuse to get it.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:20 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Education creates opportunity. Or at least, the knowledge to understand how to make and seize opportunities.


If you don't own the business in your area, you don't get to choose what opportunities are available in your area, and given that incomes have been stagnating at the bottom, regardless of educational attainment that should tell you that you are full of shit.


Education helps people understand how to create businesses as well. Mostly the financial literacy bit is crucial, but other parts certainly apply depending on what the business is.

You're extremely focused on this power-relationship thing, and a very simplistic model of power and wealth. There are other aspects to this.

Tyndmyr wrote:You're only reading part of the quote.


You are ignoring the fact that the income effects are different depending on your parent's wealth level. You are ignoring the part about very rich and very poor rarely ending up with different wealth from parents, because that's inconvenient for your argument.


Both of those things are trivial, and do not disprove education's importance. They are not at all inconvenient for my argument. They're just obvious things that everyone can take for granted. What's important is mechanisms for why wealth ends up similar.

It's trivial to look at even your own source and see that it's largely due to income. You can ignore inheritance and gifts entirely, and basically nothing changes. The fact that wealth inequality flows from income inequality is also obvious and largely trivial. I'm not sure why you keep jumping back to wealth. Yes, there are some differences in how income works for the wealthy vs not. This doesn't change the fact that it largely boils down to income, which largely boils down to education.

The largest part of education is formal, with an additional, much smaller chunk that amounts to informal education. In either case, the vast majority of the actual mechanism of wealth inequality boils down to unequal education.

So if you want wealth to be more equal, education is the obvious thing to fix.


In comparison, your proposed mechanism is something like "evil rich people use their unequal power to keep the poor as they are", and propose mere band-aid fixes. If a hundred poor people all form a cooperative, cool. You still have the same number of poor people. If cooperatives had some poverty-curing effect, we'd have seen it. Cooperatives are not banned. They're not of concern to the rich. Neither are the rich conspiring against the poor. They mostly just don't care about the poor either way. Why should they view the poor as enough of a threat to conspire against?

Tyndmyr wrote:In either case, I feel comfortable describing an individual making $12,500/yr as in poverty in many areas of the country.


Fucking hell, man. You just refuse to get it.


Look, you can't rely on federal standards to "entirely end poverty" when those federal standards are higher than your proposed level in part of the country. Even on a pedantic level, you're incorrect. On a practical level, you're also incorrect. It's not going to entirely end poverty either way.

This is true before even considering secondary effects like how we pay for the thing.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:00 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Education helps people understand how to create businesses as well. Mostly the financial literacy bit is crucial, but other parts certainly apply depending on what the business is.


Yeah, just ignore all of the barriers to entry caused by established businesses and the lack of ability to raise capital; education solves all!

Tyndmyr wrote:You're extremely focused on this power-relationship thing, and a very simplistic model of power and wealth. There are other aspects to this.


This is because literally all of your economic arguments rely on the idea that the power imbalances are negligible. If power imbalances are not negligible, then prices are not a measure of utility and scarcity, but utility, scarcity, and bargaining power; and then wealth and income are not measures of your contribution to society, and libertarian capitalism is not justifiable as an economic system.

You dismiss the power imbalances, because your economic theories fail if they exist.

Tyndmyr wrote:Both of those things are trivial, and do not disprove education's importance.


Yeah, sure, the fact that whether you are very rich or very poor is determined primarily by your parents is a purely trivial thing that can be ignored, and you can focus literally on just the people in the middle of the wealth distribution. You also ignore that education itself has only a modest effect.

Tyndmyr wrote:It's trivial to look at even your own source and see that it's largely due to income.


You are assuming that there is a unidirectional causal relationship here, when it's obviously not true; for the same job, wealthier areas will have higher wages. You are also ignoring that some of that income is wealth income, which has nothing to do with education.

Tyndmyr wrote:Look, you can't rely on federal standards to "entirely end poverty" when those federal standards are higher than your proposed level in part of the country. Even on a pedantic level, you're incorrect. On a practical level, you're also incorrect. It's not going to entirely end poverty either way.


I did not make the argument that it would lead to no poverty with absolutely no one working (which would indicate a fully-automated economy), which I already mentioned in the quoted text. Poverty is a situation in which people are unable to work for substantially more than is necessary to live a decent life; if you are voluntarily unemployed but could work to earn a decent living if you wanted to, then you are not in poverty. Putting most people at the poverty line for an individual without working means that it becomes much much easier for everyone to live above poverty. I mean, or you could just like live with another person instead of by yourself, as poverty level per person goes down as household size increases.

Also, I included the UBI with childhood. If you deferred payments for children, then you could pay everyone a couple hundred grand when they turn 18, and they would still have $12,500/yr for the rest of their life.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:11 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:So if you want wealth to be more equal, education is the obvious thing to fix.


Except the effect doesn't seem to actually make a difference. Throughout most of the historical period leading up the Great Depression, inequality in the United States was pretty flat. During the same period, literacy rates rose from 80% to nearly 100%.
Image

Likewise, the population with at least a bachelor's degree has been steadily increasing, jumping from <5% in the 1940s to over 30% now, and during that same period, inequality has got dramatically worse.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:52 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:That's all a complete load of nonsense that indicates you don't understand...

you just keep rationalizing, not thinking;...

That's just a really stupid thing to say.

You really do not put any thought into any reply you give, do you?

Anyway, it seems quite clear that you don't care about anything but dismissing the possibility that...

Wow. You are a fucking ridiculous person.

you are full of shit.

Fucking hell, man. You just refuse to get it.

Could we please keep the personal attacks out of SB. Derision is not analysis.

I certainly do understand that other types of property rights exist. So does everybody else on the thread. It's not necessary to give a basic economics course in each post, and so I don't. But here's a basic question for you:

Peter and Bob finish a day working at the collective, and get paid the same, but they do different things with their money.

Peter goes to the pub and purchases a Piña Colada. Now, if he went to the store for the ingredients and made it himself, he'd actually own the beverage in fee simple. It would be his to do pretty much anything he wants with. But at the bar, he does not own the drink; he only owns the non-transferable right to consume it, limited in time, manner and place. He can't leave the tavern with it, he can't give it to his ten-year-old daughter, he can't sprinkle it all over the floor... The limitations on his "ownership rights" can be expressed in many different ways, but the result is the same. He gets to drink it, and go home happy.

Bob bumbles over to the boutique and buys a book. He now owns the book in fee simple - it is his property and he can do pretty much anything he wants with it (except perhaps copy the contents). He goes home and reads the book, learns something useful neither he nor Peter knew before, and then goes to sleep.

The next day, they work another day at the collective, get paid again, and go off to entertain themselves. Both of them shuffle off to the saloon, Peter has another Piña Colada, which he pays for with his salary. Bob has one too, but he trades his book to the bartender for the drink. Bob keeps his salary in his pocket, just in case he wants another drink later. Both go home happy, but Bob is ahead by one salary and one intellectual idea.

Granted, the story is overly simplistic because I left out a bunch of (to me) irrelevant details, but the essence (fee-simple private property) is there. However, it seems to me that this would not work in Theshville, because Bob could not buy a book. Instead, the book would be owned by some collective and he'd "rent" it or something. This would prevent him from being able to trade it for his first drink, leaving him on equal footing with Peter.

Thesh wrote:you didn't even attempt to understand the relationship between land and people. Your argument flat-out assumes every single property is locally owned and managed
I make no such assumption. People don't have it as their purpose in life to "be most productive". They want to be with family, they want to enjoy their environment, they want to meet new friends, they want many different things, each of which plays into their decisions as to where to live out their lives. True, some people have more ability to choose because they are richer, but that's what money is for. In any case, I would not at all expect a natural movement towards equality. I would expect some bias towards opportunity, but that is self-agglomerating.

Thesh wrote:And no, equity does not pay people for past work
Like the book, equity stores the past rewards for past work. In any case, you did not explain what you meant by "...equity itself is equivalent to debt in that respect, it's just that the debt is owed by your community rather than you, yourself..." So, I still don't know what you are saying. If I get a salary, and buy gold instead of a gin and tonic, that gold stores the reward for my labor for future use.

Thesh wrote:All the education and healthcare in the world does not matter if people don't actually have jobs...
All the jobs in the world do not matter if people don't actually have an education that will let them appreciate the world around them, including the ladder, and allow them to decide to climb it for the right reasons. If we all work and don't know enough to climb the ladder, we have (to borrow an overused word), slavery.

Thesh wrote:...and safety net spending will never be enough to allow the bottom 20% to compete with the top 20%.
That's not what it's for. And I'm ok with the bottom 20% never being able to "compete with" the top 20%, as long as they have a decent chance to escape the bottom 20%. It's on them to do the rest.

Tyndmyr wrote:Anyone can drive a hard bargain, and that's expected.
Well, not really. Anybody can try to drive a hard bargain, but to actually succeed at it requires a disparate bargaining position. Or a lucky bluff, I suppose. Disparate bargaining positions are very common, but when the positions become disparate enough, only one side has a reasonable chance at successfully driving that hard bargain. It is the disparate bargaining positions that potentially engender exploitation, if the disparity is extreme enough. It is a reasonable function of government to protect people from such extreme disparity. Things like consumer protection, environmental protection, fraud prevention, and even law enforcement (to generalize a bit) have their basis in this concept.

Tyndmyr wrote:Money's just being used because it makes for easy examples.
Easy examples make bad arguments. But in any case, the simple existence of the trade implies that the dollars worth of value are equal. I think that ignores important aspects of "value".

Tyndmyr wrote:Most people don't care. They place very little value on privacy...
Right - which is why I say ignorance is being exploited. (That is, if I'm right in that privacy is important. And I am right about that. IMEO, of course. :) )

Tyndmyr wrote:...their lack of skills/life circumstances are not the fault of the business...
But a business that takes advantage of that is certainly exploiting them, at least to that extent. It's a sliding scale. At some point, it's "too much" and we do something. Or we decide we don't care, and do nothing. Which society would you prefer to live in?

Tyndmyr wrote:So if you want wealth to be more equal, education is the obvious thing to fix.
Seconded. But it takes more than just that. It takes motivation and confidence, and some of that is also imparted by family and culture.

Thesh wrote:Yeah, just ignore all of the barriers to entry caused by established businesses and the lack of ability to raise capital; education solves all!
Nothing "solves all", including your system. But education is extremely powerful. Education plus motivation pretty much makes the world go round. (or flat, if that's your bent :) ). Education plus motivation plus luck yields wealth.

Power imbalances certainly exist, and they are not negligible. But education plus motivation equals power, and power is a good tool against power imbalances.

Thesh wrote:whether you are very rich or very poor is determined primarily by your parents
If you want to fix that, ask why. The answer is likely to be that rich parents educate their children better than poor parents. That's the place to apply the fix - better education for all. Yes, that's not enough - you also need motivation, which also comes from parents and cultural norms. That's another place to apply a fix. But just throwing money at people, especially people who don't know what to do with it, won't solve anything.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:55 pm UTC

ucim wrote:If you want to fix that, ask why.


Yes, that's what the debate is about: why. The entire point is that you aren't trying to figure out why, you are just trying to make excuses for why it's justified. That's why this conversation is so frustrating, as we can see below:

ucim wrote:The answer is likely to be that rich parents educate their children better than poor parents.


Which, if you have been following the conversation is patently false. I'm not going to bother to read the rest, as I'm sure it's filled with just as much nonsense, rationalization, and willful ignorance.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:47 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:So if you want wealth to be more equal, education is the obvious thing to fix.


Except the effect doesn't seem to actually make a difference. Throughout most of the historical period leading up the Great Depression, inequality in the United States was pretty flat. During the same period, literacy rates rose from 80% to nearly 100%.
Image

Likewise, the population with at least a bachelor's degree has been steadily increasing, jumping from <5% in the 1940s to over 30% now, and during that same period, inequality has got dramatically worse.


How much of the US's income was distributed to the very top earners did decrease dramatically as those literacy rates rose:

https://www.google.com/search?q=inequality+in+the+US+over+time&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiJrtfexf7cAhUI31MKHVnpBIAQ_AUICigB&biw=1355&bih=820#imgrc=4QmQz5Por7NMnM:

It's a bit rough finding completely consistent data that goes back that far, but if you're after equality, the biggest effects are more equality post-WW2, and a great deal less in the late '70s. If you're inclined to a generational view, one could argue that the Boomers were an exceptionally fortunate generation.

Events like WW2 and the great depression do seem to influence finances extremely strongly, but I don't think anyone's advocating we repeat either of those. Mostly, we're looking for effective levers in times of peace and relative financial stability. Yeah, wartime might make a really strong lever, but the costs, altogether, are pretty brutal. And most wars do not actually end up looking like the west after WW2, economically. Yeah, if you can replicate those conditions, that might be more powerful than improving primary education, but I don't think it's reasonable to attempt to replicate those conditions.

As for the commonality of college education, there are a few problems. First off, it's not distributed evenly. College definitely provides an advantage, but that advantage has mainly accrued to those who are richer. You get equality by lifting up the bottom, not by boosting the peak. Now, education is desirable overall, but right now it's distributed very unevenly. This doesn't start at college, it starts quite early in primary education, with poorer areas receiving vastly poorer quality education. One can't expect equal college performance if one group doesn't even have equivalent literacy rates.

There are also some problems in the college system that are contributing to this...but in general, if you compare between countries, those with better education invariably do better. Even if you don't care about equality a whit, having good literacy rates, strong college educations, etc are highly correlated with a country performing better economically. This is true all the way from the bottom to the top of the range of economic circumstances. Even the worst off countries are greatly benefited by improving education, relative to other countries in a similar economic situation.

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Most people don't care. They place very little value on privacy...
Right - which is why I say ignorance is being exploited. (That is, if I'm right in that privacy is important. And I am right about that. IMEO, of course. :) )


I believe that's a question of values, not a question of knowledge. How important your privacy is to you varies from person to person.

Yes, I'm perfectly willing to postulate that someone's values may be wrong in that they inaccurately reflect future costs, but ultimately, it's still up to them.

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:...their lack of skills/life circumstances are not the fault of the business...
But a business that takes advantage of that is certainly exploiting them, at least to that extent. It's a sliding scale. At some point, it's "too much" and we do something. Or we decide we don't care, and do nothing. Which society would you prefer to live in?


I prefer to live in a society where people are held to account for their actions, not the actions of others.

The fact that a business is offering the best deal around does not make that business evil.

Now, if that business is the best deal because they're the *only* business around, you have an obvious problem, but the problematic element is the monopoly, not the mere fact that a business is offering a good deal. This is true no matter how good that deal is relative to other businesses.

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:So if you want wealth to be more equal, education is the obvious thing to fix.
Seconded. But it takes more than just that. It takes motivation and confidence, and some of that is also imparted by family and culture.


There are some parts of education that happen outside of formal education. It's a fairly modest amount of the effect, if we're going by Thesh's source, but it's definitely still there. In theory, some of that could be added to formal education if we improve it. Financial literacy is a big area that could be improved, and that correlates highly with financial success.

It probably won't get every bit of info, in the sense of "kid knows the family business from having grown up around it", but getting a good foundation will help. It's certainly quite likely that even if we get education entirely optimized, other effects would still remain, but we'd be much closer to a fair shake.

Thesh wrote:
ucim wrote:The answer is likely to be that rich parents educate their children better than poor parents.


Which, if you have been following the conversation is patently false. I'm not going to bother to read the rest, as I'm sure it's filled with just as much nonsense, rationalization, and willful ignorance.


What he stated is obviously true.

Look, the difference between literacy from the highest and lowest income families is at an all time high.

Image

Oh look, the nasty curve tracks back to 1970, and greatly resembles income inequality's rise during that period(it was also remarkably low during the boom years post WW2 when income inequality was unusually low). So, not only are the rich people better educated than the poor, the gap is increasing.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Weeks » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:26 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
ucim wrote:The answer is likely to be that rich parents educate their children better than poor parents.


Which, if you have been following the conversation is patently false.
there was even graphical data posted above. I dont think its particularly hard to understand, unless one has, I dunno, some kind of bias.

I also think its rather rude to argue against what Thesh has been saying without reading his posts. I think this shouldnt be allowed in Serious Business
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Eomund » Fri Aug 24, 2018 6:06 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I prefer to live in a society where people are held to account for their actions, not the actions of others.


Me too. For example, we need a society where employers are held accountable when they exploit workers. Libertarianism doesn't offer this except via the free market which doesn't often work.

Tyndmyr wrote:The fact that a business is offering the best deal around does not make that business evil.

Now, if that business is the best deal because they're the *only* business around, you have an obvious problem, but the problematic element is the monopoly, not the mere fact that a business is offering a good deal. This is true no matter how good that deal is relative to other businesses.


No one is saying that offering the best deal means the business is evil. Rather when people don't have a lot of options they are ripe for exploitation and Libertarianism does nothing to protect them. Now maybe this is just a difference of values, but I, for one, would rather see them protected and given basic rights.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:19 pm UTC

Libertarianism would generally rather fix the situation so that there are a variety of choices rather than accepting the dysfunctional market, and regulating as such.

Sure, there are a number of dysfunctional markets at present, but if you permit them to exist, and attempt to legislate away the bad effects, it's like playing whack a mole. They find another way to use their advantage to exploit someone.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:31 pm UTC

The problem is that the libertarian "fix" for the situation is to just declare every problem to be not a problem or not resolvable, and ultimately blame the victim for lacking personal responsibility.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:41 pm UTC

Feel free to find an actual example from this thread where I've advocated victim blaming.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Aug 24, 2018 2:05 pm UTC

You've already said that people are poor primarily because they are uneducated.

Let's say you implement a Libertarian capitalist economy and it turns out there are still people in severe poverty, and charity isn't enough to go around. How do you fix it, and how do you determine who is at fault?
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Eomund » Fri Aug 24, 2018 2:12 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Libertarianism would generally rather fix the situation so that there are a variety of choices rather than accepting the dysfunctional market, and regulating as such.

Sure, there are a number of dysfunctional markets at present, but if you permit them to exist, and attempt to legislate away the bad effects, it's like playing whack a mole. They find another way to use their advantage to exploit someone.


How does Libertarianism fix the situation without legislating regulation? And what about when you have a functional market but exploitation or other bad things are still happening?

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 24, 2018 2:29 pm UTC

Well, it's all regulation to some extent, true. But it's a different approach. Outside of some limited natural monopolies where you're stuck directly managing them, most marketplaces can be made functional.

If you have exploitation, that's a warning sign for the market that something bad is going on. Maybe there's collusion between market players, maybe there's fraud, etc. Whatever it is, merely restricting the specific form of exploitation doesn't prevent the bad actors from using the same methodology to take a different approach.

Incidentally, this is one reason why libertarians are generally pretty negative about minimum wage laws. Yes, in practice, we want people to be paid well, but that's handled best by a competitive labor market that naturally drives up wages. An abusively minded organization can find other ways to exploit workers besides wages, if the workers have no options. Maybe it's strict, sort of malicious compliance with labor laws when it comes to preventing pee breaks. I think, even if that's legal, your average person will view not being permitted to pee as unreasonable. Now sure, you can change the laws for that as well. You can try to legislate every single bad thing that an employer can do(and the same for every other relationship), but that's fundamentally difficult. There will always be exploitation happening in some fashion that law hasn't caught up to.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Aug 24, 2018 5:41 pm UTC

I think that general approach you're suggesting, Tyndmyr, is the correct one, but when carried out to its conclusion you end up with something very unlike your "libertarianism" (though still, broadly speaking, libertarian, as in the discussion we had at length earlier in this thread).

People are in a situation they don't like? Why don't they just choose to be in a better situation? Oh, they can't? What is restricting their choice? Whatever that is, get rid of it.

Great procedure in general, that runs you into the conclusion that we need to get rid of capitalism. (Not free markets. Capitalism. Different thing.)

That's how I ended up where I am on the political spectrum today.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 24, 2018 5:48 pm UTC

Capitalism, when it's working correctly, offers a great deal of choice.

Making sure it stays working correctly is the challenge, of course. A great deal of human progress has taken place for fairly capitalistic reasons. Perhaps we are using a different definition of capitalism, though? I would think that free markets are quite important to capitalism. Sort of definition, even.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Aug 24, 2018 6:35 pm UTC

Oh boy, this discussion again,

The earliest free-market thinkers like Adam Smith did not speak of capitalism at all. They spoke of capitalists, sure, but in the sense of people who owned capital, not as in people who hold any particular political-economic position. And they spoke of free markets, and against systems of trade tightly controlled by the state (specifically mercantilism in Smith's time, but a Soviet-style command economy would surely have fallen under the same umbrella if the idea had existed at the time).

The earliest socialists were not advocates for government control of the economy, but an offshoot of the same left/liberal tradition pushing for freedom and equality that produced those free-market thinkers. They pointed out that concentrations of capital in few hands effectively diminishes the liberty of everyone else in an otherwise free market even with no state directly intervening to do so. They called economic systems favoring capital-owners like that "capitalism", and its antonym "socialism".

(G.K. Chesterton has a famous quote along the lines of "too much capitalism doesn't mean too many capitalists, but too few", where by "capitalist" here he means someone who owns capital, not someone who supports capitalism).

Back then we had four terms for distinguishing the endpoints of two orthogonal axes: free markets vs command economies on the one hand, which were about how much the state interfered in the economy; and socialism vs capitalism on the other hand, which were about how much concentration of capital in few hands interfered in the economy.

It was Marx who first proposed that free markets inevitably lead to capitalism, and that socialism therefore demands a command economy. Many of his socialist contemporaries disagreed: broadly speaking, the libertarian socialists (or just "libertarians" simpliciter, the socialism being implied and no other kind of libertarian existing yet). But they were largely forgotten by the wayside as countries like the USSR adopted and further perverted Marx, and even their enemies began to use his same language, equating "free market" with "capitalism", when to begin with "capitalism" had been an insult, and Marx was insulting free markets by implying that they entailed capitalism.

I'm told by people older than me that as recently as the 60s this terminology was still well-understood in the public discourse, and that a concerted effort by capitalist think-tanks (see the Powell Memo) has been actively trying to further the conflation of "socialism" with "command economy" and of "free market" with "capitalism". Being born in the 80s myself, I grew up leaning the terms that distorted way, and only through studying history and philosophy have I learned how thought-limiting that propagandist redefinition has been.

That conflation, poignantly, makes it impossible to even speak of, and therefore very difficult to even think of, two quadrants of positions on an orthogonal axis to the libertarian-capitalists and state-socialists. One of them, of course, is libertarian socialism; and the opposite is state capitalism. State capitalism is the literal definition of fascism, as in, what Mussolini who first coined the term defined it as. It's also what the USSR self-identified its own economic system as, ostensibly only as a stepping stone to state socialism and then the eventual dissolution of the state into a blissful communist utopia, but who do they think they're kidding, fascism never gives up its power.

That libertarian-socialist/state-capitalist axis is also in line with the original left-right axis. The original right were the land-owning ("capitalist") government-office-holding ("statist") aristocracy of old feudalism, and the original left were those who opposed them in favor of both more liberty and more equality, understanding as they did that you can't have one without the other. Since Marx's adoption and perversion and the reaction to that, what we think of as "left" and "right" are literally orthogonal to their original orientation. State socialism and libertarian capitalism are neither of them leftist in the original sense, one turning its back on the fight for liberty and the other turning its back on the fight for equality, in fact trying to pit those two inseparable ideals against each other.

Which is exactly what the state capitalists, the fascists, the would-be-post-industrial-feudalists want, because no matter who wins that fight, either liberty or equality loses, and if you lose one then you lose the other and all the power falls back down into the hands of those who tricked you into thinking you could only pick one and had to destroy the other to get it.

Anyway. That turned into a longer rant than I meant, but I keep having this same argument over and over again so I thought I'd just get it all out of the way.

The point is that "capitalism" means concentration of capital in few hands, and economic systems that encourage that. It doesn't mean "free market". And capitalism, in that original and correct sense, is an impediment to people's free choices, and so must be eliminated.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:04 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Oh boy, this discussion again,

The earliest free-market thinkers like Adam Smith did not speak of capitalism at all. They spoke of capitalists, sure, but in the sense of people who owned capital, not as in people who hold any particular political-economic position. And they spoke of free markets, and against systems of trade tightly controlled by the state (specifically mercantilism in Smith's time, but a Soviet-style command economy would surely have fallen under the same umbrella if the idea had existed at the time).


Well, we surely need some term to describe the system that Adam Smith and his sort advocate. Is not Capitalism a reasonable term for it?

It was Marx who first proposed that free markets inevitably lead to capitalism, and that socialism therefore demands a command economy. Many of his socialist contemporaries disagreed: broadly speaking, the libertarian socialists (or just "libertarians" simpliciter, the socialism being implied and no other kind of libertarian existing yet). But they were largely forgotten by the wayside as countries like the USSR adopted and further perverted Marx, and even their enemies began to use his same language, equating "free market" with "capitalism", when to begin with "capitalism" had been an insult, and Marx was insulting free markets by implying that they entailed capitalism.


Certainly Marx viewed Capitalism as derogatory, but we need not share his views to share his language, at least in some respects.

Sure, I'll acknowledge that people can advocate views other than free market capitalism or command society socialism, but certainly those views are fairly common ones, yes? There is benefit to referring to them briefly.

That conflation, poignantly, makes it impossible to even speak of, and therefore very difficult to even think of, two quadrants of positions on an orthogonal axis to the libertarian-capitalists and state-socialists. One of them, of course, is libertarian socialism; and the opposite is state capitalism. State capitalism is the literal definition of fascism, as in, what Mussolini who first coined the term defined it as. It's also what the USSR self-identified its own economic system as, ostensibly only as a stepping stone to state socialism and then the eventual dissolution of the state into a blissful communist utopia, but who do they think they're kidding, fascism never gives up its power.


Sure. And Fascism works well enough as a description. I have no objection to it's use in an economic sense, though I've met very few who advocate for it on those grounds. The sort of neo-fascists we have today are not usually economic-minded deep thinkers. Hard to have a proper discussion with them about such things.

I casually use the Nordic system to describe the other point of the quadrant. A sort of socialism in certain respects, but with freer markets instead of a command economy. It's not a perfect term, because it's sort of geographical in nature, but I suspect it sort of conveys the point. It's a different enough system from, say, the USSR to be worth describing with a different label.

That libertarian-socialist/state-capitalist axis is also in line with the original left-right axis. The original right were the land-owning ("capitalist") government-office-holding ("statist") aristocracy of old feudalism, and the original left were those who opposed them in favor of both more liberty and more equality, understanding as they did that you can't have one without the other. Since Marx's adoption and perversion and the reaction to that, what we think of as "left" and "right" are literally orthogonal to their original orientation. State socialism and libertarian capitalism are neither of them leftist in the original sense, one turning its back on the fight for liberty and the other turning its back on the fight for equality, in fact trying to pit those two inseparable ideals against each other.


Sure. Comes up in terms of people calling themselves "classical liberals". Not infrequent in libertarian circles. Also, potentially confusing linguistically. The current liberal/conservative split, at least in the US, may not match historical norms, or even be terribly coherent sometimes, but they kind of have consistent economic beliefs to some degree. I think their relationship to the quadrants you describe is mixed at best. Both sides drift perhaps somewhere near the midpoint of the two corners of the quadrant closer to them.

Libertarianism does not feel entirely constrained by the modern left/right, though.

Which is exactly what the state capitalists, the fascists, the would-be-post-industrial-feudalists want, because no matter who wins that fight, either liberty or equality loses, and if you lose one then you lose the other and all the power falls back down into the hands of those who tricked you into thinking you could only pick one and had to destroy the other to get it.

Anyway. That turned into a longer rant than I meant, but I keep having this same argument over and over again so I thought I'd just get it all out of the way.


It's a downside of the two party system. Ultimately, both views represented end up being a synthesis of roughly half the population's views. Ultimately, your choices are constrained. On most issues, we pick between at most, two options, represented by one of the two parties.

I don't see linguistic choices as causing this, rather, the language has changed to reflect the reality of modern political power and positions.

The point is that "capitalism" means concentration of capital in few hands, and economic systems that encourage that. It doesn't mean "free market". And capitalism, in that original and correct sense, is an impediment to people's free choices, and so must be eliminated.


Capitalism, in my experience, means an economic system of private and corporate ownership with a competitive market. Investment occurs due to private decisions, not via other means. I recognize that definition drift occurs, but in the modern day, I'd think this definition is widely accepted.

A high level of inequality is not required by definition for a system to be capitalistic, but it does generally seem as if some degree of inequality will happen naturally as a result. I have no problem accepting that, but to some degree, it's a feature, not a bug. As stated before, some industries require a concentration of wealth to work. Yeah, you can build a system to try to work around that, but ultimately, if the power ends up concentrated in the hands of a few, labeling other things as "ownership" matters surprisingly little.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:20 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Well, we surely need some term to describe the system that Adam Smith and his sort advocate. Is not Capitalism a reasonable term for it?

It is not, as explained, and there was already a term: "free market". Smith himself used the more circumlocutious "natural system of liberty".

Certainly Marx viewed Capitalism as derogatory, but we need not share his views to share his language, at least in some respects.

Marx didn't make the term derogatory. It was already derogatory, and he was using that to attack free markets.

Sure, I'll acknowledge that people can advocate views other than free market capitalism or command society socialism, but certainly those views are fairly common ones, yes? There is benefit to referring to them briefly.

Sure, so long as you're not using the words in a way that makes it impossible to talk about those other views. Are "free market capitalism" and "command society socialism" you just used not short enough? Also... do you actually want to advocate for capitalism, in the original sense, or just for free markets? If you just want free markets and don't care if the capital ends of widely distributed or concentrated, then you're not really advocating capitalism, so you can just say "free market" and make it even shorter.

Capitalism, in my experience, means an economic system of private and corporate ownership with a competitive market. Investment occurs due to private decisions, not via other means. I recognize that definition drift occurs, but in the modern day, I'd think this definition is widely accepted.

People use it to mean that a lot today, yeah. And then, because of the redefinition they've bought into, they end up unable to understand what people using it in its original sense are even talking about.

Consider for example the argument between anarcho-socialists and anarcho-capitalists. Most anarchists are and always have been anarcho-socialists, and consider the "socialist" part redundant because anarchism just is a kind of socialism, in their view. And they therefore say that capitalism is necessarily in conflict with anarchism. What they mean by that is that if some people control all of the capital, then they will effectively rule over everyone who doesn't, and so that kind of capital concentration -- "capitalism" -- is inherently anti-anarchic.

On the other hand, anarcho-capitalists will tell you that anarcho-socialism is rather a contradiction in terms, and that anarchism is necessarily capitalistsic. Because when they say "socialism" they mean "command economy" and when they say "capitalistic" they mean "free market", and obviously if there is no state nobody can be commanding the market and so it will be free. They think anarcho-socialists are therefore talking nonsense, but that's because they've lost the ability to comprehend the very words they're using. The anarcho-socialists are saying that concentrated capital ownership effectively becomes a state, so a stateless society cannot have that. That's what "anarchism is inherently socialist and against capitalism" means. But to the anarcho-capitalist who has bought into the contemporary confusion of language, that's a complete nonsense sentence.

The anarcho-socialists think it's the anarcho-capitalists who are talking nonsense, on the other hand. But the socialists were using the words that way first, and it's up to the capitalists to understand the history of their usage and get on the clue train, not the other way around.

A high level of inequality is not required by definition for a system to be capitalistic

It literally is. It's not required for a free market, but the inequality literally defines capitalism in its original sense.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:25 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Incidentally, this is one reason why libertarians are generally pretty negative about minimum wage laws. Yes, in practice, we want people to be paid well, but that's handled best by a competitive labor market that naturally drives up wages. An abusively minded organization can find other ways to exploit workers besides wages, if the workers have no options.

You went on to discuss pee breaks, but didn't discuss the thing that's actually happening in the world - ie, manufacturing jobs moving to places where people will do them for less money, and how that would expand on a national level

That is, if you get rid of minimum wage laws and a business offered $7 an hour to do my job, you'd absolutely get some fresh out of school kid who'd be all over it. And I've got a technical job. For "low skill" manufacturing work where you essentially push a button or sort objects for hours on end? $7 an hour with no minimum wage laws, maybe less.

Sure, you'd only get terrible workers. But it doesn't matter if you're employing 2000 people in a town of 10,000. You'll have a constant stream of workers ready to replace those $7 an hour workers, some of them offering to take $6.50. then $6. Then $4.

I mean, how do you insure a competitive labor market without legislation, especially given the libertarian stance is at best barely tolerant of labor unions?
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby sardia » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:57 pm UTC

How would a libertarian even know there's a problem? All the typical watch dogs would go away.
For example, there FDA doesn't regulate homeopathy or supplements. And yet the free market hasn't stopped what is essentially snake oil.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:59 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Well, we surely need some term to describe the system that Adam Smith and his sort advocate. Is not Capitalism a reasonable term for it?

It is not, as explained, and there was already a term: "free market". Smith himself used the more circumlocutious "natural system of liberty".

Certainly Marx viewed Capitalism as derogatory, but we need not share his views to share his language, at least in some respects.

Marx didn't make the term derogatory. It was already derogatory, and he was using that to attack free markets.

Sure, I'll acknowledge that people can advocate views other than free market capitalism or command society socialism, but certainly those views are fairly common ones, yes? There is benefit to referring to them briefly.

Sure, so long as you're not using the words in a way that makes it impossible to talk about those other views. Are "free market capitalism" and "command society socialism" you just used not short enough? Also... do you actually want to advocate for capitalism, in the original sense, or just for free markets? If you just want free markets and don't care if the capital ends of widely distributed or concentrated, then you're not really advocating capitalism, so you can just say "free market" and make it even shorter.


Sure, free market gets used a lot in libertarian talking.

That said, libertarianism also cares about things like property rights, so capitalism comes into play there. Yeah, they're using it to describe property rights, not a particular concern about equality in wealth, but that's the modern definition.

Capitalism, in my experience, means an economic system of private and corporate ownership with a competitive market. Investment occurs due to private decisions, not via other means. I recognize that definition drift occurs, but in the modern day, I'd think this definition is widely accepted.

People use it to mean that a lot today, yeah. And then, because of the redefinition they've bought into, they end up unable to understand what people using it in its original sense are even talking about.


Definitions drift, and it's always a contextual issue for understanding historical documents. I think it's inevitable. A language won't entirely stop changing until it's dead.

Sure, it's fun to look at Marx in the context of his time, but our time's different. It seems more reasonable to use modern day definitions for most discussion in the modern day, and to specify when one is using an anachronistic usage(or depend on context, if sufficiently clear).

Consider for example the argument between anarcho-socialists and anarcho-capitalists. Most anarchists are and always have been anarcho-socialists, and consider the "socialist" part redundant because anarchism just is a kind of socialism, in their view. And they therefore say that capitalism is necessarily in conflict with anarchism. What they mean by that is that if some people control all of the capital, then they will effectively rule over everyone who doesn't, and so that kind of capital concentration -- "capitalism" -- is inherently anti-anarchic.

On the other hand, anarcho-capitalists will tell you that anarcho-socialism is rather a contradiction in terms, and that anarchism is necessarily capitalistsic. Because when they say "socialism" they mean "command economy" and when they say "capitalistic" they mean "free market", and obviously if there is no state nobody can be commanding the market and so it will be free. They think anarcho-socialists are therefore talking nonsense, but that's because they've lost the ability to comprehend the very words they're using. The anarcho-socialists are saying that concentrated capital ownership effectively becomes a state, so a stateless society cannot have that. That's what "anarchism is inherently socialist and against capitalism" means. But to the anarcho-capitalist who has bought into the contemporary confusion of language, that's a complete nonsense sentence.

The anarcho-socialists think it's the anarcho-capitalists who are talking nonsense, on the other hand. But the socialists were using the words that way first, and it's up to the capitalists to understand the history of their usage and get on the clue train, not the other way around.


Sure, I understand the definition difference between ancaps and such, but it is the responsibility of both parties to make their arguments understood. If they don't, well, they're going to have trouble persuading anyone. The linguistic pedantry is ultimately unimportant.

And, frankly, anarchism is a bit easier to dismiss on other grounds. It tends to be displaced by a state of some sort in actual practice.

SecondTalon wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Incidentally, this is one reason why libertarians are generally pretty negative about minimum wage laws. Yes, in practice, we want people to be paid well, but that's handled best by a competitive labor market that naturally drives up wages. An abusively minded organization can find other ways to exploit workers besides wages, if the workers have no options.

You went on to discuss pee breaks, but didn't discuss the thing that's actually happening in the world - ie, manufacturing jobs moving to places where people will do them for less money, and how that would expand on a national level

That is, if you get rid of minimum wage laws and a business offered $7 an hour to do my job, you'd absolutely get some fresh out of school kid who'd be all over it. And I've got a technical job. For "low skill" manufacturing work where you essentially push a button or sort objects for hours on end? $7 an hour with no minimum wage laws, maybe less.

Sure, you'd only get terrible workers. But it doesn't matter if you're employing 2000 people in a town of 10,000. You'll have a constant stream of workers ready to replace those $7 an hour workers, some of them offering to take $6.50. then $6. Then $4.

I mean, how do you insure a competitive labor market without legislation, especially given the libertarian stance is at best barely tolerant of labor unions?


Offshoring's a big deal, sure. In practice, you'll get it in a libertarian market, but you'll also get it without. To an extent, it always happens, if it's sufficiently desirable. From the large scale, it's not entirely bad...it's the mechanism for how developing nations progress and become better places to live.

Lower minimum wage can affect it to some degree, by slightly balancing the scales. This is probably not a large effect in the US at present, since only about 700k people actually make the US minimum wage*. If it were entirely revoked, it's possible that some segment of those jobs would pay less than they do at present. It's also possible that there would be a larger supply of lower paying jobs(libertarians believe this to be the case) that are profitable at some level that is sub-minimum wage locally, that are not currently. Those mostly represent jobs that would otherwise be offshored to countries with far lower wages.

However, the US has sufficiently high employment rates at present, and sufficiently few people working for minimum wage, that the possible effect is not too great. You can only fill so many such jobs before you start running out of workers. Sure, you can pay more to outcompete others, but at that point, we can't really credit the lack of a minimum wage for the job. It's a more important thing if you have high unemployment rates, or many people working for minimum wage. So, I view it as practically of relatively small importance for the US right now.

This may differ based on location, though. State laws differ, local economies differ. Honestly, a US-wide minimum wage is sort of clumsy tool at best. The economy varies significantly enough within the US that the federal minimum wage provides essentially no effect on the economy of most states.

In short, if you want to know how an economy looks without a national minimum wage, it looks a great deal like today's.

Mostly, a minimum wage just lops off the bottom of the pay scale. Yeah, it may compress some jobs that remain profitable to minimum wage, but if a job can't be made profitable with the local labor source, but is profitable elsewhere, that job will leave.

*https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/minimum-wage/2016/home.htm

sardia wrote:How would a libertarian even know there's a problem? All the typical watch dogs would go away.
For example, there FDA doesn't regulate homeopathy or supplements. And yet the free market hasn't stopped what is essentially snake oil.


Those seem like straightforward cases of fraud in many cases. Particularly for homeopathy.

I have no objection to supplements being sold where no damages exist, the contents are what they claim, and no bullshit health claims are made. A bottle of vitamin C being sold is not a problem in itself. Selling snake oil is all about bullshit claims, though.

Remember, stronger liability for fraud is pretty consumer friendly.


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