Free markets and libertarian politics

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Unread postby football11f » Fri May 12, 2006 10:50 pm

SYL wrote:As a sidenote, I'm hearing a lot of this "life, liberty and property". Now, the versions I'm familiar with are "life, liberty and happiness", and "liberty, equality and solidarity". Where is "property" coming from? :wink:


John Locke.

UN Human Rights Declaration wrote:Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.


:shock:

I don't know about you, but I'd rather take the thousands I will pay on the Social Security Tax in my lifetime and, I don't know, get a decent return out of it. That will be "indispensable for my dignity and the free development of my personality."

[quote=="UN Human Rights Declaration"](1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.[/quote]

Well, I guess the signers felt that every child deserves the same crappy care from the government instead of allowing private charity to provide much higher quality care to those who need it.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.


The UN is right. Western nations need to encourage developing nations to adopt free market reforms, trade with us, allow companies to develop their economies and make their government less corrupt by cutting back on social services. Go UN!

...oh, I guess that's not what they meant...

Sun Hua wrote:However, as far as I can tell there are lots of examples where inalienable rights are constantly infringed both directly or indirectly


It happens every day, doesn't it.

Sun Hua wrote:Guantanamo Bay


Amen.

Sun Hua wrote:third world poverty


Yes, the fact that regimes around the world and the IMF deny average citizens the fundamental human right to property and free exchange of capital is disgusting.

Sun Hua wrote:appeasement of tyrannical or repressive regimes


Indeed, this is why government foreign aid needs to be stopped immediately.

Sun Hua wrote:If the member countries of the United Nations really took every article of this Declaration seriously, and if the citizens of each country held their governments to account on the basis of this declaration, maybe the world would be a better place.


Indeed. 90% of those rights can be accomplished by allowing market to run the world economy. In accordance with the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the governments of the world should stop imposing poverty on their people.
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Unread postby Jimayo » Sat May 13, 2006 1:20 pm

football11f wrote:Indeed. 90% of those rights can be accomplished by allowing market to run the world economy. In accordance with the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the governments of the world should stop imposing poverty on their people.


Wow, you really like your blinders. Cause corporations have always been champions for human rights. :roll:
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Unread postby football11f » Sat May 13, 2006 1:51 pm

Wow, you really like your blinders. Cause corporations have always been champions for human rights.


Well unlike the government, corporations don't point a gun at my head and force me to work for them or buy their product. Corporations have done far more good to society that public works and welfare programs have. After all, corporations provide jobs and products that the general public actually wants and needs. Given that African countries are notorious for their rediculous red tape, corruption and regulation, is it any surprise that poverty dominates there?
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Unread postby Jimayo » Sat May 13, 2006 2:42 pm

football11f wrote:Well unlike the government, corporations don't point a gun at my head and force me to work for them or buy their product. Corporations have done far more good to society that public works and welfare programs have. After all, corporations provide jobs and products that the general public actually wants and needs. Given that African countries are notorious for their rediculous red tape, corruption and regulation, is it any surprise that poverty dominates there?


Keep those blinders on tight.

Cause obviously corporations voluntarily abolished child labor(or does that still go on?), and they voluntarily improved working conditions in factories(but then why were unions formed in the first place?), and hey minimu wages are enofrced everywhere a corporation operates, not just in countries that have laws for that kind of thing, right?
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Unread postby football11f » Sat May 13, 2006 3:24 pm

Cause obviously corporations voluntarily abolished child labor(or does that still go on?)


Uh oh, I'm in trouble. When I was 12, I worked 12 hours a week during the school year on a regular salary of... $3 an hour. I think I broke two laws there. How immoral I am trying to support myself!

The fact is that no laws can abolish "evil" child labor. As society advances, however, there will be less reason for children to skip school and work. After all, kids typically work in order to get food on the table. To deny them that right is to condemn them to starve. When families make more money, however, there is no reason for children to work in the coal mines for dirt-cheap wages. Instead, children go to school and learn so that they can make a good living in their future.

I personally worked those hours at that young age in order to begin saving money for college (How dare I do such a thing!). Thankfully, my family has enough money to where I don't need to skip out on school to support them. That's a result of the prosperity that comes with capitalism.

and they voluntarily improved working conditions in factories(but then why were unions formed in the first place?)


Actually they did. Wages and working conditions were bad before since so many individuals wanted to work those jobs for that salary. The corporations didn't force workers to work in their factories. The workers chose to do so in order to aquire something of value- money to put food on the table.

However, as more and more companies entered those markets, the demand for such labor increased. Therefore wages naturally began to rise and/or working conditions improved. With demand increasing, workers were able to successfully organize into unions (A key component of capitalism) and, through collective bargaining, further improving their conditions. While companies may have despised the unions, they could not fire union members since their one bottomless pool of cheap, willing labor was exhausted. This was a perfect example as to how the free market benefits everyone.

and hey minimu wages are enofrced everywhere a corporation operates


Yes, thank you minimum wage for making it illegal for me to work for $3 an hour even though I am perfectly willing to do so.

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Unread postby lessthanpleased » Sun May 14, 2006 8:12 am

football11f wrote:Corporations have done far more good to society that public works and welfare programs have.


I was perfectly willing to be passive and enjoy reading this thread benignly-yet-disinterestedly until I read the above.

The above quotation is clearly and distinctly untrue at best and ignorant at worst, plain and simple.

If nothing else, the fact that public works- aquedeucts, sewers, libraries, classical education, religion (back when there was no separation of church and state)- directly caused the birth of ancient and modern knowledge as we know it, sustained the technological and intellectual advances made, and made it possible for humanity to survive disease, the Middle Ages, and spur further scientific and intellectual advances: among which, it must be noted, is listed the very concept of the corporation.

To suggest that corporations have done more for humanity than the public-at-the-time institutions of the Catholic Church (which ensured that ancient knowledge survived the Middle Ages), aqueducts and sewage which allowed humanity to effectively urbanize, and libraries that ensured adult literacy retention and learning amongst the populace is on its face laughable. The theatre of Athens can credibly be said to have done as much for Western societies as the Corporation, as can the Parthenon, and the Roman forums. I would say that the evidence of the lasting power of democracy and its viability as a form of government are more important than an ultimately unnecessary symbol of the fact that business itself is a business: there are numerous examples of wealthy merchants throughout recorded history, yet there was a good chunk of time when democracy seemed to be an all-but-forgotten historical footnote.

Now, I'm not crazy and going to suggest that corporations haven't done good things, but God almighty as my witness, to suggest that corporations are more important to society than the very things upon which modern society is based is delusional.

This disagreement does not stem from differing world views in this instance, as often happens with us. I really can't imagine anyone stating the above without either knowingly telling an untruth are being exceptionally misinformed.

-neal

PS: As a further note, your snarky point about resenting the minimum wage because now you are required to make more money than you would have without it is far from convincing. I would think that if I can see that resenting having more money because of the minimum wage than you would have without it is a poor business decision if not outright anti-capitalistic, then there's a larger problem that needs to be addressed.
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Unread postby football11f » Sun May 14, 2006 4:20 pm

Neal wrote:The above quotation is clearly and distinctly untrue at best and ignorant at worst, plain and simple.


:?

Neal wrote:If nothing else, the fact that public works- aquedeucts, sewers, libraries, classical education, religion (back when there was no separation of church and state)- directly caused the birth of ancient and modern knowledge as we know it, sustained the technological and intellectual advances made, and made it possible for humanity to survive disease, the Middle Ages, and spur further scientific and intellectual advances: among which, it must be noted, is listed the very concept of the corporation.


Interesting. So what you're saying is that Plato, Archimedes and other ancient thinkers came up with their ideas because the Athenian and Roman governments built libraries? Are you saying that without government built temples there would have been no religion? Are you saying that had the Roman government not subsidized companies to build aquedeucts that we would still be living in huts? Give me a break Neal.

The greatest institutions of learning in the ancient world were not built by states. The Academy of Athens was founded by Plato himself and became the center of pagan thought until the reign of Justinian in the 6th century. The Great Library of Alexandria, which at one point held over 500,000 Ancient texts, was built by the father of Ptolomey II as a private pursuit.

The centers of knowledge in Western Europe were destroyed as the Western Roman Empire fell apart. Literacy in Western Europe plummeted as feudalism, with independent command economies dotting the region, made families much more concerned about putting food on the table than reading the Illiad. Human knowledge survived in the Muslim world where lax government allowed private enterprise to flourish. The standard of living in those regions were much higher than they were in Western Europe, allowing families to send their children to school and research mathematics and science. Western Europeans got a taste of this during the crusades, but did not recover intellectually until the renaissance which was fueled by prosperous trading cities in Italy and the Netherlands.

Now let's consider the aquedeucts and sewers. The most famous sewer built was the Cloaca Maxima in the city of Rome. This sewer drained the marshes around the city which undoubtedly improved overall hygene. However, the sewer itself was built by forced labor to keep the costs low, as were almost every public works project in the ancient world. Are you willing to argue that the human cost of constructing such structures were worth the results?

Even more important is to consider "the unseen." If I throw a stone through a baker's window, it appears that I have done the community a service since I've undoubtedly provided a glacier with a job- that is, fixing the window. However, upon considering what is unseen it is clear that I have hurt the community since the shopowner is unable to spend that money on a new pair of shoes. Instead of having a new pair of shoes and the window, the shopowner only has a window.

The same applies to public works projects. If 1 million gold pieces are used to build an aqueduct, that's 1 million gold pieces that can't be used to build a hospital, or a school, or public a book. The labor dedicated to the project means that that labor is not able to construct those schools, or those hospitals, or publish books. Since the private sector is undoubtedly better at allocating resources than the government, any public works project is a waste of society's resources.

lessthanpleased wrote:I would say that the evidence of the lasting power of democracy and its viability as a form of government are more important than an ultimately unnecessary symbol of the fact that business itself is a business: there are numerous examples of wealthy merchants throughout recorded history, yet there was a good chunk of time when democracy seemed to be an all-but-forgotten historical footnote.


Note how democracy tends to arise when society's prosper. Ancient Athens was one of, if not the richest Greek city state when democracy replaced the tyrants. The Englightenment only took hold in Europe as an "intellectual elite" developed out of the wealthier European capitalists. Today democracy falters in the poorest regions of the world while booming in the wealthier countries of North America, Europe and South Asia. Indeed, 50 years ago Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan were all poor dictatorships. Today they are some of the freest economies and societies in the world.

lessthanpleased wrote:Now, I'm not crazy and going to suggest that corporations haven't done good things, but God almighty as my witness, to suggest that corporations are more important to society than the very things upon which modern society is based is delusional.


Obviously governments have written our books, made advances in science and mathematics, provided citizens with the products they desire and increased our standard of living. After all, the public works of the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Cuba, North Korea, China and Venezuala greatly improved the quality of society as a whole. That's why Eastern Europe had the cleanest environment, and is why today Venezualans are so prosperous.

lessthanpleased wrote:This disagreement does not stem from differing world views in this instance, as often happens with us. I really can't imagine anyone stating the above without either knowingly telling an untruth are being exceptionally misinformed.


:shock:

lessthanpleased wrote:PS: As a further note, your snarky point about resenting the minimum wage because now you are required to make more money than you would have without it is far from convincing. I would think that if I can see that resenting having more money because of the minimum wage than you would have without it is a poor business decision if not outright anti-capitalistic, then there's a larger problem that needs to be addressed.


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It isn't that it's a darn shame that workers are entitled to be paid more. It's that because of that, many able and willing individuals are unable to get jobs. Why should it be against the law for me to work for $3 an hour if I am more than willing to and if the employer can't afford to pay me more? Give me a logical, moral reason why not?
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Unread postby Seven at One Stroke » Sun May 14, 2006 6:20 pm

football11f wrote:It isn't that it's a darn shame that workers are entitled to be paid more. It's that because of that, many able and willing individuals are unable to get jobs. Why should it be against the law for me to work for $3 an hour if I am more than willing to and if the employer can't afford to pay me more? Give me a logical, moral reason why not?

You, sir, by working for far less wages than the rest America are willing to work for to pay for your college education, are not only depressing the average wages on the open market, thereby reducing the earning powers of the average American and lowering the aggregate consumer spending, thus driving corporations out of business by cutting into their profits by shrinking the retail market, but also DESTROYING AMERICA by giving away your hard-earned money to the liberal establishment and the subversive communist/anarchist professors that fester higher education, most of whom support the acitivist judges in the courts and the fifth column in the media.

I have some advice for a God-fearing upstanding citizen like yourself: instead of working part time for subpar wages to give yourself a college education, start working full time for the same pay, but split your earnings for beer, child support, and a Grand Cherokee. Now drive that good old American mobile down to the U.S.- Mexican border to keep the illegal immigrants from crossing the border and stealing jobs from Americans by working in much harsher conditions for much less pay. You, too, can become an American hero.
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Unread postby Duncan » Sun May 14, 2006 7:00 pm

I see a distinction between football11f's world view that asserts that free markets and the exploitative corporations they generate will solve all the worlds's ills (ands always have), and anyone who has more than a cursory knowledge of the way societies work now and in the past.

The private ventures quoted as exemplars of private investment are each the products of tyrany, slavery and exploitation, usually in combination. Football11f also fails to see that democracy is a means of government, and that any fault he finds with government now, is a fault of that same democracy. The Libertarian position seems to be blind to the lessons of history. I suspect it is a cover for those who would prefer an oligarchy of the rich.

As yet football has also yet to produce ANY evidence that charity provides an adequate replacement for government subsidy of social welfare programmes, so as far I am concerned football11f is advocating a policy that is tantamount to selective mass euthanasia.

Since the private sector is undoubtedly better at allocating resources than the government, any public works project is a waste of society's resources.

Now I find this to be an ill-considered statement at best and both ignorant and stupid at worst. If you want to protect New Orleans from flooding, you do not wait for the private sector to take the lead. The private sector does not allocate resources to public works projects - what it does do is seek to make vast profits from undertaking public works projects slowly, inefficiently at the expense of the people who might benefit, in the full knowledge that once they have a contract, they can hold the government to ransom. Governments may act slowly, stupidly and allocate resources less well than they might, but at least they act altruistically, unlike the merciless greed of "free" corporations.

Why should it be against the law for me to work for $3 an hour if I am more than willing to and if the employer can't afford to pay me more? Give me a logical, moral reason why not?

If the employer cannot afford to pay its employees more than $3 an hour (when everyone else has to) they are not sufficiently competitive to last long in the marketplace. Secondly, you couldn't afford health insurance and savings, therefore you would become a burden on the state. Will that do?
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Unread postby football11f » Sun May 14, 2006 8:59 pm

Sun Hua wrote:I see a distinction between football11f's world view that asserts that free markets and the exploitative corporations they generate will solve all the worlds's ills (ands always have), and anyone who has more than a cursory knowledge of the way societies work now and in the past.


Actually, unlike socialism, the libertarian ideology is based around how real people really act.

Sun Hua wrote:The private ventures quoted as exemplars of private investment are each the products of tyrany, slavery and exploitation, usually in combination.


Yes, obviously Plato founded his academy to exploit the poor geniuses of Ancient Athens :roll: .

You'll find that public works projects tend to be the ones that involve slavery and tyranny. Do you think the marshes were drained around Rome by happy, educated workers? Do you think the Roman war machine was fed by free farmers? Do you think the barracks of Sparta were built by willing workers?

Indeed, slavery can only exist when the government fails to protect its people's rights. The wealthy landlords of the late Roman Republic didn't maintain their positions because of their ability to compete. They were able to retain their positions because the Roman government subsidized them for "the common good." That's why they were allowed to hold slaves, allowed to violate the property rights of other landowners and fix elections in their favor.

As libertarians correctly point out, every man, women and child is bestowed inalienable rights to life, liberty and property. Socialism takes away the last two, which can only breed tyranny.

Sun Hua wrote:Football11f also fails to see that democracy is a means of government, and that any fault he finds with government now, is a fault of that same democracy.


That's a correct analysis. Minarchists like myself tend to support republics whose power is checked by constitutional provisions. The United States was like this from the "Era of Good Feelings" after the War of 1812 until the 1850's. During that period the government didn't interfere with the economy, destroyed the corrosive central bank and allowed citizens to live their own lives. The flaw of course was the legitimacy of slavery- a practice that clearly violates the libertarian doctrine.

Unfortunately, starting with the tariffs that incited the American Civil War, the majority has simply voted itself the privileges of government. Bitter southerners were able to implement Jim Crow laws despite the pleas of southern corporations who required the business of black Americans. Northern manufacturers were able to elect candidates that shielded them from foreign competition with tariffs, despite the fact that tariffs killed the economies of whole regions of the country. In the 1920's farmers were able to get themselves subsidies, in the 1960's the urban poor recieved greater welfare benefits and in the 1980's many corporations were able to win privileges from the government. Now, even defense bills are thousands of pages long and are laced with grants and subsidies to irrelevent causes. There is absolutely nothing stopping the government from expanding today.

A few constitutional amendments could fix this. First, every federal agency should require approval by a 2/3 vote in congress every 5 years. If they can't get those votes, that agency is done. Second, there must be a balanced budget amendment so that the government cannot spend above its means.

Third, the president needs a line-item veto in order to eliminate pork from spending bills.

There also needs to be some procedural changes. Whenever a congressman adds something to a bill, they must put their name next to the additions and offer an explanation of why that provision has been included. The congress should be able to cut out those provisions in their general debate on the bill.

Sun Hua wrote:The Libertarian position seems to be blind to the lessons of history. I suspect it is a cover for those who would prefer an oligarchy of the rich.


:lol: :lol: :lol:

Yes, Ancient Sparta is quite a model for libertarians...

If anything, the failures of socialism should warn any sane individual that government regulation only leads to disaster.

Sun Hua wrote:As yet football has also yet to produce ANY evidence that charity provides an adequate replacement for government subsidy of social welfare programmes, so as far I am concerned football11f is advocating a policy that is tantamount to selective mass euthanasia.


Charities that perform noble causes that the general populace agreements will get funded while those that don't will not. Since charities are private organizations, they are forced to ensure that their funds go to the right people in order to ensure their survival as an organization. The government, on the other hand, is guaranteed funding due to taxes.

Now I find this to be an ill-considered statement at best and both ignorant and stupid at worst. If you want to protect New Orleans from flooding, you do not wait for the private sector to take the lead.


So you're saying that an insurance company wouldn't build a levee around New Orleans to protect themselves from a catastrophe like Katrina? After all, the way an insurance company makes money is by their customers not requiring their services. Given that floods will result in a number of claims being filed in a short period of time, the insurance company has every incentive they need to pool funds with other businesses in the area to build a flood wall. Unfortunately, the government built their own, and that obviously failed miserably (What a surprise).

Sun Hua wrote:The private sector does not allocate resources to public works projects - what it does do is seek to make vast profits from undertaking public works projects slowly, inefficiently at the expense of the people who might benefit, in the full knowledge that once they have a contract, they can hold the government to ransom


Correct. You're actually proving my point. There is no reason for a government to be contracting companies to complete a public works project.

Sun Hua wrote:Governments may act slowly, stupidly and allocate resources less well than they might, but at least they act altruistically, unlike the merciless greed of "free" corporations.


:lol: :lol:

Sun Hua wrote:If the employer cannot afford to pay its employees more than $3 an hour (when everyone else has to) they are not sufficiently competitive to last long in the marketplace.


Tell that to the parents that contracted me to babysit their kid, or the struggling mom and pop store that hired a friend of mine. Like I explained earlier, large companies love minimum wage laws because their competitors have a hard time staying afloat with their labor costs.

Sun Hua wrote:Secondly, you couldn't afford health insurance and savings, therefore you would become a burden on the state. Will that do?


I only spend about $80 a year. I have $3,000 saved in the bank for college spending money with some nice scholarships lined up. I take pride in keeping myself healthy, therefore I can pay the few times I actually see the doctor out of my own pocket. If I didn't have to pay 40% of my paycheck in taxes, I'd probably have more.

Seven at One Stroke wrote:You, sir, by working for far less wages than the rest America are willing to work for to pay for your college education, are not only depressing the average wages on the open market, thereby reducing the earning powers of the average American and lowering the aggregate consumer spending, thus driving corporations out of business by cutting into their profits by shrinking the retail market, but also DESTROYING AMERICA by giving away your hard-earned money to the liberal establishment and the subversive communist/anarchist professors that fester higher education, most of whom support the acitivist judges in the courts and the fifth column in the media.


:shock:

Wow...

http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/06statab/labor.pdf

Go to page 49. As you can see, a grand total of 590,000 workers are paid the federal minimum wage. That is merely four-tenths of one percent (0.4 percent) of total non-farm civilian employment. This, of course, was in 2004- the tail end of a recession. Nearly three times as many U.S. workers (1,483,000) were paid less than the minimum wage. Among full-time workers, only 177,000 earned the $5.15 minimum wage in 2004, while 3.3 times as many (583,000) earned less than $5.15.

Now, let's ignore the statistics for a second. Your entire thinking process is wrong. If a corporation is able to pay their workers less, that means they are able to lower their prices. This gives the consumer more money to spend on other things, creating more jobs there. That's how society advances economically and how the standard of living increases.

Don't believe me? Just look at the price of clothing. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price index of clothing was 135 in 1994. Since that time, millions of "American" clothing jobs have been outsourced. In January of 2004, the cost index had decreased to 120. In short, the price of clothing has decreased due to the flexibility of the market.

So what about American jobs? As study after study shows, big outsourcing corporations have the greatest net creation of jobs in America. In 2004, those companies hired twice as many American workers as their competitors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States has lost 361 million jobs since 1992. However, during that same period it has gained 380 million new jobs, a 19 million job net gain. This during the golden age of outsourcing.

Seven at One Stroke wrote:I have some advice for a God-fearing upstanding citizen like yourself: instead of working part time for subpar wages to give yourself a college education


Do you think I'm going to college for my health? College is an investment to hone my skills so I can make alot of money once I get out. I will build experience living on my own, make alot of connections with experienced individuals and have a good time. I'll be feeding into the new, service economy of the United States.

Seven at One Stroke wrote: instead of working part time for subpar wages to give yourself a college education, start working full time for the same pay, but split your earnings for beer, child support, and a Grand Cherokee.


Am I responsable for that? If I can do the same quality job as him for less money, why shouldn't I get the job? Is he entitled to it just because he got into a bad marriage, had a child and has a drinking problem while being unable to do anything but work such a low paying job? You have one bizarre look at the world.
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