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Ron Paul is a Republican candidate for the Presidential Nominee Position - Page 3

post #81 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

And you haven't noticed yet that the closest thing to these libertarian ideals that's ever been tried can be seen in the early "robber baron" days of the early industrial revolution?

Minor correction: it wasn't the "closest thing." It was the thing itself. It's where those beliefs come from, hence my picture of a London slum from the mid-19th century, when laissez-faire policies had really created an untenable situation.

If I could find a picture of the Parliament doing nothing during the potato famine, I'd have posted that.
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post #82 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by drm View Post

It will help you (and the conversation as a whole) if you actually read what I have posted.



I understand that you are trying to be clever here. I am willing to go along. What are those "things that we as people should never do" and why?

And while you are at it, you seem to have missed (or ignored) my questions:

Could you tell us what freedom means and looks like to you? You have not offered a clear, concise explanation of what freedom means to you. It might help this "discussion" get some real traction. I'd really like to hear what you think freedom and liberty mean. How would you define them?

EQUALITY!
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post #83 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by franksargent View Post

EQUALITY!

Stupid. Impossible. Mythical.
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post #84 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter View Post

I was going to respond, but there it is.

I just don't understand libertarians. I really don't get you people. Don't misunderstand; I understand libertarianism. I just don't see why anyone looks at it and gets a stiffie for it. And then to believe that it is a philosophy of individual freedom is to ignore the entire history of the economic wing of the philosophy. To believe in it as a moral philosophy is, well, archaic and bizarre and seems to ignore the many things Mill simply didn't get.

Can I employ 5-year-olds in my factory in potentially dangerous positions (e.g. pulling broken pieces of machinery out of a large lathe, say?)

If I own a factory, do I *have* to have a clock in it? It's a pain in the ass when the workers know how long they've been there. Can I fire anyone who wears a watch? Anyone who is literate? Believe me, this literacy issue was HUGE in the 18th century in England, when literacy rates shot up. Factory owners were deeply concerned about what would happen if their workers became literate.

Can I hire 8-year-olds to work a 14 hour shifts?

Can I hire small girls (say, 6 years old) as chimney sweeps?

Can I have sex with an 11-year-old so long as she's working as a prostitute?

Hyperbole. Hand waving what-ifs.

You are talking about pure Libertarianism. No political system exists in its pure state in the wild. Your child/labor examples are assuming the worst case scenario that no one would let happen. Why? Because there is room for the humankind-saving bleeding-hearts in there as well.
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post #85 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by franksargent View Post

EQUALITY!

Do you even know what the words "freedom" and "equality" mean? It sure doesn't look like it if your "definition" of "freedom" is "equality". These are two entirely different concepts and ideas.
post #86 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubelum View Post

You are talking about pure Libertarianism.

No he isn't. He isn't talking about libertarianism at all. He is talking about things that some people incorrectly think are libertarianism (as he is with the following statement):

Quote:
Minor correction: it wasn't the "closest thing." It was the thing itself. It's where those beliefs come from, hence my picture of a London slum from the mid-19th century, when laissez-faire policies had really created an untenable situation.

He is operating from a simplistic, muddled, distorted and inaccurate understanding of history. He need to read something besides Dickens. Perhaps something that will not simply confirm his own beliefs but instead will challenge them. He could try this article for example: http://www.mises.org/freemarket_deta...er=articledate

He is also associating things with libertarianism that are not libertarianism. It would be as if I said that teaching is (or leads to) sexual predation because of the raft of sexually predatory actions we have all witnessed by school teachers toward their students in the past several years in the U.S.

Libertarianism is about liberty. It is about freedom. It does not allow for forced labor or slavery (so where you see that you aren't seeing libertarianism in action...exactly the opposite in fact). It does not allow for theft, violence, coercion or force (all of which are tools of the state by the way). This freedom I speak of deals with mature, able-minded, adults. Freedom to choose. Freedom to act. Freedom to decide. Freedom to work. Freedom to trade. Freedom to produce. Freedom to associate. Children are clearly a different case in that they require (until some particular age) the assistance of their parents for protection, guidance and provision, but eventually come to a point where they should have these freedoms too. This does not invalidate the basic philosophy of liberty that some here seem so opposed to.
post #87 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubelum View Post

Hyperbole. Hand waving what-ifs.

Um. I didn't list anything that did not happen. Those child labor stats are actually a case in point. Poke around on the Ten-Hours Act. Indeed, we've had debates on this board about simple scenarios: can a family business employ children and not pay them? Can a family business employ its own children for long shifts?

Quote:
You are talking about pure Libertarianism.

Pure libertarianism only ever happens on deserted islands inhabited by 18th century philosophers.

Quote:
Your child/labor examples are assuming the worst case scenario that no one would let happen. Why? Because there is room for the humankind-saving bleeding-hearts in there as well.

But see, you can say that all day long, but the fact of the matter is that it happened in the past and it was enabled by a system of political economy exactly like what you seem to want.
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post #88 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by drm View Post

No he isn't. He isn't talking about libertarianism at all. He is talking about things that some people incorrectly think are libertarianism (as he is with the following statement):

I'm sorry? Laissez-faire political economy? An unwavering belief in the ability of the free market to self-regulate and cure all ills? Generally non-interventionist government policies regarding business and industry? A fervent belief in Benthamite/Lockean/Mill-ist principles of individual libertyas in, do what you will-ism?

Quote:
He is operating from a simplistic, muddled, distorted and inaccurate understanding of history.

Yeah. That's right. It's totally simplistic and muddled, my understanding of this.

Quote:
He need to read something besides Dickens.

You're really, really making me laugh out loud. I'm looking at my half-shelf of books I've read, and I seem to have only Dickens, Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, and copies of Z-Mag. And you know what that means...TIME TO READ MORE DICKENS! I know, I know, I shouldn't bother re-reading Hard Times or David Copperfield for the umpteenth time, but do I have your permission to re-read Bleak House (about the legal system) or Our Mutual Friend (his last completed novel) over the summer? Once I'm finished with the latest issue of Z-Mag, of course!

Quote:
Perhaps something that will not simply confirm his own beliefs but instead will challenge them. He could try this article for example: http://www.mises.org/freemarket_deta...er=articledate

That's an impressive free-market cliffs notes of the c19 in England and Ireland. Thanks for that. A few things:

While I agree that the way the famine played out is a complex admixture of economic disinterest in intervening in Ireland, English attitudes toward the Irish, the rocky transformation from feudalism to a modern (and "liberal") economy, ecological disaster, and corn laws designed to make landowners disturbingly wealthy. To be sure, there was food in England. The Irish just couldn't afford it (it = bread, usually). I have some statistics about what a loaf of bread cost in the late '40s somewhere and can't find it. It was something like a week's wages. (The modern analogy, of course, is in the subsidizing of American farmers...anyone here want to let the market determine the price of a potato?)

So yes. I'll grant you that the famine is complex. I'll also grant you that there was food available. I'll also grant you that the Irish couldn't afford it. I'll also grant you that the English refused to do anything about those prices, in part, at least, because they didn't want government to intervene.

And so the Irish starved.

There were, of course, other famines. Other crop failures. Economic collapse. There were cholera and typhus outbreaks that killed tens upon tens of thousands. Should government intervene in situations like this, or allow the free market to create its own solution(s) to these matters?

What about the prostitution question? The child labor question? My factory questions. These are important questions, because when the Anti-Corn Law League (free market folks) won and had the CLs repealed in '47 (is it '47? or '49? I can't remember...there were two big stabs that did them in), the Benthamites are ascendant and questions like the ones I've asked are very, very real.
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post #89 of 149
Ahem. drm, you haven't been here very long, so here's a tip: getting snarky with Midwinter about 19th century economies and societies is going to leave you looking foolish. Well, more foolish.

Trust me on this.
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post #90 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter View Post

a system of political economy exactly like what you seem to want.

Shameless distortion of my position. You know better than that.
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post #91 of 149
Again, I cannot help but see the irony. Who had the gulags in the 20 century? The Communists. Yes, communism...the absolute antithesis of Libertarianism.
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post #92 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubelum View Post

Shameless distortion of my position. You know better than that.

There was a verb phrase in there. "Enabled by." If you want to think I said that you're all for child labor, then feel free. But that's not what I said. What I said was that laissez-faire systems of political economy enabled some pretty horrific working conditions. To which I would add: the only thing that changed those conditions was the emergence of the "modern" left in the mid-19th century.
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post #93 of 149
Link to Ron Paul's recent appearance on Bill Maher (warning: nastily compressed audio and video)

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #94 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubelum View Post

Again, I cannot help but see the irony. Who had the gulags in the 20 century? The Communists. Yes, communism...the absolute antithesis of Libertarianism.

I'm presuming you understand the difference between theory and practice?

Given the "nature of the beast" it's selfishness, it's territorial nature, your distortion of communism (that's with a small "c' BTW!) ideology, is laughable!

We are all waiting for your further discourse on Nazi Germany, BTW, as applied to AmeriKKKa!

That would of course be followed by your discourse on socialism, followed by your discourse on global conspiracies! \

Libertarianism ideologies/theories != Libertarianism realities/practices.

The true irony is that you fail to see the differences between ideologies/throeies versus realities/practices, given "the nature of the beast!"

Sherman it's time for you to hop into your WABAC and fix things historically to fit your POV.
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post #95 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter View Post

I'll also grant you that there was food available. I'll also grant you that the Irish couldn't afford it. I'll also grant you that the English refused to do anything about those prices, in part, at least, because they didn't want government to intervene.

You seem to have missed the point that it was government intervention, in the form of protectionist price supports (the corn laws), that kept food prices higher (much like steel, sugar, cotton and other similar price support/subsidy policies in the U.S. today). When these were eliminated, prices dropped (making them more affordable to, well, everyone, including the poor (Irish or not).

That is not libertarianism. Call it something else (many economists call it mercantilism). The foundational principle of liberty does not have the government taking (by force) money to give to its corporate "buddies" in the form of subsidies or price supports or whatever. This is the fundamental problem of state. Its ability to use force to take from one to give to another inevitably (and usually quickly) ends up in the hands of those that are corrupt (I would argue that it is corrupt to even desire the establishment of such power to begin with). The Utopians are the ones who think that if only the state was run by the right people, all will be fine.
post #96 of 149
The fundamental flaw with libertarianism is that it requires that everyone have the libertarian ethos...

Which is clearly in direct contradiction to fact.
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post #97 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by drm View Post

You seem to have missed the point that it was government intervention, in the form of protectionist price supports (the corn laws), that kept food prices higher (much like steel, sugar, cotton and other similar price support/subsidy policies in the U.S. today). When these were eliminated, prices dropped (making them more affordable to, well, everyone, including the poor (Irish or not).

That is not libertarianism. Call it something else (many economists call it mercantilism). The foundational principle of liberty does not have the government taking (by force) money to give to its corporate "buddies" in the form of subsidies or price supports or whatever. This is the fundamental problem of state. Its ability to use force to take from one to give to another inevitably (and usually quickly) ends up in the hands of those that are corrupt (I would argue that it is corrupt to even desire the establishment of such power to begin with). The Utopians are the ones who think that if nobody ran the state, all will be fine.

TFTFY!
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post #98 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

The fundamental flaw with libertarianism is that it requires that everyone have the libertarian ethos...

Why do you think that?
post #99 of 149
what's to prevent a group of buisnessmen from banding together to fix prices?
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post #100 of 149
1968 George Wallace American Independent 9,901,118 of 73,199,998 votes cast (or 13.526%) (avowed racist)
1972 John Hospers Libertarian 3.674 of 77,744,027 votes cast (or 0.005%)
1976 Roger MacBride Libertarian 172,553 of 81,531,584 votes cast (or 0.212%)
1980 Ed Clark Libertarian 921,128 of 86,509,678 votes cast (or 1.065%)
1984 David Bergland Libertarian 228,111 of 92,653,233 votes cast (or 0.246%)
1988 Ronnie Paulie (aka Dr. No) Libertarian 431,750 of 91,594,686 votes cast (or 0.471%)
1992 Andre Marrou Libertarian 290,087 of 104,423,923 votes cast (or 0.278%)
1996 Harry Browne Libertarian 485,798 of 96,275,401 votes cast (or 0.505%)
1996 Ralph Nader Green 685,297 of 96,275,401 votes cast (or 0.712%) (avowed gulagist beats avowed freedomist)
2000 Harry Browne Libertarian 384,516 of 105,417,258 votes cast (or 0.365%)
2000 Ralph Nader Green 2,883,105 of 105,417,258 votes cast (or 2.735%) (avowed gulagist beats avowed freedomist again)
2004 Michael Badnarik Libertarian 397,265 of 122,293,332 votes cast (or 0.325%)
2004 Ralph Nader Reform 463,653 of 122,293,332 votes cast (or 0.379%) (avowed gulagist beats avowed freedomist a third straight time, that's a three-peat)

Libertarians seem to flatline at ~0.3% of total votes cast! Doesn't look good for libertarianism if you ask me!

So all in all, Ronnie Paulie (aka Dr. No) the Libertarian (nee wolf) in Republican's (nee sheep's) clothing has about as much chance of being POTUS, as well ...

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post #101 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

what's to prevent a group of buisnessmen from banding together to fix prices?

Well, first, greed or self-interest. But even if they get past this and they do fix prices, what's to a) force anyone to buy their products? or b) prevent a competitor not aligned with the cartel to come in and undercut (we assume that the cartel is fixing prices at higher than normal market clearing prices) the cartel? And even if neither a or b happen, and prices are raised, demand for the products will begin to fall. This will entice the fragile cartel to crumble as the participants seek out more sales to compensate for the hit on their profits (remember, teh companies involved are accountable to their shareholders, not the cartel).
post #102 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by drm View Post

You want. Fine. What gives you the right though to tell someone what they can make or sell?

Safety, perhaps?

You want this to be like China, where people are disfigured by breast cream, or poisoned by whitening cream, die from wine containing methanol?

How about labeling of products? Let's do away with that requirement too, which is managed by the FDA. Then we can quickly get rid of the added cost of dealing with people with food allergies, because they'll all die when they find out too late that their bologna contains peanut products.

Ooh... and who cares if an egg is six months old? Someone will buy it.

Meat inspections? Who needs them? Tapeworms could be the solution to this country's obesity problems!

Yeah... that's the ticket.

What gives us the RIGHT to DICTATE what someone can SELL!?

Even a worm is less short-sighted than someone who can ask that ridiculous question.
post #103 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by franksargent View Post

I'm presuming you understand the difference between theory and practice?

Given the "nature of the beast" it's selfishness, it's territorial nature, your distortion of communism (that's with a small "c' BTW!) ideology, is laughable!

We are all waiting for your further discourse on Nazi Germany, BTW, as applied to AmeriKKKa!

That would of course be followed by your discourse on socialism, followed by your discourse on global conspiracies! \

Libertarianism ideologies/theories != Libertarianism realities/practices.

The true irony is that you fail to see the differences between ideologies/throeies versus realities/practices, given "the nature of the beast!"

Sherman it's time for you to hop into your WABAC and fix things historically to fit your POV.

Stop. Take a deep breath. Speak clearly. Try again.
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post #104 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by drm View Post

Well, first, greed or self-interest. But even if they get past this and they do fix prices, what's to a) force anyone to buy their products? or b) prevent a competitor not aligned with the cartel to come in and undercut (we assume that the cartel is fixing prices at higher than normal market clearing prices) the cartel? And even if neither a or b happen, and prices are raised, demand for the products will begin to fall. This will entice the fragile cartel to crumble as the participants seek out more sales to compensate for the hit on their profits (remember, teh companies involved are accountable to their shareholders, not the cartel).

Unless the company is privately held. Unless prices are being fixed industry wide. Unless the cartel operators erect barriers to entry in their market. Unless capital in concentrated in such a way as to preclude competition (since presumably regulation of financial industries is also an unreasonable burden). Which are all things which have happened before.

And no one has addressed Midwinter's questions about child labor, working hours, working conditions, etc. If the answer is "if you don't like the working conditions get another job", why wouldn't exploitive labor practices become the national standard, since the businesses that saved money via such practices would have a competitive advantage? Particularly at the lower end of the economic spectrum there is nothing like "perfect mobility" to allow for a labor force that can execute rapid geographic shifts in response to onerous employment requirements. In a word, Walmart, but far more pervasive and with the bottom rung substantially lowered.

And who, exactly, wants to live in a country where shoddy, dangerous goods are corrected by "the market", i.e. people stop buying things that burst into flame, poison them or fall apart from under them, after a fair number of people are burned, poisoned or thrown to the ground? There's no a priori mechanism to weed out such products, since there is money to be made in the short term until word gets around. And what about when Chinese manufacturers realize that America is no longer doing all that dreary testing? I wonder what kind of marvels they might have in store for us?
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post #105 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by drm View Post

Well, first, greed or self-interest. But even if they get past this and they do fix prices, what's to a) force anyone to buy their products? or b) prevent a competitor not aligned with the cartel to come in and undercut (we assume that the cartel is fixing prices at higher than normal market clearing prices) the cartel? And even if neither a or b happen, and prices are raised, demand for the products will begin to fall. This will entice the fragile cartel to crumble as the participants seek out more sales to compensate for the hit on their profits (remember, teh companies involved are accountable to their shareholders, not the cartel).

what if the businessmen own >90% of companies that produce something vital like wheat?

what if ONE businessman corners a market for goods?

Not all companies are publicly traded. NO company begins as a publicly traded organization.

The fact remains that even in the best case scenario you present depends upon the cartel self-destructing at some point in the future, before which time consumers are suffering the consequences of having an unregulated capitalist system.
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post #106 of 149
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Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Unless the company is privately held.

I never said anything about the companies being publicly traded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Unless prices are being fixed industry wide.

How does this happen? Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Unless the cartel operators erect barriers to entry in their market.

How does this happen?


Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

And no one has addressed Midwinter's questions about child labor, working hours, working conditions, etc.

I did, but perhaps not explicitly enough for you to notice. Libertarianism deals with freedom of mature, able-minded adults. Adults are responsible for protecting and providing for their children. No one is suggesting that children can or should be exploited or enslaved.


Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

If the answer is "if you don't like the working conditions get another job", why wouldn't exploitive labor practices become the national standard, since the businesses that saved money via such practices would have a competitive advantage?

Because of competition for labor perhaps? They might have a competitive advantage on the selling side of their product but not on the buying side. Because of their lower labor costs they may have a higher level of profit which will entice new competitors or substitute product producers into the market (unless they are artificially prevented from entering the market) and these new competitors will also be competitors for the labor required to produce the products. They might lure workers away by better wages or better working conditions or both.


Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

And who, exactly, wants to live in a country where shoddy, dangerous goods are corrected by "the market", i.e. people stop buying things that burst into flame, poison them or fall apart from under them, after a fair number of people are burned, poisoned or thrown to the ground? There's no a priori mechanism to weed out such products, since there is money to be made in the short term until word gets around. And what about when Chinese manufacturers realize that America is no longer doing all that dreary testing? I wonder what kind of marvels they might have in store for us?

You seem to imagine a world where providers of products and services have some secret desire to deliberately injure, maim and kill their customers and also that the state will have some omniscience into this to be able to prevent this from happening.
post #107 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

what if the businessmen own >90% of companies that produce something vital like wheat?

How does this happen? Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

what if ONE businessman corners a market for goods?

Well, in economics, the thing we talk about is substitutes. These do not need to be exact substitutes. Chicken and beef are a good example. So while it is theoretically possible for this to happen it rarely does because of substitutes and because the monopolist rarely gets 100% of the market. Let's look at the famous whipping boy John Rockefeller. He owned about 90% of the oil extraction, refinement, distribution and retail sales. But he didn't raise prices. He kept his prices very low. In fact it was his vertical integration and efficiencies gained from that that enabled him to drive prices lower so that his product was accessible to more people. In fact Rockefeller, through his integration and productivity improvements, he lowered gasoline prices from $0.30/gallon in 1869 to $0.10/gallon by 1874 and to $0.06/gallon in 1897. Despite the fact that his competitors used the power of government to break up his company, at his height he still faced competition from Associated Oil and Gas, Texaco, Gulf, and 147 other independent refineries. Because of this competition Standard Oils market share fell from 88 percent in 1890 to a mere 11 percent by 1911.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

Not all companies are publicly traded. NO company begins as a publicly traded organization.

I didn't say anything about companies being publicly traded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

The fact remains that even in the best case scenario you present depends upon the cartel self-destructing at some point in the future, before which time consumers are suffering the consequences of having an unregulated capitalist system.

I suspect the cartel will self-destruct far sooner than you realize. Cartels are very fragile (unless they are forced or protected by the intervention of the state). Think through the logic of it. For someone to be enticed into a cartel, we assume it is because they are greedy and wish to maximize their profits. So, over gold one day, they convince the other players in their industry to join them and raise prices together by, say, 20%. Now, they are of course totally ignoring the possibility that people will seek and use alternatives to their products in the face of these higher prices. But, even if they don't, remember, these people are greedy (and obviously not to ethical) to what could be reasonably expect to happen next? Well, any one of them, knowing that everyone has agreed to 20% higher prices, see the opportunity to gain market share by secretly under-cutting his "partners" by just a few percent (he's still making more money at a higher price, but he's no stealing market share from his "partners" who are all keeping their prices even higher. Soon, the other begin doing the same until the price is bid down to the natural market price again.

Cartels are very fragile in a free market where the state is not erecting barriers to entry into the market and where "greed" or self-interest drives the players and where there are substitutes (and there always are. Not exact or perfect substitutes mind you but substitutes nonetheless.)
post #108 of 149
This debate is simple. Some of you want lots and lots of governing. Some of us don't. We'd prefer to be left alone. Some of you want the power to make decisions for others. Some of us don't. We think we know better how to live our lives than the government does.

It saddens me the number of people who have been trained to look to the government to satisfy their need to control others. And it's working. And worst of all, many of you believe your own lies that we'd all go to social and economic hell if the government was not here taxing and spending "for our own good."
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post #109 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by drm View Post

How does this happen? Why?



Well, in economics, the thing we talk about is substitutes. These do not need to be exact substitutes. Chicken and beef are a good example. So while it is theoretically possible for this to happen it rarely does because of substitutes and because the monopolist rarely gets 100% of the market. Let's look at the famous whipping boy John Rockefeller. He owned about 90% of the oil extraction, refinement, distribution and retail sales. But he didn't raise prices. He kept his prices very low. In fact it was his vertical integration and efficiencies gained from that that enabled him to drive prices lower so that his product was accessible to more people. In fact Rockefeller, through his integration and productivity improvements, he lowered gasoline prices from $0.30/gallon in 1869 to $0.10/gallon by 1874 and to $0.06/gallon in 1897. Despite the fact that his competitors used the power of government to break up his company, at his height he still faced competition from Associated Oil and Gas, Texaco, Gulf, and 147 other independent refineries. Because of this competition Standard Oil’s market share fell from 88 percent in 1890 to a mere 11 percent by 1911.




I didn't say anything about companies being publicly traded.



I suspect the cartel will self-destruct far sooner than you realize. Cartels are very fragile (unless they are forced or protected by the intervention of the state). Think through the logic of it. For someone to be enticed into a cartel, we assume it is because they are greedy and wish to maximize their profits. So, over gold one day, they convince the other players in their industry to join them and raise prices together by, say, 20%. Now, they are of course totally ignoring the possibility that people will seek and use alternatives to their products in the face of these higher prices. But, even if they don't, remember, these people are greedy (and obviously not to ethical) to what could be reasonably expect to happen next? Well, any one of them, knowing that everyone has agreed to 20% higher prices, see the opportunity to gain market share by secretly under-cutting his "partners" by just a few percent (he's still making more money at a higher price, but he's no stealing market share from his "partners" who are all keeping their prices even higher. Soon, the other begin doing the same until the price is bid down to the natural market price again.

Cartels are very fragile in a free market where the state is not erecting barriers to entry into the market and where "greed" or self-interest drives the players and where there are substitutes (and there always are. Not exact or perfect substitutes mind you but substitutes nonetheless.)

Public or private, whatever, the corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship is still beholding to the profit motive, and that alone, without other checks and balances.

Businesspeople acting like criminals, nope, never heard of that happening!

Your arguments from ignorance are remarkably naive.

Quote:
Whether the existence of Standard Oil was beneficial is a matter of some controversy. The notion that Standard was a monopoly is rejected by some economists, citing its much reduced market presence by the time of the antitrust trial. In 1890, Rep. William Mason, arguing in favor of the Sherman Antitrust Act, said: "trusts have made products cheaper, have reduced prices; but if the price of oil, for instance, were reduced to one cent a barrel, it would not right the wrong done to people of this country by the trusts which have destroyed legitimate competition and driven honest men from legitimate business enterprise".

The Sherman Act prohibits the restraint of trade. Defenders of Standard Oil insist that the company did not restrain trade, they were simply superior competitors. The federal courts ruled otherwise.

Many analysts agree that the breakup was beneficial to consumers in the long run, and no one has ever proposed that Standard Oil be reassembled in pre-1911 form.

Quote:
In 1904 when the lawsuit began it controlled 91% of production and 85% of final sales.
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post #110 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubelum View Post

This debate is simple. Some of you want lots and lots of governing. Some of us don't. We'd prefer to be left alone. Some of you want the power to make decisions for others. Some of us don't. We think we know better how to live our lives than the government does.

It saddens me the number of people who have been trained to look to the government to satisfy their need to control others. And it's working. And worst of all, many of you believe your own lies that we'd all go to social and economic hell if the government was not here taxing and spending "for our own good."

Here's how I see it: Some people think the only threat to freedom is big gubbamint. Other people believe that history shows that a serious threat to freedom comes from wealthy and powerful private individuals, and that the government can enhance people's freedom by preventing that from occurring.
post #111 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by franksargent View Post

Businesspeople acting like criminals, nope, never heard of that happening!

People on endless welfare programs cheating the system and stealing from their fellow citizens, nope, never heard of that happening!

frank, you are making a case against a ghost. We will never have any form of government without control over labor conditions, product safety, environmental controls, etc. There is too much popular support for it, and IMHO it is necessary for BASIC needs. Same thing with infrastructure and all of these things you guys keep pointing to. "Well, I like driving on nice roads"... well shit, it's not like those things are going away. Ever. We expect them, enjoy them, and are willing to pay for them as a nation. Its the spending on things that we DON'T need that pushes many of us to say "wait a minute, this is about buying votes, not helping the People."
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post #112 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by drm View Post

How does this happen? Why?

because of strategic corporate alliances, connections, mergers... it happens because people are implicitly greedy.


Quote:
Well, in economics, the thing we talk about is substitutes. These do not need to be exact substitutes. Chicken and beef are a good example. So while it is theoretically possible for this to happen it rarely does because of substitutes and because the monopolist rarely gets 100% of the market. Let's look at the famous whipping boy John Rockefeller. He owned about 90% of the oil extraction, refinement, distribution and retail sales. But he didn't raise prices. He kept his prices very low. In fact it was his vertical integration and efficiencies gained from that that enabled him to drive prices lower so that his product was accessible to more people. In fact Rockefeller, through his integration and productivity improvements, he lowered gasoline prices from $0.30/gallon in 1869 to $0.10/gallon by 1874 and to $0.06/gallon in 1897. Despite the fact that his competitors used the power of government to break up his company, at his height he still faced competition from Associated Oil and Gas, Texaco, Gulf, and 147 other independent refineries. Because of this competition Standard Oil’s market share fell from 88 percent in 1890 to a mere 11 percent by 1911.

it wasn't because of competition that SO's market share fell... it was because of anti-trust legislation. SO's product cannot have been literally more accessible to more people because of prices. The market isn't at equilibrium at all. Unless SO actively built a distribution architecture to every household in the country, the price of their wares is irrelevant to its accessibility. In point of fact, SO didn't increase the size of its distribution chain as fast as the market could have absorbed since it actively crushed by one means or another its competitors attempts at servicing regions it was not active in... often if not entirely not by actually increasing service but by decreasing access to raw material that its competitors had.

There is no substitute at the moment for gasoline, water, grain, meat, electricity, etc. Substitution economic principles ONLY work when there are literally functionally replaceable goods, not when there are sort of functionally replaceable goods. For instance, Biodiesel is all well and good but market access is low, use of biodiesel requires expensive conversions of normal automobiles, etc which forces biodiesel out of the legitimate role of substitute for gasoline. etc etc etc.


Quote:
I didn't say anything about companies being publicly traded.

shareholders implies publicly traded.


Quote:
I suspect the cartel will self-destruct far sooner than you realize. Cartels are very fragile (unless they are forced or protected by the intervention of the state). Think through the logic of it. For someone to be enticed into a cartel, we assume it is because they are greedy and wish to maximize their profits. So, over gold one day, they convince the other players in their industry to join them and raise prices together by, say, 20%. Now, they are of course totally ignoring the possibility that people will seek and use alternatives to their products in the face of these higher prices. But, even if they don't, remember, these people are greedy (and obviously not to ethical) to what could be reasonably expect to happen next? Well, any one of them, knowing that everyone has agreed to 20% higher prices, see the opportunity to gain market share by secretly under-cutting his "partners" by just a few percent (he's still making more money at a higher price, but he's no stealing market share from his "partners" who are all keeping their prices even higher. Soon, the other begin doing the same until the price is bid down to the natural market price again.

Cartels are very fragile in a free market where the state is not erecting barriers to entry into the market and where "greed" or self-interest drives the players and where there are substitutes (and there always are. Not exact or perfect substitutes mind you but substitutes nonetheless.)

At no point in history have cartels been market-fragile. It doesn't matter if the level of activity is local (gangs, organized crime) or international (drug cartels, adm, music industry, OPEC).
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post #113 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubelum View Post

People on endless welfare programs cheating the system and stealing from their fellow citizens, nope, never heard of that happening!

frank, you are making a case against a ghost. We will never have any form of government without control over labor conditions, product safety, environmental controls, etc. There is too much popular support for it, and IMHO it is necessary for BASIC needs. Same thing with infrastructure and all of these things you guys keep pointing to. "Well, I like driving on nice roads"... well shit, it's not like those things are going away. Ever. We expect them, enjoy them, and are willing to pay for them as a nation. Its the spending on things that we DON'T need that pushes many of us to say "wait a minute, this is about buying votes, not helping the People."

I'll agree with you on most of what you have stated.

There are too many special interest groups, both public and private. I'd like to disband the essentially two party system that seems to force a binomial distribution on what seems to me to be a normal distribution of political ideologies.

I see it as a min-max problem, minimize social costs, maximize freedom. Where we differ is in "The devil is in the details."
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post #114 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by drm View Post

I did, but perhaps not explicitly enough for you to notice. Libertarianism deals with freedom of mature, able-minded adults. Adults are responsible for protecting and providing for their children. No one is suggesting that children can or should be exploited or enslaved.

That was your answer? Those vague statements about how we all oughta lurve the children?

Simple questions. In a libertarian society, is there an age of sexual consent? Is there an age of majority? Is there anything to stop me from having sex with an 11-year-old prostitute? Is there anything to stop me from employing children in dangerous jobs?
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post #115 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

Here's how I see it: Some people think the only threat to freedom is big gubbamint. Other people believe that history shows that a serious threat to freedom comes from wealthy and powerful private individuals, and that the government can enhance people's freedom by preventing that from occurring.

Maybe we can make some progress here...

So, if I understand you correctly, the issue is that one group fears successful capitalists more than they fear the government? So the battle has been joined- the government versus successful people who can somehow threaten their fellow citizens.

Our government started out to ensure freedom. Today it is the number one destroyer of the same.
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post #116 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by franksargent View Post

I'll agree with you on most of what you have stated.

There are too many special interest groups, both public and private. I'd like to disband the essentially two party system that seems to force a binomial distribution on what seems to be to be a normal distribution of political ideologies.

I see it as a min-max problem, minimize social costs, maximize freedom. Where we differ is in "The devil is in the details."

Interest groups emerge from one thing- when the government decides to pick and choose who is worthy of protection and who is not. That goes for both social and corporate welfare.

Because we are all burdened by the power of government, we join these groups to make sure that we are not "picked on" by our elected officials. They do not respond to much but cash money or direct threats to re-election. In short, the government has a huge hammer these days, and we all are trying to band together based on one interest or another to keep them from smashing us. If, by some fantasy, we could ALL get together and tell government: "live within a budget, stop telling us who to sleep with or what to smoke, stay out of our wallets in search of buying votes from others, secure our borders, defend our nation only, and leave us ALL alone", we'd all be a hell of a lot better off.

It all comes down to money. I think if we want the PACs and interest groups to be less powerful, we need to get money out of DC and back to the states and individuals. There are two reasons there are armies of lobbyists in Washington- there are trillions of dollars at stake and a bunch people who love power for the sake of power. If the government was smaller, more efficient, and by the People, they would not have billions of dollars lying around for lobbyists to fight over allocating.

One of the real fights is over who is going to be able to pay enough to get themselves heard by government. And who has enough campaign donations to keep the government off their back. All too often, the average American does not have that kind of means. So we turn to groups to save these rights or those, or limit these rights or those, until we've lost the point- the government only has this much power because we have ceded it to them.

It's time to take those powers and liberties back.
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post #117 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter View Post

That was your answer? Those vague statements about how we all oughta lurve the children?

Simple questions. In a libertarian society, is there an age of sexual consent? Is there an age of majority? Is there anything to stop me from having sex with an 11-year-old prostitute? Is there anything to stop me from employing children in dangerous jobs?

Yes, there is an age of consent. Yes there are laws for worker protection. Yes there are laws to prevent man's inhumanity to man. You are using a textbook definition of theory to say that an implementation of many of the principles would lead to the end of the world. It won't.

You just keep throwing out one horrific hyperbole after another. No one is advocating what you seem to be arguing against. We're talking Libertarianism, not Anarchism. Surely, midwinter, you have better arguments against more personal freedoms than these. \
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post #118 of 149
capitalistic success is the accruement of money.

this does not establish any ethical means to that end.

it is the desire for protection from unethical capitalist that is the reason why we have rules and laws for business practices.

in the libertarian fantasy world unethical businessmen are punished by an aware consumerate, which has never existed.

if we had the moral fiber to base what we deem a successful capitalist on the actions rather than the product, the libertarian economic system might work but this shift in our moral basis would be the most significant change in human society since the advent of agriculture. we don't implicitly consider the means in our moral decisions; rather, we only consider what we feel the ends will be before we act.

libertarianism requires that we either ignore the instabilities that man's machiavellian psychology creates or that we stop concerning ourselves with how society progresses.
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post #119 of 149
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Originally Posted by hardeeharhar View Post

libertarianism requires that we either ignore the instabilities that man's machiavellian psychology creates or that we stop concerning ourselves with how society progresses.

Meh.
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post #120 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubelum View Post

Yes, there is an age of consent. Yes there are laws for worker protection. Yes there are laws to prevent man's inhumanity to man.

Then it is not libertarianism.
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