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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
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Registered: 10/19/00
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reply to Mal_Fenderson's tangent
    #2363024 - 02/21/04 11:06 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

In the thread started by mushmaster titled "question for the socialists..." Mal_Fenderson writes:

The answer to "how can you force a person to support another person?" swings on the idea that the person being "forced" to support some other person didn't gain everything that he has without some outside influence or inequality.

It does? Why do you say that?

Before I proceed, I'll note that you use "scare quotes" around the word "forced". Whether you admit it or not, having your possessions seized against your will means you are forced to part with them -- no quotes.

To address the content of your above statement -- even if the person having his goods seized had the good fortune to be born more intelligent or more hardworking or into an environment more conducive to the creation of wealth than another, how does that make it right to seize his stuff?

And where does the seizure stop? When each and every human on the planet has precisely the same amount of stuff? And how can this equality of possessions be maintained indefinitely? We have all read of people winning millions in a lottery and losing it all in a very short time. The simple fact is that some people are better at holding on to what they have earned (or been given) than others.

I think that the laissez-faire wet-dream that some people seem to advocate might be workable and just in principle if everyone started on an equal footing.

Even if everyone were to start on the same footing they would assuredly not end up on the same footing.

Everyone need not start on the same footing in order for Laissez-faire Capitalism to work. The fact of the matter is that there are very few humans strong enough to have survived infancy who lack the capacity to support themselves. Of those who lack the capacity, fewer still are of so odious a nature that they are rejected by their friends, families, private and religious charities, hence are in danger of starving to death.

Collectivists (of whom Socialists are a subset) seem to think that Capitalism is "unworkable" not because it means mass starvation and grinding poverty, but because it allows different people to live in varying degrees of comfort. If someone somewhere has it somewhat easier than someone else somewhere else, Capitalism is deemed to have "failed". This is a ludicrous position to hold.

---nearly everyone is disadvantaged relative to Paris Hilton, for example.

Exactly. And since there is no way to give every human on the planet the same advantages as Paris Hilton, the only way to achieve equality of outcome is to strip -- by force -- Paris Hilton of her advantages.

The Socialist goal is not to lift the disadvantaged so much as it is to cut down the advantaged. Placido Domingo can sing better than 999 out of a thousand people? No problem -- force him to undergo surgery to scar his vocal cords. Michael Jordan can outplay just about everyone at basketball? No problem -- break one of his legs and reset it improperly. A brilliant medical researcher is smart enough to patent a cure for AIDS? No problem -- give him a lobotomy. At least then they'd be "starting off on the same foot" as the rest of us.

Also, on the topic of employment standards or there being legally unenforcable terms in voltunary agreements between two people, consider monopolies.

Monopolies cannot arise and be maintained for more than the length of a patent without forcible government intervention which violates the rights of some individuals. Even if they could, what does that have to do with employment standards (whatever those may be)?

Consider cartels which artificially inflate the price of something should that be a "right"---something that the public should simply put up with?

Cartels don't last in a free society. One member of the cartel always breaks ranks. Even if they were to last, who says you must buy whatever it is the cartel may be selling?

guess I'd wonder if your views on physical-property extend to Intellectual Property. Would you support copyright, for example? Patents? Trademarks?

Of course. Laissez-faire Capitalism not only allows the protection of intellectual property, it requires it.

pinky


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InvisibleMal_Fenderson
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Registered: 07/31/03
Posts: 132
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Re: reply to Mal_Fenderson's tangent [Re: Phred]
    #2366196 - 02/22/04 01:28 AM (13 years, 5 months ago)

"how does that make it right to seize his stuff?" [my emphasis].

As soon as you label it as "his stuff" instead of "the stuff which he has" you seem to have implicitely decided that indidivuals have some sort of necessary right to own property and not a contingent right to merely possess things by license from the majority. If you view property "rights" as granted things, then it seems to become a different question---if we (I understand that this "we" is a problem to define in any rigorous way) decide that someone has no right to a specific piece of property, why are we not justified in taking it away and doing with it as we see fit?

Cartels don't last in a free society? I see no reason that they shouldn't, especially if there were no such notion as public property. In the "ideal case", would all property be somehow owned by some individual/group of indivuals? You seem to be saying that Cartels simply won't be a problem, not because they're not possible inside of the system but because there's this "come on now, that's just unrealistic!" idea about how they would inevitably function. And who says I must buy whatever they are selling? Let's pretend that it's a necessity of some sort.

If the only reason which cartels are unworkable in a Laissez-faire setting is the idea that "one member of the cartel always breaks ranks", I'm not sure how such a system could be thought workable or beneficial. Simply because it seems like that has happened in the past or is likely to happen in the future does not mean it is necessary that it wouldn't.


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"Better Dead than Red."


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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
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Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
Loc: Dominican Republic
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Re: reply to Mal_Fenderson's tangent [Re: Mal_Fenderson]
    #2366916 - 02/22/04 05:29 AM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Mal_Fenderson writes:

As soon as you label it as "his stuff" instead of "the stuff which he has" you seem to have implicitely decided that indidivuals have some sort of necessary right to own property and not a contingent right to merely possess things by license from the majority.

Humans cannot exist without personal property. This can easily be demonstrated by dumping a naked human in the Siberian tundra, then taking from him everything he picks up as soon as he picks it up. How long do you think he will remain alive under such circumstances? If a human has no right to keep the things he has attained through his own peaceful efforts, he has no right to his own life. If your position is that a human has no right to his own life there is no point in continuing this discussion, because I believe otherwise and no amount of discussion will alter that.

Cartels don't last in a free society? I see no reason that they shouldn't, especially if there were no such notion as public property.

Cartels don't last because there is always at least one member of the cartel who "breaks ranks". See OPEC as just one example. Even if none of the members of an existing cartel were to break ranks, in a free society there will be others who see the opportunity to provide the same goods and/or services the cartel provides. Such newcomers by definition are not cartel members.

And who says I must buy whatever they are selling? Let's pretend that it's a necessity of some sort.

Of some sort? Such as? Give me a specific example.

f the only reason which cartels are unworkable in a Laissez-faire setting is the idea that "one member of the cartel always breaks ranks"...

Not the only reason. See "newcomers" above.

pinky


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