1127: "Congress"

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neremanth
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby neremanth » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:36 pm UTC

winmine wrote:No, not at all. There's probably much greedier people in private industry. But nobody in a business can get your money without selling you something that you think is worth buying. Everyone's altruistic when it's in their interest.


Oh, ok. I thought you were implying that banks did have more of the "right people" than he government. Sorry.

(I disagree that finance and economic activities in general are better unregulated; but as I'm not an economist I have nothing better to add to the debate than my feeling that a completely free market does not tend to find the outcomes that are best for society as a whole, so that somebody needs to exert some control over the process, and that personally I trust government more than business. None of which I expect to convince anyone else since it's not based on anything solid. So I will now resume my spectator position.)

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:16 am UTC

winmine wrote:
J Thomas wrote:I don't particularly like governments, but in theory if it's a choice between a government that's responsible to its people versus a mafia which does the same things and is responsible only to the mafia dons, I'd prefer government.

I don't know of a mafia like this that has existed in history. Mafias tend to crowd around illegal activities and violent coercion. They can't survive when people are free to make their own choices.


I think we must have read entirely different history books. You don't know of a mafia like that? Try the middle ages. The aristocracy was exactly a mafia like that. What you got if a baron let you be his serf, was he protected you from the other nobles who otherwise did whatever they wanted to you. In return, he let you farm a long furrow on his land, and he let you keep part of the food from that furrow. What made it his land? He had soldiers who would fight off other nobles if they tried to take it from him, that's what. Or maybe he had a feudal obligation to a higher capo who would protect him. The difference between that and the mafia is only that there was no government to restrain them.

Why would you expect mafias to fail without government? They reached their fullest flower without government. They turned into governments that were responsible to nobody but themselves.

Remember that inflation is also a tax on people who make an hourly wage or yearly salary, on people who pay in a tax bracket, on people whose property is made more volatile. It's a real disease.


If employees have the bargaining power to get raises that match inflation, then inflation doesn't hurt them much. If employers have the bargaining power to raise their prices to match inflation, then inflation doesn't hurt them much either. It's the people who're uncompetitive who get hurt. Their income is reduced automatically. Without inflation their bosses might offer to let them keep working at reduced pay (or since that's insulting, more likely they would be fired and replaced by somebody new who would work for less.) The problem is not inflation, it's that they can't compete. The tax bracket thing is real, a consequence of bad legislation.

Banks aren't responsible, people are responsible. The people running the bank, working at the bank, owning bank stock, and who have an account at the bank all have a responsibility to one another. None of them want the bank to be unstable.


Yes. But they all have an interest in getting the bank to gradually release more money until there's, say, 10 times as much in circulation as there had been. That's what they do.

By the same token you can say that muggers have a responsibility not to rob their clients of more than the clients can handle, because if their clients starve or something, the muggers won't have anybody to rob. I don't want to depend on the self-interest of banks to protect me any more than I'd depend on the self-interest of muggers.

If somebody wants a ton of lead, and somebody is willing to ship it to them, is that immoral? Why would somebody want to pay for that, instead of paying shipping and insurance for one ounce of gold? I don't understand your question.


You want hard currency that includes lead. If you put your lead in a bank and let them create scrip that they lend, you might as well let them lend government scrip. You'll get pretty much the same result. If you carry your lead coins in your pocket and use them to buy things, you will need strong pockets. It isn't practical to use lead as money. If you say you're using lead and tin and copper and gold but you actually just use gold, why bother with the hypocrisy of claiming you're using the rest too?

It's the promise that it will be widely accepted as payment that makes it money.

People are learning that that promise cannot be made by government and will never be made by government. One day's promise is another day's joke.


That promise is made by government every day and every year. Almost everybody goes along with it almost all the time. Occasionally when a government is about to fall people begion to reject the money, and soon after that the government falls. Occasionally governments fall. Businesses go bankrupt. People die. And yet we often believe their promises anyway.

I don't see that it benefits society except to the extent that it limits governments or banks in their harm to society.

This is a huge benefit. Any time that money has been decentralized, it's become more stable, and therefore more useful.


It depends. When there are lots of different kinds of money circulating and it takes a specialist to actually know comparative values, that doesn't really improve stability or use.

Why spend hard money when you can hoard it instead?

Likely any bank worth keeping open would provide security and interest on deposits enough to have people bank there. If all of your money is metal, you're going to spend some of it.


But it makes sense to spend the money that depreciates first, and keep the hard money. You give up hard money only when you're drawing down savings, and can't keep it. Hard money mostly isn't money.

I think you're asking in general what makes people spend money. That's a much more cosmic question that I feel confident answering. :)


No, that isn't it. Maybe it will be easier if I tell a story. Let's say that you are a small businessman, and all of your customers insist on paying you with government scrip. You keep a few thousand spare dollars in cash in case you have unexpected expenses. And you buy gold with some of your surplus scrip because you believe that gold is real money and scrip is not. So, all of a sudden you find out you need a root canal. You find a dentist who will do it for $900. He offers 5% off for cash. So you look at your spare cash. You have $1200 in government scrip and $2200 in gold. The dentist does not offer an extra discount for gold. So do you pay him with government scrip, or with gold?

I say, if nobody pays you in gold so you have to buy your gold, and if you don't want to pay anybody in gold, gold is not in fact a de facto medium of exchange. You don't want to use it as money. Nobody else wants to use it as money. It's valuable because people want it, but it isn't valuable as money. It's valuable as an investment.

We have enough understanding of history now, of what causes bank runs, and who they're good for. They're usually caused by rumor, jealousy, and so on. They don't benefit anyone.


Whoops! The benefit competing banks. If you run a bank and I run the other bank, if I can get a bank run against you and you fold then I will get your business. It's good for me. So I will cash checks made out on you, and when I get a big pile of them all together then I will cash them all at once and then spread rumors that you have embezzled people's money and it isn't in your bank.

We'll never get rid of bank runs entirely, nor should we.


We've done a pretty good job of it! But why should we have banks and have bank runs? Banks use your money to do things that make your money worth much less. Then if they fail and you aren't first in line in the bank run, your money is gone. Who needs it? Why do you tolerate them doing this? You don't think it's OK when the government does it.

Say that fractional lending was illegal. How does the bank make money? Nobody's going to accept negative interest on their deposits


Why should the bank make money? If they can charge you for the services they actually do for you, and you're willing to pay that much, then fine. Otherwise, why tolerate them?

I don't want the banks to 'get along'. When there's a lot of rules that only a select club can manage to follow, they're going to be kindred spirits by that time, of course.


Yes, of course. They have their special club that they keep others out of, and if they get a good enough chance to backstab one of their own and swallow his business, they will. And a club like that will form without government to encourage it, too.

When any competitor can come along and challenge the established banks, then you'll see them going out of their way to show off why their bank is better.


You bet. They'll do everything they can to get a run on the upstart competitor. Unless they decide to accept him into the club. If anybody could start his own bank, there would be lots of bank failures. Bank failures are bad for everybody who gets hurt. So the government coddles the elite club of bankers who get along with each other, and they only get the chance to consolidate a lot every generation or so.

We wouldn't be better off if anybody could start a bank and try to compete with them. We'd be better off if they did not exist.

So again, I've never met a money law that needed to be there.


I feel like there should be some sort of laws against theft. There should be some sort of laws against kiting checks. And there should be laws against computer financial crime. If you figure out a way to break into a bank's computers and steal a lot of money, that's wrong. Counterfeiting is wrong. And when banks create virtual money out of nothing and it gets spent like real money, that's theft too.

Do you disagree? Is it theft when governments print new scrip that isn't backed by anything and spend it? Is what banks do different?
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:44 am UTC

J Thomas, I'm not an anarchist. Gangsters tend to crowd around gambling, prostitution, drugs, waste disposal, smuggling - but only when the government imposes restrictions that people think are improper. I don't think we should give up police and the army.

The government should restrain people from injuring each other, but not from trading with one another.

I don't really think that you don't find inflation to be a problem, or that's it's just that the less able should just get better. We'd be getting off topic anyways.

The difference between banks and muggers is that muggers aren't going to get their loot taken back if they strain their clients too much. And muggers aren't in public view.

I'm not demanding that anyone use anything in particular. I'm just saying that they'd be wiser to keep all options as naturally viable as possible. Lead is equally viable to use as, say, a penny, as zinc or a few others. I'd cover them in plastic, but that's doesn't have to be the only solution.

How do you know what's going to depreciate first? If people all try to get rid of their X at once, then others will gladly take it below its intrinsic value, and wait for the price to go back up. The foreign money exchange has very little restrictions, but calamities aren't typical of that market.

There's advantages and disadvantages to each option. I don't know the whole story.

Gold is more specifically called an asset, because it typically goes down in value with respect to inflation. Precious metals are held to ward off some of the shock value of inflation.

If there's a run on one bank in town, there's likely to be one on the competing banks. Runs don't benefit anyone.

How would you make bank runs illegal behavior? We haven't gotten rid of bank runs. Plenty of banks closed four years ago.

The bank needs to pay rent. They need to offer loans, to pay for the shipping and security of money, to pay for the plastic card fees... lots of things. Nobody should be forced to use a bank. I'm not advocating anything being done by force.

When has -any- cadre of businesses been formed under a free market?

I don't think a start-up bank that fails from a complete lack of customers is the same sort of tragedy as a run on an otherwise well-run bank. The effect of the former on society is negligible.

It shouldn't be illegal or discouraged to start a bank. You really think that banks are bad?

Of course theft is immoral. That's not a regulation on the money market.

The difference between a government and a bank is that banks can't force you to use their service. This is the most important point. When a government prints money above and beyond what the growth in the economy calls for, it's just tough luck. A bank does the same thing at their own peril. They simply can't get away with it in a free market.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:49 pm UTC

winmine wrote:J Thomas, I'm not an anarchist. Gangsters tend to crowd around gambling, prostitution, drugs, waste disposal, smuggling - but only when the government imposes restrictions that people think are improper. I don't think we should give up police and the army.


Gangsters do illegal stuff because that's their comparative advantage. They are ready to enforce their own rules when government courts won't act for them. Each mafia leader is a king (or perhaps a baron) who makes his own laws, operating in the cracks the big government leaves available. They for example lend money to people the banks don't want.

The government should restrain people from injuring each other, but not from trading with one another.


I think the government should restrain people from trading slaves with each other. The government should try to restrain fraud. The government should try to restrain Ponzi schemes etc. Therefore government should act to eliminate banks. But I don't know of any government anywhere which has actually done so. Even islamic nations have never done so effectively, after Mohammed specifically prohibited banking.

The difference between banks and muggers is that muggers aren't going to get their loot taken back if they strain their clients too much. And muggers aren't in public view.


Muggers get killed if they annoy the populace too much. And most of what banks do isn't in public view either.

I'm not demanding that anyone use anything in particular. I'm just saying that they'd be wiser to keep all options as naturally viable as possible. Lead is equally viable to use as, say, a penny, as zinc or a few others. I'd cover them in plastic, but that's doesn't have to be the only solution.


We use cheap metals for coins because otherwise inflation makes the coins worth more melted down. People use quarters, but not because they believe in the value of the metal.

How do you know what's going to depreciate first? If people all try to get rid of their X at once, then others will gladly take it below its intrinsic value, and wait for the price to go back up. The foreign money exchange has very little restrictions, but calamities aren't typical of that market.


Calamities aren't typical of government money either. Or banks. Really big catastrophes happen rarely, like once a generation or so, or even less often.

Gold is more specifically called an asset, because it typically goes down in value with respect to inflation. Precious metals are held to ward off some of the shock value of inflation.


Up in value?Anyway, yes, gold is an investment and an inflation hedge, and mostly is not money.

If there's a run on one bank in town, there's likely to be one on the competing banks. Runs don't benefit anyone.


Sometimes people immediately deposit their money in the competing banks. Funny how that works. Anyway, bank runs are almost entirely a thing of the past. They are obsolete.

Here is a scare-story account of modern bank reserves. The facts I care about here are correct; I haven't checked the others. They express it as some sort of shocking scandal, but apart from that they got things pretty much right.
http://www.marketskeptics.com/2009/03/u ... serve.html

Banks are required to have some deposits. That shrunk to 3% and then to 1%. However, they are allowed to count treasury bonds as part of their reserves, and they can include interest-bearing cash accounts with the Fed as part of their reserves too. They simply don't need much cash because people don't withdraw much cash. If you were to withdraw a significant amount of cash from your bank, the police would investigate you for drug charges. If they found you with significant cash and had reason for suspicion, they might take the cash until you could prove in court that they were wrong. It mostly does not happen. The bank has enough cash for ATM transactions, and that's most of what it needs.

US banks have tremendous reserves at the moment, at the Fed, getting interest from the Fed. They are not worried about bank runs.

How would you make bank runs illegal behavior? We haven't gotten rid of bank runs. Plenty of banks closed four years ago.


Banks closed, but not because depositors had bank runs. They closed because they owed too much money to other banks. Depositors did not lose their money. Bank stockholders lost their money. There's no need to make bank runs illegal, but there is need to make banks illegal.

The bank needs to pay rent. They need to offer loans, to pay for the shipping and security of money, to pay for the plastic card fees... lots of things. Nobody should be forced to use a bank. I'm not advocating anything being done by force.


Banks provide various services, as you say. The people who benefit from those services could pay fees if the services are worth what they cost. This has nothing to do with banks creating virtual money and lending it, creating massive inflation.

It would certainly be possible for the US government to provide all the legitimate services that banks provide today. The US government could give everybody a debit card, the same sort of card they now give to welfare recipients. They could allow employers to do direct deposit, and people could spend their money with their cards. We could have a money center in each post office, and as many further locations as seemed desirable. People could do personal transfers at any POS terminal for a small fee to the proprietor, and at post offices etc for free. The costs could be paid from the general fund, or from a separate tax, or by per-transaction fees, etc. I can imagine various advantages and disadvantages to that approach.

When has -any- cadre of businesses been formed under a free market?


The trouble with arguing real-world examples is that for any example I could give, you could point out that government was involved. I have to conclude that there has never been a free market in the written history of the world, so we can't really say what would happen if someday there was one. Free markets are like true communist utopias. It might be a good thing if it happened, but there's no reason to expect it in our lifetimes.

I don't think a start-up bank that fails from a complete lack of customers is the same sort of tragedy as a run on an otherwise well-run bank. The effect of the former on society is negligible.


Yes, but if the established banks wait until the start-up begins to look like a threat, then the effect is not negligible.

It shouldn't be illegal or discouraged to start a bank. You really think that banks are bad?


You complain that governments print scrip and dilute the value of money. I complain that banks give virtual loans and dilute the value of money. So far the difference you have suggested is that governments cannot help but inflate the money supply so much that people are badly hurt, while banks are always too prudent to do that. Usually I only hear anarchists make this argument. I'm very surprised to hear somebody make it today, barely 4 years after the events of 2008. I suppose it could be argued that the banking system was so imprudent because the government regulated them into it. Maybe if the government hadn't tried to regulate the banking industry they would have done better? hahaha ;) <wink wink nudge nudge>

Of course theft is immoral. That's not a regulation on the money market.


If you lend money that doesn't belong to you, how is that not theft?

The difference between a government and a bank is that banks can't force you to use their service. This is the most important point. When a government prints money above and beyond what the growth in the economy calls for, it's just tough luck. A bank does the same thing at their own peril. They simply can't get away with it in a free market.


I'm interested in your conjecture. Why do you imagine that if somehow someday a free market actually came to exist, that banks would stop getting away with it?
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:11 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Gangsters do illegal stuff because that's their comparative advantage. They are ready to enforce their own rules when government courts won't act for them. Each mafia leader is a king (or perhaps a baron) who makes his own laws, operating in the cracks the big government leaves available. They for example lend money to people the banks don't want.

What do you think comes first, the law or the outlaw? Prohibition preceded Al Capone's rise. The people who own Vegas hate it when proposals to legalize gambling, or to remove licenses to gamble come up. Do crooks that lend money at exorbitant rates want more people to be in the small loan business?

I think the government should restrain people from trading slaves with each other. The government should try to restrain fraud. The government should try to restrain Ponzi schemes etc. Therefore government should act to eliminate banks. But I don't know of any government anywhere which has actually done so. Even islamic nations have never done so effectively, after Mohammed specifically prohibited banking.

Of course. There should be courts to allow people to sue for fraud and false advertising. I assume you don't take me as pro-slavery. But in a sense, you are in favor of removing freedoms one after one until nobody ever makes a decision that they'll later regret. But I think that's the biggest mistake a society can make. The danger of making a bad decision has to be available, in order for safety and common sense to be prevalent.

Muggers get killed if they annoy the populace too much. And most of what banks do isn't in public view either.

Most of banks' numbers are publicly available, for the very reason that they want to look secure. The crash of 2008 wasn't based on mysterious derivatives, but on toxic assets that were rated AAA - government backed securities. It fell down when FM and FM were finally given limitations.

We use cheap metals for coins because otherwise inflation makes the coins worth more melted down. People use quarters, but not because they believe in the value of the metal.

It's illegal to use any other currency. That's why it's used. And melting is a cost. Usually it's about half the value of the metal, until you get to the precious metals.

Metals aren't destroyed when they're melted. People aren't afraid that their coins will be worthless if they're not in molten form. As a result, coins tend to stick around. The standards don't change much. The size and weight of the US dollar coin, minted as late as the 1900s, was defined in Denmark hundreds of years prior.

Calamities aren't typical of government money either. Or banks. Really big catastrophes happen rarely, like once a generation or so, or even less often.

If you think printing 2 trillion dollars in the past year is not a big problem, then I'm rather jealous. I tend to worry. And I look at the periods of high inflation and 'stagflation' in the 50s, 60s and 70s and see a danger there.

Up in value?Anyway, yes, gold is an investment and an inflation hedge, and mostly is not money.

No, down in value. About half of the gold that has ever been mined (or these days, gotten from mud or bacteria), has been gotten in the last 50 years. By comparison, the dollar has taken only 26 years to inflate as much. You find this fraction (one half) very often when comparing the government to alternatives.

Sometimes people immediately deposit their money in the competing banks.

I think you're just incorrect here. If you think that all the banks in town are liable to fail, you're going to go with the mattress method.

Banks closed, but not because depositors had bank runs.

You're right that bank runs as we think of them are no longer the predominant cause of bank failures. But we surely haven't found out how to completely get rid of bank failures.

Anyone who had savings in the form of stock at the failed banks surely lost money.

Banks provide various services, as you say. The people who benefit from those services could pay fees if the services are worth what they cost. This has nothing to do with banks creating virtual money and lending it, creating massive inflation.

If they can't make money in one way, they'll have to charge more for the other way, reducing the number of customers of that service. This reduces the number of possible banks, which reduces competition, which makes the surviving banks behave worse. The end result of trying to not let people get cheated is to cheat everyone from the start.

(A socialist proposal)

It's just a failure, JThomas. Does anyone claim that the post office is cost-efficient, relative to its competitors? Is there any part of the government, not involved in protecting third parties (the army, the EPA) that is not more inefficient than a market alternative?

J Thomas wrote:
winmine wrote:When has -any- cadre of businesses been formed under a free market?


The trouble with arguing real-world examples is that for any example I could give, you could point out that government was involved. I have to conclude that there has never been a free market in the written history of the world, so we can't really say what would happen if someday there was one. Free markets are like true communist utopias. It might be a good thing if it happened, but there's no reason to expect it in our lifetimes.

You're right, I should have specified. What I'm asking for, for this argument, is an example of a market that had more corruption when it was an overall freer market, than when it was a more regulated or centrally controlled market.

If the established banks wait until the start-up begins to look like a threat, then the effect is not negligible.

You have described one kind of tradeoff, but I think history shows that businesses respond to competition by making themselves more competitive. The primary way of cheating is by asking the government for special privilege. Sadly, there's no constitutional prohibition on corporate welfare.

Maybe if the government hadn't tried to regulate the banking industry they would have done better?

Exactly. And the housing industry. The banks that did not have threats coming in from the justice department telling them to take loans for Freddie Mae to buy, did not have a toxic asset problem. The parts of the country that did not have restrictions on the creation of new housing, did not have a housing bubble. A good book on this is The Housing Boom and Bust.

If you lend money that doesn't belong to you, how is that not theft?

Because the deposits were voluntary.

I'm interested in your conjecture. Why do you imagine that if somehow someday a free market actually came to exist, that banks would stop getting away with it?

They're not getting away with anything so far as fractional lending is concerned. Customers will soon know if any bank is being dishonest. Unless they're just lying, which is already immoral for reasons unrelated to money, and rightly illegal.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby eran_rathan » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:40 am UTC

winmine wrote:
(A socialist proposal)

It's just a failure, JThomas. Does anyone claim that the post office is cost-efficient, relative to its competitors? Is there any part of the government, not involved in protecting third parties (the army, the EPA) that is not more inefficient than a market alternative?


Both Medicare & Medicaid are significantly more efficient than traditional insurance companies.

http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2011/09/2 ... insurance/
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:21 am UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
winmine wrote:
(A socialist proposal)

It's just a failure, JThomas. Does anyone claim that the post office is cost-efficient, relative to its competitors? Is there any part of the government, not involved in protecting third parties (the army, the EPA) that is not more inefficient than a market alternative?


Both Medicare & Medicaid are significantly more efficient than traditional insurance companies.

http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2011/09/2 ... insurance/


But if you were to look at Medicare and Medicaid as attempts to generate profits for the US government, they would be inefficient miserable failures.

Traditional insurance companies are far, far more efficient at generating profits for themselves and their stockholders. And that's what counts, isn't it?

winmine wrote:
Maybe if the government hadn't tried to regulate the banking industry they would have done better?

Exactly. And the housing industry. The banks that did not have threats coming in from the justice department telling them to take loans for Freddie Mae to buy, did not have a toxic asset problem. The parts of the country that did not have restrictions on the creation of new housing, did not have a housing bubble. A good book on this is The Housing Boom and Bust.


I'm sorry.

I thought you were taking the traditional arguments and trying to present them so clearly that people could see how stupid they are.

But now I'm getting convinced that you're sincere.

I can't respond now. I have to rethink what I'm doing. Maybe later.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:37 am UTC

eran_rathan wrote:Both Medicare & Medicaid are significantly more efficient than traditional insurance companies.


Medicare doesn't cover nearly what the private health and medical care markets cover. Of course costs are going to be lower if there's less service.

I'd love to see a study comparing the effects as well as the costs, especially when you look at individuals, and hold constant sex, age, smoking/nonsmoking and so forth. Included in the Medicare costs must be the increased price from limiting the variety of drugs available, and from subsidizing the drug. You usually find a subsidy to the customer (single-payer) to transfer largely to the industry itself, especially the well-established parts.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:54 am UTC

winmine wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:Both Medicare & Medicaid are significantly more efficient than traditional insurance companies.


Medicare doesn't cover nearly what the private health and medical care markets cover. Of course costs are going to be lower if there's less service.


So this is an example of reverse economy of scale?

Maybe Medicare is more efficient because they choose their customers carefully and mostly insure healthy people?

No. I can't go on.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:58 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:I can't respond now.

I think the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of free markets. I'll quote Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine: "The freer the better."
http://www.2think.org/02_2_she.shtml

I'm writing in order to hear arguments against that idea. Particularly to test the proposition, in the area of money, that choices ought not be illegal or restricted.

Ideas are surely the market where the most danger lies. And yet we demand that the press and speech be free. Why do we take on this much danger? What is our gain?

[New post by J Thomas]
I don't know if Medicare has lower costs, in relation to their total output, compared to the private market. But I'd like to see a study that included enough information to be conclusive.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Fire Brns » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:25 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Fire brns wrote:
ijuin wrote: wrote: (and to avoid the possibility that if you used a gun, he would call your bluff and somebody would actually get shot)


Don't be a hero, big thing both law enforcement and employers suggest. Don't draw until he has turned around and is leaving and has no reason to stay if shot at, to hell with "excessive force", he was robbing the place and you might win him a trip to the ER.


After that, better you quit your job and go somewhere else. Word will get out locally. If somebody local thinks about robbing your convenience store they will know that you shot somebody in the back. They won't rob the place while you're there unless they intend to shoot you. If it was a friend of theirs, they just might plan it that way.

Being a convenience store clerk in a bad area is risky. When you shoot somebody in the back you raise the ante a whole lot.

I would likely be in jail for using excessive force. But the criminal scum would be dead so it's trade off I wouldn't hate. It would lead to some reform of gun laws and put some fear back in violent criminals.
Florida laws apply to me, but it's the same principle: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/arti ... 56321.html
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:40 am UTC

winmine wrote:
J Thomas wrote:I can't respond now.

I think the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of free markets. I'll quote Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine: "The freer the better."
http://www.2think.org/02_2_she.shtml

I'm writing in order to hear arguments against that idea. Particularly to test the proposition, in the area of money, that choices ought not be illegal or restricted.


OK, I'll respond seriously. A truly free market could provide a feedback mechanism. Producers would have an idea how much of their products would sell and at what price. They could look at their costs and tell whether it's better to just shut down. They could decide how much of everything to make with minimal waste. Meanwhile buyers could get what they wanted from the people who could make it most efficiently. Feedback is the method, and markets would provide feedback.

Ideally, you would have markets on the internet. People would predict what they would want in the future, and would estimate what price they were ready to pay. You could perhaps have buying clubs where people combine to buy particular products. They each say what they would be willing to pay, and put down a large deposit, and if the club can get enough orders together to get them filled at that price, then all the people who promised to pay that much or more are obligated to pay, while those who bid less are closed out for this round.

Having a lot of bids from prospective customers would be a big help to producers. In many cases they could look at the market, decide how much to make at what price, get their orders in hand, create the product, and ship it to their customers. I think that would be just about ideal.

Some things can only be produced slowly. Lumber takes something like 18 years. Orchards take at least 5. Many crops take 6 months or more. And there's no guarantee how much will be created. It depends on weather. Somebody has to take a risk.

Now, consider the way things got done back when free market theory was first developed. You start making your product, and it can be months before you get much feedback how well it's selling. Particularly with products that mostly sell before Christmas, you can go a whole year before you find out whether you're breaking even. Feedback delayed.

Commodities tended to get sold on "markets" that were run by a market-maker. Somebody has a warehouse, and he buys and sells commodities. He is a middle-man. He sets the price he will buy, and the higher price he will sell. Everybody buys from him and sells to him. Occasionally people make private deals, but they want to make their deals at his price because if it's some other price then one or the other could do better by dealing with him....

One market maker wins in any area, because a second market-maker with a different price will face arbitrage, and the one who can best stand that is the winner. A secondary market maker must have wider margins to prevent that, and then he gets mostly the customers that the main market-maker refuses to deal with.

The market-maker sets the price at whatever he wants. Does this seem like a "free" market to you? When the market is dominated by sellers who create product and want to sell it, versus buyers who want to buy product and consume it, he can't do much -- in that case he needs to imitate a free market. But when there are speculators who try to buy low and sell high, he can fleece them. They are gambling in his casino, and he can set the prices. Needless to say, this is not at all useful to actual buyers and sellers who might have been hoping to use price for feedback.

But none of this is reflected in free market theory. The theory is, well theoretical. It is stated in abstract terms, about what logically makes sense and not in terms of what actually happens. It was a powerful idea. The same basic idea got repeated by Darwin etc. They did not understand genetics at all, but they were ready to postulate that the feedback mechanism of random change followed by natural selection would result in the perfection of living beings. At nearly the same time, french ecologists hypothesized that many species evolving together, all of them forming much of the environment that selects each of the others, would create a feedback system that optimised each of them for their own ecosystem and would over time create a perfect ecosystem.

All of these ideas have needed a lot of rework. Modern control theory exposes some of the problems. Feedback always involves delays, and it usually includes a degree of random noise. If you respond to feedback too strongly and too quickly, you will jump all over the place responding to the noise. If you respond too slowly, changes get inside your OODA loop. If you respond too strongly but not too quickly, you are likely to hunt -- you will create self-induced oscillations. If it isn't damped enough you will oscillate wildly, more and more. If you respond at just the wrong rate compared to the rate the inputs are changing, you can descend into chaos. There are many hilarious ways for feedback systems to fail. And yet, many people accept free markets almost as religious dogma. "Free markets have to be the best -- they have feedback!"

Free markets tend to have problems with externalities. If you make a deal with somebody, and both of you agree to the deal because you get something out of it that you think is worthwhile, you can affect third parties who may be badly hurt. If no deal ever affected a third party then every deal would be an improvement, to the extent that you both are right that you will benefit. But -- externalities.

And yet, feedback loops for all their imperfections are valuable. What alternative do we have? Maybe you can predict how much of various products to make and get the mix right. When you can't get feedback in time you have to predict. But that's no replacement at all for checking your results.... Actual free markets would be a good way to get feedback in some circumstances. It's an idea that is potentially quite useful. Not a panacea, but a good tool to have in the toolbox.

There's an old Iraqi joke that goes:

A man's donkey died. He looked at his cart, wondering what to do. Then he saw a kitten, and he hitched the kitten to the cart.
A neighbor noticed what he was doing, and said, "That's ridiculous! You can't make that kitten pull that cart!"
And the man said, "Ah, but I have a whip!".

Sometimes I hear enthusiasts say "Ah, but I have a free market!".

I don't much like to argue about this, though, because in my experience it has been exactly like arguing with people about their religion.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:18 am UTC

Prices in a free market are highly subject to change. And one supplier's product may not be identical to another's. There's quality, perhaps shipping costs, insurance might vary. In fact every detail can vary. Apple's and Samsung's phones might look the same, but people definitely have a preference. Same with Coke and Pepsi. Some people like lots of sugar, others like more fizz (and more cocaine 'extract').

Nobody dominates these markets. You're also not accounting for a dozen new competitors trying to undercut the most popular company at once. Most of them won't survive but there will always be people willing to take a risk and strike it rich.

A free market is not supposed to be perfect. It's just -better-. To take your question about externalities, anything that's difficult for a market is also going to be difficult for a central agency.

I think the idea of trying to force others or to limit others comes from the same urge as the religious urge. It doesn't ever really work out. I think allowing people to be free is not a religious idea at all, because there's no heaven guaranteed, or responsibilities taken away, or obscure ethics applied. It's just 'let it be'.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:21 pm UTC

winmine wrote:Prices in a free market are highly subject to change. And one supplier's product may not be identical to another's. There's quality, perhaps shipping costs, insurance might vary. In fact every detail can vary. Apple's and Samsung's phones might look the same, but people definitely have a preference. Same with Coke and Pepsi. Some people like lots of sugar, others like more fizz (and more cocaine 'extract').


Yes, actual "markets" tend to work around commodities where the differences between the products aren't considered important. One ounce of bona fide gold bullion is as valuable as another ounce. One share of IBM is not much different from another share.

In blind taste tests I haven't yet found anyone who can tell Coke from Pepsi. People are getting something that matters to them when they choose between those, but it probably isn't a difference in the product.

I don't see your point. In some "free markets" prices are subject to change. Sure. So what?

Nobody dominates these markets. You're also not accounting for a dozen new competitors trying to undercut the most popular company at once. Most of them won't survive but there will always be people willing to take a risk and strike it rich.


Again, so what? What does this have to do with anything I said?

A free market is not supposed to be perfect. It's just -better-.


Better than what? Better than a bureaucracy run with typewriters and handcranked calculators? Clearly some free markets are better than others, and some bureaucracies run with typewriters and calculators are better than others. So what?

To take your question about externalities, anything that's difficult for a market is also going to be difficult for a central agency.


Yes, and any issue of harm to a third party that's difficult for a market to address will be difficult for a court of law to address. But the market is not designed to address such things at all. A free market in slaves might likely turn out to be more efficient than a market in slaves with government interference. If you think that there should not be a market in slaves at all, how would free markets address that issue? "If you don't think people should be enslaved, then don't enslave anybody, don't sell slaves, and don't buy slaves yourself. But you have no right to interfere in my own right to buy and sell slaves."

I think the idea of trying to force others or to limit others comes from the same urge as the religious urge. It doesn't ever really work out. I think allowing people to be free is not a religious idea at all, because there's no heaven guaranteed, or responsibilities taken away, or obscure ethics applied. It's just 'let it be'.


We wind up arguing morality, when there is no basis to decide what's moral except what you like versus what I like. I don't approve of slavery -- I don't like it. I approve of taking people's slaves away from them, though it's possible they might deserve some sort of compensation if they bought their slaves legally. Forcing people to give up their slaves, limiting their rights, may be fundamentally wrong but still sometimes other people do things that I think are fundamentally wrong and I want to limit them. Lots of people agree with me which is why I can get away with it sometimes.

I say that if it's wrong for society to create slaves, then it's also wrong for society to create wage-slaves. If you are born into a situation where you must sell your labor to survive, and there are a limited number of buyers for your labor and you must compete with more potential wage-slaves than the potential buyers want, and owners can fire a wage-slave whenever they want with not even as much responsibility for him as an actual slave-owner has -- that's WRONG. But I don't know what to do about it. If you could enter into a life-long contract that guaranteed you an income and a retirement but you weren't allowed to quit or change employers, would that be better or worse? If you couldn't quit or change employers but the boss could sell you to whoever he wanted, I'm pretty sure that would be worse.

If we had no society but we were like mountain lions, each with whatever territory he could carve out for himself, sovereign in his own land or else dead, then we would be free. But instead we do have a society. Most of us can't survive without it. The society gets to choose which of us to kill, or keep in "maximum security", etc. Most of us are not ready to try to live like mountain lions, so we compromise away our freedoms. I prefer societies with more freedoms, and my ability to migrate among them is limited. I want to look for a better mix of freedoms that society could afford to let us have. Arguing that we should all be maximally free to do anything that I think is morally right, but not what I think is morally wrong, doesn't help much. But if you argue for freedom but you don't like slavery, that's what you're doing. Somehow we have to solve the complicated moral problem of where my rights end and where my slave's rights begin. Free markets give us no hint of how to solve that.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:23 pm UTC

In random order,

I've already said slavery is wrong.

I don't know what a wage slave is. People are free to vote with their feet and move around for a job they like. A good thing to remove limitations on that is complete free trade.

It's just obvious that morals aren't subjective, and I'm not going to write out a defense of that.

Freer markets are simply better than more restrictive ones. You haven't taken me up on this point.

Your examples of commodities and shares prove my point about prices not being at all under anyone's control.

And anyone who thinks there's not a difference between coke and pepsi is just lying. I don't really that strong a preference between them, but cmon.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:08 pm UTC

winmine wrote:I've already said slavery is wrong.


You have said you believe slavery is wrong. Practically everybody of european extraction agrees with you today. A hundred fify years ago a large minority of Americans disagreed. Three hundred years ago a whole lot of europeans disagreed. A thousand years ago the majority of europeans were serfs and nobody asked them whether they thought it was right. There were a small number of slavs among them, but there wasn't enough market for slavs in europe to bring in large numbers.

People's ideas about right and wrong evolve. There's no particular reason to think we have it right today.

I don't know what a wage slave is. People are free to vote with their feet and move around for a job they like. A good thing to remove limitations on that is complete free trade.


During the Depression millions of people voted with their feet looking for seasonal labor etc and largely not finding it. People who had jobs stepped very carefully because they could lose them on their boss's whim. I think choice is a good thing. But when a whole lot of people only have one choice and a whole lot more don't have any choice at all, it's no good telling them they're free to choose.

It's just obvious that morals aren't subjective, and I'm not going to write out a defense of that.


Well see, this is where the whole system starts breaking down. You want to have free markets so people get to remove their limitations, but then you think they ought to have limitations when they're being immoral. If everybody agreed what was moral, that would be OK. We'd apply the limitations that everybody agreed on, and give them free choice otherwise. But people don't agree. There are giant gaping disagreements about what's moral. So we wind up with people getting limited by other people's morals, that they disagree with, and they resent it bitterly. We get people who want to limit other people and don't manage it, and they resent it bitterly too. When that gets out of hand we wind up fighting, and the role of free markets then is to efficiently supply the guns and ammo.

Freer markets are simply better than more restrictive ones. You haven't taken me up on this point.


How can I? I say that free markets are one way to provide useful feedback loops to efficiently produce what people want. That's a good thing. It isn't the only way and it may not be the best way, but it's often a good way. The details of how a free market gets set up are vital; some free markets are far better than others. Free markets should be designed by people who will not personally benefit by designing them badly. Free markets are in themselves value-neutral -- you can have an efficient free market in slaves as easily as an efficient free market in cotton. Whatever morality you bring to the table is separate from the market mechanisms. Free markets do not handle externalities, and sometimes we cannot survive unless we handle some of the externalities. You say it's hard for any other system to handle them; but free markets do not do so.

When you say that freer markets are simply better than more restrictive ones, not better for reason X or for reason Y but simply better, it sounds like you have accepted a moral argument that they are simply better in themselves. You are welcome to your opinion, but at least notice that it is your subjective opinion. and has no connection to any reality.

Your examples of commodities and shares prove my point about prices not being at all under anyone's control.


I don't see how you got that. When there is a market maker who buys at $20 and sells at $20.25, how is the price not under his control? In the long run he may find it prudent to change his prices, but he is definitely controlling the price in the short run. What is it about this that you failed to get?

And anyone who thinks there's not a difference between coke and pepsi is just lying. I don't really that strong a preference between them, but cmon.


Try it yourself.
Get unopened coke and pepsi and refrigerate them the same amount.
Get a group of people who agree to the test. Get one person to help you.
Label three cups A B C and put them on a tray. Pour one drink into one of them and the other into the other two. Record which is which.
Label three cups D E F and put them on a tray. Pour one drink into one of them and the other into the other two. Record which is which.
Etc. Don't show your helper which is which.

Send your helper out to the testers. Have him ask them to decide which one out of three is different.

When I have done this often people accused me of actually having the cups all the same. They couldn't tell any difference and they thought I was trying to trick them. People who guessed, guessed wrong around 2/3 of the time. 3 people out of 38 got it right three times in a row. Nobody guessed right consistently.

Don't take my word for it. Try it yourself, at a party or something. You might be a rare individual who can tell the difference, but most people can't.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:58 pm UTC

You're mostly babbling now, but there's no intelligent designer in a free market. That's the point.

I asserted that free markets are better for argument. You've no contrary.

If somebody's undercutting by a quarter, then that's a risk they're taking. We know the price will change.

And I don't buy the logic of that soda test. You wouldn't do a wine tasting like that.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Arariel » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:36 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Of course theft is immoral. That's not a regulation on the money market.


If you lend money that doesn't belong to you, how is that not theft?


Many of your arguments are perplexing, but this one is especially so. Money is lent to banks. That's what a deposit is. If that's theft, so is spending lent money. In which case, no one should do anything with borrowed money, because that's theft and immoral, and just let it sit there.

J Thomas wrote:Commodities tended to get sold on "markets" that were run by a market-maker. Somebody has a warehouse, and he buys and sells commodities. He is a middle-man. He sets the price he will buy, and the higher price he will sell. Everybody buys from him and sells to him. Occasionally people make private deals, but they want to make their deals at his price because if it's some other price then one or the other could do better by dealing with him....


What? Who taught you maths? If he buys at a low price and sells at a high price, buyers and sellers get a better deal if they made a transaction at some price in between.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:56 am UTC

winmine wrote:You're mostly babbling now, but there's no intelligent designer in a free market. That's the point.


I don't understand. You seem to argue that nobody designs markets. Wherever did you get that idea? Did you somehow think the New York Stock Exchange was not designed? Did you suppose the Chicago Merc just somehow happened by accident? What the hell?

I asserted that free markets are better for argument. You've no contrary.


What did that mean? I get the impression you're getting at something, but I don't understand your point.

If somebody's undercutting by a quarter, then that's a risk they're taking. We know the price will change.


Sure, the price will change when the market-maker changes it.

And I don't buy the logic of that soda test. You wouldn't do a wine tasting like that.


When the question is to find out whether you can tell the difference between two wines, then it is done exactly like that. That's where I got it. The wine book I got it from is packed away right now and I can't give you the reference. But this is a standard test, done consistently by the US food industry. When they want to find out whether testers like a new product better, they first check whether the testers can in fact tell the difference. If they can't tell them apart then their opinions about which they like better are suspect.

And most people can't tell coke from pepsi in this test. If you don't believe me, try it yourself on as many people as you feel like. It isn't difficult or expensive.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:33 am UTC

I guess I can use a car analogy for the designer of markets. Anyone can look at car styles evolve, but nobody was at the top of that. To the extent that they're free of restriction, ideas tend to evolve over a slow period of time. The history is there, but nobody has to know it.

I say again, the freer the better. You've avoided this point.

And you're committing a fallacy because who the person with the lowest price is changes, and there are opportunity costs associated with having the lowest price. The gas station with the lowest price in town may not be making a profit on his gas on that day, but maybe on other products.

And if those are disagreeable topics, we'll never find common ground on soda :)

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:45 am UTC

Arariel wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
Of course theft is immoral. That's not a regulation on the money market.


If you lend money that doesn't belong to you, how is that not theft?


Many of your arguments are perplexing, but this one is especially so. Money is lent to banks. That's what a deposit is. If that's theft, so is spending lent money. In which case, no one should do anything with borrowed money, because that's theft and immoral, and just let it sit there.


Thank you for inviting me to explain this. The trouble is, banking is counterintuitive and hard to explain. Also, recent developments are not exactly transparent....

Let's see.... If somebody lends you $20, and you then lend the money at interest, there's nothing wrong with that, agreed? If that was what banks did I'd agree that there's no problem. There might be some naive people left in the USA who believe that when you put your money into a bank that the bank keeps it safe, but I learned in grade school that the bank lends that money. Probably most people know that. So that part isn't fraud.

But what if somebody lends you $20, and you lend the $20 at interest, and then you counterfeit another $80 and lend that at interest too. You agree that would be wrong, don't you? You would be counterfeiting money, and lending it, and getting something for nothing. The $20 you borrowed is worth less than it would be otherwise because the counterfeit money is competing with it to buy things. Supply and demand, you have increased the supply of money and diluted the demand, and you get the profit from doing that.

And that's what banks do. A long time ago bankers found by experience that if a bank has $1 million, they can lend out around $19 million and be OK. If they actually have 5% of the money they say they do, people will keep putting more cash into the bank about as fast as they take it out, and 5% is enough to cover the statistical fluctuations. And if most people keep most of their money in banks? Then 95% of the money in circulation is money the banks lent out, and it has diluted the value of your money about 95%.

However, every now and then we had problems with depression, usually after a bunch of banks went bust. The government tried to regulate banks. (They were kind of regulated before. It's illegal to start a bank unless you have a government charter, which is essentially a license to steal.) The government decided that if a bank has $1 million, it shouldn't be allowed to lend more than $3 million or $4 million, so it will have 20% or 25% of reserves in case too many people want their money. That way the banks can in theory reduce the value of your money by only 75% or 80%.

This is a little bit oversimplified, but I'm trying to make it short. Really, the "money supply" isn't just the number of dollars. It matters how fast the dollars turn around. If everybody spent their money twice as fast, then half the number of dollars would.... Never mind, I'll present it simply and if you get interested you can look at lots of details.

We set up a central bank, the Federal Reserve, which was supposed to regulate things more. Since it was managed by bankers, they handled things the way bankers would. The Fed became a bank for bankers. Bankers would deposit money with the Fed, and they could then get loans from the Fed. Since they usually needed temporary loans to pay other banks, and the other banks kept their reserves with the Fed, the Fed could lend out much more money than the Fed had.

Part of the reason the government tolerated all this was that the government faced a need to expand the money supply. Lots of voters wanted that, and it seemed to help the economy. But also lots of voters didn't trust the government to do that responsibly. So the government used a lot of sneaky tricks to expand the money supply without actually admitting they were doing that. For a while the Treasury printed money that had "Gold Certificate" on it. Some of these were theoretically redeemable in gold. The government printed money that was not redeemable in gold at the same time, and gold certificates were worth more to some people. The Treasury also printed money that had "Silver Certificate", redeemable in silver, and later they printed Federal Reserve Notes. I saw some silver certificates when I was a kid, they spent just like money. When the price of silver went above $1 a newspaper op-ed writer said he collected a bunch of silver certificates and traded them for silver dollars, and he put them in a safety deposit box waiting for the price of silver to go high enough it would be worth melting them down. After he thought about it he was not hopeful, but I expect he did OK. So anyway, the government had been printing fiat money, not backed by anything, since at least the Civil War and a minority of voters were upset about it. At one point in response the government made a law that they could only print 4 silver certificates for every dollar's worth of silver they had, and they could only print 5 Federal Reserve notes for every Silver Certificate.

So here we are. Banks lend far more dollars than exist, inflating the money supply for their own profit. The Fed gets to decide how much they can do that, theoretically independent of political pressure, because we don't trust the government to do it right. That's why when Bernanke announced that he thought a 3% inflation rate was a good target, it was important. He (together with the rest of the Board) gets to decide how much money to release to set the inflation rate, and it's mostly his choice.

It used to be, you gave the bank a dollar and then if they could find good credit risks they lent $4. But now they don't depend on your money. They can get money from the Fed to lend. But what if the Fed wants to increase the money supply but nobody wants to borrow the money? The Fed can't make people borrow money. Well, if the government cooperates, the Fed can lend money to the government which then spends it. Or the Fed can lend money to banks who then lend it to the government at a higher rate. Done right, that increases the money supply just the right amount.

And now the banks don't really depend on your deposits. They can get their money from the Fed. The Fed monitors how much money they have in their computers. It compares what they owe against their deposits in the Fed's computers, and if they owe too much the Fed makes them fix the problem or it shuts them down in some orderly way.

Recently you may have noticed the Ronpaul trying to get Congress to decide they had the right to audit the Fed. Right now, nobody knows what the Fed is doing except the Fed. They aren't responsible to anybody. Are they lending more money than they have? Of course. How much more? Nobody knows. It used to be, you could count the number of dollars the Treasury printed and that was a measure of how many actual dollars there were, compared to virtual dollars. Now the printed dollars don't matter except we need some of them for ATM machines etc, for people who want paper money. The Fed could, if it wanted, release any amount of virtual money to banks and nobody knows. the Ronpaul was trying to dramatize that.

There are various moral stands possible about all this. Some people say that nobody should try to manage the money supply at all. Go to a strict gold standard, maybe with paper money backed 100% by stored gold. That way nobody gets to cheat. Winmine has been saying to go to a strict gold standard but let the banks cheat all they want to, with no regulation. I don't understand that -- why let the government-licensed banks inflate the money supply by 5 times or 9 times collecting interest on most of the money out there? He says they will be careful not to do it too much since they don't want to hurt themselves.

I think we need to manage the money supply but I'm not clear how. Maybe it's true we can't trust the government to do it. I don't see that it's such a great idea to trust bankers to do it, for their own profit. We need to find somebody we can trust about that. Then there's the question, when new money comes into the economy, who gets to spend it? Currently, bankers can lend it to borrowers who spend it, plus the government spends part of it. As a moral thing I see no reason to give it to bankers to lend. The government case is sort of neutral -- if they didn't spend new money they'd tax somebody for it. If you don't like the government spending your money, it's kind of mute whether they do it by taxing you or by inflating the money supply -- except if they inflate the money supply you can't avoid the consequences, while if they tax somebody you might have the political clout to make sure they tax somebody else and not you.

So the Republican idea of the government borrowing the money at interest and cutting taxes is not so bad, except why should we owe bankers interest instead of just printing money? First the government gives the bankers money and then they lend it back to the government at interest? Also, if we wanted to, instead of a flat tax we could have a flat tax rebate. Give every voter the same amount. That's fair.

Morally, I don't see why banks should get to borrow $10 and then lend $50. It's legal, because they have a license to do it. It would be illegal for you, but it's legal for them. But why should it be? But that's the way it used to be. Now it's unclear what's going on. Some of the banks are losing, others are winning even more. The fewer banks that survive to compete.... Presumably partly it's political patronage that decides which banks win. Partly good management, plus it's only natural that the bigger ones eat the smaller. Say this continued until it was one bank dealing with the Fed.... Who has the political power then? The economic power?

Would it be so bad if nobody but the government was allowed to lend money unless they actually had the money they were lending?
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby jay35 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:27 pm UTC

You may have a point about banks and their lending practices, but in skimming the last page or so of this thread, I'm unclear how that relates to the greater argument against free markets that you seem to be making (or at least the other folks are arguing for free market systems and you seem to be disagreeing with them). Anyone got Cliff's Notes?

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:08 pm UTC

jay35 wrote:You may have a point about banks and their lending practices, but in skimming the last page or so of this thread, I'm unclear how that relates to the greater argument against free markets that you seem to be making (or at least the other folks are arguing for free market systems and you seem to be disagreeing with them). Anyone got Cliff's Notes?


OK, I'll describe how winmine's position looks to me, and maybe if i got it wrong he will say how I misunderstood.

-----------------------
Claim:

1. Free markets are good. The freer the better. They are good because freedom is good. When people make their own choices then the results are their own fault and not anybody else's. People are in general competent, informed, wise, and prescient -- they will make the choices that are good for them, given the chance. When government or anybody else restricts their choices that's bad. Government is in general incompetent, uninformed, foolish, and schlemielish. Therefore we should only use government to deal with the most deadly problems, like the army, the EPA, and the courts.

2. We should not reduce people's choices just because they might make the wrong choice. Except when they are likely to make immoral choices. Then we should do things to reduce their ability to do the bad things, and also we should be careful to punish them afterward, using the court system.

3. Free markets are not only morally the best, they are the most efficient at getting good results. If a free market does it, the result will be good and efficient because that's how free markets roll. If a free market does something that gets a bad result, it is always because government got involved and did something incompetent, uninformed, foolish, etc. Without government involvement, free markets always give the best possible result. Or possibly they might occasionally fail, but any other approach would fail just as bad or worse.
---------------

Here's my alternative idea:
---------------
My claim:

Free markets are a useful tool in the toolchest, but no panacea. In the absence of external forces like government, we could expect to have free markets in child porn, in children to do live child porn with, in adult women slaves, in, well, anything you might happen to disapprove of that somebody could make a buck from.

I increasingly encounter people on the internet who want to solve all problems with free markets. It's an ideological goal, that starts from the assumption that any other approach is bad. So, given a kind of pollution that causes cancer, I see these people advocate a free market in licenses to spread cancer-causing pollution. The argument is that the expense of the licenses will encourage the businesses that can easiest clean up their pollution to do so, making a profit selling their pollution licenses to other businesses that are less able to clean up.

And I think, if I had the money I could buy up carcinogenic pollution licenses, spread the pollution in cities full of people I didn't care about, and meanwhile buy or build for-profit cancer treatment centers....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fhwDaNW8zA

Free markets are one useful tool in the toolbox. But when you need a hammer, you don't try to use a screwdriver in its place. Even the very best screwdriver....
---------------

tl;dr:
Free markets are not a panacea. To make them work well they need to be carefully designed to fit the particular circumstances. Some people who have not thought about it and do not know history, want to think that the best free markets spring up entirely by accident with nobody thinking about how to make them work. It's possible that's true for the very best markets, because often the people who put a lot of care into designing markets do so with the intention of sucking as much money out of those markets as possible. They might likely create markets that are best for themselves, but not for anyone else.

Markets can suffer all the failures of other freedback systems. Have you ever set up a microphone and speaker, and gotten a squeal of self-induced sound? Have you ever taken a shower and turned up the heat because it was too cold, and then turned it up more when nothing happened, and then it got way too hot so you turned it back down but then it got too cold.... Feedback systems in general can fail when they get the wrong inputs. When they get inputs that change just faster than they can respond, they can go into conniptions -- John Boyd described this with his OODA concept, for warfare.

This doesn't mean that markets are bad. It means they need to be carefully designed and then monitored for conditions they can't handle. Also, it's good to try to design the system so that nobody wins a lot when the market fails. Because if there's a way to make a profit from market failures, somebody will do his best to achieve that....

There's the argument that nobody in the world is both benevolent enough and competent enough to be given the power to design markets. Nevertheless markets do get designed, usually for private gain. The NYSE for example started out as an official monopoly, designed to benefit its members. It has succeeded admirably at that task. The system has evolved. They started out meeting on benches, and the leader called out each stock one at a time and they bid on it, and afterward they were done for the day. Later they settled on a system where traders moved through the crowd more-or-less-randomly looking for deals. The anecdotal history claims that they discovered the specialist system by accident. A broker had a broken leg and could not circulate, so he sat in one place and put up signs for the stocks he wanted to trade. Anybody who wanted those stocks came to him. Then other people got the idea and put up their own signs. For each stock, you dealt with the specialist in that stock and no other. He kept a secret book of limit orders, and if he was agile he could swing the price up and down to clear out the low-hanging fruit. Recently the volume of trading got to be more than the specialists could handle, and they set up an automated system. It has had several giant failures, which typically get attributed to investors trying to use automated trading schemes themselves.

So I say, people who set up private markets as their own monopolies will do it however they want. But when the government creates a market, it should let academics do the design. They have a lot of research on the topic, and they'd be glad to do it and study where they went wrong so they can do it better next time, etc.

Meanwhile we shouldn't assume that markets are always the best approach to everything. Try out whatever might work. The last word has not been spoken on the subject.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby speising » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:13 pm UTC

Do you have a tl;dr to your tl;dr? :)

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby jay35 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:44 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
jay35 wrote:You may have a point about banks and their lending practices, but in skimming the last page or so of this thread, I'm unclear how that relates to the greater argument against free markets that you seem to be making (or at least the other folks are arguing for free market systems and you seem to be disagreeing with them). Anyone got Cliff's Notes?


OK, I'll describe how winmine's position looks to me, and maybe if i got it wrong he will say how I misunderstood.

-----------------------
Claim:

1. Free markets are good. The freer the better. They are good because freedom is good. When people make their own choices then the results are their own fault and not anybody else's. People are in general competent, informed, wise, and prescient -- they will make the choices that are good for them, given the chance. When government or anybody else restricts their choices that's bad. Government is in general incompetent, uninformed, foolish, and schlemielish. Therefore we should only use government to deal with the most deadly problems, like the army, the EPA, and the courts.

2. We should not reduce people's choices just because they might make the wrong choice. Except when they are likely to make immoral choices. Then we should do things to reduce their ability to do the bad things, and also we should be careful to punish them afterward, using the court system.

3. Free markets are not only morally the best, they are the most efficient at getting good results. If a free market does it, the result will be good and efficient because that's how free markets roll. If a free market does something that gets a bad result, it is always because government got involved and did something incompetent, uninformed, foolish, etc. Without government involvement, free markets always give the best possible result. Or possibly they might occasionally fail, but any other approach would fail just as bad or worse.
---------------

Here's my alternative idea:
---------------
My claim:

Free markets are a useful tool in the toolchest, but no panacea. In the absence of external forces like government, we could expect to have free markets in child porn, in children to do live child porn with, in adult women slaves, in, well, anything you might happen to disapprove of that somebody could make a buck from.

I increasingly encounter people on the internet who want to solve all problems with free markets. It's an ideological goal, that starts from the assumption that any other approach is bad. So, given a kind of pollution that causes cancer, I see these people advocate a free market in licenses to spread cancer-causing pollution. The argument is that the expense of the licenses will encourage the businesses that can easiest clean up their pollution to do so, making a profit selling their pollution licenses to other businesses that are less able to clean up.

And I think, if I had the money I could buy up carcinogenic pollution licenses, spread the pollution in cities full of people I didn't care about, and meanwhile buy or build for-profit cancer treatment centers....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fhwDaNW8zA

Free markets are one useful tool in the toolbox. But when you need a hammer, you don't try to use a screwdriver in its place. Even the very best screwdriver....
---------------

Fascinating. Thanks for the Cliff's Notes, they actually helped quite a bit.

I am curious why your first paragraph completely ignores his morality clause (under what you have listed as point #2 in his section) which addresses such things as you described in that first paragraph.

Also, regarding the notion that you ascribe to him within point #1 of his position, of people being intelligent and capable of generally making the right choices: Arguably, public education and government intervention are the root cause of the erosion of that innate ability, not an enhancer of that ability. Thus, while you would be right that it is not true everyone will make correct decisions, and perhaps they could use assistance in doing so because they have lost that ability, the very forces you wish to use to "help" guide/make the people make the choices you deem best for them (i.e., government knows best) are actually part of the cause or problem, and not the solution. Therefore, while you might be correct that many people might not make the best choices, it is arguably because of the effect of government "education" and assistance programs that have instilled poorer valuesets and greater dependencies than if they'd been educated in free market ideals, negotiating wisdom, and marketable skillsets, instead of welfare-based assistance programs i.e., transfer of wealth.

So it appears you may have correctly identified a poor assumption in his argument, but have also assigned a faulty solution that will only perpetuate the problem and likely require more effort to correct down the road (not unlike how printing money can only prolong or postpone the bubble popping, it cannot actually cure it).

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:34 pm UTC

jay35 wrote:
Spoiler:
J Thomas wrote:
jay35 wrote:You may have a point about banks and their lending practices, but in skimming the last page or so of this thread, I'm unclear how that relates to the greater argument against free markets that you seem to be making (or at least the other folks are arguing for free market systems and you seem to be disagreeing with them). Anyone got Cliff's Notes?


OK, I'll describe how winmine's position looks to me, and maybe if i got it wrong he will say how I misunderstood.

-----------------------
Claim:

1. Free markets are good. The freer the better. They are good because freedom is good. When people make their own choices then the results are their own fault and not anybody else's. People are in general competent, informed, wise, and prescient -- they will make the choices that are good for them, given the chance. When government or anybody else restricts their choices that's bad. Government is in general incompetent, uninformed, foolish, and schlemielish. Therefore we should only use government to deal with the most deadly problems, like the army, the EPA, and the courts.

2. We should not reduce people's choices just because they might make the wrong choice. Except when they are likely to make immoral choices. Then we should do things to reduce their ability to do the bad things, and also we should be careful to punish them afterward, using the court system.

3. Free markets are not only morally the best, they are the most efficient at getting good results. If a free market does it, the result will be good and efficient because that's how free markets roll. If a free market does something that gets a bad result, it is always because government got involved and did something incompetent, uninformed, foolish, etc. Without government involvement, free markets always give the best possible result. Or possibly they might occasionally fail, but any other approach would fail just as bad or worse.
---------------

Here's my alternative idea:
---------------
My claim:

Free markets are a useful tool in the toolchest, but no panacea. In the absence of external forces like government, we could expect to have free markets in child porn, in children to do live child porn with, in adult women slaves, in, well, anything you might happen to disapprove of that somebody could make a buck from.

I increasingly encounter people on the internet who want to solve all problems with free markets. It's an ideological goal, that starts from the assumption that any other approach is bad. So, given a kind of pollution that causes cancer, I see these people advocate a free market in licenses to spread cancer-causing pollution. The argument is that the expense of the licenses will encourage the businesses that can easiest clean up their pollution to do so, making a profit selling their pollution licenses to other businesses that are less able to clean up.

And I think, if I had the money I could buy up carcinogenic pollution licenses, spread the pollution in cities full of people I didn't care about, and meanwhile buy or build for-profit cancer treatment centers....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fhwDaNW8zA

Free markets are one useful tool in the toolbox. But when you need a hammer, you don't try to use a screwdriver in its place. Even the very best screwdriver....
---------------

Fascinating. Thanks for the Cliff's Notes, they actually helped quite a bit.

I am curious why your first paragraph completely ignores his morality clause (under what you have listed as point #2 in his section) which addresses such things as you described in that first paragraph.


I'm not very interested in the morality of it. My own view is that we first need a system that's survivable, and then we can add further restrictions as we go along. To the extent we agree about morality, we can just enforce that without much discussion. To the degree that we disagree about it, we will have problems and likely no one will be convinced by rational argument. I note that winmine has said nothing about how to decide what's right and what's wrong -- he believes he knows what's right and wrong and it isn't open for discussion. To the extent that a large majority of the population agrees with him, it won't cause problems. Any moral point that a large minority disagrees with, may cause big problems -- for example the drug war. He has given no indication how to decide which things we should allow maximum freedom for, versus which things we should enforce on evildoers, except that he just knows. What should I say about that?

My own stand is that we need a system that we can survive with, first. What we have has been mostly survivable so far. I want to be cautious about making big changes for moral reasons, when we don't know ahead of time whether we can live with them. (My argument about banks is largely a moral one, and if we were to dismantle them I'd want to do it slowly and carefully, in case they're actually good for something I haven't noticed.)

Also, regarding the notion that you ascribe to him within point #1 of his position, of people being intelligent and capable of generally making the right choices: Arguably, public education and government intervention are the root cause of the erosion of that innate ability, not an enhancer of that ability.


I don't see that this is an innate ability. Good judgement is something that people learn partly by experiencing the result of bad judgement. Ideally we would provide young people with safe environments to make their mistakes and suffer mild consequences, before they get into the situations where the consequences might kill lots of people.

Thus, while you would be right that it is not true everyone will make correct decisions, and perhaps they could use assistance in doing so because they have lost that ability, the very forces you wish to use to "help" guide/make the people make the choices you deem best for them (i.e., government knows best) are actually part of the cause or problem, and not the solution. Therefore, while you might be correct that many people might not make the best choices, it is arguably because of the effect of government "education" and assistance programs that have instilled poorer valuesets and greater dependencies than if they'd been educated in free market ideals, negotiating wisdom, and marketable skillsets, instead of welfare-based assistance programs i.e., transfer of wealth.


To the extent that it actually does use up resources for young people to learn how to do things, we can't avoid transfer of wealth to them or else leave them ignorant. I can't defend the public education system I've experienced. I myself was required to go to school and sit in class a lot, and they didn't teach very much. It was easy, and I learned to daydream effectively. The best thing about my school was that just before I got there they almost lost accreditation and they spent some money to buy books for the school library. I found some books there that were very good. My children got into their current school after No Child Left Behind got set up. It looks like they are drilled intensely, "teaching to the test" and they hate it. They don't have as much time to daydream as I had, and they don't have as much time to learn things on their own. I think it's much worse.

I'm not sure what alternatives could be available. It may have been important in the past that to some extent everybody learned pretty much the same things. That provided a degree of common culture which might have helped hold things together. Maybe now we get that better from TV and advertising. If everybody watches the same TV and the same ads, maybe we don't need them to learn the same things at school.

So it appears you may have correctly identified a poor assumption in his argument, but have also assigned a faulty solution that will only perpetuate the problem and likely require more effort to correct down the road (not unlike how printing money can only prolong or postpone the bubble popping, it cannot actually cure it).


I didn't suggest a solution, except that I think we need some limits on individual choice. I'm not sure where those limits should be. I think there should be some sort of limits on individuals who want to buy nuclear weapons. There's too much chance they would use them irresponsibly. I'd want some sort of limits on RPGs and antitank weapons, but I'm not sure where to draw the line about that sort of thing. I want strong limits on potent carcinogens. I've worked with nitrosoguanidine and I don't want anybody to have it unless they're actually competent to use it. Etc. I don't insist that government arrange those limitations -- there might be more effective ways to do it. But I want those limitations in place.

If through some sort of free market education or other way, we wind up with a population that's universally competent to do anything and wise to what should and shouldn't be done, then it would be different. But until we get that, I want everybody to at least have the chance to blow himself up by himself first, before he gets the chance to do a whole lot of damage to the rest of us.

speising wrote:Do you have a tl;dr to your tl;dr?


Yes, but I didn't bother to write it down. It was too long.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby visgean » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:24 pm UTC

Hi, I know this is a bit off topic, but what software if any was used in this comix?

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:24 pm UTC

tl;dr

I say things are generally best designed without a designer. I think I used language as an example up there. English is the least planned language, and it's the most useful language. Creationism is as useful in biology as it is in other fields.

The exceptions are where 3rd parties tend to be involved. The military, the environment and so on. Democracy is the best option here.

J Thomas is willing to try anything once, and he's willing to use the government to do it. He thinks that the 'right people' exist, and can be correctly identified and put to work by the government.

We both agree that free markets aren't a panacea. I think we agree that there's no such thing as a panacea.

I have to again, for strange and somewhat infuriating reasons, make it clear that I don't support slavery or child abuse.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:57 pm UTC

winmine wrote:I say again, the freer the better. You've avoided this point.


There's no argument there to address, no reasoning to poke holes in, no data to question, no stated metric to measure against. The only responses to that assertion are: "I agree" or "I disagree" - as it happens, I disagree - on general principle, I think it very unlikely that (assuming there is an optimum level of freedom at all) the freest possible market is the best. For example, which market is freer? One in which people are allowed to sell themselves as property, or one in which they aren't? One in which people are allowed to sell on to a third party anything they're allowed to buy, or one in which they aren't? By taking what seems to me to be the freer option in both of those, you end up with slavery - so either you don't believe that "the freer the better" or you do support slavery, or you have an unresolved inconsistency in your beliefs. Any of those possibilities is sufficient to ignore that point.


winmine wrote:I say things are generally best designed without a designer. I think I used language as an example up there. English is the least planned language, and it's the most useful language. Creationism is as useful in biology as it is in other fields.

The exceptions are where 3rd parties tend to be involved. The military, the environment and so on. Democracy is the best option here.


Last I checked, a free market was full of third parties, all of whom have influence on transactions, and all of whom are influenced by transactions - take a good with limited supply - if other people are buying it, the price rises, and it costs me more to acquire it; if I buy it, then that raises the price for everyone else.

If someone manages to establish a (near) monopoly on something, they can then pretty much do what they want with it - yes, if someone manages to secure a competing supply, that breaks the monopoly, and a monopoly on luxuries of any kind faces virtual competition from doing without, but a monopoly on a necessity - rice, say - is hard to break - there's only so much arable land in the first place, so there's a natural limit to the supply.


And I think it's fairly safe to say that no-one designed the current global economy either - the current system is descended from systems that, while they may not always have worked perfectly, worked well enough for long enough to not get reformed for long stretches...

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:25 pm UTC

Slavery is immoral and illegal and that's the last time I'll say it.

I don't see a contradiction between wanting more freedom for people and finding it desirable for slavery to be illegal. I'm really incredulous at this line of argument.

I don't know of anyone who has ever owned all the arable land in existence. You see when I argue against socialism, I have to use real examples and lots of evidence. But people arguing against freedom will say just about anything.

The freer the better. Anyone, contradict me.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby eran_rathan » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:06 pm UTC

winmine wrote:The freer the better. Anyone, contradict me.


Better than what? Freer than what?
Freer how?
Better how?

What you've been saying is just word vomit to make yourself feel better by listening to yourself talk. You've offered a hypothesis, but an untestable one (because you haven't offered anything substantiative).
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby speising » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:32 pm UTC

winmine wrote:Slavery is immoral and illegal and that's the last time I'll say it.

I don't see a contradiction between wanting more freedom for people and finding it desirable for slavery to be illegal. I'm really incredulous at this line of argument.

I don't know of anyone who has ever owned all the arable land in existence. You see when I argue against socialism, I have to use real examples and lots of evidence. But people arguing against freedom will say just about anything.

The freer the better. Anyone, contradict me.

Declaring things illegal is the antithesis to freedom.
Any feudal lord owned all land in his sphere of influence.
And have a look at the Hydraulic empire

Edit: also, after husseins fall and in the ensueing chaos, the people in irak were free to rob, kill, rape, etc.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby neremanth » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:22 pm UTC

winmine wrote:I say things are generally best designed without a designer. I think I used language as an example up there. English is the least planned language, and it's the most useful language.

It's not the unplanned nature of English that makes it most useful - its usefulness has nothing to do with its vocabulary, grammar, syntax, available registers or any other of intrinsic properties. It's the most useful language because more people speak it than any other language (I believe). (To what extent its widespread usage was planned is debateable - I'd say somewhere between totally planned and totally unplanned - but however planned that was, you're arguing that the language itself was not designed (true) or heavily interfered with by regulating bodies (it has been less so than some languages, but probably not the least of any language and it's not completely without that influence), and I'm saying that it's not the design and regulation (or lack thereof) that are what make it useful).

winmine wrote:Slavery is immoral and illegal and that's the last time I'll say it.

I don't see a contradiction between wanting more freedom for people and finding it desirable for slavery to be illegal. I'm really incredulous at this line of argument.


I completely believe that you think slavery is immoral (and I imagine those who have responded to you do too)*. So I take it that you do in fact agree that it should be illegal? (Again, I find it very likely that you do indeed believe this). If that is so, then either you think the best society is not one that is maximally free, or else you think a maximally free society is not one where people are allowed to keep and sell others as slaves. I can see how that might not be a contradictory position if you think that, comparing a society A where slavery is legal and a society B where it is illegal, the greater freedom in society A due to people being allowed to sell and own slaves is more than counterbalanced by the greater freedom in society B due to no-one being enslaved, so that society B is more free than society A. In that case, the maximally free society logically achievable is still not completely free. The point being that often allowing people freedom to do something means removing other people's freedom from being affected by that something. I guess what I'm saying is that it sounds like you're trying to argue for something that's impossible, not just practically but theoretically. If you clarify that the society you would like would necessarily have some restrictions on people's freedom (like not allowing people to keep and sell slaves) then I will consider that a valid point of view that I disagree with, but if you maintain that you want a completely free society then I will consider that a logically invalid point of view.

*(And I can understand why you would be offended/annoyed/upset/whatever that people would think that you thought slavery was ok; but I don't think anyone does think that - I think their point is that if you don't think slavery is ok, some interesting things logically follow, which is why they keep mentioning slavery)

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby jay35 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:48 pm UTC

Maximum freedom within the rule of law. Which begs its own question.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:41 pm UTC

Freer markets, people. I don't see how anyone can construe my line of reasoning in any other way.

Tell me how any transaction between two people can be better handled by the government.

I'm just - I can't believe the responses I'm getting. This isn't anarchy being advocated.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:50 pm UTC

A maximally free society does not mean that every individual person is maximally free. If one person's freedom would restrict another person's freedom, allowing the former freedom does not make society more free.

A maximally free society is one where each individual's freedom is limited only by respect for the equal freedom of others; where everyone is free to do anything up until the point that it reduces others' freedom. It's not a really hard concept to grasp.

Also, "own slaves" isn't really a thing for someone to do, strictly speaking; to be in the state of owning slaves is just to be in a state where others' freedom is subordinated to you. Increasing those others' freedom by making them no longer your slaves does not restrict your freedom at all; you are not suddenly prohibited from doing anything. Instead, others are suddenly not prohibited from doing things. There is no such thing as "my freedom for you to not be free" -- and I'm not just saying that I'm not free to do that, but that that's not a thing to do which could be either permitted or prohibited in the first place.

Of course there may be side issues like my freedom to beat and whip you, which is where get into issues of "freedom from" being essential to the practical enjoyment of "freedom to". It is logically possible that everyone is permitted to do everything, including prevent others from doing things by any means they choose; but that's not the kind of freedom anybody wants. What we really want is freedom from the actions of others. In this sense, maximal freedom-from actually requires quite strict limits on others' freedom-to; we are maximally free from others when others are free to do things only to themselves and their own stuff, and not free to do anything to us.

For further reading see Claim rights and liberty rights, and their relation with Positive and negative rights. A "freedom to" is a positive liberty right, and a "freedom from" is a negative claim right. There are also positive claim rights and negative liberty rights, but those are another subject.
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speising
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby speising » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:04 pm UTC

People are not equal. They have different opinions of what they consider their rightful freedom, whee their freedom ends and anotherones ends.
If it weren't so, we wouldn't need laws, everyone would be naturally good and all would be well.
Just look at people who think they have a right to shoot anyone they deem to be a bad person, vs. tose who like the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" and would like to be free not to be afraid to be shot on the street.

Thus, we need a mediating agent to compromise between everyones freedoms in a society, ie. a government and it's laws.

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eran_rathan
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby eran_rathan » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:25 pm UTC

winmine wrote:Freer markets, people. I don't see how anyone can construe my line of reasoning in any other way.

Tell me how any transaction between two people can be better handled by the government.

I'm just - I can't believe the responses I'm getting. This isn't anarchy being advocated.


Freer than....?
Better than....?

Still haven't answered the question, mate.
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winmine
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:34 pm UTC

The less government control, the better.

This is about the seventh time I've said this.

speising
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby speising » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:35 pm UTC

And it still didn't become any truer.


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