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Does Democracy Really Work Since Only the Rich and Powerful are Satisfied?
Yes 12%  12%  [ 18 ]
Yes 12%  12%  [ 18 ]
No 21%  21%  [ 31 ]
No 21%  21%  [ 31 ]
I Am President Bush and You Have Violated the Patriot Act 17%  17%  [ 25 ]
I Am President Bush and You Have Violated the Patriot Act 17%  17%  [ 25 ]
Total votes : 148

Assassin
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09 Dec 2005, 6:38 pm

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If you're searching for an -ist to label me, how about economist?


Ok, but I ment politically. You can either have someone governing the peeple (dictatorship), the peeple governing themselves (democracy), no goverment at all (anarchy), or not even any peeple to be governed (extinction). What other conceevable alternative is there? An economist still has to fit into one of those categories.

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Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that democracy saves us from fascism, or any other big idea


I dont think that, but what i do think is that a dictatorship dooms us to fascism, anarchy can be just as unfair as fascism and allmost allways leeds to dictatorships anyway which as i sed then become fascist, and the only other 2 alternatives are democracy and extinction.


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Laz
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09 Dec 2005, 6:43 pm

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Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that democracy saves us from fascism, or any other big idea. Better to live our lives as well as we can, keep out of other people's business, and treat those we know fairly. I don't know what kind of -ist that makes me.


Sounds like that Le Harve fella and his church of satanism to me



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09 Dec 2005, 6:43 pm

Laz wrote:
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These resources are created, not extracted,


So Aluminium, Coal, Oil, Gas, Timber, Iron, Gold, Tin, Copper, Lead etc miraculously grow back after you dig them out of the ground as if by magic? Boxite grows back?

Well what a miracle i never knew ore and finite resources could regrow back


"These resources" which improve our lives are capital goods, not natural. All goods you buy are capital goods. Even lumber.

Aluminum is a good example of this. Aluminum is not a natural resource. It exists virtually everywhere in the earth's crust. You could pave the world in aluminum, and there would be more than enough left over to do the same to the moon. However, aluminum is scarce. The limiting factor is the capital resources required to remove the oxides, like mining equipment and hydroelectric power plants. So yes, as I claimed, these goods ARE created.

Aluminum used to be extremely expensive. There's a reason we used to make planes out of wood. However, due to our growing capital base, we have engineered methods to create aluminum with fewer resources. The concept of the capital base is paramount, because a lot of the increased production capacity and lower marginal cost is due to increased production of lower-order goods like electricity. It shouldn't be any surprise that we mine aluminum close to hydroelectric power plants.

Of course, who buys aluminum directly from the plant? Is my 45lb bike made of various bits of steel and aluminum the same as the equivalent mass of its natural components? Is it the same as any other 45lb bike? Does it increase my living standards the same as 45lbs of oxidized aluminum still stuck in the ground?

Wealth is created by transforming what we have into more valued goods. The limit of our lifestyles cannot be determined a priori any more than people flying wooden planes could determine their limits based on the availability of lumber.



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09 Dec 2005, 6:47 pm

Assassin wrote:
Ok, but I ment politically. You can either have someone governing the peeple (dictatorship), the peeple governing themselves (democracy), no goverment at all (anarchy), or not even any peeple to be governed (extinction).


People governing themselves isn't democracy. People governing themselves is self-government, or perhaps more appropriately self-ownership.

The very nature of a governing body changes little regardless if its a dictatorship or democracy.

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Quote:
Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that democracy saves us from fascism, or any other big idea


I dont think that, but what i do think is that a dictatorship dooms us to fascism, anarchy can be just as unfair as fascism and allmost allways leeds to dictatorships anyway which as i sed then become fascist, and the only other 2 alternatives are democracy and extinction.


It seems that democracy, too, dooms us to fascism.



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09 Dec 2005, 6:53 pm

So what do you propose to prevent fascism? Because dictatorship is doomed to fascism, and anarchy is doomed to dictatorship. At leest democracy is a fairer system, fascist or not, at leest it pleeses more than one person (not that Im condoning fascism under any circumstances). Wood you prefer extinction? Democracy isnt DOOMED to fascism, just becos its possible for it to turn fascist (which, yes, i beleeve both the States and - possibly to a lesser extent - Briten have done), and its harder for that to happen than under a dictatorship.

The only thing we can do is raise arms whenever fascism rears its ugly head, and reinstate a non-fascist democracy, and do our absolute best to KEEP it non-fascist so that we dont have to fite agen for as long as possible.


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anarkhos
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09 Dec 2005, 7:11 pm

Assassin wrote:
So what do you propose to prevent fascism? Because dictatorship is doomed to fascism, and anarchy is doomed to dictatorship. At leest democracy is a fairer system, fascist or not, at leest it pleeses more than one person (not that Im condoning fascism under any circumstances). Wood you prefer extinction? Democracy isnt DOOMED to fascism, just becos its possible for it to turn fascist (which, yes, i beleeve both the States and - possibly to a lesser extent - Briten have done), and its harder for that to happen than under a dictatorship.

The only thing we can do is raise arms whenever fascism rears its ugly head, and reinstate a non-fascist democracy, and do our absolute best to KEEP it non-fascist so that we dont have to fite agen for as long as possible.


In case you haven't noticed, I don't buy any of your premises. Well, I may buy the idea that democracy is more pleasing, or should I say pandering.

Fascism is a result not of dictatorship, but of the pleasing idea that a safe and prosperous future can be secured by central authority. Some people think that big business makes a better central planner, while others think that a populist does. You may consider these the right and left sides of politics. Their extremes both lead to fascism, and the longer a political system festers the more extreme it becomes.

I'm neither. I contest the idea that any leader knows a priori how best to distribute wealth. I contend that every attempt to do so by a central authority has led and necessarily leads to the degradation of the capital base, poverty, and eventually starvation.



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09 Dec 2005, 7:18 pm

Unless we ask the computer to decide

providing it doesn't run on a microsoft operating system



anarkhos
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09 Dec 2005, 7:25 pm

Laz wrote:
Unless we ask the computer to decide

providing it doesn't run on a microsoft operating system


Why would a computer change anything? The inability for any central authority to know how do distribute wealth has nothing to do with bias or ability to reason.

There is a difference between economic calculation and economic prediction. The latter is impossible quantitatively.



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09 Dec 2005, 7:37 pm

What do you think is the best way to distribute wealth under the capitalist system?



anarkhos
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09 Dec 2005, 8:19 pm

Laz wrote:
What do you think is the best way to distribute wealth under the capitalist system?


First of all (so there is no confusion), I would like to establish that capitalism doesn't imply a specific system or utopian ideal. It merely means the means of production are privately owned.

Secondly I'm not going to claim to know exactly how wealth would be distributed without government intervention. If that were true of anyone (or a computer, as you seemed to half-seriously suggest), Communism could indeed work.

Thirdly (just to be anal), we do not live in anything resembling a capitalist "system". Instead this is a so-called "mixed economy", or more accurately an interventionist regime. While our respective governments haven't completely abolished the market economy, it's been rigged for populist and crony purposes. Probably the single most subversive method employed being the central bank, tainting every transaction and holding.

Wealth distribution under capitalism is determined by who creates the wealth. Wealth is created in a process whereby the output is more valuable than the input. I only mention this to make clear it is based on value, and value is not a physical property which can be measured. Instead it is preference of one thing over another. The whole point of this is that wealth is created, not merely distributed (as some socialists believe). Any coerced distribution is, economically speaking, redistribution.

Now to get to your question, I can answer it two ways depending what you mean by "best way". Do you mean best in a utilitarian context, or a deontological context?

To answer that question taken in a utilitarian context would be difficult to summarize here. Human Action, written by someone I consider to be a utilitarian, attempts to do just this in a concisely-written 900 pages. It is difficult to do because one must make the case, on a theoretical basis, that most people would be better off in this and no other system.

However, I can point out that voluntary transaction doesn't occur unless the two parties believe they are better off for the trade, and they wouldn't continue doing so unless they were. They are unequal (in fact, no trade would ever occur if we were all equal), but they have an equal ability to decline an offer. This is in no way a proof of what you're asking, but that proof has already been written and I could hardly do a better job than to paste it here. If you ask a more specific question I'll do my best to answer it.

As for a just system of distribution, redistribution is involuntary and I consider it to infringe on the rights of whomever owns the wealth in question. This is based on a system of rights stemming from self-ownership (which is different than say common, positivist, or natural law). The only exception would be for restitution due to a previous infringement of rights, like property damage.

Thus I consider distribution under capitalism the only just form of distribution.



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10 Dec 2005, 5:48 pm

What form of goverment do you propose thogh? Cos youve sed that your not in favor of eether democracy or dictatorship, and you dont seem to prefer the idia of no goverment at all.


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anarkhos
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10 Dec 2005, 7:38 pm

I don't presume to know what system of restitution would be ideal under a system of rights (stemming from self-ownership). Not even the Founding Fathers were so arrogant, instead suggesting the current government wouldn't last long.

One has to keep in mind that government is seldom, if ever, chosen. It is imposed by marauding invaders or tin pot tyrants who, sometimes, are reformed into something they like to think is legitimate. One of the reasons I abhor democracy is the false legitimacy it gives the current regime by means of a mandate. Also, instead of issues of freedom and rights, candidates puff their chests out and claim to be more democratic as they redistribute the wealth of those less politically connected. Its institutionalized subjugation.

Given the sticky nature of government, I wouldn't create anything further than was barely necessary for restitution. The system of appointments matters little, as do any checks and balances. As a wise man said, like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. The only thing keeping thugs in line, barbarians at the gates, and politicians from class warfare is the armed citizen (not the armed cop).

There is a current debate if government is even necessary for restitution. Private courts already handle various international disputes, you can't do business without a good reputation, and the only real deterrence against violent criminals (or elected ones) is to conspire against them. One of the best historical precedents for competing courts working within one system or understanding was Iceland from the tenth to thirteenth century. The original sagas of Iceland were historical narratives of bringing fugitives to justice and similar court accounts. I don't agree with everything David Friedman says, but this is an interesting article on the subject:

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/ ... eland.html

I wouldn't call this democracy, dictatorship, or anarchy. There are alternatives which don't involve a central authority.

Again, I'm not a big idea proponent. The only question of substance is to where from here, to which I reply liberty, perhaps though decentralization.

The western democracies are broke. Let them declare bankruptcy, dissolve any assets, and never repeat this nightmare.



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11 Dec 2005, 6:32 pm

anarkhos, how would your life and the lives of those you care about be improved by an anarcho-capitalist system such as the one you are proposing?

Democracy works fine. Most people are happy. Leave it as it is.



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11 Dec 2005, 7:39 pm

RobertN wrote:
Democracy works fine. Most people are happy. Leave it as it is.


Only if you ignore the real and institutionalized debt. Everyone is happy, until the bills aren't paid.

Empires of debt, la la la la la!

Or are most people happy because their candidate won? How sad.

Also, I didn't propose anything other than letting it go bankrupt. Hopefully sooner than later.



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12 Dec 2005, 1:31 am

Remember the words to "Raise a little hell"?

If you don't like, what you got
Why don't you change it?
If your world is all screwed up
Rearrange it

If you don't like what you see
Why don't you fight it?
If you know there's something wrong
Why don't you right it?


Why not go within the system, within democracy?

The reason why the G8 are in debt is because of Oil. The oil crisis of the 1970's and 80s.
Also in keynesian economic theory, it is good for a country to go into debt to combat a depression.

A private law system does solve the bureacracy problem but it creates others.
What about punishment and rehabilitation?
Simply making everything private is not the answer.


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14 Dec 2005, 11:58 am

What you are suggesting, Anarkhos, is a privately funded totalitarian regime. If anarcho-capitalism worked, it would create a world 1,000 times crueller than the world we live in today. There would be no justice whatsoever for the weak and oppressed.