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Questioning Libertarianism
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robtpost



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:52 am    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

I don't think the percentage of ownership matters so much. Of course when one owns 51%, one has absolute control, but much smaller blocks can wield effective control. Way back when, in my training, 10% to 20% of a large widely held company could wield effective control. Other large holders of stock tend very much to vote with management as do the majority of small investors and it is a herculean task to get a shareholder initiative on a shareholder ballot. Corporations, like the good old USA, like to trumpet the fact that they/we are democracies, but, as they say, the devil is in the details. Anyway, the issues on the shareholder's ballots rarely go beyond electing the members of the board of directors and approving executive pay packages. There are occasions when a shareholder initiative gets on the ballot, it is far from unheard of, and they deal with mostly social issues of one kind or another and are routinely defeated.

Have you ever heard of Pareto's law. I don't think it has been tested in any formal way, but it's also known as the 80/20 rule. To apply it to corporate ownership, 80% of the stock is held by 20% of the stockholders. In many cases it is only a small cadre of stockholders that wield absolute control. In any case, the largest stockholders are most always on the boards of directors and are sprinkled liberally throughout the echelons of upper management. (Nod to the 2nd Polyphemus Fallacy essay, liberally is being used correctly)
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john



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:06 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

I must say that I read this whole thread and found it to be a supercilious and boring waste of space . After the first dozen postings , my hair started to hurt . So many freakin' words to say so little . The Pareto "principle"(not law) is a common method of measuring business activity and is a good rule of thumb in many other fields . A case in point is this thread , wherein , 20% of the words produced 80% gibberish . So many freakin' words . Allow me to reduce the whole Liberterian concept more briefly and concisely in only four words : Freedom , good . Government , bad . Rolling Eyes
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robtpost



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:17 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

Would you prefer angry rhetoric, name calling and vulgarity?
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john



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:23 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

robtpost wrote:
Would you prefer angry rhetoric, name calling and vulgarity?


No . I admire your attempt at an intelligent dialogue . But why so many words ? My hair actually started to hurt as I read the whole thread .
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robtpost



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:46 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

I'd say we're doing pretty well if 80% of of the word are only producing 20% gibberish.
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john



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:51 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

robtpost wrote:
I'd say we're doing pretty well if 80% of of the word are only producing 20% gibberish.


Sorry , Rob , you have that percentage reversed . 20% of what was written ( not only by you ) produced 80% gibberish . . Rolling Eyes
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robtpost



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:21 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

Right, so most of the words are not producing gibberish. If 20% of the words are gibberish, then the other 80% are not gibberish. I think I see what you are trying to say, you just not saying it. Rolling Eyes
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john



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:41 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

robtpost wrote:
Right, so most of the words are not producing gibberish. If 20% of the words are gibberish, then the other 80% are not gibberish. I think I see what you are trying to say, you just not saying it. Rolling Eyes



I'll reduce this equation to something even you can understand . All the words produced = 100% . That's the TOTAL output . Of that 100% , ONLY 20% are somewhat intelligible ( and I say this as a courtesy ). That leaves the remaining 80% , as mind numbing , long winded , verbosity , i.e. GIBBERISH.
Rolling Eyes
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robtpost



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:16 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

That's not the Pareto principle. The principle says that 20% of something accounts for 80% of something else. For example 20% of customers account for 80% of sales. The corresponding percentages are 80% of customers account for 20% of sales. No wonder you're getting a headache! Very Happy

That way 100% of customers account for 100% of sales.
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john



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:23 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

robtpost wrote:
That's not the Pareto principle. The principle says that 20% of something accounts for 80% of something else. For example 20% of customers account for 80% of sales. The corresponding percentages are 80% of customers account for 20% of sales. No wonder you're getting a headache! Very Happy

That way 100% of customers account for 100% of sales.


You have done the impossible . You have bored me enough to leave this thread and never come back . Just remember . Freedom , good , Government , bad . Good luck
. Rolling Eyes
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robtpost



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:27 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

I make it a point to believe in six impossible things a day. As an American it's nice to have done one impossible thing. Everyone should do one impossible thing a day.
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autofyrsto



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:48 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

robtpost wrote:
I see a lot of Libertarian writing bemoaning the the loss of rights, but it is hard to find out which rights the writer is referring to. Also, I have seen very little writing about the responsibilities we have inherent in these vague demands for our rights. If you have the time, could you clarify what the rights and responsibilities are inherent in Libertarianism?

I wanted to address this question, but now I'm concerned that I might hurt someone's hair in the process. Rolling Eyes This seems to be a little more on the open-ended side of questions, and I'd like to try to reign it in. I acknowledge that internet libertarians are not renowned for their coherence. Perhaps if you posted a sample of such writing, I could evaluate it for you.
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robtpost



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:11 am    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

Well, don't worry about my hair, I keep it chopped to the bone. I must confess, I haven't really read a lot beyond David Boaz and a few other posts on the Cato website also Niall Ferguson's "The Ascent of Money" and "Civilization", so I think I was a little premature on my request. I will look at mises.org and see if I can ask more intelligent questions. You have been my main introduction to libertarian thought. I would like to discuss concept of "free markets" or anything else that strikes your fancy.. I don't think there has ever been a free market, that is, one without rules governing what conduct is acceptable, even if such rules are unspoken and informal. No market can exist without trust between the parties involved. What would a free market look like to you? The housing market for example. I assume the first thing to go would be the tax preferences that favor ownership to renting. What else is needed to create the ideal marketplace for real property? Would attorneys still be needed in such a situation? Would there be a place for homeowner associations as they exist now, to enforce the standards of neighborhood? I'm trying to keep the question marks to a minimum, but I fear I'm not succeeding well at all, so I'll leave it here and shut up.

I'm sorry I gave john a hair ache, I was trying to make it as simple as possible, but no simpler. I hope your hair is well.
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autofyrsto



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:07 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

My hair is hanging in there....

I've been trying to favor the word market over the term free market lately. I was talking to a Marxist friend who objected to the word. I think he said something like "A woman who grows up in poverty is not free to attend an ivy league university. ..." He had a few other example of things people were not free to do. I thought he had a valid point. After all, I'm not advocating a free for all. I'm advocating for the consistent enforcement of the rules of the market. I've decided that the word free is nothing more than a "hooray word" that does not add meaning to the term free market. The word market contains within it the ideas that I am advocating. Basically, a market is a place where one goes to bargain and trade in the absence of coercion from other people.

As far as the housing market goes, all of the federal interventions that I mentioned in this post ought to go. The federal government simply should not either encourage or discourage home ownership, and especially not through economic manipulation. The federal government stay out of that. Even the regulations of local governments should be revisited and scrutinized with greater deference to those who bear their costs. These would include rent controls, zoning laws, and housing codes. The pure libertarian position would be to denounce all of these as illegitimate on principle, but given that there is zero chance of all these regulations disappearing, and given that I don't quite know what to tell people to expect if these regulations were to disappear, I'm content to limit my criticism to "actual cases and controversies" where I believe particular policies have caused problems. Speaking very generally, third-party inspectors and conditions upon insurance would likely fill the regulatory void left behind by government regulators, but this sort of evaluation admittedly leans away from established fact and toward fanciful theory.

One of the most memorable mises.org lectures for me was one delivered by Dr. Joseph Salerno called Price Controls: Case Studies. Prof. Salerno says a lot about rent controls, and at about 15 minutes, begins to read an article written in the 1970s called "I Was A Slumlord". I highly recommend the article as an illustration of the potential costs of rent controls. If an ideal marketplace in housing is the goal, I would recommend avoiding the situation that the former slumlord described. All the government would have to do to avoid the situation described is cease interloping.

Regarding homeowners' associations, I haven't considered the pros and cons on them, but I imagine it would be another case-by-case evaluation. I believe I might disfavor them.
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robtpost



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:20 am    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

I am glad we can dispense with the term free market. It is meaningless and at best a political distinction. I started to watch the lecture by Dr. Salerno and while I agree, in general, that price controls, in particular price ceilings, are ineffective and detrimental as public policies, I found his assertion that without rent controls, everyone who wants a place to live will find a place to live, to be manifestly nonsensical. If it were true, we would not have the problem of homelessness, which we obviously do. The causes of homelessness are many and varied and once one becomes homeless, it is a difficult trap to escape from. First off, many employers are very reluctant to hire someone who has no fixed address, and it is difficult to get a fixed address without the income to get to get one.

I read the article “I Was a Slumlord” with interest, and I cannot fathom why the author, who seemed cognizant of all the necessary information, the disrepair of the building when he purchased it, the property taxes, the rental income, etc., and chose to proceed with the purchase, and then complain that it did not work out to his advantage. He brought the building with the intention of adapting it to extend his work area and I do not know why he did not, not renew the leases of his tenants and proceed with his plan. I do not see his predicament as being anything but of his own making. Why did he take on the responsibilities he foresaw if he could not meet them?

I would love to see a market free of coercion, where buyer can simply purchase what they wish without being forced to buy things they do not wish to. I am thinking here of the market for information services, cable TV and internet. The way the market has developed, with government granting monopolies to Comcast, Time Warner, etc. to induce them to install the infrastructure. One can only purchase bundles of channels to get the few they actually want to watch. One can, of course, jump on the phrase, government granting monopolies, but without one company installing the infrastructure and then that company allowing other companies to offer competing services on their wires, or having each provider installing their own infrastructure to every house and apartment and then only using part of that investment to provide their service to the customers that sign up for their service, cable TV service would not exist in urban areas. Our telephone service provides another example. Without the former Ma Bell being forced to allow competing telephone services access to its wires, we would not have the plethora of choices we enjoy. The barriers to entry to the market would simply be too high if each company had to install its own infrastructure.

I am looking forward to watching the rest of Dr. Salerno’s presentation and I hope to be in broad agreement with his point of view.
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autofyrsto



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:13 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

robtpost wrote:
I found his assertion that without rent controls, everyone who wants a place to live will find a place to live, to be manifestly nonsensical. If it were true, we would not have the problem of homelessness, which we obviously do.

Yes, I also thought that was an overstatement. He probably should have stuck with something like, "There won't necessarily be a huge spike in homelessness if government stops intervening."

robtpost wrote:
I read the article “I Was a Slumlord” with interest ... . I do not know why he did not, not renew the leases of his tenants and proceed with his plan. I do not see his predicament as being anything but of his own making. Why did he take on the responsibilities he foresaw if he could not meet them?

The only information I have about the episode is in the article, though it might be interesting to investigate further. I'm sure it's not unheard of for entrepreneurs to make some purchases in furtherance of conducting businesses, only to have government busybodies erect barriers before them. I read the history of the Reading Pagoda just the other week. William Abbott Whitman built an ornate building in 1908, intending for it to be at the center of a resort. The plans fell through when a local judge denied him a liquor license. The business never got off the ground, and the rest of the resort was never built. A merchant then bought the building with surrounding property and presented it to the city as a gift. Not a bad deal for city, I must say, for the trifle of obstructing a productive man's enterprise. Should Mr. Whitman have been a little more cognizant of the possibility that the government would throw up this barrier before his business? Maybe, but let's acknowledge that the mistake is not unheard of, and not always solely attributable to a lack of diligence on the part of the entrepreneur.

Grant it that the Slumlord could have swept the government minefield a little better before purchasing the building. Grant it that the Slumlord could have converted the building to a workshop for building cabinets without further government harassment. I believe this is beside the point. Yes, I agree that one could clean up a slum by sending the tenants packing and converting the apartment building to an industrial use. I reckon that this was not the solution that local legislators had in mind when they endeavored to assist tenants with rent prices. At least, if it were, then the legislators were surely no friends of the tenants. And when potential landlords do properly assess the government minefields surrounding apartment buildings, and do understandably run far, far away from them, what then happens to the availability of rental housing? I reckon it does not increase.

robtpost wrote:
Without the former Ma Bell being forced to allow competing telephone services access to its wires, we would not have the plethora of choices we enjoy. The barriers to entry to the market would simply be too high if each company had to install its own infrastructure.

Libertarian assessments of natural monopolies could only be fanciful theories, given the ubiquity of such monopolies. Who could know where we would be without them? Abolishing them is not very high on our list of priorities, but they make for interesting discussion. You have described here the familiar and conventional wisdom on the matter. Libertarians would challenge the forgone conclusions that costs would simply be too high, and that governments should therefore legally preclude others from entering unenterable businesses. I think I thought I read or heard somewhere that, once upon a time, there was a proper market in the provision of electricity, and only through intense lobbying and cronyism did the first local government establish an official monopoly in that industry. I'll poke around for that story, and if I find it, I'll post it.

[Edit: The story is here, in a lecture by Thomas DiLorenzo, another Mises Institute Scholar, entitled The Myth of Natural Monopoly. Prof. DiLorenzo has always been one of my favorite lecturers for the Institute on account of his wry sense of humor. In the first half hour, he describes the conventional wisdom on natural monopolies as an "ex post rationale" for government monopolistic policies that had been around for decades. He quotes from an article by Harold Demsetz, which described the state of competition among gas and electric companies, many cities having several of them competing, with some cities having in the double digits of competitors. He quotes from a book called "The Gas Light Company of Baltimore", which describes how, in spite of active competition in that place, the government simply offered one company a legal monopoly in exchange for a cut of the profits, no fancy economic theory necessary. Of course, one may easily ask: What is more likely, that the whole of mainstream economics is a bungle, or that Prof. Dilorenzo is mistaken? But I think Prof. DiLorenzo has raised some interesting historical questions that I might like to investigate further some day.][2nd Edit: Prof. DiLorenzo speaks about cable TV from about 36:00 to about 39:00, and telephone service from 39:00 to about 42:00. He said that AT&T had 3000 competitors nationwide prior to WWI when the federal government nationalized the phone industry as a national security issue. Upon the close of the war, the government offered a monopoly to AT&T. I don't know if that is true, but it is an interesting claim to make and probably a more interesting claim to research.]
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autofyrsto



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:17 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

robtpost wrote:
Sorry to take this roundabout way to get to my point, but, at bottom, children do not have the intellectual ability to enter into contracts for anything. Children are not miniature adults. Modern psychologists have made a good case that the brain does not reach full maturation until the mid 20's, so I suppose that to carry this thought to the extreme we should prohibit employment until then, but I think children need to have some experience with the working world well before then. What are your thoughts?

In the absence of child labor laws, contracts with minors would be voidable at the election of the minor. This is fair in my opinion. Children who believe that working is preferable to prostitution or starving ought to be allowed to work. Children who feel they are being exploited at work ought to be allowed to leave their jobs.

I've told you before that, due to space and time constraints, I will not be able to answer all of your many questions. If I had missed any other dealbreaker questions in here, kindly alert me to them before you carry on as if I had never written all of these words.
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robtpost



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:41 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

My apologies to you, I've been keeping this thread in a separate category from most of the other in that this is a much more thoughtful conversation than the others. I thought that the state of intellectual development of a person was a good argument against your position. When you mingled this thread into the the other, I felt it necessary to push for a response.

Should we abandon this thread for the free for all that dominates Spout Off, or would you prefer to continue it?
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autofyrsto



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:42 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

I've avoided jumping on other threads because I have my hands full enough with this one. Your post on that other thread called into question whether any of this writing had been worth my effort. I couldn't let it pass....

robtpost wrote:
So, I take it your in favor of child labor, that you think it a good thing. That's fine, you're entitled to your opinion.

I feel I need to evaluate your understanding of the things I have written so far. Could you perhaps articulate back to me the reasons I have offered in my opposition to a government prohibition of child labor?

robtpost wrote:
A docile, easily controlled workforce seem to be the libertarian ideal.

I'm eager to hear your inspiration for this statement. Please elaborate.

robtpost wrote:
How do you think your geniuses would have fared had they been born born in Bangladesh?

I imagine they might have at least met your minimum threshold of intelligence for entering into work contracts at a relatively early age. You probably would have had to conjure yet another rationalization for legally prohibiting them from working and earning more money for their families.

robtpost wrote:
I think it is a tragedy that so much human capital would be wasted in a system that utilizes poverty and children to produce benefits only for the few at the top.

Beware the Polyphemus Fallacy. Who utilizes poverty? What are their deeds? He who is injured by no one can hardly expect redress.
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robtpost



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:36 am    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

I enjoy the other posts because it allows me to smile to myself when I simply ask how someone knows something, or to ask where they heard it and they immediately change the subject. When people say something I think is absurd or ridiculous, I feel the need to call them out on it. I know it’s a futile gesture at best, but occasionally I come across someone, such as yourself, who is thoughtful and articulate and although I am sympathetic to libertarian thought on social issues, I feel we can disagree on economic ideas without being disagreeable. That is, these days, a rare commodity. I don’t need to “win” and convert you to whatever it is I am, we can just talk.

As I reread your comments it seems to me that your objection is more to the governmental prohibition of child labor rather than the prohibition itself. Perhaps you do oppose child labor but would have preferred to see it eliminated by the employer’s own self restraint. I do not think that employers would have refrained from utilizing child labor without it being prohibited by law.

My contention that a docile and easily controlled workforce is desired, springs from my impression that libertarians oppose labor unions because they interfere with a person’s “right to work”. Is my impression incorrect? Although it’s not libertarian writing, per se, in the Polyphemus reading you recommended they credited the building of the pyramids to the people who wanted the pyramids built, not to the people who moved the stones into such a position that a pyramid resulted. Also, I have not heard of any libertarian championing “worker’s rights” except in opposition to campaigns to organize workers. I am left to conclude that libertarian sympathies lie with the employer more so than the employees. I hope you will set me straight if my conclusion is mistaken.

My purpose in supposing that the geniuses were born in Bangladesh instead of the US was to point out that A) they probably would have been born into poverty; and B) their genius would not have been recognized because when people are struggling with abject poverty that are more concerned with surviving another day than anything else. We, in the US, have not had to worry about where our next meal is coming from, by and large, for the last 70 or 80 years, a luxury that billions of people will never know.

As to the Polyphemus Fallacy, the persons who utilize poverty are the likes of The Gap, Ambercrombie and Fitch, Walmart, Target, Loblaws (in Canada), H&M (in Europe) and many other corporations who know exactly what the conditions are in Bangladesh and hire companies that build and use the firetraps and shoddily constructed buildings as factories to make the clothes we wear.

By the way, if you are still interested in economic incentives and disincentives, you should read “Freakonomics” by Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner. It is very entertaining and enlightening. Another book I would recommend to you is “The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power”, by Joel Bakan. It’s not as entertaining but is still very enlightening.
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autofyrsto



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:36 am    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

I would like to respond to each of the points you raised in your most recent post. Before I do, however, I would like to confirm whether you did or did not attempt to articulate back to me the reasons I have offered in opposition to a government prohibition of child labor. It appears to me as though you did not, but it's tough for me to tell.
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robtpost



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:42 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

autofyrsto wrote:
I would like to respond to each of the points you raised in your most recent post. Before I do, however, I would like to confirm whether you did or did not attempt to articulate back to me the reasons I have offered in opposition to a government prohibition of child labor. It appears to me as though you did not, but it's tough for me to tell.


I went back through all five pages of this thread, the discussions we've had, the back and forth you had with Villanesta and reconsidered my opinion that you were in favor of child labor. I developed the hypothesis that it was the imposition of the regulation that bothered you, rather than the effect of the regulation.

I no longer care if you favor child labor or not. I have been free with my opinion, and my reasoning in support of my opinion. If you find me lacking in this respect, so be it. I am not here to demonstrate that I am right and you are wrong, I don't know how you feel on the issue, you've never said one way or the other.

I enjoy the give and take of reasoned debate.

I hope this answers your concern.
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autofyrsto



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:31 am    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

I'd love for everyone to agree with me, but I'd be satisfied to know that people—yourself and others reading this—at least understand libertarian beliefs before rejecting them. If you disagree with libertarians, it should be for the right reasons. It should be because you understand correctly what libertarians believe, and you have decided against those beliefs. I come across a lot of critiques of libertarianism online, and the misunderstandings are plain as day. I found RJ Eskow's 11 Questions to be a particularly egregious recent example. I could almost hear the collective sigh and eye roll of my fellow libertarians as that article circulated the blogosphere. Mr. Eskow may be learned in other matters, but he simply doesn't know what libertarians believe, and neither, I imagine, does anyone who found his critique to be the least bit insightful or informative. So I guess I'm not just talking. I am on a mission, I suppose, and the mission is to make sure people understand what libertarians believe. Reject those beliefs if you like, but first demonstrate to me that you understand them. I've been looking for the spark of recognition in your writing, and I still haven't found it. That's disappointing to me. I'm trying to imagine how I could have communicated by beliefs more clearly, but it seems like words fail. I don't know if I should give up or try again. The frustration of all this is that I've voted libertarian in every election since 2002. Every single one of my preferred candidates lost their elections in embarrassing 99-to-1 landslides, and yet I'm hard-pressed to find anyone but libertarians who can demonstrate to me that they understand what libertarians believe—and when I try to explain it to them, I get these sort of nonplussed, befuddled reactions and evasions that would be comical if there weren't so much at stake.

So let's review: The reason I oppose a government prohibition of child labor is that, where it is not prohibited, child labor contributes substantially to poor families' income. A 1919 survey of American families placed that contribution at 23% on average. Poor families need this money, and if government policies deny them the opportunity to earn this money, then those same policies drive the children they purport to help further into crime, prostitution, hunger and desperation. Does this sound familiar? Does this ring any bells at all? Now, if it helps you sleep at night, you may continue to believe that The Golden Rule justifies a mandated 23% cut to poor families' incomes. You may continue to believe that a 23% mandated cut in poor families' incomes is a distinction without a difference, because the poor are poor with or without that money. You may continue to believe, if you like, that on account of children's diminished intellectual capacity, governments are duty-bound to protect children from invalid contracts at a cost of 23% of their families' incomes. You may continue to believe, if you like, that the 23% family income that children bring home from the factory does not mitigate the horror of child labor. You may continue to believe these things if you like, but before you do I think you should at least demonstrate your understanding of the reasons why I have declined to join you in your beliefs.

Thank you for admitting honestly that you really don't care a whit what I believe. Let me ask you this: Did you ever care? If so, when did that change? You seemed to care enough to start this thread. I'm here because of you, after all.

Why do you suppose libertarian ideas have failed to garner greater public support? Is it that non-libertarians simply don't care what libertarians believe?
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robtpost



Joined: 22 Jun 2011
Posts: 826

PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:29 pm    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

The trouble with the child labor issue I feel is, that we are not talking in the same language. We have devolved into talking at each other, not to each other. I put down the issue early in this thread when you were you were having the tête-à-tête with Villanesta. I was not talking to you in the other thread, whatever thread that was, when you suggested we take it as a topic of discussion here again. How you perceive the issue is up to you and out of my control as are all the issues we have discussed here and ever will discuss here.

The reason I think that we have failed in our discussion of child labor is while I have not seen your side of the issue as well as you wished me to, you have also failed to even acknowledge that there is another side to the argument. You have dismissed as, warm and lovely sentiments, or ignored entirely, any and all noneconomic arguments against the practice, as if money is the only issue worthy of consideration. Yes, it is an economic issue, but it is deeper than that, in that it is also a sociological, moral, physiological and a psychological issue. Your entire defense of child labor has rested on a nearly 100 year old study. Is there no more recent work on the topic from an economic perspective? While I have not quoted any studies on the issue, a lot has changed in the last century, and I think the gains in knowledge and new ideas should be taken into account. If you feel that these aspects have no bearing on the issue, then I fear there is nothing left to discuss about child labor.

I'm sorry if you feel this discussion has been of no benefit to you, I had just hoped that I could spark a thoughtful discussion as an antidote to bellicose, belligerence that passes for conversation on these pages. I see that, I too, have also failed, to that end. I am not trying to "win" the argument, however one might wish to define “winning”, I am just looking to share ideas and learn from them what I can.

Why do I suppose that libertarian ideas have failed to garner greater public support?

Please don't take this as a personal attack on you or as a condemnation of libertarianism as a whole, I look for inspiration in all human activity and thought. I think libertarianism can be a force for the greater good even if that is not its goal.

To be blunt, and I hope you would want me to be so, I think it is because libertarians have failed to make the case that the market is efficient and will always self correct without any intervention. That libertarianism is something that is closed to the new ideas that have been born since the Enlightenment and is based on a selective reading and misinterpretation of Adam Smith's "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations". That, while it has made major inroads in American economic and political policies in recent years, it has contributed towards a stratification of American society and a diminishment of social mobility. Libertarianism, from what little I've been able to gather so far, is philosophy that simply espouses a point of view that limits itself to the belief that, to paraphrase Vince Lombardy, Money isn't everything, it's the only thing.

I have tried to ask if libertarian beliefs extend beyond economic and governmental relationships, beyond those rights we all take for granted, to societal relationships, but I wasn't able to phrase the question in a manner that you could respond to meaningfully.

I enjoy having my beliefs challenged and I have benefitted greatly in that respect, but if you feel it has been all for nought on your end, I apologize for having wasted your time. Still, I hope I have at least left you with a deeper understanding of the issues around insider trading, if nothing else, even if you still believe it is a good thing.

So, if we can agree to disagree about child labor, and put the issue aside for another day, I would like to continue our discussion on other topics.
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autofyrsto



Joined: 17 Oct 2009
Posts: 592
Location: Philly / N. Wildwood

PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:06 am    Post subject: Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

robtpost wrote:
The reason I think that we have failed in our discussion of child labor is while I have not seen your side of the issue as well as you wished me to, you have also failed to even acknowledge that there is another side to the argument.

The difference between my side and your side is that your side is a universal, practically unquestioned conventional wisdom. My side of the issue rarely gets the airing that I think is deserved. I suppose my subconscious rationale for the behavior you have described is that, since the conventional wisdom is as plain as the sun in the sky, you should assume that I'm familiar with it unless I demonstrate otherwise. I've subconsciously concluded that since my side of the issue appears far less often in popular discourse, an understanding of it ought to be established before we can fairly judge it against the conventional wisdom. Show me first that you understand my unconventional reasoning, and then together we can fairly judge my reasoning against the conventional wisdom. Otherwise, I squander scarce time and energy ingratiating you with the same narratives we've all heard countless times since childhood. Perhaps this is not the best strategy. Perhaps I should reverse the order. Perhaps, since I've entered the court of public opinion with an unpopular belief, I owe a duty to the court to explicitly acknowledge the sun in the sky before proceeding with my own case. It's something to consider.

robtpost wrote:
Your entire defense of child labor has rested on a nearly 100 year old study.

But then I read something like this, and the problem hits me over the head again: I can explain and explain, but my arguments are simply lost. The understanding simply does not occur on your end, and I can scarcely believe it would occur if I troubled myself to acknowledge your side. I've argued from (what I consider to be) common sense from the start. It was villainesta who refused to credit my reasoning without accompanying evidence. I tracked down that study to appease villainesta. I specifically wrote in a separate post that reliance on macroeconomic data is problematic (Planet Money can back me up on that), and that my reasoning deserves credit unless an error of my thought be exposed. I reference that study only because people who flatly reject my reasoning for no cause have demanded evidence. Fast-forward three pages, and it is now alleged that my whole defense rests on this study? That's garble. My defense rests on nothing of the sort. My defense rests on a relatively simple line of reasoning that deserves credit, but hasn't received it. The study is extra support for a freestanding argument. This problem of understanding goes beyond the child labor issue. This is the norm: I speak, and when I survey the terrain to see how my reasoning has taken root, all I find is garble. How can we fix this? Is this fixable? If I make a more deliberate effort to acknowledge your side, will this change?

robtpost wrote:
You have dismissed as, warm and lovely sentiments, or ignored entirely, any and all noneconomic arguments against the practice, as if money is the only issue worthy of consideration. Yes, it is an economic issue, but it is deeper than that, in that it is also a sociological, moral, physiological and a psychological issue. ... Libertarianism, from what little I've been able to gather so far, is philosophy that simply espouses a point of view that limits itself to the belief that, to paraphrase Vince Lombardy, Money isn't everything, it's the only thing.

These are all misunderstandings of what economics is, at least as far as I can tell from what I think I know about economics. I describe economics as the philosophy of decision-making. Anytime a person makes a decision of any kind, economics informs our understanding of that decision. These decisions are not confined to money matters, though money is obviously very important.

robtpost wrote:
I have tried to ask if libertarian beliefs extend beyond economic and governmental relationships, beyond those rights we all take for granted, to societal relationships, but I wasn't able to phrase the question in a manner that you could respond to meaningfully.

If economics here is misunderstood as 'money matters', more or less, then the answer is yes, but libertarians believe there is more to economics than 'money matters'. For libertarians, economics applies to pretty much all decisions, so there really isn't much else beyond it.

robtpost wrote:
To be blunt, and I hope you would want me to be so, I think it is because libertarians have failed to make the case that the market is efficient and will always self correct without any intervention.

I wonder if libertarians have perhaps shot themselves in the foot here, because they do constantly praise the efficiency of markets. I don't think libertarians can ever make the case that markets can ever be efficient enough to satisfy non-libertarians. But what of the competition? What have the Republicans and Democrats delivered that makes them so popular?
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