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What do you think about libertarianism?
Libertarianism is an awesome political philosophy 35%  35%  [ 26 ]
Libertarianism is an alright political philosophy 17%  17%  [ 13 ]
Libertarianism is an internally inconsistent political philosophy 13%  13%  [ 10 ]
Libertarianism is a bad political philosophy 16%  16%  [ 12 ]
Libertarianism is an evil political philosophy 5%  5%  [ 4 ]
Libertarianism just is a political philosophy 13%  13%  [ 10 ]
Total votes : 75

Chaotica
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19 Jul 2008, 5:26 am

Cyanide wrote:
I think the United States really needs Libertarian rule right now (which is where my vote is going this year). We desperately need to reverse this trend we're in...heading toward a corporatist-fascist police state.


The US have no chance to be "a corporatist-fascist police state" :lol:
You have too many races demanding their special freedoms even to think about that or be afraid of it :)
You protest against immigration, although the US are created by the immigrants! What about the Indians, by the way?
Is there any Native American (an INDIAN) on the forum?



Balefire
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19 Jul 2008, 12:32 pm

Orwell wrote:
Anyways, if libertarianism is where your ideals lie, don't vote for the Libertarian Party this year. They need to be punished for being such miserable sell-outs and nominating that idiot neocon Barr and his running mate the war-monger Root.

Most definitely. This fuels the misconception that many have that the Libertarian Party is just a more conservative version of the Republican Party. I used to be guilty of this myself.


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ducasse
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19 Jul 2008, 1:50 pm

I don't know much about Libertarianism, but it seems that the idea of a 'minarchist' (is that the word?) government is usually defined as paying for the courts, the police force, & a defensive army. The idea of public health & public schools always seems to be discarded. Is that the case? & if so, what is the mechanism for someone born into an underpriveleged background to receive an education? Is it supposed that industries will set up trade schools to train up their workers?
(I voted: an alright political philosophy)



Orwell
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19 Jul 2008, 6:31 pm

ducasse wrote:
I don't know much about Libertarianism, but it seems that the idea of a 'minarchist' (is that the word?) government is usually defined as paying for the courts, the police force, & a defensive army. The idea of public health & public schools always seems to be discarded. Is that the case? & if so, what is the mechanism for someone born into an underpriveleged background to receive an education? Is it supposed that industries will set up trade schools to train up their workers?
(I voted: an alright political philosophy)

That's roughly accurate, though there are different variants of libertarians (some, like AG, are anarchist). Public health and public schools are usually discarded, yes, but on a few occasions (in the more moderate varieties) maintained in a scaled-down form. The mechanism for someone born into an underprivileged background to receive an education is, depending on the libertarian you ask, through some modest public support for education, or through charity, or nonexistent.


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codarac
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29 Jul 2008, 3:50 pm

Orwell wrote:
codarac wrote:
So what is this ‘19th century pseudoscientific crap’ I apparently buy into? The rather obvious fact that the races are different, and that each race and each ethnic group has a natural interest in its own continuity? Yes, these are my views. These are views that were held throughout the West until recent decades. They are still held throughout the entire non-Western world. They are backed up by common sense and by modern science.

Please provide links to scientific papers.


If you want a scientific explanation of the adaptivity of ethnic loyalty, try “On Genetic Interests” by Frank Salter, which uses mathematical measures of kinship, building on the work of the geneticist, Luigi Cavalli-Sforza.
If you want to find out about phenotypic racial differences try looking into the work of Richard Lynn, J Philippe Rushton, Tatu Vanhanen, Hans Eysenck, Linda Gottfredson, Richard Hernstein, Charles Murray, Arthur Jensen

http://www.charlesdarwinresearch.org/reb.html
http://psychology.uwo.ca/faculty/rushton_pubs.htm
http://www.rlynn.co.uk/pages/publications.asp
http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/re ... index.html
http://www.amazon.com/IQ-Wealth-Nations ... 027597510X

Orwell wrote:
I assure you that I have studied evolution and biology in general in far greater depth than you have. I know how it works. But your argument really doesn't hold because at the level of an entire ethnic group, the coefficient of relatedness is too low to be very significant. Individuals do better in maximizing their Darwinian fitness to focus on their own interests rather than those of an ethnic group, especially in the context of modern society, where there is more to be gained from cooperation than competition.


Orwell, you are 18. The way you write above anyone would think you had a PhD. The fact that an expert like you needs a layperson like me to direct you to the work of people like Richard Lynn and J Philippe Rushton indicates that your studies are biased by your liberal politics.
You are clearly very bright and well-read, but your age is what it is. I am not old, but I'm a fair bit older than you.

Orwell wrote:
codarac wrote:
Now the fact that Europeans have, in recent decades, largely abandoned their ethnocentrism and opened up their lands to immigrants from all corners of the earth means that, if things carry on like this, they are heading towards extinction. Perhaps, from a social darwinian point of view, they deserve it.

Oh really? America, as a diverse melting pot, has become far more prosperous than more ethnocentric states. And most aren't really concerned about the propagation of their specific race. We belong to the broad class of humans, beyond that I don't see much point in making further distinctions.


But I am not talking about prosperity. If a man comes home from work one day and finds his family have been replaced by complete strangers, do you think it would be much consolation to him to be told how wonderful said strangers were at plumbing and picking strawberries? If you have some small Amazonian tribe facing extinction, do you think it would be any consolation to one of their tribesmen to be told that once they had gone their former territory would be turned into a theme park?

I disagree with your assertion anyway. America became the richest country in the world at a time when it was something like 90% white. It wasn’t America’s diversity that put it in top spot, but it will be America’s diversity that knocks it off



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29 Jul 2008, 3:51 pm

Here is an interesting critique of libertarianism by Robert Locke.

http://www.amconmag.com/2005_03_14/article1.html

He calls it the Marxism of the Right.



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29 Jul 2008, 4:03 pm

Chose the positive on libertarianism despite reservations about some points of doctrine; the party website test said 100% civil libertarian and 90% economic libertarian.

Self-described?

Anarchist in the philosophical sense of the term. Evidence suggests that all things generally deemed good or positive are the result of cooperation, not coercion. Evidence also suggests that coercion is, at best, a necessary evil, and at worst, the bane of the human spirit. Anarchism is truer than democracy, because evidence does not suggest that a majority of people make mostly good or positive positions, and evidence does suggest that a majority will support evils ranging from probably necessary to obviously unnecessary.

Majority rule?
Adolf Hitler was freely elected by a majority of voters.
Barabbas was set free and Yeshua of Nazareth was executed because most people wanted Pilate to do so.
80% of Russians freely support Putin and his ilk pillaging the country in the name of nationalism.


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29 Jul 2008, 5:51 pm

codarac wrote:
Here is an interesting critique of libertarianism by Robert Locke.

http://www.amconmag.com/2005_03_14/article1.html

He calls it the Marxism of the Right.

Not really very interesting, his points really aren't new, and aren't things I haven't heard before and rejected. Libertarians do not assume all people value freedom to the same extent, they assume that value is subjective, and then assert the ethical goodness of freedom through some means. Not only that, but libertarians often categorically deny collective power, and thus would seek to deny the power of democracy to deny people freedom even if most people wanted to do so. Also, "libertarian naivette" in economics seems to deny the fact that most of the major champions of libertarian economic ideas have been economists. I really do not see the criticism as very interesting or powerful.

qaliqo wrote:
Chose the positive on libertarianism despite reservations about some points of doctrine; the party website test said 100% civil libertarian and 90% economic libertarian.

yeah, if it is the "smallest political test" then it is not a very good test, but can show *some* things.



Orwell
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29 Jul 2008, 7:47 pm

codarac wrote:
If you want a scientific explanation of the adaptivity of ethnic loyalty, try “On Genetic Interests” by Frank Salter, which uses mathematical measures of kinship, building on the work of the geneticist, Luigi Cavalli-Sforza.
If you want to find out about phenotypic racial differences try looking into the work of Richard Lynn, J Philippe Rushton, Tatu Vanhanen, Hans Eysenck, Linda Gottfredson, Richard Hernstein, Charles Murray, Arthur Jensen

http://www.charlesdarwinresearch.org/reb.html
http://psychology.uwo.ca/faculty/rushton_pubs.htm
http://www.rlynn.co.uk/pages/publications.asp
http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/re ... index.html
http://www.amazon.com/IQ-Wealth-Nations ... 027597510X

How many of those are peer-reviewed?

Quote:
Orwell, you are 18. The way you write above anyone would think you had a PhD. The fact that an expert like you needs a layperson like me to direct you to the work of people like Richard Lynn and J Philippe Rushton indicates that your studies are biased by your liberal politics.
You are clearly very bright and well-read, but your age is what it is. I am not old, but I'm a fair bit older than you.

Right, well, I've heard of Lynn before and I'm not too impressed with his work (nor are most scientists). I have my biases, to be sure (as do you) but I am certainly not liberal in the modern sense of the term. You can rag on my age if you wish, it does not change the fact that there aren't any reputable scientists other than Watson who will back you up in your views.

Quote:
But I am not talking about prosperity. If a man comes home from work one day and finds his family have been replaced by complete strangers, do you think it would be much consolation to him to be told how wonderful said strangers were at plumbing and picking strawberries?

What are you talking about? Immigrants are going to be like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers or something? People will still have their nuclear family, and most people don't view their race as significant enough to really matter. Really now, do you want to start dividing up into different European races? Because not all of us whites are the same race, you know. I'm descended from the Celts, should I have animosity toward the Anglo-Saxon, Jute and later Norman invaders of my ancestral homeland? Should I disdain the Magyars of Hungary, or the Caucasians from by the Caspian Sea? Am I to be ashamed of the Italian ancestry in my grandfather's family diluting the pure Celtic bloodline? Are the Czechs inferior to me, or superior? And the Castilians? Where do they fit in here?

For me, it's a lot less confusing just to say "There is neither Greek nor Jew" and get the hell on with life.


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Vichy
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30 Jul 2008, 8:49 pm

Delirium wrote:
Libertarianism is anarchism for rich, selfish people who adore Ayn Rand and voted for Ron Paul.

Ayn Rand didn't go far enough, Ron Paul is a conservative statist, and voting is a waste of time and harmful to boot.
How's that for libertarianism? Don't take the Party to be the idea.



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01 Aug 2008, 3:46 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Gromit wrote:
We have different ideas of what can be done with harmful waste. Ultimately, you have only three choices: transform the waste into something less harmful or not harmful, store it forever, or dump it. ... So I ask what incentive you have to transform or permanently store the waste, instead of dumping.

The issue with dumping the waste is completely upon how property rights are assigned. If property rights are assigned where dumping waste is a damage to the property of others, as these rights could be easily defined, then legal action as a disincentive can work.

That would be fine, but in your later argument, you don't follow through with an example of a definition that would work to solve what I see as serious problems. You can, of course, suggest that my definition of problem is wrong, like here:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Gromit wrote:
I am thinking of widespread collapse of ecosystem services. If something kills you, I wouldn't call it a merely subjectively based problem, unless you think that death is only a problem if one has the wrong attitude.

I actually do think that death is only a problem if one has that attitude for it.

If Libertarianism can only solve what i see as serious political problems by defining death as an attitude problem, I don't find it a useful political philosophy. I'll get back to that later, because I think a related point introduces a contradiction.

For now, let's look at whether Libertarianism has solutions for what I see as a problem.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
The major issue is that most externalities do not automatically and directly lead to ecosystem collapses, and given the fact that I have not seen an actual ecosystem collapse(I have heard of radical historical changes)

Ecosystem service collapse. Pollination is an ecosystem service. Many of our food crops need pollination. If you wanted to value that service, you'd need to estimate what it would cost to pollinate without the insects that do it now. Both honey bees and bumble bees are in trouble. If the bees disappeared, that change of the ecosystem would lead to the loss of an ecosystem service. You can find more examples if you look. The collapse of the cod fishery may be taken as an example.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I must instead look towards changes and trade-offs as I tend to think them to be better from a descriptive perspective than the idea of a radical tipping point.

Ecosystems have tipping points. If you stop overexploitation of a resource, you are not guaranteed to get it back. Here is a link to an interview with Jared Diamond about his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive (click on "Listen again".

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Gromit wrote:
I rather think if the dominant wind blew from Norway to Britain, the British government would have called acid rain a violation of property rights. I assumed that if I own something, then if someone else reduces the value of that property (by damaging it) without my consent, that is a violation of my property rights. I saw nothing to suggest the British government argued it had consent (it clearly did not) or that there was no damage. Their only argument seems to have been "you can't make us do anything about it".

Well, ok? So? You are just showing that nationstates are self-interested. I just have to say "duh" to that, and simply express my distaste for nationalism vs markets. I am not assuming that value is subjective so I do not see an issue of objective value loss. So, the entire issue does fall down towards the definition of the property rights in question. The British government's argument was neither consent, nor a lack of damage, only a lack of legal system, which would be the case of property rights not being defined to disallow such an event.

Nation state or not is irrelevant to my point. You can exchange the nation states for the private owners of a coal power station in Britain and a forest in Norway, and my point is the same. The value of Norwegian property was reduced by the actions of people in Britain. You told me before that property rights could fix such problems, but when I give you a concrete example, you offer no solution, you dismiss the problem.

For now, I'll accept your argument that property rights can, in principle, be defined to solve any problem with externalities. My question is whether and how the parties involved can come to agree on a definition of property rights that does solve the problem. Why should the party that benefits from an externality agree to a definition of property rights that would make them pay and so remove the externality? Your previous answer and your next both make me think you have no solution for that.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Gromit wrote:
Here you seem to assume that the duty to prevent harm is on the side of those who would cause it. According to Coase's theorem, that shouldn't matter to the economic efficiency of the final distribution of property rights, but it matters very much to the people who have to pay, especially if those people are poor. For example, rich countries have contributed most of the emissions causing climate change, but poor countries are going to suffer most. Should the poor pay the rich to stop harming them?

Well, what else can the poor do? Cry about it? It is not as if the rich really would care to stop doing it of their own volition, and we cannot assume some benevolent government god to save them.

I asked whether you have anything else to save them. That's the whole point of the question. If you don't, please say so. If Libertarianism's only solution is that those who are being harmed should pay, it has nothing to offer to solve the problem I posed.

I put the problem in more general terms. You seem to think that the solution to externalities is that those who bear the cost should pay those who profit. I think that those who make the profit should bear the full cost of what they do, and I ask whether libertarianism can achieve that, or at least do better than what we've got now. If libertarianism will not do that on principle, I oppose it. Are you telling me I must be against libertarianism?

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Gromit wrote:
I rather feel that I have property rights to my own body. If a big company starts slowly poisoning me through emissions into the atmosphere, the difference in my earnings between being healthy and ill is not going to be enough for me to pay them off. It's going to be economically more efficient to poison me. I would find that cold comfort.

All profits are economic profits on some level, but not all are exchangeable. You do have *some* measure of property rights to your body, you just do not have property rights to the air you breathe or the water you drink. You breathe and drink out of your own volition, therefore there is no innate property rights problem.

Before I accept that argument, I want to see you live for a month without intake of water or just an hour without taking in oxygen and without getting rid of CO2. If libertarianism depends on a definition of volition that broad, I think it loses its justification. The whole point of libertarianism is to increase freedom by removing a chronic source of coercion, government. But if you define even breathing as voluntary, how can the government force you to do anything? If you pay taxes, you do so of your own free will. If you don't pay taxes and the government jails you, you go to that jail of your own free will. It must be your free will, because you don't choose to prevent the government from locking you up by, for example, blowing your brains out. So what have you got to complain about that motivates you to advocate libertarianism?

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Gromit wrote:
Then there's the issue of time delay. Say I have a business plan that will make me rich if I put it into practice, but will kill people in a hundred years or so. Perhaps I will store radioactive waste in my garden, in containers that are quite safe for the rest of my life, but will corrode in hundred years at most. The people who will be harmed are not even alive yet. How can they give me an incentive not to harm them?

The issue is the property ownership of the cannisters. Whomever owns them will be responsible and thus have a duty to deal with them.

My problem is equivalent to asking who would own them? I designed my example so that I would be dead by the time the cost comes due. No one would want to own my garden or my containers. Would you force someone to take on ownership? That is an important problem. Many externalities have a time delay. That delay is being exploited. A company sets up a subsidiary that makes a profit off an externality. The profit is transferred to the parent company. When the cost comes due, the subsidiary goes bust, the cost is passed on to society at large. I gave you a simplified and small scale example. Is there a libertarian solution?

I read your reference. At first, it seemed to go some way towards addressing my concerns, but the more I thought about it, the less impressed I was.
Quote:
Objection #1: The behavorial assumptions of public goods theory are false.

It is simply not true that people always act in their narrow self-interest. Charity exists, and there is no reason to think that the charitable impulse might not be cultivated to handle public goods problems voluntarily on an adequate basis.

The more free riding there is, the less charity, because people resent being exploited. I'm sure I can find references if you don't agree.

Quote:
Objection #2: Government is not the only possible way to provide public goods.

Even if individuals act in their narrow self-interest, it is not true that government is the only way to manage public goods and externalities problems. Why couldn't a left- anarchist commune or an anarcho-capitalist police firm do the job that the neoclassical economist assumes must be delegated to the government?

The objection is a straw man. The question is whether the left- anarchist commune or an anarcho-capitalist police firm can do better.

Quote:
Objection #3: Public goods are rarer than you might think.

Anarcho-capitalists would emphasize that a large number of alleged "public goods" and "externalities" could easily be handled privately by for-profit business if only the government would allow the definition of private property rights.

I see them as far more common than you might think, so the answer doesn't convince me. Besides, having an attitude problem about death, I don't really care whether it's one public goods problem that kills or a thousand. I don't care about the number, I care about the impact. I judge the impact to be serious.

Quote:
Objection #4: Externalities are a result of the profit-oriented mentality which would be tamed in an anarchist society.

Left-anarchists would emphasize that many externalities are caused by the profit-seeking system which the state supports.

Partly correct. American law doesn't allow corporations to consider anything but shareholder value. Removing that idiotic and unethical law would be a good thing. But I'm not convinced that is enough. The profit motive is not only created by economic forces. Competition for status occurs in every society I know of. Status is often expressed, or gained, through control over material resources. That creates a profit motive in enough people to make trouble for everyone.

Then there's this:
Friedman wrote:
I must spend time and money determining which protection agency will best serve me - but having decided what I want, I get what I pay for. The benefit of my wise purchase goes to me, so I have an incentive to purchase wisely.

So there would be competing protection agencies. Choosing one is supposed to be like choosing good insurance. I have a few worries. Say I believe you have harmed me. I go to my protection agency and ask them to protect my interest. You go to yours. Do they shoot it out to decide which of us gets his way? What if we are customers of the same protection agency? Would either of us have a free choice of agencies, or would the agencies choose their customers and their premiums, as is common in a protection racket? There would be an economic incentive for each protection agency to create a monopoly in any market where excluding competition costs less than lowering premiums to compete with other agencies on that basis. Will my choice of protection agency then be free only by a definition that views breathing as voluntary?

So far, you have only made me more skeptical. Here is another way of describing what I see as the essential inconsistency of libertarianism. Somewhere in this thread someone wrote libertarians see government as evil (and therefore, I guess, the abolition of government as good). I think that misses an essential point. Entities are not in and of themselves evil. They can only be called evil if they are inherently predisposed to evil acts. You have to think more of process than structure. From this perspective, libertarians see government as evil because it has an inherent tendency to coerce individuals. You need to ask why it has that tendency, and what happens to government's power and tendency to coerce if you abolish government. Will the power be distributed more equally among individuals, or will it be concentrated among individuals and organizations even less accountable than government? If the power is distributed as unequally as with government, or worse, what happens to the tendency to coerce? Will that go away? That is a question libertarians don't seem to ask, probably for being too fixated on government as the source of evil. What you told me about the poor paying not to be exploited makes me think that in your favourite political system, power would be even more concentrated than it is now, and there would be more coercion from those even less accountable.



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02 Aug 2008, 10:59 pm

Gromit wrote:
If Libertarianism can only solve what i see as serious political problems by defining death as an attitude problem, I don't find it a useful political philosophy. I'll get back to that later, because I think a related point introduces a contradiction.

Well, the issue is that libertarianism as a political philosophy, stresses individualism. From an individualistic perspective, without invoking some morality higher than individuality, death is an attitude problem.

Quote:
Ecosystem service collapse. Pollination is an ecosystem service. Many of our food crops need pollination. If you wanted to value that service, you'd need to estimate what it would cost to pollinate without the insects that do it now. Both honey bees and bumble bees are in trouble. If the bees disappeared, that change of the ecosystem would lead to the loss of an ecosystem service. You can find more examples if you look. The collapse of the cod fishery may be taken as an example.

I wasn't aware that we knew why honey bees were dying with any great veracity or were doing a darn thing to correct the issue. Not only that, but yes, that is what would have to be done, and/or various corrections would have to be made.

Quote:
Ecosystems have tipping points. If you stop overexploitation of a resource, you are not guaranteed to get it back. Here is a link to an interview with Jared Diamond about his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive (click on "Listen again".

In some cases to certain extents they do. There are no guarantees with anything though, the major issue being how we handle the information we have, the resources we have and all of that in an efficient way. I really do not think I am going to listen to anything, I may peruse a transcript if you can find it though.

Quote:
Nation state or not is irrelevant to my point. You can exchange the nation states for the private owners of a coal power station in Britain and a forest in Norway, and my point is the same. The value of Norwegian property was reduced by the actions of people in Britain. You told me before that property rights could fix such problems, but when I give you a concrete example, you offer no solution, you dismiss the problem.

Well, the issue is that if we involve nationstates, then we do not involve simple property rights issues as nationstates are not a for-profit system necessarily and stand for a lot of non-economic issues without submitting to economic evaluation so much. The issue with private owners is that they must stand upon some legal framework, these legal frameworks can be designed to deal with other legal frameworks to negotiate issues in a profitable manner as opposed to how a nationstate may work. This means that some negotiation may take place between various interested parties and a solution may come to pass based upon all of the interested parties. Not only that, but the forest paying the factory is an efficient solution offhand. What if the factory was polluting the forest before it was valued by the foresters? Then it wouldn't be the foresters being attacked but rather the coal factory being attacked for they were there polluting first, so to say that one solution must come to pass seems a disingenuous way of saying "I want a system that runs exactly how I want a system to run", which no system will ever run like that.

Quote:
For now, I'll accept your argument that property rights can, in principle, be defined to solve any problem with externalities. My question is whether and how the parties involved can come to agree on a definition of property rights that does solve the problem. Why should the party that benefits from an externality agree to a definition of property rights that would make them pay and so remove the externality? Your previous answer and your next both make me think you have no solution for that.

Well, basically, all we need is well-defined property rights, which allow for some ability of 2 sides to negotiate with each other effectively. The party that benefits may agree to this because they want a property right contract like that for themselves as well, if for some other endeavor. They may agree because it is more efficient for them to agree rather than have some form of battle for a different definition. They may even disagree, but still the system would be efficient.

Quote:
I asked whether you have anything else to save them. That's the whole point of the question. If you don't, please say so. If Libertarianism's only solution is that those who are being harmed should pay, it has nothing to offer to solve the problem I posed.

The point of my answer is to suggest that your question is meaningless because no system will actually address the problem in the manner you'd prefer.

Quote:
I put the problem in more general terms. You seem to think that the solution to externalities is that those who bear the cost should pay those who profit. I think that those who make the profit should bear the full cost of what they do, and I ask whether libertarianism can achieve that, or at least do better than what we've got now. If libertarianism will not do that on principle, I oppose it. Are you telling me I must be against libertarianism?

No, actually I do not. I say that the solution to externalities is to assign property rights and let things take their own course. I think that to suggest a solution to the property rights problem without looking at an entire system seems a rather negative way to do that, different issues and instances of externalities should be regarded differently, for the concept of "invader" and "invaded" negates the issue of which party was there first, which is also something that some take into consideration as well, on a level of economics and a level of morality as well. Libertarianism, on principle, says that people can sort their own stuff out. Not that this sorting will be your ideal solution, but rather that it will be a solution, and an efficient solution. I am not telling you anything, in fact, I don't care whether or not you oppose or support libertarianism, as most people have made up minds on this matter. The issue is that you seem to support an objective world where everything runs on subjective things, to me that seems fallacious to do, therefore I cannot accept your notions of the proper system as holding validity as you seek categories that are imperfect for the world we live in.

Quote:
Before I accept that argument, I want to see you live for a month without intake of water or just an hour without taking in oxygen and without getting rid of CO2. If libertarianism depends on a definition of volition that broad, I think it loses its justification. The whole point of libertarianism is to increase freedom by removing a chronic source of coercion, government. But if you define even breathing as voluntary, how can the government force you to do anything? If you pay taxes, you do so of your own free will. If you don't pay taxes and the government jails you, you go to that jail of your own free will. It must be your free will, because you don't choose to prevent the government from locking you up by, for example, blowing your brains out. So what have you got to complain about that motivates you to advocate libertarianism?

Ok, actually I run off of different justifications. To me, the point of libertarianism is to increase freedom by reducing the major concentration of power: government. Not to remove all coercion, because the term coercion can sometimes be difficult to ascertain, such as in this issue. Can you tell a factory to *never* pollute due to your body? No, you cannot, that would be an elimination of the freedom of the factory. Can a factory pollute an area until the sky is black and you are dead? Well, I think that this constitutes a problem as well. So, frankly, I refuse to give you the property right to the air to avoid the former knowing that the latter will be avoided due to various interests. What I have to complain about is that the government is a concentration of power and is not and cannot be based upon efficiency or necessarily individual freedom. The fact of the matter is that the issues are complicated, and often more so than the simple cookie-cutter libertarian tries to think they are.

Quote:
My problem is equivalent to asking who would own them? I designed my example so that I would be dead by the time the cost comes due. No one would want to own my garden or my containers. Would you force someone to take on ownership? That is an important problem. Many externalities have a time delay. That delay is being exploited. A company sets up a subsidiary that makes a profit off an externality. The profit is transferred to the parent company. When the cost comes due, the subsidiary goes bust, the cost is passed on to society at large. I gave you a simplified and small scale example. Is there a libertarian solution?

Right, and frankly, exploitable time delays can be used in many situations. What stops them from being used right now? I don't think that anything can be so micro-managed that somebody can avoid cheating the system. Nobody would *want* to own them, but somebody will own these things. The libertarian solution to this is entirely based upon whether these externalities can be identified before they go off, if they cannot, then nobody has a freakin' solution, so the notion is pointless. If these things can be identified, then systems can be set up in handling property and other contracts to deal with these problems so that way these externalities are found quicker, addressed more completely, and etc. The major issue for a libertarian system handling something is found within the ability for information to do things.

Quote:
The more free riding there is, the less charity, because people resent being exploited. I'm sure I can find references if you don't agree.

True. I am not going to deny that, however, idealists still tend to exist, and a lot of charitable tendencies will tend to have some perseverance based upon their perceived goodness to society.

Quote:
The objection is a straw man. The question is whether the left- anarchist commune or an anarcho-capitalist police firm can do better.

The anarcho-capitalist police firm is bound by profitable practices to enforce efficiently assigned laws, rather than the laws that people do not care about.

Quote:
I see them as far more common than you might think, so the answer doesn't convince me. Besides, having an attitude problem about death, I don't really care whether it's one public goods problem that kills or a thousand. I don't care about the number, I care about the impact. I judge the impact to be serious.

Ok, and some people disagree. Not only that, but the issue still comes down to a cost/benefit ratio anyway, and the more problems referred to, the likelier that the costs are greater than the benefits.

Quote:
Then there's this:
Friedman wrote:
I must spend time and money determining which protection agency will best serve me - but having decided what I want, I get what I pay for. The benefit of my wise purchase goes to me, so I have an incentive to purchase wisely.

So there would be competing protection agencies. Choosing one is supposed to be like choosing good insurance. I have a few worries. Say I believe you have harmed me. I go to my protection agency and ask them to protect my interest. You go to yours. Do they shoot it out to decide which of us gets his way? What if we are customers of the same protection agency? Would either of us have a free choice of agencies, or would the agencies choose their customers and their premiums, as is common in a protection racket? There would be an economic incentive for each protection agency to create a monopoly in any market where excluding competition costs less than lowering premiums to compete with other agencies on that basis. Will my choice of protection agency then be free only by a definition that views breathing as voluntary?

No, they do not shoot it out, because dead people are rather unprofitable. If you have dead-folks, then you will likely have to address their angry relatives, you will have people who will leave due to a fear of death, you will have people who do not want to deal with your company due to it's recklessness etc. Probably a combination of companies choosing and customers choosing like companies often do. The economic incentive will likely vary upon the market as in certain cases I doubt that exclusion would be the best solution. As for your choice of protection agency, that will likely vary upon region somewhat, as certain regions will likely have less protection agencies or more violent ones.

Quote:
So far, you have only made me more skeptical. Here is another way of describing what I see as the essential inconsistency of libertarianism. Somewhere in this thread someone wrote libertarians see government as evil (and therefore, I guess, the abolition of government as good). I think that misses an essential point. Entities are not in and of themselves evil. They can only be called evil if they are inherently predisposed to evil acts. You have to think more of process than structure. From this perspective, libertarians see government as evil because it has an inherent tendency to coerce individuals. You need to ask why it has that tendency, and what happens to government's power and tendency to coerce if you abolish government. Will the power be distributed more equally among individuals, or will it be concentrated among individuals and organizations even less accountable than government? If the power is distributed as unequally as with government, or worse, what happens to the tendency to coerce? Will that go away? That is a question libertarians don't seem to ask, probably for being too fixated on government as the source of evil. What you told me about the poor paying not to be exploited makes me think that in your favourite political system, power would be even more concentrated than it is now, and there would be more coercion from those even less accountable.

Umm.... Entities are not evil. They can be disliked by certain parties, and set up situations that some people consider unfavorable, but not evil. This tendency by government is one of the centralization of power, the less centralized power is, the more competition there is amongst powers, and the less capability each power has for asserting it's overall will, especially given the overall benefits of money and trade and things like that, which are essential in the overall scheme of things. Coercion will never go away, do you think libertarians can abolish crime? Do you think that they can abolish mankind? Power would be more concentrated? Why? I never said it would, if anything, I have expressed more of a skepticism of the current system than of libertarianism.



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06 Aug 2008, 11:44 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I really do not think I am going to listen to anything, I may peruse a transcript if you can find it though.

The interview is at the beginning, takes about 12 minutes. If you are a fast reader, a transcript might save you 4 minutes. If it's not worth those extra 4 minutes, I can't help you, because there is no transcript. You could search for another interview, but I guess it would take you more time than you save.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
but the forest paying the factory is an efficient solution offhand. What if the factory was polluting the forest before it was valued by the foresters? Then it wouldn't be the foresters being attacked but rather the coal factory being attacked for they were there polluting first, so to say that one solution must come to pass seems a disingenuous way of saying "I want a system that runs exactly how I want a system to run", which no system will ever run like that.

Is economic efficiency your only criterion? My insistence that those who take resources should pay the full cost, instead of being paid not to take them, comes from a concern for social justice as well as economic efficiency. If you find that goal irrelevant, we will not agree on solutions.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Gromit wrote:
Why should the party that benefits from an externality agree to a definition of property rights that would make them pay and so remove the externality? Your previous answer and your next both make me think you have no solution for that.

Well, basically, all we need is well-defined property rights, which allow for some ability of 2 sides to negotiate with each other effectively. The party that benefits may agree to this because they want a property right contract like that for themselves as well, if for some other endeavor. They may agree because it is more efficient for them to agree rather than have some form of battle for a different definition. They may even disagree, but still the system would be efficient.

You are not committing yourself to anything. People may or may not come to an agreement, depending on unspecified factors. That sounds like there is no libertarian solution to removing externalities. If I have to buy off someone whose externality is harming me, then I have to offer at least as much as the profit from the externality. That doesn't remove the externality, it merely changes how I pay.

The Darfur conflict has been called the first climate change war. for the sake of argument, let's accept that. Pastures traditionally used by the nomads of Darfur became desert, when they settled, they wanted the realitvely good land already taken by those who had been farmers for longer. The Sudanese government stoked the conflict for its own purposes, but by that analysis, the root cause is climate change, which is an externality, and pretty big one. If the people of Darfur were rich enough to pay off those who produce most of the greenhouse gases, they'd be rich enough not to be bothered until the whole planet was close to uninhabitable.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Gromit wrote:
I asked whether you have anything else to save them. That's the whole point of the question. If you don't, please say so. If Libertarianism's only solution is that those who are being harmed should pay, it has nothing to offer to solve the problem I posed.

The point of my answer is to suggest that your question is meaningless because no system will actually address the problem in the manner you'd prefer.

Not true. The ozone hole is another externality, the solution was regulation. You can make regulations to achieve any solution for which there is political will. The practical enforcement is no different from that in a libertarian system.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Gromit wrote:
You seem to think that the solution to externalities is that those who bear the cost should pay those who profit. I think that those who make the profit should bear the full cost of what they do, and I ask whether libertarianism can achieve that, or at least do better than what we've got now.

I say that the solution to externalities is to assign property rights and let things take their own course.

But then you never tell me how those property rights should look to deal with externalities. You say those who are harmed should pay those who make a profit, which merely changes how those who profit get paid.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Libertarianism, on principle, says that people can sort their own stuff out.

If that worked as well as you seem to think, government would have withered away and died already, at least in democracies, because people would give government nothing to do. If private companies were a better solution to crime prevention than police, everyone would use them, no one would report anything to the police, and any politician funding this superfluous organization would be voted out of office. If libertarianism worked as well as you seem to think, it would have taken over already.

I also wonder why Somalia, without a functioning government for about 20 years, is not a libertarian paradise if people are so good at coming to agreement once they are in an unregulated market. I would be interested in your analysis. Compare to Somaliland, a northern region that declared independence from Somalia and is relatively peaceful. One difference to Somalia is that Somaliland does have a functioning government. Why isn't Somalia more peaceful and prosperous than Somaliland?

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
The issue is that you seem to support an objective world where everything runs on subjective things

I don't know what that means, so I can't comment.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
To me, the point of libertarianism is to increase freedom by reducing the major concentration of power: government.

Reducing concentrations of power seems worthwhile, but so far you have only persuaded me that libertarianism would increase concentrations of power.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Can you tell a factory to *never* pollute due to your body? No, you cannot, that would be an elimination of the freedom of the factory. Can a factory pollute an area until the sky is black and you are dead? Well, I think that this constitutes a problem as well.

Why? Preventing the factory from killing me also eliminates the freedom of the factory. To justify the distinction between not polluting at all and killing, you have to bring in another criterion besides freedom, or you have to concede that if there is more than one actor, increasing the freedom of one often means reducing the freedom of another. If your only criterion is maximizing freedom, you can achieve that by giving all power to one person, who kills all the others and is then unconstrained. If you say everyone should have about the same freedom, limited by the freedoms of others, you bring in a form of social justice, just as I want.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Gromit wrote:
My problem is equivalent to asking who would own them? I designed my example so that I would be dead by the time the cost comes due.

Nobody would *want* to own them, but somebody will own these things.

How can you make anyone own them if nobody wants them and you are not willing to force anyone to own them once I'm gone?

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
The libertarian solution to this is entirely based upon whether these externalities can be identified before they go off

In the example I gave you, they are known now. The problem is not identifying the externality, it's deciding who pays. The just solution would be that I, who make the profit, also pay the cost. But how can you make me? The people who will pay the cost if I don't haven't been born yet, so they can't make me do anything.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
If these things can be identified, then systems can be set up in handling property and other contracts to deal with these problems so that way these externalities are found quicker, addressed more completely, and etc. The major issue for a libertarian system handling something is found within the ability for information to do things.

In my example, the information is there. No problem. Now make me pay for the cost I impose on other people in 100 years time. Show me the system of contracts and how I would be made to agree to them. Or tell me who else pays the cost.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Power would be more concentrated? Why? I never said it would

I never claimed you said it. I claim it's a probable consequence of libertarianism as you have described it. Rich people can afford to pay for the most powerful protection agencies, can use them to enforce the kind of property rights that concentrate more resources and power in their hands, and so on. That happens now, when we have governments. You have not yet shown me anything that would stop that process in a libertarian society. From what you told me so far, the libertarianism you describe would only lead to greater concentrations of power than we have now. No thanks.



drobert
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06 Aug 2008, 2:27 pm

I tend to prefer Thom Hartmann's take on Libertarianism: Conservatism for people who want to get laid and smoke dope.

It's really just an excuse to be selfish. Nothing more.

Oh, and as for that so-called "free" market: never seen one. Can't really judge something which has never existed, now can we? Even Adam Smith understood that his ideas were utopian; he just never understood how quickly his views would be converted into a religion of greed.



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06 Aug 2008, 2:53 pm

drobert wrote:
I tend to prefer Thom Hartmann's take on Libertarianism: Conservatism for people who want to get laid and smoke dope.

It's really just an excuse to be selfish. Nothing more.

Oh, and as for that so-called "free" market: never seen one. Can't really judge something which has never existed, now can we? Even Adam Smith understood that his ideas were utopian; he just never understood how quickly his views would be converted into a religion of greed.

I love it. You take one of the big movements in contemporary political philosophy that actually has some philosophy, and legions of the semi-literate pour out of the woodwork to declare it "just an excuse to be selfish". Well, I'm convinced! :roll:


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06 Aug 2008, 11:36 pm

Gromit wrote:
The interview is at the beginning, takes about 12 minutes. If you are a fast reader, a transcript might save you 4 minutes. If it's not worth those extra 4 minutes, I can't help you, because there is no transcript. You could search for another interview, but I guess it would take you more time than you save.

I am a very fast reader who usually prefers to skim things anyway, and listen to music while reading, and who typically hates listening to interviews and things like that if at all possible.

Quote:
Is economic efficiency your only criterion? My insistence that those who take resources should pay the full cost, instead of being paid not to take them, comes from a concern for social justice as well as economic efficiency. If you find that goal irrelevant, we will not agree on solutions.

I do find social justice irrelevant, such a thing does not exist to me. Not only that, but one of the things that Coase is noted for pointing out is that there is not always an objective aggressor.

Quote:
You are not committing yourself to anything. People may or may not come to an agreement, depending on unspecified factors. That sounds like there is no libertarian solution to removing externalities. If I have to buy off someone whose externality is harming me, then I have to offer at least as much as the profit from the externality. That doesn't remove the externality, it merely changes how I pay.

No, I am not committing myself to anything. The issue is that there is no concern about "removing externalities" so much as "internalizing externalities". Externalities exist, they will always exist, it is not even wrong for them to exist as the very existence of an externality is subjective. The only reason you find the action to be an externality is because the result impacts you in a manner that you subjectively determine to be positive or negative.

Quote:
The Darfur conflict has been called the first climate change war. for the sake of argument, let's accept that. Pastures traditionally used by the nomads of Darfur became desert, when they settled, they wanted the realitvely good land already taken by those who had been farmers for longer. The Sudanese government stoked the conflict for its own purposes, but by that analysis, the root cause is climate change, which is an externality, and pretty big one. If the people of Darfur were rich enough to pay off those who produce most of the greenhouse gases, they'd be rich enough not to be bothered until the whole planet was close to uninhabitable.

Ok. Does this have a point? Nobody has a solution to global warming, only the idealists claim they can change the issue.

Quote:
Not true. The ozone hole is another externality, the solution was regulation. You can make regulations to achieve any solution for which there is political will. The practical enforcement is no different from that in a libertarian system.

The issue is whether or not political will exists when the costs are personal and the gains are not. Global warming has high personal costs, and but relatively low personal gains as a number of people doubt it's existence, and a lot of people really do not put a lot of themselves into the matter. CFCs however have lower personal costs than global warming, so the issue involving them might not be so difficult to solve, especially since all that has to be done is an appeal to the factories or associated groups.

Quote:
But then you never tell me how those property rights should look to deal with externalities. You say those who are harmed should pay those who make a profit, which merely changes how those who profit get paid.
The assignation of property rights internalizes the issue of externalities.

Quote:
If that worked as well as you seem to think, government would have withered away and died already, at least in democracies, because people would give government nothing to do. If private companies were a better solution to crime prevention than police, everyone would use them, no one would report anything to the police, and any politician funding this superfluous organization would be voted out of office. If libertarianism worked as well as you seem to think, it would have taken over already.

No, because the police are a "free" alternative, and most people are way way too stupid to actually know that the cops are a terrible solution to these issues. There is no reason why the government will automatically or quickly abolish itself, it can be argued that it certainly screws things up, but I never said that people were brilliant enough to recognize that it is a crappy solution in many cases.

Quote:
I also wonder why Somalia, without a functioning government for about 20 years, is not a libertarian paradise if people are so good at coming to agreement once they are in an unregulated market. I would be interested in your analysis. Compare to Somaliland, a northern region that declared independence from Somalia and is relatively peaceful. One difference to Somalia is that Somaliland does have a functioning government. Why isn't Somalia more peaceful and prosperous than Somaliland?

Somalia is doing better than a number of other similar nations though, and even has the cheapest cell phone cost rates in the continent(or some such like that). Somaliland is not really separate from Somalia though as it is not recognized, and the government of Somaliland does not even have recognized boundaries, that latter being necessary for any actual enforcement of law, and it can easily be argued that the government of Somaliland is relatively impotent as well.

Quote:
I don't know what that means, so I can't comment.

Basically I am saying that certain material things are objective but anything and everything relating to mankind and value is subjective.

Quote:
Reducing concentrations of power seems worthwhile, but so far you have only persuaded me that libertarianism would increase concentrations of power.

We haven't really talked much about concentrations of power at all.

Quote:
Why? Preventing the factory from killing me also eliminates the freedom of the factory. To justify the distinction between not polluting at all and killing, you have to bring in another criterion besides freedom, or you have to concede that if there is more than one actor, increasing the freedom of one often means reducing the freedom of another. If your only criterion is maximizing freedom, you can achieve that by giving all power to one person, who kills all the others and is then unconstrained. If you say everyone should have about the same freedom, limited by the freedoms of others, you bring in a form of social justice, just as I want.

Well, I never stated that it did not. I said it is a problem, not that it was insoluble from a libertarian position. I don't have to bring in an additional criterion because I don't bring in additional actors outside of the libertarian system. Frankly, a theoretical factory in an area without people could pollute until all of the surrounding property was uninhabitable, so the problem is not objectively related to pollution at all. If my criterion is maximizing freedom, then yes, I could theoretically argue for that, however, there are a few issues 1) there is not a single conceivable way that I can get all people to give one person all power(and this is in comparison to arguing for anarchism),

Quote:
How can you make anyone own them if nobody wants them and you are not willing to force anyone to own them once I'm gone?

How will property be unowned? The only way that this can happen is if the cannisters suddenly were discovered before a property transfer occurred. The idea of this seems pretty unlikely. Not only that, but let's just say that the cannisters were suddenly discovered, well, then they are the problem for the current owner(assuming property is always in possession of some entity), this current owner can choose not to care if they'd like. So, how would this even constitute a major problem for that particular owner?

Quote:
In the example I gave you, they are known now. The problem is not identifying the externality, it's deciding who pays. The just solution would be that I, who make the profit, also pay the cost. But how can you make me? The people who will pay the cost if I don't haven't been born yet, so they can't make me do anything.

No, the problem is always identifying the externality. If these things are known now, then the effects are known now. Which means that it is known now that property X will potentially lose value to the holder at some future point. This means that there is effectively only an externality to the person who owned the property before knowing it would be impacted by your externality. That person is alive, and can address you. If you were dead after this was found out, then you could not pay anyway. So, really, your circumstance is poorly set up. Not only that, but quit saying "just" solution. What is "just"? Usually it is something that relates to morality. If we take a morally skeptical position, as seems rational given the nature of morality, then "just" is an empty concept. If "just" is empty, then asserting "just" is pointless.

Quote:
In my example, the information is there. No problem. Now make me pay for the cost I impose on other people in 100 years time. Show me the system of contracts and how I would be made to agree to them. Or tell me who else pays the cost.

The information is there? Then anyone who bears the costs will do so knowingly. There is no problem at all, except for current holders of property it would seem, as all decisions will reflect the future externality and what that will do to deal with this. This means that you could have pissed off neighbors who will try to address this issue, perhaps even take you to court if the externality is seen as a violation of current property rights.

Quote:
I never claimed you said it. I claim it's a probable consequence of libertarianism as you have described it. Rich people can afford to pay for the most powerful protection agencies, can use them to enforce the kind of property rights that concentrate more resources and power in their hands, and so on. That happens now, when we have governments. You have not yet shown me anything that would stop that process in a libertarian society. From what you told me so far, the libertarianism you describe would only lead to greater concentrations of power than we have now. No thanks.

Rich people can also afford to pay for the government too, and use it for their own ends now. Think of corporate welfare, eminent domain laws, and of course all lobbying efforts. The rich own the current government easily. The issue is that in a libertarian society, this won't be some issue of a 3rd party quite as much as something that can be directly attributed to decisions by the rich as compared to decisions by the poor, and where actual economic calculation will take place as opposed to the favoritism that government actions can so cheaply show. Corporate welfare is not something a libertarian society would have. Misuse of eminent domain is not something we would see. Our current system socializes the wealthy at the cost of everyone else, as Thomas Sowell once noted in a column of his: http://townhall.com/Columnists/ThomasSo ... r_the_rich. A libertarian society would at least be fair enough to put all things on the market.