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OfflineEchoVortex
(hard) member
Registered: 02/06/02
Posts: 859
Last seen: 12 years, 7 months
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1145418 - 12/16/02 10:56 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

"What you are saying, in essence, is that it is immoral to offer a job to anyone unless you can offer a "good" job, which raises the question once again of who decides what a "good" job is. Unless I misunderstand your point, you believe the decision should be made by legislators (democratically elected legislators, of course) rather than by jobseekers. Are there not jobseekers who would prefer to work for less than minimum wage (even if only till they find something better) rather than remain unemployed; jobseekers who believe that something is better than nothing? What gives the government the moral right to thwart that preference?"

Not a "good" job necessarily, simply one where the employee can be treated humanely. Your assumption here is that creating a minimum wage would immediately make large numbers of jobs disappear. This assumption has no basis. There was no surge in unemployment when the minimum wage was introduced in the US. Your attempt to paint minimum wage laws as "thwarting" the preferences of jobseekers is laughable. No low-paid job seeker has ever protested the existence of minimum wage laws, only business owners have.

"If in fact the decision was "politically motivated", it supports my contention that it is incorrect to allow politicians powers over economic matters. If it was a case of bribery, you have already admitted that bribery will occur in any political context."

It was not a politician who made the decision, but an ideologically motivated judge. You have judges in your minarchy.

"If a given society wants to stop a person from putting up banners across from elementary schools explicitly depicting sex acts with animals...

Whose school is it? It is the owner's right to decorate his property as he sees fit.

...they could arguably have the right to stop that person from putting up those banners.

You once accused me of using "ridiculous" examples. Why on earth would anyone do such a thing? How could he possibly attract the teachers he needed to run his school, let alone persuade anyone to enroll their children there?"

It is not the OWNER of the school who is putting up the banners. The banners are being put up on private property within view of the school. Let's say I own a lot across the street from the school. Let's say I'm a pervert who likes little children. I can put up huge banners, within view of the school, showing explicit sexual acts. With a libertarian government there is nothing the owner of the school or the parents could do about it.

"Detrimental" is a slippery word. Have your rights been violated? If not, precisely HOW have you been affected "detrimentally"?

...even if he or she doesn't actually initiate direct force against me.

Example, please."

Example? Let's say I don't like having lots of dying orphans littering the streets and decomposing all around me. Let's say I don't have enough money to help them all and neither do the private charities. Living in a society like that is detrimental to me even though no direct force has been initiated. Or let's say that everybody around me owns a firearm. They may not have violated my rights just yet, but they possess, at every given moment, the ability to take my life. Even if I own my own firearm what's to say one of them won't sneak up behind me and put me out? Sure, he'll get arrested and punished for it, but some good that will do me once I'm dead. My rights have not been violated (YET) but the unlimited freedom of others to own firearms is detrimental to my peace of mind. Not to mention the fact that I would probably have to arm my children as well so that they too could have "self-protection." There's no way I would live in a society like that. Or here's another example. Under libertarianism, the owners of private businesses would be completely free to bar blacks or other ethnic groups from their place of business. Apartment building owners would be able to exercise the same freedom. After all, it's THEIR property and if they don't want blacks, the government can't FORCE them to accept blacks. If it is my place of business, it is my RIGHT to keep blacks out (private property is sacrosanct don't ya know) and the little darkie has no right to come onto MY property. I could just see it--within a second of the adoption of "libertarianism" huges portions of the US would return to large-scale segregation. It would be a dream come true for the Dixiecrats.

These are only three examples of many possibilities. The upshot is that I for one would leave a libertarian society in a New York minute. So would a lot of other intelligent, hardworking, thoughtful people, including most professionals (doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors) the majority of whom vote Democrat. All of the so-called "freedoms" such a society would give me would be no compensation for the detrimental effects on my quality of life. By limiting the discussion simply to "rights" you give yourself rhetorical leverage but the real world consequences of such a state would be truly horrific and absurd.

"Governments inflate the money supply. Result: lifetimes worth of savings vanish.
Governments impose tariffs. Result: the cost of living goes up.
Governments grant subsidies. Result: businesses with political influence crush those without.
Governments restrict entry into certain markets. Result: coercive monopolies are created to those with political influence.
Governments expropriate property. Result: people are displaced from their homes and businesses against their will.
Governments initiate "visible minority" quotas for businesses. Result: non-minorities get screwed."

Point one: the government's ability (power) to do all of these things and force people to comply is maintained by the courts, cops, and military, which is why corruption in those three institutions is the most dangerous of all.

Point two: governments CAN do those things. That doesn't mean they always do. Governments can also build roads, generate new intellectual property and technology through research, protect industries from unethical business practices on the part of foreign companies (like the semiconductor dumping from Japan in the 80s) and so on. Government is like a gun, pinky. Its use for good or bad depends on the users, which is why, more important than the political SYSTEM itself is the character of the people in both government and society. Unfortunately, the "crooked timber of humanity" will often find ways to screw things up even in the best of systems. Even in systems where government is small, as well as in systems where government is big.

"Didn't you say, "I'm sure many employees in state-owned Chinese industries are also being exploited"? Oh, wait... I see, only "many" of the state workers are being exploited, not all of them. Okay then, how can we know which products were produced in factories staffed only by non-exploited government workers? If it is okay to buy from a government "corporation" where only SOME of the workers are exploited, why is it not okay to buy from a private corporation where only some of the workers are exploited? I must confess I fail to see the difference, so I will continue to boycott ALL Chinese products."

Fine by me. I can only act on information I possess. I do know, however, that most products produced by state enterprises in China stay in China and are not exported.

"The above comment logically implies that collective farms and State industries do not offer humane working conditions, so apparently there is no "false choice" in China -- state factories and private sweatshops suck equally. There is no third alternative. How can there be if we accept your argument? According to you, there are no capitalist factories that aren't sweatshops and never will be because the owners will always be free to collude with each other to keep wages at rock bottom."

Your attempts to confuse the issue are always so charming. Some collective farms and State industries may have humane working conditions, and some not. Such is the way of life. Or have you not stepped outside in a long time? And I've already stated before that there probably ARE capitalist factories that aren't sweatshops, but the number of jobs in those places is not unlimited. Many people have no choice but to work someplace bad because all that's left are the dregs. As long as laws don't prevent them from doing so, owners are free to collude to keep wages at rock bottom.

"It therefore follows that the only way to increase the wages is through government decree, but the government won't increase it because that would mean they would have to pay the workers in the State factories more, which they apparently lack the capacity to do. So it looks to me like the only thing Chinese employees who want to improve their working conditions can do is to band together, get a business development loan from the World Bank or a venture capitalist, and start their own businesses."

Once again you've completely lost the plot. Westerners, though their purchasing decisions, can influence the situation for the better. Or did you forget about that point already? I never said Western consumers can solve the situation completely--simply that they can INFLUENCE IT FOR THE BETTER. This is a perfectly reasonable statement that you are obsessed with demolishing for reasons known only to yourself. You really live in deranged mental universe, don't you?

"Would providing humane working conditions drive the Chinese government under? One would think the government of a country with a population of 1.4 billion people, a government with essentially unlimited power within its borders, would have sufficient wherewithal to provide humane working conditions for its employees. "

You seem to think I've been defending the Chinese government all this time. Once again, you've lost the plot completely.

"Here's a question: If it is possible for a corporation to be both profitable and humane (and your comment on the ethical mutual funds show that it is), why is it that no such corporation has opened a factory in China yet?"

Why not ask them?

Here's a question for YOU: do you support the right of business owners and landlords to bar customers or tenants on the basis of race or ethnicity? According to libertarian principles, you would have to.



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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
Male

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
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Last seen: 6 years, 3 months
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1147140 - 12/16/02 09:45 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

Your assumption here is that creating a minimum wage would immediately make large numbers of jobs disappear. This assumption has no basis.

I am not assuming, I am observing what I see in front of my eyes. The minimum wage laws in the Dominican Republic are certainly making a large number of jobs disappear. I have made two posts already in this forum detailing exactly what happened when the new government here raised the minimum wage.

There was no surge in unemployment when the minimum wage was introduced in the US.

1) I thought we were discussing China (which already has a minimum wage, by the way -- just not high enough for your liking).

2) The first minimum wages introduced in the US were not that much higher than the average going rate for workers at the time.

Your attempt to paint minimum wage laws as "thwarting" the preferences of jobseekers is laughable. No low-paid job seeker has ever protested the existence of minimum wage laws, only business owners have.

Come visit me some time and I'll introduce you to some jobseekers (read "ex-jobholders") who oppose the existence of minimum wage laws, and they'll introduce you to plenty more. If you speak a bit of Spanish you'll find their opinions enlightening. They used to work in foreign factories that made clothing for export... what you would call "sweatshops", although those shops did pay more than the Chinese ones do.

It was not a politician who made the decision, but an ideologically motivated judge.

Oh. I must have somehow messed up my cut and paste operation. I could have sworn you had written "politically motivated". My bad. Oops... wait a minute... why, you did write "politically motivated!

You have judges in your minarchy.

And you have judges in your limited capitalist democracy. Presumably some of those judges would even have ideologies.

It is not the OWNER of the school who is putting up the banners. The banners are being put up on private property within view of the school.

Oops. Okay... I misread the original statement. Now I got it.

Let's say I own a lot across the street from the school. Let's say I'm a pervert who likes little children. I can put up huge banners, within view of the school, showing explicit sexual acts.

If that's the worst thing that could happen under Laissez-faire Capitalism, it still beats alternative forms of government. Even you will admit the odds of someone doing such a thing are slim. However, I will admit that it COULD happen.

With a libertarian government there is nothing the owner of the school or the parents could do about it.

Not so. They could ask the guy to remove the banner. If he refused, they could remove the banner, roll it up, and stuff it in the guy's mail box with a note explaining why they feel it is better that he not display it anymore. If he replaced the banner, they could do what Mennonites do today -- shun the individual involved. By "shunning", I don't mean just ignoring him, I mean actively following him everywhere he went with picket signs indicating their displeasure. They could surround his property with similar picketers. If none of the above measures worked, they could petition the courts to hold a competency hearing to determine whether or not the individual should be legally committed to an insane asylum -- his actions arguably indicate he is likely to be suffering from an antisocial mental condition that could pose a threat to others if left untreated.

Example? Let's say I don't like having lots of dying orphans littering the streets and decomposing all around me.

No one will stop you or anyone else from helping them.

Let's say I don't have enough money to help them all and neither do the private charities.

No one will stop you from assisting the charities and the churches in their fund-raising efforts.

Living in a society like that is detrimental to me even though no direct force has been initiated.

Detrimental in what way?

Or let's say that everybody around me owns a firearm. They may not have violated my rights just yet, but they possess, at every given moment, the ability to take my life.

Each of your neighbors right now possesses at every given moment the ability to take your life.

Even if I own my own firearm what's to say one of them won't sneak up behind me and put me out? Sure, he'll get arrested and punished for it, but some good that will do me once I'm dead. My rights have not been violated (YET) but the unlimited freedom of others to own firearms is detrimental to my peace of mind.

How does this differ from a limited capitalist democracy?

As for "peace of mind", people have been bringing frivolous lawsuits for centuries trying to claim damages against someone for affecting their "peace of mind". I could claim that your passionate comments in this debate are threatening my peace of mind because they indicate a dangerous instability, and I am worried you will find out where I live and kill me because my philosophical comments enrage you.

There's no way I would live in a society like that.

You already do. So does Rono. Any one of your current neighbors (or even a total stranger) could kill you or your children at any time, and the police could only punish him after the fact. That's the case in every country in the world, and has been the case since the beginning of recorded time.

Under libertarianism, the owners of private businesses would be completely free to bar blacks or other ethnic groups from their place of business. Apartment building owners would be able to exercise the same freedom. After all, it's THEIR property and if they don't want blacks, the government can't FORCE them to accept blacks. If it is my place of business, it is my RIGHT to keep blacks out (private property is sacrosanct don't ya know) and the little darkie has no right to come onto MY property.

Correct. Similarly, different owners would be free to bar WASPs. In today's society, most (if not all) such businesses would go under pretty quickly because enough people would refuse to patronize them that they would fail. However, some would probably continue to survive, if they were located in areas with high concentrations of racists.

The upshot is that I for one would leave a libertarian society in a New York minute. So would a lot of other intelligent, hardworking, thoughtful people, including most professionals (doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors) the majority of whom vote Democrat.

All of whom would be free to go if they so chose. Note that a lot of intelligent, hardworking, thoughtful doctors, lawyers, teachers and professors left England for Canada and America once England started embracing socialism to a greater degree. It was called the "Brain Drain" in the early Sixties. Note further that a lot of people matching the same description (especially doctors) are now leaving Canada to move to the US, for the same reasons the English ones did.

All of the so-called "freedoms" such a society would give me would be no compensation for the detrimental effects on my quality of life.

It requires effort to obtain those things which improve the quality of life through your own resources and voluntary exchange with others. I have no doubt that some people would prefer more goodies to more freedom, and that some of those who preferred not to expend the necessary effort might choose to leave.

By limiting the discussion simply to "rights" you give yourself rhetorical leverage but the real world consequences of such a state would be truly horrific and absurd.

So far the only horrific things you have claimed is that orphans would litter the street and some nutbar would string up an offensive banner. I leave it to the readers of this thread to decide whether these scenarios are likely to occur in the real world or whether they are absurd. Of course, they might be mere rhetorical ploys.

As for limiting the discussion simply to "rights", I can't help but notice that you don't dispute my definition of rights, nor do you dispute they are essential, nor do you explain how all of the things that give you "peace of mind" can be obtained without violating someone's rights. If you feel that a society requires more than simply the complete recognition of individual rights, feel free to explain how these things are to be obtained without violating same.

Point one: the government's ability (power) to do all of these things and force people to comply is maintained by the courts, cops, and military, which is why corruption in those three institutions is the most dangerous of all.

Correct. This is why Laissez-faire Capitalists insist that the government never be given any power over economic matters. In a Laissez-faire Capitalist society, the cops, courts, and military are constitutionally limited to protecting the individuals of the society from those who initiate force. That's ALL they can do.

Point two: governments CAN do those things. That doesn't mean they always do.

Of course they always do. There is not a country in the world that has not done ALL of the above, except the minority quota thing, which only a few so far have adopted. Oh, and some have not inflated their fiat currencies to the point of disaster, but ALL have inflated them to some degree, thus causing savings to be lost.

Governments can also build roads...

Not without expropriating property.

...generate new intellectual property and technology through research...

Not without seizing money from people who might prefer to do their own research.

...protect industries from unethical business practices on the part of foreign companies (like the semiconductor dumping from Japan in the 80s) and so on.

Semiconductor "dumping" benefited more people in the countries who got cheap electronics than it harmed.

Government is like a gun, pinky. Its use for good or bad depends on the users...

NOW you are starting to get it! That's an excellent analogy. A gun is a tool for emergency use only; literally the "last resort", and should be resorted to only for self-protection and then holstered as quickly as possible. It is not for everyday use and certainly it is not to be used as the way make a living.

And I've already stated before that there probably ARE capitalist factories that aren't sweatshops...

So your comment on capitalist factory owners getting together and colluding to screw the workers was incorrect. That's all I wanted to clarify.

...but the number of jobs in those places is not unlimited.

So your problem is that there aren't yet enough capitalist non-sweatshops to employ every Chinese worker who wants to work in one. What do you think is a reasonable way to persuade more capitalist non-sweatshop owners to open factories in China?

As long as laws don't prevent them from doing so, owners are free to collude to keep wages at rock bottom.

As you pointed out, not all owners do this, or there wouldn't be capitalist factories that aren't sweatshops. If the capitalist owners who don't pay rockbottom wages are profitable (and you say they can be), they will soon be able to open more non-sweatshops, and more workers can have decent jobs.

Once again you've completely lost the plot. Westerners, though their purchasing decisions, can influence the situation for the better.

Oh, I understand. For example, you boycott Chinese goods because "most products produced by state enterprises in China stay in China and are not exported," so most Chinese goods you are in a position to buy are produced by capitalist factories, most of which are sweatshops. I, on the other hand, boycott Chinese goods because I have no way of knowing whether they were produced in State factories (most of which are sweatshops too) and because I disagree with China's refusal to recognize individual rights. Both of us are hoping to influence the Chinese, but we target different groups of Chinese; we use the same methods but have different goals.

You seem to think I've been defending the Chinese government all this time.

Nope. I just wonder why you expect capitalist factory owners to provide better working conditions than the State. Is it not enough that they provide conditions equal to those the State does?

Here's a question for YOU: do you support the right of business owners and landlords to bar customers or tenants on the basis of race or ethnicity?

I support the right of owners of businesses (and renting buildings is a business) to deal with whomever they choose, and to refuse to deal with whomever they choose. The criteria for selection could be anything the owner desires, including but not limited to race and ethnicity. A business owner who refuses to deal with potential customers strictly on the basis of their race or ethnicity would be a gigantic fool to do so, and runs a very real risk of bankruptcy (not to speak of social ostracism), but such a person is morally bankrupt anyway so I would not mourn any misfortune he brings upon himself.

pinky


--------------------


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OfflineEchoVortex
(hard) member
Registered: 02/06/02
Posts: 859
Last seen: 12 years, 7 months
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1147223 - 12/16/02 10:29 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

"If that's the worst thing that could happen under Laissez-faire Capitalism, it still beats alternative forms of government. Even you will admit the odds of someone doing such a thing are slim. However, I will admit that it COULD happen."

For someone who spends a lot of time on the internet, you're sure in the dark about just what kind of sickos are out there.

"Not so. They could ask the guy to remove the banner. If he refused, they could remove the banner, roll it up, and stuff it in the guy's mail box with a note explaining why they feel it is better that he not display it anymore. If he replaced the banner, they could do what Mennonites do today -- shun the individual involved. By "shunning", I don't mean just ignoring him, I mean actively following him everywhere he went with picket signs indicating their displeasure. They could surround his property with similar picketers. If none of the above measures worked, they could petition the courts to hold a competency hearing to determine whether or not the individual should be legally committed to an insane asylum -- his actions arguably indicate he is likely to be suffering from an antisocial mental condition that could pose a threat to others if left untreated."

Oh, I see. So instead of working at my job and being a productive member of society I should spend my time chasing after all of the lunatics out there trying to persuade them to stop what they're doing or trying to get them committed to insane asylums (where they will then be stripped not only of their right to post pornographic banners but other rights as well). Your "solution" to the problem is absolutely absurd.

"You already do. So does Rono. Any one of your current neighbors (or even a total stranger) could kill you or your children at any time, and the police could only punish him after the fact. That's the case in every country in the world, and has been the case since the beginning of recorded time."

I live in a city that has laws against concealed weapons. Do some people still carry them? Sure. In any event, this was only one of many, many possible examples of aspects of a libertarian society that would compel me to leave.

"It requires effort to obtain those things which improve the quality of life through your own resources and voluntary exchange with others. I have no doubt that some people would prefer more goodies to more freedom, and that some of those who preferred not to expend the necessary effort might choose to leave."

It seems you can only understand "quality of life" to be bound up with material objects that can be bought and sold. All I can say is: you know not of what you speak. As far as "goodies" go, I have never received any "goodies" from the government and anticipate I never will.

"Correct. This is why Laissez-faire Capitalists insist that the government never be given any power over economic matters. In a Laissez-faire Capitalist society, the cops, courts, and military are constitutionally limited to protecting the individuals of the society from those who initiate force. That's ALL they can do."

I'm sorry, but are you completely fucking stupid? Let me write it in caps for you: A CONSTITUTION IS A PIECE OF PAPER. IF THEY HAVE BEEN BOUGHT OFF THEY CAN DO A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN THAT, WHETHER OVERTLY OR COVERTLY.

"Of course they always do. There is not a country in the world that has not done ALL of the above, except the minority quota thing, which only a few so far have adopted. Oh, and some have not inflated their fiat currencies to the point of disaster, but ALL have inflated them to some degree, thus causing savings to be lost."

Your ignorance of economics is astounding. CURRENCIES ARE AND HAVE ALWAYS BEEN LEGAL INSTRUMENTS WHOSE VALUE IS NOT ABSOLUTE BUT NEGOTIABLE. Go read an economics textbook. You seem to think that because you earned 500 dollars one day that same five hundred dollars should be able to buy the same amount of goods tomorrow, the day after, next month, next year, and next century. Doesn't work that way. Currency values are determined on an open market. I thought libertarians liked open markets.

"Here's a question for YOU: do you support the right of business owners and landlords to bar customers or tenants on the basis of race or ethnicity?

I support the right of owners of businesses (and renting buildings is a business) to deal with whomever they choose, and to refuse to deal with whomever they choose. The criteria for selection could be anything the owner desires, including but not limited to race and ethnicity. A business owner who refuses to deal with potential customers strictly on the basis of their race or ethnicity would be a gigantic fool to do so, and runs a very real risk of bankruptcy (not to speak of social ostracism), but such a person is morally bankrupt anyway so I would not mourn any misfortune he brings upon himself."

Ok, let's sum up some of the things you've defended and justified in the past and over the course of this debate, so I can get an idea of what a libertarian society might look like:

sweatshops
orphans left to die on the streets
displaying pornography (or anything else for that matter) in sight of kindergartens and nursery schools
unlimited gun ownership
the potential for racial and ethnic discrimination and segregation on all private property (which could be anywhere, since there would be NO public property in a libertarian society)

You've also argued elsewhere that UN inspectors have no business checking out US prisons (because this undermines national sovereignty) and then turn around and support a "preventive" war of invasion against a sovereign nation that would result in tens if not hundreds of thousands of deaths (I suppose nations that pose any potential threat whatsoever to the United States immediately forfeit their sovereignty). Not to mention the fact that it would cost taxpayers some 60 to a 100 billion dollars. These are just some of your "consistent principles."

Any state in which your kind of thinking became the law of the land is a state that I would avoid like the plague. Individual freedom is well and good, but where individual freedom comes in conflict with the very bases of civilization and human decency, individual freedom can take a walk. Barbarism is also a kind of freedom. So is the ignorance of children and the lunacy of madmen. That's why civilization has always sought to tame barbarians, to educate children, and to place madmen in environments where they cannot hurt others or themselves. All of these actions involve limiting the freedoms of individuals, but civilizations cannot survive without such limitations. Absolute state power is surely a monstrosity. But the absolute freedom of the individual is also a monstrosity, yet you have become so blinded by ideology that you cannot seem to see that. It is fortunate for you, though, that libertarianism will probably never become a reality in your lifetime: it is so painful to have one's dreams punctured by reality. And I suppose we all need dreams . . .

Adios, amigo


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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
Male

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
Loc: Dominican Republic
Last seen: 6 years, 3 months
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1147983 - 12/17/02 07:50 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

Oh, I see. So instead of working at my job and being a productive member of society I should spend my time chasing after all of the lunatics out there...

Not all lunatics, just the ones whose actions offend you.

... trying to persuade them to stop what they're doing...

Not all your time, no. Just the amount of time you want to invest in trying to change something that offends you. If you don't want to invest any time at all, that's fine with me. One need not quit his job in order to affect change. Do you not participate in campaigns to persuade people to stop buying from "sweatshops"? How many hours of your time have you invested in this thread alone trying to persuade people to boycott sweatshops located in a foreign country? Why weren't you being a productive member of society instead?

...or trying to get them committed to insane asylums...

If they are lunatics, are they not better off in insane asylums where they can be treated rather than left to their own devices? In your limited capitalist democracy, do the courts lack the power to commit people to asylums?

It seems you can only understand "quality of life" to be bound up with material objects that can be bought and sold. All I can say is: you know not of what you speak.

The problem is, I know not of what you speak. From what I can gather, you think that "quality of life" is enhanced by such things as orphanages, (material objects), libraries and museums (material objects), roads and water pipes and sewage treatment plants (material objects), schools (material objects), social programs (which must be paid for, i.e. bought), etc.

As far as "goodies" go, I have never received any "goodies" from the government and anticipate I never will.

You didn't go to school in a government run school system? You don't drive on roads that run through land governments expropriated from their rightful owners? You have never bought a product from an inefficient American industry that exists only because it is propped up by government (i.e. virtually ANY farm product)? You are not eligible for Social Security? You are correct when you say that particular goodie is one you will never receive.

I'm sorry, but are you completely fucking stupid? Let me write it in caps for you: A CONSTITUTION IS A PIECE OF PAPER. IF THEY HAVE BEEN BOUGHT OFF THEY CAN DO A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN THAT, WHETHER OVERTLY OR COVERTLY.

I'm sorry, but are you completely fucking stupid? Let me write it in boldface for you: If the officials in your limited capitalist democracy have been bought off they too can do a whole lot more than that. Have we not already agreed about half a dozen posts ago that the only way to prevent corruption of officials is to do without them? Are you suggesting there should be no cops, courts, and military? Why do you persist in beating this same dead horse?

*Whew!* Now please explain to us how the generals, judges and police chiefs in a Laissez-faire Capitalist country decide which of them will create and organize (in addition to performing their real duties, of course): the department of energy, the department of public works, the department of labor, the department of education, the department of agriculture, the department of trade, the federal reserve bank, the mint, the department of science and technology, etc. Once you have done that, please explain to us how they will obtain the money to staff and operate these departments.

Your ignorance of economics is astounding. CURRENCIES ARE AND HAVE ALWAYS BEEN LEGAL INSTRUMENTS WHOSE VALUE IS NOT ABSOLUTE BUT NEGOTIABLE. Go read an economics textbook.

Your ignorance of economics is astounding. Currency was not invented by government, and existed long before governments got involved in the printing game. Go read an economics textbook. I suggest an introductory one by von Mises or Hayek.

You seem to think that because you earned 500 dollars one day that same five hundred dollars should be able to buy the same amount of goods tomorrow, the day after, next month, next year, and next century. Doesn't work that way.

I believe no such thing. I am well aware that a kilogram of gold (for example) can be exchanged for differing amounts of goods at different times, depending on the supply of the goods in one wishes to trade that gold for. Fluctuation in the cost of goods is not inflation.

Currency values are determined on an open market. I thought libertarians liked open markets.

You are correct that the market determines the value of a currency. This is why no government has ever been able to bamboozle the market into thinking their fiat currencies are worth what the government says it is just because the government says it. Flood the economy with unbacked fiat currency (which ONLY governments can do), and inevitably people will need wheelbarrows (no exaggeration -- there are historical examples of this occurring in the twentieth century) to carry enough of the stuff to exchange for a day's worth of groceries. This is precisely what has happened in country after country time and time again.

Ok, let's sum up some of the things you've defended and justified in the past and over the course of this debate, so I can get an idea of what a libertarian society might look like:

sweatshops

Who decides what is a sweatshop? Who employs those who once worked in a now-closed sweatshop?

orphans left to die on the streets

How many orphans died on the streets before governments took over their operation from churches and charities?

displaying pornography (or anything else for that matter) in sight of kindergartens and nursery schools

If the individuals who send their children to those particular schools and the teachers who work in those schools don't care enough to resolve the situation, why should I be forced to?

unlimited gun ownership

What is your objection to that? Do people not have the right to self-defense? Are there not limited capitalist democracies (Switzerland comes to mind) where unlimited gun ownership already exists?

the potential for racial and ethnic discrimination and segregation on all private property

Racial and ethnic discrimination is today being promulgated by government in a limited capitalist democracy (the US) through "affirmative action" laws.

You've also argued elsewhere that UN inspectors have no business checking out US prisons (because this undermines national sovereignty)...

No, I pointed out that the US government is prevented from signing such a treaty by its constitution. The government does not have the power to sign such a treaty without first amending that constitution. You are free to start campaigning for such an amendment.

...and then turn around and support a "preventive" war of invasion against a sovereign nation).

Nope. I support direct assassination of Saddam Hussein. But those who support the resumption of hostilities point out that the only reason military action was halted in 1991 was because Iraq signed a contract promising it would do certain things in exchange for a cessation of hostilities. Iraq has not fulfilled the terms of that contract, therefore hostilities may resume.

Individual freedom is well and good, but where individual freedom comes in conflict with the very bases of civilization and human decency...

In societies where individual freedom is not recognized, there is neither civilization nor human decency.

...individual freedom can take a walk.

So freedom can take a walk because some free individuals might do things that offend you. Your "peace of mind" trumps another's right to self-defense. The pseudo-rights of The Tribe are paramount, but the rights of the individual are to be recognized only until it becomes inconvenient. In other words, you are a Collectivist, which is what I have been pointing out all along.

So is the ignorance of children and the lunacy of madmen.

Children and madmen have always been recognized in every society as being fundamentally different from sane adults. Every legal system of which I am aware has special provisions for them. A Laissez-faire Capitalist country's legal system would have special provisions as well.

But the absolute freedom of the individual is also a monstrosity...

I am not in favor of absolute freedom for individuals. I have always clearly stated that individuals must be prevented from violating the rights of others. They may not be allowed to initiate the use of force in their dealings with others.

... yet you have become so blinded by ideology that you cannot seem to see that.

You have become so blinded by Collectivist ideology that you cannot seem to see that group "rights" can only be attained at the sacrifice of individual rights. You honestly can't see that without individual freedom, societies cannot be free. You honestly see nothing wrong with violating the right of a jobseeker to accept a job, because the notion that anyone might actually choose to work in a job that you would reject does not compute.

It is fortunate for you, though, that libertarianism will probably never become a reality in your lifetime: it is so painful to have one's dreams punctured by reality.

It is unfortunate for you, though, that Collectivism is still perceived as a reasonable way of organizing a society despite the numerous examples in your lifetime of its inevitable end result. It will be painful to have your dreams punctured by reality.

Adios, amigo

Later, dude. Drop by any time.

pinky


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Edited by pinksharkmark (12/17/02 07:57 AM)


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1148046 - 12/17/02 08:12 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Iraq has not fulfilled the terms of that contract, therefore hostilities may resume.

Bullshit. Don't believe everything Colin Powell tells you. This is a bit of truth to absorb:

Lie Number One is the justification for an attack on Iraq - the threat of its "weapons of mass destruction." Few countries have had 93 per cent of their major weapons capability destroyed. This was reported by Rolf Ekeus, the chairman of the United Nations body authorised to inspect and destroy Iraq's arsenal following the Gulf War in 1991. UN inspectors certified that 817 out of the 819 Iraqi long-range missiles were destroyed. In 1999, a special panel of the Security Council recorded that Iraq's main biological weapons facilities (supplied originally by the US and Britain) "have been destroyed and rendered harmless."

As for Saddam Hussein's "nuclear threat," the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iraq's nuclear weapons programme had been eliminated "efficiently and effectively". The IAEA inspectors still travel to Iraq and in January reported full Iraqi compliance. Blair and Bush never mention this when they demand that "the weapons inspectors are allowed back". Nor do they remind us that the UN inspectors were never expelled by the Iraqis, but withdrawn only after it was revealed they had been infiltrated by US intelligence.

Lie Number Two is the connection between Iraq and the perpetrators of September 11. There was the rumour that Mohammed Atta, one of the September 11 hijackers, had met an Iraqi intelligence official in the Czech Republic last year. The Czech police say he was not even in the country last year. On February 5, a New York Times investigation concluded: "The Central Intelligence Agency has no evidence that Iraq has engaged in terrorist operations against the United States in nearly a decade, and the agency is convinced that Saddam Hussein has not provided chemical or biological weapons to al-Qaeda or related terrorist groups."

Lie Number Three is that Saddam Hussein, not the US and Britain, "is blocking humanitarian supplies from reaching the people of Iraq." (Foreign Office minister Peter Hain). The opposite is true. The United States, with British compliance, is currently blocking a record $5billion worth of humanitarian supplies from the people of Iraq. These are shipments already approved by the UN Office of Iraq, which is authorised by the Security Council. They include life-saving drugs, painkillers, vaccines, cancer diagnostic equipment.

This wanton denial is rarely reported in Britain. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, mostly children, have died as a consequence of an American and British riven embargo on Iraq that resembles a medieval siege. The embargo allows Iraq less than ?100 with which to feed and care for one person for a whole year. This a major factor, says the United Nations' Children's Fund, in the death of more than 600,000 infants.

I have seen the appalling state of the children of Iraq. I have sat next to an Iraqi doctor in a modern hospital while she has turned away parents with children suffering from cancers that are part of what they call a "Hiroshima epidemic" - caused, according to several studies, by the depleted uranium that was used by the US and Britain in the Gulf War and is now carried in the dust of the desert. Not only is Iraq denied equipment to clean up its contaminated battlefields, but also cancer drugs and hospital equipment.

Denis Halliday, the assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, resigned in protest at the embargo which he described as "genocidal". Halliday was responsible for the UN's humanitarian programme in Iraq. His successor, Hans Von Sponeck, also resigned in disgust. Last November, they wrote: "The death of 5-6,000 children a month is mostly due to contaminated water, lack of medicines and malnutrition. The US and UK governments' delayed clearance of equipment and materials is responsible for this tragedy, not Baghdad."

IN any attack on Iraq, Saddam Hussein's escape route is virtually assured - just as Osama bin Laden's was. The US and Britain have no wish to free the Iraqi people from a tyranny the CIA once described as its "greatest triumph". The last thing they want is a separate Kurdish state and another allied to the Shi'ite majority in neighbouring Iran. They want another Saddam Hussein: one who will do as he is told.

On March 13, the Foreign Office entertained Brigadier-General Najib Salihi, a former commander of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard and chief of the dreaded military intelligence who took part in the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Now funded by the CIA, the general "denies any war crimes". Not that he would ever face arrest in the West. At the Foreign Office, he is known as a "rapidly rising star". He is their man, and Washington's man.

http://pilger.carlton.com/print/101687



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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1150453 - 12/18/02 02:08 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Alex, these points have been addressed in the past. There was more to the ceasefire agreement than just the destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, much more. Even presuming the WMD issue was fulfilled (which it wasn't), there are many others which have not been, as your beloved UN is well aware and has stated on many occasions. Go to the UN website and do a search on UN resolutions regarding Iraq and see for yourself.

As I stated, Iraq has not fulfilled the terms of that contract...

They haven't. The US says they haven't, and so does the UN.

I have also, in three separate threads now, used the UN's own surveys to show that the figure of "600,000 Iraqi children dead due to UN sanctions" is a bogus figure, with quotes from the people who did the survey and links to the complete survey itself. You still have never bothered to read the survey.

EchoVortex mentioned Iraq in passing in his last post only as an illustration of what he claimed to be a contradiction in my position regarding national sovereignity, and even HIS reference was off-topic. I could properly have ignored it, but I didn't. I addressed it, then moved back to the topic at hand.

As you have done so many, many times in the past, you are attempting to derail a thread with irrelevancies. I will happily shoot you down for the umpteenth time if you want to discuss the sanctions imposed by the United Nations against Iraq, but not in this thread. Either open a new one or bump an old one -- Lord knows there's been enough of them.

If you want to comment about my position that less government is preferable to less corporate action, jump right in. If you want to talk about Iraq or gun control or alien visitations, do so in the correct venue.

pinky



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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1150464 - 12/18/02 02:23 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

sorry to act like a party pooper but Ive never seen you "shoot" anyone down. You have to do more than convince yourself old bean!  :grin: :grin: 


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1150480 - 12/18/02 02:49 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Sorry I haven't been around to keep up my share of the discussion. It's turned into a very interesting thread.

This is a quick visit to the wwworld before I lapse into another brooding silence, so I'm not going to add any more.

Thanks, guys

hongomon


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1150671 - 12/18/02 05:46 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

The US says they haven't

The US says a lot of things. That doesn't make them true.

I addressed it

You stated a falsehood, I corrected you. End of story.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1151771 - 12/18/02 12:50 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Well I was ready to let this thread die since we were beginning to rehash the same old stuff as always, but since it's been bumped up and since there seems to be some interest, I think, what the hell, why not address a couple things. The key issue here is your last zinger:

"It is unfortunate for you, though, that Collectivism is still perceived as a reasonable way of organizing a society despite the numerous examples in your lifetime of its inevitable end result. It will be painful to have your dreams punctured by reality."

I have consistently argued in favor of limited capitalism in the context of democracy. If you wish to call this "Collectivism" that's fine by me, although it's also clear you're trying to exploit the association that word has with "collectivized farms" and Stalinism and all sorts of other nasty things. The implication is that any all forms of "Collectivism" inevitably lead to the same destination: oppression, tyranny, mass murder, etc. Clearly you've lifted (without due credit) this line of thought from Hayek and his "Road to Serfdom," which is made even more clear by the fact that you mentioned Hayek earlier in the post. It should also be made clear to whoever is reading that Hayek's works are not "introductory texts" in economics. Hayek has some interesting ideas but he is a partisan whose ideas are very contentious. He is not at all mainstream. And furthermore, his thesis in "The Road to Serfdom" is unproved and vociferously debated.

Once again, I favor limited capitalism in the context of democracy. This describes all of the most successful nations, including the United States. Now, it may be true that the US is SLIGHTLY more laissez faire than other Western nations, but the relative success of the US is also attributable to a very fortuitous combination of other factors: a wealth of natural resources, a strong ethic of work and materialism, the finest network of public and private research universities in the world, a steady stream of hardworking and entrepreneurial immigrants, a pop culture industry that has the rest of the world in thrall, unchallenged military superiority, etc. etc. But anyway, this is not point I wish to make. The point is that the US is NOT LAISSEZ FAIRE CAPITALIST. There are progressive income taxes, there are regulatory bodies, there is a whole raft of safety and workplace laws, etc. etc. The US government has the largest budget of any government in the world. It is not "hands off" by any means.

Let's look at some other realities. Here are the richest countries (of population of one million or higher) ranked in terms of per capita GDP calculated by price power parity (purchasing power, in other words, not real number of dollars). These are 2001 figures from the CIA World Factbook.

1. The United States (limited capitalist democracy/leaning laissez faire)
2. Switzerland (limited capitalist democracy/leaning laissez faire)
3. Norway (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
4. Singapore (capitalist authoritarian)
5. Denmark (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
6. Belgium (limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)
7. Hong Kong (capitalist authoritarian)
8. Austria (limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)
9. Japan (limited capitalist democracy/state interventionist)
10. Canada (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
11. France (limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)
12. Netherlands (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
13. Germany (limited capitalist democracy/ leaning socialist)
14. Australia (limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)
15. Finland (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
16. United Kingdom (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
17. United Arab Emirates (oil state)
18. Sweden (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
19. Italy (limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)
20. Ireland (limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)

PPP calculations are helpful because they reflect the actual purchasing power in light of prices, whereas raw per capita GDP figures are misleading because of variable prices in each country.

Now, granted the top two lean laissez faire. But they are still LIMITED CAPITALIST DEMOCRACIES. Representative democracy in the case of the US, and something coming very close to direct democracy in the case of Switzerland. Note too that eight of the top 20 countries lean socialist. Oh, and in case you didn't notice, none of the nations on this list has pure laissez faire capitalism.

Your argument that democracy is "acceptable" yet "not essential" is sorely misguided, if this list is any indication. And since I'm the only person who is providing hard facts instead of just rhetoric and anecdotes, I will assume this list is a very good indication of how reality works.

What this list suggests is that economic freedom is a good thing--in moderation. What it suggests most of all is that moderation is a good thing. Economic freedom is good, but that doesn't mean that laissez-faire economics is good, just as exercise is good but that doesn't mean one should exercise 20 hours a day. Sleep is also good, but one shouldn't sleep 20 hours a day either. The life of an organism, with its need for balance and moderation in all things, is a much better model of the needs of the social body than any rhetoric about the absolute importance (if not absolute freedom) of the individual. Yes, it may be unfair to place the group above the individual. But placing the individual above the group is simply absurd. It is the social equivalent of cancer.

My position is not a dream waiting to be punctured by reality. My position is a recognition of reality.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1152194 - 12/18/02 03:28 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

The French aren't laissez faire?

Man they bitch about all these non French words infiltrating their language, and then they don't even use a perfectly good one like "laissez faire"!

Fuckin' whiny ass Frenchies!  :grin:


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1152464 - 12/18/02 05:27 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

I have consistently argued in favor of limited capitalism in the context of democracy.

Limited by whom? By the majority. In other words "The Collective", "The Group", "The Herd", "Society", "The People". If you prefer I refer to you as a "Groupist" from now on, I have no problem doing so. The Groupist contention is that individuals are not to be allowed by The Group to do what they want with either themselves or their possessions, even if they are harming no one else. They can't eat a psychedelic mushroom in any of the countries on your list, for example. Prostitution and gambling are also illegal in most (if not all) of those countries.

It's pretty clear cut; one either believes that every individual has inalienable rights which must not be violated by any cause, purpose, group, or any number of other men whatsoever... or one believes that a NUMBER of men ? it doesn't matter what one calls it: a collective, a class, a race, a State, a Society ? hold all rights and any individual can be screwed over if some "collective good" ? it doesn't matter what you call it: better distribution of wealth, peace of mind, equalization of opportunity or whatever ? demands it. Try to see past the labels and grasp the fundamental principle at work here -- corporations do not need to exert force in order to thrive. Governments DO need to exert force in order to even exist. Hence corporations are preferrable to governments.

This is why I say I prefer dealing with corporations to dealing with governments. If I don't want to deal with a corporation, I don't have to. I go my way and they go theirs. I voluntarily reduce some of my quality of life because of my voluntary choices (for example, my refusal to buy inexpensive Chinese goods means I must spend more money on tools and hardware and clothing thus leaving less money for books and medicine) but it is MY choice. I have no such choice when it comes to government. Nor do you.

...it's also clear you're trying to exploit the association that word has with "collectivized farms" and Stalinism and all sorts of other nasty things.

In the words of Steve Kangas: It's often the case that when a critic uses an embarrassingly accurate term to describe what a wrong-doer is doing, the wrong-doer protests: "Why don't you use my white-washed, conscience-soothing euphemism?" Such euphemisms, they claim, help promote "civilized debate."

The implication is that any all forms of "Collectivism" inevitably lead to the same destination: oppression, tyranny...

But that is what you have been arguing as well (via your "corrupt officials" line of thought), and I presume that is why you included your quote from Jefferson regarding the advisability of overthrowing the existing government (ANY existing government) once per generation.

Clearly you've lifted (without due credit) this line of thought from Hayek and his "Road to Serfdom," which is made even more clear by the fact that you mentioned Hayek earlier in the post.

It's been decades since I read Hayek, but it doesn't surprise me that he said such things. Many people a lot smarter than I have said the same thing, because it doesn't take a lot of brainpower to figure it out, and takes less brainpower with each year that passes and more examples of the principle are demonstrated empirically. For the record, I didn't steal any lines from him, but if some of what I said sounds that way, I'm pleased.

It should also be made clear to whoever is reading that Hayek's works are not "introductory texts" in economics.

Then start with von Mises. Both of them will tell you that your claim of fiat currency being equivalent to specie is incorrect, and both of them (and just about ANY economist who ever wrote on the subject) explain quite clearly the inevitable consequences of governments running the printing presses day and night. Evolving once asked a question of Lallafa (I believe) here in this forum, one that was never answered. It had to do with counterfeiting and originally appeared in a thread called "Federal Reserve Board Questions", but I just checked that thread and Evolving's post has vanished through some mysterious Shroomery glitch. Maybe Evolving will repost it in this thread -- it has a direct bearing on your misconception of how fiat currency works.

Once again, I favor limited capitalism in the context of democracy.

Who decides what limits are to be placed on the rights of individuals to do as they see best? Why, The Group, of course.

This describes all of the most successful nations, including the United States....Here are the richest countries (of population of one million or higher) ranked in terms of per capita GDP calculated by price power parity (purchasing power, in other words, not real number of dollars). These are 2001 figures from the CIA World Factbook.

Why are you providing us with a list of the 20 wealthiest nations? Are you saying we are to tailor our ethical systems (the way individuals deal with each other) in such a way as to ensure maximum riches? Are you telling us that the number of dollars in a nation is more important than the rights of the individuals who inhabit that nation? If you believe that, then why on earth are you so upset at the foreign corporations operating in China? They are undeniably raising the per capita GDP calculated by PPP. It appears you consider that to be a good thing.

The point is that the US is NOT LAISSEZ FAIRE CAPITALIST.

I know that. I've been saying that since my first post to this forum. Not only is it not Laissez-faire Capitalist, it is moving further away from Laissez-faire Capitalism all the time.

Your argument that democracy is "acceptable" yet "not essential" is sorely misguided, if this list is any indication.

Only if the goal to which all other goals are to be subordinated is the accumulation of wealth. I have pointed out that the accumulation of wealth is more assured under Laissez-faire Capitalism than under any other system, but I have also pointed out several times that this is just icing on the cake. The justification for Capitalism is that it is the only sytem that sets individuals free from the tyranny of The Group. It is of course also true that it makes people richer as a side-effect, but that's just an unintended bonus. Even if it didn't deliver that bonus, Laissez-faire Capitalism would still be superior to Groupism because Groupism is immoral.

Now, granted the top two lean laissez faire. But they are still LIMITED CAPITALIST DEMOCRACIES.

I can't help but note that the US is highest on the list. This means the GDP as measured by ppp is higher than that of Switzerland. How much higher? Ten per cent? Twenty per cent? How much higher still do you think the GDP as measured by ppp would be in the US today if the US had adhered to Laissez-faire Capitalist principles? To give just a few examples, what if it had left the sending of men to the moon to another country? What if it had refused to embroil itself in Korea, Viet Nam, Panama, the Gulf War, the Balkans, the War on Drugs and the tax dollars which paid for such boondoggles had been left in the hands of individuals? My guess is that the GDP as measured by ppp would then have been at minimum 33% higher than the next country on the list and maybe as much as 100% higher. Not that it matters, of course. What matters is that the rights of a whole hell of a lot less individuals would have been violated.

What this list suggests is that economic freedom is a good thing--in moderation.

Not even close. What this lists proves is that the only two countries even "leaning" towards Laissez-faire Capitalism are the two at the top of the list -- the two countries that "moderate" their economies the least. This is what analysts call a "trend". And it is this trend I have been talking about all along... the countries in the world that have the LEAST government interference are the ones that do the best. The countries which have the MOST government interference are the countries which do the worst. I suggest you list the bottom twenty countries for us, label them as you see fit, and we'll see if they fit the trend. By the way, I presume it was you who decided who was "middle of the road". "authoritarian", etc. rather than the CIA. I won't even bother to argue with your classifications, though some others may choose to.

Yes, it may be unfair to place the group above the individual.

There is no "may be" about it, and it is worse than just "unfair".

But placing the individual above the group is simply absurd.

You still don't get it. In Laissez-faire Capitalism the individual is not above The Group. No individual is "above" any other individual, or "above" any other group of individuals. In Laissez-faire Capitalism (unlike Groupism) one cannot gain (or lose) any extra rights whatsoever by joining a group.

Economic freedom is good, but that doesn't mean that laissez-faire economics is good, just as exercise is good but that doesn't mean one should exercise 20 hours a day. Sleep is also good, but one shouldn't sleep 20 hours a day either. The life of an organism, with its need for balance and moderation in all things, is a much better model of the needs of the social body than any rhetoric about the absolute importance (if not absolute freedom) of the individual.

Now you are reaching. Using biological models to prove or disprove ethical points is not appropriate and you know it. Which of us is using "rhetoric?"

It is the social equivalent of cancer.

You're not having a whole lot of luck with appropriate analogies in this thread, are you? First your "government is a gun" example, now this. A cancer is not an individual cell, EchoVortex. It is a group (an ever-expanding group) of cells.

pinky


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OfflineI_Fart_Blue
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1153192 - 12/18/02 11:06 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

In reply to:

Your assumption here is that creating a minimum wage would immediately make large numbers of jobs disappear. This assumption has no basis. There was no surge in unemployment when the minimum wage was introduced in the US.





Minimum wage laws were first introduced in 1938 at a wage of 25 cents per hour. When they were introduced unemployment rose by nearly 2.5%, over a period of approximately 1.5-2 years. Prior to that period unemployment had been declining. An increase in minimum wage reduces the quantity of labor demanded. Workers will become unemployed, and as a result some will move to sectors of labor which are not covered by unemployment wages. This, in turn, reduces the wages is such sectors of the job market. Furthermore unemployment is increased by firms which are forced out of the market due to the imposed wage rigidities. It is estimated that increasing the minimum wage will increase unemployment in the job sectors which are affected by minimum wage laws by 1-2 percent. Also, by implementing minimum wage laws or increasing the minimum wage, the cost of production increases. In turn, the cost of all products increases which increases the price level. This, to an extent, will reduce the effectiveness of minimum wage laws.

This is all proven, undisputed economic fact. Pick up an economics book and learn something before you pull bullshit out of your ass.




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"A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the mind. I do not know which makes a man more conservative-to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past." -John Maynard Keynes


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1153197 - 12/18/02 11:13 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

In reply to:

2) The first minimum wages introduced in the US were not that much higher than the average going rate for workers at the time.




When introduced, the 25 cent minimum wage was roughly 40% of the average manufacturing wage.


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"A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the mind. I do not know which makes a man more conservative-to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past." -John Maynard Keynes


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1154643 - 12/19/02 10:46 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

"They can't eat a psychedelic mushroom in any of the countries on your list, for example. Prostitution and gambling are also illegal in most (if not all) of those countries."

You can eat shrooms in the Netherlands and, until very recently, they were legal in Japan as well. A lot of European countries have laws on the books against selling but more or less turn a blind eye on home cultivation for personal use. The most draconian drug laws in the free world by far are in the United States--one of the most ECONOMICALLY laissez faire countries on the list! The relationship between economic and social freedom is not that clear-cut.

Under the Bush administration, the economy has become MORE laissez faire, not less. At the same time that the administration has been cutting taxes and limiting the power of economic and environmental regulatory agencies, it has also increased surveillance, increased focus and funding on the drug war, and dismantled fundamental civil liberties involving detention and right to a fair trial.

"This is why I say I prefer dealing with corporations to dealing with governments. If I don't want to deal with a corporation, I don't have to. I go my way and they go theirs."

If you wanted to place a long distance call in the US before AT&T was broken up, you HAD to use AT&T. The only other choice was not to make long distance calls at all. If a corporation is dumping effluent upstream from me, I HAVE to deal with them, and I have absolutely no leverage to do so without government to help me.

"I voluntarily reduce some of my quality of life because of my voluntary choices (for example, my refusal to buy inexpensive Chinese goods means I must spend more money on tools and hardware and clothing thus leaving less money for books and medicine) but it is MY choice. I have no such choice when it comes to government. Nor do you."

Of course I do. I can leave. So can you, which is what you chose to do. Canada didn't stop you from leaving. Not only did they not stop you, they allow to come and go as you wish. If enough people feel that their rights are being violated, they can leave. Sure, it's inconvenient, but people emigrate all the time. If enough talented and productive people leave a country, that country will suffer for it. This is the free market at work. A country that doesn't allow its citizens to leave is nothing less than a prison and worthy of the strongest rebuke, but that's not the case with limited capitalist democracies.

"But that is what you have been arguing as well (via your "corrupt officials" line of thought), and I presume that is why you included your quote from Jefferson regarding the advisability of overthrowing the existing government (ANY existing government) once per generation."

My point was only that ANY government CAN be corrupted--not that EVERY government INEVITABLY must become a murderous tyranny. Also, you have misread the Jefferson quote: he doesn't say "overthrow" anywhere--he merely says the constitution should be REVISED once every generation. His point was that no set of laws can be eternal, NOT that government should forcefully be overthrown every generation. This is a common misunderstanding and it surprises me that you made it, especially since I provided the quotation.

"Why are you providing us with a list of the 20 wealthiest nations? Are you saying we are to tailor our ethical systems (the way individuals deal with each other) in such a way as to ensure maximum riches? Are you telling us that the number of dollars in a nation is more important than the rights of the individuals who inhabit that nation?"

Not at all, simply countering your claim that PURE laissez faire economics leads to the greatest economic gain. I could also have listed them in terms of life expectancy, in which case the socialist democracies would dominate the list even MORE thoroughly and the US would fall off. I can't very well list them in terms of inherent "morality" because such judgments are inevitably subjective.

"The justification for Capitalism is that it is the only sytem that sets individuals free from the tyranny of The Group. It is of course also true that it makes people richer as a side-effect, but that's just an unintended bonus. Even if it didn't deliver that bonus, Laissez-faire Capitalism would still be superior to Groupism because Groupism is immoral."

I don't accept that Groupism is immoral so long as one is free to leave the group. This is not "love it or leave it." Once a person attains majority they should have some understanding of how their society operates. They can then make a choice as to whether to stay or leave. If they stay, they implicitly sign a social contract, just as if you enter a restaurant, order a meal, and eat it you are implicitly signing a contract to pay for the meal when you are finished. Yes, emigrating is difficult and inconvenient, but it is not IMPOSSIBLE and therefore the individual still has the freedom to free himself from the clutches of group with whom he doesn't agree.

"How much higher still do you think the GDP as measured by ppp would be in the US today if the US had adhered to Laissez-faire Capitalist principles? To give just a few examples, what if it had left the sending of men to the moon to another country? What if it had refused to embroil itself in Korea, Viet Nam, Panama, the Gulf War, the Balkans, the War on Drugs and the tax dollars which paid for such boondoggles had been left in the hands of individuals? My guess is that the GDP as measured by ppp would then have been at minimum 33% higher than the next country on the list and maybe as much as 100% higher. "

Making predictions about the future as well as speculating on counterfactual history is impossible and a waste of time. Others might argue that the (thoroughly immoral, it's true) wars of the past fifty years actually STIMULATED the economy.
We'll never know I certainly consider those wars immoral. We agree there.

"I suggest you list the bottom twenty countries for us, label them as you see fit, and we'll see if they fit the trend. By the way, I presume it was you who decided who was "middle of the road". "authoritarian", etc. rather than the CIA. I won't even bother to argue with your classifications, though some others may choose to."

Ok. Here goes, listing FROM THE BOTTOM UP

1. Sierra Leone (Consitiutional democracy, free market, tremendous income inequality)
2. Somalia (In the midst of civil war)
3. Dem. Republic. of the Congo (Intermittent civil war)
4. Ethiopia (At war with Eritria, dependent on agriculture, often hobbled by drought)
5. Eritrea (Same as Ethiopia)
6. Tanzania (Democratic republic--subsistence agriculture)
7. Burundi (Republic--ethnic strife and civil war)
8. Madagascar (Republic)
9. Afghanistan (Formerly Taliban--religious state)
10. Yemen (Islamic republic)
11. Mali (Republic)
12 Guinea-Bissau (Republic--intermittent civil war)
13. Zambia (Republic)
14. Rwanda (Republic, ethnic genocide)
15. Malawi (Multiparty democracy, dependent on agriculture)
16. Nigeria (Formerly military government)
17. Chad (Republic--dependent on agriculture)
18 Gaza Strip (Israeli-controlled police state)
19. Niger (Republic--dependent on agriculture)
20. Angola (Republic--quarter century of near continuous warfare)

So what does this list tell us? Not very much at all. Africa is screwed, but we already knew that. The only moral here is not to depend too much on agriculture as the linchpin of your economy, and most of all avoid war, civil war, and ethnic violence. It should be made clear that civil war indicates a weak government, not a strong one. These countries lack educational facilities, infrastructure, and all of the other things necessary to build both civil society and a strong economy.

"Economic freedom is good, but that doesn't mean that laissez-faire economics is good, just as exercise is good but that doesn't mean one should exercise 20 hours a day. Sleep is also good, but one shouldn't sleep 20 hours a day either. The life of an organism, with its need for balance and moderation in all things, is a much better model of the needs of the social body than any rhetoric about the absolute importance (if not absolute freedom) of the individual.

Now you are reaching. Using biological models to prove or disprove ethical points is not appropriate and you know it. Which of us is using "rhetoric?" "

Okay, forget about the biological model if you want. You still haven't addressed the argument that a BALANCE of moderating factors is what holds a society together and always it to continue in peace, stability, and prosperity. The electorate checks the power of government through elections and term limits. Different government bodies check the power of one another. Government checks the power of extremely powerful, unaccountable individuals, groups, and corporations. That's the principle at least. Does it always work perfectly? Obviously not. But as far as principles go, it is a sturdier set of principles than one which allows individuals to do anything and everything short of initiating force on their neighbors. Ok, so we allow racists in the south to resegregate. We allow everyone to buy full automatic rifles without background checks. We allow private schools to teach Creationism and doctrines of racial purity. Encourage everyone to "let it all hang out." You don't live in the US so I don't expect you to understand just how deep the fissures are in this society, just how much hatred is simmering underneath the surface, but your brand of libertariansim will atomize and fragment this society even further, will fan the hatreds, will provide countless incitements to racial strife and social disruption. I'm talking about REALITY pinky. Do I LIKE government? Of course not. In an ideal society we would free of the need of any government whatsoever, INCLUDING courts and cops and military. But that's not the world in which we live.

"A cancer is not an individual cell, EchoVortex. It is a group (an ever-expanding group) of cells."

A cancer is group of cells that refuses to follow the logic of the body and then takes on a logic of its own, proliferating endlessly at the expense of healthy cells.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1154907 - 12/19/02 12:10 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

They can't eat a psychedelic mushroom in any of the countries on your list, for example.

Actually they can. Fresh psilocybin mushrooms are legal.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1155640 - 12/19/02 05:15 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

The most draconian drug laws in the free world by far are in the United States--one of the most ECONOMICALLY laissez faire countries on the list!

I thought the most draconian drug laws were in Malaysia -- execution is pretty draconian. I repeat yet again, the justification for Laissez-faire Capitalism has nothing to do with economics, but with the fact that it recognizes fully the rights of the individual.

The relationship between economic and social freedom is not that clear-cut.

What good does it do you to be allowed to burn a flag or own child pornography or smoke a joint in a cafe --none of which are necessary to sustain life -- when you are subject to having your property taken from you --property being necessary to sustain life?

Under the Bush administration, the economy has become MORE laissez faire, not less. At the same time that the administration has been cutting taxes and limiting the power of economic and environmental regulatory agencies, it has also increased surveillance, increased focus and funding on the drug war, and dismantled fundamental civil liberties involving detention and right to a fair trial.

So Bush is not a Laissez-faire Capitalist? Tell me something I don't already know.

If you wanted to place a long distance call in the US before AT&T was broken up, you HAD to use AT&T.

That is exactly my point. AT&T was a coercive monopoly. It achieved its position through government restrictions on entrants to the field.

If a corporation is dumping effluent upstream from me, I HAVE to deal with them, and I have absolutely no leverage to do so without government to help me.

A corporation doing such a thing is breaking the law. The job of government is to enforce the law. Dumping effluent into rivers would be every bit as illegal in a Laissez-faire Capitalist society as it is in a limited capitalist democracy.

If enough people feel that their rights are being violated, they can leave.

Regardless of your protests, this is nothing more than the "love it or leave it" argument. A farmer should not have to leave a farm that's been in his family for generations in order to avoid having his rights violated. He is in the right, the government is in the wrong.

My point was only that ANY government CAN be corrupted--not that EVERY government INEVITABLY must become a murderous tyranny.

Unless (according to you) that government is based on the principle that an individual must not have his rights violated.

Also, you have misread the Jefferson quote: he doesn't say "overthrow" anywhere--he merely says the constitution should be REVISED once every generation.

And how is this to be accomplished if those in power don't wish to relinquish their power and allow the constitution to be revised? Especially if the citizenry has been disarmed?

Not at all, simply countering your claim that PURE laissez faire economics leads to the greatest economic gain.

Not a very effective counter, since the only two countries you list as even leaning towards Laissez-faire are the two that top the list.

If they stay, they implicitly sign a social contract, just as if you enter a restaurant, order a meal, and eat it you are implicitly signing a contract to pay for the meal when you are finished.

Sophistry. Eating a single meal in a single restaurant is hardly the same thing.

1) You CHOOSE to enter a restaurant. You don't choose to be born into a Groupist country.

2) You CHOOSE to eat at a restaurant rather than cook your own meal at home. You can't choose to school your own children at home in a Groupist country.

3) You know going into the restaurant how much of your money the meal will cost. You never know from year to year how much government "meals" will cost you in taxes in a Groupist country.

4) You can order a single cup of coffee in a restaurant. You must accept (and pay for) the entire full course meal in a Groupist country, even if you never eat a bite of it.

5) In a restaurant, you pay for your own meal, and you pay the same price no matter how much money you have in your wallet. In a Groupist country, you have to chip in for everyone else's "meals" too, and the more you have in your wallet, the more you have to chip in.

6) In a restaurant, you can send a shitty meal back and not be charged. Try that in a Groupist country.

7) I could go on, but that's enough for now.

Yes, emigrating is difficult and inconvenient, but it is not IMPOSSIBLE and therefore the individual still has the freedom to free himself from the clutches of group with whom he doesn't agree.

The group has no right to ensnare him in their clutches in the first place. That's just like bringing your car in for an oil change only to find the garage has done, without your authorization, an unnecessary engine rebuild (and an incompetent one at that), presented you with an inflated bill, and then told you that if you don't want to pay the bill you are free to leave your car with them.

Others might argue that the (thoroughly immoral, it's true) wars of the past fifty years actually STIMULATED the economy.

Only those with no grasp of reality. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that money spent on things that explode buys no more than money that is used to make a bonfire. Not to mention the deaths of people with forty years or more of productive labor ahead of them.

So what does this list tell us? Not very much at all.

It might tell us more if you were to apply the same objectivism and lack of editorializing to their descriptions that you did to the top 20. What happened to "(limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)" and "(limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)" ?

You still haven't addressed the argument that a BALANCE of moderating factors is what holds a society together and always it to continue in peace, stability, and prosperity.

Because no one has argued convincingly that this is the case. There are many ways of holding a society together that don't require individual rights to be violated. You claim that the only way to keep disaster from overtaking the human race is for the biggest group (the majority) to take away the rights of others. I say that the only way to keep disaster from overtaking the human race is to renounce the initiation of force and fraud in human interaction. Your "balance", stripped of all the feel-good phraseology, is that SOME people get to tell OTHER people what they must do. The only justification you offer for this usurping of power is that there are MORE of them.

Ok, so we allow racists in the south to resegregate. We allow everyone to buy full automatic rifles without background checks. We allow private schools to teach Creationism and doctrines of racial purity. Encourage everyone to "let it all hang out."

How are any (or even all) of those things worse than what limited capitalist democracies do each and every day? The War on Drugs, expropriation of property, inflation of money supply, tax rates at 90%, tariffs, subsidies, monopolies, people jailed for victimless crimes, tax dollars wasted in foreign countries or in sending men to the moon, young men conscripted into the military, trusting people defrauded in the Social Security Ponzi scam.... You get the idea.

... your brand of libertariansim will atomize and fragment this society even further, will fan the hatreds, will provide countless incitements to racial strife and social disruption.

You don't think if welfare programs were halted the rednecks just might feel a little less animosity to those they perceive as "freeloading scum"?

Do I LIKE government? Of course not.

You appear to like it more than I do. For example, you feel it is correct to use government power not only to protect you from those who would harm you, but also from those who would merely OFFEND you. You believe it is correct to use government power to seize money from people not because they have done something wrong, but because other people have less money than they do. You believe it is correct for government to sentence to death (through AIDS in prison) those who perpetrate victimless "crimes". Your only justification for these beliefs is that "most people want it that way".

Corporations do none of those things, therefore I stand by my statement that I prefer corporations to governments.

pinky


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1157595 - 12/20/02 10:26 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Echovortex writes:

Well I was ready to let this thread die since we were beginning to rehash the same old stuff as always...

Astute observation. Time to redirect this monster! You joined the thread with a post critical of "sweatshops". Let's restrict the discussion to them from here on in. I realize the occasional tangent may pop up, but let's make every effort to try to return to that central issue with as little diversion as possible.

First, let's hammer out a definition of "sweatshops". If I understand you correctly, a sweatshop is to be defined as a business (usually a factory) in which employees work hours longer than is considered the norm in the West for wages substantially below those considered the norm in the West. Such a business may be owned by a foreign corporation, a domestic corporation, or even by the government. It is not necessary that a business cheat its employees or violate labor regulations in order for it to meet your definition of a sweatshop. Am I misrepresenting your definition?

You claim that sweatshops exploit their employees and therefore should not exist.

I claim that those sweatshops which do not cheat their employees (through arbitrary fines, shortchanging of hours worked, missing agreed upon payroll dates, etc.) and meet all the labor regulations in place in the country in which they are located, provide benefits to shareholders, customers, and employees while violating no one's rights in the process. In my view, there are situations where sweatshops (with all their imperfections) are preferable to nothing at all, because:

1) Sweatshop shareholders benefit because their investment in the sweatshop is repaid with profit on top.

2) Sweatshop customers benefit because they receive less expensive goods.

3) Sweatshop employees benefit because their standard of living is higher as a sweatshop employee than it is with any other method of making a living currently available to them.

Let's examine 3) in more detail, since your main concern lies not with the effects of a sweatshop on its shareholders or customers, but on its employees. Here are some relevant facts:

3a) A jobseeker accepts employment in a sweatshop voluntarily, usually because he is unable to find a more attractive alternative. Note that it is not the fault of the sweatshop owner that his offer is the most attractive -- other employers (either state or private) have chosen for their own reasons not to make such alternatives available.

3b) Once hired, the sweatshop employee is free to resign his position at the sweatshop at any time for any reason. Usually he will do so when he discovers another way of making a living more attractive to him -- i.e. a non-sweatshop is now hiring, or he has accumulated enough capital to start his own business, or he inherits some money, or the government pays him welfare/unemployment benefits, or he marries into wealth -- whatever.

3c) If the sweatshop had never opened its doors, the jobseeker would be in worse shape than he is now. He would either be making his living through some other activity even less attractive to him than working in the sweatshop or he would not be making a living at all.

Everybody wins, the employee wins most of all. Potential shareholders have gained the ability to choose to invest in one more out of hundreds of thousands of possible other investment opportunities -- Ho hum. Potential customers have gained the ability to buy a Teddy Bear for $23 rather than $25 -- Yawn. But the employee has gained the ability to support himself and his family while he seeks out more attractive ways of making a living.

pinky



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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1160160 - 12/21/02 12:46 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

"I thought the most draconian drug laws were in Malaysia"
I wouldn't classify Malaysia as belonging to the "free world."

"A farmer should not have to leave a farm that's been in his family for generations in order to avoid having his rights violated. He is in the right, the government is in the wrong."

Oh, so now your heart BLEEDS for family farmers. A few posts ago you were trashing government subsidies, without which most family farms (what little remains of them, anyway) would have long ago succumbed to Big Agribusiness.

"Also, you have misread the Jefferson quote: he doesn't say "overthrow" anywhere--he merely says the constitution should be REVISED once every generation.

And how is this to be accomplished if those in power don't wish to relinquish their power and allow the constitution to be revised? Especially if the citizenry has been disarmed?"

Jefferson was an articulate man. If he had meant armed revolt, he would have said so.

"1) You CHOOSE to enter a restaurant. You don't choose to be born into a Groupist country."
Yes, but you can CHOOSE to leave.

"2) You CHOOSE to eat at a restaurant rather than cook your own meal at home. You can't choose to school your own children at home in a Groupist country."
Of course you can. I have a number of friends who are home-schooled. You can also pull your kids out of government schools and send them to private day schools, to boarding schools, to Catholic schools, to religious schools, and to various kinds of experimental schools. That's the situation in the US and most of Europe, at least. I don't know about Canada.

"3) You know going into the restaurant how much of your money the meal will cost. You never know from year to year how much government "meals" will cost you in taxes in a Groupist country."
Yes, but I also have the right to participate in deciding who is going to be running the country and setting the cost for those meals.

"4) You can order a single cup of coffee in a restaurant. You must accept (and pay for) the entire full course meal in a Groupist country, even if you never eat a bite of it."
Of course you eat a bite of it. The second you step on public property you eat a bite of it. The second you breathe clean air that was made clean by government regulations limiting pollution you take a bite of it. The second a policeman arrests a criminal who had your house targeted next on his list you take a bite of it. If you drive on a road built by the government or ride public transportation built by the government you take a bite of it. So what if you don't eat the full course? Nobody possibly could. Some people get welfare for the poor, some people get corporate welfare. Some people get free education for their children, some people get low-interest loans to start a small business. Some people use the roads, some people use public transportation.

"5) In a restaurant, you pay for your own meal, and you pay the same price no matter how much money you have in your wallet. In a Groupist country, you have to chip in for everyone else's "meals" too, and the more you have in your wallet, the more you have to chip in."
Once again, you have the right to work to select leaders who can change that if you consider it unfair or unjust. Also, the wealthy have plenty of ways to hide their wealth from the taxman. In reality, they don't pay a greater percentage than everybody else if they're even the least bit intelligent about it. If they're smart they can find ways to pay even less. Many corporations in America in effect pay NO TAXES.

"6) In a restaurant, you can send a shitty meal back and not be charged. Try that in a Groupist country."

That depends on the restaurant. Once again, if the meals are shitty in a Groupist country, YOU CAN CHANGE THE MANAGEMENT.

"Do I LIKE government? Of course not.

You appear to like it more than I do. For example, you feel it is correct to use government power not only to protect you from those who would harm you, but also from those who would merely OFFEND you. You believe it is correct to use government power to seize money from people not because they have done something wrong, but because other people have less money than they do. You believe it is correct for government to sentence to death (through AIDS in prison) those who perpetrate victimless "crimes". Your only justification for these beliefs is that "most people want it that way".

OK, the AIDS in prison bit is pure rhetorical hyperbole. Furthermore, I don't at all support laws that imprison those who commit victimless "crimes." Unfortunately the society in which I live does. I can work to convince them otherwise, but if they remain tenacious in the mistaken beliefs there is nothing I can do about it except leave. That would be sad, yes, but not the end of the world.

I believe society, through the arm of the government, has to right to designate a certain portion of an individual's income as society's share. Here is a quotation from a recent biography on Benjamin Franklin by Edmund S. Morgan:

"In Franklin's view property was not a natural right. n a paper written a few months before his death, he argued that property is a 'Creature of Society and is subject to the Calls of that Society whenever its Necessities shall require it, even to its last Farthing.'

"Was this a new view for him? Far from it. As early as 1750 we have seen him stating his conviction 'that what we have above what we can use, is not propery ours, tho' we possess it." In 1776, presiding over the convention that drafted the Pennsylvanaia constitution, he gave his approval to a Declaration of Rights that did include a natural right to acquire, possess, and protect property; but he also approved a provision that the convention later dropped: 'That an enormous Proportion of Propert vested in a few Individuals is dangerous to the Rights, and destructive of the Common Happiness, of Mankind; and therefore every free State hath a Right by its Laws to discourage the Posession of such Property.'

"In 1785 he wrote Benjamin Vaughan in the same vein that 'Superfluous Property is the Creature of Society.' Before society came into existence, he explained, a savage could protect his own bow, hatchet, and coat of skins by himself. But when societies were formed they passed laws, and when 'by virtue of the first Laws Part of the Society accumulated Wealth and grew Powerful, they enaced others more severe, and would protect their Property at the Expence of Humanity. This was abusing their Powers, and commencing a Tyranny.' It would not have been an abuse of power, Franklin thought, if the Continental Congress had taken American property in taxes precisely because, he told the superintendent of finance in 1783, property is 'the Creature of publick Convention.' The public in this case was American, and Congress as its representative had the power to dispose of what it created 'and even of limiting the Quantity and Uses of it.'"

Sounds pretty extreme--even I wouldn't go as far as to say down to the last Farthing. But the important point that Franklin makes here is that excess or superfluous wealth can only accrue within society. A person can only amass wealth if people are willing to trade with him, if they all accept a commonly recognized form of currency or barter, and if they have a commonly accepted understanding of exactly what consititutes "property," what constitutes "fraud," what constitutes "negligence," etc. Sure, a person could choose to trade only with a small group of people outside of mainstream society who abide by a different set of understandings of those things, but the smaller the market, the smaller the capacity for great amounts of wealth. But back to the key point: property is not a metaphysical absolute, as you seem to believe. It is a social construct. Wealth is only possible if many other people are willing to play the game of wealth creation with you. Because one depends on other people to play the game simply in order to be able to play the game at all, one also has to accept that the Group as a whole, not any single individual, has the final say on what the RULES of the game are. You are always free to try to convince the group to change the rules. If that doesn't succeed, you are always to join another group that plays the game by a different set of rules. If you can't find a group that plays by the rules you like, you are always free to gather with other like minded people to buy an island or something and create your own state with your own rules.






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OfflineI_Fart_Blue
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1161005 - 12/21/02 09:02 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

In reply to:

Oh, so now your heart BLEEDS for family farmers. A few posts ago you were trashing government subsidies, without which most family farms (what little remains of them, anyway) would have long ago succumbed to Big Agribusiness




Wow, wrong again. Imagine my surprise.

Roughly the top ten percent of all producing farms receive sixty-one percent of all government farm subsidy payments. These farms use the payments to increase their output and often buy out smaller surrounding farms.

Riceland Farms of Stuttgart, AR in the years 2000 and 2001 received a combined total of $220,821,862.98 in government farm subsidies. They were the highest paid farm during that period. Even more shocking, the money that Riceland Farms received was nearly three times that of the second highest paid farm during that period which was Producers Rice Mill Inc. also of Stuttgart, AR, which received $77,184,521.18. Fortune 500 companies also benefit from subsidy payments. International Paper received a payment from 1996-2000 of over $375,000.

The average yearly payment to the bottom eighty percent of national farm subsidy recipients? A whopping $5,830.

Furthermore, farm subsidies allow for the dumping of US crops on other foreign nations. To protect their own farmers, many of the rich countries, primarily European and Asian nations, raise tariffs on American foodstuffs. This directly hurts the poorer nations which cannot compete in the international market due to the tariffs. Furthermore because poorer nations cannot afford to raise tariffs on their own, American foodstuffs are sold again at a decreased price, driving the large and small farmers out of business in those countries.

Though I imagine you will choose to ignore this post just as you did my last, I decided to post again. I am not really sure where you get your info from...maybe you make it up?


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"A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the mind. I do not know which makes a man more conservative-to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past." -John Maynard Keynes


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