Thursday, June 25, 2009

The last one; anarchists this time

I posted my essay equating the free market with anarchy on a discussion board for anarchists. The following is the comments it generated.

(I am David Craig Hiser. All the other comments are various random anarchists. Many comments were off topic, and are not shown here.
All of the comments, as well as my original essay, are here:


Is this fellow trying to say that capitalism (with leaders and all) and anarchy/anarchism are all one and the same? Cuckoo Cuckoo.


More or less, yes.
Capitalism has no leaders.
Capitalism has only the market.
Democracy (or rather, what we call democracy, actually a republic) has leaders.
Our political system is the only thing which stands between our (the US) system and true capitalism / free markets.
Each move toward deregulation is a move toward economic anarchy.


Seems you're forgetting bosses. economic hierarchy. Anarchism is against hierarchy (hier-ARCHy).
You're equating anarchy - as in, a lack of laws - with anarchism - a classless, stateless society.
Capitalism is brutally authoritarian. It depends on police and armies to keep the masses of workers from being able to take the products of their labour from those who are robbing them (their owners, the bosses).
Capitalism is the antithesis of anarchism. It is the single most hated ideology amongst every authentic anarchist. I understand you want to call yourself an anarchist because its a cooler label than being a capitalist, but sorry, you may not use it. Actually, I'm not sorry. Anyone who supports all the evils of capitalism must be a douche, and I don't apologize to douches.
Go read the Infoshop FAQ and learn what anarchism is. Read the section on 'so-called anarcho-capitalists'. Go post on an Ayn Rand messageboard.

You have greatly misunderstood my own position.
I am in no way advocating capitalism.
I am totally opposed to capitalism.
The reason I am opposed to anarchy is that I believe capitalism can (and likely will in the modern world) arise from it. That was the point I was trying to get across.
I am not forgetting bosses. Being employed by someone is a voluntary relationship. An employee can quit, and even open a competing business. The occasional "American dream" story not-withstanding, people generally can not choose to join the upper class.
I am claiming you can not have a classless society without a mechanism to enforce equality. You must somehow prevent individuals from accumulating wealth.
If individuals have complete freedom, sooner or later someone will accumulate wealth, and then they will be able to take advantage of that accumulation, which is capitalism.
If society prevents that from happening, then individuals are not free to do as they like, even if their actions do not directly hurt anyone else, and this entails some form of authority.
I believe the latter, while dangerous, is the better of the two options. I believe that having classes is the greater detriment to humanity than lack of complete freedom.
Communalism, by nature, requires a loss of freedom.
If individuals care for, help, are responsible to, family, friends, neighbors, each other, than they must consider their actions in relation to everyone around them.
In a global world the actions of every person affect everyone else in the world (us in the US most of all). If every decision impacts others, and we have any sense of morality, then we can not be free from coercion. Unfortunately, not everyone is moral, and so the presence of some force to prevent some people from harming others (the state) becomes a necessary evil.
I don't consider myself an anarchist.
That's why I posted in this section.
I have not heard any one theory I agree with completely.
I am a secular humanist.
I am socially libertarian (anarchist even)
I believe in economic fascism.
I know that is a huge knee-jerk word, especially among Americans, and ESPECIALLY among anarchists, but if you are interested in a more indepth explanation, you can read it on my blog here:


"It also means "justice" via the lynch mob."
No it doesn't. I've never heard an anarchist advocate that. As such, it's a straw man.
"If they have no family, or for whatever personal reasons have lost their family's sympathy, they starve."
Your critique is a critique of anarcho-capitalism, not anarchism. Anarcho-capitalism can not exist peacefully for any length of time for the reasons you describe. This critique does not apply to anarchist communism however as all of the problems you mentioned are not problems with communism where needs are freely satisfied by society.


Submitted by DavidCraigHiser on Sat, 2009-04-04 00:21.

"No it doesn't. I've never heard an anarchist advocate that. As such, it's a straw man."
I'm not talking about some theory. It is not a straw man. It happens. It has happened countless times in the real world. It doesn't matter what you advocate. It is what will happen. It is what DOES happen in places where law breaks down due to civil war or natural disaster or whatever.
I am claiming Anarcho-capitalism is the natural state of anarchism.
Communism requires organization, cooperation, and some sort of property management system, and it requires that some people be coerced in some way to do things which they would not necessarily want to do.
If the less privileged are to be taken care of, and there is no state, WHO takes care of them? Specifically. By what mechanism are the needs of the disabled taken care of?


"I'm not talking about some theory. It is not a straw man. It happens. It has happened countless times in the real world. It doesn't matter what you advocate. It is what will happen."
You need to demonstrate that it occurs more in anarchistic societies than capitalistic ones.
"It is what DOES happen in places where law breaks down due to civil war or natural disaster or whatever."
I'm pretty sure this has already been pointed out, but anarchism is not equivalent to lawlessness - it's opposition to hierarchical laws.
"Communism requires organization, cooperation, and some sort of property management system..."
Again, anarchism is not incompatible with those things.
"...and it requires that some people be coerced in some way to do things which they would not necessarily want to do."
How so? Also note that anarchism cannot remove all coercion - no human is truly free, being as we are slaves to our passions and needs - it seeks only to remove illegitimate coercion i.e. from centralized authority.


Submitted by DavidCraigHiser

"You need to demonstrate that it occurs more in anarchistic societies than capitalistic ones."
-Granted. I'd say this is the best counter-argument I've gotten here!
I'll have to look into that one.
"I'm pretty sure this has already been pointed out, but anarchism is not equivalent to lawlessness - it's opposition to hierarchical laws."
-In a true, pure democracy, laws are not hierarchical. Note, what the US commonly calls democracy has very little in common with the real definition of democracy.
A simple example: 4 students are assigned a group project.
They each have a different idea of what to do it on. They have to pick one idea. It is obviously unrealistic to believe you will get 100% agreement 100% of the time. However, if they do not come to an agreement, they may all fail the class.
If 3 of them agree on one idea, and the 4th gives in and goes along with it, that right there is democracy.
No one student has any more say than any other. No hierarchy.
There is no coercion involved. No force or authority.
Their participation is voluntary. They could drop the class. [in the equivalent to this example on the nation level, all laws are followed voluntarily, because the US does not prevent citizens from leaving the country permanently if they so choose]
If you have laws, either they were made by one person or group (which implies hierarchy) or they are made collectively, which by definition is democracy.


I'll just assume the author has never read anything about band societies, the non-hierarchical (anarchic) mode of existence that humyns lived in for 99% of our existence on the earth. Maybe you could read James' Woodburn's "Egalitarian Societies"


I suppose we COULD go back to that 99% of human history and live like cave men/women again. That would be great fun huh? People sitting around fires, eating dog, and speaking in made up localized dialects without any communicability between the tribe 5 miles away...


Even if we wanted to go back to not having modern society (and I admit, its not a bad idea) it isn't going to happen.
Pandora's Box has been opened, Prometheus has made his delivery, and those things can't be undone.
Given that the vast majority of people in the modern world do not wish to give up the technology they already have (are we really even having this debate on the internet?) it makes more since to deal with the way the current world, with technology and 21st century mindset is likely to deal with various political and economic systems rather than pointing to examples from times past.
History is very important for teaching us, but just because we dismantled the government doesn't mean people would go back to nomadic foraging.
Aside from that most people would be unwilling, there are far too many of us, and we have done far too much environmental degradation for the natural level of productivity to support us. [For all its faults, the fact remains that industrial agriculture can feed many more people with an acre of land than hunting/gathering can]

1) the article you linked admits there is generally some form of leadership or at least informal democracy, as group decisions sometimes need to be made (for example in deciding when to move the camp). Communism is (in theory) non-hierarchical. Democracy (real democracy, not what the US calls democracy) is non-hierarchical. That alone does not make it anarchic. The article also points out "Many hunter-gatherers have social systems in which there is very marked inequality of one sort or another, sometimes far more marked than the inequalities in certain simple agricultural or nomadic pastoral societies."
2) the lifestyle described necessitates that there are abundant and easily accessible resources, such that everyone, regardless of age, gender, strength, etc is able to acquire enough food water and shelter to survive without help.
Which is wonderful if you are lucky enough to live in a place with an ideal climate and habitat. 99% of human existence there were fewer than 100 million people in the entire world. We now have 6.5 billion (and climbing).
Barring WWIII, it will never be possible for the entirety of human society to live as described.
3) as someone else pointed out, very few of us would be willing to give up all forms of technology (besides those we can make ourselves by hand from trees and rocks)
4) "There are instances in which the Hadza have abandoned the seriously ill when they moved camp, leaving them with their possessions [note, even if this most extreme example, they have possessions] and with food and water but knowing that they were unlikely to be able to provide for themselves. I was very surprised by the neglect of a previously popular grandmother in one of the settlements when she became senile..." This was one of my original points. Just because a certain system can work does not necessarily mean it is desirable overall.
5)"...there are sanctions against accumulation." Sanctions by whom? Of what sort? How are these "sanctions" decided in any particular case, and how are they carried out? It may be only sloppy language, just meant to imply it is generally frowned upon in general. Or, might it be that the author glosses over the details in order to maintain the premise that there is no control over anyone? If each individual is free to do as they choose, they can choose to accumulate. If some social force prevents them from accumulating, that is a form of coercion.


David if I may ask why the fuck are you so obsessed with the weak, the weak must be protected, have you ever thought that your reifications of the weak create more weaklings?
Also capitalism is nothing more then a behavioural paradigm as landuaer said. Yes there are places in the world where a vacuum creates your haitis but it is precisely because of the behavioural paradigm. We end capitalism by behaving differently, in terms of conflict resolution, nothing will ever be perfect, yes there may be cycles of revenge and killing that break out I'm sure it happened in pre civilized contexts but better that then a system of confinement with the surrounding enforcement agents.
With the flawed delicate little species of ours you take the good with the bad and as the french say let it run, the right way that is bourgeois ideology aside.


Obsessed? By the same token I might ask why anarchists are so obsessed with authority.
If we accept "survival of the fittest" as a legitimate view of human society, then perhaps the lower class is exactly where it should be, naturally subjugated by the more powerful and capable people above them.
This is exactly the argument so called "social-darwinists" make.
I agree, nothing will be perfect, and a lot of it stems from mindset.
I don't believe the ideal comes from any one dogma. I believe there are positive elements to be drawn from the ideas of anarchy, socialism, democracy, fascism, and libertarianism, but any one of them applied without question causes problems which could easily be solved with a more open minded approach.
My point in writing this post was to point out some of the problems inherent to pure anarchy.

Part 2, gas tax digression

This one was on my hypermileing forum, and began as a question about gas taxes.
That quickly degraded into an argument about taxes in general, and from there fell further to a general condemnation of government.
Since it was the off topic message board anyway, I decided to weigh in:

(original, including what I am responding to, here:


Of course 80% oppose raising gas tax. Not because they think it won't work, but because they personally enjoy the luxury of driving an inefficient vehicle. It has nothing to do with the cost of a hybrid. Trucks vans and SUVs make up 1/2 of new car sales, and all of those buyers knew they were buying gas guzzlers. It would cost less money - not just in gas, but upfront - to buy a small (non hybrid) car.

I am for the freedom of choices that we all have in this country. In my opinion, you cannot tell me what to do if I am not hurting anyone else.
1 You do have total choice if gas prices are raised. You can choose to buy whatever car you want. In fact, even if CAFE standards were raised you would still have choice, because they only refer to fleet average, not individual models. The only way anyone's freedom is restricted is if it became illegal to buy a car that got less than XX mpg.
2 Buying a big car DOES hurt others. In addition to the fact that they do far more damage in an accident, there is this little thing called "global warming" (to be honest, I am not 100% convinced, but it is undeniable that burning fuel does environmental and health damage to all living things, including ourselves.)

I oppose all taxes. period.
Forget about social programs and libraries.
Government pays for things which are not profitable, and which the free market could not provide, or which are essential and the free market could not provide equitably. Things like roads, harbors, airports, bridges, military, police, fire services, courts. How long do you think it would take for private security to turn into mercenaries? If you want to go back to living in teepees, maybe, but giving up government in the real world means who ever has the biggest gun and most friends gets to do whatever they want.

Originally Posted by theunchosen View Post
(because 50% of government spending goes to those programs).
Last I checked, the top three uses of federal tax money was:
1 the military (we spend literally as much as the rest of the world combined)
2 payments made to private health care companies (contracted medicare and health care for government employees)
3 interest on the debt.
(Social security is basically a mandatory savings account. You get back more than you pay into it. It isn't counted as part of the federal budget; although unfortunately in order to pay for massive budget deficits the government has been illegally "borrowing" from it which is why the fund is in trouble)

A government that rewards the lazy (welfare for fat slobs with no intention of getting a job, and pumping out children they are teaching that lifestyle is okay)
Welfare makes up about 1% of the budget.
Even before Clinton's welfare to work program, the average welfare recipient received benefits for less than 2 years. Currently, after 2 years, if you don't get some job - any job - you get cut off, even if they are in college at the time. So it encourages people to get minimum wage jobs instead of actually bettering themselves and getting a job which might actually support their family.
Look up some data, and turn down the Rush morning show.

I wonder how many of the people who propose alternate taxation schemes have actually crunched the numbers (or consulted a reliable unbiased source).
I haven't, so I won't say they are all impossible, but they mostly sound like fantasy to me.

to say that you are for higher gas prices means you are not for a free and open market, which requires the gasoline and other products to set their own prices, via supply and demand.
When the US military is assigned to guard pipelines (which is a lot of what they do in both Iraq and Afghanistan), that is an oil company subsidy. 100s of billions of dollars of subsidy, which never get counted for what they really are on the oil companies bank sheets.
Our over-sized military budget is what allows our gas prices to be artificially low (several times lower than what any other net importing nation pays).

If you want to cut taxes, instead of cutting social safety net programs which are a insignificant amount of the budget, start with reducing the military budget to no more than 10% more than the next highest spending country.

military is what keeps the enemies that want what we have away.
If we were not exploiting the 3rd world, we wouldn't have so many enemies in the first place. Scandinavia has a higher standard of living than the US but no one is invading there or blowing stuff up.

Next nationalize all health care. Believe it or not, most projections actually show the government would SAVE money by giving free health care to everyone. This is because, as it is health care is the governments 2nd highest expense, but much of that money goes to the shareholders of insurance companies, for-profit hospitals and drug companies, not to actually providing services to sick people.

Then balance the budget. This might mean *gasp* raising taxes! In the long run we have to pay for all those interest payments on our loans. It should go without saying that living on credit is unsustainable, but for decades conservatives have ignored that obvious truth by pretending that that "growth" would absorb the deficit. It didn't.

Alright pal, why attack the wealthy? They are those that create wealth. Without wealthy people (not rich), there is no capital to create jobs and continue functioning as an effective entity on this planet.
You got it right about the rich inheriting their wealth, but the idea that the wealthy contribute their fair share is a stretch too. If you own a factory, you aren't creating the jobs. If that same factory was a coop, the jobs would still be there, the same work would get done, the only difference is you wouldn't be able to skim some of the profits off the top. If a few people didn't hoard most of the resources the same capital would exist, it would just be spread out a little more. If a landlord hadn't bought a particular house, the house would still be there for people to live in. They aren't actually providing anything. If someone invests in the stock market they have not actually produced anything of value. Anyone who uses money to make more money is a leech on society, just as much as welfare recipients. Only differences are they live alot better than any of us, and we glorify them.

Government has 0 provisions for interfering in the market, and Adam Smith would tell you you're always worse off when they do.
"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.''
"The pretense that corporations are necessary for better government of the trade is without any foundation. "
-Adam Smith.
His argument against government was the EXACT OPPOSITE of modern libertarians. He was opposed to the corporation as something which interfered with the free market. To Smith the market consisted of INDIVIDUALS freely trading with one another, not companies, and certainly not corporations. He was opposed to government because of its tendency to protect and support corporations.

In the past 20 years GDP has grown steadily. Over that same period (accounting for inflation) median income has decreased. This disparity is because all of the increase has gone to a very small portion of society. The reason for the historic levels of inequality is a direct result of deregulation under our last 4 presidents, Regan and Jr. in particular.
Its the ideas that the wealthy must be more valuable to society and any increase in economic activity is inherently good which lead to the state we are in now.
The top 10% holds more wealth than the entire 90% added together.
Those 10% don't have to work, because they can invest instead.
The rich have not been working harder. US multinational corporations have just been able to consolidate and outsource at unprecedented levels.
This is the modern reality of the free market and deregulation.
It hurts American workers.
It hurts the middle and working classes (ie the vast majority of the population).
It hurts the federal budget.
It hurts 3rd world economies which are forced via predatory lending and threat of military action to open their markets.
It benefits one group, and one group only. Those who have the resources to live entirely off of stock dividends. They make us believe our interests coincide with their own by pointing out our 401k is in the stock market. However if not for their manipulation of the economy for their own benefit we could have higher wages and less inflation, less taxes and more stability.

Consider the Great Depression
Consider CA electricity market after deregulation (prices soared, service became terrible)
Consider Enron
Consider the recent bank bail out

Ford likes to ***** about the costs of union benefits, but they paid their CEO $21 million in a year they did terribly, lost money, begged the government for help. Meanwhile Toyota, which is doing far better in every way, paid their CEO less that 1 million. Follow that trend for the assistant CEO, the CFO, the president of the company, the president of the board, the lead project manager, etc.
The reality speaks for itself. The trickle down theory does not work.

...gas is an essential...
Why do people, even here, keep claiming gas is a necessity?
Food, water, clean air, a place to live, shelter from weather extremes, these are necessities.
People in places with no cars survive.
Before cars were invented, people lived.
Cars are no more a necessity than cable TV.
This is a free country. Nobody forces you to live in the suburbs.
Actually, I lived in the suburbs for a year, in a place where it snowed all winter and rained all summer. I didn't have a car.

For decades they've been preaching conservation, handing out rebates for "energy star" appliances and the like, and what has that gotten us? Double the household electricity use of 20 years ago?!?
As it happens, back 40-50 years ago utilities were literally giving away tank based water heaters just so that people would use more electricity and gas (solar and instant water heaters already existed back then) so they could sell more. The campaign was extremely successful.
Its only fairly recently that utilities haven't been able to keep up with demand and environmental concerns made people rethink the idea that maximizing consumption is inherently good, and began trying to persuade people to conserve.
However, even "energy star" rated appliances consistently use far more power than we have the technology for. Consider how often a fridge has its hot coils on the bottom, where the heat will just rise back into it, instead of on top. They do it cause it looks nicer.
Even so, individual appliances have been getting more efficient, but Americans have been upsizing everything for for the past 20 years. The average new home size is more than twice what it was 30 years ago. That means twice the area to heat and cool and light. TVs are bigger, sound systems louder, computers many times faster. If the technology is 2 times as efficient, but everyone uses 4 times more of it, you double your energy demand. Just like with cars. Engine technology is far better than it was back then, but car companies and consumer choose to use 100% of those gains to make cars faster and larger.

I promise you what will happen is states that have strict emissions and specialty registrations will see a sizable exodus to states that have no such policies
uh... the car companies have been making CA specific models due to additional air quality restrictions for decades. Either that or they just make all of their cars to CA specifications to avoid having to make 2 versions. No one is exodus-ing away. Unless they are selling at a loss, companies aren't going to overlook any market.

Still wanna trade?
(progressive taxes heavily burden the rich)
If you tax someone with a $10,000 income 10%, he is left with $9,000
If you tax someone with a $100,000 income 80%, he is left with $20,000

Even at that rate, the person with the high income is doing far better, and is "burdened" less.
And of course in the real world the higher tax brackets are stepped and only apply to the income above the threshold, not the entire amount, (so a 80% income tax would only be 80% of the money above some amount, say 90k - the first 10k would still be taxed at the 10% rate. In other words, he would keep much more than just 20k at that rate)

Unless someone drives more than 100 miles a day every day changing vehicles in light of fuel expenses is never an economical decision
No one has to go out and buy a new car tomorrow. Eventually people buy new cars. When they do, then they can buy a smaller one. They save money upfront AND save money in gas.
This could take some time, but the idea is to look long term at the big picture. If we act only for the moment we will regret it tomorrow. Individuals and corporations often can't see beyond instant gratification, and that's (hopefully and in theory) one of the useful things that large scale organization (ie government) can do.


[key points of the response to the above are included in my next reply]

the number one expenditure of government is welfare spending, which you failed to mention completely.
Budget of the United States Government: Historical Tables Fiscal Year 2009

Define "Welfare"
If you choose to count SS as "welfare", maybe, but the benefits people get from it are directly proportional to what they paid in. Same goes for unemployment. If you don't work, you don't get social security or unemployment. These things are revolving funds which legally the government doesn't get to spend (although they do anyway). Part of the category of human services also includes education. Education is an investment that pays for itself by having an educated workforce. Veteran's benefits, which should properly be classified as military expense, are also lumped here.
Most of all, medical payments is counted under the same category, which I addressed earlier, and is by far the 2nd biggest sub-component after SS.
Yes, if you count all of those things as "welfare", then it adds up to more than the military.
But if you are looking only at direct AFDC payments to poor families, it is less than 1% of the budget.
If you have a source that says otherwise, please feel free to share it.

Military spending only makes up 1/3 of all government spending. With the expenditures lately. . .its not even remotely close to 1/3.
If you remove SS (which is a trust fund, not a government handout) from the budget, "national defense" come to well over 1/3. Check the numbers at the link I provided above if you don't want to take my word for it.

Ford never asked for any money. You lose all credence when you post overt fallacies.
Ford's bailout plea to include pledge for smaller cars

Ford CEO on bailout opposition: Past is past -

Back to the top, you can throw all of those things the government provides away and allow for the private sector to pick them up. Bodyguards pick up where police forces are useless.
So, in other words the wealthy should be protected, and no one else should. I didn't say it was unviable.
What I said was, in the absence of law, body guard = mercenary. Whoever has money can buy guns and take what ever they want from those who can't afford a mercenary force. I'm not saying it is impossible, I'm saying that isn't a world any of us want to live in.

Look at situations in which there is no military to speak of. Rich families in Mexico have their own para-military body guard service. They pack automatics body armor and bullet proof vehicles. They don't hold trials and they don't take prisoners.
Yeah. Exactly. That's my point. Besides, there IS a military and police force in Mexico. The Federales carry sub machine guns and ride around in pickups with 6 guys in the back.

A justice system that provides quick and immediate punishment to murders, thieves and what the CIA classifies as "abrasive" crimes or "assualt" crimes typically has fewer of them and it costs far less. I don't have to hold criminals in jail for months before trial feeding them and I don't have to put up with appeals and other issues. If someone breaks into my home there will not be a trial. I might have to go into a civil case with their surviving family but as I live in the south I know my local judges will throw it out and the appelate judges will also throw it out.
Sounds like someone hates America. There is this thing called the "constitution" - they put it there for a reason. Thing is, sometimes innocent people are accused accidentally. You do realize that, right? And sometimes people accuse the innocent on purpose, out of spite, or to draw attention away from themselves. Trials are not to coddle criminals. Trials are to determine the facts as best as possible so that the wrongly accused aren't punished.

Adam Smith did not argue that the government was out to protect the poor from the rich. If you read your quote again he said that government is necessary to protect those who have(corporations) from those who dont(employees).
He didn't say it was "necessary". He said that's what actually happens. He was not suggesting it was a good thing.

At Smiths time the East India Trading company were a racketeering organization that stole from honest traders by imposing their own taxes on their goods so that they wouldn't be attacked by privateers. Smith was against this practice.
Exactly. He further suggested that corporations only exist because governments create them, and that they are inherently anti competitve.

He obviously was not against a corporation in and of itself because he had his own.
An individual can not have a corporation. Their is a difference between a corporation and a company.

I won't repeat all the points about how libertarians distort Smith's work, because someone has already done it for me:
The Betrayal of Adam Smith Adam Smith Hated Corporations

Jacob do you honestly believe that taxing one person 80% is fair and one person 10%?
That was an example to show the numbers involved.

If you do I'm leaving Ecomodder. What you are saying is. . .because I work 2 full time jobs and 2 part time jobs I should only be allowed to have 2x as much as someone who works never and gets a welfare check? I put in 80 hours a week(2 full times) I mow for 6 hours a week and I work for a neighbor for about 5 hours a week. You are saying that some slackass that works 0 hours deserves the same amount of money I get when I work vastly more hours than he does(90 compared to 0 and he gets the same amount as me)?

That's not what I am saying at all. First of all, someone who works 0 hours pays 0 taxes, no matter what the tax rate is. Someone who works 2 (or 4) jobs likely does not make that much per hour (or else why would they be working so much?) and so isn't going to be in a top tax braket no matter what.
What I am saying is NOONE earns a million dollars a year through working. It can't be done. You have to understand just how rich the rich are. There was a guy who owned a chain of casinos who made one million dollars an hour on average for a year. He didn't have to work. He added nothing of value to society. He didn't build the casinos. He didn't even pay to have most built, he bought them. So he didn't earn that money, which means he didn't "deserve" any of it. Bill Gates took open source (free) software, made a few minor changes, and patented it. He was not an innovator. He was a predatory businsess man who made exclusive deals with hardware manufacturers in order to form a monopoly. Now he pays other people to come up with (often inferior) software, and he gets to skim some of the profits. He is not creating jobs. If Microsoft weren't there, those same people would be working at smaller companies.

The market does not assign wages based on how valuable the work done is to society. Consider an ad company executive. The ad company has big clients which don't make the best or cheapest product, but have momnetum on their side. The ad companies job is to convince people to buy their products. This in no way betters society as a whole, but its valuable to the corporation that hired them. So they make big bucks. Meanwhile someone who does a job that actually creates something valuable, say the day laborer that builds a house, a auto plant assembly line guy, a public school teacher, makes a tiny fraction of what the ad guy makes.

Damn straight I think people who work hard for little pay should be taxed less than someone who makes their money on the stock market, or by being a landlord, or any other job where you make a lot of money without doing any actual work!
I think you should pay less taxes.
I think anyone who makes over 200k a year or has more than 2 million in assets should pay more taxes.


[several less relevant posts]


I'm somewhat looking at it as likely as a small business owner.
Laws which help corporations and the wealthy hurt small business owners.

The moment someone says they want 60% of my income I'm working to profit you not me and I'm going Galt to get under your tax bracket and I won't make a dime more.
Tax rates apply to a bracket of income. a 60% tax bracket does not mean they take 60% of your income. It means they take 60% of what you make over a certain amount.
It a bit like people saying its not worth in to win a lottery because the government takes 2/3rds. That means you keep 1/3. Thats better than not having 1/3.
If you don't want to work anymore because you feel its too high a rate, fine. Why is that a problem?

Our military is very streamlined as far as how it manages cost effectiveness.
I won't dispute that, because I know nothing about it. I am saying its total size is unnecessary, regardless of how efficient it is. It is also the largest single expense, and so where we could save the most.

And honestly do you want them cutting money from the system that protects you
What are they protecting me from? The "terrorists" want to steal my old 1983 truck? They want to force me, personally, to become Muslim? We have only had one foreign terrorist attack here - ever. The last time a country attacked us was at Pearl Harbor.
Our military budget is 5 times larger than the 2nd highest country in the world. We have nukes. We have unsurpassed technology. We are capable of doing more with a dollar of spending on military than any 2nd or 3rd world country (read China and the Middle East). I can see no justification for spending as much as the entire rest of the world combined unless we plan to literally invade every country in the world at the same time.
The military budget is about imperialism, diplomacy via unspoken threat, predatory free trade, and protecting corporate interests abroad. To tie this back to the original thread, the taxes you pay is what keeps our gas prices so low (again, US troops protecting pipelines in Iraq and Afghanistan.)

or from the system that allows people to sit around and do nothing?
I already addressed this. 1) AFDC makes up about 1% of the budget (vs over 33% for the military). Cutting it won't make a dent in government spending. 2) welfare recipients can not sit around doing nothing. Finding work is MANDATORY. If you aren't actively looking, you get cut off. There is no exemption for students. I know this because my mother was cut off when she, a single mother, was working towards a masters degree from UC Berkeley and refused to cut classes to attend their job training seminars. No matter what happens, they cut you off after 2 years.

If a private sector had to make a road its like a nuclear power plant, its very expensive up front and it takes a good bit of time to pay for it, but after that its dirt cheap.
The ancient Roman and German roads you mentioned were all built by government.
No nuclear plant has ever been built that was not heavily government subsidized. Private industry will not go into something with such a high initial investment which takes such a long time to show any return. Why would they, when there are so many other more profitable opportunities? A corporation is not concerned with what happens in 400 years. It is concerned with the quarterly report and shareholder dividends.

Social security is a ponzi scheme. Its not an investment. I have several relatives now drawing social and they are going to draw far more than they ever put in even with inflation and whatever else.
An investment means you can draw more than you put in. Its called interest. In addition, baby boomers not-withstanding, it is generally a valid assumption that there will be more workers each year than the one before, so the pool should consistently grow.

If you fired all the bureacrats, didn't pay all the politicians
I posted a link to federal spending. You can check exactly how much is spent on various things, and therefor how much could be saved by cutting any particular thing.

and just made the tax code simple(and fired all IRS agents)
see example above of what happens with a flat tax.

you would be taking one huge leap towards reducing deficits. If you then took another leap and cut any form of social safety net systems
Good way to create a whole lot of desperate people who will do anything to survive. You can either spend a little on education, job training, unemployment, and healthcare, or spend a bunch more on police and prisons. This has nothing to do with morality or personal responsibility, it is just a straight forward realistic cost/benefit analysis.

Places with more of a social safety net have lower crime.

the private sector could do everything else more cheaply.
I am not totally anti-private sector. From what I have read education would be greatly improved and the costs reduced by privatization. However with healthcare, every other 1st world nation has universal healthcare, and most have both higher quality care and more simplicity, yet the US spends more per person. There are some things the private sector is good for, and some it isn't.

can make a profit much easier and are able to sell their products for less.
why would anyone sell their products for less?

Some things in effect will cost the same whether its a tax or a toll, but I would bank on the service always being superior(go to a DMV).

haha, granted!

In some cases though(maybe in alot of cases) the toll would be less than the tax and the service would still be superior.
I would agree with "some".
But I don't think money is the only issue.
The real reason government is necessary is the phenomenon called the "tragedy of the commons"
The classic example is a lake open to the public. It has 1000 fish. If everyone just takes 1 every once in a while, no problem. They breed and replenish. But how long is "once in a while?" How many people are there? What if I take 2, one for me and one for my family? No one person is responsible for taking an unreasonable amount, but sooner or later, there are no more fish.
The free market can not responsibly allocate a finite amount of resources in the long term w/ no external regulation. The free market leads to massive environmental degradation, massive wealth inequalities, and a disregard of the value of anything other than money.
Consider the formula from "fight club", for decideing whether to do a recall for a fatal design flaw:
"Take the number of vehicles in the field, (A), and multiply it by the probable rate of failure, (B), then multiply the result by the average out-of-court settlement, (C). A times B times C equals X...If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one."
This is a real job. There is actually a specific dollar value attached to a human life (if I remember correctly, it is generally around 2 million)

I don't mean to say I support everything about the current US political system - not by a long shot.
I just think total deregulation and total trust in a market economy will make things worse than they already are.


[The response from the other guy]
You said why would anyone sell their goods for less(I'm not quoting because the quotes are getting long lol and I don't want to snip).

The reason is because I am greedy. I see you have a business that makes 40% on its product(you used to make 10% and now with lower taxes you make an extra whatever percent), but I have a crappy job. I take out a loan get some investors and start a business model doing exactly what you do, but I sell mine for 75% of what you do so I make only 30% profit per item. All of your customer switch suppliers because I am cheaper. You undercut me and this continues until someone like walmart shows up and sells the product for .01% profit but sells trillions of items. Thats Free market.

And it is beautiful. If there is enough money to be had the single greatest force in human innovation and production comes to play. Greed. Beyond a shadow of a doubt its the most powerful force on the planet. Its predictable and powerful.

If there is enough room to make a profit better than what I am doing now I will do it. So if that means undercutting my competitors because my business just became cheaper to do and driving all their customers into my queue well then thats what I am going to do.

It is natural selection at work. The leanest most efficient wolf will be the one to survive. The bloated fat pig will be the first one eaten, because its too slow, inefficient and has too much excess weight to rapidly restructure its survival patterns.

If you believe in evolution you have to believe in a free market. Yes there will be "robber barons"(I prefer Captains of Industry) but there will always be some clever little fellow(Aptera vs GMC) who can outmaneuver you because he's not carrying baggage and your profit margins got wide enough for him to squeeze in between you and the customers. It might not be a big profit compared to your business. . .but what matters is, is it more profit than he had working for someone else or running a competition with some other industry.

Every other country in the world has universal health care. Ask someone who lived in a Foreign country if they like it. I have family(in-laws) that lived and grew up in Italy. He moved here married into my family and loves Healthcare in the US depsite the fact it comes out of his paycheck. Thats my anecdotal evidence, and I've seen a few interviews with Canadians that much prefer US healthcare. I'm sure people will speak out about it, but all I can say is I have been to a French Hospital(friend got hit by a car while in Paris) and it wasn't impressive by any means. It was far less technical than a visit to MSHA(Mountain States Health Alliance, Johnson City's Hospital) or my own personal experiences with surgery here in the US.

Looking at the fight club example. . .there is always a cost of human life. Free Market systems just tell it like it is. They don't try and hide it behind systems to make everyone feel comfortable with it. Free Market is about market value. I know you will agree with me that each person has a value. If you don't think everyone puts a value on anyone else think about it this way. You have a sniper and terrorists plan to kill some hostages. Your sniper has to chose which terrorist to kill first, the terrorist with his gun pointed at 10 civilians or the one pointed at 1 civilian. After the first shot there are no guarantees the other can be killed before he fires on his targets. Obviously you shoot the terrorist guarding the 10 people because 10 people are more important than one. If you have one person in the hospital and it will cost 10 mil to make them completely healthy and live to die of old age and you have 10 people that only need 1 million each. . .what do you do? Free Market dictates you spend 10 mil and save 10 people. Universal healthcare by definition(provide the aide people need) you spend money on whoever gets there first. So 10 mil boy gets there and the other 10 people die while waiting for the funds to do their transplants.

Market Value is true blue transparence. We don't like to admit that we would just assign a value to someone's life because that seems shallow. . .but we do. A doctor who is capable of saving lives through medicine or a painter? You have to chose. Market value and Free economy dictates you save the doctor because directly he can save more lives than the painter(assuming he's not a superhero). In anything less than a Free market there is no justification to rescue someone who is dying already rather than a teenager or some young doctor.

In all honesty there are more valuable people than others. Bill Gates has done more for the human race than I have. Bill Gates simply put if I had to chose between which of us existed. . .I would have to chose him. I won't revolutionize the world. You can play "if" history all you like and say that Bill Gates didn't do anything but we don't know, we do know that since he did what he did we arrived here today, whether its his fault we can't say. Free Markets require comfort with perfect honesty, what is something worth to you, what are you willing to do for it?

I prefer completely deregulated Free market because it allows true honesty in market value rather than fixing a price because you feel that some moral induced idea that that product is bad(sin taxes on cigarettes and gas). The product is worth what people will pay for it no more no less, whereas in regulated systems. . .its what you say its worth and who dictates who choses values? what if I get to pick? What if I say you're favorite brand of soda is an unneccesary good because its harmful and got bad flavor(Gas is harmful and not the most efficient mode of transport).


[me again]
Evolution has nothing to do with the free market. We are all the same specie. Nature has no end of examples of individuals within one specie working cooperatively instead of competitively. If you really want to live in survival of the fittest mode, it does not imply the free market. It implies me shoving up at your door with a shot gun and a bullet proof vest, and whichever of us has the most training gets to keep all your stuff.

The WalMart model is beautiful - unless you are one of the local business run under, or one of their employees who now has to take a minimum wage WalMart job, or one of the people who used to supply the local business who is undercut by outsourcing, or the worker in a 3rd world country making 1/2 a cent per hour. What you save as a consumer you lose through repressed wages.
The only people its really beautiful for are the WalMart shareholders.

Your examples of choosing 10 peoples lives over 1 has nothing to do with my example of choosing profit over people's lives.

I disagree that it is ok to knowingly cause the death of anyone because you can make money from it - any amount of money.
Thats not about honesty. Its just a basic level of morality.

You did read my comments about Gates, right? I wasn't making that stuff up. Look it up. You still think he is more valuable than you?

It isn't just an arbitrary application of morality, but a question of democracy. If the market decides everything, than the more money you have (and as someone - I think it was you - pointed out earlier, the very richest often got their money from inheritance) the more influence you have over society.
That is already too true as it is.
Basically, the real result would be a return to serfdom, with the working class (ie you and me) being reduced to peasants.

I said an awful lot you didn't address to claim that I "hung myself" with an argument.
Explain how the market can resolve the tragedy of the commons.


[He responds again, basically acknowledging his view is amoral, but that this is the cold hard reality of the world. He expresses faith that the market can solve the tragedy of the commons - that in fact someone can get rich from the threat of environmental destruction itself, but does not offer an explanation of how that might happen. At this point, given that his comments seem to me to be mainly based on faith, I did not continue responding to the specific points, but after having a dream the next morning in which I came up with a very suitable analogy, I closed with the following]

the single greatest force in human innovation and production comes to play. Greed.
Here is another incredibly powerful force: the nuclear attraction between protons and neutrons. That force can be harnessed to power aircraft carriers and entire cities. But if it is not very carefully managed and regulated, that same force gets out of control and produces Chernobyl and 3 Mile Island. In some cases its destruction is deliberate, and you have Nagasaki and Hiroshima. In the greed model, you and I are the citizens of Hiroshima, and the top 1% of society is the bomber plane. The Great Depression, CA electricity market after deregulation (prices soared, service became terrible), Enron, the recent bank bail out - these are all examples of what happens when you give up government control in favor of totally free markets. Everybody ends up losing.

Capitalists, libertarians, and anarchists; oh my!

I have been arguing with anarchists and libertarians lately.

I can not think of a good way to consolidate my arguments without the context of responding to something specific, so it occurred to me that, given how much I've already written, it would be simple to just use what I already have.

I feel that given how much influence these ideas have had on the direction the US has gone in over the past few decades, and that we are the most powerful nation on Earth, this topic is one of the most important social issues there is.

Because there is a lot, I am breaking it up into several pieces.

The first (actually the last chronologically, but the first I am posting) was a blog essay which an anarchist friend sent me a link to attacking democracy. (He mentioned the caveat of not supporting the market economy. I have already written before here about how a market economy will naturally arise in the absence of government regulation.)
While the arguments here are not necessarily universal among anarchists, libertarians, and capitalists, some of them are common, or are at least similar.

I don't have the responses here, but that's mainly because there really weren't any substantial responses, just general insults and links to other people's writing. If you are interested, you can read both the original essay and all of the comments here:

When I use the word “democracy”, I am using it literally. You do not vote “for someone” under democracy. What the author is making points against is a “republic”. Specifically the US version of republic (no one else has ever fought wars to “make the world safe for democracy”) In fact, what is really meant when politicians when they say that is making the world safe for free markets – the very thing the author is supporting – because open foreign markets (ie not regulated by each foreign countries government) means cheap labor and goods fo the US.
Further, democracy is a political system, not an economic system. The author treats the two as if they were interchangeable. They are not. The economy can be one of the things which government regulates.
Majority rule does not imply violence anymore than any decision making process does.
If you are in class, and you have a group project, and each person has a different idea of what to do it on, no student fears his classmate will attack him for his opinion. They may argue about it, but ultimately which ever idea is most popular will win out. There is no coercion or threat involved.
That is democracy.
Not everyone gets their way, but it is understood that it is a group project, and things have to be decided or else everyone is going to fail.
The argument that anything which applies to one circumstance must apply to every possible circumstance is stupid and i am reluctant to even respond to it, but for the sake of argument, I will anyway.
In order to say that riding a bike to the store is good, you must say riding it everywhere is good. It is not good to ride a bike from your bed to the living room, nor is it good to ride it from Oakland to Japan. Since it isn’t good in every imaginable scenario, it must not be good for anything at all.
Democracy isn’t about the majority getting to “outvote” any minority about everything, its about an equitable way to make society wide decisions that need to be made for the benefit of everyone which the free market simply will not provide. Things like roads, disaster relief, environmental protection, and health care. Our country is a great example of what happens when you trust health care to the free market. If police and fire services were not public, only the middle class and above would have fires put out or protection from attackers.
A free market society is far from a consensus society.
A free market society means the richer you are the more “votes” you get.
He suggests roads could be maintained privately. There is no model to support that idea. Existing toll roads take decades to pay for themselves (and, incidentally, the toll roads I have been on in Ohio were much worse maintained than average). Bridges never pay for themselves. No company would go into a market with so low a return when there are other options available.
He suggests also that all market interactions be based on contract.
Who enforces those contracts?
How do they enforce them when there is no public court or police?
If courts are private, what stops them from siding with whoever is paying their fees (as we see happen consistently with arbitration companies and which is the reason almost all corporations prefer to use them)
A minimum wage does not force employers to lay off workers.
They could just as easily cut hours of everyone equally. Better yet, the company could be worker owned, in which case they can divide up the amount of thier own labor which was diverted to the managers and owners who do not do any of the actual work yet make far more of the income.
For all the bitching Ford does about employee costs, its CEO made $21 million – in a year they had huge losses and needed government help. Meanwhile Toyota, which is doing far better, paid their CEO less than 1 million.
That 20 million would have gone a long way to paying union wages, health care benefits, or retooling factories to make more efficient cars.
And that is not counting the CFO, the assistant CEO, the president and vice of the board of directors, product managers, or any of dozens of top level manager with million plus annual compensation.
If a company can not afford to provide a living wage to its lowest paid workers, than it is expanding faster than it sustainably can, and it needs to stop.
The authors comments on rent control are ridiculous. He doesn’t bother to give any indication of where people who can’t afford market rates should live. That’s the basic problem with all libertarian theory. It gets around the immorality of it by claiming that anyone who can’t afford, say, the market rate for food or water, must have made bad choices so it is their own fault they are poor so fuck them.
In the real world the rich are rich due to inheritance, the middle class send their kids to private school and college, and poverty is inherited the same way. Under the free market (or anarchy) their is no provision for the poor, the elderly, the disabled, or the abandoned young. Individual charity alone does not have the resources to help these groups.
The solution to rent control is to outlaw all ownership of rental housing.
You should not be able to charge someone just to live on a space on the Earth. You should not be able to make money when you are not actually doing any work. If every rental were put on the market at once, buying a house would become affordable.
I believe land ownership other than the land you yourself live on, for the purpose of profit, is inherently immoral, as is any other way of generating money without producing something of value to society.
If you personally built the house (not put up investment money, but got out there with a hammer and nails) then charge whatever the market will bear. But buying something because you have the capital just to charge someone rent? You are not providing anything of value because the house was already there, and if you didn’t “own” it the same tenants could be living there for free.
If this guy wants to stop voting, great! That means my vote has just a little bit more weight.
[excerpt from a response to my comment] "Economics is a logical-deductive science and can’t be falsified by empirical data."


Theory separated from the real world is meaningless and useless.
Anything which is unfalsifiable by empirical data has a special word: “faith”.
Aristotle used logical-deductive reasoning, and made conclusions about gravity. Newton proved them false with empirical data. Aristotle was a brilliant person, and his theories may have been logical, but when reality differs from theory, real science discards the theory.
Something which is purely deductive is not science. A scientific theory has to be able to make real-world predictions given a set of circumstances, and when implementing those circumstances, the predictions observed.
While linguistically no rule may not inherently mean no rules, in the real world, with no one to make rules, no one to enforce them, and no consequences for breaking them, there can be no distinction. In the real world you will never have unanimous consensus on all rules. If you make rules by general (majority) consensus, then that is, by definition, democracy. If rules are followed voluntarily, then they are suggestions, not rules. Its funny that you should point to that article, since I made the same argument that the one here made: the free market and democracy are incompatible.
Many, perhaps even most, public goods can be provided by the market (although not equitably or universally). There are a few that could not. Public streets and sidewalks in a city in front of everyone’s house and business. The modern economy couldn’t function without them, and there is no practical way to toll every single block independently.
Another is the legal system. A arbitration company has no way to enforce the ruling. A private security force, without any police or law, would be indistinguishable from a mercenary force.
Really, I have a much simpler retort.
Four words:
Tragedy of the Commons
We live in a finite world. There is a finite rate of regeneration of renewable resources. A free market does not regulate its rate of consumption, nor does it take into account externalities.
A failure of intelligent long-term regulation will hasten humanities trail along the wake of the yeast in a beer barrel – drowning in the waste of our own gluttony.

[the person responds that I should read the work of Ludwig von Mises, and again claims that I must not understand economic theory]


Just because I disagree with it doesn’t mean I am unfamiliar with it.
I actually agree with much of what Mises says, and believe he makes valid points which many on all sides often fail to acknowledge.
I agree entirely with his position on government induced inflation and on patents, for example.
However, he does make some fundamental errors which invalidate some of his conclusions based on them.
Ch1, Acting Man, of Mises book begins with “Human action is necessarily always rational.”
This is demonstratively false.
The only irrefutable action axiom is that humans act. It can not be taken as axiom that humans act rationally in their own long term interests, particularly when the optimal outcome requires a level of individual sacrifice.
In game theory, many situations create an incentive for individuals acting in their own best interest to cause a worse outcome for the group as a whole (which of course includes the individual as well.)
For example:
Even assuming individuals acted rationally in any individual moment, they neither take into account the effects of their individual choices aggregated over a large population nor the long-term effects. Because of this, even though as individuals we have the capacity for reason and the ability to make conscious choices, when allowed total freedom as a group we do in fact act the same as yeast.
The tragedy of the commons is a real phenomenon, which holds both in theory and in practice.
Pricing alone does not solve the problem, because it does not take externalties (such as pollution or a finite rate of resource regeneration) into account.
Then again, it is very easy to show that individuals do not even act rationally in the simpler terms of their own personal best interests either. Look at the success of casinos.
It goes far beyond gambling however:
Again, something which is purely logical-deductive is not science. It is philosophy at best, and faith at worst (since any deductions must be founded on assumptions about reality – in this case, the ultimate rationality of individual humans).
If you can find an example of law, local roads, or police being provided both efficiently and equitably purely by a market historically, or even describe a scenario in which it could even hypothetically arise, I would be very interested to read about it.
Now, aside from the dependence on individual rationality for faith in the free market, there are additional questions:
Mise does address externalites, for example injuries to employees
blaming them on market interference by governments which “allow” them to be unaccountable. However, he fails to explain who, in the absence of any government at all, would enforce labor standards, and how. If the problem is caused by a lack of regulation (or “deficient laws”), how would removing all regulations solve the problem? (Later Mises does implicitly acknowledge that this is neccesarily the role of government: “governments are [in a hypothetical ideal world] devoted exclusively to the task of protecting the individual’s life, health, and property against violent and fraudulent aggression.”
This then begs questions of the form and structure of said government.
In the same section he makes the exact sort of external valuation of commodities he objects to in the opening chapters (while also showing his own racism) in saying “Many of the richest deposits of various mineral substances are located in areas whose inhabitants are too ignorant, too inert, or too dull to take advantage of the riches nature has bestowed upon them.” This in the context of objecting to government intervention conquest of land/peoples, and claiming war is the result of protectionism.
Even were a government to allow free trade, the dull ignorant natives might still choose not to extract and sell a resource at any price – yet the other nation would still have desire for it, no less than if it were a protectionist policy which kept them from it.
In other words, if a population chooses, for whatever reason, not to utilize a natural resource, it is acceptable, or even ideal, for them to be taken by force by those who would utilize them.
On a similar issue, his solution to the tragedy of the commons is to privatize everything
Aside from the practical impossibility of privatizing extremely large public resources (the ocean, the atmosphere, a large river (anyone dumping or fishing in their “own” section of river affects everyone downstream of them ) there remains the question of how initial prices of commons are to be set, who they are paid to, and if there is no such entity then how the distribution is to occur.
Mises claims that unemployment (of the employable) would be zero in a purely free-market system
but offers no evidence, either theoretical or examples, to support it.
He suggests that the alternative to the gross inequalities inherent in capitalism is welfare.
I won’t argue the merits of welfare for the overall benefit of society here, but instead point out that regulations to ensure equality does not necessitate any form of welfare.
It is possible to eliminate (or at least reduce) inequalities simply by taking steps to level the playing field. A major omission is the issue of inheritance. People who inherent wealth do not earn said wealth by contributing something of value to humanity. They just get lucky in which parents they are born to. Similarly, education, living environment, etc are not in an infants control, and these factors incontrovertibly have a direct effect on the individuals access to the means of wealth generation later in life. This itself is an external privilege, no different from the caste system (which he says restricts the market)
“What those people who ask for equality have in mind is always an increase in their own power to consume. In endorsing the principle of equality as a political postulate nobody wants to share his own income with those who have less. When the American wage earner refers to equality, he means that the dividends of the stockholders should be given to him. He does not suggest a curtailment of his own for the benefit of those 95 per cent of the earth’s population whose income is lower than his.”
Actually, that IS what I suggest. The American middle class consumes far more than it’s share of world resources, at the expense of the rest of the world, (upheld only by having a military budget equal to the rest of the world combined).

“Many who are aware of the undesirable consequences of capital consumption are prone to believe that popular government is incompatible with sound financial policies. They fail to realize that not democracy as such is to be indicted, but the doctrines which aim at substituting the Santa Claus conception of government for the night watchman conception.” - Ludwig von Mises
“Even those who look upon the inequality of wealth and incomes as a deplorable thing, cannot deny that it makes for progressing capital accumulation. And it is additional capital accumulation alone that brings about technological improvement, rising wage rates, and a higher standard of living.”
I do not deny those. I question whether they are ends to themselves past the point where a society has obtained security in the basic necessities of life, and if they are in fact so desirable to be worth the trade off of gross (unearned) inequalities.
Realize that I accept that inequalities will exist due to differences in how hard a person works or how innovative they are.
It comes down, ultimately, to a moral issue.
And it was morality which the original blog entry was commenting on, not the method by which a society can most raise its average standard of living.
All this time we have been discussing only economics, while you ignored my points on democracy – as much the original focus as economics.
In my first comment I made a simple example: 3 or more people need to work together to get something done. If they don’t come to an agreement, there are negative consequences for everyone. It is not possible to have unanimity in every possible instance. If one or more people agree to go along with the majority consensus, that is democracy. It does not require coercion or threat of force.
This same situation, on the level of a society making large scale decisions, is all true democracy is.
It might be contrary to a maximization of wealth generation that a society collectively decides to enact an economically restrictive law. However, that is their choice.
In fact, in both the group and any true democracy, no one is forced to go along – however, if they do not, they can be ejected from the group because their association by other members is voluntary. As such, if someone objects to the laws of the US, they are free to move permanently to another country.