Libertarianism

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Pfhorrest
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:01 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Ah, so you're more bothered by rent if owning is not an option, not when a choice exists between the two.

And by rent making owning less of an option, because it benefits the owners-of-excess more to rent it out than it does to sell it. If renting it out was not viable, their options would be sit on their useless "investment", or sell it, but since nobody else would be buying for "investment", the only possible sales would be to people who need it for their own use, i.e. the would-have-been renters, so the sales would have to be on terms said renters could afford, instead of so high as to make purchase impossible and force people into renting.

As far as pricing goes, no one entity should have a monopoly, so they shouldn't be able to force you to buy at insane prices. Are you postulating that the market's broken somehow in that respect?

Yes, completely broken.

It seems as if in an area where there isn't anything new to buy, you'd have shortages in any case, and prices would spike, rentals or no.

But, as illustrated in my toy example, if all transactions are purchases, the distribution naturally equalizes over time, so while it may be expensive, everyone still end up with it eventually. A naive look at how free markets are meant to work assumed that this kind of equalization happens over time and that's why free markets supposedly end up benefitting everyone. The have-mores trade their excess to the have-lesses in exchange for their labor and through that process the distribution of property evens out in time.

But when rent is available, housing is just as expensive if not more, and that expense never stops. It just becomes a never ending source of exploitation of the have-nots by the have-enough-to-rent-outs. Instead of "free trade" shuffling things around to where they're most useful (i.e. from those who have more than they need for their use to those who have less than they need to use), it concentrates ownership in the hands of whoever already happened to own more. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

NB that I mean in general, not just in housing. Housing is just the kind of capital that's most relevant to most people. Most people don't have and aren't really particularly trying to get capital of any other kind, they're just trying to stop having to pay to exist somewhere. (i.e. housing is most people's biggest expense and largest asset).

The toy economy makes a decent example, but the big problem that arises "Alice won't sell land" is primarily a result of a monopoly situation. Bob has nobody else he can buy land from. If a range of people exist, their needs and desires will differ, and at least some will wish to sell.

You seem really hung up on this idea that only a monopoly can distort a market this way. A monopoly is just the extreme end of distributive inequality, and anything between total equality and a monopoly has the same kinds of problems a monopoly has to a lesser degree. Yes, if the island had a billion people and all of them owned more or less the same amount of land and Alice just owned a little more than average and Bob just owned a little more than average, that situation would probably work out a lot better for Bob than in my toy example. But if 1% of those billion people own 90% of the land, that's not a monopoly, you still have ten million potential sellers, but the market distortions there look a not more like my toy example than a happy market of roughly equals.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:10 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Ah, so you're more bothered by rent if owning is not an option, not when a choice exists between the two.

And by rent making owning less of an option, because it benefits the owners-of-excess more to rent it out than it does to sell it. If renting it out was not viable, their options would be sit on their useless "investment", or sell it, but since nobody else would be buying for "investment", the only possible sales would be to people who need it for their own use, i.e. the would-have-been renters, so the sales would have to be on terms said renters could afford, instead of so high as to make purchase impossible and force people into renting.


Buying or renting, ultimately it's the same number of consumers for the same number of houses.

Yeah, if someone controls the whole housing market, they can arbitrarily change prices to force their preferred outcome. This is not the case, though.

It seems as if in an area where there isn't anything new to buy, you'd have shortages in any case, and prices would spike, rentals or no.

But, as illustrated in my toy example, if all transactions are purchases, the distribution naturally equalizes over time, so while it may be expensive, everyone still end up with it eventually. A naive look at how free markets are meant to work assumed that this kind of equalization happens over time and that's why free markets supposedly end up benefitting everyone. The have-mores trade their excess to the have-lesses in exchange for their labor and through that process the distribution of property evens out in time.

But when rent is available, housing is just as expensive if not more, and that expense never stops. It just becomes a never ending source of exploitation of the have-nots by the have-enough-to-rent-outs. Instead of "free trade" shuffling things around to where they're most useful (i.e. from those who have more than they need for their use to those who have less than they need to use), it concentrates ownership in the hands of whoever already happened to own more. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.


So then why is farmland trending away from rentals? If renting was a trap that locked more and more people into renting, why do we see fewer and fewer people renting, and a very small percentage of farmland rented out? Farming's been around forever, if this were a natural effect, why is it not obvious?

Homeowning has stopped climbing since the housing crash, but prior to that, we see a steady climb in the percentage of people who owned their own home. In 1965, it was about 36.2% of people who owned their own home. The high at 2006 was about 76.1%, and we're still at 75%(All numbers Pew research, US housing market). It does not appear as though everyone is being forced to rent instead of own.

Sure, the housing crash was bad, and appears to have made it harder for people to own homes, but the proposed effect of everyone being forced away from ownership does not appear to be a long term trend in reality.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:30 pm UTC

Owned, or mortgaged? Interest is just rent on money, so it's still rent. If things are just shifting from renting land directly to renting money instead, that's not really an improvement.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:47 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Owned, or mortgaged? Interest is just rent on money, so it's still rent. If things are just shifting from renting land directly to renting money instead, that's not really an improvement.


The majority are mortgaged. Only about 34% of Americans own their homes free and clear*.

I'm not sure what percentage was mortgaged in 1965. That said, the percentage of people who own homes without debt now is similar to the number of people who owned a house at all then, so it still does not appear as if indebtedness is rising due to home ownership. It appears as if mortages are a handy tool for home ownership, but that a large chunk of society has essentially always not owned their home entirely.

Average mortgage debt is falling at present, though in part that may be the post-recession fall in home ownership. Still, it definitely does not seem as if society is locked into an ever expanding pile of debt, and forced to rent more than they were in the past.

*Either all mortgages paid off, or never had a mortgage. Second mortgages exist, and while it may be useful to separate them out to more closely examine your example, the data doesn't usually distinguish.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Chen » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:24 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Owned, or mortgaged? Interest is just rent on money, so it's still rent. If things are just shifting from renting land directly to renting money instead, that's not really an improvement.


Your own concern that you'd keep paying rent "forever" is not the case with a mortgage, so why are you positing they're basically the same?

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:47 pm UTC

Because, at least in the housing options I’ve looked at, the amount you pay towards principal is basically just what you would have otherwise been saving while renting, so mortgaging doesn’t amount to anything different than renting while saving until you can afford to buy outright in cash.

I used to naively think in my youth that it was otherwise, that once you were rich enough to put a down payment down you basically got to put your “rent” payments towards finishing the purchase. Instead, you just keep paying about the same rent on the money borrowed to cover the balance, and keep dumping your savings beyond that towards completing the purchase. There’s just no fucking escaping that pimp who wants his money, which is why we need to fucking murder him.
Last edited by Pfhorrest on Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:01 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:56 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Because, at least in the housing options I’ve looked at, the amount you pay towards principal is basically just what you would have otherwise been saving while renting, so mortgaging doesn’t amount to anything different than renting while saving until you can afford to buy outright in cash.

I used to naively think in my youth that it was otherwise, that once you were rich enough to put a down payment down you basically got to put your “rent” payments towards finishing the purchase. Instead, you just keep paying about the same rent on the money borrowed to cover the balance, and keep dumping your savings beyond that towards completing the purchase. There’s just no fucking escaping that pimp who wants his money, which is why we need yo fucking murder him.


I mean, in the case of buying, you're getting equity in return, and the mortgage term does eventually end, at which point you're no longer paying any kind of rent.

I agree that some people make out home ownership to be more of a cakewalk than it actually is, but given two transactions that are otherwise identical, but in which one you receive equity, I'd expect the equity gaining option to make that transaction more expensive.

Sure, you've got to live somewhere, just like you've got to eat, but the person fulfilling that need isn't evil for wanting to be compensated.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:22 pm UTC

The proportion of your rent that is interest will start out high at the beginning, and drop gradually over the duration of the term. This is true for auto loans, etc as well. A larger down payment, shorter term, paying in advance can mitigate this, but it's sort of in the nature of a fixed-payment loan.

So, while this is true now, it's not going to remain true throughout your mortgage term.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:53 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Because, at least in the housing options I’ve looked at, the amount you pay towards principal is basically just what you would have otherwise been saving while renting, so mortgaging doesn’t amount to anything different than renting while saving until you can afford to buy outright in cash.


This depends a lot on markets and whatnot. Though because your mortgage debt is in fixed-year dollars, it gets smaller with inflation, whereas housing prices typically rise at least with inflation (sometimes much, much higher in some pathological markets), so in rent-and-save, you're paying inflation-adjusted rent, plus inflation-adjusted prices once you finally get around to buying.

May also depend on the type of housing your looking for. Multi-tenant dwellings mean that each tenant needs to pay proportionately less to cover the owner's costs of the property. If you're looking to rent a single family home, then the mortgage probably works out to be cheaper once equity is factored in since your rent is effectively paying the landowner's mortgage anyway.

Tyndmyr wrote:The proportion of your rent that is interest will start out high at the beginning, and drop gradually over the duration of the term. This is true for auto loans, etc as well. A larger down payment, shorter term, paying in advance can mitigate this, but it's sort of in the nature of a fixed-payment loan.


And at low interest rates like now, it's still decent enough right from the start. At a 4% mortgage, a third of your payment is still going to principal, which goes up to about half in less than 10 years. A few years ago when rates were in the 2-3% range, fully half of your payment would be principal from the outset.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:26 pm UTC

i dont know what kind of blissful fantasy land you people are looking at but for hundreds if not thousands of miles from where i am, i'd need to put hundreds of thousands of dollars down (close to half the cost) before the INTEREST ALONE on the CHEAPEST PLACE TO BUY is less than the rent i'm paying now.

i am also paying the cheapest rent i can possibly find, but the point of that is to stop throwing money down a fucking hole as quickly as possible, so the fact that any buying requires i throw more money down a hole than renting does forces me to rent and keep throwing money down a hole until i have the gargantuan fucking piles and piles of money it's going to take my entire fucking life to save to buy my way out of this goddamn slavery.

where the fuck is thesh when i need him


here, everyone who thinks there's no problem, or the problem is different than I think it is, solve this word problem which is approximately my own pretty normal life, but generalized to omit some irrelevant specifics:

An average two-person household who live near the border of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, who are in their mid-30s and now finally make about the median household income for California. They were both born there, have all their family there, and their friends, and their jobs, and their whole lives, but more importantly, so do most of the hundreds of thousands of other people in similar circumstances who make up the bulk of the local population, so "just go somewhere else" is not a general solution to the problem, it's just running away from it. "Just make more money" is also not a solution, for reasons that don't need to be explained if you're not a petulant idiot.

How does this couple stop paying for housing before they die without plunging themselves into abject poverty trying to afford it? Find me a property listing and a mortgage rate to solve this problem without "just move somewhere else"/"just make more money" bullshit solutions that cannot be applied to the hundreds of thousands of people in the same circumstances.

Or else if you agree it's not possible, propose specific legal changes that will make it possible.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:05 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:i dont know what kind of blissful fantasy land you people are looking at but for hundreds if not thousands of miles from where i am, i'd need to put hundreds of thousands of dollars down (close to half the cost) before the INTEREST ALONE on the CHEAPEST PLACE TO BUY is less than the rent i'm paying now.


Putting half down is pretty steep. Good on you for aiming for cheap rent and trying to build equity as rapidly as possible, but I suspect your local housing market is unusually steep. California's got a housing shortage for sure, but rent is not unique to that area, and does not explain why it's so unreasonable compared to other areas. If the price were more reasonable, either renting or owning would be far less of a problem, as they are in other areas.

As you say, it is not a problem that needs to be addressed by or for you alone, but for everyone in your region. In fact, if your rent is less than the interest paid after putting half down, you probably did quite well in finding an inexpensive place to rent. The fact that the rent/principle ratio gets better over time though still ought to apply. I don't know if that's much encouragement right this moment, but once you're over the initial hump of getting a place, it does get better.

Mine isn't great either(coastal problems), but if you drive an hour or two away from the popular urban/suburban areas, it drops off a ton in price. New York area/parts of the west coast are worse, one would have to drive a lot further to get an equivalent dropoff. Meanwhile, my little brother in the midwest bought his first house, a single family home, for fifty grand. Fifty grand is not really a thing in my market. The regional differences are extreme.

The price difficulties you see are specific to your region(and mine, to a lesser degree), and are not universal to all places with rent and mortgages. Therefore, rent and mortgages are unlikely to be the cause.

More likely explanations are the exceptionally strict land use regulations that choke off supply, and the increasing populations. If you add 2 new housing units for every ten new residents(actual ratio for california as a whole), then sure, people are going to have problems finding a place to live. Rent or buy, either way, it's going to be difficult.

You can increase supply by altering regulations in a few ways. More high density housing is one such way. Yeah, you have to get past NIMBY sorts, environmental regulations can be trimmed...you can decrease the regulatory hurdles necessary to build homes. In all of these California diverges from US norms, and these are tied to the current shortages. This is an area for which libertarianism offers actual legislative options, in contrast to the primary two parties, both of which have, if anything, contributed to or ignore the current mess.

Edit: reordered post so the logical flow is more coherent.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:25 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:i dont know what kind of blissful fantasy land you people are looking at but for hundreds if not thousands of miles from where i am, i'd need to put hundreds of thousands of dollars down (close to half the cost) before the INTEREST ALONE on the CHEAPEST PLACE TO BUY is less than the rent i'm paying now.


As I said, depends where you live and what sorts of properties you're trying to live in vs. purchase, but... rental rates generally go up in proportion to housing prices unless there's very strict rent controls or something going on, so equivalent properties in rental/purchasing markets tend to have similar price points. For example, median rental rate on a 2 bed 2 bath apartment in San Francisco is an eye-popping $4600/mo... but the same monthly payment could get you a mortgage of ~1 million at 3.5% interest, and 40% of that mortgage payment would be going into the principal. Median cost of a 2 bed 2 bath condo in SF is ~1.2m, so you're in the right ballpark either way, except the condo owner is building up equity to the tune of $2000/mo.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:31 pm UTC

Still, sweet jesus is that a ton of money for a condo.

Rent vs buy aisde, I think it's fair to call out those prices as a legitimate problem.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:11 pm UTC

Thing is you're comparing medians to medians, and yeah if I could afford to pay median rental prices I could also afford to buy because both are ridiculously huge. What matters is the low end, and there simply is not housing available for purchase at prices comparable to the low end of rent, so the bottom half of the market are stuck renting. that's why i have to basically own half a house before paying off the rent doesn't suck up more money than the best rental options available.

also holy fuck I would literally buy a house in cash bills paper money stuffed into a suitcase if it was just $50k.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:31 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Thing is you're comparing medians to medians, and yeah if I could afford to pay median rental prices I could also afford to buy because both are ridiculously huge. What matters is the low end, and there simply is not housing available for purchase at prices comparable to the low end of rent, so the bottom half of the market are stuck renting. that's why i have to basically own half a house before paying off the rent doesn't suck up more money than the best rental options available.

also holy fuck I would literally buy a house in cash bills paper money stuffed into a suitcase if it was just $50k.


Yeah, that makes sense. Googling around, I saw that CA, despite generally attracting a ton of people, was bleeding people making under 110k/yr. That indicates that the low end(for a california standard of "low end", no less! 110k is very good for most of the US) is having most of the troubles. What's getting built is probably low density/high cost housing.

I know, right? I don't particularly want to live in the rural midwest, but when I look at their housing costs, there's some envy.

I'm impressed at some of the creative solutions people try to find to the housing shortage(living aboard boats, tiny houses, etc), but ultimately more houses are needed. I got a bit lucky myself. Managed to score a few acres by relentlessly scouring for lots for...something like a year. Finding vacant buildable land for a reasonable price here is obscenely rare. Persistence isn't really a systemic fix, though. It gives the individual a leg up, but it doesn't fix the basic housing/people ratio.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:52 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Thing is you're comparing medians to medians, and yeah if I could afford to pay median rental prices I could also afford to buy because both are ridiculously huge. What matters is the low end, and there simply is not housing available for purchase at prices comparable to the low end of rent, so the bottom half of the market are stuck renting. that's why i have to basically own half a house before paying off the rent doesn't suck up more money than the best rental options available.


I think maybe we're talking about different problems then. What I thought you were saying was that for a particular property, you will pay significantly less in rent and investing the difference in savings than you would mortgaging it and building up equity. I don't think this is generally the case as long as the housing market trending up in the long term, but I'm sure there's counterexamples that I haven't thought of.

I don't disagree that the price floor on purchasing is higher than the price floor on renting, and especially in the more expensive markets, this is definitely a very big problem.

Tyndmyr wrote:What's getting built is probably low density/high cost housing.


I think it's more complicated than that. For example, in a lot of the hottest markets, there's a big distortion resulting from institutional investors trying to cash in on the 10-15% year-over-year appreciation rate in the market. This is all a bit OT and maybe better discussed in another thread though.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:52 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Yeah, that makes sense. Googling around, I saw that CA, despite generally attracting a ton of people, was bleeding people making under 110k/yr. That indicates that the low end(for a california standard of "low end", no less! 110k is very good for most of the US) is having most of the troubles. What's getting built is probably low density/high cost housing.


Looking at Google Maps, I don't think I saw a structure over five stories tall. A twenty story apartment/condo building is not something that exists.

Then again, would you build more than five stories in a place where a 4.0 Earthquake doesn't disrupt your morning run?
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:57 pm UTC

Building apartments doesn't really help with escaping from rent though because apartments are inherently rental housing. Yeah, you can "own" a condo which is basically an apartment, but not without paying HOA fees which are basically the same as rent inasmuch as you get kicked out of your home if you don't pay up.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:29 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Building apartments doesn't really help with escaping from rent though because apartments are inherently rental housing. Yeah, you can "own" a condo which is basically an apartment, but not without paying HOA fees which are basically the same as rent inasmuch as you get kicked out of your home if you don't pay up.


Well, condo fees are much lower than rent, and typically go to cover shared costs of the building, like if you need to replace the roof or something. It's not an insignificant expense, but it's not like the HOA is just pocketing that money and you get nothing from it.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Chen » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:40 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Well, condo fees are much lower than rent, and typically go to cover shared costs of the building, like if you need to replace the roof or something. It's not an insignificant expense, but it's not like the HOA is just pocketing that money and you get nothing from it.


Exactly. I live in a condo and the fees are basically forced savings to ensure when a big expense comes you dont have to ask everyone to pony up money (and get screwed if people don’t or can’t). Plus yearly maintenance, insurance etc. Like anything they can be corrupt but thats one of the things you check out before you buy the place, just like having an inspection.

Building up is one of the better solutions to produce more housing without having to sprawl neighborhoods further and further from the cities.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:43 am UTC

I agree that HOA fees are still not as bad as rent, as far as justice is concerned, since the HOA is owned by the homeowners so like you say it's basically forced savings. But as far as acquiring a safe place that you can't be thrown out of no matter how hard you hit rock bottom, which is the bare minimum security a home is supposed to provide, they still ruin that.

If your roof leaks or you break a window or whatever and don't have savings to cover it, you've still got a place to be. Nobody's going to be mad at you but you. Not so when you share the building with other people. Then you have to answer to them. Bringing this back on the topic of libertarianism: isn't independence from other people supposed to be one of the big perks of that? Individualism vs collectivism and all that?
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:43 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Building apartments doesn't really help with escaping from rent though because apartments are inherently rental housing. Yeah, you can "own" a condo which is basically an apartment, but not without paying HOA fees which are basically the same as rent inasmuch as you get kicked out of your home if you don't pay up.

Not for an individual insistent on owning a chunk that can be defined as dirt existing within specific longitute and latitude coordinates, true, but for the whole it does help with rent and cost of property by reducing demand. California, particularly Southern California, particularly the areas around LA, are all expensive because there's 50,000 spaces to live and 200,000 people competing for them. Or something like that - whatever the ratio is. There's not enough livable space for the people who want to live there, so the cost goes up because some dumbass is going to overpay, making it no longer overpaying but market value. (Of course, nevermind there's plenty of houses on a half acre of good honest dirt who *still* have to pay in to a HOA for various reasons)

So one solution is to increase the amount of living spaces. It's not a perfect solution for the reasons you mentioned and because even in a space that's a quarter square mile, there are still going to be more desirable properties. Even if you have two identical structures, one will have a better view, or one won't be in direct sunlight. Or will be, whichever is preferable.

But with more living space, the number of "This sucks but I can make it work" spaces increases from 1 to dozens per year. The number of "I could live here and be okay" spaces becomes... y'know.. 1 per year. And not "get on a waiting list for a decade". And so on.

Simply put, Southern California needs more living space than it has. Building up - or down - is a solution, but given the tendency for the ground to move around I don't know how feasible that is.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:57 am UTC

I mean yeah I guess if a bunch of other people want to pack in like sardines I could just say fuck em so long as I get mine, but that seems like an attitude that's not indicative of a healthy social situation.

On the topic of people moving in to California but all of the poor people moving out: if everyone already living here had always been buying not renting, even if they were buying very slowly over a very long time in monthly payments comparable to their rental payments, then that wouldn't be a thing that happened. (Gentrification also wouldn't be a thing, and that's basically what you're describing: a whole goddamn state being 'gentrified'). The poor wouldn't be forced out of their homes and have to flee like refugees, unless we built more houses for them. Instead, the rich fuckers currently forcing them out by jacking up the prices wouldn't be able to move in, unless we built more houses for them. If you think that the real solution to the problem is to build more housing, it seems like inconveniencing the wealthy who can afford to fund that to solve their own problems, instead of the poor who can't help it and just have to leave unless someone deigns to solve their problems for them, is the way to accomplish that. There is no incentive for the wealthy to build more housing, for the same reason there's no incentive for DeBeers to distribute more diamonds. Restricting the supply is in their interests.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:44 am UTC

Pfhorrest - to a greater extent that you think, you can decide which side of the equation you want to be on.

Have you considered buying a multi-family home, and renting out the other units? Sure, the MF home is going to be more expensive (probably more than you can afford with your present job) but it comes with another job. If you can show that you are likely to have 80% occupancy (or so), then the income from those tenants (minus the expected expenses) counts as income to you, putting you in a higher income bracket, and thus making you eligible for a mortgage that would make the purchase possible.

You buy the house, you owe a fuckton of money, you get tenants, your income goes way up, and you pay the mortgage with that income.

Now, the risk is that you can't get tenants, or can't get good tenants, or can't tell who the good tenants are.... but in those cases this just indicates that the rental market isn't as hot as you think it is (from being on the rental side of it). But if indeed the landowners are raking it in, then become a landowner, and rake some in yourself. Multifamily homes are a way to do it.

Now, when I said it "comes with a job", that's what it means. You will be responsible to those tenants - keeping the heat on, cleaning up the basement flood, fixing the leaky toilet... but you'll be collecting rent for your efforts, and your tenants will be glad to have a place to live that they can afford.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:49 am UTC

I would have to borrow money to buy the house to rent it out, so not only would it come with an extra job built in, it would come with extra rent built in (just on money instead of land), which largely cancel each other out.

Also, you know, I'd need a huge pile of money that I'm not saving toward the purchase of my own home to put in to get started on that.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:49 am UTC

"Hey so I heard you can't afford to buy a house. Have you considered...buying a bigger house? What if I also threw in contributing to the very problem you've been railing about for the past several hours?"
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:52 am UTC

ETA (or nope, ninja'd): now if I just had piles and piles of money sitting around unused and wanted to use them to get even more money, then yeah, that'd be a good idea, if by "good" you mean "exploitative". Buy a house, collect rent on it. But absent those piles of money, it's really the bank's house, they're making all the profits, and I'd be just their middle man.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:07 am UTC

You would live in one of the units, and you'd own (subject to mortgage) the whole building. But if the problem is you're on the wrong side of the eight-ball, and you can get on the other side of it, then that may be worth considering. Yes, the total stakes are higher (it's a more expensive building...) but you're also getting a bulk discount, and getting the tenants to pay your mortgage - tenants that may well appreciate the ability to rent, and to not have to take on the responsibility of owning.

Maybe the economics don't work out, and it's not a good idea in your specific situation. But you don't know until you look. If you are good with home repairs and handling people and don't mind getting better at it, it might be a good fit. It might be worth talking to some people in that field in your area.

Yes gmal, sometimes the answer to a problem is ironic. But I get the idea that the issue (of rent) that he is railing against is being railed against not because of (pure) ideology, but also because of circumstance. So, if this is a way to change circumstance, then it's not something to be mocked for a heap of eels.

Now, if you had piles of money, you could just buy a house and be done with it, giving the rest to charity. But if you need to make money to buy a house, one way to do it is to provide a service (rental housing) in exchange for money (rent). It's a perfectly good way to make a living.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:43 am UTC

FWIW I am planning on investing in real estate via Fundrise starting probably next year so as to help offset the costs of my own rent and accelerate the time I can stop paying it. I don't consider it hypocrisy because so long as I'm not making more off other people's rent than I'm having to pay on my own (which won't happen because I would have to own more than enough investments to cash out and stop renting myself before that happened), I can still consistently be for the abolition of rent and not be going against my own actions by doing so, because I'll still be suffering more than I'm benefitting from rent.

Actually, that right there really helps illustrate the way that rent makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. Starting out poor, the existence of rent costs me money. The more money I have, the more I can invest into making money from other people's rent. At some point I break even, and could cash out and call it quits. But if not, if I keep investing beyond that, I end up making more from rent than it's costing me. So someone below that break-even point is being cost money for not having enough, and someone above it is making money just from having it.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Chen » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:17 pm UTC

Maybe I missed it, but if there were no renting of housing, are you just expecting the government would allocate every adult their own land/house? I'm not really sure how you'd get people started out otherwise, especially poor people, say an 18 year who has just been kicked out of their parents house with no job and no assets to their name.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:23 pm UTC

The way I suggested, although it's not really been discussed in and of itself, is to have the public rent the land and then be paid out a social dividend equal to the per capita rent (including for businesses, as well as purchases of natural resources, and taxed instead of wages). People who use below average consumption of physical resources would be paid by people who use above average.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:59 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:On the topic of people moving in to California but all of the poor people moving out: if everyone already living here had always been buying not renting, even if they were buying very slowly over a very long time in monthly payments comparable to their rental payments, then that wouldn't be a thing that happened. (Gentrification also wouldn't be a thing, and that's basically what you're describing: a whole goddamn state being 'gentrified'). The poor wouldn't be forced out of their homes and have to flee like refugees, unless we built more houses for them. Instead, the rich fuckers currently forcing them out by jacking up the prices wouldn't be able to move in, unless we built more houses for them. If you think that the real solution to the problem is to build more housing, it seems like inconveniencing the wealthy who can afford to fund that to solve their own problems, instead of the poor who can't help it and just have to leave unless someone deigns to solve their problems for them, is the way to accomplish that. There is no incentive for the wealthy to build more housing, for the same reason there's no incentive for DeBeers to distribute more diamonds. Restricting the supply is in their interests.

That.. no, that still wouldn't remotely resolve the problem. See, people like to fuck. And when people fuck, if their sexual organs are configured a certain way and they've been whanging them together in a particular fashion and one of the person's internal biology is lined up more or less right and no condoms, hormonal blockers, or other methods are used - then nine months later you get another person.

That in 20 years needs to live somewhere. And if you aren't building more houses, they're shit out of luck. The "It's hard to live in Southern California" has been a thing for decades. The "new" thing is just the logical extension of what's been going on for decades.

Again, I'm not suggesting that building more housing is the only solution. But I am saying it's part of the solution. There's only so much space in a particular area, even if you build houses that share walls with their neighbors. If there's 100,000 people who want to live in a 42 square mile area but there's only enough living spaces for 90,000 of them, the price is going to go up until 10,000 people literally cannot afford to live there as.. that's the only "Fair market, Libertarian, Free" way of choosing who gets to stay.

Other parts of the solution are to make the area less attractive to move to and other areas more attractive to move to. Which sounds like madness when phrased as "If a company is wanting to move to your town and open a plant with 5,000 job opportunities but you're in a housing crisis as no one can afford to buy shit.. responsible government is to suggest the company move three towns over so more burden isn't placed on your city."

ucim wrote:Literally anything but a guideline for non-exploitative Indentured Servitude contracts, but in this case some nonsense about the solution to not being able to buy property to be "buy even more property"


Still waiting on that contract. I'm asking because you seem to be under the impression that such a thing is possible.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:43 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:What's getting built is probably low density/high cost housing.


I think it's more complicated than that. For example, in a lot of the hottest markets, there's a big distortion resulting from institutional investors trying to cash in on the 10-15% year-over-year appreciation rate in the market. This is all a bit OT and maybe better discussed in another thread though.


Eh, how markets work is pretty important to libertarianism, I'd say. And the housing market's pretty important to people in practical terms. I have no objection to discussing the topic here.

Constant appreciation can be a thing if the supply/demand ratio is expected to worsen, sure. In some respects, you're paying for expected future problems.

SecondTalon wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Yeah, that makes sense. Googling around, I saw that CA, despite generally attracting a ton of people, was bleeding people making under 110k/yr. That indicates that the low end(for a california standard of "low end", no less! 110k is very good for most of the US) is having most of the troubles. What's getting built is probably low density/high cost housing.


Looking at Google Maps, I don't think I saw a structure over five stories tall. A twenty story apartment/condo building is not something that exists.

Then again, would you build more than five stories in a place where a 4.0 Earthquake doesn't disrupt your morning run?


Earthquake safety standards are probably not the corner to cut. That said, you can definitely build a lot higher than five stories in an area that gets earthquakes. San Francisco has a couple dozen skyscrapers.

Usually, easier areas to target for looser regulations are limits on minimum sizes(either for units as a whole, for individual rooms, or minimum lot sizes), setback requirements, square footage coverage limitations, and regulations tailored to appearance. How restrictive these are can vary from county to county, and zoning. If an area has a "one structure per half acre lot" rule, then it usually encourages a suburban appearance and housing density. LA's zones top out at requiring 40,000 square feet per lot, for example.

Height, as you surmise, is another one. For LA*, building on the hills or coast grants you another 12 feet of allowed height. This is probably driven by "rich people live there" more so than safety. There no doubt are eventual limits beyond which we can't move without compromising safety, but California as a whole isn't there yet.

*They happened to have an easily accessible building code, other parts of CA may vary wildly.

Pfhorrest wrote:Building apartments doesn't really help with escaping from rent though because apartments are inherently rental housing. Yeah, you can "own" a condo which is basically an apartment, but not without paying HOA fees which are basically the same as rent inasmuch as you get kicked out of your home if you don't pay up.


It doesn't directly help you, but it does lessen the demand for housing. Everybody's got to live somewhere*. Some folks will be content with an apartment or condo, particularly if the prices are more reasonable. I don't particularly like HOAs myself, and don't really like the idea that I can end up with effective rent, changed by neighborhood busybodies, for my property. Some seem okay with them, though, and how bad they are varies a great deal. Some are quite reasonable. In any case, every person who ends up buying a condo instead of competing for a single family home helps you.

*Not entirely true. There is a reason California has a huge homeless problem. But people do try.

Pfhorrest wrote:I agree that HOA fees are still not as bad as rent, as far as justice is concerned, since the HOA is owned by the homeowners so like you say it's basically forced savings. But as far as acquiring a safe place that you can't be thrown out of no matter how hard you hit rock bottom, which is the bare minimum security a home is supposed to provide, they still ruin that.


Agreed. I feel similarly about property taxes. It's particularly bad for elderly/fixed income sorts that may be living in the family place that's appreciating. So, the property tax bill escalates, sort of forcing them to move. Both of these are limitations on property rights, and can be troublesome.

Fortunately, one can avoid HOAs by opting not to buy there. Property taxes are more difficult.

Pfhorrest wrote:If your roof leaks or you break a window or whatever and don't have savings to cover it, you've still got a place to be. Nobody's going to be mad at you but you. Not so when you share the building with other people. Then you have to answer to them. Bringing this back on the topic of libertarianism: isn't independence from other people supposed to be one of the big perks of that? Individualism vs collectivism and all that?


Sure. Freedom takes priority over individualism, though. If someone really wants to live in a commune or the like, we ought not stop them. However, it will be exceedingly rare that you'll find a libertarian who wants to live that way themselves. It doesn't fit their values, usually. They prefer owning a chunk of dirt free and clear almost without exception.

Even in a libertarian-run society though, it isn't necessary that everyone act like a libertarian. So long as they're refraining from forcing others into things, they're welcome to choose differently than we might. Thus, the existence of a HOA isn't a problem, so long as they don't crowd out non-HOA options.

Pfhorrest wrote:I mean yeah I guess if a bunch of other people want to pack in like sardines I could just say fuck em so long as I get mine, but that seems like an attitude that's not indicative of a healthy social situation.


A common issue with urban areas with shortages is that young folks end up renting rooms in a house rather than apartments because inexpensive apartments are in short supply. They would prefer studio apartments or similar, as they offer more independence, but work with what they can afford. Building more apartments would make these folks better off. More independence, plus cheaper rent helps pretty much everyone, regardless of goals.

The only folks who do not benefit are those who are hoping to make a profit off of ever increasing rent/sale prices, but libertarianism does not hold that expectations of profit entitle one to it. Folks ought to be able to build on their property though. So, the only people not benefiting from this are those with no moral obligation to.

Pfhorrest wrote:On the topic of people moving in to California but all of the poor people moving out: if everyone already living here had always been buying not renting, even if they were buying very slowly over a very long time in monthly payments comparable to their rental payments, then that wouldn't be a thing that happened. (Gentrification also wouldn't be a thing, and that's basically what you're describing: a whole goddamn state being 'gentrified'). The poor wouldn't be forced out of their homes and have to flee like refugees, unless we built more houses for them.


Gentrification is actually even more horrible than that. I mean, you're not wrong about what's happening, but gentrification can and does force people out of houses that they own in the traditional sense.

Eminent domain and the aforementioned property tax spiral both contribute to it. You're in more danger of losing your home if you rent, sure, but sometimes a well meaning politician decides some urban renewal is needed, and this whole area is gonna get bulldozed. Not nice enough for their standards.

More pervasive are cost of living increases. Everything tends to cost more on the coast, because the housing prices trickle around. If you live there, you have to make a lot in general, so all services(and goods involving services) tend to rise in price. You're paying a bit more than average for groceries, for restaurants, for going to a movie, for transportation. All of that eventually also contributes to forcing out people who don't make a lot. It's not as obviously evil as the above example, but the eventual result of the market distortion still takes a toll.

Plus, as SecondTalon says, you do have new young folks entering the housing market regularly.

ucim wrote:Pfhorrest - to a greater extent that you think, you can decide which side of the equation you want to be on.

Have you considered buying a multi-family home, and renting out the other units? Sure, the MF home is going to be more expensive (probably more than you can afford with your present job) but it comes with another job. If you can show that you are likely to have 80% occupancy (or so), then the income from those tenants (minus the expected expenses) counts as income to you, putting you in a higher income bracket, and thus making you eligible for a mortgage that would make the purchase possible.


This is an individual course of action, and runs into other problems. Namely, the benefit of renting is probably already priced in, making that house far less affordable. If he wished to build, he would have to deal with the aforementioned restrictions.

Aiming to outperform people on average is beneficial for him, but does not solve the overall problem. So, sure, it's definitely good that he's saving, he's trying to make it work as best as he can, but doing that doesn't change the market incentives. It's just trying to win within the system, it isn't changing the system. If you have x units and x+z families, then z families lack housing regardless of if you're on top of the pile or not.

If we're looking at it from an individual perspective, then sure. Knock yourself out with that. But from the ideological perspective, the greater problem must be addressed, or your ideology isn't being very useful.

I suspect that, if the situation continues without being addressed, the housing problem will eventually become untenable for further businesses to move in. Secondary tech clusters already exist elsewhere in part because of this. California farming is already running into a lot of issues(water rights, etc). All of those trends will likely continue to grow, and California might lose it's preeminence in some of these areas. I can't imagine the cost involved with setting up a new tech center, or even a new factory farm in the state.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:12 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If we're looking at it from an individual perspective, then sure. Knock yourself out with that. But from the ideological perspective, the greater problem must be addressed, or your ideology isn't being very useful.
Yes, that is true. But "where you stand depends on where you sit" and all; I'm wondering if his response is a true ideological position, or an ideological response to his circumstances. I suspect the latter, and that puts a different spin on things.

Pfhorrest - suppose you invented something, and/or otherwise ended up with a big pile of money and a well-paying job - enough to buy a house in pretty much any area you wanted. Would you buy one? And now, sitting comfortably in this abode, would you still rail so strongly about how exploitive rent is, now that you are no longer in that situation? Well, maybe - after all owning was your goal in the first place. But then your new company transfers you for a year to Duluth to set up a manufacturing plant. You can afford to keep your house in California (to return to later), but you still have to live in Duluth for a year.

You could buy (and then sell) a house in Duluth, or you can rent an apartment for a year. Which would you do?

SecondTalon wrote:Alright. What would a non-exploitative Indentured Servitude contract look like and how would it differ from current Employee Contracts?
In exchange for a free college education now, you agree to serve in the military for seven years into the future. You will be paid not very much during this time, but you will be fed and housed, and where you're going, there's not much use for spare change. Sure, you'll come out broke, but you will be a very good employment candidate. Somebody who's already broke and living in a depressed area with little hope of advancement might see this as a decent step up. Obviously somebody who's well off or who already has good prospects would pass on the deal. But not every deal is right for every person.

You can take this example and twerk it to be exploitative, or you can twerk it to be lucrative. That's in the details, not the concept.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:14 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:If we're looking at it from an individual perspective, then sure. Knock yourself out with that. But from the ideological perspective, the greater problem must be addressed, or your ideology isn't being very useful.
Yes, that is true. But "where you stand depends on where you sit" and all; I'm wondering if his response is a true ideological position, or an ideological response to his circumstances. I suspect the latter, and that puts a different spin on things.


To a certain extent, I think everyone's ideologies are affected by their circumstances. If you believe something, and then the real world contradicts it harshly, your views end up adapting to include that. Folks prioritize the problems they face. I'm not sure there are any "true ideological positions" that avoid that entirely. If you look at philosophers, their views are heavily influenced by the places and times they lived in.

It's likely that the same is true of all of us to some degree.

You could buy (and then sell) a house in Duluth, or you can rent an apartment for a year. Which would you do?


Ah, my room's rental in Duluth was $400/month while I was in college. A full apartment would be a few hundred more, but yeah. That brings up that high/low cost of living again.

It's possible to, if you've built up normal equity in a high cost of living area, move to a low cost of living area, and immediately move up significantly in the social/financial status game, if that interests you. Be among the richest few living in a small rural town. It's an interesting perspective when considering the overall advantages of wealth, vs comparative social status.

In exchange for a free college education now, you agree to serve in the military for seven years into the future. You will be paid not very much during this time, but you will be fed and housed, and where you're going, there's not much use for spare change. Sure, you'll come out broke, but you will be a very good employment candidate. Somebody who's already broke and living in a depressed area with little hope of advancement might see this as a decent step up. Obviously somebody who's well off or who already has good prospects would pass on the deal. But not every deal is right for every person.

You can take this example and twerk it to be exploitative, or you can twerk it to be lucrative. That's in the details, not the concept.

Jose


The above example basically looks similar to some routes for becoming an officer. Minimum agreements of service to go with education(or repaying the education if the contract is broken) are pretty normal already, but I don't think anyone calls those Indentured Servitude.

I don't think most people have a disagreement with "payment in advance" contracts, it's a linguistic disagreement. Using that term for non-coercive relationships is confusing, and will probably result in misunderstanding of what you're advocating.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Weeks » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:25 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
SecondTalon wrote:Alright. What would a non-exploitative Indentured Servitude contract look like and how would it differ from current Employee Contracts?
In exchange for a free college education now, you agree to serve in the military for seven years into the future.

Jose
Have you ever served in the military for one year, let alone seven years.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:32 pm UTC

Weeks wrote:Have you ever served in the military for one year, let alone seven years.
No. What of it?

Tyndmyr wrote:I don't think most people have a disagreement with "payment in advance" contracts, it's a linguistic disagreement. Using that term for non-coercive relationships is confusing, and will probably result in misunderstanding of what you're advocating.
It may well be a linguistic disagreement, in which case (like the word "slavery") it needs to be clarified if we are going to use it as an example, one way or another. Opinions of modern examples will differ from historical examples because modern times are different from historical times.

And how do you define "coercive"? Indentured servitude was a contract entered into non-coercively. Once entered, it's like any other contract. We have contracts now, of all kinds. Being shot to death for failure to perform is not a problem with the contract, it's a problem with law enforcement. When the problem is misidentified, the wrong solution will emerge.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:47 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I don't think most people have a disagreement with "payment in advance" contracts, it's a linguistic disagreement. Using that term for non-coercive relationships is confusing, and will probably result in misunderstanding of what you're advocating.
It may well be a linguistic disagreement, in which case (like the word "slavery") it needs to be clarified if we are going to use it as an example, one way or another. Opinions of modern examples will differ from historical examples because modern times are different from historical times.

And how do you define "coercive"? Indentured servitude was a contract entered into non-coercively. Once entered, it's like any other contract. We have contracts now, of all kinds. Being shot to death for failure to perform is not a problem with the contract, it's a problem with law enforcement. When the problem is misidentified, the wrong solution will emerge.

Jose


Well, it's not a term that's really used nowadays, save for the historical context. Thus, the historical context of it mostly determines the definition, and historically, it was basically "not as bad as chattel slavery, but still pretty bad". Most everyone is going to understand something like that from the term.

I mean, you can say "sure, it was fine, except for being shot to death, or being considered property, or (list of other bad things)", but at some point, you've described everything unique about it. It's like saying "the Nazis were fine except for all the awful things they did". Perhaps it's technically true, but it's missing everything important about the term.

I believe we're better off starting with reasonable, accepted as moral forms of contracts, and attempting to make that work for more areas, than we are in trying to make a good version of slavery. Why start from a basis with so many problems to overcome?

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:12 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I believe we're better off starting with reasonable, accepted as moral forms of contracts, and attempting to make that work for more areas, than we are in trying to make a good version of slavery. Why start from a basis with so many problems to overcome?
I agree. The topic came up because of the (IMO) misuse of the word "slavery" to describe lack of good employment opportunity leading to a downspiral of wages. I believe it injects an unwarranted emotional tone into what should be serious business. Even if in both cases the result is {bad thing}, the cause is meaningfully different.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:28 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I believe we're better off starting with reasonable, accepted as moral forms of contracts, and attempting to make that work for more areas, than we are in trying to make a good version of slavery. Why start from a basis with so many problems to overcome?
I agree. The topic came up because of the (IMO) misuse of the word "slavery" to describe lack of good employment opportunity leading to a downspiral of wages. I believe it injects an unwarranted emotional tone into what should be serious business. Even if in both cases the result is {bad thing}, the cause is meaningfully different.

Jose

No, the topic came up because it was explicitly mentioned in the same post that also happened to include the word you assumed meant something no one else had used it to mean.
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