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Right-Wing "Libertarianism"

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Melchior
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#1

Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:38 AM

I don't really understand why this philosophy exists, to me it just seems like a concession ie, people are conditioned to view Socialism and Anarchism as being wrong so opposition to authority had to co-opt an uglier, more culturally compatible view. But I digress, there's some things I've always wanted to know, questions I've always asked while surrounded by "Libertarian" dialogue, but that no one has ever been able to answer:
  • Why oppose outlawing wage slavery? Why is renting yourself out for eight hours any different to being owned as property? In both instances (wage slavery and "regular" slavery), the one exerting power sets all the conditions, with small interferences being made by third parties on the workers behalf, such as unions or governments, and the worker is removed from profit. How is exploitation, however it is achieved, not coercive?
  • In conjuncture with the above, assuming somebody answers "because employees enter contracts voluntarily" does that not hold that the only form of coercion is physical coercion? What about deprivation (ie, buying up all the land in a town so people have to work for you or starve) or simple psychological conditioning? Does Libertarian dialogue not utilise the word "voluntary" a tad simplistically?
  • Why is a federal government necessary, would municipalism not be more in line with your ideals?
  • How is the society envisioned by Libertarians at all feasible, when any society that holds that power and heirachy are both necessary and attractive (whether they be governmental, corporate, broad or interpersonal) combined with a laissez-faire approach will invariably facilitate plutocratic cliques exercising undue influence. Given that, how can the economic world be regulated by perfect competition? Would a society with Anarchist values (ie, the rejection of power and heirachy) and where workers engage in collective ownership over the means of production not be necessary to achieve this?
  • Why is Socialism (the non-statist variety) at all incompatible with "freedom" either on a moral or practical level?
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Irviding
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#2

Posted 03 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

I think a lot of it is some effort to be a part of a "counterculture" and be, you know, different. Oh are you a Republican? Nah bro, I'm with RON PAUL 2012 LIBERTY DEATH N TAXZ

^ and that's not even an exaggeration. Libertarianism rejects the most basic, tried and true, agreed upon policies - and for what reason? Oh, cut the troops from overseas bases (ones that host countries pay us for) and slap them on the US border to shoot Mexicans, because you know a standing army knows how to act as border enforcement officers. Then there's the anti central bank stuff - which is just ludicrous on so many levels to people on both sides of the spectrum with legitimate political concerns - oh if we have a central bank were going to TURN INTO ZIMBABWE!

It's overall just a ridiculous fringe philosophy that I really hope dies out. Or, grows to aroynd a steady 15 percent or so and splits the entire GOP - now I'd like that.

Melchior
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#3

Posted 03 January 2013 - 12:44 PM

QUOTE (Irviding @ Thursday, Jan 3 2013, 22:22)
I think a lot of it is some effort to be a part of a "counterculture" and be, you know, different. Oh are you a Republican? Nah bro, I'm with RON PAUL 2012 LIBERTY DEATH N TAXZ

^ and that's not even an exaggeration. Libertarianism rejects the most basic, tried and true, agreed upon policies - and for what reason? Oh, cut the troops from overseas bases (ones that host countries pay us for) and slap them on the US border to shoot Mexicans, because you know a standing army knows how to act as border enforcement officers. Then there's the anti central bank stuff - which is just ludicrous on so many levels to people on both sides of the spectrum with legitimate political concerns - oh if we have a central bank were going to TURN INTO ZIMBABWE!

It's overall just a ridiculous fringe philosophy that I really hope dies out. Or, grows to aroynd a steady 15 percent or so and splits the entire GOP - now I'd like that.

I think that's a fair assessment, unfortunately. I do think it stems from a real rejection of society's underlying principles and a real thirst for progress but in subscribing to left-wing Libertarian ideologies (ie, proper Libertarianism) like Anarchism they'd feel a bit like they're being spoon-fed their beliefs by smug intellectuals, thus they've co-opted a "common man's" version of traditional anti-authoritarian belief structures.

There has to be some external factors like what I mentioned leading them to having that ideology... there's no way they really believe in those childish notions of freedom of association and self-ownership.

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#4

Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:13 PM

The Internet/the supposed "protection of its sovereignty" from SOPA/PIPA could be one of those external factors. Look at all the libertarian spirited chain mail BS that has gone around/been posted on the web.

Melchior
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#5

Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:18 PM

QUOTE (Irviding @ Thursday, Jan 3 2013, 23:13)
The Internet/the supposed "protection of its sovereignty" from SOPA/PIPA could be one of those external factors. Look at all the libertarian spirited chain mail BS that has gone around/been posted on the web.

I don't really know what you mean.

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#6

Posted 03 January 2013 - 04:02 PM

QUOTE (Melchior @ Thursday, Jan 3 2013, 14:18)
QUOTE (Irviding @ Thursday, Jan 3 2013, 23:13)
The Internet/the supposed "protection of its sovereignty" from SOPA/PIPA could be one of those external factors. Look at all the libertarian spirited chain mail BS that has gone around/been posted on the web.

I don't really know what you mean.

I think it relates to the truly silly amount of deluded nonsense going around regarding SOPA/PIPA, how they are implemented and where their powers lie, to try and scare people into thinking they live in some spooky Orwellian dystopia. Rather the same tactic used by the more leftward leaning as well as the Libertarian right in relation to the NDAA, for instance. Lots of hot air, no real substance, certainly no basis in fact.

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#7

Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:47 PM

QUOTE (Melchior @ Tuesday, Jan 1 2013, 23:38)
• Why is Socialism (the non-statist variety) at all incompatible with "freedom" either on a moral or practical level?

The recognition of private property rights. A man (or woman) is entitled to keep what they have either earned or worked for. Redistribution of wealth violates private property rights.



Irviding
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#8

Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:25 AM

QUOTE (Spaghetti Cat @ Thursday, Jan 3 2013, 16:47)
QUOTE (Melchior @ Tuesday, Jan 1 2013, 23:38)
• Why is Socialism (the non-statist variety) at all incompatible with "freedom" either on a moral or practical level?

The recognition of private property rights. A man (or woman) is entitled to keep what they have either earned or worked for. Redistribution of wealth violates private property rights.


Redistribution of wealth happens in any system with any form of progressive taxation. There's a difference between taking rich people's land and money and charging them a higher tax rate.
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Melchior
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#9

Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:08 AM

QUOTE (Spaghetti Cat @ Friday, Jan 4 2013, 06:47)
The recognition of private property rights. A man (or woman) is entitled to keep what they have either earned or worked for. Redistribution of wealth violates private property rights.

Do they pull every American male aside in high school and hammer into them some distorted view of socialism? Socialism has nothing to do with the size of the state; in a socialist society, workers control the means of production, in a capitalist one, who ever can provide the capital does. Who said anything about redistributing wealth? A socialist society can have a small- or non-existent, for that matter- state, and it can have a "free market".

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#10

Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:10 AM

QUOTE (Spaghetti Cat @ Thursday, Jan 3 2013, 21:47)
Redistribution of wealth violates private property rights.

Even given the two posts above (the Libertarian Right really need to learn the difference between taxation and redistribution of wealth), care to explain why, given that most societies are run on the basis of a social contract? The individual voluntarily gives up their rights to a certain extent in certain areas and in return receives protection, infrastructure and assistance. Property rights are entirely meaningless without a social contract to defend them, and social contracts cannot exist without at least partially restricting the rights of the individual. Therefore property rights exist in a caveated form, or they cease to exist at all.

Melchior
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#11

Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:22 AM

So was it absurdly naive of me to think that any of the active Libertarians on this board would respond?

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#12

Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:29 AM

refer the mitt romney topic here lol

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#13

Posted 05 January 2013 - 07:53 AM

QUOTE (Melchior @ Friday, Jan 4 2013, 22:22)
So was it absurdly naive of me to think that any of the active Libertarians on this board would respond?

Try and point this topic in the direction of Iminicus. From many conversations on Facebook, I know he's definitely a libertarian and he's been trying to convert me.

He'll likely have some views on the subject.

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#14

Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:06 AM

Libertarianism isn't strictly a right wing thing. There are many sub catergories like anarcho-capitalist. Also, there seems to be heaps of misinformation on Libertarianism in this thread.

One, not every libertarian agrees with Ron Paul, not many disagree with SOPA/PIPA. Some libertarians agree with Government more than others. Your best bet is to go to www.reddit.com/r/libertarian and ask questions there. I'd also suggest looking into Mises Institute, Reason.com for a libertarian POV on news, look into Rothbard, Friedman, Hayek for ideas on libertarian economic views.

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#15

Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:32 AM

QUOTE (Iminicus @ Monday, Jan 7 2013, 15:06)
Libertarianism isn't strictly a right wing thing. There are many sub catergories like anarcho-capitalist.

No one would call anarcho-capitalism a left-wing view. In fact, nobody would bother to place it on the spectrum because it's so absurd and incomparable to any other credible ideology. Capitalism, is itself a power structure - a system where capitalists exert control over workers, and are encouraged to manipulate consumers. There is no regard for collective social progress; the one underlying tenant of all left-wing views.

QUOTE
look into Rothbard, Friedman, Hayek for ideas on libertarian economic views.

I'm well versed in the relevant literature and I think I've demonstrated a decent understanding of the Libertarian theory - the whole "greed is good" ideology. What I take issue with is the fact that the core goal of the Libertarian movement is to create a society with a weak state and powerful financial institutions. The main reason for this seems to be that the state can exert physical control over people and that businesses have to compete with each other. I've pointed out the flaws in that; namely, that in a society with concentrated financial power (this will invariably occur in capitalism) and absolutely no financial interference from the state, "perfect competition" can never occur, and is frankly impossible, secondly, this view seems to hold that the only way people can be coerced is physically, not financially or psychologically.

Allow me to re-posit my questions in a more simple fashion:
  • How can competition regulate the economy in a society where all the power is tied up in finance?
  • Is the physical coercion (ie, do this or go to jail/get shot etc.) the only type of coercion that we, as a society, should be concerned with preventing? Does the Libertarian idea of "self-ownership" not disregard the many ways people are coerced?
  • Can "the invisible hand of self-interest" lead to the same kind of social progress as society acting collectively on common goals?
  • What is inherently wrong with free-market socialism? Why is it incompatible with any Libertarian model, and consistently resisted by people who claim to be Libertarians?

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#16

Posted 07 January 2013 - 06:03 AM Edited by Iminicus, 07 January 2013 - 06:14 AM.

QUOTE (Melchior @ Sunday, Jan 6 2013, 21:32)
QUOTE (Iminicus @ Monday, Jan 7 2013, 15:06)
Libertarianism isn't strictly a right wing thing. There are many sub catergories like anarcho-capitalist.

No one would call anarcho-capitalism a left-wing view. In fact, nobody would bother to place it on the spectrum because it's so absurd and incomparable to any other credible ideology. Capitalism, is itself a power structure - a system where capitalists exert control over workers, and are encouraged to manipulate consumers. There is no regard for collective social progress; the one underlying tenant of all left-wing views.

QUOTE
look into Rothbard, Friedman, Hayek for ideas on libertarian economic views.

I'm well versed in the relevant literature and I think I've demonstrated a decent understanding of the Libertarian theory - the whole "greed is good" ideology. What I take issue with is the fact that the core goal of the Libertarian movement is to create a society with a weak state and powerful financial institutions. The main reason for this seems to be that the state can exert physical control over people and that businesses have to compete with each other. I've pointed out the flaws in that; namely, that in a society with concentrated financial power (this will invariably occur in capitalism) and absolutely no financial interference from the state, "perfect competition" can never occur, and is frankly impossible, secondly, this view seems to hold that the only way people can be coerced is physically, not financially or psychologically.

Allow me to re-posit my questions in a more simple fashion:

  • How can competition regulate the economy in a society where all the power is tied up in finance?
  • Is the physical coercion (ie, do this or go to jail/get shot etc.) the only type of coercion that we, as a society, should be concerned with preventing? Does the Libertarian idea of "self-ownership" not disregard the many ways people are coerced?
  • Can "the invisible hand of self-interest" lead to the same kind of social progress as society acting collectively on common goals?
  • What is inherently wrong with free-market socialism? Why is it incompatible with any Libertarian model, and consistently resisted by people who claim to be Libertarians?

If you think Libertarians think greed is good is the basis for the ideology, you aren't understanding some of the root ideologies of libertarianism. In fact, you are transposing your beliefs of libertarians onto libertarianism. Libertarians don't believe greed is good.

Some key things Libertarians don't believe in
Corporations ( We view these as constructs of the Government )
Huge Bureaucracies and Governments
The religion should have any influence on how people live when it affects the freedoms of someone else
That corporations should be allowed to influence the Government
That the Government should be responsible with anything other than the bare minimum ( Some say the Government should control the borders and military. Others say, that the Government should also provide police and fire )

Some key things Libertarians believe in
Personal contracts not social contracts
Freedom of Association
The Government shouldn't be in charge of Police, Roading, Fire Departments, Education, Medicine/Medical Care and many more
You can do whatever you like as long as it doesn't impede on my life ( IE you can smoke durgs as long as you don't harm me )

I wasn't saying ancap was a left wing view, I was simply stating that there are many sub categories. Hell, many libertarians voted against Romney in the 2012 election ( Look at Reason's Staff voting picks ). Many voted for Gary Johnson but many also voted for Obama.

Like I said, go to R/Libertarian and ask questions there. You can also PM illspirit as he is an ancap, I believe.

Go and read this: Standard Oil

Libertarians believe in FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION. This means we don't like any form of coercion that isn't done with both parties consent. Ie, I don't consent to you coming into my house uninvited and you don't consent to me f*cking you in the ass without your consent.

Free market socialism? There is no such thing as the basis of socialism is for the social good, which requires the market to be heavily regulated. Also, no country in the world has a free market and free market capitalism has never been tried. Don't even say we have it now, because if that was true we wouldn't have the EPA, FCC, TSA, FDA and other government regulatory bodies running around. Free market capitalism relies on the people to correct the issues with businesses instead of asking the Government to do it.

This would be like:
Company A uses caged hens and sells eggs @ $6 per dozen
Company B uses free range hens and sells eggs @ $8 per dozen

Company B uses the Government to mandate caged hens are illegal. This forces Company A out of business/to change to free range and forces the prize up.


In a free market, the people would decide that they liked free range eggs over caged eggs and start buying from Company B. Now, in the short term, Company B can raise prices on eggs but only to a certain point. There comes a time when Company B is charging such a rate that competitors enter the market due to the market forces at play. AS such, Company B now has to contend with both Company A and C. A and C offer free range eggs at $7 while Company B had raised their price to $14.

Company A and C now create the market forces that will drive the egg price down between all companies. B will drop to below $7 to be competitive which is good for consumers. Then A and C will drop their prices, once again a win for consumers.

Now, I hear you saying, what if Company A drops their price to say $1 making it unfeasible for B or C to compete. Well, the obvious answer is B and C buy all their eggs from A and sell them at a profit. This will eventually kill Company A, due to overhead and other costs.

Or:

Look at the Anti Trust lawsuits against MS in the '90s. Instead of the people demanding change from MS, it was the government.

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#17

Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:16 AM

QUOTE (Iminicus @ Monday, Jan 7 2013, 16:03)
If you think Libertarians think greed is good is the basis for the ideology, you aren't understanding some of the root ideologies of libertarianism. In fact, you are transposing your beliefs of libertarians onto libertarianism. Libertarians don't believe greed is good.

Most of the relevant literature espouses the idea that progress need not come from collective societal actions, because the "invisible hand of self interest" will lead to innovation, and hence, progress. "Greed is good" is just how it's often expressed.

QUOTE
Corporations ( We view these as constructs of the Government )

Well, you're not wrong here. The thing is, if you believe in capitalism (a system where capital must come from private investors, thus giving them undue influence over all walks of society - creating plutocratic cliques) with no state interference then you're facilitating power structures, cliques that have control over the labour markets and once monopolies are invariably formed, the consumer as well. Tell me, without state interference in capitalism, how do we stop monopolies from forming?

I'm also sceptical of the idea that the economy wouldn't just collapse completely. By nature, in capitalism a company has but one social responsibility: to deliver a profit to shareholders. As such, their very existence depends on short term profit. The people who run the company have two options; do whatever they can to deliver profits in the short term, or lose their jobs. We've seen this recently with the "housing bubble." Another thing capitalists have no concern for is externalities, ie, the social impact their actions have. How does free market capitalism prevent the narrow focus of businessmen on the short term and internalities?

QUOTE
Freedom of Association [...] You can do whatever you like as long as it doesn't impede on my life

Right, what about sticking a "blacks need not apply sign" on the window of my business, what about not allowing blacks at university? Does that not use deprivation of opportunity to force a certain group (in this case, blacks) into a certain societal niche? Is that not coercion? Or is this one-dimensional notion of "freedom of association" much more important than actually preventing coercion and maximising freedom of choice?

What about psychological conditioning? Is that not coercion as well? Why are you only concerned with physical coercion - why shouldn't eliminating other forms of coercion be a priority for society?

QUOTE
This means we don't like any form of coercion that isn't done with both parties consent. Ie, I don't consent to you coming into my house uninvited and you don't consent to me f*cking you in the ass without your consent.

Right, and what about people not consenting to having a certain societal role forced upon them? ie, in the above example minorities are deprived of certain opportunities, leaving them only one: criminality. The society you believe in treats that as an individual responsibility despite them being coerced into the role.

There are other forms of "glass ceilings" as well, for instance, academic. A society (like the one you propose) relies solely on private education which will invariably be controlled by the wealthy, thus the educational process would be geared (more so than it is now) toward maximising the success of children of wealth, thus eliminating social mobility, and coercing actors into a role.

QUOTE
In a free market, the people would decide that they liked free range eggs over caged eggs and start buying from Company B. Now, in the short term, Company B can raise prices on eggs but only to a certain point.

This is a very narrow and simplistic example. In some instances- like the one you mentioned- consumers can "vote with their feet" creating a kind of "consumer democracy" however, in a capitalist society there will invariably be economic disparity (as those who control the capital rely on dividends, which will always be more than wages and the like). Thus the wealthy have more of a "vote" than most people and the economy will be geared towards them. For instance, it's difficult to obtain a car, an ordinary car used for driving to work or a truck for work, if the market sees fit to produce more SUVs for the wealthy, thus other forms of transportation suffer from scarcity.

That's just one example, but I think it demonstrates how certain societal classes get more a "vote." This is not an inherent problem with "free markets" which can be regulated by competition, but not in a capitalist society which invariably facilitates disparity, granting undue influence to the wealthy.

QUOTE
Free market capitalism relies on the people to correct the issues with businesses instead of asking the Government to do it.

I think I've demonstrated above how and why this is impossible. The interests of the wealthy and the rest of society will always be out of line with each other, and if the wealthy have more influence over the market, what happens when society deems something a "problem" but the wealthy don't, and there is no state with which the people can impose their will?

QUOTE
Free market socialism? There is no such thing as the basis of socialism is for the social good, which requires the market to be heavily regulated.

Wrong. Socialism has nothing to do with the size of the state, and as an Anarchist, I disagree with the very existence of the state. Socialism is a system where the workers control the means of production rather than capitalists. Essentially, workers own and run the businesses and they all share in the profits, and firms compete with each other in a free market, thus giving the consumer real freedom of choice. The capital comes from a mutually owned central bank, contributed to through voluntary association. It's simply an absurd myth that all socialism is of the statist variety and that capitalist models have anything at all to do with measurable "freedom."

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#18

Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:43 AM

Besides the economic arguments for voluntary exchange and a respect for private property (aka capitalism), the moral argument is very powerful. It is generally held by libertarians (at least the "hardcore" ones, not the casual "I just want to smoke pot" ones) that self-ownership is a natural right, and that by extension all of the functions of self ownership are rights to. These rights form a universally applicable moral code that included some things you may have heard of like voluntarism and the Non Aggression Principle.

I'm honestly a really sh*tty explainer of all of this, but this book gives a fairly decent examination and argument for libertarian moral philosophy. I'd skip to page 29 (the Robinson Crusoe bit) because that's where an explanation for the origin of self ownership and Lockean property rights begins in earnest. He does a poor job of fully explaining self ownership (Stefan Molyneux does it a million times better, but I can't find the youtube video of it), but from there I believe he makes a very convincing argument for why property rights exist and violations of them are immoral.

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#19

Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:18 AM

There's nobody here who doesn't understand the concept of "self-ownership" what I want to know is how and why that translates to "I have a right to control the means of production and operate a firm by forcing people to bargain with their labour... because I own myself." Your link was entirely unhelpful in ascertaining that.

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#20

Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:12 AM

QUOTE (Melchior @ Tuesday, Jan 8 2013, 05:18)
There's nobody here who doesn't understand the concept of "self-ownership" what I want to know is how and why that translates to "I have a right to control the means of production and operate a firm by forcing people to bargain with their labour... because I own myself." Your link was entirely unhelpful in ascertaining that.

I don't view property (and rights associated with it) in terms of "means of production", but rather if one has a legitimate claim to said item/land/body/whatever. Say I went out into a (unowned) forest and set up a mill. By general homesteading principles I can be considered the just owner of that mill. Say I also decided to offer people money in exchange for them voluntarily giving up their time and helping me saw. They are free to take up this offer or refuse. My property rights do not magically disappear because some potential employee has unfortunate circumstances that render the wages I'm offering inadequate to his financial needs. If I'm a nice person, I'll donate some money to him. If I'm a jerk, I won't. Either way, the decision is mine alone because the money is my property and I have the exclusive right to give it or not to give it. Similarly, it is his exclusive right to accept or reject whatever terms I might place on receiving my money. Ultimately, I have no binding moral obligation to give him my money (and by extension he nor anyone else has a right to steal it, regardless of any justifications like "He's a greedy, exploitive capitalist" or something).

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#21

Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:57 AM Edited by Melchior, 08 January 2013 - 07:41 AM.

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Tuesday, Jan 8 2013, 16:12)
I don't view property (and rights associated with it) in terms of "means of production"

And this is the mental block that all who subscribe to this ideology seem to suffer from. If you use your privately owned capital (never mind where you got it cos it's "your money!") to set up a mill, I may concede that you are within your rights until you start renting out other people (we use the term "wage slavery" for a reason). See bellow:

QUOTE
They are free to take up this offer or refuse.

Unfortunately, this is not the case, and it must take a great deal of mental gymnastics to come to believe such a thing. Fact of the matter is, wage slavery always relies upon deprivation of opportunity. For instance, if you had the capital to set up the theoretical mill, and the workers from the near-by hypothetical town did not, then it's clearly a case of you having a monopoly over capital, in such an instance, what options would the workers have besides "voluntarily give up their time" (ie, rent themselves out to you)? If their options are "work at Chunkyman Inc. or starve" how is that not coercion? This goes back to my previous argument: do you hold that the only form of coercion is physical coercion, and that deprivation and conditioning are not coercive means?

QUOTE
ay I also decided to offer people money in exchange for them voluntarily giving up their time and helping me saw.

Historically, workers would have seen this as absurd. If ten people work in a mill, each worker should own 1/10th of that mill and be entitled to 1/10th of the profits, that was the predominately held view at the beginning of industrial capitalism and it was prevalent in the "worker's press" at that time. This was eventually crushed by a bizarre, classless model of harmony that purported labour as a legitimate commodity that can be bought and sold - basically the view that you're peddling now. "There's no class, exploitation or privilege, just people trading with different resources, some have 'earned' more resources than others!"

QUOTE
My property rights do not magically disappear because some potential employee has unfortunate circumstances that render the wages I'm offering inadequate to his financial needs.

It's not about wages being insufficient and you having an obligation to charity, it's about one class of society (capitalists) using their disproportionate control of capital to remove workers from ownership of the means of production, and from the profit generated by their labour.

QUOTE
Ultimately, I have no binding moral obligation to give him my money (and by extension he nor anyone else has a right to steal it, regardless of any justifications like "He's a greedy, exploitive capitalist" or something).

Who is talking about "stealing" money? In the system I propose (a Libertarian-Socialist one) nobody controls capital that wasn't earned through cooperative labour in a worker owned firm. Capital would come from a mutually owned bank thus there would be no need to "steal" from you. Why is such a system unethical, simply because the current system already exists? Would you concede that if we had a "blank slate" to work with that such a system would be ideal?

I've also raised several other points which you have ignored, namely
  • In capitalism, firm survival depends on competing for investors, who seek short term gain above all else. Thus management is concerned only with the short term (see the recent "housing bubble" for reference) and heavy state interference in and subsidy of business is the only thing that keeps these firms going in the long run (a model we usually call a mixed economy see "too big to fail" etc.). Thus, wouldn't eventual economic collapse be the result of removing the state from economic affairs?
  • Does private ownership of businesses not give undue societal influence to the owners, for instance it allows them to discriminate against minorities and women. So is affirmative action not necessary to prevent actors from being coerced into a role? (see the more in-depth explanation above)

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#22

Posted 08 January 2013 - 07:56 AM Edited by Chunkyman, 08 January 2013 - 08:04 AM.

QUOTE
And this is the mental block that all who subscribe to this ideology seem to suffer from. 


Lol, there is no mental block. I'm a former leftist, the arguments and rationale for these ideas is well known to me. I came to libertarianism from your side, after having studied the works of Milton Friedman because I was curious what others believed. I also don't like rejecting ideas off-hand, so I was open minded to arguments they presented instead of auto-rejecting them. Since I found the Laissez-Faire economic arguments to be significantly more logical than leftist/Keynesian arguments, I slowly shifted my beliefs to moderate libertarianism. From there, I slowly started exploring other schools of thought, like that of Hayek and Rothbard leading to a more "hardcore" (for lack of a better word) libertarianism. I also eventually studied the philosophical and moral underpinnings of libertarianism, which I think is the most powerful argument for it.

QUOTE
wage slavery


I hate this term. It is a contradiction. Wages are a function of voluntarism, which is to say two people agreeing upon something. Slavery is forcibly taking someone's labor through force or the threat of force. Furthermore, there is always opportunity cost in any action people take. It is not my fault if the other not-working-for-chunkyman opportunities are worse or just terrible in general. "Wage slavery" in general is a terrible term because it is not a moral argument from base principles, but rather a function of one's personal interpretations of how economic situations will resolve. Basically it's an argument from effect dressed up in the language of morality, not founded on base principles.

QUOTE
Does private ownership of businesses not give undue societal influence to the owners, for instance it allows them to discriminate against minorities and women. So is affirmative action not necessary to prevent actors from being coerced into a role?


Private ownership of anything (your body, house, car, factory, restaurant, etc.) allows one to discriminate against anyone (for any stupid reason). To have a right to something is to have an exclusive claim of ownership over it (AKA property). What morally allows a women to discriminate against who has intercourse with her is the fact that her body is her property (this is why rape is morally wrong, it is a violation of her self ownership AKA property rights to her body). Similarly, as I have an exclusive claim to my house/car/shed/whatever, I am morally permitted to deny anyone access to it for any reason. Say I hate people with mustaches (or anything, it doesn't really matter), and because I have an exclusive claim to my car I can decide to never allow people with mustaches to ride in my car. The fact that my reasoning is stupid does not alter the nature of my property rights. Similarly, a business is property too. If I own a bar, it is my decision alone to decide what people I allow in. Does this allow people to be racist? Of course. Just because people make lifestyle choices and/or don't interact with others just how you would like them to does not give one the right to forcibly make them interact. To do so requires an act of aggression and thus severe violations of their property rights (self ownership included).

This is a favorite video of mine on the subject. While the specific issue is smoking in bars, the general principle implied in the video can fit most anything (not allowing mustached people in my car, for instance).

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#23

Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:43 AM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Tuesday, Jan 8 2013, 17:56)
Lol, there is no mental block. I'm a former leftist, the arguments and rationale for these ideas is well known to me.

The mental block isn't "not budging" it's the inability to see things that are perfectly clear to any objective person. Namely, that personal property (homes, cars, phones etc.) are not comparable to "private" property such as business, because the latter is designed specifically to interact with society. It's a frankly childish comparison and this is obvious to people from across the political spectrum.

QUOTE
Private ownership of anything (your body, house, car, factory, restaurant, etc.) allows one to discriminate against anyone (for any stupid reason).

Way to regurgitate the standard response without answering the question that was the crux of my argument: is physical coercion the only type of coercion we should be concerned with? My point is not so simple as "it's morally wrong to discriminate, therefore we should force people not to" it's a matter of: if firms only extend employment to white males, then minorities and women are coerced into a role: namely, those of criminals and homemakers. If you discriminate against certain societal groups with your employment policies you aren't just "exercising your right to do things your way" your abusing your societal advantage to force certain people to behave a certain way.

Two questions that simply cannot be ignored if you want to discuss this issue. First, is physical coercion the only type of coercion (I've asked this about three times and nobody has answered it, should be a red flag)? Secondly, is it not a collective responsibility of society to correct the disadvantage of certain groups with mechanisms like affirmative action?

QUOTE
Wages are a function of voluntarism

Care to explain how voluntarism can exist when actors are deprived of opportunities? For instance, if I inherent millions of dollars, buy up all the land in a town, shut down the transportation systems so nobody can leave and only offer jobs in my businesses and offer wages that are just enough for the townspeople to sustain themselves and continue working, are they not effectively slaves?

The question is obvious: if people are forced to do something by being deprived of all other opportunities, is that not coercive? The obvious answer is "yes" since one party (the worker) has no voluntary agency (starving is not an alternative just as being killed by your master for refusing to work is not an alternative to "regular" slavery, the aforementioned lack of voluntary agency is a more practical definition of slavery) but I'm genuinely curious as to what you think.

You've also ignored my point about free market capitalism being unsustainable.



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#24

Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:06 AM

QUOTE (Melchior @ Monday, Jan 7 2013, 03:16)
QUOTE
Corporations ( We view these as constructs of the Government )

Well, you're not wrong here. The thing is, if you believe in capitalism (a system where capital must come from private investors, thus giving them undue influence over all walks of society - creating plutocratic cliques)..

lol?

You speak of "private investors" as if they were some alien species who aren't part of society. If I borrow some money from a friend to buy a hot dog cart to start a street vending business, does that make him an evil plutocrat? Or are you insinuating that all capitalists believe in stock markets/commercial banks/hedge funds/etc..? Or, for that manner, money?

While there are obviously lots in the ancap/libertarian spectrum who do like such things, the definition of "capitalism" used by ancaps, and libertarians in general, has little to nothing to do with actual capital. At its root, capitalism in our eyes boils down to one simple rule: That all transactions must be mutually agreed upon without the use of force. Whether the trade is done by barter, a medium such as money, or out of charity is beside the point. As such, the term capitalism is really something of a misnomer, but it sticks around because most people (even non-"capitalists") find it's easier to conduct business with bits of paper (both money and titles/deeds/etc..) or electronically than it is to carry around a building or herd of cattle.

That some would collectively pool their resources to buy and build larger things than an individual seems like it would make you happy..

QUOTE (Melchior @ Monday, Jan 7 2013, 03:16)
..with no state interference then you're facilitating power structures, cliques that have control over the labour markets and once monopolies are invariably formed, the consumer as well. Tell me, without state interference in capitalism, how do we stop monopolies from forming?

And with state interference, they've done all that by capturing the regulators and bribing politicians. Without the government there to afford special protections, artificial stability, bailouts, and rules to limit new competition, most would-be monopolies would collapse under their own weight before becoming a monster. And if they still did become monsters, the government wouldn't be there to protect them from angry mobs.

Something else I would think sounds right up your alley.

Which brings me to another post of yours..

QUOTE (Melchior @ Tuesday, Jan 8 2013, 02:57)

I've also raised several other points which you have ignored, namely

  • In capitalism, firm survival depends on competing for investors, who seek short term gain above all else. Thus management is concerned only with the short term (see the recent "housing bubble" for reference) and heavy state interference in and subsidy of business is the only thing that keeps these firms going in the long run (a model we usually call a mixed economy see "too big to fail" etc.). Thus, wouldn't eventual economic collapse be the result of removing the state from economic affairs?

If we removed the state now, overnight, yes, there would be an economic collapse. That seems inevitable either way though.

But like you said, they depended on government subsides to keep bad business models afloat. While the past cannot be undone, if we remove the subsidies, bailouts, and other government safety nets under the market going forward, people would begin to view the stock and securities market as the casino they've become. And companies would have to compete by providing real, actual value and stuff on their own. Voluntarily. Without either side expecting someone else to step in and use force to extract wealth from a third party (taxpayers) to pay them.

Yet again, shouldn't this be something you like?

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#25

Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:45 AM

QUOTE (illspirit @ Tuesday, Jan 8 2013, 21:06)
You speak of "private investors" as if they were some alien species who aren't part of society. If I borrow some money from a friend to buy a hot dog cart to start a street vending business, does that make him an evil plutocrat? Or are you insinuating that all capitalists believe in stock markets/commercial banks/hedge funds/etc..? Or, for that manner, money?

Whether or not I think investors are "evil" (that would be a bit of a silly, sweeping statement) is besides the point. What I object to, is a model where prospective firms have to rely on private investment, for reasons that I have outlined. What I don't understand is why "Libertarians" consistently oppose economic models that provide alternatives to this while also rejecting the use of force. Mutualism/Market Socialism, namely. There are many economic theories that rely on voluntruistic (not a word? is now!) markets while rejecting the role of private investors.

QUOTE
the definition of "capitalism" used by ancaps, and libertarians in general, has little to nothing to do with actual capital.

The "capitalism" I refer to is any system where producers are at the mercy of investment markets. I can't really fathom a model that rejects this, while also rejecting socialist alternatives. Could you outline them for me? If so, we'll finally be getting somewhere with this thread.

QUOTE
Without the government there to afford special protections, artificial stability, bailouts, and rules to limit new competition, most would-be monopolies would collapse under their own weight before becoming a monster. And if they still did become monsters, the government wouldn't be there to protect them from angry mobs.

Does this assertion not reject the possible eventuality of psychological conditioning? In my view this can go two ways 1) the economy is regulated by perfect competition, and failing that, a well informed public or 2) the class system becomes more rigid while the society is purported as a meritocracy, the masses become far removed from the day to day runnings of the upper echelons of the business world and society becomes a very ugly place. Do you see why I would outright reject the former as a utopian fantasy?

QUOTE
And companies would have to compete by providing real, actual value and stuff on their own.

While I won't get into whether this is plausible in the consumer market- it could be for all we know- it's simply not achievable in a system that encourages businesses to compete for investors, most investors will favour short term return on their investments, thus the survival of the firm is dependant on prioritising short-term profit while ignoring the long term and externalities. In layman's terms, if a firm invests in long-term beneficial strategies; for instance, going through a long process of technological upgrading rather than doing what they can to cut-costs (outsourcing etc.) investors will take their money elsewhere, nobody wants to wait decades to see some handsome dividens.

So, why are Market Socialist models inpractical or unethical? There's no reliance on private investment, instead a collectively owned "mutual bank" is used, funded by returns from firms, or failing that, voluntary third party contributions. It seems like something Libertarians should get behind, I'm not convinced that they simply recoil for anything with the word "socialism" or are just contrarinans. There's no use of force, and innovation and consumer choice are supported no less than in any capitalist model. It also has the added ethical bonus of rejecting all forms of coercion, not just physical. wink.gif


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#26

Posted 08 January 2013 - 07:48 PM Edited by Chunkyman, 08 January 2013 - 10:40 PM.

QUOTE


The question is obvious: if people are forced to do something by being deprived of all other opportunities, is that not coercive? The obvious answer is "yes" since one party (the worker) has no voluntary agency (starving is not an alternative just as being killed by your master for refusing to work is not an alternative to "regular" slavery, the aforementioned lack of voluntary agency is a more practical definition of slavery) but I'm genuinely curious as to what you think.



"Deprived". Unless this potential employer has actively gone out to destroy any other opportunities, he has not deprived you of anything. Death from starvation and death from slavery are not (morally) the same. Starvation is (for lack of a better term) a biological process. Slavery involves the active process of someone forcing you to work on your behalf or else. Coercion is when individuals actively threaten others with violence if they don't give in to demands. I am not coercing African children because I don't send them money, even though their (current) life situation involves death from starvation. Can you consider me a jerk for not sending money? Of course. But it is not coercion. Another example, I have two kidneys. If someone who will die without a kidney comes up to me and demands one of my kidneys and I refuse, I am not coercing him. The fact that his alternative opportunities are bad (death) does not give him a right to violently take my kidney.

QUOTE


Care to explain how voluntarism can exist when actors are deprived of opportunities? For instance, if I inherent millions of dollars, buy up all the land in a town, shut down the transportation systems so nobody can leave and only offer jobs in my businesses and offer wages that are just enough for the townspeople to sustain themselves and continue working, are they not effectively slaves?



1. If you buy the land, then the former owners felt it was in their interest to sell the land to you. It's their property and they can sell it if they want.

2. "So nobody can leave". You have a right to keep people out of your property, you do not have a right to keep them detained.

QUOTE


Way to regurgitate the standard response without answering the question that was the crux of my argument: is physical coercion the only type of coercion we should be concerned with? My point is not so simple as "it's morally wrong to discriminate, therefore we should force people not to" it's a matter of: if firms only extend employment to white males, then minorities and women are coerced into a role:  namely, those of criminals and homemakers. If you discriminate against certain societal groups with your employment policies you aren't just "exercising your right to do things your way" your abusing your societal advantage to force certain people to behave a certain way.



I am not preventing them from getting together and making their own business, I am not preventing them from finding work elsewhere, I am not preventing them from moving to somewhere with better opportunities, I am not preventing them from homesteading their own land and doing something with it, I am not preventing them from accepting charity, etc.

You keep making these moral arguments that are functions of your views of Marxist economics, not on base principles. It's essentially not a moral argument at all, but pragmatism with emotionally charged wording.

QUOTE


Two questions that simply cannot be ignored if you want to discuss this issue. First, is physical coercion the only type of coercion (I've asked this about three times and nobody has answered it, should be a red flag)? Secondly, is it not a collective responsibility of society to correct the disadvantage of certain groups with mechanisms like affirmative action?



Coercion is either physically forcing someone to do something or threatening force against them. This "coercion of no other opportunities" is an arbitrary Marxist construct that takes personal value judgements against the voluntary interactions of others and tries to wrap it in the language of morality.

For the second question, I believe you are conflating responsibility with moral obligation (that is, conflating what people "should" do with what they "have" to do). People absolutely should help the disadvantaged. But to say that an individual has to is to advocate violence against them if they don't act charitably (at that point it no longer is charity, but slavery in the guise of "the greater good').

Furthermore, there is no "collective responsibility". People are not ants, they are separate individuals who are not morally beholden to some collective will.




QUOTE


The mental block isn't "not budging" it's the inability to see things that are perfectly clear to any objective person. Namely, that personal property (homes, cars, phones etc.) are not comparable to "private" property such as business, because the latter is designed specifically to interact with society. It's a frankly childish comparison and this is obvious to people from across the political spectrum.



Obviously different forms of property can facilitate wildly different interactions with others. That does not magically change the nature of my property rights.

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#27

Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:13 PM

QUOTE (Melchior @ Tuesday, Jan 8 2013, 12:45)
QUOTE (illspirit @ Tuesday, Jan 8 2013, 21:06)
You speak of "private investors" as if they were some alien species who aren't part of society. If I borrow some money from a friend to buy a hot dog cart to start a street vending business, does that make him an evil plutocrat? Or are you insinuating that all capitalists believe in stock markets/commercial banks/hedge funds/etc..? Or, for that manner, money?

Whether or not I think investors are "evil" (that would be a bit of a silly, sweeping statement) is besides the point. What I object to, is a model where prospective firms have to rely on private investment, for reasons that I have outlined. What I don't understand is why "Libertarians" consistently oppose economic models that provide alternatives to this while also rejecting the use of force. Mutualism/Market Socialism, namely. There are many economic theories that rely on voluntruistic (not a word? is now!) markets while rejecting the role of private investors.

Are there? Or do they just support an alternative form of capital investment? Logically speaking, all firms are reliant on capital investment of some kind or another in order to function, and in my view there's no real distinction between an individual who wishes to put up capital to secure a stake in the profits of a company or a position where they can influence company direction and a consumer who puts up their capital in order to purchase a product. Any product that is sold, even if it isn't funded directly or conventionally by "capital", is still in reality supported by it. Consumerism is basically just limited-return capitalism, in reality. How is, for instance, socially-involved crowd funding or businesses and ideas any different from conventional provision of capital, but just appropriated amongst a much larger base of individuals? Socialist ideologies encourage private investment as part of a collective, or at least in the illusion of a collective- but in principle, if not in reality, they amount to exactly the same as Capitalist ideas. You still have a group of individuals who are willing to place an investment in a concept, idea or product, in return for a gain.

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#28

Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:26 PM

Melchoir, Libertarians don't believe in force in any concept of the world. Which is why I stressed Freedom of Association.

As Chunkyman said:

QUOTE

2. "So nobody can leave". You have a right to keep people out of your property, you do not have a right to keep them detained.


By detaining someone, you are forcing them to stay through coercion. You need to understand this huge tenant of what being a libertarian is.

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#29

Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:09 PM

QUOTE (Melchior @ Tuesday, Jan 8 2013, 07:45)
Whether or not I think investors are "evil" (that would be a bit of a silly, sweeping statement) is besides the point. What I object to, is a model where prospective firms have to rely on private investment, for reasons that I have outlined. What I don't understand is why "Libertarians" consistently oppose economic models that provide alternatives to this while also rejecting the use of force. Mutualism/Market Socialism, namely. There are many economic theories that rely on voluntruistic (not a word? is now!) markets while rejecting the role of private investors.

Yes, it would be a silly statement. That was kind of my point. tounge.gif

Is it objectionable that I would ask a friend if I wanted to borrow money (or the equipment itself, as assets can be considered capital) in order to start a business? Shouldn't I have to convince him that it's a good idea, rather than seizing the means from him? If this isn't bad, why shouldn't I have to convince a stranger or group of strangers that it would be a mutually beneficial for them to give me same?

Even if there was some communal banking co-op, would I not still have to convince the community that my business would provide a return on investment; even if only they would get back the loaned sum with no profit?

That purely private parties might turn me down because they personally/ethnically/religiously/whatever-ly don't like me, or any of the other ills you have listed, is hardly relevant given that states (and tribes before them) have just as bad a record of such questionable decisions.


QUOTE (Melchior @ Tuesday, Jan 8 2013, 07:45)
The "capitalism" I refer to is any system where producers are at the mercy of investment markets. I can't really fathom a model that rejects this, while also rejecting socialist alternatives. Could you outline them for me? If so, we'll finally be getting somewhere with this thread.

Without government propping up investment markets as you seem to agree they do, and without providing a false sense of security via, say, the SEC or FDIC as a last resort should the former not do its job, investment markets would be nowhere as large as they are. Right now like half the people in this country invest in stocks and such for retirement and as a supplementary stream of income, and even more put their money in banks which do. If they weren't psychologically conditioned (as you put it in next bit of post) to think the market is "safe," you wouldn't have scores of billion dollar hedge funds acting as a choke point for so much capital. Likewise, if there was more tangible risk involved, fewer people would use banks which use their money play in the stock and securities casino.

And without a central government bank printing money and setting its value, investment and trade would become more dependent on production and producers since whatever medium was used (coin, title, labor contract, or otherwise) would have to represent value. Imagine the economy and government collapsed tomorrow, and you decided to start a farm to provide goods which are in demand due to the now gaping hole in the supply chain. Now say two people come up to invest in your operation: A) me, offering a bit of paper I scribbled on representing some third party's debt, or B) a guy with the keys to a tractor or who's offering you (while not precisely "capital") a labor contract, with food as his "profit" motive. Would you be at my mercy? Or would you laugh at me like I was crazy and take the other guy's investment?

The lesson we should have learned from the crash leading to the Great Depression (and, well, every other crash) is that large, complicated financial systems are prone to failure just like anything else. But instead of accepting there is risk involved in such things and not continuing to put all our proverbial eggs in one basket, we decided to do the same thing. Harder. With more complexity and pretending there was less risk "this time."

QUOTE (Melchior @ Tuesday, Jan 8 2013, 07:45)
Does this assertion not reject the possible eventuality of psychological conditioning? In my view this can go two ways 1) the economy is regulated by perfect competition, and failing that, a well informed public or 2) the class system becomes more rigid while the society is purported as a meritocracy, the masses become far removed from the day to day runnings of the upper echelons of the business world and society becomes a very ugly place. Do you see why I would outright reject the former as a utopian fantasy?

Only two ways? And people accuse us of lacking imagination. tounge.gif There's also, as an inverse of the first, 3) participants in the market continue to do stupid sh*t, and it breaks from time to time. With us hopefully learning from mistakes when we restart, but at the very least shedding broken business models and large companies which can't adapt. Or, 4) as an inverse, to the second, if the class system becomes rigid and oppressive, angry mobs burn down their mansions and try something different. The result of that, may very well be anti-capitalist, but then this is a risk we take just as any of a purely financial variety. Or, 5) we invent robots to do all our work for us and things like labor and capital become all but irrelevant. Or, well, any number of other things. I'm not one to pretend any system works indefinitely.

Besides, none of these bugs are unique to markets. Does not the well-informed (or not..) public variable apply equally to people voting for public officials and policy? And what's to stop an ostensible worker's revolution from evolving into an oppressive caste system like, say, the old Soviet Union?

QUOTE (Melchior @ Tuesday, Jan 8 2013, 07:45)

While I won't get into whether this is plausible in the consumer market- it could be for all we know- it's simply not achievable in a system that encourages businesses to compete for investors, most investors will favour short term return on their investments, thus the survival of the firm is dependant on prioritising short-term profit while ignoring the long term and externalities. In layman's terms, if a firm invests in long-term beneficial strategies; for instance, going through a long process of technological upgrading rather than doing what they can to cut-costs (outsourcing etc.) investors will take their money elsewhere, nobody wants to wait decades to see some handsome dividens.

So, why are Market Socialist models inpractical or unethical? There's no reliance on private investment, instead a collectively owned "mutual bank" is used, funded by returns from firms, or failing that, voluntary third party contributions. It seems like something Libertarians should get behind, I'm not convinced that they simply recoil for anything with the word "socialism" or are just contrarinans. There's no use of force, and innovation and consumer choice are supported no less than in any capitalist model. It also has the added ethical bonus of rejecting all forms of coercion, not just physical. wink.gif

I agree that the current model which prioritizes, promotes, and often subsidizes short term gains is quite silly. Part of fixing this, as above, is removing the moral hazard created by implicit government guarantees of safety, and, hell, throw out the preferential tax treatment the financial class receives too if you want. On a long enough scale, nothing is going to work forever as long as large numbers of people are involved. My main concern is removing the initiation of force from the equation.

As for your various social banking models or whatever, I don't oppose them as long as I'm not forced to participate. If you want to start some community co-op bank, I think you should be able to without the government coming in and saying "no, you must use the Fed system!1" In fact, I'd like to see more voluntary social/crowd funding options to help decentralize control from both big business and government. If they work better and provide value, I might even *gasp* choose to use them. Competition is competition after all. wink.gif

The idea that one would no longer be reliant on "private capital" with them, however, I feel is a distinction in name only, as you would still have to convince whoever runs it (your neighbors) that your loan request isn't stupid.

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#30

Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:57 AM

Melchoir, private property and personal property are one in the same. There is no difference. If I own land, it is my personal property and less I have explicitly stated, it is private too. The same applies to your personal property, unless you are happy for anyone to just come into your home, use your computer, eat your food, drive your car, wear your clothes, etc. Those things are all your personal and private properties.





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