Libertarianism

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Pfhorrest
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:18 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Doing this would be horrible for future investment. It'd basically be setting our entire economy on fire. Ultimately, land has value because there is someone there to buy it. If the rich are all leaving, and those outside the country cannot own land, then you have to sell it to the poor who remain. The poor, by definition, do not have money.

So the people trying to flee the country end up losing money if they try that (to the benefit of the poor who remain), which discourages them from doing so.

Pfhorrest wrote:Leaving aside the question of if they deserve it or not, as a practical matter, if your system relies extensively on a few people and yet greatly incentivizes those people to leave, your system has a problem.

It only 'relies' on them to the extent that they are in control of most of the wealth. If that stops being the case, then it no longer relies on them.

If you wish to give everyone 27.5k/yr in basic income(half the average), you need to tax everyone an average rate of 50% in addition to the 10% for other services. Even taxed at 100%, an obviously unattainable amount, you need to tax a few of the highest earners.

You're overlooking again, like everyone taking your position does every time this topic comes up, how most of the money "taxed" comes straight back in the form of the basic income itself, and so in effect never leaves. You're not taxing 60% of the wealth generated in the country, and then spending it on something, for just 60% of the money gone that people can't choose to spend on other things. On a simple flat-tax account of it, "Eric", who makes that $55k/yr average, gets taxed $27.5k/yr to pay for the basic income, but also gets $27.5k/yr in basic income, so he is basically not taxed anything at all, besides the other $5.5k for other stuff besides the basic income.

Right-libertarianism recognizes the need for a state. ... Attempting to do away with the state entirely is anarchism, not libertarianism.

We've been over this before, extensively.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:42 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:So, for the US, the average income* is $39kish, so a 50% solution ends up being 19.5k/yr, and the distribution you propose is roughly a 27% solution. Ballpark, almost 10k allowance is what it'd translate to in US terms. I'm not sure that 10k/yr is actually a basic income given that full time minimum wage employment comes out to around 15k/yr.


Sure, but the distribution you provided cuts out the top quintile of incomes in the United States. To have a distribution that roughly resembles what the United States actually has, you'd need to increase Adam and Beth's incomes to around 300k each, leaving everyone else the same. Using that distribution, you can get a 25k personal income for everyone using the existing income tax brackets and basically break even.

[edit]Showing my work
Spoiler:
Incomes Redistributed
0 22190.5
10000 30990.5
20000 39160.84
30000 46960.84
40000 54760.84
50000 62560.84
60000 70311.08
70000 77911.08
80000 85511.08
300000 244311.4
300000 244311.4

Sum
960000 978980.4

[/edit]
Only if you make the jump from "there ought to be" to "the government ought to".


What's the alternative?

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:52 pm UTC

The Libertarian alternative is to have the state concerned only with protecting private property ownership, and have faith that the rules of capitalism will sort out most of the problems, and that charity will handle the rest.
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:55 pm UTC

Sorry, what's the alternative assuming libertarians also believe in morality?

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:17 am UTC

Thesh wrote:My definition of efficient market is that someone can't expect to get ahead of someone else without working harder for it.
That's not the canonical definition of "efficient market", but whatever. If I can get ahead of everyone else just because I have property, that's where we differ. That property is (kinda by definition) a tool of production (because I'm using it to get ahead), even if my "labor" is merely the administration of rental property.

So, we're talking about ownership of the tools of production - the classic dividing line that defines socialism.

Now, my ownership of property does not deny others ownership of property. It only denies others ownership of that particular property. That's what ownership means. When a cooperative owns a boat, nobody else does. No other cooperative owns that boat. Ditto individuals.

Thesh wrote:The point is that in an efficient market you can't get ahead of other workers by owning a hammer, because all of the workers you are competing with have hammers too.
Until I invent the claw-hammer. Now I can remove nails, and nobody else can. If I keep the claw secret, I have an advantage, just by owning property.
Spoiler:
Ok, a claw is quite visible, but other improvements are less so, and there are ways to make the claw less obvious to my clients. It's just an example.
It can be argued (and I would) that the claw isn't "just" property, it is "distilled labor" because I had to invent it. It's easily copied once you know the trick, but being a capitalist pig-dog, I'm keeping the trick to myself. Yeah, dickish, but (enough) people are that way.

What does Theshville do about it?

That's a key question. If "nothing", then the system is unstable. The first clever capitalist pig-dog that arrives eats your lunch. If some form of government intervention, then does this not discourage inventiveness? Why should I even think about improving the hammer when I could just get hammered myself instead?

Thesh wrote:Literally, you just keep rephrasing the same exact argument over and over for why people deserve to profit,
They "deserve" to profit because they have made an improvement to the economy. That is the result of their labor. Not all labor is mass times acceleration times time. Your contention seems to be that if any individual makes an improvement in production (whether through IP, which I'm using here as an example, or by the use of their property, which is my original example), all the benefit ought to accrue to society.

Why?

How has society earned that benefit?

Thesh wrote:
ucim wrote:You can make all the rules, but you can't change human nature
Which is that when we allow people to have massive amounts of power, they will necessarily use it for the good of others? Or if you don't allow people to have power over others, they will sit around and starve to death?
Which is that people are:

1: self centered
2: inclined to cooperate for mutual benefit under certain circumstances
3: Social and xenophobic

These natural traits have served evolution well. They can be suppressed, but as is happening right now, suppression is not elimination. They still exist under the surface and will come out again if conditions are right.

[oversimplification]

You are focusing on capitalists thinking only (1). That's not the whole story. If that were true, there would be no civilization. But people living for others is a special case. In general, they live for themselves.

Capitalism uses this as fuel for the engine. Unrestrained, it goes off the rails. But with proper retraints (a subject for reasoned discussion) it has produced vast benefits for society. The balance is the thing, and it's not an easy balance.

Socialism focuses on (2) being the only thing, and tries to expand the "certain circumstances" to "universally". That won't work. People are not like that.

Libertarianism focuses on (1) being a Good Thing, and uses (2) and (3) to strengthen the effect of (1). Thus its focus on contracts between individuals.

Now, government is (in one reasonable view) a contract between people. One that is imposed by history, yes, but its effect is to supplant a whole bunch of individual contracts that would otherwise be needed. A democratic government gives people (collectively) the opportunity to re-negotiate those contracts at every election, something that autocratic regimes do not permit. Libertarians, I expect, would thus be inclined towards democracy rather than autocracy, and should support rules and behaviors that resist the natural tendency towards autocracy in groups of people (fueled by the concentration of power in the political ecosystem).

[/oversimplification]

=====

As to a UBI vs a means/needs tested safety net, I've seen figures tossed about which sound good on the surface ("blah blah blah $20k/yr everyone is good...") but actually miss the boat. Where does all our welfare/safety-net money go? I don't actually know the answer, but I suspect that there are people for whom $20k/yr would not meet their basic needs, and others for which it would be a godsend. Health and disability plays into this. If you replace the present (admittedly imperfect) system with a UBI and call it done, you've tossed all these people under the bus, while feeling good about it.

UBI is simple, but life isn't.

Jose
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:52 am UTC

ucim wrote:That's not the canonical definition of "efficient market", but whatever.


You're only concerned with money. Money is just a medium of exchange. I'm simply replacing money with real resources, specifically the one that makes up the vast majority of our economy and has the most ability to adapt.

ucim wrote:Now, my ownership of property does not deny others ownership of property. It only denies others ownership of that particular property. That's what ownership means. When a cooperative owns a boat, nobody else does. No other cooperative owns that boat. Ditto individuals.


Again, you seem to only view the market from the perspective of an individual property owner, and ignore the rest of the economy. There are absolutely people who don't even own their home, let alone their own business. This allows conditions that are akin to slavery.

ucim wrote:Until I invent the claw-hammer. Now I can remove nails, and nobody else can. If I keep the claw secret, I have an advantage, just by owning property.


Again, you are just pointing out that people can profit off of markets that are less efficient than their potential. It is not the invention of the claw hammer, but the restricting of that invention that allows them to profit. Their idea has no economic value; only the amount of effort that goes into developing the idea has economic value. Without patents or copyright, they can sell their design for whatever someone else would charge to design it from scratch.

ucim wrote:It can be argued (and I would) that the claw isn't "just" property, it is "distilled labor" because I had to invent it. It's easily copied once you know the trick, but being a capitalist pig-dog, I'm keeping the trick to myself. Yeah, dickish, but (enough) people are that way.

What does Theshville do about it?


Well, if they were actually rational, they would go to worker cooperatives and consumer cooperatives, show that their tool is better and allows them to be more efficient, and sell it to them for a profit without having to do any more work themselves. The rest of the workers in the industry will become more productive, which will allow them to do better than workers in other professions until the labor market adjusts to the changing prices.

ucim wrote:They "deserve" to profit because they have made an improvement to the economy. That is the result of their labor. Not all labor is mass times acceleration times time. Your contention seems to be that if any individual makes an improvement in production (whether through IP, which I'm using here as an example, or by the use of their property, which is my original example), all the benefit ought to accrue to society.


The point is that profits do not pay them for the improvement they made to the economy; it simply does not work that way. Profits are simply incapable of paying people for anything but the inefficiencies in the markets. What you are doing is assuming that the profits that they made are a result of what they contributed, while ignoring how disparities in bargaining power affect decision making.

ucim wrote:Which is that people are:

1: self centered
2: inclined to cooperate for mutual benefit under certain circumstances
3: Social and xenophobic


Again, that's wrong. People will instinctually work for the good of the group that they see themselves as a member of; our society makes people see their family as the primary group they belong to, rather than their community. This is capitalism working against our nature, in order to reduce the power of the group and the vast majority of individuals within it. The design of our economy makes it so that everyone is in constant survival mode, worrying about the future, which makes us more selfish and more likely to hoard. Marketing seeks to both encourage and profit off of our irrationality, and capitalism causes us to engage in behavior that is primarily harmful to the group in the hope of gaining huge rewards.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:03 am UTC

I'll leave your other comments alone; this is just contradiction. But
Thesh wrote:Well, if they were actually rational, they would go to worker cooperatives and consumer cooperatives, show that their tool is better and allows them to be more efficient, and sell it to them for a profit without having to do any more work themselves.
You seem to have an odd definition of "rational". Remember, it's a capitalist pig-dog. Let's play this out. He markets his claw hammer, a few cooperatives buy it, reverse engineer it, and start making it themselves. He has to keep lowering his price until it's the price of an ordinary hammer, and he gets no extra benefit from the invention of the claw. Now he's back to doing the work he used to do (carpentry) just like everyone else, for the same wages. Other, undeserving people have benefited from his invention. He has taken home a few extra quatloos, for a few weeks, until he was copied and discarded.

Capitalist pig-dog compares this with his other scenario, where he himself can be more efficient at building. So his cooperative (of one) charges the same amount per thing as everyone else, but he does them three times as fast. So, he makes three times as much money.

Capitalist pig-dog thinks this is a better scenario for him. Being (what I would call) rational, he opts for the second choice, and keeps the invention to himself, while making society better off than it was before.

So, I think the word you are looking for isn't "rational". It's "generous" or "magnanimous". And in that I would agree. A generous and magnanimous person would simply give away his (intellectual in this case) property for the good of everyone else, and take his rightful place at the back of the line. A "rational" person would say "ch*rp that" and open a business offering super-fast thing-construction at a premium price, and make more money not only from the higher volume (per unit time) but from the higher price (per unit). He might do stuff for his family for free, but the larger the group, the less of a connection people naturally feel for other members of that group. Do you not see that in yourself too? This is why communism may work for groups of fifty, but not for groups of fifty million. I love my sister and would do anything for her. I care about Sarah, whom I see in the fields every day, and would certainly help her out when she needs it; I expect she'd do the same for me. I neither know nor care about Bethany, who lives across town, whom I don't ever see, and who is responsible for some aspect of the cooperative I never have to deal with.

So, again - Although you are the King of Theshville, you cannot control people's nature, and the nature of Captialist Pig-Dog is to keep the claw to himself, and profit from his ownership of the idea and the tool. What does the King do about it?

Jose
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:06 am UTC

They would sell the design, not the tool.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:09 am UTC

Thesh wrote:They would sell the design, not the tool.
They would do no such thing - once the design is sold, it can be copied and he's out.

And in any case, again, you cannot state what the capitalist pig-dog does. That's a given of the scenario. He does what I say he does. Once he does that, what does the King of Theshville do?

Jose
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:17 am UTC

All you are demonstrating here is a lack of imagination; it's as if you think there is only one possible way that things can work. In this case, you go to a customer, sell them your design, then go to another customer, sell them your design, then go to another customer... But you don't have to do it that way. I mean, this is exactly how book publishing worked before copyright: you go to a publisher, they make a bunch of deals with buyers, who are then given the design to be published on a specified release date, then everyone cashes in.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:32 am UTC

Thesh wrote:All you are demonstrating here is a lack of imagination; it's as if you think there is only one possible way that things can work.
Capitalist pig-dog has no imagination. He does what he does. You have no control over what he does. That is the basic flaw in your argument - it presumes you do.

You are not God. You cannot re-form mankind in your new image. But you are the King of Theshville. What do you do when faced with capitalist pig-dog shamelessly profiting off of your townsfolk?

Your answer will help stupid me understand whether your system is stable or not in the face of somebody that does not act the way you expect.

And in any case, by selling your design, are you not profiting from merely owning (intellectual) property?

Jose
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:39 am UTC

Well, if they won't act in their own best interest, then I'm not sure what your argument is. You can use government to manipulate them into behaving better by preventing people from copying each other? Doesn't sound very libertarian.

And again, the value of the design is the labor value of what it would cost someone else to produce it. Publishing rights are preserved in a socialist system, just not copyright. Intellectual property is a terrible term, as has been mentioned before.

Frankly, you don't seem to be capable of actually making a reasoned argument, and the only thing you are capable of doing is rationalizing, and trying to find gotchas where in this one particular instance, you might make an argument for property if you only look at that one situation and ignore everything else. What you seem absolutely incapable of doing is seeing the economy as more than just that one person at that one particular moment in time. You are an extremely narrow-minded person.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:08 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Frankly, you don't seem to be capable of actually making a reasoned argument [...] You are an extremely narrow-minded person.
Thank you for informing me about my cognitive limitations. I already admitted that I probably should not be allowed to tie my own shoes. I am far stupider than you are, and I am trying my best to understand the strange ideas that come from your font of wisdom.

To do so, my small mind can only handle one thing at a time, so I am focused on that one thing so that I can understand it. There are things that you say that seem contradictory to me. I'm sure it's just that your ideas are far too complex for me to comprehend, but in any case they should work in the simple example I give.

Right now I am focused on the ideas of ownership of private property (abstract, real, or chattel), and profiting from (essentially) the mere posession of this property. Ok, that's two things; I'm not very good at math either, but that's besides the point. Your system claims to disavow personal ownership of the means of production. This includes hammers, claw hammers, boats, and lear jets. But as far as I know, it doesn't disavow personal property itself; it's ok to own a car for your own personal use. As long as it's not a luxury car. But there's an apparent contradiction in my simple mind, since a car can be used as a taxi, and is then a means of production. I'm trying to get clear on how your (socialist) system deals with that.

Your answers are of the form "people wouldn't do that". This is not my experience - in my experience people would do that.

Abstract property is property. The design of the claw is a form of easily copied abstract property. Being abstract property, it is therefore property. You claim that the claw inventor could sell this design, go somewhere else, and sell it again. Well, simpleminded me doesn't understand the meaning of "sell" in this context. If I sell it, do I still have it? If so, I've only "sold" a copy of it, and with no extra effort on my part I can sell another "copy" to somebody else. Is this not essentially profiting from posession of my design? Is that not profiting from merely posessing property? Again, my small mind fails to grasp how this doesn't contradict the idea that one should not profit from mere posession of property. Maybe "rent" is a better word, but rental is exactly profiting from mere posession of property.

Thesh wrote:And again, the value of the design is the labor value of what it would cost someone else to produce it.
Here I have trouble with the word "value". Using this definition, the value of the claw, which allows carpenters to triple their output, for life, is next to nothing. A claw hammer costs the same to produce as a regular hammer, and the design can be printed on a piece of paper.

Is that what you truly mean? If not, could you explain it in little words so that my pea brain has a chance to comprehend?

===

From a libertarian POV, intellectual property rights are preserved through contract - we could sign a contract entitling you to use my idea or play my song or run my program, and you also agree not to allow anybody else to use your "copy" of my IP. It states that whenever you play my song, you must have a contract with everyone in earshot that they may not play my song either. If you don't agree to this contract, you may not use my IP. Yes, it's cumbersome, but it should be enforcable, and essentially duplicate present day copyright law. Given that, why not simply enshrine copyright into law to begin with? People can then choose to (by contract, of course!) release their work under whichever scheme they choose, but absent a choice, standard copyright rights would exist.

Would libertarians have a problem with that?

Jose
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:19 am UTC

Because no one will pay them that if they have a choice. But, yes, I realize that an economy with competition and multiple people is too complicated for your tiny little brain to comprehend, which is why I have to repeat that there are other people that can do the job over and over and over and over again, and you can only deal with one contrived scenario at a time (and you still haven't been able to argue anything but "profit motive" and just flat-out assume that it makes up for all the negatives, which you never ever ever ever actually address this). Like, you are arguing for a government-enforced monopoly because you have decided that their idea is valued more than the market values it (which you apparently think value is purely a measure of demand, as supply doesn't seem to enter into your equations at all).

I don't know how more clear it can be. You aren't just stupid, you are willfully ignorant, and absolutely refuse to see a bigger picture than your contrived scenario. Literally, the only thing you care about is defending private property ownership - you don't give a shit what the problems are that are associated with it, you don't give a shit about all the people that are harmed by it. You just give a shit about defending your religion.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:38 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Like, you are arguing for a government-enforced monopoly...
I'm not arguing for anything. I'm asking how Theshville would deal with a capitalist pig-dog (collective of one) who's so "non-rational" as to profit from his own property. I contend that absent some sort of interference, he will succeed in profiting from his own property, and could use that profit to grow better and faster than a collective that does not. Profit gives him an advantage over the others. Capitalism is (in that sense) an invasive species.

Value is evidenced by the price people are willing to pay, not by the cost it takes to make. (Actual sale) price is determined by value and supply - if there's enough supply, the price can be lower than the value. That's what "win-win" means. Price can even be lower than cost if the producer is willing and able to take a hit, perhaps treating the loss as investment in the future.

Thesh wrote:you don't give a shit what the problems are that are associated with [private property ownership]
I'm quite aware of the problems that are caused by it. Where we differ is that I don't therefore see it as the devil.

Jose
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:24 pm UTC

There is no problem that needs solving; that's all in your head. That you refuse to see that is your problem, not mine. You can come up with a billion of your stupid little scenarios, and you will keep missing the point, and keep failing to understand what it means to have competition, alternatives and choices.

ucim wrote:Value is evidenced by the price people are willing to pay, not by the cost it takes to make. (Actual sale) price is determined by value and supply - if there's enough supply, the price can be lower than the value.


That's a bunch of nonsense, that further shows you haven't actually read anything that I wrote or put thought into what determines how much people are willing to pay.

ucim wrote:]I'm not arguing for anything. I'm asking how Theshville would deal with a capitalist pig-dog (collective of one) who's so "non-rational" as to profit from his own property.


Just because you are concern trolling, doesn't mean you aren't arguing in favor of private property ownership.

ucim wrote:Where we differ is that I don't therefore see it as the devil.


Umm... Every post you have is trying, and failing, to make an argument for private property ownership, while completely dodging the points that are being made. You are arguing that profits are a positive, while dismissing all the negatives. You are doing nothing at all but trying to rationalize why private property is necessary. There is no argument that anyone could possibly make that will get you to do anything but find a way to dismiss it.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tobias » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:45 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Yes, if most people end up dependent on the (UBI) dole, social issues will result as this tightens government control over all of us. This is one of the reasons a UBI is not one of my favorite ideas.


wut

This makes no sense at all

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:11 pm UTC

Tobias wrote:
ucim wrote:Yes, if most people end up dependent on the (UBI) dole, social issues will result as this tightens government control over all of us. This is one of the reasons a UBI is not one of my favorite ideas.


wut

This makes no sense at all
The context (down near the bottom) is that if the government hands out money and tells us what we can spend it on, the more people it does this for, the more it controls those people. But even absent that, the mere fact that money is coming in that people rely on gives power to the donor, who can impose conditions at any point. Who pays the piper picks the tune.

Similar things happen (in reverse) when a government becomes dependent on (say) casino tax money. Casinos get an outsized say in government policy.

Jose
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tobias » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:26 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Why? If the government is offering a service, is it not inherently choosing what you should best do? I mean, yeah, you *could* choose not to accept it, just like you could not accept means-tested benefits, but how is this about maximizing liberty?


For one thing, even if a government offers and manages a service you still have alternate options. The postal office exists, but there are still other package companies people choose to use. If someone chooses to use the USPS it's because they actively prefer it. The same is true for the UK's healthcare system.

Additionally, and most importantly, government services almost never come with liberty-minimizing pre-conditions, which is the specific thing I called out as being bad. Government services that did this would still be bad. If they required you to pass a drug test, or demonstrate some particular behaviour, or discriminated against certain groups of people in terms of offering the service (in a way not related to the limitations of the service itself), that would be infringing upon your liberty and would be wrong.

Also, one can have means-testing without having numerous regulations as to how the welfare is used. They tend to coexist in the US system, but it's not strictly required. Means-testing is just only providing benefits to those low on funds.


You are going to have to explain how this "means testing" makes any sense, and why it's better than a UBI system in any regard. If you remove the regulations, and the assistance comes without strings attached, you've functionally implemented an inefficient UBI system with a lot of overhead.

Tyndmyr wrote:So, basically a small basic income? Only with repayment? I'm not sure what kind of problem you're trying to solve here. Do you want who gets investment funding to be a matter of PR? This seems to have interesting overlaps with politics.


No, nothing like that, at all. I'm not really explaining myself well here, but also it's kind of tangential so I'm not sure if it matters?

But this is how my proposal would work:
- The government collects taxes.
- The government sets aside a portion of those taxes for discretionary investments, whether it be into research, industry, infrastructure, private ventures, various art projects, or whatever. Stuff that's not needed to fulfill basic government duties, but would be nice to support.
- The government does not decide which of these outcomes to support. Instead, it allots each citizen a portion of this fund, to invest as they see fit in whatever it is they value. Perhaps $25/month/person, or about $300/year.
- There might be a few limitations on what the money is put towards - for fraud reasons, valid targets should probably be registered with the government, and if they wish to accept government funds they might be required to let whatever is produced be publicly available or owned to some extent, especially in terms of research. But this is neither here nor there.
- Each individual citizen can choose how these funds are allotted. It is not actually their money though - they can't just put it right into their own pocket (though, if they are engaging in a business venture they might choose to invest it in their own venture. But this also requires there venture follow the regulations for being registered, so maybe they won't bother)

The goal is to create a citizen driven investment climate, that allows individuals to encourage and support industries and areas they'd like to see more progress being made in or that they think enriches their community, even if there isn't enough immediate profit motive to get that area off the ground and supporting itself yet.

Perhaps it is a stupid idea, and it's not central to any conversation we are having, I just think a situation where the desires of individual citizens help shape government funding priorities is a good one, especially since so many citizens can not justify investing their own limited funds into causes they support. I think it would have good effects on the market as well.

[quote
Who cares if they are good customers? If they opt to save instead of purchase, then that wealth/money is effectively invested in society. That's fine. We actually need a fair amount of that. Both saving and consuming are economically useful.

Avoiding monopolies and such is fairly easy, and can be done without upending society or dismantling the idea of the rich.

You don't seem to understand the thrust of whats meant by bad customer here. We're talking bad customer in the way Luxxotica retail stores are bad customers for glasses manufacturers. But whatever, ignore this point

Having wealth is advantageous for a country.

This feels so simple as to be extremely obvious, but having wealth gives options


Having ultra-wealthy persons is not a country having wealth, and if you think that its simple and obvious that it is advantageous you are simply wrong. If it is good for a country for a huge portion its wealth to be tied to the whims of a small number of individuals, you're going to have a make a complex and nuanced argument to demonstrate it, because there's nothing inherently obvious about that.

As an individual, a country, or what have you, having more is better. A wealthy country is able to afford more things.


Containing wealthy individuals does not make a country wealthy. I do not mean in terms of government. I mean in terms of the country as a whole. If you had a small village, and one person accumulated wealth and used that wealth to eventually buy all the property in town, and used that market dominance to crank up the rents so he could line his own house with gold trim while the other people in the town starved, most would not call this a "wealthy town", nor would we consider the town as a whole better off. It is a poor town that contains a wealthy individual, and is the worse for it.

If you have a healthy business environment, then jobs exist and goods and services are more widely available.

Wealth inequality is negatively correlated with a healthy business environment.

Having dollars in a country means not only can they potentially be taxed, but they are available for investment.

"Potentially" is worse than meaningless when you spend so much time arguing that they shouldn't be because they might leave the country. A benefit you lose if you try to claim it is not actually a benefit, it's a lie. If anything, this is an argument against concentration of wealth - wealth that is more distributed is more easy to tax because the people who hold it are less likely to leave the country!

The wealth is available for investment no matter whose hands it ends up in. There are plenty of middle and upper middle and modestly upper class investments made all the time. What leads you to believe extreme concentrations of wealth make the investment markets healthier?

Dollars are merely an abstract representation of wealth, of course, but if you have a rich individual living in your country instead of another, not only do you gain whatever tax dollars you get from him, but his spending and investment in your economy contributes to your country's economic well being.

Therefore, it is better to have a country in which the wealthy prefer to live in, as well as invest in.

You are arguing that it is better to have a country with more wealth than a country with less wealth but a similar structure. You need to demonstrate that it is better to have a country with more wealth consolidation than one with less - and your arguments, so far, are pointing in the opposite direction, since you continously harp on one of the major dangers consolidation of wealth exposes you to. Namely, that if you try to tax it, it might leave the country. A more equal distribution of wealth makes that occurrence far less likely. And to be honest, you still haven't successfully demonstrated that have ultrawealthy folks in your country benefits it since, guess what - these folks can and do invest in other countries, and can and do already move their wealth abroad. Swiss bank accounts are a common referent for a reason - the very nature of being ultrawealthy inspires them to move their wealth, and its benefits, abroad... just in case someone might try to tax it.

Extreme wealth consolidation makes this whole process easier.

Countries which the rich neither wish to live in nor invest in are economically terrible. Received FDI makes a decent proxy for this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_received_FDI

Why do you assume a a country that the rich would not want to live in would be one they would not want to invest in? The wealthy invest in many countries they choose not to live in. A country with less wealth inequality would arguably make for a much better consumer market and thus be appealing for investment.

Tobias wrote:That said, if you had a company with unreasonably high profits and no particular change or innovation, that is definitely a clue. My first reaction would be to check to see if they have some favorable government relationship.

This is the state with pretty much every major example of consolidated wealth - they acquired it thanks to unreasonable high profits over a higher than expected duration of change. And it's rarely the result of favorable government relationships. See: Bezos. He is maintaining his incredible profit margins not be continuing to change or innovate so much as by virtue of the fact that his company got their first. They are the trope-namer, the popularize, the first to really capitalize on it, and as such they dominate by virtue of efficiencies of scale (their own network of distribution centers is almost impossible to compete with), by virtue of network effects (everyone wants to sell on amazon because that's where people buy, everyone wants to buy from amazon because that's where people sell), and by virtue of customer lock in (the whole concept behind Prime is to disincline people to even try purchasing from anyone else), by reducing market competition (often by acquiring potential competitors before they have the chance to compete, but also by using their size and wealth to swallow losses long enough to drive competitors out of business).

These factors are rampant in many modern markets, and they consistently give significant profits over time without much in the way of change or innovation. Some change and innovation may occur, but not enough to justify the massive, continuous profits these industries generate for their leading players.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tobias » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:30 pm UTC

ucim wrote:The context (down near the bottom) is that if the government hands out money and tells us what we can spend it on, the more people it does this for, the more it controls those people.


You are describing something that is, by definition, not a UBI. There is no mechanism, whatsoever, in any UBI proposal that has ever been made, for this to happen, because a UBI is (unlike means-tested welfare) completely non-discriminatory.

Ironically, what you are describing is exactly how our current system works, and is part of why people advocate for switching to a UBI.

You can't just make something up, call it a UBI, and then use that to argue against a UBI. Your argument doesn't even hold together as a slippery slope argument because you're not even demonstrating how a UBI makes that outcome more likely. It's just nonsense, or, at best, an argument against ever implementing any sort of welfare program at all (while also, somehow, still failing to argue against a UBI since it's the one form of welfare in which what you describe can't actually happen).

But even absent that, the mere fact that money is coming in that people rely on gives power to the donor, who can impose conditions at any point. Who pays the piper picks the tune.

Similar things happen (in reverse) when a government becomes dependent on (say) casino tax money. Casinos get an outsized say in government policy.

Jose

"A UBI is bad because the government might decide to stop offering a UBI and switch to some other welfare model" is...

I'm not even sure what the right word is for an argument that substanceless.

Are you next going to argue we should stick with Monarchy and resist democracy, because implementing a democracy means we might eventually elect a king? That is, as far as I can tell, the sort of situation you are arguing here, and it makes no sense at all. Yes, it's a possibility. No, it isn't an argument for avoiding a democracy and sticking with a monarchy.
Last edited by Tobias on Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:35 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tobias » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:34 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Thesh wrote:Like, you are arguing for a government-enforced monopoly...
I'm not arguing for anything.


You have, quite specifically, argued for government enforced monopolies in this thread. It's one of the things I am arguing with you about - you think the government should be allowed to create and enforce monopolies to allow individuals to profit off them, and I disagree.

Of all your arguments, it is the one coherent, repeated point you haven't wavered from.

It's weird that you would now deny it.

ucim wrote:From a libertarian POV, intellectual property rights are preserved through contract - we could sign a contract entitling you to use my idea or play my song or run my program, and you also agree not to allow anybody else to use your "copy" of my IP. It states that whenever you play my song, you must have a contract with everyone in earshot that they may not play my song either. If you don't agree to this contract, you may not use my IP. Yes, it's cumbersome, but it should be enforcable, and essentially duplicate present day copyright law. Given that, why not simply enshrine copyright into law to begin with? People can then choose to (by contract, of course!) release their work under whichever scheme they choose, but absent a choice, standard copyright rights would exist.

Would libertarians have a problem with that?

Jose


This sort of scenario would not, in a million years, result in anything remotely close to the way we currently handle IP. I honestly can not figure out how you think it would.

Also, this is the model we had before we switched to an "IP" system. It's called a Trade Secret system, and is vastly more preferable.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Eomund » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:05 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Since it's been brought up a few times, I figured I'd ramble a bit about health care. A big, big problem in US health care is simply cost. We can argue about how to divide the bill, but a significant part of the problem is how much we're paying up front. Now, the US is ranked first in quality of service(WHO), but significantly less expensive systems also rank fairly well. So in terms of $/benefit, we can probably do better.


Do you have a link or something for US being ranked first? Because everything I've seen puts them middle of the pack or lower among developed countries. This is the best I could easily find on google and it has the US #37. But the worst part is that government spending on healthcare per capita is higher than Canada, Australia and most European countries. Source. So if you were to able to wave a magic wand and implement a single payer system like one of those, taxes would go down not up. And then factor in the fact that the private spending would be greatly reduced if not eliminated for most people. And this new system would cover every American man, woman and child. [sarcasm]But this isn't a good idea because it's SOCIALISM[/sarcasm] :roll:
And all that is just looking at costs, not the ethical issue of healthcare being pay to win.

More generally the problem I see with libertarianism (or specifically unfettered capitalism) is that at the end of the day the only thing that matters is profit. So if an option is more profitable it will be taken even if its unethical, immoral, harms society, harms the environment, harms the employees or even harms the customers. Just look at how the tobacco industry tried to convince people that cigarettes were completely safe when they knew they caused lung cancer. Hell, sometimes corporations will choose short term profits even over long term profits and the survival of the company. The sole purpose of every corporation is to squeeze every last penny out of everyone they can and that is why we need strong government regulation to keep them in check.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:37 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Doing this would be horrible for future investment. It'd basically be setting our entire economy on fire. Ultimately, land has value because there is someone there to buy it. If the rich are all leaving, and those outside the country cannot own land, then you have to sell it to the poor who remain. The poor, by definition, do not have money.

So the people trying to flee the country end up losing money if they try that (to the benefit of the poor who remain), which discourages them from doing so.


By definition, once people flee, you can no longer take their money.

If people are trying to flee, and you're refusing to let them out and repossessing everything they have, you might be a dystopian hellhole. Also, in practice, the rich tend to leave before it's too late. If such a law is being tossed around and looks like it has a shot at passing, you'll start seeing negative effects before it even takes effect.

The market, after all, prices in expectations for the future.

Pfhorrest wrote:Leaving aside the question of if they deserve it or not, as a practical matter, if your system relies extensively on a few people and yet greatly incentivizes those people to leave, your system has a problem.

It only 'relies' on them to the extent that they are in control of most of the wealth. If that stops being the case, then it no longer relies on them.


It relies on the existence of wealth to take. If the wealthy bail, that becomes increasingly less true. At that point, you need to either tax those who remain more harshly, or accept a lower standard of subsidy.

If you wish to give everyone 27.5k/yr in basic income(half the average), you need to tax everyone an average rate of 50% in addition to the 10% for other services. Even taxed at 100%, an obviously unattainable amount, you need to tax a few of the highest earners.

You're overlooking again, like everyone taking your position does every time this topic comes up, how most of the money "taxed" comes straight back in the form of the basic income itself, and so in effect never leaves. You're not taxing 60% of the wealth generated in the country, and then spending it on something, for just 60% of the money gone that people can't choose to spend on other things. On a simple flat-tax account of it, "Eric", who makes that $55k/yr average, gets taxed $27.5k/yr to pay for the basic income, but also gets $27.5k/yr in basic income, so he is basically not taxed anything at all, besides the other $5.5k for other stuff besides the basic income.


I agree that people who don't really gain or loose probably won't leave. Likewise, people who experience a net gain are unlikely to leave.

However, focusing heavily on the richest few will incentivize them to leave. And since they're largely funding the program, everything goes south pretty fast.

Right-libertarianism recognizes the need for a state. ... Attempting to do away with the state entirely is anarchism, not libertarianism.

We've been over this before, extensively.


Yup. And if you're discussing an ungoverned state, it's far more clear to use the term anarchy than anything else.

LaserGuy wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:So, for the US, the average income* is $39kish, so a 50% solution ends up being 19.5k/yr, and the distribution you propose is roughly a 27% solution. Ballpark, almost 10k allowance is what it'd translate to in US terms. I'm not sure that 10k/yr is actually a basic income given that full time minimum wage employment comes out to around 15k/yr.


Sure, but the distribution you provided cuts out the top quintile of incomes in the United States. To have a distribution that roughly resembles what the United States actually has, you'd need to increase Adam and Beth's incomes to around 300k each, leaving everyone else the same. Using that distribution, you can get a 25k personal income for everyone using the existing income tax brackets and basically break even.


That average income does not much resemble that of the US's, though. The subsidy, adjusted for our actual economy, would again be fairly modest. A changing distribution doesn't affect the relationship with the average. It only increases the system's vulnerability to Adam deciding to leave.

And you can't merely use the existing income tax brackets unless you discard all other government spending. A basic income is going to be significantly more expensive than means tested welfare. Discarding all other government spending is not reasonable.

LaserGuy wrote:
Only if you make the jump from "there ought to be" to "the government ought to".


What's the alternative?


Alternative solutions include corporate ones and charity. Folks would agree that food ought to be widely available and inexpensive, and government has historically performed less well at this than commercial efforts have.

Now, there are some roles that government fills best, but jumping from "something should exist" to "government should do it" bypasses the discussion of alternatives.

ucim wrote:
Thesh wrote:My definition of efficient market is that someone can't expect to get ahead of someone else without working harder for it.
That's not the canonical definition of "efficient market", but whatever.


That is definitely not the definition of an efficient market, yeah.

Taking risk is an obvious example. Taking risk doesn't mean working hard, and you may advance much more rapidly than equally hard workers. Flip side is that you may lose your shirt, and be much worse off than equally hard workers. It's balanced in a statistical sense, but on an individual basis, hard work will not directly equal results.

Risk is inherent in a lot of human activity.

ucim wrote:Now, government is (in one reasonable view) a contract between people. One that is imposed by history, yes, but its effect is to supplant a whole bunch of individual contracts that would otherwise be needed. A democratic government gives people (collectively) the opportunity to re-negotiate those contracts at every election, something that autocratic regimes do not permit. Libertarians, I expect, would thus be inclined towards democracy rather than autocracy, and should support rules and behaviors that resist the natural tendency towards autocracy in groups of people (fueled by the concentration of power in the political ecosystem).


Generally. Some cynicism exists with regards to the sort of people who get elected sometimes, but that's probably no different than any other ideology.

Some also advocate more explicit approval systems than what we have now. For instance, some would like to adopt some variation of a no-confidence vote. Examples of this exist in some European governments, and some variation of that might be reasonable. This'd give greater importance to feedback from the public overall, and possibly limit dysfunctional government.

Thesh wrote:
ucim wrote:Now, my ownership of property does not deny others ownership of property. It only denies others ownership of that particular property. That's what ownership means. When a cooperative owns a boat, nobody else does. No other cooperative owns that boat. Ditto individuals.


Again, you seem to only view the market from the perspective of an individual property owner, and ignore the rest of the economy. There are absolutely people who don't even own their home, let alone their own business. This allows conditions that are akin to slavery.


I rent my home, but I'm pretty sure I'm not a slave. A lot of folks do pretty well without owning their own business or home. Working for a wage can be pretty good, depending on what the wage is.

Again, you are just pointing out that people can profit off of markets that are less efficient than their potential. It is not the invention of the claw hammer, but the restricting of that invention that allows them to profit. Their idea has no economic value; only the amount of effort that goes into developing the idea has economic value. Without patents or copyright, they can sell their design for whatever someone else would charge to design it from scratch.


Knowledge has value. At a minimum, knowledge has the potential for value. Sure, if a person never bothers to apply the knowledge to anything, no gain results, but the right knowledge can make effort vastly more useful.

Someone who understands leverage can far more easily move a load, if you want to use a physical example. In this way, investing in knowledge is similar to investing in tools. Sure, a tool hanging in the garage helps nobody, but a tool can save vastly more effort than is spent in it's creation, resulting in a net gain. Knowledge works similarly.

Again, that's wrong. People will instinctually work for the good of the group that they see themselves as a member of; our society makes people see their family as the primary group they belong to, rather than their community.


Cults tend to work off some principle of this, so yeah, the nuclear family isn't the only possible source of identification, but what constitutes a community? I can see some shared interest with my neighbors, sure. With someone on the other side of the country who I've never met, and will likely never meet? Not really. I feel no shared kinship with, say, Trump. Why should I? We've never met, our interests do not always align, we're not related...why should a country have the same level of bond as a smaller group?

I don't know of any country that has pulled such a thing off. North Korea explicitly tries, too. A few countries have. Mostly wildly authoritarian ones.

I note that cooperatives are fairly normal at the small level. A bunch of local farmers can harness this effect. Scale up to looking at multinational corporations, though, and cooperatives are irrelevant. They simply don't appear at that scale. There's probably a reason for this, and it probably has to do with Dunbar's number.

Thesh wrote:They would sell the design, not the tool.


Selling designs in a world without IP law does face some challenges. You can sell it once, certainly. Selling it on a repeated basis is more difficult.

Insisting that he sell it for only the labor that went into it poses difficulties. Perhaps that idea is the only one of several that worked, and yet the others all took effort as well. Should he be compensated for only the good idea, and be forced to labor for free on the others?

If he should instead be compensated for all, then we end up rewarding the person who has good ideas only rarely the same as we reward the person with many good inventions. And individual good ideas from the former would need to be far more expensive!

Thesh wrote:Well, if they won't act in their own best interest, then I'm not sure what your argument is. You can use government to manipulate them into behaving better by preventing people from copying each other? Doesn't sound very libertarian.


Libertarianism gives zero shits if a person wants to keep an invention to themselves. It's theirs, they can do that. It poses no ideological problem. It relies on greed as a sufficient incentive for most to share, and given that greed is pretty common to humanity, this mostly works out provided the system isn't broken in some other way.

Socialism does not benefit from this same incentive system. So, what happens when someone behaves capitalistically in a socialistic environment? Do they get to free ride on the benefits, such as they are, and exploit things for profit?

ucim wrote:From a libertarian POV, intellectual property rights are preserved through contract - we could sign a contract entitling you to use my idea or play my song or run my program, and you also agree not to allow anybody else to use your "copy" of my IP. It states that whenever you play my song, you must have a contract with everyone in earshot that they may not play my song either. If you don't agree to this contract, you may not use my IP. Yes, it's cumbersome, but it should be enforcable, and essentially duplicate present day copyright law. Given that, why not simply enshrine copyright into law to begin with? People can then choose to (by contract, of course!) release their work under whichever scheme they choose, but absent a choice, standard copyright rights would exist.

Would libertarians have a problem with that?

Jose


Contract based IP is generally fine from a libertarian perspective. They might not choose to sign a contract so onerous as to require viral signing of anyone who might hear, but you can ask whatever price you like, no matter how ridiculous. You'd probably want some sort of agreed upon penalty in the contract if it was broken, too. That way, all nice and straightforward if anything goes awry.

Removing implicit copyright protection would likely go along with that. Life + 70 years is a little much without any specific agreement. And anyways, having explicit contract based IP largely removes the need for the existing copyright system. The exception is trademark/trade dress, which would remain unchanged.

Tobias wrote:
ucim wrote:Yes, if most people end up dependent on the (UBI) dole, social issues will result as this tightens government control over all of us. This is one of the reasons a UBI is not one of my favorite ideas.


wut

This makes no sense at all


You don't think politicians would want to start attaching riders to UBI? I'm certain the Republicans would want to start putting moral checks on it. "The government dole funded this terrorist, we need to be able to revoke UBI from convicted criminals of this caliber of evil"

Probably pretty easy to pass, too.

And next the drug testing, and whatever else becomes a moral panic.

Tobias wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Why? If the government is offering a service, is it not inherently choosing what you should best do? I mean, yeah, you *could* choose not to accept it, just like you could not accept means-tested benefits, but how is this about maximizing liberty?


For one thing, even if a government offers and manages a service you still have alternate options. The postal office exists, but there are still other package companies people choose to use. If someone chooses to use the USPS it's because they actively prefer it. The same is true for the UK's healthcare system.


Sometimes. In the case of the USPS, certain sizes of packages may only be carried via USPS. This grants a government monopoly over certain portions of mail.

And in practice, if one is forced to spend a significant amount of one's resources on insurance or a governmental health program, one is less able to purchase an entirely secondary health system. It's an option for those who are quite well off, but for most, health care is too expensive to buy twice.

You are going to have to explain how this "means testing" makes any sense, and why it's better than a UBI system in any regard. If you remove the regulations, and the assistance comes without strings attached, you've functionally implemented an inefficient UBI system with a lot of overhead.


Means testing is specifically the concept of giving out assistance to those most in need of it. Welfare is given to the poor, but not the rich, or even the middle class. The system does have to determine who is in need of aid, but this is not extremely hard. It applies to only a minority of the population rather than everyone, so while eligibility determinations are an additional cost, they need to administer benefits for only a small fraction of people. Way fewer address changes, checks being sent out, fraud claims being handled, etc.

Additional checks can be added to either system, and are quite popular with Republicans, though not unique to them.

Having ultra-wealthy persons is not a country having wealth, and if you think that its simple and obvious that it is advantageous you are simply wrong. If it is good for a country for a huge portion its wealth to be tied to the whims of a small number of individuals, you're going to have a make a complex and nuanced argument to demonstrate it, because there's nothing inherently obvious about that.


If you heavily penalize ultra-wealthy persons to the point that they leave, you will lose wealth as a country.

This happens for a couple of reasons. First, people will take whatever they can with them when they go.

Second, much of a country's wealth is derived from trade. Preventing or punishing foreign ownership is kind of a hindrance to trade. If the wealthy people are bailing on it, and you're not going to permit them to own wealth in your country from outside and be free of your system, then trade's gonna drop off a cliff.

Look at countries that have done massive wealth nationalization. What happened to their economies afterward?

"Potentially" is worse than meaningless when you spend so much time arguing that they shouldn't be because they might leave the country. A benefit you lose if you try to claim it is not actually a benefit, it's a lie. If anything, this is an argument against concentration of wealth - wealth that is more distributed is more easy to tax because the people who hold it are less likely to leave the country!


The traditional game that is played is to try to tax them a bit. Make some money off it, without scaring it off entirely. It's a balancing act.

Yes, if you keep the population poor, they will be less able to escape the country when you hurt them. This is not something to aspire to.

See: Bezos. He is maintaining his incredible profit margins not be continuing to change or innovate so much as by virtue of the fact that his company got their first.


Amazon doesn't have incredible profit margins. They don't even get profit at all some years. It took many years before they saw any success at all. The stock is doing pretty good, but the company overall is, while successful, not ludicrously so. Apple would generally be a far better example.

They are the trope-namer, the popularize, the first to really capitalize on it, and as such they dominate by virtue of efficiencies of scale (their own network of distribution centers is almost impossible to compete with), by virtue of network effects (everyone wants to sell on amazon because that's where people buy, everyone wants to buy from amazon because that's where people sell), and by virtue of customer lock in (the whole concept behind Prime is to disincline people to even try purchasing from anyone else), by reducing market competition (often by acquiring potential competitors before they have the chance to compete, but also by using their size and wealth to swallow losses long enough to drive competitors out of business).


You do realize it's the third largest retailer, yes? Second largest if you only count the US, but third in world. Walmart is #1, Alibaba is #2, and Amazon is #3. Amazon did recently pass up CVS, though.

Walmart has a similar online marketplace to Amazon, and it's third party seller friendly. The same is true of Alibaba. Neither require a membership.

So, you may be misunderstanding the market a little.

Eomund wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Since it's been brought up a few times, I figured I'd ramble a bit about health care. A big, big problem in US health care is simply cost. We can argue about how to divide the bill, but a significant part of the problem is how much we're paying up front. Now, the US is ranked first in quality of service(WHO), but significantly less expensive systems also rank fairly well. So in terms of $/benefit, we can probably do better.


Do you have a link or something for US being ranked first? Because everything I've seen puts them middle of the pack or lower among developed countries. This is the best I could easily find on google and it has the US #37.


Certainly. The overall ranking of health systems includes cost/value assessments, and thus, our #37 ranking is largely because of our high cost. Our #72 ranking for overall health is further discounted because Americans are fat as hell, and manage to screw up our a health a lot as a result. It's a simplification, but not much of one.

In the WHO report, you want to look for Responsiveness, which is a combination of patient surveys and how well the system acts. Cost is disregarded for this particular metric. So, we have really, really good medical care, but we pay so very much for it that the cost/benefit analysis suffers greatly. In order, the countries with highest responsiveness are the United States, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Canada, Norway, Netherlands and Sweden. The WHO credits this primarily to having lots of resources, being developed nations, and taking a pro-active approach to health care systems.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:55 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:That average income does not much resemble that of the US's, though.


I based it on the actual income distribution in the United States. I was lazy and overshot a little bit, but the change is pretty negligible. The highest quintile in the United States has 59% of the income. My distribution used 62%. So if you reduce Beth's income to $260000, then you end up with the actual income distribution in the United States, more or less.

The subsidy, adjusted for our actual economy, would again be fairly modest. A changing distribution doesn't affect the relationship with the average. It only increases the system's vulnerability to Adam deciding to leave.


Adam isn't currently leaving now.

And you can't merely use the existing income tax brackets unless you discard all other government spending. A basic income is going to be significantly more expensive than means tested welfare. Discarding all other government spending is not reasonable.


The basic income is counted as taxable income. This is much easier to means test than any other alternative. Also, government collects revenues in other ways beyond income tax. I'm also assuming a libertarian government would want to slash a lot of government spending so you'd have money to play with.

Alternative solutions include corporate ones and charity. Folks would agree that food ought to be widely available and inexpensive, and government has historically performed less well at this than commercial efforts have.

Now, there are some roles that government fills best, but jumping from "something should exist" to "government should do it" bypasses the discussion of alternatives.


That's what I'm asking you. What are the alternatives? How would they actually, in practice, do this? Why do you think they would do better now when historically they have been awful at this? The whole reason that government ended up shouldering a lot of these sorts of responsibilities is because charities and corporations were awful at it.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:27 pm UTC

An “ungoverned state” is the opposite of anarchy in two ways: anarchy does not have a state, but it must have governance in order to prevent a state from arising. Anarchy is stateless government, not an ungoverned state.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:42 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:That average income does not much resemble that of the US's, though.


I based it on the actual income distribution in the United States. I was lazy and overshot a little bit, but the change is pretty negligible. The highest quintile in the United States has 59% of the income. My distribution used 62%. So if you reduce Beth's income to $260000, then you end up with the actual income distribution in the United States, more or less.


The average is still high, though, clocking in at roughly triple that of the US. If you adjust accordingly for the US's actual average, you end up with less than 10k/person.

The distribution change doesn't fix the cost/benefit problem.

The subsidy, adjusted for our actual economy, would again be fairly modest. A changing distribution doesn't affect the relationship with the average. It only increases the system's vulnerability to Adam deciding to leave.


Adam isn't currently leaving now.


A significant amount of wealth was repatriated thanks to Trump's tax cuts. That means we're already at a point of seeing significant wealth fleeing tradeoffs in the sorts of tax ranges we experience now.

And you can't merely use the existing income tax brackets unless you discard all other government spending. A basic income is going to be significantly more expensive than means tested welfare. Discarding all other government spending is not reasonable.


The basic income is counted as taxable income. This is much easier to means test than any other alternative. Also, government collects revenues in other ways beyond income tax. I'm also assuming a libertarian government would want to slash a lot of government spending so you'd have money to play with.


If the basic income is counted as taxable income, then the actual benefit of it is proportionately less, in step with the cost reduction. This shaves about another grand off the benefit at minimum. The basic income makes a minimum wage job appear quite generous, as you are offering people barely over half that to live on.

A libertarian government would indeed like to cut government. Even the most libertarian wet dream isn't going to cut all government, though. If you require the current US tax receipts in total to fund your project, then you'll need to raise taxes to cover whatever else remains.

Alternative solutions include corporate ones and charity. Folks would agree that food ought to be widely available and inexpensive, and government has historically performed less well at this than commercial efforts have.

Now, there are some roles that government fills best, but jumping from "something should exist" to "government should do it" bypasses the discussion of alternatives.


That's what I'm asking you. What are the alternatives? How would they actually, in practice, do this? Why do you think they would do better now when historically they have been awful at this? The whole reason that government ended up shouldering a lot of these sorts of responsibilities is because charities and corporations were awful at it.


Corporations have done more to destroy starvation than government ever has. The green revolution is an example of this.

Pfhorrest wrote:An “ungoverned state” is the opposite of anarchy in two ways: anarchy does not have a state, but it must have governance in order to prevent a state from arising. Anarchy is stateless government, not an ungoverned state.


If you have a government to prevent a state from arising, then you have a state. All governments prevent other governments from arising within their territory.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:26 pm UTC

You're missing the point. A government is not necessarily a state. That's like saying "education is not necessarily religion". Which probably sounds obvious to us in the modern day, but from the viewpoint of a person back in the era when all universities were church-run, if you talk about there being some kind of big social institute whose mission in life is to tell people what's true and what's false (or to help them to discern truth from falsehood, at least), they might well ask "how is that not a religion?" But we today understand the difference between good, critical, free-thinking education, and religious indoctrination, and today there are irreligious people who advocate for better education specifically to curb the influence of religion over the insufficiently educated. Likewise, anarchists advocate for better governance specifically to curb the influence states would otherwise have in the absence of such governance. That doesn't make that education a religion government a state itself.

On the topic of rich people fleeing the country: Adam isn't being held captive. He's free to leave. Adam's personal contribution to the economy is negligible. He could die tomorrow and the overall economy would shrug it off. The productive, wealth-generating capital he owns would just pass into someone else's hands, and keep generating wealth. So Adam can go, he just can't take that productive, wealth-generating capital with him. And I don't just mean "he's not allowed to", I mean... how would he even? He definitely can't take land, the first and foremost form of capital. He could take his "ownership" of the land, but that's just a legal status; he is legally a tenant on the state's land already, anyway, and can have that tenancy revoked. He could sell the land, but if all the rich people are leaving, who's going to buy, besides the poor people, and how is he going to sell to them unless at prices that they can afford, in which case... the poor now control the capital that Adam used to control, mission accomplished.

You might say he might take "his business" elsewhere, but what do you even mean by that? He can't take the offices; see above. He can't take the workers, or the customers; they all live here. He could take his nominal ownership of the abstract legal corporation with him... unless with the stroke of a pen we just change the socially-constructed legal "fact" of his ownership of it, just like we could do with title to land he left behind. He could sell his ownership and take off with the money, sure... but who's he going to sell to if all the rich people are leaving, if not the poor people, and how is he going to sell to them unless at prices that they can afford, in which case... mission accomplished again. What's he actually going to take with him? Chattel like sports cars and yachts? Let him. That's not the wealth-generating capital we're concerned about.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:46 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:You're missing the point. A government is not necessarily a state.


Governments-in-exile and such have existed*, but generally the relationship between governments and states is 1:1. Things like your local school board are a part of the overall government, not an independent government.

A stateless society is one with no government. This is literally definitional. If an anarchist starts a government in order to preserve anarchy, well...it's not going to be much of an anarchy.

*And are only as important as governments with states believe they are. Mostly, not very.

On the topic of rich people fleeing the country: Adam isn't being held captive. He's free to leave. Adam's personal contribution to the economy is negligible. He could die tomorrow and the overall economy would shrug it off. The productive, wealth-generating capital he owns would just pass into someone else's hands, and keep generating wealth. So Adam can go, he just can't take that productive, wealth-generating capital with him. And I don't just mean "he's not allowed to", I mean... how would he even? He definitely can't take land, the first and foremost form of capital. He could take his "ownership" of the land, but that's just a legal status; he is legally a tenant on the state's land already, anyway, and can have that tenancy revoked. He could sell the land, but if all the rich people are leaving, who's going to buy, besides the poor people, and how is he going to sell to them unless at prices that they can afford, in which case... the poor now control the capital that Adam used to control, mission accomplished.


Ownership is traditional. Usually they take that, or if that's also undesirable, they sell it and leave with the money. The latter causes a crash in land values. If your money, too becomes undesirable, the entire economy crashes as everyone attempts to sell your currency, and buy another.

When property is nationalized, generally everything that isn't nailed down is taken. Money, hard assets such as gold, vehicles, etc. Everything portable. Obviously, as education correlates with wealth, you'll get a brain drain as your most educated leave. Venezuela is a recent example in wide-scale nationalization.
If your goal is the sort of equality in which people are starving to death in the gutter, then nationalization does accomplish that. However, it seriously calls into question the idea that Adam's contribution to the economy is actually negligible. Whenever it's tried on a wide scale, the economy reacts adversely.

Yeah, sure, the land in Venezuela is still there, and the oil is still there, and sure, the number of people below the poverty line initially declined, but GDP growth faltered, the currency became worthless, price inflation spiraled out of control, and as people became unable to buy basic necessities, it became a violence-ridden hellhole with corpses everywhere as people began to flee to neighboring countries. Let's look at the wiki stats.

GDP Growth(2017): -14%
Inflation Rate(2018): 41,838%
Unemployment Rate(2018): 33.3%
Poverty/Extreme Poverty Rate: Government stopped collecting statistics. External estimates are that they are increasing rapidly.
Health Care: Spending is down, but mortality is climbing. Government stopped publishing statistics in 2010.
Percentage of population who wish to flee the country(2016): 57% Between 2012 and 2015, the diaspora of Venezuelans grew 2,889%
Murder Rate: Approximately 100/100k, representing a five fold increase in two decades. Kidnappings have increased twentyfold. The military are under orders to avoid dangerous spaces within the country at night, as criminals hunt them for their weapons.

All of the above are trending worse.

Note that people left in two waves. The first was the wealthy and educated. The latter was the poor. Education is an asset.

Nationalization of production is not a new idea. The idea that it can't possibly be a problem is inconsistent with the history of trying it.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:14 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:A stateless society is one with no government. This is literally definitional.

So I guess we're just into flat contradiction now, because that is not definitional. It's a common assumption of equivalence, like the assumption that "free market" and "capitalism" mean the same thing, but anyone who actually studies political philosophy knows better.

The latter causes a crash in land values.

That is a good thing, except for people for whom land is an economic investment in its trade value, rather than something of actual use value. And those people can get fucked if they think their investment is more important than real people's actual use, which is kind of the whole point here.

When property is nationalized

Who said it had to be nationalized? The alternatives to Adam owning a corporation aren't limited the state owning it. The state can just say "nope, not yours anymore" and hand ownership to anyone else they want to... like maybe the employees of the corporation? Or maybe not, the possibilities are limitless. The point is that Adam leaving doesn't mean productive capital leaving.

As far as the actual contribution of Adam personally to the economy being called into question, rich people die all the time, and the economy keeps on chugging along. Rich people aren't load-bearing end-bosses, the entire fortress doesn't come toppling down when they die.

Also... where exactly are these rich people going to flee to, anyway? Some impoverished third world country? Since those seem to be the only places less in line with what they'd be fleeing than here. I dunno, maybe there's some kind of explanation for the apparent correlation between first-world places that are nice to live in, and places where the general populace are taken care of and not fleeced by a powerful elite.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:35 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:A stateless society is one with no government. This is literally definitional.

So I guess we're just into flat contradiction now, because that is not definitional. It's a common assumption of equivalence, like the assumption that "free market" and "capitalism" mean the same thing, but anyone who actually studies political philosophy knows better.


A stateless society is a society that is not governed by a state, or, especially in common American English, has no government.[1] - From the first line of wikipedia.

Also basically word for word the result from definitions.com, which is Google's first result.

The latter causes a crash in land values.

That is a good thing, except for people for whom land is an economic investment in its trade value, rather than something of actual use value. And those people can get fucked if they think their investment is more important than real people's actual use, which is kind of the whole point here.


It screws over the middle class, or should I say, former middle class. Those who could own their house, but probably don't own a great deal else, and may still owe a fair bit of money on it. Their savings largely cease to exist.

Money may be abstract, but it still represents something real. Those real people then lack much of any way to say, fund a retirement.

When property is nationalized

Who said it had to be nationalized? The alternatives to Adam owning a corporation aren't limited the state owning it. The state can just say "nope, not yours anymore" and hand ownership to anyone else they want to... like maybe the employees of the corporation? Or maybe not, the possibilities are limitless. The point is that Adam leaving doesn't mean productive capital leaving.


That is still nationalization. Just with corruption as well. We can choose different examples if you prefer. Pakistan, maybe? The USSR? Country-wide nationalization is brutal on an economy.

And yes, productive capital must leave. Education is wealth in a very real sense. The rich and educated correlate highly. If you lose the educated people, society becomes directly less productive.

As far as the actual contribution of Adam personally to the economy being called into question, rich people die all the time, and the economy keeps on chugging along. Rich people aren't load-bearing end-bosses, the entire fortress doesn't come toppling down when they die.


No one person is essential, because they replace themselves. However, the existence of a class of workers can be quite important.

One might as well say that doctors are unimportant because they still die, and society doesn't collapse. However, if your threw doctors out of your country, or persecuted them until they left, the results would be awful.

Also... where exactly are these rich people going to flee to, anyway? Some impoverished third world country? Since those seem to be the only places less in line with what they'd be fleeing than here. I dunno, maybe there's some kind of explanation for the apparent correlation between first-world places that are nice to live in, and places where the general populace are taken care of and not fleeced by a powerful elite.


Anywhere that's better. A UBI is so expensive that this leaves a laundry list of less expensive places to go to. Basically anywhere.

Impoverished third world countries are generally those that practice nationalization. They are not preferred. Right now, the top five destinations preferred by millionares are Australia, US, Canada, UAE, and New Zealand in order.

Countries like France are not third world countries, but are suffering a significant exodus anyways(heavy taxes is a particularly highly cited reason for leaving France, among the rich). The top countries being left by millionares are France, China, Brazil, India, and Turkey. It is normal for most such individuals to take most of their wealth with them when they go.

Generally, the rich are able to skip over tedious immigration requirements, so neither the US nor anyone else that's a successful country treats them as they do other immigrants. Pretty low hassle in comparison. It's far easier for the rich to bail on a country than for the poor.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:05 pm UTC

How many more words do you plan on redefining in order to continue arguing, Tyndmyr? So far in that post you did (at least) "stateless", "nationalization", and "class of workers".
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:42 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:How many more words do you plan on redefining in order to continue arguing, Tyndmyr? So far in that post you did (at least) "stateless", "nationalization", and "class of workers".


Only stateless has been argued, unless you'd care to dispute the others?

Focusing on "class of workers" is missing the point. Call them a group or whatever if calling doctors a class bothers you, the example stands.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:27 pm UTC

You used doctor as another example, but initially used "class of workers" to describe capitalist-class owners, not workers at all.

And you argued "nationalization" by claiming that companies becoming employee-owned counted.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:34 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:You used doctor as another example, but initially used "class of workers" to describe capitalist-class owners, not workers at all.


Use "group of workers" instead if you prefer. The specific wording isn't important.

The argument that, because some people die, the group isn't important, could be applied to literally any group. Therefore, it's a bad argument. Natural death and replacement is not akin to losing everyone at once.

And you argued "nationalization" by claiming that companies becoming employee-owned counted.


That was posited as a possible outcome after the nation took control of the companies. It's still nationalization because control is still being seized by the nation.

A voluntary stock purchase by employees would not be nationalization.

It's defined as nationalization if the nation takes over a business. You can have further transactions and changes of ownerships after that point, but that particular seizure is nationalization.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:04 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:You used doctor as another example, but initially used "class of workers" to describe capitalist-class owners, not workers at all.
Use "group of workers" instead if you prefer. The specific wording isn't important.
It is when I'm specifically arguing that owner-class capitalists aren't workers.

The argument that, because some people die, the group isn't important, could be applied to literally any group. Therefore, it's a bad argument.
Sure, but substituting doctors for corporate owners is disingenuous as well. If I tried to make the argument using the "opposite" group, say professional assassins, you'd rightly accuse me of poisoning the well.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:25 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:You used doctor as another example, but initially used "class of workers" to describe capitalist-class owners, not workers at all.
Use "group of workers" instead if you prefer. The specific wording isn't important.
It is when I'm specifically arguing that owner-class capitalists aren't workers.


The idea that the owners of wealth do not contribute anything to society was dealt with separately.

When you get rid of such people, society suffers. Therefore, the idea that we can get rid of them because they contribute nothing can be proven false. This may be in part due to their tendency to take wealth with them when they leave, but the effect remains in examples where they are killed instead of being forced to leave, so that isn't sufficient to explain it.

The argument that, because some people die, the group isn't important, could be applied to literally any group. Therefore, it's a bad argument.
Sure, but substituting doctors for corporate owners is disingenuous as well. If I tried to make the argument using the "opposite" group, say professional assassins, you'd rightly accuse me of poisoning the well.


If you get rid of all professional assassins, you have a sudden shortage of professionally done assassinations. The mechanics of the scenario work identically for all groups. The group doesn't matter much. Get rid of a group all at once, and you lose access to what they provide.

It is not surprising that if you get rid of those who supply access to wealth, you lose access to wealth.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:00 pm UTC

We're not talking about people who provide access to wealth, we're talking about people who are the gatekeepers to wealth. They don't magically transport people to the faraway land of wealth where nobody would otherwise be able to reach. They stand between the wealth and everyone else. Getting rid of them increases access to wealth.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:15 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:We're not talking about people who provide access to wealth, we're talking about people who are the gatekeepers to wealth. They don't magically transport people to the faraway land of wealth where nobody would otherwise be able to reach. They stand between the wealth and everyone else. Getting rid of them increases access to wealth.


If that's the case, then why does getting rid of the wealthy result in a lack of wealth? This is a disagreement we can test against real world outcomes. I've shown a couple of examples of such cases, and unless anyone would care to defend Venezuela or Pakistan as doing well financially, the outcome looks pretty rough.

How do you square the outcomes of mass nationalization/exodus of the rich with your ideology?

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:32 pm UTC

The answer, of course, is that wealth does correlate with education, ambition, drive, hard work etc., at least in part. Eliminate or otherwise drive away the wealthy and you also cull a disproportionate percentage of the educated, ambitious, driven and hard-working etc. Hence it provides a short-term fillip to the poor at the expense of future growth.

Yes, a lot of the wealth of a lot of wealthy people comes from rent-seeking - whether that be individually or collectively cornering the market in a limited resource like housing, or via a government-enforced private monopoly on a vital utility like the net. (And, yes, at least some of the rest is inherited wealth. However, that tends to get p*ssed away and return back to the wider economy.)

Libertarians would argue that 'if only the market were truly free, rent-seeking could be reduced to a minimum' - whilest folk like me would argue 'if only the government could implement and enforce effective regulation, rent-seeking could be reduced to a minimum'.

That's the biggest problem with our economic model today imo, and one I fear our respective governments are as far away from truly addressing as ever...

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:39 pm UTC

I'm dubious about the accounts of "socialism ruining Venezuela" since from the little I've read into that situation it's a lot more complicated than that, but setting that side for a moment and for the sake of argument running with the thesis: if the problem is that wealth does correlate (but not perfectly) with actual positive qualities, as well as with the rent-seeking behavior we're looking to eliminate, then the obvious solution is to tax income from rent out the wazoo and leave income from actually valuable labor alone. So then only the rent-seekers would flee, and good riddance.

Which is my usual first line solution: just fix rent and otherwise let the market be free and bam you've got market socialism now. Which is then met with with "but renting is a valuable service just like any other and shouldn't be singled out for punishment because risk waaah waaah" and honestly I'm just kinda fucking sick of this conversation at this point.
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