Sunday, September 25, 2011

Did Hayek Advocate Public Works in a Depression?

The answer to the question posed in the title of my post depends on the proper interpretation of passages in Hayek’s essay “The Campaign Against Keynesian Inflation” (in New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and the History of Ideas, London, 1978, pp. 191–232) and in “The Gold Problem” (published in 1937; see Hayek 1999: 169–185).

The context of the first passage is clearly Hayek’s response to the charge that he advocated deflationary depression as a solution in the early 1930s:
“… a ‘secondary depression’ caused by an induced deflation should of course be prevented by appropriate monetary counter-measures. Though I am sometimes accused of having represented the deflationary cause of the business cycles as part of the curative process, I do not think that was ever what I argued. What I did believe at one time was that a deflation might be necessary to break the developing downward rigidity of all particular wages which has of course become one of the main causes of inflation. I no longer think this is a politically possible method and we shall have to find other means to restore the flexibility of the wage structure than the present method of raising all wages except those which must fall relatively to all others. Nor did I ever doubt that in most situations employment could be temporarily increased by increasing money expenditure. There was one classical occasion when I even admitted that this might be politically necessary, whatever the long run economic harm it did.

The occasion was the situation in Germany in, I believe, 1930 when the depression was beginning to get quite serious and a political commission—the Braun Committee—had proposed to combat it by reflation (though that term had not yet been coined), i.e., a rapid expansion of credit. One of the members of the committee, in fact the main author of the report, was my late friend, Professor Wilhelm Röpke. I thought that in the circumstances the proposal was wrong and wrote an article criticising it. I did not send it to a journal, however, but to Professor Röpke with a covering letter in which I made the following point:
‘Apart from political considerations I feel you ought not—not yet at least—to start expanding credit. But if the political situation is so serious that continuing unemployment would lead to a political revolution, please do not publish my article. That is a political consideration, however, the merits of which I cannot judge from outside Germany but which you will be able to judge.’
Röpke’s reaction was not to publish the article, because he was convinced that at that time the political danger of increasing unemployment was so great that he would risk the danger of causing further misdirections by more inflation in the hope of postposing the crisis; at that particular moment this seemed to him politically necessary and I consequently withdrew my article.

To return, however, to the specific problem of preventing what I have called the secondary depression caused by the deflation which a crisis is likely to induce. Although it is clear that such a deflation, which does no good and only harm, ought to be prevented, it is not easy to see how this can be done without producing further misdirections of labour. In general it is probably true to say that an equilibrium position will be most effectively approached if consumers’ demand is prevented from falling substantially by providing employment through public works at relatively low wages so that workers will wish to move as soon as they can to other and better paid occupations, and not by directly stimulating particular kinds of investment or similar kinds of public expenditure which will draw labour into jobs they will expect to be permanent but which must cease as the source of the expenditure dries up.” (Hayek 1978: 210–212).
A more striking statement by Hayek on public works can be found in another passage in Hayek’s essay “The Gold Problem” (originally published in 1937 as “Das Goldproblem,” but available in an English translation in Hayek 1999: 169–185):
“Even though there are many concerns about organizing public works ad hoc during a depression, everything speaks in favour of having public agencies perform during a depression whatever investment activities need to be carried out in any case and can possibly be postposed until then. It is the timing of these expenses that presents a problem, since funds are often extremely hard to raise in the midst of a severe depression and the accumulation of reserves in good times generally faces the objections mentioned above. There is little question that in times of general unemployment the state must intervene to mitigate genuine hardship either by disbursing unemployment compensation or, as in earlier times, by legislation to help the poor. (Hayek 1999 [1937]: 184).
I would be curious to see other discussion of these passages in the scholarly literature, and especially the last one. Ebenstein, for example, maintains that Hayek was still disinclined to support public works though he conceded that they might work (Ebenstein 2003: 70–71; cf. Guest 1997: 59).1 In The Road to Serfdom (1944), Hayek appears to accept the possibility of public works spending even if “in experimenting in this direction we shall have carefully to watch our step if we are to avoid making all economic activity progressively more dependent on the direction and volume of government expenditure” (Hayek 2001 [1944]: 126).2

If fact, if Hayek really meant what he said in “The Gold Problem” all the rubbish one sees in Russ Roberts and John Papola’s Keynes vs. Hayek rap videos should be doubly embarrassing to them. In these videos they try and smear Keynesian countercyclical policy as “central planning,” yet it would appear that Hayek may actually have supported such a policy in a depression. Evidently the good Professor Roberts and Mr Papola should have read their Hayek more carefully. Perhaps they should make a new video exposing Hayek as a “wicked” and “evil” central planner, himself advocating policies that would take us down the dreaded road to serfdom.

But let’s turn to more serious points that emerge from these passages above:
(1) Hayek appears to have opposed deflationary depression in Weimar Germany in the early 1930s because of the political harm it would do, which presumably refers to the rise of Hitler and his Nazi party. He showed great astuteness there, a quality lacking in many of his modern Austrian progeny. Hayek’s solution was apparently increasing employment temporarily “by increasing money expenditure.”

(2) If Hayek really wanted to provide “employment through public works at relatively low wages so that workers … move as soon as they can to other and better paid occupations” by government deficit financing or by money creation, then how is his solution to secondary deflation fundamentally different from a Keynesian one? The answer is that it would not be: Hayek comes very close here to advocating a Keynesian solution to the depression, if (and I emphasise this) the political considerations warrant it. This is still quite a startling insight.

(3) This statement from Hayek shows a side to him that should be driven home to modern Austrians:
“There is little question that in times of general unemployment the state must intervene to mitigate genuine hardship either by disbursing unemployment compensation or, as in earlier times, by legislation to help the poor.”
That should warm the heart of any social democrat. We should reclaim the Hayek who wrote that sentiment. Hayek was a Classical liberal who accepted the argument for a minimal state and here even state welfare for people in distress. If Hayek was pressed, how would he have justified such government welfare in ethical terms? I suspect he would have appealed to some utilitarian/consequentialist ethical theory, a theory which Mises also adhered to. Hayek was really far from the insanity of modern Rothbardian anarcho-capitalists with their natural rights propertarian ethical theory, which, when taken to its logical conclusion, would entail the destruction of our species.
Of course, it really doesn’t matter to me whether Hayek advocated quasi-Keynesian policies in a depression in some circumstances. I think his economics is mostly wrong. But the sight of Hayek advocating public works spending is certainty of historical interest. It certainly puts Hayek in a different category from the hordes of Rothbardian Austrians urging liquidationism as the right solution in cases of recession or depression in all circumstances.

George Selgin in his recent LSE debate with Skidelsky took Keynesians to task for (allegedly) smearing Hayek as a supporter of liquidationism in the early 1930s. But now it looks like Keynesians could turn the tables on Selgin: it was not mere monetary stabilisation that Hayek urged but fiscal policy. Is that what Selgin would support in a deep depression or to stop a deep depression from happening?

It is relevant here to note that the Austrian radical subjectivist Ludwig Lachmann also believed that a Keynesian solution to a deep depression could have worked:
“Policies based on Keynesian macro-economic recipes might have succeeded (had they then been tried) in 1932 and did succeed in 1940 because it so happened that at the bottom of the Great Depression as well as during the Second World War all sectors of the economy were equally affected. In 1932 any kind of additional spending on whatever kind of goods would have had a favourable effect on incomes because there was unemployment everywhere, as well as idle capital equipment and surplus stocks of raw materials.” (Lachmann 1973: 50).
Notes
(1) Ebenstein says: “Hayek became considerably more integrated with the rest of economic academia, at least with respect to practical policy and personal comity—though not with respect to emerging mathematical method—after his initial grand entry at the London school of Economics. While he did not backtrack from his fundamental analyses, he countenanced and even advocated that activist monetary policies could be appropriate policy and that even public works might have a role to play in evening out the vagaries of the business cycle— though he was disinclined to take the latter direction because it ‘might lead to much more serious restrictions of the competitive sphere.’” (Ebenstein 2003: 70–71).

(2) I would also note that Hayek’s support for monetary stabilisation in his earlier writings is inconsistent with his call for monetary denationalisation later in life. How would the state prevent a collapse in the money supply when it had no control over it?

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Ebenstein, A. O. 2003. Hayek’s Journey: The Mind of Friedrich Hayek, Palgrave Macmillan, New York and Basingstoke.

Guest, C. 1997. “Hayek on Government: Two Views or One?,” History of Economics Review 26: 51-67.

Hayek, F. A. von. 1937. “Das Goldproblem,” Österreichische Zeitschrift für Bankwesen 1.9 (September): 255–271. [English translation in Hayek 1999].

Hayek, F. A. von. 1978. New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and the History of Ideas, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.

Hayek, F. A. von. 1999. “The Gold Problem” (trans. G. Heinz), in S. Kresge (ed.), The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek. Volume 5. Good Money, Part 1. The New World, Routledge, London. 169–185.

Hayek, F. A. von. 2001 [1944]. The Road to Serfdom, Routledge, London.

Lachmann, L. M. 1973. Macro-Economic Thinking and the Market Economy: An Essay on the Neglect of the Micro-Foundations and its Consequences, Institute of Economic Affairs.

194 comments:

  1. "He wouldn't make the cut in the Tea Party dominated GOP"

    Maybe not!

    I like your posts over at Naked Keynesianism, by the way.

    Regards

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  2. It certainly puts Hayek in a different category from the hordes of Rothbardian Austrians urging liquidationism as the right solution in cases of recession or depression in all circumstances.

    It certainly puts Hayek in a different category from the hordes of radical Keynesians urging government to inflate and spend money on themselves and their friends as the right solution in cases of recession or depression in all circumstances.

    Austrians only advocate that the inevitable recession brought about by credit expansion let it run its course through voluntary exchange and peaceful economic planning, without initiating further violence in the form of economic warfare against an already government harmed hapless public, so that the malinvestments can be corrected ASAP, instead of the inevitable corrections being pushed to the future by way of MORE destructive inflation and spending.

    To Austrians, Keynesians are sadistic fucks, because Keynesians want not only for the original malinvestments to persist, but also MORE maliunvestments to be piled on top of the previous ones, thus making the inevitable correction phase even more severe and harmful to innocent people's economic lives.

    But the Keynesians are so confused about economics, so ignorant of how the economy works, that they believe peaceful cooperation being the means to solve the problems is evil and immoral. Only psychologically traumatized and depraved sociopaths would consider peace to be evil and violence to be good.

    Contrary to the Keynesians' claims, Austrians want to minimize the damage, not maximize it. You short sighted Keynesian morons are just so confused that you conflate advocating for less pain in the present as more desirable than greater pain in the future, to somehow be equivalent to advocating for pain qua pain. Keynesians fallaciously believe that the government can eliminate the pain by inflation and spending more, but they can't, they can only delay the corrections to the future.

    Yes, this argument above "presumes ABCT is valid." And it is valid, despite your pathetic and desperate claims to the contrary. Yes, it holds the principle that economic calculation, profit and loss, and not "public works" spending or counterfeiting money for the benefit of those who first receive it at the expense of those who receive it later on, is the only way that these errors can be discovered, communicated, and rectified. A division of labor economy built on economic calculation, on profit and loss, that is, the market process, can ONLY be truly fixed by economic calculation, on profit and loss, that is, the market process.

    The government does not know, I don't know, you don't know, and no other individual can ever know, which investments should be liquidated and which investments should persist. Investment viability is ultimately based on individual preference at specific times and specific places, which change over time, and can only be learned and adapted to in the sphere of economic calculation so that people's preferences can be observed by other people. Profit and loss are real phenomenon. They are not concepts specific only to Austrian theory.

    Counterfeiting funny money, and single entities taking other people's money and then spending it on themselves and their friends, cannot possibly fix bad investments or solve unemployment. The fact that aggregate demand falls during a recession does not mean that the fall in aggregate demand caused the recession. The fall in demand is a consequence of the fact that the economic structure is not sustainable.

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  3. Counterfeiting funny money, and single entities taking other people's money and then spending it on themselves and their friends, can only ever benefit some (namely, the individuals in the government, and their friends) at the expense of everyone else, and it can only delay the corrections needed, by making it seem like certain projects are economically viable (since funny money increases nominal spending and thus nominal profits) when they are really not economically viable at all (since the real physical productive structure is distorted away from the path towards equilibrium that is tended towards, but never reaches).

    The hilarious part about all your bullshit about money based markets not tending towards equilibrium, is that your solution to solving "disequilibrium" tendencies is for the government to participate in the money based economy by creating more funny money and spending other people's earned money.

    Your worldview is like a moron doctor refusing to accept that the human body could ever work on its own, and then he seeks to "fix" that "problem" by using his own body on his own as one of his means.

    It is like saying money spending economies tend toward disequilibrium, so let's call on the government to engage in money spending so that disquilibrium is avoided.

    If money based economies tend towards disequilibrium, then why the fuck are you calling on a money based solution? Do you have any idea how ridiculous you are, and how much fodder your whole blog is to actual economists? I don't visit your blog to learn anything. I come here to enjoy watching belligerent internet Keynesians squirm in the face of logic and economics, two things that are totally lost on you.

    Keynesians are like sadistic construction engineers who want to brainwash a home builder who mistakenly believes that he has 50,000 bricks instead of the actual 40,000 bricks that he has, to continue to act as if he has 50,000 bricks, and to not learn of his errors ASAP, and not change his economic plans ASAP, but to go ahead and keep "moving" so that the money keeps flowing and the government can keep taxing him, so that the government's pain, not the people's pain, is avoided at all costs. If any sign of government pain is anticipated, even if it is necessary to correct past errors, Keynesians want the government to inflate and spend, so that taxes don't have to fall, so that the pain of spending less is kicked down the road for the next group of politicians and pseudo-economist Keynesians to worry about, and by that time, of course, the politicians and pseudo-economist Keynesians will blame the market once again, instead of themselves.

    As for Hayek, while he contributed some incredible insights about how free market economies work, and is widely consdiered a champion of the free market, he was nevertheless a philosophical statist.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/7260006/Hoppe-FA-Hayek-on-Government-and-Social-Evolution-A-Critique

    ReplyDelete
  4. Matías Vernengo,

    Apologies, I accidently deleted your first comment on this thread, because I had originally duplicated my reply to you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "The government does not know, I don't know, you don't know, and no other individual can ever know, which investments should be liquidated and which investments should persist."

    That's why in a Keynesian mixed economy, where the vast majority of commodities are produced privately, people still buy whatever commodities they desire to satisfy their wants, and, if they don’t want commodity a, b, or c, the producers of those commodities will go bankrupt. Malinvestments will clear even in a Keynesian system.

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  6. Calling Keynesians "sadistic -----" would be somewhat ad hominem and mischaracterizing, and I don't think that helps your case...

    In any case Lord Keynes, have you ever written anything on Keynes philosophical views or his approach to probability and decision-making? Here are a few papers on the aforementioned topics for your interest to review in another post.

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1920578

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1920569

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1546726

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  7. "The government does not know, I don't know, you don't know, and no other individual can ever know, which investments should be liquidated and which investments should persist."

    That's why in a Keynesian mixed economy, where the vast majority of commodities are produced privately, people still buy whatever commodities they desire to satisfy their wants, and, if they don’t want commodity a, b, or c, the producers of those commodities will go bankrupt.

    Non sequitur. If you accept the above premise, then you cannot advocate for any central planning to any degree at all, because the same limitation would exist. Just because the extent of socialism is less than 100%, that doesn't mean the government suddenly acquires knowledge of which investments to liquidate and which to persist, and to plan that part of the economy by money printing and spending in certain points.

    You totally contradict yourself. By advocating for government to print and spending money and give it to certain friends, for the hilarious purposes of helping the greater population, in the midst of an economic correction, is in fact an implicit declaration that the government does in fact know which investments should be liquidated and which investments should persist.

    An economic recession is not, after all, an event where EVERY investment is liquidated. A correction period is when less than 100% of investments are liquidated, while the rest persist. If you claim that the government, you, me, and every other individual, cannot know which investments should be liquidated and which should persist, then you cannot also claim that the government should print and spend money when a certain number and type(s) of investments start to be liquidated in a correction cycle without the government's say so, for if you did advocate that, then you'd be tacitly assuming that the government does know which investments should be liquidated and which should persist.


    It is clear that Keynesians abstain from advocating for full socialism only because of the Austrians, and would be full socialists if they only had their own statist ideology.

    Malinvestments will clear even in a Keynesian system.

    False. No, they cannot clear in a "Keynesian system," because in a "Keynesian system," every time malinvestments are beginning to be liquidated during a correction cycle, Keynesians advocate for more money printing, more government spending, and for some Keynesians more rigidity creating regulations, all of which prevent makinvestments from being liquidated when their economic value would otherwise be corrected downward.

    To the Keynesian, money printing and government spending are a panacea. Every time there is a recession, the government is to print and spend money. To the Keynesian, money printing and government spending that may generate a short term boost to nominal profitability in dollars, is conflated with economic sustainability in the real productive sense. The problem is not that there were too many home builders building homes in Nevada. The problem is that there was not enough money and spending in Nevada and it's up to the government to print and spend money to prevent corrections to malinvestments because all unemployment is evil and all idle resources are evil, even if unemployment is a necessary, if not undesirable, aspect of economic recovery.

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  8. Imagine an economy where 90% of the population are in agriculture. Then imagine a technological breakthrough in food production that increases the productivity so much, that only 5% actually need to be in agriculture. Imagine the market is at that point unhampered. It will thus leads to a (temporary) massive increase in unemployment in the economy. Almost all of the farmers need to find new jobs because their old jobs are obsolete. With this correction, Keynesians of course would advocate for money printing and government spending, to keep farmers where they are, so that unemployment does not rise, and so that farming equipment does not go "idle."

    Thus the Keynesian, if they had power, would prevent economic progress. People are allegedly better off working obsolete jobs, holding back all the innovation that could arise on the foundation of most farmers leaving for commerce and industry, rather than the consumers being unhampered in (indirectly) valuing farmer labor on their own, which will thus generate (temporary) mass unemployment, but long term boost in prosperity than would otherwise have been the case. At this point you imagine scare stories of people dying of starvation if the government doesn't print and spend money, because people are allegedly too stupid to solve their problems peacefully using their reason.

    The Austrian will say let the process of economic calculation transition the economy to be more in line with consumer preference, and accept that if someone's labor is no longer valuable in the eyes of others, then they should not be benefited by coercive wealth transfer. Does this mean actively want them to starve? No, it means if you want to help them, then do so peacefully. You'd be surprised at how generous people can get when they know there is no government to do it. I know this because even with welfare, even with unemployment insurance, even with FDIC, even with food stamps, Americans are STILL the most generous charity givers in the world. As Aristotle noted, people cannot be benevolent with what they do not own.

    If the majority of the people are capable of electing a government that is tasked with helping the poor, then surely the majority of people would be generous in a free society, and not the stupid caricature of stingy misers that statists make people out to be.

    Getting back to economic calculation, if the economy is represented by a single home builder building a home, and the builder believes he has 50,000 bricks when he only has 40,000, then money printing isn't going to magically solve his problem, despite the fact that he has more dollars. The problem is not that there isn't enough money. The problem is that his investment trajectory is unsustainable in the real productive sense. He is engaged in a project that cannot be sustained until completion. The rational solution would be for the home builder to stop what he is doing immediately, despite the fact that he will become temporarily unemployed, despite the fact that his tools and machines will become temporarily "idle".

    Keynesians are anti-economics. They place employment and resources, which are means to the Austrian, as ends in themselves. To the Austrian, consumption is the end of all production and labor. If consumption patterns are along one trajectory, then it is absurd to seek government coercion to manipulate money so that employment and resources are utilized such that it presumes a different consumption trajectory.

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  9. "Almost all of the farmers need to find new jobs because their old jobs are obsolete. With this correction, Keynesians of course would advocate for money printing and government spending, to keep farmers where they are, so that unemployment does not rise, and so that farming equipment does not go "idle.""

    That is nonsense. Keynesians would look for promising public works/infrastructure/social spending to stumulate the economy, taking advantage of the idle labour freed up by productivity growth.

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  10. "At this point you imagine scare stories of people dying of starvation if the government doesn't print and spend money, because people are allegedly too stupid to solve their problems peacefully using their reason."

    "scare stories of people dying of starvation", huh. I guess this must have been a figment of people's imagination:

    http://www.bitsofnews.com/content/view/7336/

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  11. "If the modern state is to rest upon a firm foundation, its citizens must not be allowed to starve. Some of them do. They do not die quickly. You can starve for a long time without dying."

    The person who said that of course must have been making it up.

    http://books.google.com.au/books?id=xRIodAUj1-wC&pg=PA142&dq=%22If+a+modern+state+is+to+rest+upon+a+firm+foundation,%22&hl=en&ei=72-ATreeLoffmAXJoYSjBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

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  12. A thought: I have seen it argued that all virtually all government spending represents overinvestment. Here's how it seems to go: if the government spends on X using money not directly drawn private expenditures on X (i.e. not on a consumption tax on X), then that represents a greater expenditure on X than the market would have deemed fit.

    This point is, as I am told, important, since allocation via the market features the correct economic calculation which ensures needs are met in the most efficient manner possible. Whereas the government does not perform this critical calculation, its expenditures fall outside of the realm of efficiency.

    I always rather marvel at the above argument since it is often put forth on the internet, and the internet, by the above logic, is necessarily the product of government overinvestment. Indeed, by the above account, its creation was a rank inefficiency, and we should not have had such a thing until the market was good and ready to see to its creation.

    What a waste of money.

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  13. That is nonsense. Keynesians would look for promising public works/infrastructure/social spending to stumulate the economy, taking advantage of the idle labour freed up by productivity growth.

    No mention of economic calculation. No mention of entrepreneurs. No mention of profit and loss. No mention of subjective utility. No mention of saving and investment. No mention of individual preference. No mention of market process. No mention of realigning investment with new consumer preferences and technology. No mention of individual human action. No mention of price adjustments. No mention of consumer-investor coordination.

    All you have is the one-dimensional hammer of

    1. Government prints and spends money,

    2. Magic

    3. Economy is healed

    4. Government ceases printing and spending money

    5. All the former government workers would have access to capital, machinery, factories, tools, and office space available to them as they re-enter the market.

    Tell me, how can all that machinery, factories, tools, and office space be available in the market when there was no labor being devoted to producing any of them, on account of the unemployed farmers going to build roads and bridges for the government, and not machinery, factories, tools and office space devoted to the consumer?

    How can tying up laborers in building one time government projects succeed in building the private capital the laborers need once they re-enter, if they re-enter, the market?

    Do you see now why Keynesianism is absurd? It presumes the production of wealth is a given from God, regardless if there are no producers producing any of it! Do you see how the absence of an adequate capital theory prevents Keynesians from understanding the importance of all the "no mention of's" in the list above?

    Keynesianism is nothing but a religion of state omnipotence and ZERO economic science.

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  14. "Tell me, how can all that machinery, factories, tools, and office space be available in the market when there was no labor being devoted to producing any of them, on account of the unemployed farmers going to build roads and bridges for the government, and not machinery, factories, tools and office space devoted to the consumer?"

    LOL... because the state will not employ all the unemployed in its public works programs, only a limited number. As orders come in from the government the private sector will hire those unemployed to increase output to fulfill orders. As people's incomes go up, they themelves will create additional demand to drive further employment and output increases.

    If this economy has international trade, it has access to more factor inputs, capital goods and even labour if necessary.

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  15. Anonymous

    I always rather marvel at the above argument since it is often put forth on the internet, and the internet, by the above logic, is necessarily the product of government overinvestment.

    Marvel? Or believe it is funny because it's a "gotcha" against libertarians?

    By your absurd logic, if slaves ever utilized papyrus that was financed by the state, to spread the idea of slave emancipation, then it means slave emancipation would be a hypocritical and wrong thing to advocate.

    The slave masters would say "I always marvel at these slaves spreading ideas of emancipation on papyrus that we masters are responsible for creating for them. How cute."

    At any rate, the internet was not created by government. The basic arpanet packet switching technology was discovered by a private party having a contract with the state, but the internet as we know it today, with the ISPs, routers, ethernet, computers, all that was produced by the market.

    Your logic is unsound. You cannot justify violence on the basis that a by-product of it ended up being utilized in the future by voluntary exchange.

    The same reason why you cannot hold the market process as responsible for the violence that governments initiate, on the basis that the government utilized technology originally created in the private sector, is why you cannot hold the government as responsible for the peaceful interactions made on the internet, on the basis that the market utilized technology originally created in the government sector.

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  16. Where is lunatic pete's proof that packet switching was developed by a private company?

    The first computers were also government projects, as has been explained. But let's see this nuts sources.

    --successfulbuild

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  17. "Tell me, how can all that machinery, factories, tools, and office space be available in the market when there was no labor being devoted to producing any of them, on account of the unemployed farmers going to build roads and bridges for the government, and not machinery, factories, tools and office space devoted to the consumer?"

    ...because the state will not employ all the unemployed in its public works programs, only a limited number.

    And what number is that? How will the government calculate what the "correct" number is as opposed to the "incorrect" number?

    No mention of economic calculation. No mention of profit and loss. No mention of individual subjective utility. No mention of entrepreneurs. No mention of saving and investment.

    No, it's "the government will know via spiritual revelation how many people to employ for public works and how many to say "you're on your own" to find work in the private sector."

    As orders come in from the government the private sector will hire those unemployed to increase output to fulfill orders.

    WTF? How can the government take the people's money and at the same time the people will still have that money to pay for labor?

    If the government takes people's money, the people cannot hire labor with that money. If I don't spend $50,000 on labor because the government took that money, then I cannot "fulfill" the orders the government makes to me. I cannot afford the $50,000 labor!

    See? No mention of costs. No mention of scarce resources. No mention of saving and investment. It's all magic.

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  18. As people's incomes go up, they themelves will create additional demand to drive further employment and output increases.

    You've already been corrected on this fallacy. "Incomes" and "demand" do not drive employment or output. Only saving and investment drives employment and output. For aggregate demand can be composed of nothing but demand for products. In such a scenario, there is aggregate demand, but not a single wage earner is hired.

    "Demand" and "spending" and "incomes" do not drive the economy or employment. You have it backwards.

    Only if people abstain from consuming, only if they save and invest, can there be a demand for labor. That demand for labor will then constitute demand for products on the part of the wage earners, and the profits will constitute a source of demand for products on the part of those paying wages.

    Production comes before consumption. Wage earners and employers have to work and produce first before consumption is possible.

    Entrepeneurs will anticipate what the monetary demand for products will be (and it won't be zero, it will be positive, contrary to the caricature of the market that Keynesians typically fall back on: "If there is no demand for products, saving and investment will not be made, derp!") and from that expectation of future monetary demand they will then make a demand and thus price factors of production, including capital and labor.

    It's not true that a falling demand for consumer goods, or even aggregate demand in general, will generate unemployment. Unemployment that follows a fall in consumer demand or fall in aggregate demand is due to the necessary corrections that have to occur before labor is again demanded. This correction would be very rapid indeed if the government does not hamper the process.

    Unemployment can be eliminated by a fall in wage rates. At a low enough price for labor, you yourself will almost certainly hire a personal servant, if they were willing to work for that price. At a low enough price for labor, ANY given positive demand for the products of business can make it profitable to invest in labor.

    The problem is that you Keynesian morons believe that wage rates are somehow naturally "sticky downward." As with all things Keynesian, there is a kernel of truth that is wholly distorted and used to make absurd conclusions. Yes, all things equal, laborers prefer to make higher wages than lower wages. But that doesn't mean that they will choose holding out and starving to death, over accepting a lower wage rate. At some point, an individual who values his life will choose to trade with others at mutually beneficial terms, meaning if others do not offer more wages, laborers will have to accept the lower prices for the labor they sell, just like if consumers are not willing to offer more revenues, employers will have to accept lower prices for the goods they sell.

    If prices for goods can fall, then so can wages. They are both set by human choice on the basis of self-interest. If it is to the self-interest of wage earners to accept lower wage rates, they will accept lower wage rates. If they don't, it means they are being supported by either their savings, or by others. That can't last forever.

    If the demand for consumption falls, then entrepreneurs can still hire all available labor, as long as they bid a low enough price for labor and laborers accept the lower prices, which they would in an unhampered market because most people prefer working and eating, than holding out and starving to death.

    If this economy has international trade, it has access to more factor inputs, capital goods and even labour if necessary.

    How can they buy them if the government is taxing them? If you say they can buy them using their existing incomes, then they could have bought them with the incomes that would exist on an unhampered market.

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  19. Unemployment can be eliminated by a fall in wage rates.

    (1) First of all, that ignores the role of private debt. A highly indebted private sector (as, say, the US 1929-1933 and today) will see the cost of its debt servicing soar if wages/incomes are cut. Many debtors will go bankrupt taking creditors/financial institutions with them. As banks fail, more people lose savings and spending power. You have a debt deflationary depression as in America 1929-1933 or Australia 1892-1895.

    (2) Cutting wages requires appropriate cuts in prices, and it's highly unlikely the process will be smooth and quick. If prices are not significantly flexible, you just gut people's spending power, causing more collapse of demand.

    (3) business expectaions are subjective. There is no automatic process that will cause the necessary investment levels again. If (1) and (2) occur the depression could go on for years and even when you get actual recovery, it may be one with high unemployment and low growth persisting for years.

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  20. What I really wonder is how honest Hayek is about these sparse few statements in a lifetime of propaganda. Are they plausible deniability, to be conveniently forgotten when he wants to rant about the latest outrage against the sacred market?

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  21. Mike,

    I suspect he was sincere in writing these statement, but it is obvious that his opinions were shifting throughout his career and in particular his idea of monetary "denationalisation" late in life conflicts with his earlier demand for monetary stabilization during depressions or collapses in the quantity of money (where he agreed with Milton Friedman).

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  22. Unemployment can be eliminated by a fall in wage rates.

    (1) First of all, that ignores the role of private debt.

    It doesn't have to consider the role of private debt. Private debt can be liquidated and bankruptcy can be declared. If that reduces the demand for labor, then unemployment can be eliminated by a larger fall in wage rates than would otherwise be the case.

    A highly indebted private sector (as, say, the US 1929-1933 and today) will see the cost of its debt servicing soar if wages/incomes are cut.

    Oh, so it's a problem that the banks expand credit in the private sector via fractional reserve. I agree! LOL

    If wage earners have high levels of debt, then lower wage rates will most likely lead to a collapse in debt servicing if liquidation and bankruptcy are not stopped by exploiting innocent producers who are not so highly indebted, and letting people learn from their mistakes, so that they won't be so highly indebted in the future.

    Many debtors will go bankrupt taking creditors/financial institutions with them. As banks fail, more people lose savings and spending power. You have a debt deflationary depression as in America 1929-1933 or Australia 1892-1895.

    Those are credit expansion inflated economies that were built on a house of cards, that later collapsed due to required economic corrections. In these cases, the failure of debt leads to a decrease in the quantity of money and volume of spending because money is created via credit in such economies. That would not happen in a 100% reserve system. In a 100% reserve system, the failure of a debtor does not lead to monetary deflation.

    The debt deflation during 1929-1933 was caused by credit expansion inflation during the 1920s. It is absurd to suggest that the problem of inflation can be solved by more inflation.

    (2) Cutting wages requires appropriate cuts in prices, and it's highly unlikely the process will be smooth and quick.

    It is highly likely that the process will be smooth and quick if there is no government welfare, no government insurance, no FDIC, no government food stamps, and the choice becomes accept lower prices, or not make any income at all.

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  23. If prices are not significantly flexible, you just gut people's spending power, causing more collapse of demand.

    Which will act to put further pressure on lowering prices!

    (3) business expectaions are subjective.

    So is the government's spending and inflation.

    Not an argument.

    There is no automatic process that will cause the necessary investment levels again.

    Nobody claimed it was automatic. There are however economic laws that perpetually act on economic actors, thus providing them with information about what prices they should accept.

    If (1) and (2) occur the depression could go on for years and even when you get actual recovery, it may be one with high unemployment and low growth persisting for years.

    It can only take years if the government encourages and promotes price rigidities that enable people to not accept lower prices at all for "years and years."

    Collapses in demand cannot possibly lead to YEARS of unemployment in an unhampered market. How can people live for years without working? Unless they are super wealthy, most people will have to bite the bullet and accept lower prices.

    You keep fallaciously claiming that the problems caused by government are somehow inherent in a free market. They are not. The free market, while not perfect (nothing human is perfect) is the best method at enabling people to find the best prices that promote their own self-interest.

    If a wage earner has to choose between lower wages or no income at all, then 99/100 they will accept lower wages and the 100th person will die from believing the government would succeed in raising the money price of their productivity before they die of starvation.

    Unemployment can be eliminated by a fall in wage rates. If this means there has to be bankruptcies and liquidations of debt, so be it. It doesn't change the truth of the statement.

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  24. "That would not happen in a 100% reserve system. In a 100% reserve system, the failure of a debtor does not lead to monetary deflation."

    Collapses in demand cannot possibly lead to YEARS of unemployment in an unhampered market.

    Oh, of course. You shift the debate to your Rothbardian fanasty world (even though there was no such qualification in your original comment).

    In other words, you don't dispute my analysis above of what actually happens in a real world modern economy.

    How can people live for years without working? Unless they are super wealthy, most people will have to bite the bullet and accept lower prices.

    They starve, die, rely on highly unreliable charity just to survive, or flee their country (as, for example, thousands of Latvians have done over the past few years).

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  25. "That would not happen in a 100% reserve system. In a 100% reserve system, the failure of a debtor does not lead to monetary deflation."

    Collapses in demand cannot possibly lead to YEARS of unemployment in an unhampered market.

    Oh, of course. You shift the debate to your Rothbardian fanasty world (even though there was no such qualification in your original comment).

    LOL, there does not have to be a qualification in my original comment. I said a fall in wage rates. I did not make a historical or empirical claim specifically.

    The economic principle here is universal, just like you believe in the fallacious principle that "demand drives employment and output" without qualification.

    It's not a fantasy world to not have FDIC, government welfare, unemployment insurance by government, food stamps by government. These things didn't always exist.

    In other words, you don't dispute my analysis above of what actually happens in a real world modern economy.

    I dispute your constant insinuations that they would exist in a free market (Rothbardian anarchist or Misesian minarchist, it doesn't matter).

    Yes, governments screw things up in the real world. That is one reason why I am against government intervention in the economy.

    You did not even attempt to consider the economic principles behind a fall in wage rates and prices and how they are capable of eliminating unemployment. You're absurd. You advocate for all the government policies that makes wage rates rigid, then you tell me "wage rates cannot eliminate employment because in the real world we don't have a free market."

    Well duh. It would be like me saying we can promote prosperity by respecting each other's property rights, then you say "No it doesn't, because property rights are not being respected!"

    Apparently your ability think abstractly is on par with your ability to understand economic principles, namely, you can't.

    How can people live for years without working? Unless they are super wealthy, most people will have to bite the bullet and accept lower prices.

    They starve, die, rely on highly unreliable charity just to survive

    Really? People will willingly choose starvation to death over and above accepting lower wage rates that would stop them from death?

    Hahahahahaha

    It's totally clear for everyone to see that your whole statist worldview is so full of fallacies, that you are actually compelled to retreat to the absurd notion that without the government printing and spending money on themselves and their friends, people would die from starvation due to holding out for higher prices than are economically viable, and that government is necessary to avoid mass famine and deaths.

    Really, that's amazing. The tragedy is that you are not the only vulgar internet Keynesian
    who believes in that myth.

    If you want to believe in that imbecilic nonsense, then I would still be right, because in those cases, they would be willingly choosing death over life, which is, as we have seen, their right to choose.

    or flee their country (as, for example, thousands of Latvians have done over the past few years).

    The Latvians? They too live under oppressive government. That's why they are fleeing. They are prevented by government from making a life for themselves and their families there.

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  26. "Really? People will willingly choose starvation to death over and above accepting lower wage rates that would stop them from death? "

    The mistaken assumption here is that there will be a sufficient level of private investment to create the neccesary employment.

    But with business expectations being subjective, any severe shock to them, even in a Rothbardian system, could cause low investment levels for years insufficient to create the required employment.

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  27. "Really? People will willingly choose starvation to death over and above accepting lower wage rates that would stop them from death? "

    The mistaken assumption here is that there will be a sufficient level of private investment to create the neccesary employment.

    That is not a mistaken assumption. If there is a positive demand for consumption, which is the case, then there will be a need for production, and the only production can take place, is if investment is made.

    If private property rights are respected and defended, then whatever level of demand for labor exists, can buy up the entire supply of labor, provided prices are free to fall and not stopped by government intervention, either directly or indirectly.

    The mistaken assumption you are making is that there is allegedly room for only a certain amount of investment, after which there will be a "glut of savings" and thus generative of unemployment.

    But with business expectations being subjective, any severe shock to them, even in a Rothbardian system, could cause low investment levels for years insufficient to create the required employment.

    That business expectations are subjective does not mean that investment will be too low for "years."

    And "severe shock"? Yes, "severe shock" brought about by previous government intervention, and then prevented from being corrected by government. That's possible.

    Severe shock generated by some natural disaster? Sure. Taking years before investment is made despite there being no government intervention stopping the corrections? No.

    People ALWAYS need to consume, if only food and clothes and shelter. Since each individual always desires more consumption, there is always a need for investment. With low enough prices, any given demand for consumer goods will make investment profitable, and with low enough prices for labor, there is no reason for widespread unemployment for "years and years."

    By your logic, I could say:

    "The mistaken assumption here is that there will be a sufficient level of government spending to create the neccesary employment."

    "But with expectations from government being subjective, any severe shock to them, even in a Keynesian system, could cause low spending levels for years insufficient to create the required employment."

    Thus, the free market process has to overrule the government and hold final judgment as to means of production, consumption, spending, and employment.

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  28. "Do you see now why Keynesianism is absurd? It presumes the production of wealth is a given from God, regardless if there are no producers producing any of it!"

    Could it be that ALL of this acrimony is due to a failure to distinguish between real and financial assets? Sure would explain the pure gut revulsion against the very notion of non-commodity money...

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  29. That is not a mistaken assumption. If there is a positive demand for consumption, which is the case, then there will be a need for production, and the only production can take place, is if investment is made.

    Wait, are you saying that the market is driven by demand? That's not very Austrian of you!

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  30. Anonymous:

    "Do you see now why Keynesianism is absurd? It presumes the production of wealth is a given from God, regardless if there are no producers producing any of it!"

    Could it be that ALL of this acrimony is due to a failure to distinguish between real and financial assets?

    No. It's due a failure to comprehend what is necessary for economic growth and employment.

    That is not a mistaken assumption. If there is a positive demand for consumption, which is the case, then there will be a need for production, and the only production can take place, is if investment is made.

    Wait, are you saying that the market is driven by demand? That's not very Austrian of you!

    No, you're twisting the argument around. Consumption determines WHERE investment and production is profitable. It doesn't make investment and production possible in itself. All the consumption demand in the world won't hire a single person or make a single product possible. Only investment and production make consumption possible by more than what can be picked off trees.

    Producers depend on consumers at only the individual firm level. In the aggregate, competition offsets, and the dependency reverses to consumption depending on production.

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  31. Pete: so if I am understanding your argument correctly, it doesn't matter where consumption sits, save to indicate which sectors are profitable. However, even if one sector is thus made profitable to the highest degree by way of high demand and a lacuna of production therein, there is no guarantee that someone will even step in to produce said thing.

    Am I understanding you correctly?

    If so, why would you say that an entrepreneur wouldn't want reap said profits? Further, why do you believe that your perspective is somehow more capable of... I don't even know what you're claiming to be able to do about it, so I guess "generically handling the concept of production better"?

    Can you point to any precedent for such a thing - that is, a sector with extremely high demand failing to attract producers willing to wrangle profit from it? How does commodity money and an absence of the public sector tend to such a situation better than non-commodity money with public spending?

    I just can't seem to get what you're about, aside from apparently believing the nation-state to be the Adversary of All Humanity, and therefore concluding that all people who would prefer the idea of "one man, one vote" to "one dollar, one vote" are in league with dark forces and desire nothing less than the undoing of all civilization. Is there something more practical to all of this? If so, could we maybe hear more of that and less of the unhelpful invective?

    Thanks for your time and consideration.

    -A

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  32. 1/3

    Anonymous:

    Pete: so if I am understanding your argument correctly, it doesn't matter where consumption sits, save to indicate which sectors are profitable. However, even if one sector is thus made profitable to the highest degree by way of high demand and a lacuna of production therein, there is no guarantee that someone will even step in to produce said thing.

    Am I understanding you correctly?

    Close. It's not that a consumer demand, or a high consumer demand, may or may not influence investment in some way. It's that consumer demand is, by it's nature, not demand for labor. Indeed, it is not demand for anything other than consumer products. As such, consumer demand is actually in competition, so to speak, with all other demands. It's in competition with demand for labor, capital goods, stocks, bonds, everything else.

    Now, if we are going to talk about what DRIVES economic progress, employment, output, etc, then we must understand that the economy is not a conceptual circle, in that consumer demand finances labor and capital demand, which finances consumer demand, which finances labor and capital demand, and so on, but rather, the economy is a conceptual arrow, where the only way to grow an economy, and employment, is to realize that consumer demand must be low enough relative to total spending, such that money is available to demand capital and labor.

    If consumer demand is higher, then demand for everything else must be lower, which means the notion that more consumer demand will "benefit the working class by stimulating wages," is actually false. More consumer demand will cut into the funds available for paying wages. The more consumption spending that takes place in the arrow of the economy, the less money is available to pay wages and everything else.

    The way to conceive of this is to imagine consumer spending, indeed all spending, as repetitive acts. So if you consider consumer spending being increased, then imagine that higher consumer spending to repeat itself over and over, as each money for consumer good type trade that takes place, is followed by the receiver of that money spending that money on consumer goods as well, and so on throughout the economy.

    Same thing with conceiving of a rise in the demand for capital goods, as well as labor, and every other class of goods and services.

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  33. 2/3

    Anonymous:


    The reason this is the proper way to conceive of spending is because to say a rise in demand for consumer products, it means a rise in the demand for consumer products, and not a temporary act of consumer spending that is then followed by a reduction of consumer spending and rise in other types of spending. We will lose the idea of "increase in consumer spending" is we immediately consider a subsequent fall in consumer spending and rise in other spending.

    If everyone took their cash balances and incomes, and then started to spend every penny on their own consumption, then what would happen? Aggregate demand would come to be a function of the quantity of money times the number of times the supply is "turned over." According to the Keynesian doctrine that "aggregate demand" DRIVES employment and output, there should be a huge stimulus to employment and output. But what will actually happen? Well, employment and production would utterly collapse. They will not be stimulated at all. Why? Because consumer demand is in fact in competition with all other demands, including demand for labor and capital. So if consumer spending takes up 100% of aggregate demand, then there simply won't be any room for demand for labor or capital, or anything else for that matter.

    Now, the key here is that what is true in the above scenario, namely, that consumption spending "drives out" demand for labor and capital, is no less true for EVERY positive increase or absolute amount of consumer spending that is less than 100% of aggregate demand. By this I mean if consumer spending rises by say $50 billion, then that means there is a $50 billion decrease in the total money pool available to pay wages. This does not mean that absolute wages will fall, because the rise in consumer spending could come at the expense of a decreased demand for capital. The point is that potentially speaking, the available money to pay wages, and everything else, declines.

    With a large enough redirection of "spending" into consumption, and things other than labor, it is possible that absolute wages will in fact start to fall.


    If so, why would you say that an entrepreneur wouldn't want reap said profits?

    I wouldn't say that.

    Further, why do you believe that your perspective is somehow more capable of... I don't even know what you're claiming to be able to do about it, so I guess "generically handling the concept of production better"?

    My perspective is superior because my perspective is that I cannot plan the economy to any degree large or small. I cannot know what you will value or think tomorrow. I cannot know what you will want, better than you yourself. This holds true for all the other 7 billion people in the world. The only way I can come to know what people want is by observing what they do voluntarily. What they do voluntarily in the sphere of economic planning, will generate a price system that communicates relative values to me and to others.

    In other words, economic calculation is the only way that production can be rational in the sense of people knowing when their individual productive pursuits generate net gain and when they generate net loss. By gain and loss, it can only refer to the individual. There is no such thing as "social gain" or "social loss." One cannot "add up" the utilities of various individuals to arrive at some general gain or loss to "society."

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  34. 3/3

    Anonymous:


    Can you point to any precedent for such a thing - that is, a sector with extremely high demand failing to attract producers willing to wrangle profit from it?

    Well, since I am not actually arguing what you think I am arguing, this question is rather moot.

    How does commodity money and an absence of the public sector tend to such a situation better than non-commodity money with public spending?

    The answer to that is to understand what the true nature of the concept "better" means. "Better" means according to some standard. What is the standard in economics? The Austrian answer is that the individual is an end in him or herself, and so the proper standard is actually 7 billion individual standards, with a "meta-standard" of standards to be the promoting/allowing/protecting of all 7 billion standards in being economically free, so that an individual's standard can be strived for without anyone using force to stop them. After that, ANYTHING is permitted, and whatever people choose as their ends, can be justifiably sought in peace.

    I just can't seem to get what you're about, aside from apparently believing the nation-state to be the Adversary of All Humanity, and therefore concluding that all people who would prefer the idea of "one man, one vote" to "one dollar, one vote" are in league with dark forces and desire nothing less than the undoing of all civilization.

    The reason why "one man one vote" in politics is in fact evil, whereas "one man, one trade" in the market is in fact good, is because in the market process, one man's vote is a vote for himself that does not implicate others by force. A vote in politics does implicate others by force.

    When you vote in politics, you are essentially voting for who will steal money from your fellow neighbors, and who will coerce your neighbors into doing what they otherwise would not do. You are not just voting for yourself.

    In the market, individuals are voting for themselves. When you buy medicine, or a bag of carrots, you are not voting that others be forced to take that medicine or eat that bag of carrots. You are only voting that you accept them. Nobody else is implicated into having to accept them as well.

    It is extremely wrong to hold voting with dollars to be less moral than voting with guns.

    Is there something more practical to all of this? If so, could we maybe hear more of that and less of the unhelpful invective?

    Excuse me, but "unhelpful invective"? Please. You want invective? You read what LK writes if you want invective. He hates peaceful people. He hates minorities. How else can you explain his explicit admission that he believe it is justified to initiate violence against peaceful minorities? It takes hatred to advocate for violence against innocent people. It takes hatred to have no remorse over it as well.

    In fact, having no remorse in calling for violence against innocent minorities is what to expect from a sociopath. Most statists don't consider state violence against innocent minorities to be evil, even though it is evil. As should be understood, evil can only spread if it masquerades as the good. Once enough people understand that what they believed to be good is in fact evil, then evil stands no chance.

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  35. "I would also note that Hayek’s support for monetary stabilisation in his earlier writings is inconsistent with his call for monetary denationalisation later in life. How would the state prevent a collapse in the money supply when it had no control over it?"

    I'm under impression that the free banking literature says banks would issue more money when the demand for money rose, which would be during recessions. Technically though, free banking would supposedly prevent any recessions from happening in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Part 1:

    Pete: Thanks for the expository reply. I have a few contentions, though:

    If everyone took their cash balances and incomes, and then started to spend every penny on their own consumption, then what would happen? ... Because consumer demand is in fact in competition with all other demands, including demand for labor and capital. So if consumer spending takes up 100% of aggregate demand, then there simply won't be any room for demand for labor or capital, or anything else for that matter.

    However, if 100% of everything is going towards end-consumption products, it implies that said products still have to come from somewhere. While private individuals spend on consumption, the firms from whom they purchase view consumption in a very different sense. A firm has no sense of abstract utility; consumption for a firm is more in line with improving a more tangible measurement of fitness, like NPV. Thus, consumption at that frame complements the other, and money is spent on the production of those specific goods people are buying. This necessarily implies payment made to labor and capital in line with its continued reproduction, which manifests as wages (which, in this example, would be respent).

    I think the "arrow" view has some merit in that it does more to consider the immediate temporal limitations to what can be produced or invested, but at the same time it seems to neglect the aspects of the circular view that do align with reality (i.e. in aggregate, spending = income). Perhaps a reconciliation of the two views is in order? Not a circle, not an arrow, but perhaps a helical conception?

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  37. Part 2:

    What they do voluntarily in the sphere of economic planning, will generate a price system that communicates relative values to me and to others.

    While prices do convey quite a bit of information, there are limitations to their capacity to coordinate. I think too much stock is placed in them, consequently. As I said in a previous comment: In my view, the idea of generally equilibrating prices shares some common ground in structure and implication with Say's Law, and it seems to me that it falls by the same arrow, i.e. the distinction which arises between monetary circuits.

    If money is purely a medium of exchange generated to facilitate transactions between consumers of commodities, then the Efficient Markets might have a bit more clout. However, money is more than just a unit of account; it's also a store of value, and as such it's inevitable that the circuit flips around, such that money is the starting point and end point. Here we have a very different beast on our hands; accumulation not as a means to an end but an end in and of itself. This can be destabilizing in a number of ways. The staggered nature of transactions prevents markets from "clearing" in a clean fashion, and capital investment, dependent as it is upon the expectation of profit, is prone to the dominance of the infamous "animal spirits," if you'll forgive the deference to a popular Keynesian trope.

    Nobody can predict market outcomes, and the tendency to view price changes not as marginal inverse incentives or disincentives to consume (as with private consumption spending), but as signals of a trend (perhaps the "Newtonian" wiring of our brains expects to find momentum, bolstering expectations of profit) leads to the inflation of bubbles. If prices conveyed perfect information, this would not be the dominant phenomenon it is, I would venture to say.

    Finally, the notion that prices take into account all information is, in the most direct sense possible, fouled up by the existence of externalities. In fact, information not incorporated into prices is literally their definition. As far as we've seen, the only way a market can handle the externality question is by not handling them; ultimately, organization outside of the specific market context occurs, via government in its most well-known form, but also (as Elinor Ostrom has documented) in the development of non-governmental organizations specifically focused on addressing them.

    These point to serious flaws in the price mechanism as an organizing structure.

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  38. Part 3:

    One cannot "add up" the utilities of various individuals to arrive at some general gain or loss to "society. ... "Better" means according to some standard. What is the standard in economics? The Austrian answer is that the individual is an end in him or herself,"

    I can get behind this (non-additive utility, etc), though I'm afraid I take it in a different direction; indeed, once I view the welfare and freedom of the individual as the paramount virtue (if at times expressed through broad measures as must be used if anything at all can determine "social gains" - and surely we must agree that a society in which 99% of people are able to pursue their dreams as preferable to one in which that holds true for 10%), it always leads me back to the "one man, one vote" angle.

    Ultimately, I believe one should have a say in the way their life proceeds, even if they have no material wealth to their name. To this I add the corollary (and here you may very well disagree with me) that "necessitous men are not free men." A man on the brink of starvation or without a roof over his head has a very different conception of what constitutes a "freely made decision" than a millionaire trader, or even a reasonably stable middle-class electrician.

    It is for this very reason that I support non-commodity currency standards and government stabilization policies, but I must here be clear that I favor only a very specific sort. I am 100% in agreement with you that spending in and of itself is not a panacea, and that the structure of it is paramount. As such, I believe that maintaining a job guarantee program may be the single most positive thing a government can do, since as (under the monetary regime I specified) the monopoly issuer of currency it is literally the only entity capable of doing so. Thus, it has an important role to fill; providing an employment option to those without one, thereby at once promoting human liberty and prosperity.

    However, I realize that, to date, it has not fulfilled this role. To this extent, I am very much in line with you; I tend to be quite critical of government as it stands; frankly, it's not doing its job. (I will not get into the various other rankling issues such as warfare and the like, but rest assured they are also on my mind.)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Part 4 (last!):

    The reason why "one man one vote" in politics is in fact evil, whereas "one man, one trade" in the market is in fact good, is because in the market process, one man's vote is a vote for himself that does not implicate others by force. A vote in politics does implicate others by force.

    And here, I think, we have come to the philosophical underpinning that lays bare our differences. It may well be the point from which all of our disagreements originate. That is: markets hinge on the concept of private property. Thus, there is enshrined somewhere an objective standard of property rights which must ultimately find themselves enforced somewhere, since, as others have pointed out, owning something is as much about one being allowed to use it as it is about others being disallowed without dispensation from said one.

    I would keep going, but I the commenter who signs his posts "successfulbuild" linked a short article that goes into the matter in greater detail than I really ought to, since this post is already getting excessively long.

    You read what LK writes if you want invective. He hates peaceful people. He hates minorities. How else can you explain his explicit admission that he believe it is justified to initiate violence against peaceful minorities?

    Do you, perchance, have a link for this?

    Anyway, I think that's it. Sorry about the length.

    -A

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  40. Desolation Jones,

    "I'm under impression that the free banking literature says banks would issue more money when the demand for money rose, which would be during recessions. "

    Demand for credit/debt is precisely what slumps in a recession/depression.

    Since banks cna only issue money as debt, how on earth will they prevent a collapse in the money supply? Giving it away for free?

    "Technically though, free banking would supposedly prevent any recessions from happening in the first place

    Since the free banking system would be FRB and you would have a liberalised capital account (by which foreign money can come in), I see no reason why there wouldn't be asset bubbles and the potential for debt deflation collapse.

    That is precisely what happened to Australia in the 1890s when Australia had a banking system *very close* to the free banking ideal.

    Didn't stop a massive asset bubble, financial crisis and depression.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Demand for credit/debt is precisely what slumps in a recession/depression.

    Since banks cna only issue money as debt, how on earth will they prevent a collapse in the money supply? Giving it away for free?

    Your argument here touches on the exact reason why free banking with fractional reserve is superior to central banking with fractional reserve.

    If a free banking with fractional reserve system is, relative to central banking systems, much more limited in issuing debt money after an inflationary boom collapses, then the speed and extent of the needed purging of malinvestments will be that much greater as compared to central banking systems. That includes the purging of malinvestments in the banking industry itself, where overextended banks go bankrupt. Such bank failures will generate huge market incentives for both banks and clients to operate with higher reserves, or even 100% reserves if even 90% or 95% reserve banks fail on account of bank runs.

    Since the philosophy behind Keynesianism is one of irrationality, of obedience to the state, of no learning, thinking and planning on the part of individuals, you don't want there to be such learning taking place, because it requires changes, especially changes in employment, and that goes against your ideal of "stability", thus rigidity, and thus stagnation, and thus no human action, and thus contrary to human life.

    You prey on people's sensibilities towards those in need. You want the state to remain in place, you don't want economic changes, and so you base your justification for state power on "too many people will become unemployed." You say this and yet you are not devoting your time to helping the unemployed, but rather spending your time on the internet writing blog posts. If you really cared about the unemployed, you'd be out there in soup kitchens and helping charity organizations, which devote their resources to helping the poor and unemployed.

    I know you only have the "what about the unemployed" card if you're forced to show your entire hand. This is why you even claimed in your last submission that if a large portion of the population were farmers, and there was a farming breakthrough, you'd rather the released laborers work for the state, than work for themselves and other citizens in producing more goods for the consumers now that the consumers have enough food to eat from the 5% of the population remaining as farmers.

    You ignore what happens after the government should stop spending that money on hiring workers, and you rely on an unstated magical process of "once the economy recovers, they can go back to the private sector." But that's not what Keynesians are doing. Every decrease in government spending will of course generate temporary unemployment for the government workers, and so the Keynesians have trapped everyone into not advocating for government spending cuts. After all, if there are cuts in the private sector, which generates temporary unemployment, and that supposedly justifies the government spending money, then wouldn't government spending cuts that generate unemployment also justify the government spending money?

    And wouldn't you know it? After more than 80 years of Keynesians being in control, the size of government and the people employed in it, has steadily grown. Any cuts to government spending will generate temporary unemployment in those areas that depend on that government demand for sustainable employment.

    How can the economy "recover" if the economy just changes from private sector employed to government employed, where any change to spending in either government or the private sector will generate temporary labor re-allocation, i.e. temporary unemployment?

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  42. Unemployment is easy to solve if I can print my own money and tax other people. If I had that power and I exercised it, would I be benefiting the economy? Certainly not. I'd be fucking somebody somewhere in the economy. Why would government be any different? Because they have official names and wear badges?

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  43. Since the free banking system would be FRB and you would have a liberalised capital account (by which foreign money can come in), I see no reason why there wouldn't be asset bubbles and the potential for debt deflation collapse.

    False. It does not follow that free banking would be FRB. Free banking can be 100% reserve as well, if fraud is prevented by legal enforcement.

    That is precisely what happened to Australia in the 1890s when Australia had a banking system *very close* to the free banking ideal.

    Didn't stop a massive asset bubble, financial crisis and depression.

    Yes, fractional reserve does generate massive asset bubbles and depressions. It's because fractional reserve is based on contractual fraud.

    If fractional reserve banking was so benign, so not destructive, then why do they generate such economic calamity? How can something so right lead to something so wrong? Are you suggesting that the universe is malevolent and punishes good behavior?

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  44. I feel a bit snubbed. Alas.

    Unemployment is easy to solve if I can print my own money and tax other people. If I had that power and I exercised it, would I be benefiting the economy? Certainly not. I'd be fucking somebody somewhere in the economy.

    I disagree. If you hire someone by crediting money to their bank accounts which did not exist prior to the payment, then you're not fucking anyone. The popular reply is "inflation!" but this is an argument that makes quite a lot of assumptions - stable velocity, along with full capacity utilization (i.e. this person wouldn't need a spot in the job guarantee rolls in the first place, since he'd be employed already), a steady or increasing credit impulse, and more.

    Anyway, even if we're accepting all of these assumptions, and visualizing a direct relation between spending and inflation, this is still hardly comparable to leaving someone to market-induced privation. Decreasing the value of held wealth is an indirect effect, and is not "fucking" people insofar as value is being obtained from the employment in question.

    Think about this: let's say we're on a gold standard. Tomorrow, I figure out the secrets of alchemical transmutation and accordingly the price of gold plummets. We have all the gold we as a society could ever have a use for in any application, but the value of money holdings fell through the floor. So which is it; have I generated value for society, or have I just "fucked" people?

    Why would government be any different? Because they have official names and wear badges?

    Well, in theory the fact that these parties are elected to behave in this way should probably factor in, but in practice I am all too happy to agree that much of the structure of the system exists in such a way that the voting public cannot meaningfully affect it.

    -A

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  45. 1/2

    Anonymous:

    Unemployment is easy to solve if I can print my own money and tax other people. If I had that power and I exercised it, would I be benefiting the economy? Certainly not. I'd be fucking somebody somewhere in the economy.

    I disagree. If you hire someone by crediting money to their bank accounts which did not exist prior to the payment, then you're not fucking anyone.

    If you did not earn that money you credited their account with by a prior act of production, if you just printed it, and others are coerced into using it, then you are in fact fucking others, because you brought into existence a situation where some people consume and live at other people's expense, and they cannot opt out of it.

    The popular reply is "inflation!" but this is an argument that makes quite a lot of assumptions - stable velocity, along with full capacity utilization (i.e. this person wouldn't need a spot in the job guarantee rolls in the first place, since he'd be employed already), a steady or increasing credit impulse, and more.

    No, those assumptions relate to price inflation, not inflation of the money supply, legal tender laws, and wealth transfer. Even without "stable velocity", "full utilization of resources", or "credit impulse", it is still inflation to bring about more non-market money into existence.

    I define inflation not merely as an increase in the supply of paper money, although it is closely related. I define inflation as an increase in the supply of money that exceeds the rate of production of free market money (typically precious metals, but it would depend on people's choices).

    Anyway, even if we're accepting all of these assumptions, and visualizing a direct relation between spending and inflation, this is still hardly comparable to leaving someone to market-induced privation.

    You're fallaciously assuming that fiat money inflation can prevent "privation." That is false. There is more monetary inflation in the US today than at any point in post war history, and yet there are MILLIONS of people on food stamps and welfare.

    Inflation is neither a full employment, nor is it a full utilization of resources solution. It is solely a way for some people to exploit others, and in the process, take everyone down because by hurting people, it prevents them from helping others to the best of their ability, which would in a free market raise total productivity.

    Inflation is a pipe-dream, just like praying and just like singing the national anthem.

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  46. 2/2

    Anonymous:


    Decreasing the value of held wealth is an indirect effect, and is not "fucking" people insofar as value is being obtained from the employment in question.

    It is fucking people, because anytime people are forced to provide wealth to those who do not produce, if only for one day, either directly through taxation or indirectly through inflation, it is absolutely positively without a doubt the case that some people somewhere are exploited. If people work all day all week, and there exists other people in the economy who do not produce anything, but print fiat money that they use to buy wealth from others, it is simply absurd to suggest that it is victimless. Since those who produce for the benefit of these social parasites would have been able to buy more real wealth had the counterfeiting spenders earned their money, it means that the producers receive less for the work they do.

    Now, if the money they accept was not mandatory, if that money was not legal tender, if producers are free to opt out, then should they accept such counterfeited money, of course it would not be exploitation. But because the fiat money is mandatory, inflation is exploitative.

    It would be like me succeeding in getting someone to accept from me a plain white piece of paper with my face painted on it, in exchange for their pair of socks, which is not exploitative, versus my plain white pieces of paper with my face being painted on it becoming mandatory legal tender that everyone must accept, with me being the sole legal issuer, and I am going to tax them in those pieces of paper, and then I go ahead and print off zillions of these pieces of paper to buy up their real wealth, which is indeed exploitative.

    Think about this: let's say we're on a gold standard. Tomorrow, I figure out the secrets of alchemical transmutation and accordingly the price of gold plummets. We have all the gold we as a society could ever have a use for in any application, but the value of money holdings fell through the floor. So which is it; have I generated value for society, or have I just "fucked" people?

    You have not fucked people, as long as people were not FORCED into accepting gold as money through legal tender laws of government. By voluntarily accepting gold as money, individuals must of course incur the risks of such an event transpiring. Yes, if you do succeed in discovering a way to turn lead into gold, then the value of gold would plummet if people want ahead and converted lead into gold. If gold were mandatory legal tender, then people would be exploited, but not if gold were voluntary.

    If money were ALWAYS open to competition, then a massive influx of gold due to people converting lead into gold, would almost certainly lead to people accepting something else other than gold, in order to retain purchasing power and store of value. People might transition to some commodity that cannot be so created with fusion.

    At any rate, am I really obligated to answer every last problem that could possibly occur with commodity money? I mean, are you being this critical and interested in problems with fiat money?

    You know what I noticed? Libertarian free market advocates have to live up to way higher standards than everyone else. You see this everywhere, especially in economics and politics. In politics, when people choose between two non-libertarians, they say "Meh, this guy's a little better than that guy, so I'll vote for him." But when the candidate is a libertarian, they'll say "I agree with 100 things he says, but because I don't agree with his stance on evolution, I won't vote for him."

    A non-libertarian politician can murder innocent women and chilren, and the voter will still vote for him over the non-murdering libertarian.

    Why do people do that?

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  47. Anonymous:


    Why would government be any different? Because they have official names and wear badges?

    Well, in theory the fact that these parties are elected to behave in this way should probably factor in, but in practice I am all too happy to agree that much of the structure of the system exists in such a way that the voting public cannot meaningfully affect it.

    So if I have the "support" of more people than you, when it comes to the disposition of your body and your physical property, I am therefore justified in initiating coercion against you, and in stealing your property?

    Why does getting "elected" matter? Aren't human rights transcendent to mob rule?

    If the majority wanted to enslave the minority, would that be justified? If not, then clearly democracy is not a premise in your desire to advocate for whatever the mob wants. It must be some other criteria.

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  48. "Mob rule"? Now we're just talking past one another; I'm describing democracy, you're describing ochlocracy.

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  49. Also, if it seems like libertarians are held to a higher standard (I disagree on this point, but let's just say), might it not be because they themselves are arguing for an extremely utopian standard? E.g. Property rights simply exist, there is no enforcement mechanism needed; this much is just intrinsic, the state has no place in any of it.

    If ever the perfect has become the enemy of the good, it's among anarchistic movements, both left and right alike.

    Everything which presupposes that the market can completely supplant the state needs address how a paradigm shift can occur such that everyone's conception of (and rigorous adherence to) property rights can be in alignment. Further, it must be consistent. For instance, Austrians have an entire principle of spontaneous order, that from a disordered state systems emerge to meet needs. Very few that I have encountered seem willing to discuss that this can very easily extend to the formation overarching systems which govern social interactions.

    Once possible outcome is established, then the only way to secure the Rothbardian ideal would be for society to be in a state of "permanent revolution," heading off all such incipient developments as early as possible. In that respect, it could be argued to resemble a sort of inverse Maoism.

    I don't know that the implications of this are necessarily considered, but they seem like the sort of thing that should be borne out. Where do you come down on this issue?

    You have not fucked people, as long as people were not FORCED into accepting gold as money through legal tender laws of government.

    Except that market pressures the choices that constitute one's "voluntarism" just as surely as legislation does. The difference is that it has the quality of a "force of nature," in that you can't attribute decisions to any one person, and thus the system is not necessarily accountable to anyone.

    Make no mistake, business owners are "forced" to adopt particular sets of technological standards, production practices, and cost-adjusting measures in order to remain competitive. A factory owner may desire to pay his employees better, but the strictures of the market appear to him as a directly coercive force; if he wants to remain in business, he shall not stray from the path.

    The medium of exchange, even under non-legislated, commodity-based circumstances is not "voluntarily" chosen; it's chosen in a decentralized manner which leads to a medium arising as an emergent phenomenon, but the only "voluntary" part of it, as far as the individual is concerned, is whether or not they want to use money. Maybe they want to be paid in weights of coal instead of gold; as far as the social conventions are concerned, this simply means that they want something other than money as payment.

    I mean, are you being this critical and interested in problems with fiat money?

    Absolutely. I've just had enough time to think on it that I'm reasonably sure about my conclusions. The result is that my answers may seem to paint me as uncritical. If you'd like to pose some challenges to my perspective in turn, you are of course more than welcome. It's only fair.

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  50. So if I have the "support" of more people than you, when it comes to the disposition of your body and your physical property, I am therefore justified in initiating coercion against you, and in stealing your property?

    Human nature is the drive to do absolutely anything to benefit yourself. Society and systems of government were instituted as a meta-strategy, to make violence and coercion between individuals less beneficial than cooperation, thus directing human nature to more constructive ends. Libertarianism claims that the very things that drive humans to be peaceful are themselves violence, and is only taken seriously by people who are so pampered that they can't imagine what the world would be like without state protection. Ever read Lord of the Flies?

    Without a state, the mob does rule, because the largest private police force would always get its way. But, unlike a state, you wouldn't even have the illusion of a voice or any system of checks and balances. Advocating for the elimination of the state is effectively asking for this to happen, so libertarians are either fools or liars. I know you don't understand the distinction between a totalitarian police state and a democratic republic anyway, so explaining this to you is probably a waste of time.

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  51. Anonymous:

    "Mob rule"? Now we're just talking past one another; I'm describing democracy, you're describing ochlocracy.

    Democracy is mob rule. The alleged distinction between democracy and mob rule is superficial and based on a fallacy. It is not true that democracy presumes a non-demagogic public, and/or a reason over passion public, and/or a non-tyrannical public. Democracy is majority rule. Ochlocracy is a FORM of democracy, one that contains specific assumptions about the mob's mentality.

    Yes, I am talking about ochlocracy, but because ochlocracy is a form of democracy, I am also talking about democracy.

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  52. For the record, I am not the one who made the post above ending with "waste of time," but I AM the one who made the two (much more polite) posts above it. I just forgot to throw the little sig at the bottom.

    I really should start using the Name option, but I haven't yet settled on a pseudonym I feel is good enough to warrant it. Whatever, it is a free internet, right?

    -A

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  53. Yes, I am talking about ochlocracy, but because ochlocracy is a form of democracy, I am also talking about democracy.

    If we are accepting your view of market as containing a necessarily positive ethos (as opposed to the negative aspects that free commerce often engenders) then I believe it is only fair that we distinguish between democracy and ochlocracy, differentiated as they are by ethos. The latter is not a subset of the former; they are opposing subsets of the broader "majoritarian" class.

    -A

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  54. Anonymous:

    Also, if it seems like libertarians are held to a higher standard (I disagree on this point, but let's just say), might it not be because they themselves are arguing for an extremely utopian standard? E.g. Property rights simply exist, there is no enforcement mechanism needed; this much is just intrinsic, the state has no place in any of it.

    I will agree that libertarians are arguing for a society that, relative to the status quo, is "extreme", but relative to libertarianism, statists are advocating for an "extreme" standard as well.

    The notion that violence can solve complex social problems is what is "Utopian" and "extreme". The burden of proof and the high standard should be on the person advocating for violence, not on the person who only wants to be left alone, and for other individuals to be left alone as well ("left alone" meaning "left alone from those seeking to violently confiscate their property and impose draconian and hypocritical rules on them).

    If ever the perfect has become the enemy of the good, it's among anarchistic movements, both left and right alike.

    But libertarianism is not asking for perfection. It in fact recognizes that people aren't perfect, which is one of the reasons why libertarians do not trust legal monopolies in the crucial area of protection and security. When there are legal institutions of criminal behavior, they tend to be exploited by evil people who are further away from perfection than good people. It is Utopian to believe that such powerful institutions will only be populated by good people, and that bad people will only be citizens who are caught by the good people and then sent to jail.

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  55. Anonymous:

    Everything which presupposes that the market can completely supplant the state needs address how a paradigm shift can occur such that everyone's conception of (and rigorous adherence to) property rights can be in alignment.

    In statism, property rights are completely divorced among the population. The individuals in the citizenry cannot violate property rights, but the individuals in the state can violate property rights. You can't get any more "out of alignment" than that.

    People don't have to be educated by the state you know.

    Further, it must be consistent. For instance, Austrians have an entire principle of spontaneous order, that from a disordered state systems emerge to meet needs. Very few that I have encountered seem willing to discuss that this can very easily extend to the formation overarching systems which govern social interactions.

    I can't speak for others, but for me, it's not that I am "unwilling" to discuss that it can "very easily extend to to overarching systems," it's that it does not constitute an argument against anarchism. If you suspect that anarchism leads invariably back to states, then there's no reason to not try it. If it does, then so what, the same society type will exist as before. If on the other hand you want to argue that anarchy will lead to a WORSE state than before, then clearly you haven't been looking out your window, because the world was originally anarchist, and we of course have the state system you say is best right now. So obviously it has been empirically shown that anarchism has historically led to a predominantly social democratic set of states around the world.

    Of course it took many thousands of years, but past generations did not have the knowledge we have today, so there is no reason to expect that thousands of years will again elapse before social democracy arises from anarchy, if in fact states will arise from anarchy.

    But just like ideology among the public is required for democracy to "work", so too is ideology among the public required for anarchy to work.

    Anarchy is not a system that is IMPOSED on people, such that it acts like a control mechanism that shapes human life. Anarchism is where people have to want to go, if they don't want others to shape human lives by violence. The reason why democracy persists is because of a mass delusion that democracy is inherently peaceful. It's why monarchy lasted for so long as well until people became more enlightened.

    I am not saying that a violent collapse of governments will necessarily enable most people to live functional lives. If governments around the world collapsed overnight, there would be absolute chaos. But then again, there would have also been chaos if during the 17th century, all monarchies suddenly collapsed and people tried to form democratic states from scratch.

    Nobody wants to be coerced. People have to believe (rightfully or delusionally) that their interests are best served by social revolution. If they're not ready, then social revolution can lead to violent chaos, and out of violent chaos, dictators are given the most fertilizer.

    Anarchy, since it based on peace, as opposed to democracy which is based on violence, MUST be an intellectual, peaceful revolution. It must be a mass civil and peaceful disobedience movement. If enough people intellectually reject the state, then the state has no chance. They simply cannot force 300,000,000 individuals to obey them. I am with Mises when he said that ultimately, all state power comes from support from the general public. Without that support, the relatively few people in the state will have no way to control the hundreds of millions of people who want nothing to do with them.

    Nobody would deny that minarchist states can evolve into brutal and oppressive states. But does that fact constitute the decisive refutation against minarchism? No, it doesn't.

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  56. Anonymous:

    Once possible outcome is established, then the only way to secure the Rothbardian ideal would be for society to be in a state of "permanent revolution," heading off all such incipient developments as early as possible. In that respect, it could be argued to resemble a sort of inverse Maoism.

    There would only be a permanent revolution as long as states exist. This is why states keep changing. It's because all states are inherently evil, and it just takes people sooner or later to realize it. Unfortunately, history has so far been such that most people think that the problem is just the form of state, not the state itself.

    Once all forms of states have been exhausted, and I think democracy is statism's last stand (which many moron political philosophers have interpreted as "the end of history" and thus of permanent democracy forever, even trillions of years into the future, instead of the state's last breath), then people will realize that they have been searching for solutions in the wrong place. All along they were searching for solutions using violence, but they finally come to realize that the solutions reside in peace.

    This realization among the mass public would constitute the second great enlightenment in human history. The first one was the realization that large states was a problem, and that individuals should have more freedom. The second one will be the realization that it is states that are the problem, and that individuals should have TOTAL freedom. Once that period begins, and it will as long as tyranny persists, because humans are naturally a freedom loving, albeit sometimes moronic, species. We are "blessed" (take that figuratively, not literally) with reason, and with reason, humans will eventually find truths, even social truths. Austrians I think have placed the first stepping stone in the search for social truths. All subsequent social truths will be a derivation of Austrian theory. For it is the only school built on individualism, reason, and logic. They might fuck up, but truths will be centered on Austrian theory, by way of improvements, corrections, and elucidations.

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  57. Anonymous:

    I don't know that the implications of this are necessarily considered, but they seem like the sort of thing that should be borne out. Where do you come down on this issue?

    I think you're right that anarchism would require "nipping violence in the bud" as soon as possible, before it spreads. But really, statism requires nipping freedom in the bud as soon as possible, before it spreads.

    States are only accommodative of gradual movements towards freedom, if they are open to freedom at all. That's one of the great evils of statism. It's very easy for large scale government growth to take place. But cutting back and chipping away at the state monolith takes tremendous intellectual courage and persistence. That's one of the reasons why history has shown so far that most people want a state. It's just been too difficult, so far, to conceive of no governments.

    But history does not prove anything about what humans can do in the future. After all, thousands of years of private slavery existed, and once it more or less ended, people now immediately know it's silly to even think it should be reintroduced. Unfortunately, we have replaced private slavery with "public" slavery. People are forced to live under state rulers, and they must pay a portion of their wages to state rulers, or else they will get thrown into a cage. That is a form of slavery.

    Slavery will always exist in some form as long as states exist, for states are by nature based on violence.

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  58. "You have not fucked people, as long as people were not FORCED into accepting gold as money through legal tender laws of government."

    Except that market pressures the choices that constitute one's "voluntarism" just as surely as legislation does.

    AHA!!!! Now we're getting at the deeper philosophy.

    Market forces do put pressure on individuals, there is no doubt about it, but it is a pressure of a radically different type. It is a pressure of RESISTANCE TO VIOLENCE. Legislation on the other hand is a pressure of INITIATING VIOLENCE.

    Those who feel "pressure" in a voluntarist society, are actually just feeling the existence of other people's personal voluntary preferences. That pressure is thus in reality either just an inability (in the present, it's not permanent), or refusal (also in the present, it's not permanent) to understand that the pressure they are feeling is one of low self-esteem and inadequate personal power.

    The drive to survive has made humans respond to what they lack in their mind (peaceful thinking and effort and social cooperation), to what they can do with their bodies (violence).

    No doubt there are few of us who would choose death and refraining from stealing bread, over life and stealing bread. To believe that people who want to live, would choose respecting property rights and death, over violating them and life, if that were the choice, is simply naive and ignorant. But what we can do is believe in the power of human reason to adapt and overcome, so that these choices are not so widespread.

    In order to do that, we must first realize that if the problem is such violence concerning life and death, then it is illogical, and thus unrealistic, and thus impossible, to conclude that violence can solve it. That is what everyone must understand if the human race is ever going to end slavery. If people keep believing that initiating violence can stop initiations of violence, then we will remain in the muck and we will remain a backwater planet while the rest of the universe's rational species interact with each other and live fuller more prosperous lives.

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  59. 1/2

    Anonymous:

    The difference is that it has the quality of a "force of nature," in that you can't attribute decisions to any one person, and thus the system is not necessarily accountable to anyone.

    Is it really a FORCE against you if I should refuse to be victimized by your violence, and counter your violence with violence of my own? Remember, humans are not dirt. Dirt can be treated like dirt, but humans ought to be treated as humans.

    If you come up against a market "force", what is actually happening is that other humans are communicating their preferences. I never liked the word "force" in "market force", because it has a connotation of violence behind it, when in reality it is inherently peaceful, because when two parties trade with each other, thus communicating a price for that good, the "forces" that are inherent in it, and the "forces" that are set into motion, are really a product of individual preference. You are not forced to pay the same price as me, but you are faced with individuals who have their own preferences, who are justified in using force if force is used against them. Now when faced with this, many people think to themselves "Uh oh, this person is not willing to help me on my terms, he is only willing to help me on his terms." As far as that goes, it's of course legitimate. But the other guy is thinking the same exact thing. He is also thinking "Uh oh, that person is not willing to help me on my terms, he is only willing to help me on his terms."

    This does happen yes, but it doesn't mean that no interaction and thus no exchange is possible. In ALL trades, BOTH parties ALWAYS accept less than what they would have preferred in a hypothetical "perfect world of no economic scarcity." This impulse is, in my opinion, the origin of religion. It's why the Bible has the Garden of Eden, and why the Quran has the Golden Age, and why every other religion (as well as Keynesianism) speaks of a lost world of no scarcity. Such conceptions are interpreted as a sort of lost memory, and thus of a past time in history. That's why all such perfect ages are in the distant past, and in some chiliastic religions and philosophies, in the definite future. Marxism is based on religious eschatology of central planning as a means to get to a future of no scarcity. Keynesianism is based on trying to bring the golden age past (of presuming no economic scarcity but individual freedom) and the golden age future (in striving for more social planning as the means to get to the lost past), together into the present. This is why Keynesianism has some aspects of social planning, and some aspects of freedom.

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  60. 2/2

    Anonymous:

    Austrian economics is based on a path towards a future of no economic scarcity, but accepting that we will never get there, and that there was never a golden age past, but economic scarcity as well. This "traps" individuals into the "prison" of their own bodies, which is just fine and dandy to Austrians, but terrifying to eschatologists who want to break free from their physical bodies because physical reality is too "forceful". Austrians are hated by eschatologists because Austrians appear as just another barrier to bodily escape, who want to keep people imprisoned in their own bodies. This is why so many conceive of Austrian economists as cold hearted bastards who are willing to let people suffer and die at the hands of mother nature. It's like Austrians are telling people that they SHOULD stay in their bodily prison, and rot until they die. Sure, people will always rot and die in their bodily prison, but haters of Austrianism don't want to think about it. They want to believe that all their pain and suffering will eventually be followed by them escaping their bodily cages. "Progressives" want to "progress" out of their bodies using state violence. I mean, when you believe you're in a cage, then violence does seem like the best option of breaking free.

    But I hold that this mentality is a massive delusion, brought about by a lack of rationalist philosophical education. There are so very few rationalist philosophers remaining in the world today after the explosion during the enlightenment, which is the reason why I adhere to Austrian economics. It is the only rationalist economics school left. It is the path back to rationalism. I refuse to accept that the tremendous growth in living standards post enlightenment were nothing but chance. I see a unique a connection between rationalist philosophy and economic progress.

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  61. Anonymous:

    Make no mistake, business owners are "forced" to adopt particular sets of technological standards, production practices, and cost-adjusting measures in order to remain competitive. A factory owner may desire to pay his employees better, but the strictures of the market appear to him as a directly coercive force; if he wants to remain in business, he shall not stray from the path.

    They are ONLY "forced" in this way if they have a preference to improve their lives, and they can only see a path in trading with other individuals who have their own preferences. They are not "forced" if they want to improve their lives by not trading with others.

    The "force" you experience as an individual in the market is of a far different nature than the "force" you experience as an individual in a hurricane, or in a violent human conflict. In the former, the "force" you experience is really the status of what every other individual prefers for themselves, without imposing their preferences on you. Yes, if you can't get what you want from others, it is almost identical in terms of "force" as hitting a brick wall that refuses to budge. But the brick wall isn't refusing to budge because it prefers to not budge. It is a rock that cannot choose. A person on the other hand can make choices, and if someone refuses to deal with you, it's because they have chosen to not deal with you because they find their preferences can be best served by others.

    Now, before you get all worried and sick to your stomach, I should tell you that you also refuse to deal with many people all the time, and you think it's a positive and happy thing to do. You refuse to deal with those you don't think will benefit you, and they might be thinking the exact same thing as you when you get rejected by others. Do you see how better you feel when you understand the nature of human action a little more? Only Austrian economics can do this. All other economics schools cannot, which is why they are so, what's the word...SCARED all the time. Their fear leads to desperate and blind frustration, and that's why they blame the wrong people all the time. Keynesians blame individuals engaged in free trade, and Monetarists as well. But free trade is not to blame. Free trade is the pathway to prosperity. The people who Keynesians and Monetarists should blame are themselves, for not understanding the ultimate foundation of economic science and not understanding rationalism.

    Humans must make choices, and choices requires reason. Reason is based on rationalist philosophy. Keynesianism and Monetarism are based on an irrational foundation in that they refuse to accept rationalism and seek to find solutions really by mystical revelation, but individuals cannot derive knowledge in this way, which is why Keynesians always defer to the state to implement everything Keynesian. There is absolutely no individualist solutions in Keynesianism, because when you reject reason, you reject individualism. This is why LK's ethics are collectivist, and why his economics is statist. He is completely ignorant of the truths that can only be learned through methodological individualism.

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  62. Pete:

    I am enjoying our discussion thus far. Unfortunately, I am up to my eyeballs in work at the moment, and can't lend your last few replies the sort of attention they deserve.

    Do check back on this post later tonight, though!

    -A

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  63. The medium of exchange, even under non-legislated, commodity-based circumstances is not "voluntarily" chosen; it's chosen in a decentralized manner which leads to a medium arising as an emergent phenomenon, but the only "voluntary" part of it, as far as the individual is concerned, is whether or not they want to use money. Maybe they want to be paid in weights of coal instead of gold; as far as the social conventions are concerned, this simply means that they want something other than money as payment.

    Ask yourself this: Would you consider it "force" if you wanted and had the opportunity to trade in coal instead of gold, but someone else said to you "if you trade in coal and not gold, I will use physical force against you and throw you into a cage."?

    I hope you say of course.

    Now ask yourself this: Would you consider yourself to have used "force" on someone else, say me, if you wanted to and had the opportunity to voluntarily trade in coal and not gold with yet someone else not me? Would you have "forced" me in any way? Or did you just act according to your self-interest, peacefully? Is pursuing your own self-interest, as opposed to the interests of others, an act of "force" against others? Is pursuing someone else's self-interest, as opposed to your own self-interest, an act of force against others?

    Critical question now: If you consider it force on others to pursue your own interest, but not force on others to pursue other people's interests, then would those others whom you help be forcing you for pursuing their self-interest? I hope you see the contradiction here if you answer no, because by accepting your help, those people are succeeding in pursuing their own self-interest. You didn't determine their self-interest for them, they did themselves.

    So if you accept help in accordance with your self-interest, because the other person is trying to be moral and not use force and help you instead of themselves, then here's the next crucial question:

    How can individuals help others but not themselves, while at the same time, not pursue their self-interest by accepting the help from others? Can you see how it is impossible? In order for someone to help another, that another person must be acting in their own self-interest, and thus contributing to the "force" you feel in the market.

    In other words, positively acting in your own self-interest is you contributing your existence and your life to the market "force." You helping others, is you contributing THEIR existence and THEIR life to the market "force."

    Now here's the kicker: If everyone only tried to help others pursue their self-interest, then what will happen is that everyone will perceive market forces against them, without understanding the fact that they are contributing to market forces by way of other people, which is a sunk cost, because that would have been the case anyway if all individuals pursued their own self-interest, the only difference is that everyone would know themselves less, and thus they would know of humanity less. If you know of humanity less, you can't improve humanity as much compared to if you knew humanity more. In fact, to the extent that people know less of themselves, through practising their self-interest consciously, the less they know of humanity, and the more terrifying and painful will physical reality become.

    Ever converse with people who have almost no knowledge of themselves and what they are capable of? These are people with very low self-esteem, and they tend to be scared at the prospect of no government. These people are who must be reached, because by bringing more people into the market as self-interested and self-knowledgable people, the more productive they become, and the more they can benefit other humans.

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  64. "I mean, are you being this critical and interested in problems with fiat money?"

    Absolutely. I've just had enough time to think on it that I'm reasonably sure about my conclusions. The result is that my answers may seem to paint me as uncritical. If you'd like to pose some challenges to my perspective in turn, you are of course more than welcome. It's only fair.

    More time does not always lead to more knowledge, if you're on the wrong path. With enough time on the wrong path, you can become so lost that it seems like you have no other choice but to accept what you currently believe, because the alternative is to accept that you know very little, but believe very much, and that is very difficult for most people. Myself included. But like you, I also have spent lots of time on this, and I can tell you that I am not only reasonably sure about my conclusions, but I am absolutely certain of them. Yes, merely saying that isn't saying much, but let me assure you that what I think is a product of very devoted reading, writing, and research, and I realize that by saying I am absolutely sure, it makes manifest our old friend the feeling of "force." When you talk to someone who refuses to change their mind on something, it is more difficult for you to get what you want out of them, and maybe it's more difficult to promote your own self-interest by engaging with that person, since it makes it seem like you have to consciously change and adapt, which is hard for most people to do, especially when it's a result of a human being a metaphorical rock, rather than an actual rock where you can feel safe knowing that it doesn't think and won't judge you.

    The only way an intellectual can learn is by not being afraid of being judged by others. For that goes against the needed self-esteem you require, which itself is a product of realizing you are an individual who has his own life and his own self-interest. You can't realize and understand any of this if you're constantly looking to the state to solve economic problems.

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  65. Anonymous:

    "So if I have the "support" of more people than you, when it comes to the disposition of your body and your physical property, I am therefore justified in initiating coercion against you, and in stealing your property?"

    Human nature is the drive to do absolutely anything to benefit yourself.

    You sort of didn't answer my question. So I will ask again: Am I JUSTIFIED in initiating coercion against you and stealing your property, on the basis that I have more "support" from others than you?

    Society and systems of government were instituted as a meta-strategy, to make violence and coercion between individuals less beneficial than cooperation, thus directing human nature to more constructive ends.

    Excellent. Plus one.

    Libertarianism claims that the very things that drive humans to be peaceful are themselves violence, and is only taken seriously by people who are so pampered that they can't imagine what the world would be like without state protection. Ever read Lord of the Flies?

    Ever understood the fact that the book Lord of the Flies is necessarily a product of the philosophy of the author, which of course must be critically analyzed, instead of taken on faith just because it is a book that we all read in high school that is run and financed by the state?

    Do you think it's a coincidence that the book "Lord of the Flies" is taught in high school, but the "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" or some other libertarian, anti-state novel, is not?

    Of COURSE a state run school would love to read books to children that make it seem like living without a state will lead to absolute violent chaos.

    But are you intelligent enough to realize that the incentives of the state does not mean that what they want and what they teach, is correct?

    The state has no interest in teaching the whole truth, just those truths that don't threaten their rule, and the falsehoods that get people to worship and support the state. The public school system is really a cult generating process that ensures that the majority of people come to support the state exploiting them and their families. Of course, if you can convince your prisoner that he is free, then he will accept being a prisoner, and in some cases would even fight others to stay in it. These lost souls are truly pathetic, and I can only hope that they realize the truth someday.

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  66. Anonymous:



    Without a state, the mob does rule, because the largest private police force would always get its way.

    Then why hasn't there ever been a world state, despite governments having nuclear weapons?

    Democratic states are mob rule, not anarchism.

    Private security does not necessarily lead to statism, and this is true even if history has shown that anarchism was followed by statism.

    For I could propose the theory that enough people throughout history have just heretofore chosen to accept the state, such that dissenters are overpowered, but that it does not mean that such a choice is inevitable, for people could change their minds tomorrow.

    That theory is not inherently illogical or absurd. It is plausible.

    So if I have that theory, and you have a materialist theory that statism is inevitable and humans can't choose otherwise, then obviously neither of us can possibly appeal to history to settle this disagreement. We each have plausible, but mutually exclusive theories, that are consistent with historical data.

    So obviously the disagreement must be solved by referring to some other standard for judging arguments. I'll give you a cookie if you can guess which standard that is.

    But, unlike a state, you wouldn't even have the illusion of a voice or any system of checks and balances. Advocating for the elimination of the state is effectively asking for this to happen, so libertarians are either fools or liars. I know you don't understand the distinction between a totalitarian police state and a democratic republic anyway, so explaining this to you is probably a waste of time.

    What utter garbage. You're so confused.

    First off, it is not true that individuals would not have a voice in anarchy. You're not even considering anarchy when you criticize it. I say anarchy, and right away you think "statism" because anarchy allegedly cannot persist for very long. But that is not criticizing anarchy as such. All you're doing is presuming that anarchy is impossible, and then imagining the result of statism. The utter confusion you have is that even if anarchy led invariably to statism, then all the criticisms you have just made, i.e. that people won't even have the illusion of voice, that there won't be "checks and balances", all those criticisms are criticisms of statism, not anarchy.

    All social systems are driven by ideas and choice, not some illusory mystical concept of materialist inevitability. Materialism is a dogma that is an impossible epistemology for humanity. It requires omniscience, which humans clearly don't have.

    You didn't answer my question above, so I will ask a third time:

    If I have the "support" of more people than you, when it comes to the disposition of your body and your physical property, I am therefore justified in initiating coercion against you, and in stealing your property?

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  67. Then why hasn't there ever been a world state, despite governments having nuclear weapons?

    For the latter half of the 20th century, the cold war was a stalemate held in place by mutually assured destruction. The rest of the countries of any strategic value were divvied up between the U.S. and the USSR.

    That isn't really relevant, though, because there were no competing forces within those two systems, and no freedom to move between them, so no free market for police forces existed. Your argument relies on freedom of choice and there is none here.

    So if I have that theory, and you have a materialist theory that statism is inevitable and humans can't choose otherwise, then obviously neither of us can possibly appeal to history to settle this disagreement.

    False. I'm following Condorcet in saying that because experience has shown that statism follows anarchy, and we have never seen anything else happen and we don't know why, we have no basis for the belief that anything else is likely to happen. Not that it is inevitable. That's why I would love to see a libertarian social experiment, because then there would be some evidence, and I am willing to change my mind in the face of evidence. Not ideology, or logic based purely on ideology.

    The fundamental epistemology of history is that we can learn about ourselves by studying our history, meaning that we assume that elements of past behavior in human society which occurs regularly will continue regularly. The burden of proof is on those who argue that things will change, and that burden is very heavy. It's heavier still for someone to argue that because something never observed before is possible it's plausible.

    You didn't answer my question above, so I will ask a third time

    I did answer, but if you need it spelled out for you - no, you as an individual are not justified. However, the group is justified, and the group may elect a representative who is then justified. If that happens to be you, then you are still not justified as an individual, but you are justified in your role as an actor for the state.

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  68. Hayek here merely endorses relief measures. He doesn't claim that the measures he endorses will bring recovery! If the New Deal teaches anything, it's that providing relief and achieving recovery are two quite different things.

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  69. Professor Selgin,

    Thanks for your comment. You say that Hayek "here merely endorses relief measures."

    But what are we to make of this?:

    To return, however, to the specific problem of preventing what I have called the secondary depression caused by the deflation which a crisis is likely to induce. Although it is clear that such a deflation, which does no good and only harm, ought to be prevented, it is not easy to see how this can be done without producing further misdirections of labour. In general it is probably true to say that an equilibrium position will be most effectively approached if consumers’ demand is prevented from falling substantially by providing employment through public works at relatively low wages so that workers will wish to move as soon as they can to other and better paid occupations,

    I find it very difficult to see how this isn't an endorsement of fiscal policy to restore growth. And Hayek tells explicitly an "equilibrium position will be most effectively approached if consumers’ demand is prevented from falling substantially by providing employment through public works at relatively low wages".

    Regards

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  70. 1:

    Ahoy Pete:

    I will agree that libertarians are arguing for a society that, relative to the status quo, is "extreme", but relative to libertarianism, statists are advocating for an "extreme" standard as well.

    So, would you say we're living in extreme times? That the world as it stands is an extreme place, and you're trying to be a voice for moderation?

    I would like to here make a distinction. You're using "libertarian," but you're using it in the American sense. Classically speaking, a libertarian was someone who sought total liberation, including from the forced sale of one's own labor to subsist. As such, they were really more like anarcho-communists. The position you're describing is more rightly called "propertarian," since everything stems from private ownership.

    Moving along, I would like to point out what I believe to be my biggest issue with anything you've said thus far:

    The notion that violence can solve complex social problems is what is "Utopian" and "extreme".

    In and of itself, it is a reasonable enough statement. However, when juxtaposed with the following, it takes on a new life:

    But libertarianism is not asking for perfection. It in fact recognizes that people aren't perfect, which is one of the reasons why libertarians do not trust legal monopolies in the crucial area of protection and security. When there are legal institutions of criminal behavior, they tend to be exploited by evil people who are further away from perfection than good people.

    In other words, despite all you've said that might lead one to believe the contrary, you're not opposed to violence at all; rather, you're opposed to our current system for the administration of violence. If it were a case of private security forces, apparently that is another matter entirely. It strikes me as problematic to be waging war against coercive force if the system you propose as a solution just takes the same thing and wraps it up in a different color bow.

    Anyhow, that calls to mind any number of other issues. For instance, do the actionable offenses change based on security providers? Legislative and judicial processes are either private or nonexistent, too, one expects. How is the accused afforded a fair trial? This could easily be in relation to something COMPLETELY apart from the property issue which I've raised numerous times. For instance, what action would be taken for an accused serial rapist? We have private systems of incarceration already, but is that really the standard of quality you're prepared to hitch your wagon to, regarding punitive responses? Is that what a liberated society looks like?

    -A

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  71. 2:

    It is Utopian to believe that such powerful institutions will only be populated by good people, and that bad people will only be citizens who are caught by the good people and then sent to jail.

    I suppose that IS a utopian belief, but I don't think anyone here is espousing it; certainly not me. The key here is "accountability," i.e. to the public, of which everyone large and small claims an equal share. It is well-known that leftists are suspicious of private enterprise, but in point of fact, any leftist worth his stack of unwashed hackey-sacks is equally suspicious of government.

    The individuals in the citizenry cannot violate property rights, but the individuals in the state can violate property rights. You can't get any more "out of alignment" than that.

    Not exactly; the idea is that those sworn to uphold the law are still subject to it. If anything, they can only alter or skirt property rights under highly specific conditions, acting in their official capacity as representatives of the governing body. In other words, the name of the human being who does this thing is irrelevant; it is an action entirely within the realm of the legalistic/symbolic.

    If you suspect that anarchism leads invariably back to states, then there's no reason to not try it. If it does, then so what, the same society type will exist as before.

    Except that everything has a cost, including a potentially disastrous excursion into a potentially unstable mode of existence. I am not saying that that's what I believe, of course, but I'm just giving you a straight answer; walking around the world will just lead me right back to where I am right now, but I'll need to take into account the time, resources and risk that this will afford me. Maybe on the way I'll find a place I'd rather live than here, but then again, I could also just repair what's wrong with my own place. Maybe plant a garden; get some of those gnomes to liven the place up.

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  72. 3:

    But just like ideology among the public is required for democracy to "work", so too is ideology among the public required for anarchy to work.

    Ditto for quite a few systems, when you get right down to it.

    Anarchy, since it based on peace, as opposed to democracy which is based on violence, MUST be an intellectual, peaceful revolution. It must be a mass civil and peaceful disobedience movement.

    Sure, I can dig that.

    Austrians I think have placed the first stepping stone in the search for social truths. All subsequent social truths will be a derivation of Austrian theory. For it is the only school built on individualism, reason, and logic.

    ...Not so much that part, though. I'll elaborate later.

    Unfortunately, we have replaced private slavery with "public" slavery. People are forced to live under state rulers, and they must pay a portion of their wages to state rulers, or else they will get thrown into a cage. That is a form of slavery.

    You forgot another sort: wage slavery.

    Market forces do put pressure on individuals, there is no doubt about it, but it is a pressure of a radically different type. It is a pressure of RESISTANCE TO VIOLENCE. Legislation on the other hand is a pressure of INITIATING VIOLENCE.

    A system of market forces has led to unimaginable violence in the form of poor and dangerous working conditions, the extraction of inhumanely long work days, and the emergence of an entirely different form of class division than typically known in history. Along these class lines, everything split - education, life expectancy, access to leisure. Even if we remove the state from the equation, it won't prevent the sort of exploitation specific to markets. Much of the modern state's role came arose in response to these conditions. Granted, this was all just a placation to keep entrenched the capital class in the face of possible revolution, but my point stands - capitalism contains the seeds of its own undoing.

    Even Schumpeter acknowledged this.

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  73. 4:

    Marxism is based on religious eschatology of central planning as a means to get to a future of no scarcity.

    It is worth noting here that Marx never really left a blueprint of what a post-capitalistic world would look like; the only thing we know is that he was after the ultimate liberatory society. All of his theoretical contributions were analytical in nature - descriptive, not prescriptive. Perhaps you're thinking of one of the statist political philosophies derived from his thought, like Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc.?

    At any rate, I think you could really stand to benefit from a reading of Marx; you'd probably find you're in agreement with him almost entirely. That's why I disagree with your assessment of Austrian theory as the "only" school [...]. Indeed, they get some of what they argue correct, but their ultimate goal is a system in which markets see to everything, which leaves the door open to a whole other variety of exploitation. As such, they're only carrying you part of the way to anarchism.

    Austrians are hated by eschatologists because Austrians appear as just another barrier to bodily escape, who want to keep people imprisoned in their own bodies.

    Okay, this entire passage confused me. Who's leaving their body, now? How on earth should one do that?

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  74. Here's a relevant article from The Onion. Or as some people might say, unfunny lying communist propaganda.

    Historians politely remind nation...

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  75. 5:

    But like you, I also have spent lots of time on this, and I can tell you that I am not only reasonably sure about my conclusions, but I am absolutely certain of them. Yes, merely saying that isn't saying much, but let me assure you that what I think is a product of very devoted reading, writing, and research, and I realize that by saying I am absolutely sure, it makes manifest our old friend the feeling of "force."

    I take it back, actually; THIS is the part I found most objectionable. Human knowledge is imperfect. Austrians are SUPPOSED to be keenly aware of this.

    Your pretense of knowledge beyond the point of ever being convinced otherwise belies everything you've said about economic "science." Even the things in the PHYSICAL sciences we think we're "certain" of are constantly undergoing calibration and outright overhaul. The social sciences are even MORE subject to various endogeneity problems and unpredictable vagaries.

    Science can be overturned. What you are professing is faith.

    If you replace curiosity and an open mind with unshakable certainty and - no offense - arrogance, you're stunting your own intellectual development.

    Zealotry of this sort can be dangerous in virtually any arena of life in which it crops up - whether due to the reductionism inherent in Austrian apriorism or certainty that a deity will reward taking a life. Trust me, you're no better than the rest of us in terms of the limits of what you can know.

    I hate to end on a harsh note, but it just rubs me the wrong way to see you making an essentially transcendental claim after railing on and on about people trying to "leave their bodies behind."

    No disrespect intended.

    -A

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  76. Uh, 6, I guess (I was going to leave it at that, but I noticed some points I missed):

    Do you see how better you feel when you understand the nature of human action a little more? Only Austrian economics can do this.

    Gotta tell you, I never come away from reading Austrian explanations feeling as if I understand human action better. It always seems like they're attempting to shoehorn every possible form of human relation into the exchange (the good) and force (the bad). What about, for instance, relationships based upon mutual non-enumerated obligation?

    How about behavioral economics, which actually adds an empirical element to their efforts to understand human action? Seems like a useful tool, one might wager. While we're at it, you'd think psychologists and anthropologists would have something valuable to contribute, but apparently five or six economists have cracked the mystery of the human brain, on an individual and societal level, translatable across all cultures (apparently even ones without anything like market exchange, e.g. the Iriquois), customs, and brain chemistry configurations.

    Sorry, but I think there's just more to human sociality than this philosophy advertises. Once again, it strikes me as more of a faith, with exchange taking center stage as the principal ritual, at once ablution and blessing. And on that note:

    All other economics schools cannot, which is why they are so, what's the word...SCARED all the time. Their fear leads to desperate and blind frustration, and that's why they blame the wrong people all the time. ... [LK] is completely ignorant of the truths that can only be learned through [rationalism &] methodological individualism.

    Rationalism alone is not going to unlock the world. I side with Popper (and, one supposes, Hayek) on this one: a theory must be falsifiable if it is to claim to be science. The action axiom, for instance, is by construction impossible to falsify. Deriving anything further from that, no matter how rigorously one applies formal logic, still leaves one with a series of unscientific pronouncements. There's nothing inherently wrong with that; everyone is entitled to their beliefs. The problem only arises when you try to use "science" to describe them.

    Further, methodological individualism - indeed, the whole effort to work from microfoundations - fails to treat aggregate economic issues as the emergent phenomena they are. As I have remarked on these comments in the past: one cannot reduce sociology to "a lot of psychology," psychology to neuroscience, the latter to cellular biology, the latter to chemistry, the latter to particle physics. At each level of aggregation, new properties, qualities, and behaviors emerge and new modes of analysis are called for. It's not just about the number of the individual constituent parts, but how they fit together and interact.

    Even the very concept of starting from the individual must be heavily qualified, for what is the individual but a social being? In other words, it is enculturation that creates the animal that we refer to (perhaps anachronistically) as "Man." There is a word for a homo sapiens who has not undergone enculturation: feral. Such a being may share genes with us, but otherwise has little in common with the sort of creature we might imagine when we try to conjure up an example of a "person."

    As attractive as it is to feel like you have a single totalizing, unified theory of everything on your hands, I would urge you not to be so easily seduced. Reality is not so neat and tidy.

    -A

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  77. "The basic arpanet packet switching technology was discovered by a private party..."

    Computers were largely invented by the state, like the EDVAC, ENIAC, and so on. (This is how we define computers. These machines were turing-complete, which means they can run algorithms that any computer could run. Any computer can theoretically do what another computer can do.) It was either at Universities, or at institutions that were also receiving money from the state, like MIT. Or it was DARPA in regards to the Internet.

    The ENIAC and other computers were the foundations of computing and computer science (or arguably the ABC, although Honeywell v. Sperry, the case often cited as "proof" it was the ABC rather than the ENIAC was more of a political decision). This is the conclusion of Brookshear in "Computer Science An Overview: "From that point on (i.e., the invention of the eniac etc.), the history of computing machines is largely that of advancing technology."

    After the creation of the ENIAC, various disciplines (such as linguistics and logic) converged on the computer and out of that convergence computer science was born. I claim the true model for modern computers is the EDVAC, which came to be recognized as the Von Neumann Machines. It was also an electric computer which had the used the stored program concept. However, there is debate here, as there is to debate as to whether it was Leibniz or Newton who invented the Calculus. (Leibniz published first, but many peopel say Newton actually discovered the ideas first and actually hid his work for a while, as he was overly sensitive to criticism.)

    The importance of the ENIAC can be shown by the Differential Analyzer. So you have differential equations like x^2(d^2y/dx) + x(dy/dx) + y(x^2 - n^2) = 0, and a differential analyzer could substitute any n and yield all the other variables in the equation. What it showed was that if you wanted something fast, you had to make it electric.

    --successfulbuild

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  78. The criteria for the modern computer is basically:
    -An input device
    -Memory
    -A central processing device (a device that decides what operations to do)

    -An output device, which was developed early on.

    The Internte was invented by the government:
    "The USSR's launch of Sputnik spurred the United States to create the Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as ARPA, in February 1958 to regain a technological lead.[2][3] ARPA created the Information Processing Technology Office (IPTO) to further the research of the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) program, which had networked country-wide radar systems together for the first time. J. C. R. Licklider was selected to head the IPTO.
    Licklider moved from the Psycho-Acoustic Laboratory at Harvard University to MIT in 1950, after becoming interested in information technology. At MIT, he served on a committee that established Lincoln Laboratory and worked on the SAGE project. In 1957 he became a Vice President at BBN, where he bought the first production PDP-1 computer and conducted the first public demonstration of time-sharing.

    At the IPTO, Licklider got Lawrence Roberts to start a project to make a network, and Roberts based the technology on the work of Paul Baran,[4] who had written an exhaustive study for the U.S. Air Force that recommended packet switching (as opposed to circuit switching) to make a network highly robust and survivable. After much work, the first two nodes of what would become the ARPANET were interconnected between UCLA and SRI International (SRI) in Menlo Park, California, on October 29, 1969. The ARPANET was one of the "eve" networks of today's Internet. "

    The NSF created the first high-speed backbone, very important for the internet:
    "The National Science Foundation (NSF) created the first high-speed backbone in 1987. Called NSFNET, it was a T1 line that connected 170 smaller networks together and operated at 1.544 Mbps (million bits per second). IBM, MCI and Merit worked with NSF to create the backbone and developed a T3 (45 Mbps) backbone the following year."

    Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf also acknowledged his role in the funding:

    As the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore's contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time. Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role.
    (I post this because it shows Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf acknowledge the work that they did, as does everybody else.)

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  79. Operating systems also have state involvement. Linux traces its timeline to Minix, also developed at a University, and Unix, so it would start far before Linux was actually developed - in Finland, at University as well.

    Unix comes from multics which was funded by the DoD for computer and military research. Unix was developed at AT&T at a time when the had a virtual monopoly protected by the state. Unix was developed at AT&T Dennis Ritche and Kernighan developed it there and AT&T later tried to claim it as their intellectual property. [1] As you can see, planning didn't even begin for multics until 1964. [2]

    Thompson used Bell Labs' GE645 to cross compile Space Travel for the PDP-7, another computer at bell labs. He realized it would be easier to write an operating system to play Space Travel on than developing it on the GE465.

    Multics was not a 'privately funded experiment' it was a collaboration of a monopoly, a University, and the Federal Government - department of defense. [3] Planning for multics didn't even start until 1964, and it was developed in 64/65, so how could it have been invented in 1961? You can read the original research paper at that same website, which wasn't even written until 1964. ARPA aslo contributed money to the multics project. [4]

    Apparently this 'Capitalism' is using the government to fund you and your project, and sponsor large corporations like AT&T over the free-market

    [1]corp .att.com/attlabs/about/history/
    [2] multicians.org/f7y.html
    [3] Planning for Multics began in 1964. Fernando (Corby) Corbató, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), teamed up with computer scientists from General Electric and Bell Laboratories as part of Project MAC, a research program funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).
    [4] "ARPA contributed $2 million per year to projectMAC for eight years for Multics development. During this time period, Bell Labs, GE, and Honeywell contributed comparable resources"

    --successfulbuild

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  80. From shrpknvs:

    A Social History of Industrial Automation, New York: Knopf, 1984. An excerpt (pp. 5, 7-8):"Between 1945 and 1968, the Department of Defense industrial system had supplied $44 billion of goods and services, EXCEEDING the COMBINED net sales of General Motors, General Electric, Du Pont, and U.S. Steel. . . . By 1964, 90 [NINETY!] percent of the research and development for the aircraft industry was being underwritten by the government, particularly the Air Force. . . . In 1964, TWO-THIRDS of the research and development costs in the electrical equipment industry (e.g., those of G.E., Westinghouse, R.C.A., Raytheon, A.T.&T., Philco, I.B.M., Sperry Rand) were still paid for by the government."Winfried Ruigrock and Rob Van Tulder, The Logic of International Restructuring, New York:Routledge, 1995. An excerpt (pp. 220-221):

    "Over the 1950s and 1960s, the Pentagon paid more than ONE-THIRD of I.B.M.'s R&D budget. The Pentagon moreover acted as a "lead user" to I.B.M., providing the company with scale economies and vital feedback on how to improve its computers. In the 1950s, the Pentagon took care of HALF of I.B.M.'s revenues, enabling it to move abroad and flood foreign markets with competitively priced mainframe computers. Thus, I.B.M.'s defense contracts cross-subsidised its civilian activities at home and abroad, and helped it to establish a near monopoly position throughout most of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Along similar lines, ALL formerly and/or currently leading U.S. computers, semiconductors and electronics makers in the 1993 Fortune 100 have benefited tremendously from preferential defense contracts. . . . In this manner,Pentagon cost-plus contracts functioned as a de facto industrial policy.

    The same mechanism can be observed in the aerospace industry. In the 1950s, for instance, Boeing could make use of government-owned B-52 construction facilities to produce its B-707 model, providing the basis of its market dominance in large civilian aircraft. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.) has often played a role comparable to the Pentagon. . . . Government policies, in particular defence programmes, have been an overwhelming force in shaping the strategies and competitiveness of the world's largest firms. Even in 1994, without any major actual or imminent wars, ten to fourteen firms ranked in the 1993 Fortune 100 still [conducted] at least 10 per cent of their business in closed defence markets."

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  81. The Web was invented in 1989 by a British physicist named Tim Berners-Lee.

    The Internet, in turn, was created by ARPA to connect computers of various researches geared towards regaining technological over Soviet Russia after the Russian space program successfully launched the Sputnik satellite. It was on October 29, 1969 when 2 computers from UCLA and SRI International got connected thus realizing what the internet became later, the ARPANET.

    Berners-Lee saw the Web as a network based means of sharing information that works on any computer running on any OS

    The first Web site was built at CERN. CERN is the French acronym for European Council for Nuclear Research and is located at Geneva, Switzerland.

    A NeXT computer was the world’s first Web server.

    The first Web server software was CERN httpd.

    Mike Sendall was Berners-Lee’s boss at CERN. He approved the purchase of the NeXT computer where Tim wrote the beginnings of the Web.

    The World Wide Web took advantage of things already available on the internet like TCP/IP and DNS. TCP/IP took shape way back 1973 through the work of Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. DNS was created in 1983 by Paul Mockapetris and his friends. In fact, before the Web, email was already using TCP/IP and DNS.

    --successfulbuild

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  82. Anonymous:

    So, would you say we're living in extreme times? That the world as it stands is an extreme place, and you're trying to be a voice for moderation?

    I am not against extremes at all, just the wrong extremes. Every proposition is either right or wrong. If you think that is wrong, then you must hold the counter proposition as true, which means you just thought an extreme thought.

    I would like to here make a distinction. You're using "libertarian," but you're using it in the American sense. Classically speaking, a libertarian was someone who sought total liberation, including from the forced sale of one's own labor to subsist. As such, they were really more like anarcho-communists. The position you're describing is more rightly called "propertarian," since everything stems from private ownership.

    No, I am a libertarian. You’re using “libertarian,” but you’re using it in the European sense. Anarcho-communists are collectivists, and collectivism is antithetical to libertarianism. Libertarianism is based on philosophical individualism, not collectivism.

    As such, your Chomsky-ite Euro trash talking point that “American “propertarians “co-opted” the term “libertarian” away from its “true” meaning and should call themselves something other than libertarians” is misguided argumentation over conventional labels and semantics, and not meaning or substance. Fine, call me whatever you want, it won’t change the principles of what I accept.

    The anarcho-communist belief that individuals can be “liberated from physical property” is actually a belief inspired by millenialism, a religious doctrine. It is quite impossible to enact on Earth. Anarcho-communist communes are really private property lands. The principle behind anarcho-communism is arbitrary. It holds the mantra that only two or more individuals can be legitimate owners of property. Individual ownership of property is forbidden. It’s garbage.

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  83. Anonymous:


    In other words, despite all you've said that might lead one to believe the contrary, you're not opposed to violence at all; rather, you're opposed to our current system for the administration of violence. If it were a case of private security forces, apparently that is another matter entirely. It strikes me as problematic to be waging war against coercive force if the system you propose as a solution just takes the same thing and wraps it up in a different color bow.

    I am not a pacifist. And what I am proposing is really the opposite of what we have now. It’s not the same thing in a different color. In our society, violence is not just used by the state, it is initiated by the state, and most people hold that initiating violence is justified to solve complex social problems, like nutrition, education, and transportation. What I am proposing is that initiations of violence stop and only voluntary actions to begin, and that violence only be used in defense against initiations of violence. In order to do that, it is necessary for people to stop believing in the myth that violence can solve social problems. Whether they know it or not, whenever people demand or advocate that the state “do something”, then they are asking for violence. The state does not produce, it does not create, it does not provide, it does not bring us forward, and it does not assist in social progress. The state can ONLY use violence. That is all they can do. Now, as with all initiations of violence, there are those who gain and there are those who lose. Whenever the state acts, there are those who gain and those who lose. Even if it creates gains for some people, innocent people are harmed. My ethic is that it is morally unjustified to initiate violence against those who do not initiate violence themselves.

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  84. Anonymous:

    Anyhow, that calls to mind any number of other issues. For instance, do the actionable offenses change based on security providers? Legislative and judicial processes are either private or nonexistent, too, one expects. How is the accused afforded a fair trial? This could easily be in relation to something COMPLETELY apart from the property issue which I've raised numerous times. For instance, what action would be taken for an accused serial rapist? We have private systems of incarceration already, but is that really the standard of quality you're prepared to hitch your wagon to, regarding punitive responses? Is that what a liberated society looks like?

    The first anarcho-capitalist essay:

    http://mises.org/books/production_of_security.pdf

    The best anarcho-capitalist essay:

    http://mises.org/books/private_production_of_defense.pdf

    ”It is Utopian to believe that such powerful institutions will only be populated by good people, and that bad people will only be citizens who are caught by the good people and then sent to jail.”

    I suppose that IS a utopian belief, but I don't think anyone here is espousing it; certainly not me. The key here is "accountability," i.e. to the public, of which everyone large and small claims an equal share.

    Some individuals are way more equal than other individuals.

    If a monopoly security provider is accountable to the public, when why can’t private security providers be accountable to the public?

    One major problem with monopoly security is that when there are disputes between the monopolist and someone else, the monopolist as defendant or the monopolist as plaintiff would be its own final judge as well. Do you honestly believe that the law will not be seriously tilted in favor of the state? You speak of accountability as if there is more accountability in monopolies than there is in decentralized systems. The opposite is the case. Force users are more accountable to other force users than they are to non-force users. A gunman will be more accountable to another gunman than to an unarmed person.

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  85. It is well-known that leftists are suspicious of private enterprise, but in point of fact, any leftist worth his stack of unwashed hackey-sacks is equally suspicious of government.

    There are VERY FEW such leftists. That’s because the philosophy behind leftism is statism. Leftists who question and are suspicious of the state, and not just of the right wing when they happen to control the state, are sort of like whistleblowers. They adhere to the values of the state, but they are not afraid to do what’s right when the state does a wrong. The best example I can think of is Glenn Greenwald. He is a philosophical left wing statist, but he is not afraid to question and criticize the state, even when democrats hold office.

    The individuals in the citizenry cannot violate property rights, but the individuals in the state can violate property rights. You can't get any more "out of alignment" than that.

    Not exactly; the idea is that those sworn to uphold the law are still subject to it. If anything, they can only alter or skirt property rights under highly specific conditions, acting in their official capacity as representatives of the governing body. In other words, the name of the human being who does this thing is irrelevant; it is an action entirely within the realm of the legalistic/symbolic.

    Saying “official” and “highly specific conditions” to describe theft of 40% of people’s earnings, day in, day out, and imposing draconian punishments for victimless “crimes”, regulating and controlling virtually every aspect of productive activity, does not constitute a challenge to my argument that individuals in the citizenry cannot violate property rights, but individuals in the state can violate property rights. You say “not exactly” as if what I said is not right, but not wrong either. Remember, EVERY proposition is either right or wrong. What I said I argue is right, and your response after “not exactly” is actually “yes exactly.” You admit that the individuals in the state can violate property rights. Saying “only under highly specific conditions” doesn’t change that fact.

    If the owners of Wal-Mart violated other people’s property rights, “but only under highly specific conditions,” say they too robbed 40% of people’s earnings, and did what the state did, would you say that they are acting justly or unjustly? And before you start talking about voting and all the rest, I reject the claim that an action becomes moral or immoral depending on how many people “support” it relative to how many people “don’t support” it. I do not base my ethics on the fleeting whims of majority vote.

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  86. Anonymous:


    If you suspect that anarchism leads invariably back to states, then there's no reason to not try it. If it does, then so what, the same society type will exist as before.

    Except that everything has a cost, including a potentially disastrous excursion into a potentially unstable mode of existence. I am not saying that that's what I believe, of course, but I'm just giving you a straight answer; walking around the world will just lead me right back to where I am right now, but I'll need to take into account the time, resources and risk that this will afford me.

    Are you taking costs into account with statism? After states have killed millions of innocent people, stolen trillions and trillions of dollars from those who earned it, look at what we have. Just look. The US government is the biggest government in the history of mankind. The statists got what they wanted. And yet there are 40 million Americans on food stamps, there are millions more rotting away in cages for doing things that hurt nobody, there are bloody wars taking place in countries that represent no threat to the lives of American citizens but just the profits of oil companies and banks, the government spends 40% of every dollar spent in the economy, and the production of money, one half of almost every single trade, has been taken over by government counterfeiters.

    Question: Why are there so many problems and why do so many of those problems seem to be getting worse? Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe, JUST MAYBE, statists got it all wrong about the state? That maybe there is an alternative, better way of doing things?

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  87. Anonymous:


    ”Unfortunately, we have replaced private slavery with "public" slavery. People are forced to live under state rulers, and they must pay a portion of their wages to state rulers, or else they will get thrown into a cage. That is a form of slavery.”

    You forgot another sort: wage slavery.

    Wage slavery is an oxymoron. Wages are voluntary exchanges of money for labor. Slavery is involuntary labor that is based on violence. They are mutually exclusive. Those who are against free trade, private property, and capitalism, have co-opted the term slavery away from its actual meaning, to describe a situation they don’t approve, in order to conjure up emotional reactions and cloud people’s reason. Saying “wage slavery” is a disgusting and vicious tactic used by statist and other anti-capitalist demagogues.

    If a “wage slave” refuses to provide labor, then he is NOT subject to violence. If an individual is so poor that they are faced between work for wage or starvation, then what is happening is that he is improving his life and well-being by working. The person paying him a wage is literally saving his life. To call this “slavery” is like calling life one of slavery.

    The concept of “wage slavery” has the same religious origin as the concept of “liberation from physical property.” It isn’t to escape person to person bondage. It is to escape the physical world itself.

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  88. Anonymous:


    Market forces do put pressure on individuals, there is no doubt about it, but it is a pressure of a radically different type. It is a pressure of RESISTANCE TO VIOLENCE. Legislation on the other hand is a pressure of INITIATING VIOLENCE.

    A system of market forces has led to unimaginable violence in the form of poor and dangerous working conditions, the extraction of inhumanely long work days, and the emergence of an entirely different form of class division than typically known in history.

    At no time in human history have market forces ever caused a single death, or a single act of violence. NOT ONCE. The market is a process of voluntary exchange.

    You say poor working conditions, long working days, and the growth in the division of labor, are “unimaginably violent”? What about the theft of 40% of the earnings of a hundred million people, the caging of a million more, and the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths due to wars and economic sanctions? I suppose that these are “imaginably violent.”

    You are completely ignoring the law of opportunity costs and the law of scarcity.

    If there exist poor and dangerous working conditions, long work days, then either the government is responsible, or there is a lack of productivity of labor. If what you are referring to is the 19th century, then realize that the reason why working conditions were poor and why the workday was so long was not because employers were not yet “reigned in” by the benevolent state. It’s because of the law of scarcity and of opportunity costs. Workers voluntarily left their self-sufficient farms where they worked long hours under horrible conditions, to go work in the factories where they worked fewer hours under less horrible conditions. Yes, it was still pretty bad compared to today, where you and I can benefit from the decades of capital accumulation and division of labor that capitalism has brought, such that employers can afford the costs of better working conditions. In the 19th century, many things that you now take for granted were not even invented yet. Electricity, refrigerators, internal combustion engines, airplanes, indoor plumbing, the list goes on and on. Employers couldn’t provide better working conditions because there was no wealth to improve working conditions. Workers couldn’t afford televisions, cars, indoor plumbing, medicine, etc, not because employers were hoarding it all, but because they didn’t exist.

    If you believe in the myth that it was the state that improved working conditions, then realize that working conditions in the 19th century were better than working conditions in the 18th century, which itself was better than working conditions in the 17th century. This was all taking place before the age of “progressive” state regulation.

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  89. Anonymous:


    Along these class lines, everything split - education, life expectancy, access to leisure.

    Yeah yeah yeah, “everything split.” Original golden age. Then the fall of man. Everyone then got separated from God. The workers were thus “alienated” from the almighty. Inequality, difference, separation, all this did not exist before capitalism and the division of labor…right.

    I know the foundation for the attacks against intellectual and productive division of labor. It’s cosmic in origin.

    Even if we remove the state from the equation, it won't prevent the sort of exploitation specific to markets.

    Markets are not exploitative. Violence is not a part of the market process.

    Much of the modern state's role came arose in response to these conditions. Granted, this was all just a placation to keep entrenched the capital class in the face of possible revolution, but my point stands - capitalism contains the seeds of its own undoing.

    Your point collapsed a long time ago. You’re espousing Marxian dogma that was long ago exposed and refuted.

    The state did not arise “in response” to those conditions. The state arose before then. Oh, you said “modern” state? The “modern” state allegedly arose in response to capitalism? You have it exactly backwards. What really happened was not that the modern state arose in response to those capitalist conditions as if the modern state served to bring more prosperity to the masses that would have otherwise gone to the capitalists. It was that capitalism had finally enabled civilians to produce enough wealth for the civilian masses, and the state, which had always been a parasite, could then grow itself by consuming more and more of the resources produced by capitalism. The growth of the state, and thus the growth of dependents on the state, and thus the growth of dependents on capitalist producers, did not cause a growth in prosperity. The growth in prosperity caused the growth in the state and those who rely on the state who loot producers.

    Capitalism does not contain the seeds of its own undoing. Socialism contains the seeds of its own undoing. Statism and socialism collapse when there is no more wealth to loot. Capitalism is the engine of wealth creation. Socialism is merely a negation of capitalism. It isn’t a positive system in itself.

    The modern state arose because of socialist philosophical influence that had to wait until capitalism produced what the socialists wanted to loot, whereas before, if the state looted as much as they looted now, millions would die. The 20th century was socialism at its peak, and the result was almost 100 million killed, in peacetime.

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  90. Anonymous:


    Even Schumpeter acknowledged this.

    Schumpeter was dead wrong.

    ”Marxism is based on religious eschatology of central planning as a means to get to a future of no scarcity.”

    It is worth noting here that Marx never really left a blueprint of what a post-capitalistic world would look like; the only thing we know is that he was after the ultimate liberatory society. All of his theoretical contributions were analytical in nature - descriptive, not prescriptive. Perhaps you're thinking of one of the statist political philosophies derived from his thought, like Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc.?

    No, I’m referring to Marx. You obviously have not read Marx’s Paris Manuscripts.

    Moreover, Marx was so sparse on the details of communism for two main reasons. One, being vague serves as a social allure. Too much detail and critical thinkers will become a threat. Two, Marx was not a scientific minded intellectual. He was a bourgeoisie political philosopher who yearned for communism.

    At any rate, I think you could really stand to benefit from a reading of Marx; you'd probably find you're in agreement with him almost entirely.

    You say that as if you know what I have read from Marx, namely zero. How cute. You’re out of your league to be honest. I’ve read ALL of what Marx wrote, and I’m not just talking about the Communist Manifesto. I’m talking about The Holy Family, all three volumes of Kapital, Paris Manusripts, the Poverty of Philosophy, Theses of Feuerbach, Critique of Hegel, and Grundrisse, among others.
    As far as how much in agreement I am in with Marx, I am actually in no agreement at all except for one thing that Marx held. I agree with him that history has heretofore been one of class struggle. I just vehemently disagree with him one what the classes are, and who is actually struggling with who. My position is that the classes are those who initiate violence, and those who are initiated with violence. As such, history has been one of class struggle between people who control the state, and those who are controlled by the state. I vehemently reject the absurd notion that voluntary trade between individuals is inherently antagonistic. I hold with maximum conviction that voluntary trade is the foundation for mutually beneficial interaction, not antagonism. When individuals voluntarily trade, they do so because each individual, in their separate mind, expects to benefit, or else they would not trade. As such, when two individuals happen to trade good for good, or service for service, or good for service, or service for good, or labor for labor, or good for money, or service for money, and yes, GASP!!!, even money for labor, then BOTH parties benefit, or else they would not trade.

    Improvement is made sequentially, not all at once such that everyone is pure energy and perfect and immortal immediately. Individuals are ends in themselves, and improvement takes time. If an individual agrees to provide their labor in exchange for money, and they do without being threatened with initiations of violence if they refuse, then not for one second would I consider this individual and the person they trade with, to be separate classes who are antagonistic towards each other. I consider them to be of the SAME class, namely, those who interact with others peacefully and do not initiate violence. The other class is comprised of those who control the state, who DO initiate violence against the people in the peaceful class. When it comes to peaceful exchanges of money for labor, the parasitic class of the state is comprised of individuals who want to initiate violence against he who pays wages, and/or individuals who want to initiate violence against he who receives wages. Individuals in the state initiate violence and steal from the employer and the laborer, as well as initiating coercion against either or both if they were to voluntarily trade in peace in ways the individuals in the state do not approve.

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  91. Anonymous:


    That's why I disagree with your assessment of Austrian theory as the "only" school [...].

    So if I gather what you said correctly, you disagree with the Austrians because you’ve been brainwashed by Marxism. Your group is quite large. Unfortunately, unlike myself, you clearly have not taken the time to read libertarian political philosophy, specifically anarcho-capitalist literature. I know this because you have not displayed any understanding of it when there have been many opportunities where the timing was ripe for it.

    Indeed, they get some of what they argue correct, but their ultimate goal is a system in which markets see to everything, which leaves the door open to a whole other variety of exploitation. As such, they're only carrying you part of the way to anarchism.

    Free trade is not exploitative. That’s your problem. You refuse to “allow” people to voluntarily act in certain peaceful ways, because you reject individual reason, and believe in the materialist myth that “super-structure” determines an individual’s values, ideas, and goals. Too bad that Marx contradicted himself on his own thesis, since he was a bourgeoisie himself, and he held that ALL ideas from bourgeoisie class and proletariat class are merely an ideological reflection of the interests of the class to which they belong. Well, by his own thesis, we should reject Marxist communism as nothing but the ideological rants of a sycophant trying to advance the interests of his own bourgiosie, thus parasitic, class.

    Oh but Marx was different and special. He was able to overcome the absolutist prison he sets for others, and when wage earners support capitalism, it’s because they’re ignorant traitors. That’s the other thing with Marx. He never really ENGAGED his intellectual opponents’ criticisms. He just smeared them, called them names, and dismissed their arguments as bourgeoisie ideology, and then wiped his hands. At least you didn’t pick THAT part up from Marx, and my guess is because you weren’t exposed to Marx’s writings until you had already been influenced by critical thinking philosophy.

    ”Austrians are hated by eschatologists because Austrians appear as just another barrier to bodily escape, who want to keep people imprisoned in their own bodies.”

    Okay, this entire passage confused me. Who's leaving their body, now? How on earth should one do that?

    Nobody is actually leaving their bodies. It’s the thought of leaving their bodies. It’s the ideas. Austrians and eschatologists refer to those who hold certain ideas. It can be anyone in name.

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  92. Anonymous:


    But like you, I also have spent lots of time on this, and I can tell you that I am not only reasonably sure about my conclusions, but I am absolutely certain of them. Yes, merely saying that isn't saying much, but let me assure you that what I think is a product of very devoted reading, writing, and research, and I realize that by saying I am absolutely sure, it makes manifest our old friend the feeling of "force."

    I take it back, actually; THIS is the part I found most objectionable. Human knowledge is imperfect. Austrians are SUPPOSED to be keenly aware of this.

    You’re confused. To have imperfect knowledge does not imply that all of one’s knowledge is imperfect. It does not imply that every proposition about reality is imperfect in some way. It means that humans don’t have full knowledge of reality, or, put another way, humans don’t have full knowledge of everyone else’s knowledge. I hold the proposition that it is possible for humans to have correct ideas about reality, if only a few truths here and there.

    Austrians are aware of the fact no one individual can know the totality of what everyone else knows, not only about what they know of physical reality, but most importantly, what they know about themselves, specifically, what they prefer for themselves. The preferences of an individual are unknown until the individual acts. Statists of the socialist bent claim to know what hundreds of millions of individuals will prefer in the future, and not only that, but what they SHOULD prefer in the future, and are willing to use state violence to ensure that people do prefer what they should prefer.

    Your pretense of knowledge beyond the point of ever being convinced otherwise belies everything you've said about economic "science."

    You’re confused. The pretense of knowledge does not mean that an individual cannot know anything about anything with certainty. It refers to the belief that one can know what everyone else knows. I am not claiming that by any stretch. The pretense of knowledge does not preclude an individual having knowledge of truths. It’s not an appeal to epistemological nihilism or anything like that. It’s not a tool that you can use against someone who is sure that 2+2=4, or that the sum of the squares of the adjacent and opposite sides of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse. You cannot say “you have a pretense of knowledge! You’re wrong!” Not only would YOU be wrong about the pretense of knowledge by saying that, but you’d also be contradicting your own thesis because by making that claim, you are claiming to have certain knowledge of something, namely, that I have a pretense of knowledge and that I am wrong.

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  93. Anonymous:


    Even the things in the PHYSICAL sciences we think we're "certain" of are constantly undergoing calibration and outright overhaul. The social sciences are even MORE subject to various endogeneity problems and unpredictable vagaries.

    That science is progressing does not mean that we know nothing. You can’t grow a building unless you are building on sequential solid floors. Yes, sometimes we have to demolish buildings, but the notion that we can’t be certain of anything is a contradictory statement, because it betrays its own thesis regarding certainty.

    The only way that your statement can avoid such contradiction is by you saying something like “I suspect, but I am not certain, that we can’t be certain of anything.” OK, well then I will just say “I am certain that we can be certain of truths.” Prove me wrong without contradicting your universal requirement of not being certain. I’ll wait until rapture.

    Science can be overturned. What you are professing is faith.

    No, I am professing reason, not faith. They are opposites. At any rate, are you absolutely certain that science can be overturned and that I am professing faith? Are you going to keep contradicting yourself or are you going to start truly comprehending the things you say by engaging in more self-reflection?

    If you replace curiosity and an open mind with unshakable certainty and - no offense - arrogance, you're stunting your own intellectual development.

    Are you certain of that? LOL!

    Zealotry of this sort can be dangerous in virtually any arena of life in which it crops up - whether due to the reductionism inherent in Austrian apriorism or certainty that a deity will reward taking a life. Trust me, you're no better than the rest of us in terms of the limits of what you can know.

    You sound very zealous when you say that. Are you certain of that?

    I am not professing to be “better” than others, whatever that means. Yes, we all have limitations in what we can know, but that does not mean that we can’t know anything about anything ever. I can be absolutely sure that the law of scarcity is true, and I can be absolutely certain that humans act. Any, and I mean ANY, attempt by you to prove that wrong will be met with inevitable contradiction.

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  94. Anonymous:


    I hate to end on a harsh note, but it just rubs me the wrong way to see you making an essentially transcendental claim after railing on and on about people trying to "leave their bodies behind."

    What transcendental claim are you talking about? I know you don’t seriously believe that because you said “essentially” which of course means you are afraid to say “definitely.”

    I am not making a claim that “transcends” reality, and the epistemological foundation of everything I am saying, is certainly quite human.

    Whenever you have an emotional reaction to ideas, it is paramount that you seriously think about your own values such that you had that reaction. You can blame me and all that, but I am not you. It is your mind that reacted that way.

    Do you see how better you feel when you understand the nature of human action a little more? Only Austrian economics can do this.

    Gotta tell you, I never come away from reading Austrian explanations feeling as if I understand human action better. It always seems like they're attempting to shoehorn every possible form of human relation into the exchange (the good) and force (the bad).

    You’re trying to shoehorn Austrians into “the bad.” Come again?

    What about, for instance, relationships based upon mutual non-enumerated obligation?

    What do you mean by “mutual non-enumerated obligation”?

    How about behavioral economics, which actually adds an empirical element to their efforts to understand human action?

    I think behavioral economics cannot tell us anything about economic theory. It can only tell us about economic history. It is a reactionary movement that tried to reconcile what people actually do, with what traditional shit models like “homo aeconomicus” predicted they would do. It started out correctly in that homo aeconomicus is wrong, but it itself makes the same philosophical error of positivism concerning theory and history.

    It’s rather easy to understand why behavioral economics cannot do what it ostensibly claims to be able to do. Behavioral economic experiments cannot be replicated. This is because the experiments themselves alter the subject matter. Unlike atoms, which can be temporarily excited, changed, and then reverted back to its initial state, humans don’t work that way. Humans learn over time. They of course learn through experimentation, or else they would not be carried out in the first place. If we focus our attention on the behavioral economics researchers, we can know that whenever they perform an experiment, their knowledge changes. Our knowledge in turn influences what we do.

    If a behavioral economics experiment is attempted to be repeated, the fact that the participant’s knowledge has changed, means that the initial conditions have changed. The participants are different. They are no longer the same as they were before. It is impossible to come up with a theory based on a series of singular, separate and different experiments.

    Then there is the fact that all economics experiments are artificially limited to certain arbitrary rules, which are not the same rules of human action in general, which is the subject matter of economics, and to me it’s more of a passing fad than anything.

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  95. Anonymous:


    While we're at it, you'd think psychologists and anthropologists would have something valuable to contribute, but apparently five or six economists have cracked the mystery of the human brain, on an individual and societal level, translatable across all cultures (apparently even ones without anything like market exchange, e.g. the Iriquois), customs, and brain chemistry configurations.

    Of course psychologists and anthropologists make valuable contributions. But they do not contribute to economic theory. They can tell us why we do the things we do. Economics teaches us the implications of what we do do.

    Sorry, but I think there's just more to human sociality than this philosophy advertises. Once again, it strikes me as more of a faith, with exchange taking center stage as the principal ritual, at once ablution and blessing.

    Philosophy is the foundation for all science and all social science. By this I don’t mean that philosophy by itself can answer all questions. I mean that all science requires a philosophy. You might not understand this, but scientific inquiry is founded upon philosophy. Modern science is based on the philosophy of empiricist positivism, which has its philosophical roots in David Hume, John Locke, and Karl Popper, among others.

    All other economics schools cannot, which is why they are so, what's the word...SCARED all the time. Their fear leads to desperate and blind frustration, and that's why they blame the wrong people all the time. ... [LK] is completely ignorant of the truths that can only be learned through [rationalism &] methodological individualism.

    Rationalism alone is not going to unlock the world.

    No, not alone, but it’s necessary. It’s going to unlock the world of economics.

    I side with Popper (and, one supposes, Hayek) on this one: a theory must be falsifiable if it is to claim to be science.

    Is that theory, namely, that a theory must be falsifiable if it is to claim to be a science, itself falsifiable? Or are we to take it as a non-falsifiable epistemological proposition which seems to be the case?

    I side with the rationalists in that Popper’s view is contradictory and cannot be right.

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  96. Anonymous:


    The action axiom, for instance, is by construction impossible to falsify.

    It’s not a “construction.” It’s a realization, an understanding. Yes, it is impossible to falsify, but that doesn’t mean it is not true. It is true by considering the opposite, and the realizing that considering the opposite would be a verification of it. Not all true propositions are falsifiable. It is a silly and miserable attitude to believe that they must be falsifiable. Take for instance the proposition that no object can be at two places at the same time. This is a non-falsifiable proposition, but would you say that it is not true?

    Why do all propositions have to be falsifiable? What is the justification for that? Is it a reactionary attitude that seeks to put up an artificial wall against religion so that scientists can work in peace without persecution? Is it because without falsificationism, many scientists would be out of a government job? Or, what I think the reason actually is, so that social engineers have a justification for attacking economics, and thus fucking over innocent people for personal gain?

    Deriving anything further from that, no matter how rigorously one applies formal logic, still leaves one with a series of unscientific pronouncements. There's nothing inherently wrong with that; everyone is entitled to their beliefs. The problem only arises when you try to use "science" to describe them.

    Mathematics is a science, and it is based on logic. What are you talking about?

    Further, methodological individualism - indeed, the whole effort to work from microfoundations - fails to treat aggregate economic issues as the emergent phenomena they are.

    Ah, you are a textbook sufferer of hypostatization. It is the enemy of clear thinking.

    All aggregate issues in economics can be fully explained by methodological individualism. Just because two individuals cooperate, that doesn’t mean that the entire cooperation is based on anything other than individualism.

    Individualism does NOT mean “in isolation.” It means that all social phenomena can be explained by methodological individualism. All “aggregate” concepts in economics are mental abstractions only. The drivers are individuals. The individual drives the car, not the other way around.

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  97. Anonymous:


    As I have remarked on these comments in the past: one cannot reduce sociology to "a lot of psychology," psychology to neuroscience, the latter to cellular biology, the latter to chemistry, the latter to particle physics. At each level of aggregation, new properties, qualities, and behaviors emerge and new modes of analysis are called for. It's not just about the number of the individual constituent parts, but how they fit together and interact.

    You cannot know individual interaction if you don’t know individual action. There are no new properties and no new qualities and no new behaviors that “emerge” in social cooperation that are apart from individual properties, individual qualities, and individual behaviors.

    Even the very concept of starting from the individual must be heavily qualified, for what is the individual but a social being?

    Humans are a social animal yes, but it is not necessary that they are. An individual can choose to live in the woods by himself and he will still be an individual human.

    The concept of the individual does not have to be heavily qualified at all. Everything true about an individual can be associated with that individual and that individual only.

    In other words, it is enculturation that creates the animal that we refer to (perhaps anachronistically) as "Man."

    No, the universal “man” is a philosophical labeling that is an abstraction, which serves to facilitate a mental grasping of “more than one individual human.”

    Culture is a production of individual values being APPLIED to reality in a cooperative way. Culture does not determine an individual’s values, since it is possible that an individual can reject the values associated with others that you are defining as a culture value.

    Your confusion is brought about by your philosophy of materialism from Marx. He also believed in the notion that “super-structure” determines individual values, not the other way around.

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  98. Anonymous:


    There is a word for a homo sapiens who has not undergone enculturation: feral. Such a being may share genes with us, but otherwise has little in common with the sort of creature we might imagine when we try to conjure up an example of a "person.”

    And guess what? Unlike you who seeks to shoehorn all individuals into one group or another, otherwise they will allegedly lose their humanity, Austrians do not seek to shoehorn individuals at all. This is why only methodological individualists, such as Austrian economists, are able to understand how anarchy would work. You ultimately seek the arms of the state because statism the ultimate collectivism. You might wander out at night sometimes, you might claw at the door wanting to go outside, but without your master, you’d go crazy.

    Thus, unlike you, Austrians can fully accommodate feral humans and we will not stop considering them as humans, despite them behaving in ways that are not “normal.” You see, even for feral humans, Austrian economic principles are fully as present with them as they are with the uniformed soldier of a planned economy. Even for feral humans, the logical categories of human action are fully present. A feral human must make choices. They must use scarce means to accomplish their preferred ends. Their brain structure is still logical. They still have a human brain. All the economic concepts of consumption, production, profit, loss, apply to the feral human, even when they are in isolation in the woods or wherever.

    Now, the fact that you brought up feral humans, as a reaction against those who reject the state, speaks VOLUMES of the thought processes of you people. It is truly breathtaking to see you present the false choice for human life as “government or else feral humans. Pick.”

    I have known for quite some time that statism is a cult, but the more I converse with you, the more I realize how truly deep your cult fetishism goes.

    As attractive as it is to feel like you have a single totalizing, unified theory of everything on your hands, I would urge you not to be so easily seduced.

    Yes, you want me to reject what I consider to be truth, and just accept what you are saying to be truth. You’re not only a contradiction filled statist, you’re also a philosophical con man. You hate it that I have convictions of truth that go against your own convictions, so you want me to doubt the entire concept of truth, except your version of it. Really, if you think that’s going to work, you’re just a random anonymous internet person. Figure it out for yourself.

    Reality is not so neat and tidy.

    That sounds like a very simple, neat and tidy claim about reality.

    Reality just is. It is as clean and tidy as anything could ever be.

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  99. Take for instance the proposition that no object can be at two places at the same time. This is a non-falsifiable proposition, but would you say that it is not true?

    It's funny you should say that, because it isn't true. Some objects can be in two places at the same time, and the proposition is experimentally falsifiable.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8570836.stm

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  100. Anonymous:

    It's funny you should say that, because it isn't true. Some objects can be in two places at the same time, and the proposition is experimentally falsifiable.

    I knew you'd fall into the quantum trap.

    No, quantum mechanical experiments have not disproven this. That particles are smeared out over spacetime does not mean that they are in more than one place at the same time. It means that we just have to consider what we thought were point particles, into wave functions. Wave functions theoretically spread out over all of the universe. Well, then we just say that no wave function can be in two locations at the same time, meaning a wave function in this universe cannot also be somewhere else at the same time.

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  101. Yoohoo, Petey!

    If a monopoly security provider is accountable to the public, when why can’t private security providers be accountable to the public?

    Are you asking me why the private sector isn't also the public sector?

    I do not base my ethics on the fleeting whims of majority vote.

    Setting aside the apparently hot-button issue of, y'know, voting, how do you feel about the notion of self-management? For any given decision, one is generally not the only person to be affected. Thus, one has the capacity to act in line with the degree to which they are affected. It's sort of a sliding scale between individual liberty and 'one man, one vote.'

    If I'm on an empty road, and I want to drive like a jackass, swerving between lanes, I'm the only one at risk. Put another person on the road, and suddenly I could be affecting them with my action, too; they suddenly get a "say" in how I behave as well.

    I suspect that this is something that would appeal to you, since obviously someone else's right to life should supercede my right to momentary satisfaction by acting in a way that endangers the former. If it is, then it appears to me that even if majoritarianism is not something you approve of in an active sense, it's still passively baked into your philosophy.

    If so (and I'm walking really far on this if, so disregard this if the previous one didn't pan out), then would you say that your dislike for majoritarianism only manifests in the sense that it is exercised positively (in the sense of Isaiah Berlin's two concepts)? That the only true liberties are negative ones?

    This may be another point of contention for us! :)

    If a “wage slave” refuses to provide labor, then he is NOT subject to violence. ... Violence is not a part of the market process.

    Not violence as you have set it forth; just starvation. Attrition is far more convenient than violence - that way, it can be said that they did it to themselves. However, "if you do not want to suffer and die, you must follow the orders of [employer x, y or z]" still reads like a threat to me.

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  102. If you believe in the myth that it was the state that improved working conditions, then realize that working conditions in the 19th century were better than working conditions in the 18th century, which itself was better than working conditions in the 17th century. This was all taking place before the age of “progressive” state regulation.

    Well, obviously there was a steady improvement. The point is not that capitalism is the root of all evil; rather, as a stage of history it is superior to its antecedents. This does not mean that it is the be-all-end-all, or, as you earlier referenced, "the end of history."

    It is no myth, however, that the state improved working conditions. For instance, the five day work week? You have the efforts of socialists to thank for that. Labor reformers had no small part in the ballooning of the middle class in the mid-20th century, and now that labor really has no movement, we've been seeing the opposite trend for decades.

    Yeah yeah yeah, “everything split.” Original golden age. Then the fall of man. Everyone then got separated from God. The workers were thus “alienated” from the almighty. Inequality, difference, separation, all this did not exist before capitalism and the division of labor…right.

    I see now, it is far easier to attack my positions if you add things to them that I did not say, such as "this did not exist before capitalism." There should be a term for this.

    My point was that rather than landed, de jure aristocracies, ruling class lines took on a new form - namely, those who Own A Lot Of Shit. Before these titans, the rest of us are left to supplicate if we're to have any hope of having our material needs met.

    This becomes all the more familiar once you add inheritance to this brew, such that the class which gained its ground exploiting others can then pass it on, preserving its effective nobility. The grandchild of a Rockefeller can go his whole life without ever working a day, and still be entitled to a greater portion of the total production of society than a fifty-year-old who worked his whole life, but happened to have been born into a poor family. Is this just?

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  103. I know the foundation for the attacks against intellectual and productive division of labor. It’s cosmic in origin.

    There is only one person in this discussion who keeps referencing the cosmic.

    Your point collapsed a long time ago. You’re espousing Marxian dogma that was long ago exposed and refuted.

    Does it constitute a refutation to say that someone's position has been refuted? Should one add "long ago" for bonus gravitas?

    I'd really appreciate it if you'd do me the courtesy of actually addressing these things themselves. Or, if that's too much trouble, maybe provide links to someone else who does.

    The state did not arise “in response” to those conditions. The state arose before then. Oh, you said “modern” state? The “modern” state allegedly arose in response to capitalism? You have it exactly backwards.

    If you go back and reread what I wrote, you will find that the qualifier you should have focused on was not "modern," but "much of." It is non-specific, I will happily admit, but it really makes you look silly for trying to make me say that the state (as a whole) emerged from [...].

    Capitalism does not contain the seeds of its own undoing.

    I guess if you're prepared to use the No True Scotsman tactic to attribute every single crisis to the state - or anything external to the market processes, really - then this much is pretty easy to believe.

    No, I’m referring to Marx. You obviously have not read Marx’s Paris Manuscripts.

    Those are from back when he was still very much influenced by the utopian socialists that he later grew to despise, and vague references to discarding private property can hardly be considered a 'blueprint.' He also spoke of the abolition of the state, but hey, as someone recently said, it doesn't matter if you agree with 100 things a person stands for, as long as you find one or two points of disagreement.

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  104. You say that as if you know what I have read from Marx, namely zero. How cute. You’re out of your league to be honest. I’ve read ALL of what Marx wrote, and I’m not just talking about the Communist Manifesto. I’m talking about The Holy Family, all three volumes of Kapital, Paris Manusripts, the Poverty of Philosophy, Theses of Feuerbach, Critique of Hegel, and Grundrisse, among others.

    I apologize for my assumption, but in fairness one Wouldn't know it from your responses to my remarks. So, let's hear it: how do you logically respond to the issue that surplus value extraction enthrones capitalists? Why should not individuals be entitled to the full fruits of their labor, as opposed to something more in line with the cost of the production of their labor-power? Do you disagree with the distinction between monetary circuits he lays out?

    If you've read this much of Marx - indeed, I have not yet finished volume 2 of Capital - then I'd love to pick your brain on it.

    Improvement is made sequentially, not all at once such that everyone is pure energy and perfect and immortal immediately.

    I wonder if we could do without all of this transhumanist stuff in the discussion and just focus on the more immediate well-being of people?

    If an individual agrees to provide their labor in exchange for money, and they do without being threatened with initiations of violence if they refuse, then not for one second would I consider this individual and the person they trade with, to be separate classes who are antagonistic towards each other.

    This really makes me question whether you've read Capital.

    So if I gather what you said correctly, you disagree with the Austrians because you’ve been brainwashed by Marxism.

    No more than you've been "brainwashed" by Rothbard. See, it doesn't feel so good to have someone insinuate that you haven't been won over by compelling arguments so much as you have had your will stolen to such an extent that deprogramming becomes necessary.

    Seriously, man, that is rude as all hell.

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  105. Unfortunately, unlike myself, you clearly have not taken the time to read libertarian political philosophy, specifically anarcho-capitalist literature.

    You've got me there. I've got a copy of Human Action which I haven't started yet. I've also got The Fatal Conceit, Law Legislation and Liberty, volume 1 and Individualism and Economic Order. My reading list is, before I even get to these, currently in the order of tens of thousands of pages, but I swear I'll eventually get to them. Got any other recommendations?

    Free trade is not exploitative.

    Are we talking about large-scale free trade, now? Because the law of comparative advantage is quite riven with holes.

    Well, by his own thesis, we should reject Marxist communism as nothing but the ideological rants of a sycophant trying to advance the interests of his own bourgiosie, thus parasitic, class.

    This is a really poor representation of the thesis. Is it fair to surmise that it may have grown from an extremely hostile reading of it?

    I promise I won't treat your preferred philosophers in the same fashion; as I have stated, my fundamental position is one of open-mindedness.

    You’re confused. The pretense of knowledge does not mean that an individual cannot know anything about anything with certainty. It refers to the belief that one can know what everyone else knows. I am not claiming that by any stretch.

    (I'm going to let this excerpt stand in for your whole epistemological reply, because much of it is founded on a misunderstanding, perhaps due to a lack of clarity on my part.)

    Except that saying "this is what all individuals want, and how all individuals work" is very much doing exactly that. I'm not saying you can't know something. I'm saying that to an extent political philosophies hinge on assumptions about the beliefs, values, and preferences of others. To "know" you are right in this realm is very different than to "know" that 2+2=4.

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  106. What do you mean by “mutual non-enumerated obligation”?

    I am talking about the attitude of "share and share alike" which is demonstrated in many groups such as family units, among friends, certain tribal moities and more. You can't reduce it to a series of exchange transactions.

    There are no new properties and no new qualities and no new behaviors that “emerge” in social cooperation that are apart from individual properties, individual qualities, and individual behaviors.

    Are you quite sure of this? Because I have over 200 nation states, innumerable corporations, clans, tribes, kingdoms, communes and councils which beg to differ.

    Humans are a social animal yes, but it is not necessary that they are. An individual can choose to live in the woods by himself and he will still be an individual human.

    Sure, but his perception of himself as an individual human, and his capacity to make that choice, came about from acquiring, among other things, a language and a series of preferences which to some extent are dictated by his cultural milieu.

    An individual can reject cultural views, but does so with intent, yes? In other words, culture must first be recognized as an independent source of unwanted influence on said individual's life.

    Your confusion is brought about by your philosophy of materialism from Marx. He also believed in the notion that “super-structure” determines individual values, not the other way around.

    I believe here you are demonstrating confusion. The super-structure doesn't determine individual values wholly; that much would be a bogus tablua-rasa argument. Marx's conception was fundamentally dialectical in nature, i.e. the two (individual preferences and superstructure) inform one another in an ongoing, ever-evolving process. Both are changed from their interaction with the other.

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  107. And guess what? Unlike you who seeks to shoehorn all individuals into one group or another, otherwise they will allegedly lose their humanity, Austrians do not seek to shoehorn individuals at all. ...

    Thus, unlike you, Austrians can fully accommodate feral humans and we will not stop considering them as humans, despite them behaving in ways that are not “normal.”


    Wow. I'm not saying that a feral human is any less human; I am saying that the social being that we most easily envision as associated with personhood is something that is necessarily socially tempered. The being that makes decisions - you do believe in decisions, right? - is informed by its environment. This is the same principle that you yourself used to argue against behavioral economics.

    "Those early relationships, more than anything else, help wire the brain and provide children with the experience to trust, to develop language, to communicate. They need that system to relate to the world."

    It is truly breathtaking to see you present the false choice for human life as “government or else feral humans. Pick.”

    I wonder if I am the only one noticing the irony of misrepresenting someone to the extent that they misrepresented a situation.

    -A

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  108. Final note:

    Oh but Marx was different and special. He was able to overcome the absolutist prison he sets for others, and when wage earners support capitalism, it’s because they’re ignorant traitors.

    It can be said of Marx that at least he used ideas like "class-consciousness" to indicate that most were simply ignorant of the social processes which generate the broad imbalance of power.

    On the other hand, I notice that some people can hardly contain their desire to make known that all people who disagree with them are violent statist scum who want nothing more than to commit violence on the whole world.

    I am surprised that such a black and white view is consistent with what is supposed to be a very nuanced perspective on human motivations.

    That’s the other thing with Marx. He never really ENGAGED his intellectual opponents’ criticisms. He just smeared them, called them names, and dismissed their arguments as bourgeoisie ideology, and then wiped his hands.

    Though he was known for being quite sardonic, it's quite false to say he never engaged with criticisms. For instance, look up his lengthy response to Adolph Wagner.

    At least you didn’t pick THAT part up from Marx, and my guess is because you weren’t exposed to Marx’s writings until you had already been influenced by critical thinking philosophy.

    It could be. Or maybe I just try to be considerate of those who disagree with me, in the hopes that they'll grant me the same courtesy.

    (Hint, hint.)

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  109. No, quantum mechanical experiments have not disproven this. That particles are smeared out over spacetime does not mean that they are in more than one place at the same time.

    Except that:

    "We know perfectly well that things are not in two places at the same time in our everyday experience, but this fundamental theory of physics says that they can be," he told BBC News.

    Clearly Andrew Cleland, professor of physics, has not read Mises.

    Wave functions theoretically spread out over all of the universe. Well, then we just say that no wave function can be in two locations at the same time, meaning a wave function in this universe cannot also be somewhere else at the same time.

    Wow. Those are some lengths you will go to to make a proposition fit your argument. Sure, something cannot be everywhere AND someplace apart from everywhere at once. (As far as we know, anyway.)

    Just think, all the times people spoke of whether a thing can be in two places at once, they weren't even questioning whether there can even be such a thing as "two places."

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  110. Anonymous:

    And one more point on quantum mechanics.

    Quantum experiments also rest on the presupposition that an object cannot be in two places at once. Specifically, the researchers presume that their equipment, and their bodies, and their colleagues, and everything else that is required to perform quantum experiments, are not in more than one location at a time. It would be impossible to perform quantum experiments and understand the results if it weren't for this presupposition.

    That an object cannot be in two places at the same time is a logical category of human thought. It is literally impossible to think of it. Even if some superhuman being succeeded in proving it and understanding it in his own mind, it would be literally impossible for humans to comprehend. It would be like trying to understand a square circle.

    The conclusion that researchers make that an object is in more than one place is a confused interpretation of what they cannot see, but suppose is happening. Remember, all observations of quantum phenomena collapse all wave functions into specific locations and events. It is impossible to OBSERVE an object being in two different locations at the same time. If you're empiricist minded, it would be rather dubious of you to claim something is true when you cannot actually observe it.

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  111. There needs to be a rule: if your social theory leads you to believe we need a new interpretation of quantum mechanics you must do the following:

    1. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

    2. Get a breathalyzer put on your car ignition.

    3. Get out of the house!

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  112. And one more point on quantum mechanics.

    Keep on digging that hole; it's good practice for the labor camp. Even your fellow Austrians are going to abandon you on this one.

    It is literally impossible to think of it.

    For you, that seems to cover a lot of territory.

    Cheers!

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  113. I definitely see Pete posting elsewhere on this site, but here I am, days later, still left hanging. I guess he just ran out of replies.

    Oh well.

    Hey, LK, apparently the trick to making Pete go away is to bring up Marx. If you haven't read him yourself, though, be sure to have someone around who has, since Pete will claim to have read everything the man wrote (and then proceed to demonstrate lacunas in even very basic areas of Marxian theory).

    Not saying he lied; he could just be rusty, after all. That said, if he DID lie, I suppose it should be no surprise, considering Rothbard's own proclivity for misrepresenting facts and arguments of opponents in order to promote his own ideology.

    -A

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  114. Anonymous:

    I definitely see Pete posting elsewhere on this site, but here I am, days later, still left hanging. I guess he just ran out of replies.

    I am responding to ALL your posts as I see them, but you can't expect me to go back into past posts everyday just to make sure you didn't respond. Yes, you're not the center of other people's lives. Then there is the question of whether my comments even show up on the site, which is up to LK and not me, and so I trust you'll cut me some slack.

    Trust me when I say, I am not "evading".

    "And one more point on quantum mechanics."

    Keep on digging that hole; it's good practice for the labor camp. Even your fellow Austrians are going to abandon you on this one.

    "It is literally impossible to think of it."

    For you, that seems to cover a lot of territory.

    These comments are not actually responses my arguments

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  115. Yes, you're not the center of other people's lives.

    Pssh. If you can argue a fresh point with someone else you can finish what you started here.

    These comments are not actually responses my arguments

    Nor were they my comments. Unfortunately, I am not the only one who posts anonymously. Don't be fooled by imitators!

    -A

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  116. Anonymous:

    Yoohoo, Petey!

    Anonymous, would you mind giving yourself a nickname, so that I can separate you from the other anonymous posters? You're creating needless confusion.

    If a monopoly security provider is accountable to the public, when why can’t private security providers be accountable to the public?

    Are you asking me why the private sector isn't also the public sector?

    No, I am not asking that. I am asking that given you believe that a monopolist agencies can be accountable to others, why can't multiple agencies be accountable to others?

    "I do not base my ethics on the fleeting whims of majority vote."

    Setting aside the apparently hot-button issue of, y'know, voting

    I have no problems with voting, provided those who vote don't act on their vote by including others who want no part of it. If I voted along with my friends that your property now belongs to me, then our voting would not constitute an obligation on your part if you do not consent to taking part in the voting or the voting outcome.

    how do you feel about the notion of self-management? For any given decision, one is generally not the only person to be affected. Thus, one has the capacity to act in line with the degree to which they are affected. It's sort of a sliding scale between individual liberty and 'one man, one vote.'

    It's no sliding scale. It's binary. Either you initiate aggression against others, or you don't. Voting does not change this, and it does not make violations somehow less a violation and more voluntary.

    You are making unstated presumptions.

    If I'm on an empty road, and I want to drive like a jackass, swerving between lanes, I'm the only one at risk. Put another person on the road, and suddenly I could be affecting them with my action, too; they suddenly get a "say" in how I behave as well.

    In an anarcho-capitalist world, drivers on a given road, and the road owners, would agree to the terms, and if anyone doesn't agree, they don't have to use the roads and they don't have to pay.

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  117. Anonymous:


    I suspect that this is something that would appeal to you, since obviously someone else's right to life should supercede my right to momentary satisfaction by acting in a way that endangers the former. If it is, then it appears to me that even if majoritarianism is not something you approve of in an active sense, it's still passively baked into your philosophy.

    Not at all. What you described is still individualistic. You're just ignoring individual consent and individual contracting.

    If so (and I'm walking really far on this if, so disregard this if the previous one didn't pan out), then would you say that your dislike for majoritarianism only manifests in the sense that it is exercised positively (in the sense of Isaiah Berlin's two concepts)? That the only true liberties are negative ones?

    Yes, I hold the notion that the only true liberties in the social sense are "negative".

    This may be another point of contention for us! :)

    You could not contend with it without contradiction. If you don't mind contradiction, then you cannot claim anything is right or wrong.

    If a “wage slave” refuses to provide labor, then he is NOT subject to violence. ... Violence is not a part of the market process.

    Not violence as you have set it forth; just starvation. Attrition is far more convenient than violence - that way, it can be said that they did it to themselves. However, "if you do not want to suffer and die, you must follow the orders of [employer x, y or z]" still reads like a threat to me.

    How so? The employer did not cause the laborer's hunger. That's biology. Do you sondier biology a "threat"? Then blame biology and leave people alone. Find a cure peacefully and stop blaming innocent people. It's not an individual's responsibility to make sure everyone is well paid and fed, any more than it's not your responsibility make sure of it. Why does someone who is willing pay wages all of a sudden have different rights apply to them that did not apply before?

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  118. Anonymous:


    "If you believe in the myth that it was the state that improved working conditions, then realize that working conditions in the 19th century were better than working conditions in the 18th century, which itself was better than working conditions in the 17th century. This was all taking place before the age of “progressive” state regulation."

    Well, obviously there was a steady improvement.

    Which means capitalism progressively raises people's standard of living.

    The point is not that capitalism is the root of all evil;

    That's a straw man of a straw man.

    rather, as a stage of history it is superior to its antecedents.

    Capitalism is not "a stage of history." It is a process of interaction that can be had at any time, provided people respect each other's property rights that are a priori to any society type regardless of what it is. Capitalism can be justified from scratch. It is not a "stage" at all. Capitalism has existed, and will always exist, wherever property rights are respected.

    This does not mean that it is the be-all-end-all, or, as you earlier referenced, "the end of history."

    It IS the be all and end all for humanity. It is the only rationally justified social system. All other social systems are either just another name for capitalism, or they are merely violent negations of capitalism but not positive systems in themselves.

    It is no myth, however, that the state improved working conditions.

    It is a myth. The state cannot possibly improve working conditions, because everything they do is universally violent, which generates victims, and the confusions are brought about because people can't observe a counter-factual world.

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  119. Anonymous:


    For instance, the five day work week? You have the efforts of socialists to thank for that.

    That killed people who needed to work 6 or 7 day weeks in order to earn enough money to feed their families.

    I don't thank anyone for doing nothing but killing people, and who enforce a law on others who would have worked 5 day weeks anyway.

    Socialists could not impose universal 5 day work weeks on everyone until capitalism has already made the productivity of labor high enough and real incomes high enough to enable people to work no more than 5 days and still earn enough purchasing power to afford basic necessities.

    You have this immature and naive notion that anyone who can impose laws on working less are somehow helping people. They are not. Onlny THE INDIVIDUAL can decide whether working more or less is to their interests. Not you, not socialists, not the state.

    Labor reformers had no small part in the ballooning of the middle class in the mid-20th century

    False. Capitalism played the only role in the ballooning of the middle class. Labor reformers only benefited some workers at the expense of other workers. It did not help the working class as such. The middle class ballooned DESPITE the labor reformers messing up people's lives.

    and now that labor really has no movement, we've been seeing the opposite trend for decades.

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc. The reason why the working class has experienced an opposite trend is because of a massively increased systematic attack on the free market by government. Inflation and government deficits have done tremendous damage to the working class, by redirecting trillions of dollars worth of capital away from savings and investment, and towards the insatiable consumption of government and those the government gives the money to. Business regulations have skyrocketed in the last few decades. If you want to look for blame, blame attacks on capitalism.

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  120. Anonymous:


    Yeah yeah yeah, “everything split.” Original golden age. Then the fall of man. Everyone then got separated from God. The workers were thus “alienated” from the almighty. Inequality, difference, separation, all this did not exist before capitalism and the division of labor…right.

    I see now, it is far easier to attack my positions if you add things to them that I did not say, such as "this did not exist before capitalism." There should be a term for this.

    It is the philosophy, the historical beliefs, upon which the propositions you now believe are true, are actually based.

    You don't have to explicitly say them, any more than you don't have to explicitly say "the first 99 floors" when you say "the 100th floor." They are implied.

    Sorry if you don't like it that your worldview is based on religious dogma from the middle ages, and prior, but it is, and you must accept it.

    My point was that rather than landed, de jure aristocracies, ruling class lines took on a new form - namely, those who Own A Lot Of Shit.

    Those who own property are not a ruling class.

    Before these titans, the rest of us are left to supplicate if we're to have any hope of having our material needs met.

    You are prevented by government violence in being totally free to produce for yourself, or for others. You're trapped not because of ownership, but because of violence.

    This becomes all the more familiar once you add inheritance to this brew, such that the class which gained its ground exploiting others can then pass it on, preserving its effective nobility.

    Paying and receiving voluntary wages is not exploiting others. It is benefiting others.

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  121. Anonymous:


    The grandchild of a Rockefeller can go his whole life without ever working a day, and still be entitled to a greater portion of the total production of society than a fifty-year-old who worked his whole life, but happened to have been born into a poor family. Is this just?

    Yes. Perfectly just. People are not equally productive or motivated or valued in the eyes of others, who as consumers ultimately judge the value of all labor and all production. You do know that the labor theory of value is bogus, don't you? Why are you trying to put life back into that dead corpse? The marginal revolution refuted the labor theory of value.

    I know the foundation for the attacks against intellectual and productive division of labor. It’s cosmic in origin.

    There is only one person in this discussion who keeps referencing the cosmic.

    There is only one person who understands that the other person's arguments are based on cosmic beliefs rooted in religion.

    Your point collapsed a long time ago. You’re espousing Marxian dogma that was long ago exposed and refuted.

    Does it constitute a refutation to say that someone's position has been refuted? Should one add "long ago" for bonus gravitas?

    Does your ignorance of what has been discovered and learned since the period of time in which you adhere in terms of your economic views, constitute an excuse to not knowing it, and thus claiming that the other person is wrong in exposing that fact?

    I'd really appreciate it if you'd do me the courtesy of actually addressing these things themselves.

    I'd really appreciate it if you'd stick to a single topic, so that there is TIME to do so. You're making so many claims about so many things that to provide you with what is needed to show you that you're wrong would require literally years of study.

    ReplyDelete
  122. Anonymous:


    Or, if that's too much trouble, maybe provide links to someone else who does.

    That's even more trouble, because I would have to leave this site, search Google, and then find you sources that way.

    The state did not arise “in response” to those conditions. The state arose before then. Oh, you said “modern” state? The “modern” state allegedly arose in response to capitalism? You have it exactly backwards.

    It would be better if you quoted what came next as well.

    If you go back and reread what I wrote, you will find that the qualifier you should have focused on was not "modern," but "much of." It is non-specific, I will happily admit, but it really makes you look silly for trying to make me say that the state (as a whole) emerged from [...].

    So you didn't say anything concrete. How can you expect a concrete response to a non-concrete statement?

    Capitalism does not contain the seeds of its own undoing.

    I guess if you're prepared to use the No True Scotsman tactic to attribute every single crisis to the state - or anything external to the market processes, really - then this much is pretty easy to believe.

    No true scotsman is not necessary to know that capitalism does not contain the seeds of its own destruction. It contains the seeds of the destruction of looters and thieves yes, but not of itself.

    No, I’m referring to Marx. You obviously have not read Marx’s Paris Manuscripts.

    Those are from back when he was still very much influenced by the utopian socialists that he later grew to despise, and vague references to discarding private property can hardly be considered a 'blueprint.'

    LOL, so when you're proven wrong about what Marx wrote, dismiss it on the basis that he wasn't serious.

    How can you claim to want honest responses when you're not being honest?

    In any event, what Marx wrote in his Paris Manuscripts was in fact a rejection of the Utopian socialists, not a manifestation of him being influenced by them in the positive sense. It's clear you have not read them, which means you have no business lecturing others who have read Marx.

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  123. Anonymous:


    He also spoke of the abolition of the state, but hey, as someone recently said, it doesn't matter if you agree with 100 things a person stands for, as long as you find one or two points of disagreement.

    It's proof now that you have not read Marx. All you have are crude third party talking points. Yes, Marx did expect that that the abolition of the state and communism would be the last "stage", but that does not mean that he did not expect, in fact advocate for, a bloody dictatorship. Marx just depended on the magical materialist dialectic to transform bloody proletariat dictatorship into stateless communist Utopia. It's just that his religious devotion to the dialectic never panned out. That's why Marxist communism on Earth was everywhere and universally tyrannical everywhere it was tried.

    You say that as if you know what I have read from Marx, namely zero. How cute. You’re out of your league to be honest. I’ve read ALL of what Marx wrote, and I’m not just talking about the Communist Manifesto. I’m talking about The Holy Family, all three volumes of Kapital, Paris Manusripts, the Poverty of Philosophy, Theses of Feuerbach, Critique of Hegel, and Grundrisse, among others.

    I apologize for my assumption, but in fairness one Wouldn't know it from your responses to my remarks.

    Bullshit. You're just confusing absolute rejection with not knowing Marx. There is a huge difference.

    What did I say about Marx that is wrong? Are you seriously suggesting that because I did not go through the trouble of repeating everything he wrote, that I don't know what he wrote? How about you instead stop trying to figure out me as a person, and instead focus solely on the arguments instead? You're going off on all sorts of tangents about me as a person, and you're not considering the arguments. I don't care what you think of me as a person. Stop making guesses, stop trying to label, and instead consider the arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Anonymous:


    So, let's hear it: how do you logically respond to the issue that surplus value extraction enthrones capitalists?

    I respond to it by saying that surplus value is not "extracted" from the workers. Surplus value is GENERATED by money sales being larger than money costs, which would exist with or without capitalists paying wages. If there were no capitalists, and only self-sufficient workers and artisans, and no producer incurred money costs of production, they only earned money revenues and then spent it all on their own consumption, by buying consumer products from others who also did not incur any money costs of production, because they too produced everything by hand from the natural environment, then ALL of revenues would be "surplus value." Profits would constitute 100% of sales revenues, because there would be no money costs to deduct from sales revenues.

    The onset of capitalism is the onset of capitalists who buy not just consumer goods, but they buy for the purpose of making subsequent sales later on as well, either by reselling what they buy, or buy using what they buy in some productive process that creates new products, which are themselves either consumer goods or capital goods.

    As this took place, profits started to decline, because now people started to deduct money costs from their sales revenues. Whereas before sales revenues were all profit, now profits constituted only a portion of sales revenues. If people started to take 25% of their revenues in order to make productive expenditures, which are deducted as costs say for one year, then profit for the year, instead of being 100% of sales revenues, would
    instead be 75% of sales revenues.

    The onset of capitalism is actually the onset of a reduction in profits.

    This is why you see profits being lower in wealthier, more capital intensive economies, and higher in poorer, less capital intensive countries.

    If you want profits to fall, then the solution is for there to be more capitalists making more productive expenditures, so that aggregate costs become higher relative to aggregate sales revenues.

    So much for "surplus value."

    ReplyDelete
  125. Anonymous:


    Why should not individuals be entitled to the full fruits of their labor, as opposed to something more in line with the cost of the production of their labor-power?

    Laborers under capitalism ARE being paid their FULL fruits of their labor, namely, they are being paid their wages.

    You are fallaciously presuming that the entire production of goods is attributable to wage earners only. You're ignoring the labor of capitalists. Labor is intellectual as well. It's not just sweat and muscles carried out by those who earn wage income. Capitalists provide labor of a more intellectual nature and for that they earn profit income. Capitalists own the means of production, and they get laborers to help them produce THEIR, the capitalist's, products.

    Do you disagree with the distinction between monetary circuits he lays out?

    Yes. His M is increased with increased capitalization, and his M' is decreased with less capitalization.

    If you've read this much of Marx - indeed, I have not yet finished volume 2 of Capital - then I'd love to pick your brain on it.

    Pick away.

    Improvement is made sequentially, not all at once such that everyone is pure energy and perfect and immortal immediately.

    I wonder if we could do without all of this transhumanist stuff in the discussion and just focus on the more immediate well-being of people?

    For the love of Christ that is exactly what I am doing by telling you that your worldview cannot possibly improve people's well-being precisely because it is based on such "transhumanist stuff."

    Stop trying to argue that it is not relevant, when it is. It is more fundamental and more relevant than the superficialities you wish to stay on.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Anonymous:


    If an individual agrees to provide their labor in exchange for money, and they do without being threatened with initiations of violence if they refuse, then not for one second would I consider this individual and the person they trade with, to be separate classes who are antagonistic towards each other.

    This really makes me question whether you've read Capital.

    You see, this is exactly why I know you haven't read not only Capital, but refutations of Capital as well.

    Just because what I said above is not in line with Capital, that does not mean that I have not read Capital!

    Why do you believe in the notion that to have read something is the same as agreeing with it and adopting its ideas?

    So if I gather what you said correctly, you disagree with the Austrians because you’ve been brainwashed by Marxism.

    No more than you've been "brainwashed" by Rothbard.

    Except I am not just putting down Rothbard's arguments as is, and then say "there, I'm done." I don't even agree with everything Rothbard says. In fact, what I just said about about who owns the products of a production process, is something Rothbard would disagree with.

    See, it doesn't feel so good to have someone insinuate that you haven't been won over by compelling arguments so much as you have had your will stolen to such an extent that deprogramming becomes necessary.

    Will stolen? Deprogramming? You're presuming the fallacious Marxist worldview without even knowing it!

    Seriously, man, that is rude as all hell.

    You need to read refutations of Marx before you have a prayer in fully understanding Marx.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Anonymous:


    "Unfortunately, unlike myself, you clearly have not taken the time to read libertarian political philosophy, specifically anarcho-capitalist literature."

    You've got me there. I've got a copy of Human Action which I haven't started yet. I've also got The Fatal Conceit, Law Legislation and Liberty, volume 1 and Individualism and Economic Order. My reading list is, before I even get to these, currently in the order of tens of thousands of pages, but I swear I'll eventually get to them. Got any other recommendations?

    Yes.

    "The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science" - Mises.

    "Economic Science and the Austrian Method" - Hoppe.

    "The Economics and Ethics of Private Property" - Hoppe.

    "History of Economic Thought, Vol. 2" - Rothbard (see chapters on Marx).

    "Socialism" - Mises.

    "Capitalism" - Reisman.

    Free trade is not exploitative.

    Are we talking about large-scale free trade, now?

    ANY scale free trade. The more the merrier. Looters and thieves and exploiters are of course worse off.

    Because the law of comparative advantage is quite riven with holes.

    Properly understood, it is literally engrained in human life and cannot ever be refuted.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Anonymous:


    Well, by his own thesis, we should reject Marxist communism as nothing but the ideological rants of a sycophant trying to advance the interests of his own bourgiosie, thus parasitic, class.

    This is a really poor representation of the thesis.

    But Marx argued that all ideas are ideologically implanted via the individuals' class interest. Well, Marx was a bourgeoisie, so...

    Is it fair to surmise that it may have grown from an extremely hostile reading of it?

    No, that would not be fair, because I am going by what Marx actually wrote.

    I promise I won't treat your preferred philosophers in the same fashion; as I have stated, my fundamental position is one of open-mindedness.

    I want you to treat my preferred philosophers in the same fashion, namely, by considering what they actually wrote and argued.

    You’re confused. The pretense of knowledge does not mean that an individual cannot know anything about anything with certainty. It refers to the belief that one can know what everyone else knows. I am not claiming that by any stretch.

    (I'm going to let this excerpt stand in for your whole epistemological reply, because much of it is founded on a misunderstanding, perhaps due to a lack of clarity on my part.)

    You see, this is why you can't learn about things as quickly as you could have learned them. You're not being honest.

    You said in response to my claiming to know SOMETHING with certainty that I am suffering from the “pretence of knowledge.” How much more clarity could you have given? Just admit that you had no idea what the pretence of knowledge actually argues and instead just say that you believe it’s impossible to anything with certainty, except of course what you believe with certainty, as in everything you have argued above.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Anonymous:


    Except that saying "this is what all individuals want, and how all individuals work" is very much doing exactly that.

    Where did I say that all individuals want a free market? That’s right, nowhere.

    I'm not saying you can't know something. I'm saying that to an extent political philosophies hinge on assumptions about the beliefs, values, and preferences of others. To "know" you are right in this realm is very different than to "know" that 2+2=4.

    My “assumptions” about the beliefs, values, and preferences of others hinges on their voluntary actions, which are observable. Unless you want to argue that people voluntarily do the opposite of what they want to do, then you’re up the creek without a paddle.

    What do you mean by “mutual non-enumerated obligation”?

    I am talking about the attitude of "share and share alike" which is demonstrated in many groups such as family units, among friends, certain tribal moities and more. You can't reduce it to a series of exchange transactions.

    What do you mean by “share and share alike”? Do you mean give something without expecting anything in return? If you do, then you’re ignoring the psychic utility that can be generated by such actions, which is an exchange, namely, an individual is exchanging their goods or services for their own happiness.

    But you said “obligations”, which implies an enforceable component to it, which means charity should be enforced. But that contradicts the meaning of charity.

    And how can people share anything unless they first acquired something through, hopefully, exchanges with others? You can’t give what you don’t have.

    There are no new properties and no new qualities and no new behaviors that “emerge” in social cooperation that are apart from individual properties, individual qualities, and individual behaviors.

    Are you quite sure of this?

    Absolutely sure.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Anonymous:


    Because I have over 200 nation states, innumerable corporations, clans, tribes, kingdoms, communes and councils which beg to differ.

    Anyone who begs to differ is wrong. No corporation, no nation state, no clan, tribe, kingdom, commune or council contains social events or phenomena that are not solely due to individual properties, qualities, and behaviors. Individuals are doing it all.

    Humans are a social animal yes, but it is not necessary that they are. An individual can choose to live in the woods by himself and he will still be an individual human.

    Sure, but his perception of himself as an individual human, and his capacity to make that choice, came about from acquiring, among other things, a language and a series of preferences which to some extent are dictated by his cultural milieu.

    His capacity to learn is not different. He just lacks the opportunity to learn from others. Relating this to Austrian economics, all the logical categories of action still apply in their fullest sense to feral individuals. Costs and benefits, marginal utility, profit and loss, everything still applies. No aggregative group based economics like Keynesianism or Monetarism or any of the other schools, is relevant. They are thus incomplete.

    An individual can reject cultural views, but does so with intent, yes? In other words, culture must first be recognized as an independent source of unwanted influence on said individual's life.

    But culture is the product of individual values. You cannot treat what is sourced by individuals, as independent from and primary to individuals. Culture is nothing but a pattern of individual thought brought about by choice. All individuals have the capacity to reject any culture, even the one in which they live. This MUST be the case or else there could be no cultural changes in the same area, or differences across areas and populations.

    Knowledge accumulation would be impossible too if culture were independent of individuals.

    "Your confusion is brought about by your philosophy of materialism from Marx. He also believed in the notion that “super-structure” determines individual values, not the other way around."

    I believe here you are demonstrating confusion. The super-structure doesn't determine individual values wholly; that much would be a bogus tablua-rasa argument.

    According to Marx it does determine an individual’s ideas wholly.

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  131. Anonymous:


    Marx's conception was fundamentally dialectical in nature, i.e. the two (individual preferences and superstructure) inform one another in an ongoing, ever-evolving process. Both are changed from their interaction with the other.

    That’s not how the Marxian dialectic is supposed to operate. There is no individuality at all in Marxism. The dialectic is materialist and independent of human choice. What the hell are you talking about?

    ”And guess what? Unlike you who seeks to shoehorn all individuals into one group or another, otherwise they will allegedly lose their humanity, Austrians do not seek to shoehorn individuals at all.“

    Thus, unlike you, Austrians can fully accommodate feral humans and we will not stop considering them as humans, despite them behaving in ways that are not “normal.”

    Wow. I'm not saying that a feral human is any less human;

    You said they would lose their humanity. Losing one’s humanity makes one less than human!

    I am saying that the social being that we most easily envision as associated with personhood is something that is necessarily socially tempered.

    You’re just restating the same fallacy, this time you’re claiming that instead of feral people being subhuman, you now say they are sub-persons. You see, I don’t consider what you claim makes someone have “personhood” or “humanity” to be true. What makes a human a human is not that they can be shoehorned into a group such that you can say they share the same ideas as others, therefore they are human.

    The being that makes decisions - you do believe in decisions, right? - is informed by its environment.

    You forgot reason. Environment can inform one of sensory perceptions, but they are useless without reason, which is the characteristic mark of humanity. Decisions are making choices using reason, given the environment. The environment does not determine one’s ideas. It’s reason and choice that determine them.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Anonymous:


    This is the same principle that you yourself used to argue against behavioral economics.

    The main environment in behavioral economics is people, not the rest of the physical world. The subject matter changes in experiments, therefore they cannot be replicated. The initial states are always different.

    "Those early relationships, more than anything else, help wire the brain and provide children with the experience to trust, to develop language, to communicate. They need that system to relate to the world."

    It is truly breathtaking to see you present the false choice for human life as “government or else feral humans. Pick.”

    I wonder if I am the only one noticing the irony of misrepresenting someone to the extent that they misrepresented a situation.

    I think you’re the only one who believes that he didn’t present a false choice of live amongst others, or become a sub-human, sub-person animal.

    Oh but Marx was different and special. He was able to overcome the absolutist prison he sets for others, and when wage earners support capitalism, it’s because they’re ignorant traitors.

    It can be said of Marx that at least he used ideas like "class-consciousness" to indicate that most were simply ignorant of the social processes which generate the broad imbalance of power.

    No, he did not use ideas like class-consciousness to say that most were ignorant. It’s to signal that an individual’s ideas are determined by their class interest. Class consciousness in Marxism is literally the exact opposite of what you have claimed it to be.

    On the other hand, I notice that some people can hardly contain their desire to make known that all people who disagree with them are violent statist scum who want nothing more than to commit violence on the whole world.

    It’s not that they merely disagree that makes them violent statist scum. It’s that they agree with violent statist scum ideas.

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  133. Anonymous:


    I am surprised that such a black and white view is consistent with what is supposed to be a very nuanced perspective on human motivations.

    What do you “supposed to be”? Every proposition is either true or false. There is no grey in reality. If you think something can be both true and false, then show me.

    That’s the other thing with Marx. He never really ENGAGED his intellectual opponents’ criticisms. He just smeared them, called them names, and dismissed their arguments as bourgeoisie ideology, and then wiped his hands.

    Though he was known for being quite sardonic, it's quite false to say he never engaged with criticisms. For instance, look up his lengthy response to Adolph Wagner.

    Marx’s notes on Wagner, and Marx’s “Critique of the Gotha Programme”, were I think the only works completely free of Marx’s ideologically bent attacks on his opponents. But Wagner was a socialist himself. He was not an opponent of Marx so much as he was a fellow socialist who dissented in some epistemological aspects.

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  134. Sweet.

    No, I am not asking that. I am asking that given you believe that a monopolist agencies can be accountable to others, why can't multiple agencies be accountable to others?

    Sure, why not? I guess there's every bit as strong a case to be made for one as the other, but at least in the case of a public utility, "others" (in the broad sense) are responsible for their livelihood. Can we say the same thing under your system?

    It's no sliding scale. It's binary. Either you initiate aggression against others, or you don't. Voting does not change this, and it does not make violations somehow less a violation and more voluntary.

    And all initiations of violence are decided by your strict yet ultimately arbitrary deontological pronouncement about what is and isn't violence, and what is and isn't property.

    In an anarcho-capitalist world, drivers on a given road, and the road owners, would agree to the terms, and if anyone doesn't agree, they don't have to use the roads and they don't have to pay.

    I was going to comment on how you skirted what I was saying, but the way you did it was so fluid that I'll give you points anyway.

    You could not contend with it without contradiction. If you don't mind contradiction, then you cannot claim anything is right or wrong.

    So if I just say "you're wrong," here, that'll constitute a valid rebuttal? It's every bit as rigorous as your point, I am sure.

    How so? The employer did not cause the laborer's hunger.

    No, he only takes advantage of it to improve his bargaining position. One of the two coming to the table HAS to sell what he's got. The other one could take it or leave it.

    Why does someone who is willing pay wages all of a sudden have different rights apply to them that did not apply before?

    Well, that's easy enough; they're the ruling class, and I favor a hierarchically flat society. The fact that those with power can simply wash their hands of misdeed by saying "they're starving themselves by not enriching me," and even convince people, such as yourself, that they are not exploiting a felicitous circumstance at the expense of another, is what makes it so insidious.

    Which means capitalism progressively raises people's standard of living.

    That it did at one point is no guarantee that it will. The fact of its continual expansion is what enabled it to create some measure of wealth in a more egalitarian sense, but once it is out of room to expand, what do you expect will happen? People will just unanimously decide to replace for-profit corporate entities with a series of democratic cooperatives and non-profits? That "simple reproduction" will suddenly be enough? How on earth could it even coexist with the profit motive? Do you deny the possibility of an intensifying ecological "tragedy of the commons"?

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  135. Capitalism is not "a stage of history." It is a process of interaction that can be had at any time, provided people respect each other's property rights that are a priori to any society type regardless of what it is. Capitalism can be justified from scratch. It is not a "stage" at all. Capitalism has existed, and will always exist, wherever property rights are respected.

    Has anyone mentioned that property rights are a fiction? If not, property rights are a fiction. It's a social construct that can ultimately take whatever form people are willing to let it.

    I don't get how you can stand for an inalienable social relation in the form of property rights as you've defined them, but can't see clear to anything like an objective theory of value for the commodity.

    It IS the be all and end all for humanity. It is the only rationally justified social system. All other social systems are either just another name for capitalism, or they are merely violent negations of capitalism but not positive systems in themselves.

    "Moron political philosophers." - Pete

    I don't thank anyone for doing nothing but killing people, and who enforce a law on others who would have worked 5 day weeks anyway.

    Oh, so you don't take weekends? If you do, sorry, but that's pretty hipocritical. You'll enjoy the benefits of actually having some time to your name, but you'll curse the thing that got it for you. Had it not done so, you'd either be working six or seven days, or you'd be out on your ass looking for work elsewhere.

    Socialists could not impose universal 5 day work weeks on everyone until capitalism has already made the productivity of labor high enough and real incomes high enough to enable people to work no more than 5 days and still earn enough purchasing power to afford basic necessities.

    Oh, ok. Sure, it all seems so simple now. So, pray: how would the shift have occurred without legislative action? Would the capitalists have looked piteously upon those securing them unimaginable wealth and say, "you noble workers have labored enough! I hereby decree that henceforth you shall have two days to do as you please with!"

    Said capitalist would probably lose significant market share compared to those who did not adopt this policy.

    So what gives? Would it have been a mass movement? Because that's what happened in history.

    If it would have happened the exact same way - except that in one case there was something codified as "state" and one without, then you're already admitting that radical social change is endogenous to the system, regardless of its delivery mechanism. And why on earth would radical change be required of a perfect system?

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  136. False. Capitalism played the only role in the ballooning of the middle class. Labor reformers only benefited some workers at the expense of other workers.

    You and I also get to disagree as to whether capital "works." Anyway, one could read your statements are contradictory; after all, I never said the labor movement altered output; just that it led to the increase of the middle class by allowing workers to access more of their own surplus. It doesn't matter how much society produces, if the producers are still operating at a subsistence level. Distribution plays a role.

    Inflation and government deficits have done tremendous damage to the working class, by redirecting trillions of dollars worth of capital away from savings and investment,

    Are you saying that inflation hurts lower classes more than the upper? INFLATION. I.e. the factor that decreases the real burden of debts and the real value of stores of wealth? THAT inflation?

    You don't have to explicitly say them, any more than you don't have to explicitly say "the first 99 floors" when you say "the 100th floor." They are implied.

    This is the worst analogy I've yet seen you make. Seriously, you had to make a very clear assumption about what I said. That you can't admit this is not my problem.

    You are prevented by government violence in being totally free to produce for yourself, or for others. You're trapped not because of ownership, but because of violence.

    Can you elaborate on this? How is the government, say, preventing me from having a printing press and raw materials at my disposal right now? I daresay, should I secure a grant (or a loan, if we go Keynes' route of "comprehensive socialisation of investment") they might even be a means to that end.

    Yes. Perfectly just.

    I think you've lost the right to ever claim that hard work is the key to wealth. At the very least, you've lost the consistency with which to defend the claim.

    You do know that the labor theory of value is bogus, don't you? ... The marginal revolution refuted the labor theory of value.

    Just as you disagree with my views on property rights, so I am going to disagree with you, here. Though perhaps you could direct the "marginal revolution" to speak with me, maybe it will talk some sense into me.

    Or was that just an appeal to authority?

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  137. There is only one person who understands that the other person's arguments are based on cosmic beliefs rooted in religion.

    Says the fellow touting private property as sacrosanct.

    Does your ignorance of what has been discovered and learned since the period of time in which you adhere in terms of your economic views, constitute an excuse to not knowing it, and thus claiming that the other person is wrong in exposing that fact?

    I've read enough "refutations" and criticisms to have a pretty good sense of the discoveries. I stand unimpressed. By all means, educate me, if you think you've got it down to a science.

    You're making so many claims about so many things that to provide you with what is needed to show you that you're wrong would require literally years of study.

    This reads like a cop out.

    That's even more trouble, because I would have to leave this site, search Google, and then find you sources that way.

    Dear lord, anything but that!

    LOL, so when you're proven wrong about what Marx wrote, dismiss it on the basis that he wasn't serious.

    Perhaps I was mistaken about how early it was. If I ever get to reading that document, I'll see, since I really can't find anything on where he stood ideologically at this point. My other point stands: in skimming it I have not seen anything like a blueprint of how his vision would be implemented. No third-party documentation I can find mentions any such thing. What was his blueprint? Was it one he held even into his later years? Because the Marx of Capital has thus far yet to make a prescription, and this one - the one with the mature, developed analytical system and determined to pave the ground for a scientific socialism - is the one I'm interested in discussing.

    If I'm really this plainly wrong, I'm sure there's a quote to illustrate it, yes?

    Yes, Marx did expect that that the abolition of the state and communism would be the last "stage", but that does not mean that he did not expect, in fact advocate for, a bloody dictatorship.

    In order to understand what "dictatorship of the proletariat" means, it must first be borne in mind that in Marx's view we were already in the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie." So... I guess we're currently under a pretty bloody dictatorship (not talking about the state). I haven't yet seen him advocate "bloody" anything, by the by. Got a reference?

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  138. Stop making guesses, stop trying to label, and instead consider the arguments.

    Yes, I believe I was quite clear that I was addressing only what you had said and, indeed, one wouldn't get a huge Marx library out of anything you've said. Furthermore, YOU'RE the one who said that I was assuming you knew nothing by daring to bring up what he'd written. Sorry about your bad argument.

    I respond to it by saying that surplus value is not "extracted" from the workers. Surplus value is GENERATED by money sales being larger than money costs, which would exist with or without capitalists paying wages. If there were no capitalists, and only self-sufficient workers and artisans, and no producer incurred money costs of production, they only earned money revenues and then spent it all on their own consumption, by buying consumer products from others who also did not incur any money costs of production, because they too produced everything by hand from the natural environment, then ALL of revenues would be "surplus value." Profits would constitute 100% of sales revenues, because there would be no money costs to deduct from sales revenues.

    Finally, something more substantial.

    First of all: money sales being larger than money costs have to have a basis in something other than price inflation; whether you believe in an objective or a subjective or even a purely physical, quantity-based system of value, value must still logically precede price, since the latter is the reflection of the former (in your view, "for someone"). The idea that someone buys cheap and sells dear sounds like an answer, but at the aggregate level it doesn't generate real profits.

    Regarding your second point: all of revenues, in your example, would not be "surplus." Surplus is what comes beyond the cost of reproducing the factors that went into production, including labor-power. Whatever goes beyond what is necessary to live and continue producing is surplus. If everyone produced for themselves, then everyone would have the CHOICE to either consume, save and consume bigger, or even save and invest their own surplus.

    The onset of capitalism is actually the onset of a reduction in profits.

    This is why you see profits being lower in wealthier, more capital intensive economies, and higher in poorer, less capital intensive countries.

    If you want profits to fall, then the solution is for there to be more capitalists making more productive expenditures, so that aggregate costs become higher relative to aggregate sales revenues.

    So much for "surplus value."


    None of that actually contradicts surplus value. Indeed, a rising organic composition of capital coinciding with a decrease in surplus value is actually one of Marx's very arguments.

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  139. Laborers under capitalism ARE being paid their FULL fruits of their labor, namely, they are being paid their wages.

    You are fallaciously presuming that the entire production of goods is attributable to wage earners only. You're ignoring the labor of capitalists. Labor is intellectual as well. It's not just sweat and muscles carried out by those who earn wage income. Capitalists provide labor of a more intellectual nature and for that they earn profit income. Capitalists own the means of production, and they get laborers to help them produce THEIR, the capitalist's, products.


    Labor is indeed intellectual. Engineers are labor, for example. A capitalist is someone whose principle contribution is shifting around abstractions of value (e.g. money) and then taking back more than he threw in. He doesn't MAKE things; he just gives people the legal backing to go about doing things. If said value were made available through other means, why on earth couldn't the people doing the work have done it on their own?


    Yes. His M is increased with increased capitalization, and his M' is decreased with less capitalization.

    This is not an argument against anything he's said.

    Pick away.

    I am doing so, for now by homing in on your specific objections to the LTV, starting with any inconsistencies you believe you've detected in his writing.

    For the love of Christ that is exactly what I am doing by telling you that your worldview cannot possibly improve people's well-being precisely because it is based on such "transhumanist stuff."

    I can't wait until an argument materializes to actually back all of this prattle.

    You see, this is exactly why I know you haven't read not only Capital, but refutations of Capital as well.

    I have read volume 1. Working on 2. Haven't read any formal critiques of it, yet. I am familiar, via wikipedia, of many of the extant criticisms (I can only read so much at once), but so far I haven't been particularly impressed.

    Will stolen? Deprogramming? You're presuming the fallacious Marxist worldview without even knowing it!

    I really need to know what you think "brainwashed" means.

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  140. "The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science" - Mises. ...

    Thanks.

    Properly understood, [comparative advantage] is literally engrained in human life and cannot ever be refuted.

    Perhaps! Mostly I'm familiar with the criticisms of it as pertains to international trade, which is necessarily within an inter-state context. So, I really don't know that I'm prepared to argue cogently about it out of said context.

    Just admit that you had no idea what the pretence of knowledge actually argues and instead just say that you believe it’s impossible to anything with certainty, except of course what you believe with certainty, as in everything you have argued above.

    I believe I clarified myself well enough. It was very deliberate reference and I know what it originally meant. Sorry if you don't like it. Maybe we'll find something else you like.

    Where did I say that all individuals want a free market? That’s right, nowhere.

    I am curious, now: if all individuals don't want a free market, but There Is No Alternative, then it seems that some people, from the very outset, are not truly free to pursue their aims. Is this accurate?

    My “assumptions” about the beliefs, values, and preferences of others hinges on their voluntary actions, which are observable. Unless you want to argue that people voluntarily do the opposite of what they want to do, then you’re up the creek without a paddle.

    I don't think "people act" tells you as much about economics as you think it does. If anything, it seems a stronger basis for a claim of ontological determinism than it does for anarcho-capitalism.

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  141. What do you mean by “share and share alike”?

    I stifled my response the first time but holy shit, do you really have a hard time with the concept?

    Do you mean give something without expecting anything in return? If you do, then you’re ignoring the psychic utility that can be generated by such actions, which is an exchange, namely, an individual is exchanging their goods or services for their own happiness.

    Oh, ok. Enumerate that for me. Lay out the terms and conditions in a clearly delimited fashion.

    That shoe won't fit, but by all means, lemme see you work that horn.

    This is my big issue with these axioms - they're constantly being defined down so by the end all we know is that people are maximizing SOMETHING, generally broken down into some Benthamite hedonic twaddle, which, AT BEST, confuses an ex-post identity for an ex-ante limit.

    But you said “obligations”, which implies an enforceable component to it, which means charity should be enforced. But that contradicts the meaning of charity.

    It implies no such thing. For all you know, the consequence of a failure to meet the obligation could result in a qualitative change in the social relations between the two actors. If you consider that "enforcement," then sure, but I seriously doubt it considering how you've used the term thus far.

    And how can people share anything unless they first acquired something through, hopefully, exchanges with others? You can’t give what you don’t have.

    Filing under "did not get it." Let's just move on.

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  142. Absolutely sure.

    Oh, ok. Well then let me go and check some of the things that are in no way social in character and which are in fact attributable to all people at all times, such as a rate of profit or scarcity-driven rent. Hey, I spent all of my money, why haven't I gotten it all back!? These accounting identities should apply to me, for there cannot possibly be phenomenon that don't apply to the individual but do to society on the whole!

    Individualism does NOT mean “in isolation.”

    Oh, wait, so we're saying the same thing, you just don't like the way I say it. Gotcha.

    It means that all social phenomena can be explained by methodological individualism. All “aggregate” concepts in economics are mental abstractions only.

    No, I totally get it. We're just colliding at the lexical level.

    There is absolutely no denying that all of this "newtonian motion" stuff is entirely due to the properties of the particles comprising the aggregate mass, since there would be no mass without them. That we don't see how we can directly parlay one into the other is no proof that one cannot; it just means we don't know how. We have a different set of equations to represent these aggregate phenomena, though, and they work reasonably well for their purposes in dealing with these mental constructs.

    And that is all I am claiming applies here. There you go.

    No corporation, no nation state, no clan, tribe, kingdom, commune or council contains social events or phenomena that are not solely due to individual properties, qualities, and behaviors. Individuals are doing it all.

    Sure, man. I agree. We're all just atoms, after all, and even they're composites. Reasonable masses of atoms can disagree about words.

    An individual can reject cultural views, but does so with intent, yes? In other words, culture must first be recognized as an independent source of unwanted influence on said individual's life.

    But culture is the product of individual values.


    Ok, yes, atoms, but humans don't always view it that way. We often tend to be extremely Parmenidean/Platonic in our thoughts. We need to create definite "states" from what is more accurately a rather Heraclitian continuum. People can and do indeed recognize abstracts like "christianity" or "communism" as being an independent, external factor.

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  143. That’s not how the Marxian dialectic is supposed to operate. There is no individuality at all in Marxism. The dialectic is materialist and independent of human choice. What the hell are you talking about?

    I am talking about the sort of dialectic logic Marx employed. Welcome to a very common misconception: that of Marx as an absolute social determinist.

    What makes a human a human is not that they can be shoehorned into a group such that you can say they share the same ideas as others, therefore they are human.

    It's not just about sharing the same ideas; it's also about sharing the same framework of experiencing the world. A feral human is no less worthy of human dignity than any other human, but the sorts of social relations (if any) into which one can enter with one are radically different. I don't get what's so confusing about this.

    The main environment in behavioral economics is people, not the rest of the physical world. The subject matter changes in experiments, therefore they cannot be replicated. The initial states are always different.

    Agreed. The individual is engaged in a constant give and take with his environment that leaves both himself and said environment changed.

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  144. It’s to signal that an individual’s ideas are determined by their class interest. Class consciousness in Marxism is literally the exact opposite of what you have claimed it to be.

    One of its key aspects is that it is not present or well-developed in all people. I am not sure how what you said contradicts me.

    What do you “supposed to be”? Every proposition is either true or false. There is no grey in reality. If you think something can be both true and false, then show me.

    The propositions themselves are not always clear. The results are not always unambiguous. Francis, enduring abuse at the hands of his mother for his whole life, can attest both love and a lack thereof for his mother. Further, there is never distinction between action and intent in your framing. Quite frankly, you view these matters very differently than most people. When people say "they ought to criminalize sweatshops in the third world," the point is never "I HOPE THOSE ASSHOLES FUCKING DIE" so much as "won't someone think of the children?" Because evidently someone is not.

    Finally, I did not know this, but apparently there is even a fully consistent, formalized logic of the included middle. Haven't perused it in depth, but hey, there you go I guess.

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  145. Please don't use obscene words on my blog in the future.

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  146. Apologies, didn't realize there was a policy on that. Feel free to redact that word as you see fit.

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  147. A:

    No, I am not asking that. I am asking that given you believe that a monopolist agencies can be accountable to others, why can't multiple agencies be accountable to others?

    Sure, why not? I guess there's every bit as strong a case to be made for one as the other, but at least in the case of a public utility, "others" (in the broad sense) are responsible for their livelihood. Can we say the same thing under your system?

    Of course. Even more so in fact, because members of the public can't depend on a state to rob other members of the public.

    ”It's no sliding scale. It's binary. Either you initiate aggression against others, or you don't. Voting does not change this, and it does not make violations somehow less a violation and more voluntary.”

    And all initiations of violence are decided by your strict yet ultimately arbitrary deontological pronouncement about what is and isn't violence, and what is and isn't property.

    Not arbitrary, rational. Only mine can be justified according to a non-arbitrary and subjective standard. Your worldview also rests on what you consider to be violence and what you consider to be property. What is the foundation for your position?

    In an anarcho-capitalist world, drivers on a given road, and the road owners, would agree to the terms, and if anyone doesn't agree, they don't have to use the roads and they don't have to pay.

    I was going to comment on how you skirted what I was saying, but the way you did it was so fluid that I'll give you points anyway.

    I would much rather you stop evading and stop pretending it’s my fault you are evading.

    You could not contend with it without contradiction. If you don't mind contradiction, then you cannot claim anything is right or wrong.

    So if I just say "you're wrong," here, that'll constitute a valid rebuttal? It's every bit as rigorous as your point, I am sure.

    Non-response.

    How so? The employer did not cause the laborer's hunger.

    No, he only takes advantage of it to improve his bargaining position.

    As does the hungry person vis a vis the man paying him money. The hungry person exploits the other’s need for labor, and the other person exploits the hungry person’s need for food.

    One of the two coming to the table HAS to sell what he's got. The other one could take it or leave it.

    In a free market, the employer has to pay the market rate, so he can’t arbitrarily set it at any rate he wants. At minimum, the employer could not pay the hungry person less than what would sustain his life, or else he would no longer be able to trade with that person. If a hungry person is faced with work or death, then anyone who pays him would literally be saving his life. It is vicious to look down on the man paying the wages.


    Why does someone who is willing pay wages all of a sudden have different rights apply to them that did not apply before?

    Well, that's easy enough; they're the ruling class, and I favor a hierarchically flat society.

    So you’re advocating for different rights for different people. And they are not the ruling class. The ruling class is the government. In a free market, the consumers are the ultimate rulers, and everyone is a consumer, which means there is no ruling class in a free market. Those who pay wages are not rulers. Those who pay consumer revenues are rulers.

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  148. A:

    The fact that those with power can simply wash their hands of misdeed by saying "they're starving themselves by not enriching me," and even convince people, such as yourself, that they are not exploiting a felicitous circumstance at the expense of another, is what makes it so insidious.

    It’s not insidious to save someone’s life through voluntary exchange. And what exploitation are you talking about? What wage is “justified”? Shouldn’t it be what both sides agree to, and not you as an irrelevant observer?

    Which means capitalism progressively raises people's standard of living.

    That it did at one point is no guarantee that it will.

    That it will is not based on that it did. That it will is based on its nature.

    The fact of its continual expansion is what enabled it to create some measure of wealth in a more egalitarian sense, but once it is out of room to expand, what do you expect will happen?

    Same thing that will happen in ANY society type that runs out of room. It will have to adapt to the new circumstances. The free market can best adapts to such changes and requirements because billions of individuals would be thinking and planning, as opposed to just a small state oligarchy responsible for it all.

    People will just unanimously decide to replace for-profit corporate entities with a series of democratic cooperatives and non-profits? That "simple reproduction" will suddenly be enough? How on earth could it even coexist with the profit motive? Do you deny the possibility of an intensifying ecological "tragedy of the commons"?

    What is the benefit of non-profits and cooperatives to the consumer? What makes you think that cooperatives and non-profits will stop the desire for further economic growth and prosperity? The tragedy of commons is a government caused problem. Just consider the lands typically associated with it. Water, air, parks, and all other non-private lands. Private lands maximize the incentive to preserve capital value. Government lands have an incentive to maximize income at the expense of capital value.

    Capitalism is not "a stage of history." It is a process of interaction that can be had at any time, provided people respect each other's property rights that are a priori to any society type regardless of what it is. Capitalism can be justified from scratch. It is not a "stage" at all. Capitalism has existed, and will always exist, wherever property rights are respected.

    Has anyone mentioned that property rights are a fiction?

    They are not a fiction. Even making the claim they are presupposes them.

    If not, property rights are a fiction. It's a social construct that can ultimately take whatever form people are willing to let it.

    It is impossible to not have at least presumed and implicit property rights. Humans need the physical world to live. Resources are scarce. If perpetual warfare, and living like lower animals of might makes right, and survival of the physically fittest, is to be avoided, then scarce resources have to be given rules of usage, i.e. property. Unless you want to argue that the drive to survive and social cooperation are fictions, property is as real as heartbeats.

    I don't get how you can stand for an inalienable social relation in the form of property rights as you've defined them, but can't see clear to anything like an objective theory of value for the commodity.

    That’s because you haven’t read enough literature, as you yourself admit. There is no objective theory of value of a commodity. Value is marginal and subjective. Diamond-water paradox? Hello?

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  149. A:


    It IS the be all and end all for humanity. It is the only rationally justified social system. All other social systems are either just another name for capitalism, or they are merely violent negations of capitalism but not positive systems in themselves.

    "Moron political philosophers." – Pete

    Morons? Not necessarily. Just catastrophically wrong.
    I don't thank anyone for doing nothing but killing people, and who enforce a law on others who would have worked 5 day weeks anyway.

    Oh, so you don't take weekends? If you do, sorry, but that's pretty hipocritical.

    No, it’s not hypocritical to agree with my employer as to my workweeks, despite what you think labor unions have done for my alleged benefit. I am not professing something I do not follow. I said that the individual has the right to agree with his employer as to how many hours he will work. If that means people work 5 day workweeks, then so be it. If it means 6 or 7, then so be it as well. Nothing I said contradicts my advocacy.

    You on the other hand believe it is justified to initiate violence against people who want to work more, for whatever reason, but cannot because your stupid universal law that shits on individual choice.

    You'll enjoy the benefits of actually having some time to your name, but you'll curse the thing that got it for you. Had it not done so, you'd either be working six or seven days, or you'd be out on your ass looking for work elsewhere.

    I curse guns being pointed at innocent people. Stop pretending that you and your ilk have benefitted me by waging warfare against voluntary contracts between consenting adults. You only benefit me by respecting my individual rights to decide with my employer how many hours I will work. You aren’t helping anyone by pointing guns at them when they did nothing wrong except agree to work more than what you believe is right for them. Who the hell do you think you are?

    Socialists could not impose universal 5 day work weeks on everyone until capitalism has already made the productivity of labor high enough and real incomes high enough to enable people to work no more than 5 days and still earn enough purchasing power to afford basic necessities.

    Oh, ok. Sure, it all seems so simple now.

    Economics is, or at least should be, an easy to understand science. It’s just been corrupted by socialism from both the left and the right.

    So, pray: how would the shift have occurred without legislative action?

    By capital accumulation, which raises the productivity of labor, which increases the supply of goods, which increases purchasing power, which enables the working class to accept fewer hours per week and employers will be compelled to accept that, because employers have to compete for labor, and if labor wants to work fewer hours, then employers will be force to offer fewer hours. If most laborers want to work more hours, then the few who want to work fewer hours will have to compete with laborers who want to work more, until the productivity of labor has raised the working class to a level where most workers don’t want to work so many hours.

    Employers cannot arbitrarily demand 80 hour work weeks if they are competing with employers who are offering 40 hour work weeks, and the working class values less work and less pay over more work and more pay. Just like capitalism progressively rose the starting age of workers entering the workforce over time, before the age of progressive regulation was even a glint in the statist’s eyes, so too does capitalism decrease the hours worked. But people have to want it, and you can’t hurry it.

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  150. A:

    Would the capitalists have looked piteously upon those securing them unimaginable wealth and say, "you noble workers have labored enough! I hereby decree that henceforth you shall have two days to do as you please with!"

    That is not how market forces work in a growing capitalist economy. What would instead happen is this: Potential employers WANT to provide their workers with next to zero dollars and ask that they work 80 hours per week, and potential employees WANT to provide their employers with next to zero hours and ask that they pay $8 million per week. When employers compete for labor, and labor wants to work fewer hours than they currently work, then what happens is that innovative employers who are so greedy that they will do anything to attract labor away from other employers, will start to offer 70 hour work weeks instead of 80. Laborers will flock to these employers, leaving those employers demanding 80 hours a week in the dust. Since those other employers are also self-interested, it would be to their self-interest to start offering 70 hour work weeks instead as well. Then, as the productivity of labor increases yet again on the basis of capital accumulation and technological progress, laborers will start to be able to live comfortably by working only 60 hour work weeks. That will set into motion the same market forces as before.

    Over time, this process will continue, provided the market is free enough and property rights are protected enough to attract investment, that it is conceivable that the average worker will only need to work 10 hours a week to secure enough purchasing power to live comfortably. Capitalism can do this, but it will be gradual, sometimes painful, sometimes messy, sometimes with setbacks, but in the long run, it can do it. If current generations can succeed in improving their lives only by a bit, by accumulating more capital and increasing the productivity of labor by a little bit, and people want to do so, it’s worth it.

    So what gives? Would it have been a mass movement? Because that's what happened in history.

    No, what happened is that unions sought government violence to stop non-union workers from outbidding the union workers for wages and for hours. Unions successfully influenced the government enough to stop competition while the unions extracted more money from employers. The labor movement was not a movement for labor in general. It was a movement for special interest group laborers at the expense of other laborers and the consumers. The same thing occurred with capitalist special interest groups. “Capitalists” did not succeed in influencing government for the benefit of “capitalists” in general. Special interest group capitalists influenced the government at the expense of other capitalists and the consumers. As always, the constant victims in all government intervention that is special interest group based, are the consumers.

    And people wonder why the consumers at large, namely, the working class, are stagnating?

    If it would have happened the exact same way - except that in one case there was something codified as "state" and one without, then you're already admitting that radical social change is endogenous to the system, regardless of its delivery mechanism. And why on earth would radical change be required of a perfect system?

    A perfect system for humanity is one that can maximally accommodate radical changes. The free market, since it is based on individual choice and individual action, is by far the best system, for there are billions and billions of individuals all thinking and planning their economic lives, and radical changes are best accommodated by dynamic systems. The free market is the most dynamic system, because there is the minimum of rigidity brought about by universal regulations.

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  151. A:

    False. Capitalism played the only role in the ballooning of the middle class. Labor reformers only benefited some workers at the expense of other workers.

    You and I also get to disagree as to whether capital "works." Anyway, one could read your statements are contradictory;

    How so?

    after all, I never said the labor movement altered output; just that it led to the increase of the middle class by allowing workers to access more of their own surplus. It doesn't matter how much society produces, if the producers are still operating at a subsistence level. Distribution plays a role.

    First, you are again fallaciously presuming that the wage earners are the rightful owners of all output, even though you were refuted on that myth. Second, redistribution is not what generated the middle working class. It is a naïve myth to believe that all the new wealth the middle class was able to buy was a result of redistributing away from what the capitalists were otherwise hoarding for themselves. Henry Ford was not previously hoarding millions of automobiles for himself, after which the benevolent government initiated laws that redistributed those cars away from Ford’s massive garage, to the millions of garages of the middle class workers across the country. You are completely clueless on the nature of wealth and of history. It is not true that the capitalists hoarded all the televisions, cars, houses, clothes, refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, radios, swimming pools, medicine, etc, and then the magical redistribution laws went into effect that spread all that wealth the working class. That is silly, for the truth is that all those things did not even exist in such large quantities prior to them being produced for the mass market (duh). You are ignoring the fact that wealth is not a zero sum game. Wealth is produced. Thus, it IS about production of output, and not redistribution. If anything, forced redistribution has REDUCED production of output and thus of the middle class’s standard of living. This is because by taxing the wealth producers, in favor of middle class consumption, one is reducing the quantity of savings and investment relative to aggregate demand, and thus redirecting resources away from capital production, and more towards consumer production. Ring a bell? It should.
    Inflation and government deficits have done tremendous damage to the working class, by redirecting trillions of dollars worth of capital away from savings and investment,

    Are you saying that inflation hurts lower classes more than the upper?

    Absolutely, for the lower classes are typically the last receivers of inflation, for the lower classes are typically on fixed incomes, which means they experience inflation through rising prices and thus decreased purchasing power.

    It is one of the great tragedies of inflation and central banking that governments and their intellectuals have convinced the majority of the public that inflation is to their interests, when in fact it is a system of benefiting banks, government, the military industrial complex, and all other initial receivers of new money creation, at the expense of the lower classes and those who receive the new money last.

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  152. A:


    INFLATION. I.e. the factor that decreases the real burden of debts and the real value of stores of wealth? THAT inflation?

    How many times does this myth have to be spread? You’re like the millionth person who has told me this myth. Inflation DOES NOT reduce the burden of people’s debts. Inflation does not shrink the principle or the interest payments of debt. And for those who are on fixed incomes and who have outstanding debt owed, inflation will hurt them by making prices around them rise, but their principle and interest owed does not decline. They still owe the same principle and interest. Inflation only reduces the MARKET VALUE of a given debt instrument. But for many people in the lower class who owe debt, their debt is not marketable.

    You don't have to explicitly say them, any more than you don't have to explicitly say "the first 99 floors" when you say "the 100th floor." They are implied.

    This is the worst analogy I've yet seen you make. Seriously, you had to make a very clear assumption about what I said. That you can't admit this is not my problem.

    Non-response. The argument I made about your argument is true. If you disagree with it, then show me what I said that was wrong. Merely telling me you didn’t explicitly say it does not constitute an argument, because I am telling you that it is implied in what you said, not that you explicitly said it. What you said DOES imply what I said you implied.
    You are prevented by government violence in being totally free to produce for yourself, or for others. You're trapped not because of ownership, but because of violence.

    Can you elaborate on this? How is the government, say, preventing me from having a printing press and raw materials at my disposal right now?

    Their guns are preventing you. If you try to print your own money, you’ll be charged with counterfeiting, and armed goons will come to your door, kidnap you, and throw you into a cage.

    What I was referring to is that you are prevented from being totally free to produce for yourself, and for others. For many goods and services, you need special government permission, and the government is not interested in individual economic freedom, but control and wealth, which they use to benefit themselves and their crony friends.

    I daresay, should I secure a grant (or a loan, if we go Keynes' route of "comprehensive socialisation of investment") they might even be a means to that end.

    I don’t know what you mean.

    Yes. Perfectly just.

    I think you've lost the right to ever claim that hard work is the key to wealth.

    I think you’ve lost the right to ever claim that hard work is not the key to wealth.

    At the very least, you've lost the consistency with which to defend the claim.

    Prove it.

    You do know that the labor theory of value is bogus, don't you? ... The marginal revolution refuted the labor theory of value.

    Just as you disagree with my views on property rights, so I am going to disagree with you, here.

    Your disagreement with me on this is at your own peril. Seriously, the labor theory of value has been thoroughly refuted.

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    Though perhaps you could direct the "marginal revolution" to speak with me, maybe it will talk some sense into me.

    Egad. You’re putting yourself into an economic discussion, and you don’t know the marginalist revolution? Google it for crying out loud. There is no excuse for your behavior.

    Or was that just an appeal to authority?

    It’s not an appeal to authority to educate yourself. It’s an appeal to authority to argue you are right on the basis that some authority agrees with you.

    There is only one person who understands that the other person's arguments are based on cosmic beliefs rooted in religion.

    Says the fellow touting private property as sacrosanct.

    Non-response. It’s not “sacrosanct”, because that conveys some religious foundation. Private property is logically founded based on irrefutable axioms. This is reason, not faith. Your worldview on the other hand does have its roots in religious dogma. If you want, I can point you to how communism arose.

    Does your ignorance of what has been discovered and learned since the period of time in which you adhere in terms of your economic views, constitute an excuse to not knowing it, and thus claiming that the other person is wrong in exposing that fact?

    I've read enough "refutations" and criticisms to have a pretty good sense of the discoveries. I stand unimpressed. By all means, educate me, if you think you've got it down to a science.

    But you have admitted not to have read a single Austrian book. How in the world can you claim to have read enough refutations? You haven’t seen anything yet if you haven’t read any Austrians.

    You're making so many claims about so many things that to provide you with what is needed to show you that you're wrong would require literally years of study.

    This reads like a cop out.

    THAT reads like an evasion and denial of responsibility.

    That's even more trouble, because I would have to leave this site, search Google, and then find you sources that way.

    Dear lord, anything but that!

    Dear lord, anything but you taking at least some initiative!

    LOL, so when you're proven wrong about what Marx wrote, dismiss it on the basis that he wasn't serious.

    Perhaps I was mistaken about how early it was. If I ever get to reading that document, I'll see, since I really can't find anything on where he stood ideologically at this point.

    It was 1844. The sources are readily available.

    My other point stands: in skimming it I have not seen anything like a blueprint of how his vision would be implemented.

    Of course. Like I said, he was purposefully vague in order to paint it with an air of mystery and thus room for the many individual socialists to conceive of their own plans for communist Utopia, and everyone fallaciously believed they were talking about the same economic structure, when in reality they were all talking about different Utopias, since individuals are different and have different value scales. It’s why during socialist uprisings, socialists murdered other socialists. Only one person can truly be planning socialism, since conflicting individual plans can never be put into a single economic plan for all of society.

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    No third-party documentation I can find mentions any such thing. What was his blueprint? Was it one he held even into his later years? Because the Marx of Capital has thus far yet to make a prescription, and this one - the one with the mature, developed analytical system and determined to pave the ground for a scientific socialism - is the one I'm interested in discussing.

    Marx’s vision of raw communism is contained in his Paris Manuscripts. After he published these documents, he was, as expected, vehemently criticized for calling for such horrific violence and oppression. So he kept it to himself for the rest of his life, only occasionally hinting at it here and there in various articles, essays, and books. You should read his Manuscripts. They read like dystopian horror fiction.

    If I'm really this plainly wrong, I'm sure there's a quote to illustrate it, yes?

    Again you want me to do your homework. Here’s a thought: Read them yourself. I am of course accepting and open to being called on it if I am wrong, and I will willingly admit I was a moron. Yes, not a great incentive for you, but I’m being honest here. I just don’t want to do your homework.

    Yes, Marx did expect that that the abolition of the state and communism would be the last "stage", but that does not mean that he did not expect, in fact advocate for, a bloody dictatorship.

    In order to understand what "dictatorship of the proletariat" means, it must first be borne in mind that in Marx's view we were already in the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie."

    You mean you want to minimize the horror in proletariat dictatorship by comparing it to another alleged dictatorship? The only problem with that notion is that the proletariat dictatorship stage doesn’t follow any such “bourgeoisie dictatorship” stage. Raw communism is the communizing of independent and separate private property. It is when the strongest proletariat gang goes around and “nationalizes” all the private firms and institutions. This is not converting one dictatorship for another. It is converting capitalism into dictatorship.

    So... I guess we're currently under a pretty bloody dictatorship (not talking about the state). I haven't yet seen him advocate "bloody" anything, by the by. Got a reference?

    Can you please read Marx and then get back to me? I feel embarrassed for you.

    Stop making guesses, stop trying to label, and instead consider the arguments.

    Yes, I believe I was quite clear that I was addressing only what you had said and, indeed, one wouldn't get a huge Marx library out of anything you've said. Furthermore, YOU'RE the one who said that I was assuming you knew nothing by daring to bring up what he'd written. Sorry about your bad argument.

    No, you were only clear in persisting in trying to figure me out personally, instead of just considering my arguments. You weren’t just addressing what I said. You added plenty of commentary and rhetoric about me personally. Secondly, by telling me that “it would help for me to read Marx” you did imply that I knew nothing of what Marx wrote.

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    I respond to it by saying that surplus value is not "extracted" from the workers. Surplus value is GENERATED by money sales being larger than money costs, which would exist with or without capitalists paying wages. If there were no capitalists, and only self-sufficient workers and artisans, and no producer incurred money costs of production, they only earned money revenues and then spent it all on their own consumption, by buying consumer products from others who also did not incur any money costs of production, because they too produced everything by hand from the natural environment, then ALL of revenues would be "surplus value." Profits would constitute 100% of sales revenues, because there would be no money costs to deduct from sales revenues.

    Finally, something more substantial.

    First of all: money sales being larger than money costs have to have a basis in something other than price inflation;

    False. Money sales will be greater than money costs even with zero inflation. This is because capitalists, investors, and entrepreneurs have to eat and consume goods as well. The reason why profits would still be positive in an economy with zero inflation of the money supply is because there will exist money sales revenues that do not have a corresponding money cost associated with it. Every expenditure of money in the economy carries both a revenue component and a cost component, EXCEPT consumption made out of dividends, interest payments, and other payments directly taken out of business firms by their owners. This makes aggregate revenues exceed aggregate costs, thus generating surplus value. This will happen year after year, even if the money supply and volume of spending remained unchanged, i.e. zero inflation. I can explain this to you further, but it will take up a lot of time and room.

    whether you believe in an objective or a subjective or even a purely physical, quantity-based system of value, value must still logically precede price, since the latter is the reflection of the former (in your view, "for someone"). The idea that someone buys cheap and sells dear sounds like an answer, but at the aggregate level it doesn't generate real profits.

    Sure it does. Searching for profits is searching for relatively underproduced goods, and producing into those profits is a production of real wealth that consumers want more urgently.

    Regarding your second point: all of revenues, in your example, would not be "surplus." Surplus is what comes beyond the cost of reproducing the factors that went into production, including labor-power. Whatever goes beyond what is necessary to live and continue producing is surplus.

    That is what Marx argued in his iron law of wages. But the problem is that Marx argued that all such surplus value accrues to the capitalists in a free market, when in reality, the working class benefits through being able to buy an increased supply of goods that are produced for the mass market, and not just the capitalists.

    Since Marx believed that workers would always be paid subsistence wages, it means that whatever wages they do earn in a free market, the rest is profit and surplus value. So equating profit and surplus value is not in violation of Marx.

    If everyone produced for themselves, then everyone would have the CHOICE to either consume, save and consume bigger, or even save and invest their own surplus.

    Not if they lack the capital, which is the case when the division of labor does not exist, and everyone has to devote their labor to producing food and other basic necessities, instead of manufacturing and mass production.

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    The onset of capitalism is actually the onset of a reduction in profits.

    This is why you see profits being lower in wealthier, more capital intensive economies, and higher in poorer, less capital intensive countries.

    If you want profits to fall, then the solution is for there to be more capitalists making more productive expenditures, so that aggregate costs become higher relative to aggregate sales revenues.

    So much for "surplus value."

    None of that actually contradicts surplus value.

    I wasn’t trying to “contradict” it. I was successfully refuting the notion that wealth beyond subsistence doesn’t accrue to the working class in capitalist.

    Indeed, a rising organic composition of capital coinciding with a decrease in surplus value is actually one of Marx's very arguments.

    His conclusion is the same, but his reasoning is flawed.

    Labor is indeed intellectual. Engineers are labor, for example. A capitalist is someone whose principle contribution is shifting around abstractions of value (e.g. money) and then taking back more than he threw in. He doesn't MAKE things; he just gives people the legal backing to go about doing things. If said value were made available through other means, why on earth couldn't the people doing the work have done it on their own?

    False. The capitalist’s main contribution is guiding and directing investments, resources, and labor. The capitalists does not merely “shift money around.” The provide the intellectual, directive component that is vital in modern production processes. Capitalists do in fact MAKE things. He makes things for the consumers, and he does so either by himself, or by enlisting the help of others, laborers, who assist the capitalist in producing the capitalist’s products.

    Yes. His M is increased with increased capitalization, and his M' is decreased with less capitalization.

    This is not an argument against anything he's said.

    It is, because Marx argued that M’ would progressively rise in capitalism.

    Pick away.

    I am doing so, for now by homing in on your specific objections to the LTV, starting with any inconsistencies you believe you've detected in his writing.

    If your purpose is to attack all expositions of Marx’s inconsistencies, on the naïve and fan boy conviction that he never made any inconsistencies, then you either have not been reading anything I said, or you have, but you merely deny it without showing why.

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    For the love of Christ that is exactly what I am doing by telling you that your worldview cannot possibly improve people's well-being precisely because it is based on such "transhumanist stuff."

    I can't wait until an argument materializes to actually back all of this prattle.

    I can’t wait until you read the history and origin of communism.

    You see, this is exactly why I know you haven't read not only Capital, but refutations of Capital as well.

    I have read volume 1. Working on 2. Haven't read any formal critiques of it, yet. I am familiar, via wikipedia, of many of the extant criticisms (I can only read so much at once), but so far I haven't been particularly impressed.

    Wikipedia? Nope.

    Will stolen? Deprogramming? You're presuming the fallacious Marxist worldview without even knowing it!

    I really need to know what you think "brainwashed" means.

    Why?

    "The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science" - Mises. ...

    Thanks.

    Welcome. The best overall book on Marxism, in case you were wondering what my opinion on that is, is Kolakowski’s “Main Currents of Marxism.” I highly recommend it.

    Properly understood, [comparative advantage] is literally engrained in human life and cannot ever be refuted.

    Perhaps! Mostly I'm familiar with the criticisms of it as pertains to international trade, which is necessarily within an inter-state context. So, I really don't know that I'm prepared to argue cogently about it out of said context.

    Yes, we all know about the alleged refutation of Ricardo, and how the law of comparative advantage is not applicable to economies with mobile capital. But this supposed refutation is itself based on economic fallacies concerning the driver of economic growth, and the source of employment.

    Just admit that you had no idea what the pretence of knowledge actually argues and instead just say that you believe it’s impossible to anything with certainty, except of course what you believe with certainty, as in everything you have argued above.

    I believe I clarified myself well enough. It was very deliberate reference and I know what it originally meant. Sorry if you don't like it. Maybe we'll find something else you like.

    You couldn’t have known what it originally meant, because your original understanding of it was incorrect. You incorrectly claimed I suffer from it because I claim to know SOMETHING with certainty. That is proof you didn’t understand what it actually entails. It’s not merely that I don’t like it. It’s that I know you were wrong about it, and what I don’t like is you continuing to refuse to accept that you were wrong about it. Don’t worry, you’re anonymous. Don’t be scared.

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    Where did I say that all individuals want a free market? That’s right, nowhere.

    I am curious, now: if all individuals don't want a free market, but There