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Castle
May 26th, 2006, 09:10 PM
This is primarily addressed to Pibs and Dr. Gonzo, who have made several threads over the past few days about a hypothetical new system of government (or lack thereof): the free market or capitalist system.

Basically, the idea here is that government would be disbanded, and corporations would take over the government's jobs. We'd have privately owned roads, private legal systems. Taxes would be eliminated, and corporations would be competing for our dollars. As it has in the past, capitalism would magically change our society for the better, ushering in a new era of prosperity for all!

At least, that's how it looks on paper. But I have some objections to this philosophy, which shall be outlined below:

1) Law Enforcement:
People need laws and a legal system; they guarantee safe and hopefully profitable interactions with others. If you knew there was nothing stopping anyone from mugging you as you walked down the street, would you go out often? Didn't think so. Ultimately, people and societies need laws, and laws need governments to enforce them. I have yet to see a reasonable proposition for how a society without governments could create enforceable laws that could protect the people living in them from the inevitable criminals that will emerge. This is an issue that needs to be addressed before a 'free market' society can even be considered.

2) Who Watches the Watchers?
Closely related to the above is the problem of regulation at the highest levels; what's to stop companies, once in power, from abandoning this free market system? Wouldn't it make sense for companies to merge together, to gain power, money and monopolies over certain areas. Wouldn't someone try to seize power? Wouldn't civil war break out among warring coalitions of corporations in a struggle to ultimately determine the chain of command, and wouldn't such a struggle inevitably leave us with a new government, one far worse than what we've left behind?

3) War:
When push comes to shove, and hostilities break out between significantly powerful societies, how will the army of the free market measure up? How can an army be organized and disciplined (and numerous) enough to stand up to any force regulated by a government. How can many small, competing corporations fight powerful, united invaders?

4) Social Stratificiation:
The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. This is true in our society; how much more true would it be in a 'free market' society? In this hypothetical society, you are paying for everything: not only neccessities like food and water, but even the right to drive outside of your driveway (privately owned roads, remember?). Pibs and Dr. Gonzo have stated that instead of voting in a democracy, one would vote with one's money; where does this leave the poor? What's to stop the corporations from simply gathering up all the money? How would you stop these powerful companies from beating on individual customers?

Any thoughts? How would a free market society address these kinds of issues? Would this new form of societal organization really work?

FruitandNut
May 26th, 2006, 10:10 PM
Thoughts on a 'totally' free of legal constraints market:

The most powerful and influental companies and organisations would naturally manipulate the situation to their own advantage. They would act much as a cancer, or a cuckoo in the nest and seek to take over 'everything'. The conditions of the workforce would more uniformly follow a LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) type situation. Wealth would become more and more the possession of a handful of 'manipulators'.

As it is many of the biggest companies do spend much time and money to influence the decision making of our politicians.

Trendem
May 28th, 2006, 07:43 PM
Haha, I'll just spew everything I've learnt in economics here.

Market Failure - What happens in a really laissez faire economy

1) Public goods

Public goods are goods which operate on principles of non-rivalry and non-exclusion. That means that you can't stop anyone from using or benefiting from these goods, and also more people using these goods will not cause it to diminish. Examples are lighthouses, national defence, legal system, street lighting etc.

Since anyone can reap the benefits of public goods without having to pay for it, producers will not profit from supplying this good, hence they will not supply it at all. This calls for government intervention to supply this good.

2) Externalities

Externalities are said to exist when the actions of either producers of consumers affect not only themselves but also third parties other than through the normal workings of the price mechanism.

Suppose a soap factory pollutes a river with its waste products. The private cost it incurs while conducting such an action is minimal at best. However, the social costs are huge - deterioration of the environment, unsanitary water sources, etc. Such external costs are not captured by the price mechanism and hence government intervention is needed to regulate such actions, either through taxes, regulations or bans.

The points on market dominance and income inequalities have been mentioned by Fruity and Castle, so I will not talk about them further.

FruitandNut
May 28th, 2006, 08:24 PM
Trendy - I remember the 'frothy' polluted industrial rivers in West Germany in the late 1950s and early 1960s; and the lack of salmon and other fish in many of the British rivers due to industrial and farm effluent. It was Government legislation and most certainly not commercial largesse that slowly redressed the problem. Even now things have to be carefully monitored because many enterprises will 'cut corners' if they feel they can get away with it; often because of pure greed, but sometimes because they feel the fiscal pressure of harsh competition. It was the 'Clean Air Act' in the UK in the 1950s and enlarged upon since that removed the killer smogs from the industrial cities.

Most commercial concerns will only spend out on our environment if it is considered beneficial to the corporate image and consequently to bottom-line profits.

Dr. Gonzo
May 29th, 2006, 06:32 AM
1) Law Enforcement:
People need laws and a legal system; they guarantee safe and hopefully profitable interactions with others. If you knew there was nothing stopping anyone from mugging you as you walked down the street, would you go out often? Didn't think so. Ultimately, people and societies need laws, and laws need governments to enforce them. I have yet to see a reasonable proposition for how a society without governments could create enforceable laws that could protect the people living in them from the inevitable criminals that will emerge. This is an issue that needs to be addressed before a 'free market' society can even be considered.

Okay I would first point out that you confuse anarchy (no ruler) with anomy (no rules). I am not supporting anomy because I firmly believe in the rule that everyone owns his body and private property. Now I also agree that people need rules, but only the rules of private property; I disagree that a government needs to enforce these rules.

You say that there is nothing stopping you from assaulting me without a government, but I would contend that there is nothing stopping you now. Who is to stop you from walking down the street today and beating some poor, helpless kid to a bloody pulp? The kid does not have his own personal police officer.

Now you may say that...o the government's actions against you in the future is stopping him...but this is flawed for two reasons.

The first is that it doesn't necessarily need to be the government that will retribute against a criminal. I mean take Flight 93. There was no government on that plane; so then by your logic the terrorists would automatically win because no government could stop them...but this is clearly not the case. If I see someone getting mugged and I am with my friends, we will jump in and help the kid. There is no government here...it is merely private citizens helping. Surely you are not opposed to that?

Secondly if we agree that private enterprise is always more efficient than government, why should we think that security would be any different. If you want I can link to you a great essay called The Production of Security by a brilliant Belgian economist named Gustave de Molinari...I also have some more links at the bottom. Also look to the "Wild" West...settlers moving out on the Oregon Trail...Iceland...private security in NYC. All of these are examples of private security out performing state monopolized security.


2) Who Watches the Watchers?
Closely related to the above is the problem of regulation at the highest levels; what's to stop companies, once in power, from abandoning this free market system? Wouldn't it make sense for companies to merge together, to gain power, money and monopolies over certain areas. Wouldn't someone try to seize power? Wouldn't civil war break out among warring coalitions of corporations in a struggle to ultimately determine the chain of command, and wouldn't such a struggle inevitably leave us with a new government, one far worse than what we've left behind?


The answer is that the consumer will watch the watchers. First of all, in an anarcho-capitalist society, everyone would have the right to bear arms, so if this really became a doomsday scenario like you prophesize, then the guns will ultimately stop them...but you are missing the point.

Companies only become powerful if they can satisfy consumer demands. They only stay rich and powerful if they can satisfy consumer demands. The minute that they are no longer able to court the consumer into buying their product, it is game over. Take a look at Western Union, they were no longer able to provide a useful service, so they went out of business.

The other thing you need to look at is that most businesses do not have the means to kill everyone. Our society is so big that we would simply not allow violence and aggression. Now don't confuse this for free competition. In my society competition is great, so long as it is done without invading the body or property of another (or threatening to do so). In a competitive industry, the economy as a whole benefits greatly.

Now let me ask you a question, much like the one Plato asked. In YOUR statist society, "who will guard the guardians?"

I mean it is the exact same questions with basically the same answer. In your society, with government, the voters will protect their rights, but unfortunately government necessarily means coercion, whereas in my society, the consumer will defend himself simply by buying or abstaining from buying certain goods and services.


3) War:
When push comes to shove, and hostilities break out between significantly powerful societies, how will the army of the free market measure up? How can an army be organized and disciplined (and numerous) enough to stand up to any force regulated by a government. How can many small, competing corporations fight powerful, united invaders?

Well first of all let me just point out how more uncommon war would be in a free market society. As we all know (see my broken window thread), war is not profitable. It is destruction, plain and simple. Those people who waged war would only do so if it were absolutely necessary. Because THEY would have to fund their war, and not force taxpayers to do it (through taxes or inflation), THEY would not want to go to war.

But assuming that they do go to war, let me just ask you a question: who builds our weapons? Right now our military is supplied by private industry. Private defense contractors provide weapons for our army, navy, and air force. In a free market they would have just as much, if not more incentive to innovate and try and court the demands of the consumer. Weapons would be more efficient and therefore war could be waged more efficiently (although probably more expensively...making it a deterrent).

The bottom line is that if we absolutely needed to go to war, the free market would be better at providing us with better armaments and better soldiers.


4) Social Stratificiation:
The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. This is true in our society; how much more true would it be in a 'free market' society? In this hypothetical society, you are paying for everything: not only neccessities like food and water, but even the right to drive outside of your driveway (privately owned roads, remember?). Pibs and Dr. Gonzo have stated that instead of voting in a democracy, one would vote with one's money; where does this leave the poor? What's to stop the corporations from simply gathering up all the money? How would you stop these powerful companies from beating on individual customers?


I'm glad you brought this up because you are probably going to regret that you had.

Now instead of saying that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, you should phrase it like: the rich get richer and the poor get richer.

If we look to America during the end of the 19th century (read: Industrial Revolution), we will find that real wage rates went up, the popultion grew exponentially, and more goods were produced for mass consumption. Mass consumption means just that, satisfying the demands of the masses. Quality of life rose an enormous amount because of a growing division of labor. More goods were available to more people in more quantities. I mean look at how much better a poor person's life today is compared to George Washington...or Andrew Carnegie. Our lives today...even poor peoples' have a much higher standard of living than those of people in the past. Our lives our less nasty, less brutish, and less short because of the free market.

O I forgot to mention, the Industrial Revolution was the time in American history (after the Civil War) where we were on a gold standard, have little government intervention in the economy, and were as close to anarcho-capitalism as we have ever been...and only good came out of it. Insofar as the state interevened and meddled with the free market, problems arose.

So what would you rather have the rich get poorer? The poor get poorer?

The bottom line is that if the rich get rich because they are able to appease the consumer, then there is nothing wrong with it. In a free market, the only way someone would be able to get rich would be to satisfy someone else...and the richer you get, the better you were at satisfying the masses of people.

When we say that you get to vote with your dollars, the poor, collectively, have more money than the rich...and this is because there are more poor than there are rich. Fortunately in the free market the poor would have MORE money and better lives because they would be able to vote for things that appeal to them...just as the rich vote for things that appeal to them. I mean there are more Wal Marts in the world than Porsche dealers.

The free market is the way to go.

This guy answers many of your questions:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/edmonds/edmonds162.html

And here is a little explanation on what anarcho-capitalism is:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer60.html

Trendem
May 29th, 2006, 07:15 AM
I would like to elaborate upon the point of income inequality a bit more, and how it is a fatal flaw in a totally free market system.

The problem with a completely free market system is that it relies solely on the price mechanism to distribute goods and services - demand is gauged by those who are both willing and able to pay it. However, poor, disadvantaged, young or old people may not be able to afford essential goods and services such as food, healthcare, shelter, etc.

So, instead of goods being distributed those who need it the most, they are distributed to those who have the best ability to pay for it. Poor people are hence sidelined and left to die on the streets, or turn to crime. Rich people will have to spend more cash on their private security to fend off attacks from the poor, resulting in inefficient allocation of resources.

Is this the kind of society you want?

Also, you haven't replied to my earlier post on the problem of public goods and externalities.

GoldPhoenix
May 29th, 2006, 07:19 AM
It's lovely to watch the Athiestic battles ensue.


Either way, I do not stand for Anarcho-Capitalism nor Representative Democracy. I think a balance needs to be made.

The problem is as simple as both Gonzo and Castle have stated --who watches the watchers, and who guards the guardians?

You cannot simply state that humans can function without government, because this is not a very rationalized idea. Poeple are ignorant, and will give up their and others rights to make them more comfortable (A current day example: gun control.)

Nevertheless, who punishes someone for putting a hit on your head, Gonzo?

And who stops the government from abusing its powers, Castle? (The wiretapping incedent is a great modern day example)


People are willing to go after the weakest group in a society to further their ends, Gonzo. Who stops the majority from trampling the minority in Anarcho-Capitalism? In thoery, their own militias. This disregards the fact that they are the minority.


Government does create order, and keeps society reasonably predictable. But more importantly, it (should) keep my rights and property from being trampled. Nevertheless, we need a guard to the gaurdian, and a watch to the watcher. Oru forefather came up with check and balances --clearly this has worked, but it also is clearly decaying.

Castle
May 29th, 2006, 08:25 AM
You say that there is nothing stopping you from assaulting me without a government, but I would contend that there is nothing stopping you now. Who is to stop you from walking down the street today and beating some poor, helpless kid to a bloody pulp? The kid does not have his own personal police officer.
The fear of retribution. Laws are powerful deterrents.


The first is that it doesn't necessarily need to be the government that will retribute against a criminal. I mean take Flight 93. There was no government on that plane; so then by your logic the terrorists would automatically win because no government could stop them...but this is clearly not the case. If I see someone getting mugged and I am with my friends, we will jump in and help the kid. There is no government here...it is merely private citizens helping. Surely you are not opposed to that?

Private citizens can't always stop the bad guys. Criminals and terrorists tend to be: 1) better armed, and 2) better organized than some random private citizens. In your second example, what if there are more criminals from that same gang nearby? Then it'll be you, your friends and the other guy getting attacked, maybe even killed.


Secondly if we agree that private enterprise is always more efficient than government, why should we think that security would be any different. If you want I can link to you a great essay called The Production of Security by a brilliant Belgian economist named Gustave de Molinari...I also have some more links at the bottom. Also look to the "Wild" West...settlers moving out on the Oregon Trail...Iceland...private security in NYC. All of these are examples of private security out performing state monopolized security.
Who makes the laws? Who enforces them? There's ultimately got to be someone in control; we call that person or group the government.


The answer is that the consumer will watch the watchers. First of all, in an anarcho-capitalist society, everyone would have the right to bear arms, so if this really became a doomsday scenario like you prophesize, then the guns will ultimately stop them...but you are missing the point.
Private citizens do not have the training, the numbers, or the organization to stop powerful companies from warring over power, and I still fail to see why this wouldn't happen. People want power; it's a natural part of the human condition, and the situation won't resolve itself until someone has it.


Companies only become powerful if they can satisfy consumer demands. They only stay rich and powerful if they can satisfy consumer demands. The minute that they are no longer able to court the consumer into buying their product, it is game over. Take a look at Western Union, they were no longer able to provide a useful service, so they went out of business.
What if all the food companies formed a monopoly? Still wouldn't buy from them? We need some goods, so the companies will always have a steady stream of customers.


The other thing you need to look at is that most businesses do not have the means to kill everyone. Our society is so big that we would simply not allow violence and aggression.
Private citizens don't have the kind of power you suggest. They could not stop a trained, organized force.


who will guard the guardians?"
No one; they don't need it. They already have all the power they want; it would be foolish for them to try to grab more.


Well first of all let me just point out how more uncommon war would be in a free market society. As we all know (see my broken window thread), war is not profitable. It is destruction, plain and simple. Those people who waged war would only do so if it were absolutely necessary. Because THEY would have to fund their war, and not force taxpayers to do it (through taxes or inflation), THEY would not want to go to war.
Let's say we have two countries: A and B. A adopts a free market system. Everything goes perfectly, and their economy starts thriving. B (who are still statist) look over and decide they want to steal all of A's prosperity and goods. So they go to war. That's how it would happen. Your point about people's reluctance to go to war just hurts your case; A's citizens would be unwilling to defend themselves adequetely.


But assuming that they do go to war, let me just ask you a question: who builds our weapons? Right now our military is supplied by private industry. Private defense contractors provide weapons for our army, navy, and air force. In a free market they would have just as much, if not more incentive to innovate and try and court the demands of the consumer. Weapons would be more efficient and therefore war could be waged more efficiently (although probably more expensively...making it a deterrent).
Granted. Not quite sure why we would need weapons research in a free market society (do you really need the newest nuclear bomb), though? But hey, let's ignore that gaping hole for now and say it was neccessary anyway. So you have better weapons. You don't have: 1) Trained soldiers, or 2) An organized army. You just have a bunch of citizens with really, really cool guns.

Regarding social stratification, Trendem appears to be willing to take up that part of the argument, so I'll just bow out of that one.


And who stops the government from abusing its powers, Castle?
Ultimately, no one. When all is said and done, the government really does have ultimate power. But they won't exercise it to make everyone's lives miserable; they exercise for their personal gain, which generally means the country's gain. Individual politicians may be in it for monetary gain or something, but ultimately, the government thrives when the country thrives, so it's in the government's best interest to make sure that happens.

Trendem
May 29th, 2006, 08:34 AM
But assuming that they do go to war, let me just ask you a question: who builds our weapons? Right now our military is supplied by private industry. Private defense contractors provide weapons for our army, navy, and air force. In a free market they would have just as much, if not more incentive to innovate and try and court the demands of the consumer. Weapons would be more efficient and therefore war could be waged more efficiently (although probably more expensively...making it a deterrent).
Lol, I can't believe I actually missed this part. You would wish you'd never written it.

National defence is a prime example of a public good. Private defence contractors won't have any incentive to innovate because without a central government paying them for their services, there won't be any consumers to court in the first place! Since national defence, by definition, protects the entire country, you cannot just isolate it to the few people or corporations who had paid for it and while barring others from benefitting.

Hence national defence suffers from a free-rider problem, and, assuming everyone is out to maximise profits and minimise costs, no one would pay for defence and consequently, no one would bother supplying it.

Zhavric
May 29th, 2006, 08:43 AM
A "free market" assumes that some corporation / similar entity isn't going to pay a government to make things less free.

"Why spend a million dollars to upgrade my business when I can pay $100K to Johnny Despot to just legislate against the other guy's business?"

This is what the free market discussions usually don't include: market sanctions as a business option.

Trendem
May 29th, 2006, 08:47 AM
A "free market" assumes that some corporation / similar entity isn't going to pay a government to make things less free.

"Why spend a million dollars to upgrade my business when I can pay $100K to Johnny Despot to just legislate against the other guy's business?"

This is what the free market discussions usually don't include: market sanctions as a business option.
Zhav, in this thread we're assuming that there isn't a government in the first place. Which makes no sense, of course. :)

Zhavric
May 29th, 2006, 09:13 AM
Zhav, in this thread we're assuming that there isn't a government in the first place. Which makes no sense, of course. :)

And I'm pointing out that's an unrealistic and faulty assumption. If you really want to make that hypothetical, more power to you, but it's one that free-marketers like to make a lot. There are a lot of assumptions about human nature that people make when discussing certain "isms".

Communists like to assume that everyone is nice to one another and wants to help out the whole at the expense of themselves.

Anarchists like to assume that people won't form governments or use force to govern.

Pacifists like to assume that deep down, everyone just wants to be non-violent.

Free-marketers want to assume governments don't exist and that corporations will only take legal / ethical / moral steps to further their business.

Fine.

You don't like the word government, then we won't use it. Forget I said it.

Since there are no governments, I think I'll just take the following steps:

1) Build a product that is profitable. This gives me some money to play around with.

2) Hire a bunch of people with guns and military training.

3) Go to some third world country that doesn't have guns and enslave the people there and force them to make my product.

4) Anyone who tries to alert my market to my unethical / immoral practices... yeah, I just kill them. Or their families. Or burn down their house. Or anything I like. There's no government and no laws and I'll be damned if some plucky little reporter is going to screw me out of millions: I have stock holders to think of.

Free-marketers have this idea that the free market will eventually fix all of this... that the slave labor will produce inferior products and end up being too expensive in the long run. The problem is that there's always going to be someone / some corporation who will fix the market so that it's NOT completely free.

KevinBrowning
May 29th, 2006, 08:42 PM
We have a free market system, so yes. It's not strictly laissez-faire, so we call it a mixed free market system now, but it's still capitalism.

Dr. Gonzo
May 30th, 2006, 11:56 AM
We have a free market system, so yes. It's not strictly laissez-faire, so we call it a mixed free market system now, but it's still capitalism.

No we don't.

Our money is controlled by the government through the Federal Reserve.

Our security is monopolized by the government.

There are illegal goods and services (drugs, prostitution).

Minimum wage laws.

Price ceilings

Price floors

No gold standard

Government monopolized businesses (airline, steel, banking)

Cartels granted by the government

Taxes

Welfare

Socialist Security

These are just a few...

Calling it a mixed market is like calling Soviet Russia a partially capilist system (because Karl Marx wrote a book called Capital...which I could easily talk about for 4 hours and all its flaws).

KevinBrowning
May 30th, 2006, 12:09 PM
Calling it a mixed market is like calling Soviet Russia a partially capilist system (because Karl Marx wrote a book called Capital...which I could easily talk about for 4 hours and all its flaws).

So what would you call it? I think you are splitting hairs. Mixed market capitalism is the most accurate term for the modern American economy.

"Elements of a mixed economy


The elements of a mixed economy typically include a variety of freedoms:

* to possess means of production (farms, factories, stores, etc.)
* to travel (needed to transport all the items in commerce, to make deals in person, for workers and owners to go to where needed)
* to buy (items for personal use, for resale; buy whole enterprises to make the organization that creates wealth a form of wealth itself)
* to sell (same as buy)
* to hire (to create organizations that create wealth)
* to fire (to maintain organizations that create wealth)
* to organize (private enterprise for profit, labor unions, workers' and professional associations, non-profit groups, religions, etc.)
* to communicate (free speech, newspapers, books, advertizements, make deals, create business partners, create markets)
* to protest peacefully (marches, petitions, sue the government, make laws friendly to profit making and workers alike, remove pointless inefficiencies to maximize wealth creation)

with tax-funded, subsidized, or state-owned services and infrastructure:

* legal assistance
* libraries and other information services
* roads and other transportation services
* schools and other education services
* hospitals and other health services
* personal and property protection at home and abroad (police, military)
* subsidies to agriculture and other businesses
* government monopolies and government-granted monopolies
* state-owned industry, such as telephone service and electricity.

and providing some autonomy over personal finances but including involuntary spending and investments such as transfer payments and other cash benefits such as:

* welfare for the poor
* social security for the aged and infirm
* government subsidies to business
* mandatory insurance (example: automobile}

and restricted by various laws, regulations:

* environmental regulation (example: toxins in land, water, air)
* labor regulation including minimum wage laws
* consumer regulation (example: product safety)
* antitrust laws
* intellectual property laws
* incorporation laws
* protectionism
* import and export controls, such as tarrifs and quotas

and taxes and fees written or enforced with manipulation of the economy in mind." - Wiki

Sounds kind of like America, and what you just said.

Ibelsd
May 30th, 2006, 12:10 PM
People often focus on violence when justifying government. While I have argued the importance of government in dealing with violence, I would like to address another issue. Fraud. In most cases, violence is easy to spot. Mob rule, retaliation, etc. is a solution (not a good one, but whatever). What about fraud? Who helps the consumer regain his losses against a corporation that has defrauded him? Furthermore, how do we define fraud. If I dispute whether something has worked properly, by whose standards should we use? From the company that sold me the product? From a "neutral" arbitrator? From a random guy on the street? How do I recoup my losses. Ask really nicely? Send out a hitman?

Therein lies the problem with anarcho-capitalism... every solition eventually becomes a matter of brute force. You can reclaim your losses if you are strong enough to take it. Not really much of a system. Capitalism is great. I think it should replace government in nearly all aspects of life. On the other hand, thinking the free market is a replacement for government is simply naive.

Dr. Gonzo
May 30th, 2006, 12:18 PM
Therein lies the problem with anarcho-capitalism... every solition eventually becomes a matter of brute force. You can reclaim your losses if you are strong enough to take it. Not really much of a system. Capitalism is great. I think it should replace government in nearly all aspects of life. On the other hand, thinking the free market is a replacement for government is simply naive.

That is the problem with government...every government action begins, uses, and ends with brute force and coercion. Taxes are taken through brute force. Drug laws are upheld through brute force.

In a free market society, people would be able to resolve their disputes much as they do now...

Let's say I lend my friend $5...and he doesn't pay be back. Do you really think I am going to kill him for it? Do I got to the police? No...we either find a neutral arbiter (Dispute Resolving Organization) or we work it out ourselfs. DROs work great, especially if it is part of the contract. In a free market society, all big contracts where there could possibly be violence would be agreed upon to have an impartial DRO.

Read Rothbard and Hoppe for some great anarcho-capitalist literature.

GoldPhoenix
May 30th, 2006, 01:37 PM
Ultimately, no one. When all is said and done, the government really does have ultimate power. But they won't exercise it to make everyone's lives miserable; they exercise for their personal gain, which generally means the country's gain. Individual politicians may be in it for monetary gain or something, but ultimately, the government thrives when the country thrives, so it's in the government's best interest to make sure that happens.

That's wholly idealistic to assume that the government won't use it's power to hurt us. Take wiretapping and phone databases for example. They are an admirable effort to protect us. However, who is going to protect us from the government misusing that power? For example, isn't it also admirable to stop pedophiles by putting everyone's DNA on database record and comparing it against anyone? Or, what if your government used it to track you down for doing something innocent, but looked suspcious?

This can be a good power, but it can also be a dangerous one.

Ibelsd
May 30th, 2006, 02:11 PM
That is the problem with government...every government action begins, uses, and ends with brute force and coercion. Taxes are taken through brute force. Drug laws are upheld through brute force.

In a free market society, people would be able to resolve their disputes much as they do now...

Let's say I lend my friend $5...and he doesn't pay be back. Do you really think I am going to kill him for it? Do I got to the police? No...we either find a neutral arbiter (Dispute Resolving Organization) or we work it out ourselfs. DROs work great, especially if it is part of the contract. In a free market society, all big contracts where there could possibly be violence would be agreed upon to have an impartial DRO.

Read Rothbard and Hoppe for some great anarcho-capitalist literature.

That's a great cherry-picked example. Because all my business transactions are done with friends....;) More realistic would be having a dispute with Cingluar Wireless. My phone does not work. They claim I broke it and violated its service agreeement. I opt to sue them in court. Ooops. No court. So, I agree on going to a private arbitrator. They agree to their own arbitrator, who enjoys getting lots of business from them, and so rarely rules against them. I then decide to sue them. Ooops. Still no gummermint. So, I decide to bomb the lobby of the local Cingular store. This is considered perfectly ok and justice is served. Except that the owner of the store, a big wig in my part of town, pays off a couple of guys to bust me up a bit. So, I decide to seek protection from the police. Ooops. STILL, no gummermint.

The fact is that if government does not exist, Cingluar is free to rewrite its rules as often as it chooses. Now, it is generally not in their best interests to do this very often, but there is no protection to the consumer on the occasions when it deems it worth while. The only recourse is violence. Government offers a mediator that is capable of being independent of either group. A local judge, short of receiving bribes (an illegal act itself) does not have a vested interest in whether Cingular or I win the case. My efforts to seek reasonable recourse can be accomadated in a non-violent manner.

It isn't that government can prevent individuals from committing violence nor can it prevent irresponsible businesses from committing fraud. Government is a make up of laws and rules decided upon in the free market of ideas, written down, and enforced. It isn't like laws were created out of thin air. They were created to serve some need. Laws that seem silly or even detrimental, are not arguments that government is wholly not needed. If I add some blown tires to your car, I have not shown that the concept of car is worthless. Obviuously, like the car, the government is only as good as the sum of its parts. Some run better than others. All I know, is that without a car or a government, people would be doing a lot of running.

Dr. Gonzo
May 30th, 2006, 03:28 PM
How many times have you heard of someone suing their phone company because they weren't willing to pay for their phone? The fact is that even those disputes get resolved peacefully because one side is clearly in breach of the contract.

I realize I am not defending anarcho-capitalism as much as I should, but it is so exhausting being attacked on all sides...just give me some time to read some more and get more knowledge in my head.

Ibelsd
June 1st, 2006, 10:51 AM
How many times have you heard of someone suing their phone company because they weren't willing to pay for their phone? The fact is that even those disputes get resolved peacefully because one side is clearly in breach of the contract.

I realize I am not defending anarcho-capitalism as much as I should, but it is so exhausting being attacked on all sides...just give me some time to read some more and get more knowledge in my head.

How many times have you heard of an individual suing a corporation or business because they did not get the service they felt they were promised? I think my example is, while obviously hypothetical, quite realistic. You have not offered any anarcho-capitalistic solution to the actual problem I presented.

Dr. Gonzo
June 1st, 2006, 11:29 AM
How many times have you heard of an individual suing a corporation or business because they did not get the service they felt they were promised? I think my example is, while obviously hypothetical, quite realistic. You have not offered any anarcho-capitalistic solution to the actual problem I presented.

Actually people know how inefficient the court system is in dealing with lawsuits. It takes years and years for it to work its way through the judiciary.

Private courts, that both parties agree to, are much better, and they exist in the world today.

Please understand this is a very large topic and I simply don't have enough time to defend every single possible objection you have to a totally free society.

Ibelsd
June 1st, 2006, 12:08 PM
Actually people know how inefficient the court system is in dealing with lawsuits. It takes years and years for it to work its way through the judiciary.

Private courts, that both parties agree to, are much better, and they exist in the world today.

Please understand this is a very large topic and I simply don't have enough time to defend every single possible objection you have to a totally free society.

First, stop appologizing for failing to properly defend your position. Either defend it or stop. Second, I have already addressed the problematic nature of private courts (arbitrators) and you have not rebutted this argument. So, reintroducing it as a possible subsitute for public courts is poor form and an indication you are not debating as much as you are grandstanding. I am quite sure a plaintiff would rather take years in a court that gets it right rather than a court that bungles it in a matter of a few hours.

Dr. Gonzo
June 1st, 2006, 12:29 PM
First, stop appologizing for failing to properly defend your position. Either defend it or stop. Second, I have already addressed the problematic nature of private courts (arbitrators) and you have not rebutted this argument. So, reintroducing it as a possible subsitute for public courts is poor form and an indication you are not debating as much as you are grandstanding. I am quite sure a plaintiff would rather take years in a court that gets it right rather than a court that bungles it in a matter of a few hours.

Okay I responded to your argument of the guy with his cell phone being broken by showing that no one sues over this, then you brought up the topic of private arbiters. I will concede that you are totally right!

However here are some great people, websites, and articles that you can look at about private legal systems and their real world successes.

First here is a great FAQ on some of your (and other recovering Repubs and Dems) questions regarding security in a free market:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/edmonds/edmonds162.html

(it isn't very thorough, but it has good links)

This guy writes EXTENSIVELY on commerical courts and if you scroll down there is a bunch of great articles

http://garnet.acns.fsu.edu/~bbenson/

Short intro to free market anarchism:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer60.html

The best annotated bibliography that has every been compiled on Anarcho-Capitalism by Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/hoppe/hoppe5.html

Definately take a look at Benson's The Enterprise of Law for a very informative history of anarcho-capitalist law and order.

Ibelsd
June 1st, 2006, 02:47 PM
Okay I responded to your argument of the guy with his cell phone being broken by showing that no one sues over this, then you brought up the topic of private arbiters. I will concede that you are totally right!

However here are some great people, websites, and articles that you can look at about private legal systems and their real world successes.

First here is a great FAQ on some of your (and other recovering Repubs and Dems) questions regarding security in a free market:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/edmonds/edmonds162.html

(it isn't very thorough, but it has good links)

This guy writes EXTENSIVELY on commerical courts and if you scroll down there is a bunch of great articles

http://garnet.acns.fsu.edu/~bbenson/

Short intro to free market anarchism:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer60.html

The best annotated bibliography that has every been compiled on Anarcho-Capitalism by Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/hoppe/hoppe5.html

Definately take a look at Benson's The Enterprise of Law for a very informative history of anarcho-capitalist law and order.

This is not a lecture site, it is a debate sight. Stop propagandizing. If you cannot make and support a coherent argument, then don't start. Offering a bunch of links and asking me to check them out is not a good debate technique. Make your own arguments. Support them with quotes and link them when approrpriate. Do you really think I am going to check out a Lew Rockwell website??? How do you know Hans-Hermann Hoppe has the best annotated bibliography EVER compiled on anarcho-capitalism? How many annotated bibliographies have you actually checked out? If Garnet's info is so sensational and convincing, how come you can only resort to providing a link? Couldn't find the means to put it into your own words? Come on. This is rubbish and you can do better.

Finally, you responded to my argument by calling it an obscure example. What you were not responding to was the foundation of the argument. Namely, it is quite common for a private individual to sue a company for breach of service agreement or fraud. You have conceded that the use of the public courts, in this capacity is certainly useful when compared against use of a private moderator. Since you have concede a use of government in, at least, some aspect, it is now inconceivable that you could claim that the free market could totally replace all government. Checkmate.

Dr. Gonzo
June 1st, 2006, 02:53 PM
You're right...I shouldn't have posted all that stuff...I probably should have sent it to you through a PM...I won't do that in the future.

And I also want to set the record straight, I never once said that a government run court was better than a commercial one. I may have said that right now it is more practical to use one (because of the government's monopoly on law and order), but never that it was better.

Ibelsd
June 1st, 2006, 04:04 PM
And I also want to set the record straight, I never once said that a government run court was better than a commercial one. I may have said that right now it is more practical to use one (because of the government's monopoly on law and order), but never that it was better.



Government offers a mediator that is capable of being independent of either group. A local judge, short of receiving bribes (an illegal act itself) does not have a vested interest in whether Cingular or I win the case. My efforts to seek reasonable recourse can be accomadated in a non-violent manner.


I will concede that you are totally right!

I am unclear what you meant.... It would seem government's monopoly on law and order benefits the individual precisely because of the point I made earlier and conceded by yourself.

Dr. Gonzo
June 1st, 2006, 04:07 PM
I am unclear what you meant.... It would seem government's monopoly on law and order benefits the individual precisely because of the point I made earlier and conceded by yourself.

I was just showing how I am not able to debate this at the current time, but thought you would enjoy some links if you were really interested...I mean you did give me points for links the last time...but I know not to do it anymore.

Ibelsd
June 2nd, 2006, 08:05 AM
I was just showing how I am not able to debate this at the current time, but thought you would enjoy some links if you were really interested...I mean you did give me points for links the last time...but I know not to do it anymore.

Actually, I didn't give you any points for them. I just gave you a verbal scolding.lol.

Pibs
June 2nd, 2006, 09:07 AM
Well Gonzo and I were asked some questions but alas other have dived in to give their opinions - it's already a long thread and hard to know where to start.

I have a lfight very early tomorrow moring, well today as it's gone midnight, so I'll keep this very brief, hopefully to delve deeper later. I'll only answer the questions actually asked by Castle.

Firstly, thank you for the opportunity. OK,


"1. LAW ENFORCEMENT: People need laws and a legal system; they guarantee safe and hopefully profitable interactions with others."

Indeed and such services can be provided by private companies.


"2) Who Watches the Watchers?
Closely related to the above is the problem of regulation at the highest levels; what's to stop companies, once in power, from abandoning this free market system?"

Firstly we already have that problem, who watches over the government?

Who, for example, was watching over Hitler?

Note that Bush's current approval rating is something like 30% - a big drop from it's highest, a bigger drop than a conventional company can afford. Any head of a company with that kind of a disaster would be fired long before it got that bad.

As for the largest and most powerful private organisations attacking other such organisations, that is exactly what "war" is! However the huge and potentially planet-threatening wars require a government. Microsoft for example could never manage to put 150,000 heavily armed and equallu heavily misguided troops into Iraq.

"Wouldn't someone try to seize power?"

Sure but we're talking about a population that generally doesn't buy that BS any more.

"..wouldn't such a struggle inevitably leave us with a new government, one far worse than what we've left behind?"

Technically that's a slippery slope fallacy, there's no reason to presume any entity could take over without popular support and that rather dampens the idea of "worse than the last lot"

Again though the same applies to government, when you give government such power, who's to say the next one won't be worse?


3) War:
When push comes to shove, and hostilities break out between significantly powerful societies, how will the army of the free market measure up? How can an army be organized and disciplined (and numerous) enough to stand up to any force regulated by a government. How can many small, competing corporations fight powerful, united invaders?

That is a very good question on it's face but the premise is seriously flawed.

Firslty, again using Iraq as an example, Saddam had a large and powerful army. Apparantly before Gulf1 it was one of the biggest in the world. Thousands upon thousands of armed troops, jet fighters, tanks, all sorta stuff.

Tell me, did this actually protect the Iraqi people gunned down recently in Haditha, stop the mass killing and destruction of Fallujah etc?

Nope, the fact he USED that army brought death and destruction down upon the innocent people of Iraq. Far from protection it has proved a serious menace to them. Same can be said of the German people in WW1 and 2, and indeed the losing side of every such war.

The "We need a big powerful army to protect us from big powerful armies" approach can only ever work if you happen to have the biggest and most powerful army on the planet. Right now America does - and it didn't stop 9/11 did it?

Will it, for certain, stop some peed-off Muslim enacting revenge with a (government made) mini nuke in a major US city? Or three or four of them? There are over one hundred such Soviet nukes 'missing' as we speak.

Does this huge and powerful army stop the invasion of illegal immigrants across your borders? Was it effective at protecting the people of New Orleans? The anthrax attacks were by US government-made weaponized anthrax. Etc.

In contrast look at somewhere such as Scandinavian countries, with a semi-formal army of part-time soldiers who keep assault rifles under their beds but who don't attack anyone. They tend not to get attacked either.

Right now you, as an American, are in grave danger if you were to walk down the street in numerous different countries, would recieve less than a pleasant welcome at many others and would be considered an ignrorant imbecile in many of the remainders. Thanks to your government and it's army, penchant for disrupting local elections and foisting puppets on people.

You pay heavy taxes for these benefits, such as being less safe in many countries than someone from, for example, a boring place like Belgium.


) Social Stratificiation:
The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. This is true in our society; how much more true would it be in a 'free market' society?

Less true, the primary reason behind the rich richer thing is government inflation, government selling it's primary product (political power/favors) and crushing the little guy with laws such as minimum wage and a huge volume of regulations, requiring the hiring of a professional to even begin to understand them.


Not as deep as I'd like but that'll do for now.


P.

Castle
June 2nd, 2006, 02:13 PM
Indeed and such services [laws] can be provided by private companies.
But who ultimately makes the laws? Who ultimately has power? If two companies pass conflicting laws, who wins?


Firstly we already have that problem, who watches over the government?
No one. The well-being of the government is tied up in the well-being of the country; it is in their best interests to keep the country in good shape. I would think that it would be in the best interests of a company, however, to seize power.


As for the largest and most powerful private organisations attacking other such organisations, that is exactly what "war" is!
Yup. Civil war. Bad stuff.


"Wouldn't someone try to seize power?"
Sure but we're talking about a population that generally doesn't buy that BS any more.
And who's going to stop a coalition of companies from seizing power? Random citizen militias?


"..wouldn't such a struggle inevitably leave us with a new government, one far worse than what we've left behind?"

Technically that's a slippery slope fallacy, there's no reason to presume any entity could take over without popular support
Might=Right. I'm sure with enough military, someone would get "popular support".


Firslty, again using Iraq as an example, Saddam had a large and powerful army. Apparantly before Gulf1 it was one of the biggest in the world. Thousands upon thousands of armed troops, jet fighters, tanks, all sorta stuff.
Tell me, did this actually protect the Iraqi people gunned down recently in Haditha, stop the mass killing and destruction of Fallujah etc?
I'm not quite familiar with what precisely happened in Iraq, but I would assume our army beat his army.


Nope, the fact he USED that army brought death and destruction down upon the innocent people of Iraq. Far from protection it has proved a serious menace to them. Same can be said of the German people in WW1 and 2, and indeed the losing side of every such war.
What about the winning side?


The "We need a big powerful army to protect us from big powerful armies" approach can only ever work if you happen to have the biggest and most powerful army on the planet. Right now America does - and it didn't stop 9/11 did it?

Will it, for certain, stop some peed-off Muslim enacting revenge with a (government made) mini nuke in a major US city? Or three or four of them? There are over one hundred such Soviet nukes 'missing' as we speak.

Does this huge and powerful army stop the invasion of illegal immigrants across your borders? Was it effective at protecting the people of New Orleans? The anthrax attacks were by US government-made weaponized anthrax. Etc.

In contrast look at somewhere such as Scandinavian countries, with a semi-formal army of part-time soldiers who keep assault rifles under their beds but who don't attack anyone. They tend not to get attacked either.

So if 5,000 tanks attacked the U.S., we'd be better off without an army? Don't confuse terrorism with war.
And if those Scandinavian countries had the kind of economy you're promising here, you can bet they'd be attacked (at least, if there weren't all those other governments around to stop you).


Less true, the primary reason behind the rich richer thing is government inflation, government selling it's primary product (political power/favors) and crushing the little guy with laws such as minimum wage and a huge volume of regulations, requiring the hiring of a professional to even begin to understand them.
Companies exist to gain wealth. Wouldn't the CEOs of these companies gain an enormous amount of wealth, leaving all us poor consumers in the dust?

Dr. Gonzo
June 2nd, 2006, 02:29 PM
Companies exist to gain wealth. Wouldn't the CEOs of these companies gain an enormous amount of wealth, leaving all us poor consumers in the dust?

You must ask yourself why they are making wealth...

In our free market system, they would be making a great amount of money because they are producing a good/service that millions of people enjoy. In other words, those CEOs who are rich, are rich because they are able to satisfy consumer demand to an incredible point. Obviously poor CEOs aren't good at making people happy by giving them product.

Unfortunately another way CEOs get rich is because of government meddling in the economy. Protective tariffs, price floors, and subsidies are all examples of government making companies rich when they shouldn't be. These companies are not satisfying consumer demand, but rather stealing from them, albeit through a third party, i.e. the state.

Castle
June 2nd, 2006, 02:36 PM
In our free market system, they would be making a great amount of money because they are producing a good/service that millions of people enjoy. In other words, those CEOs who are rich, are rich because they are able to satisfy consumer demand to an incredible point. Obviously poor CEOs aren't good at making people happy by giving them product.
Of course. The point is though, there is a fixed amount of money in the economy. If the companies are getting richer, someone else is getting poorer.

Dr. Gonzo
June 2nd, 2006, 02:43 PM
Of course. The point is though, there is a fixed amount of money in the economy. If the companies are getting richer, someone else is getting poorer.

This is a terrible economic fallacy you have committed. While there may be a finite amount of actual money in the world, there is an infinite amount of purchasing power of a single monetary unit.

If I sell you candy bar, have you gotten poorer? Have I gotten richer?

Well no, because you VALUE the candy bar more than the dollar. Maybe you get poorer in a strictly monetary sense, but your overall standard of living goes up, because you have things that you want. Money, per se, has no value (unless you have a green paper fetish), its only worth is in knowing that it can secure you goods in the future.

You need to understand that products are what makes someone richer, not money. I could give someone all the dollars in the world, but if there is nothing being produced, then he will be no richer than he was before. There really is an infinte amount of money in the world because there are an infinite amount of things that people desire.

The people who buy the product aren't getting poorer...everyone is getting richer because new things are being produced that satisfy and enrich the life of the purchaser...and the producer is richer because he can then go out and spend his money on more things that make him happy.

Castle
June 2nd, 2006, 02:47 PM
If I sell you candy bar, have you gotten poorer? Have I gotten richer?
Yes; yes.


Well no, because you VALUE the candy bar more than the dollar.
But you have less purchasing power after you buy the candy bar.


Maybe you get poorer in a strictly monetary sense, but your overall standard of living goes up, because you have things that you want.
Rich=/=Standard of living; Rich=Purchasing power.

Dr. Gonzo
June 2nd, 2006, 02:53 PM
Rich=/=Standard of living; Rich=Purchasing power.

So then if the Federal Reserve prints a trillion dollars and pumps it into the economy, and gives everyone a billion dollar bonus, then people have gotten richer, no? And all our problems are solved?

Castle
June 2nd, 2006, 03:05 PM
So then if the Federal Reserve prints a trillion dollars and pumps it into the economy, and gives everyone a billion dollar bonus, then people have gotten richer, no? And all our problems are solved?
Of course not. Massive inflation would result, and the value of a dollar would rapidly decrease. It would not make people 'richer'. It would level the playing field somewhat, though.

Dr. Gonzo
June 2nd, 2006, 03:26 PM
Of course not. Massive inflation would result, and the value of a dollar would rapidly decrease. It would not make people 'richer'. It would level the playing field somewhat, though.

Okay so you have refuted yourself...an increase in the level of your money does not necessarily make you richer...buying goods and securing means to get those goods in the future (money's function) is the only thing that makes you richer. Clearly both people benefit from a voluntary transaction and are richer in some way.

This view that you are expounding is a rough version of Marxian monetary theory...which has been logically refuted numerous times by the double-inequality theory of money transaction.

Castle
June 2nd, 2006, 06:08 PM
Okay so you have refuted yourself...an increase in the level of your money does not necessarily make you richer
An increase in the purchasing power of your money makes you richer.


buying goods and securing means to get those goods in the future (money's function) is the only thing that makes you richer.
You cannot (generally) directly trade goods for other goods. They do not increase your purchasing power; money does. Money makes you richer; goods don't.


This view that you are expounding is a rough version of Marxian monetary theory
If you say so...


which has been logically refuted numerous times by the double-inequality theory of money transaction.
Please explain.

Dr. Gonzo
June 2nd, 2006, 06:32 PM
An increase in the purchasing power of your money makes you richer.

See post #34...

As long as we agree that money, per se, doesn't make you richer, but the ability of your money to get you things gets you richer. The real things that get you richer are things that you desire. If we want to get really abstract.


You cannot (generally) directly trade goods for other goods. They do not increase your purchasing power; money does. Money makes you richer; goods don't.
Money is a good. Explain to me why money isn't a commoditiy that has value like everything else. How much is the dollar worth? Surely you are not implying the the dollar is a fixed thing. 30 years ago a dollar was worth $200 in gold, but now it is worth about $650. So obviously the value of the dollar, as compared with other things has change.

This shows that money is a commodity like all others. It is simply the most marketable commodity, because it is the most sought after one. Because of money's ability to be exchanged for tangible, useful goods in the future, it is valuable. It is, in other words, a store of value.

See the thread: Gold or Paper in the Polls section for more.


Please explain.

Basically if you read the first volume of Das Kapital (Capital)...in fact, just read the first three pages and you will find Marx's theory of value.

So he says that things are of equal value, that is a dollar is of equal value to the Skittles or loaf of bread that it buys. This stems from David Riccardo and is typical of people expounding the labor theory of value (objective value), as opposed to people who believe in subjective value theory (subjective value). This is one of the first mistakes of Kapital: equality of value. So STOP right there...do not pass go do not collect 200 Skittles. Common sense, logic, Austrian Economics, and the subjective theory of value, tells us otherwise.

If there is an exchange going on, it is precisely because there is an INEQUALITY of value. In other words, I value the storeowners Skittlers more than I value my dollar, and the storeowner values my dollar more than he does the Skittles.

If you value things equally, as Marx posits, then why bother exhanging them at all. Why bother giving a dollar for a loaf of bread if you don't value the bread more. Exchange is possible not because of Marx's stupid equality of value, but rather because of a reverse, or double inequality of value.

And then Marx goes into explaining why they are equal, because he has to account for the transaction that takes place. He comes to the very Riccardian/Smithian/Millsian/English Classical School conclusion that it is the amount of labor hours...but that is for another thread.

So basically after the first couple pages you don't even need to read any more because you have fallacies on top of fallacies on top of fallacies. Marx was a commie! :insane:

Castle
June 2nd, 2006, 06:39 PM
As long as we agree that money, per se, doesn't make you richer, but the ability of your money to get you things gets you richer.
Yup.


The real things that get you richer are things that you desire.
No; you can't buy stuff with things that aren't money.


Money is a good. Explain to me why money isn't a commoditiy that has value like everything else.
Because money is the unit of value, not a good in and of itself. It is how you value other goods; it is what you exchange for other goods.


How much is the dollar worth? Surely you are not implying the the dollar is a fixed thing. 30 years ago a dollar was worth $200 in gold, but now it is worth about $650. So obviously the value of the dollar, as compared with other things has change.
I'm not sure gold is an absolute standard either, but sure, the value of the dollar changes. Your purchasing power is expressed (basically) as the amount of money you have over the total amount of money in the economy. That is how you determine how rich you are, by the fraction of the total money in the economy that you possess.


This shows that money is a commodity like all others. It is simply the most marketable commodity, because it is the most sought after one. Because of money's ability to be exchanged for tangible, useful goods in the future, it is valuable. It is, in other words, a store of value.
Precisely. Money is a unit of value, not a good in and of itself. People value money because it is a representation of purchasing power, not because of its intrinsic value.


And then Marx goes into explaining why they are equal, because he has to account for the transaction that takes place. He comes to the very Riccardian/Smithian/Millsian/English Classical School conclusion that it is the amount of labor hours...but that is for another thread.
Ah...OK. Yeah, Marx loses. You win.


Marx was a commie!
That, in and of itself, isn't neccessarily a bad thing. It's a fine idea in theory, it just doesn't work out.

Dr. Gonzo
June 2nd, 2006, 06:48 PM
No; you can't buy stuff with things that aren't money.


That's just because of the definition of money. You can buy stuff with grass if people are willing to accept it...so then grass becomes money. Anything has the potential to be money is people are willing to trade for it. Your quote doesn't really make your point.


Because money is the unit of value, not a good in and of itself. It is how you value other goods; it is what you exchange for other goods.


So then how come the unit of value changes? Could it be that money is subject to the supply and demand graph just like all other things. I don't want to get into by money is a commodity here, but maybe I will later.


I'm not sure gold is an absolute standard either, but sure, the value of the dollar changes. Your purchasing power is expressed (basically) as the amount of money you have over the total amount of money in the economy. That is how you determine how rich you are, by the fraction of the total money in the economy that you possess.

Nothing is an absolute standard except for the subjectivity of the consumer. If you value mashed potatoes as money, then they are money, so long as someone else is willing to trade with you. Anything can have value, it just needs someone to value it. There is no absolute judge of value, other than the individual, and you severely distort the term purchasing power.


Precisely. Money is a unit of value, not a good in and of itself. People value money because it is a representation of purchasing power, not because of its intrinsic value.


But they still value it in a certain way...that is consistent with supply and demand. The more money, the less demand, the less demand the less it SHOULD be produced (the Fed still doesn't understand this rule).


Ah...OK. Yeah, Marx loses. You win.
Okay.


That, in and of itself, isn't neccessarily a bad thing. It's a fine idea in theory, it just doesn't work out.


Nope it is not a fine theory...I have just shown you that. It is pernicious and rests on totally unsound arguments that can be easily vitiated by any 1 year economics student. Actually I would gander that a five year old, given the right state of mind, could build a better economic system than Marx.

Communism is totally unsound in theory as well as socialism. They both have calculation problems...but that is a totally different thread.

Gonz-1 Marx-0

Castle
June 2nd, 2006, 06:55 PM
That's just because of the definition of money. You can buy stuff with grass if people are willing to accept it...so then grass becomes money. Anything has the potential to be money is people are willing to trade for it.
Exactly. Usually, though, you only have one unit of currency at a time.


So then how come the unit of value changes? Could it be that money is subject to the supply and demand graph just like all other things.
Yup.


you severely distort the term purchasing power.
How so?


But they still value it in a certain way...that is consistent with supply and demand. The more money, the less demand, the less demand the less it SHOULD be produced (the Fed still doesn't understand this rule).
Nah, they just don't care:lol:


Nope it is not a fine theory...I have just shown you that. It is pernicious and rests on totally unsound arguments that can be easily vitiated by any 1 year economics student. Actually I would gander that a five year old, given the right state of mind, could build a better economic system than Marx.

Communism is totally unsound in theory as well as socialism. They both have calculation problems...but that is a totally different thread.
Hmmm.... I thought communism was something else, apparently. Ah, well, as you said, that's a matter for another thread.


Gonz-1 Marx-0
:tup:

Dr. Gonzo
June 3rd, 2006, 07:16 AM
Exactly. Usually, though, you only have one unit of currency at a time.
Well that is because of Gresham's law saying that bad (unsound) money tends to drive good (gold-standard/sound) money out of circulation. This has nothing to do with the market but rather coercion by the government.

This also still doesn't account for the changing value of said monetary unit and how it flutuates.



Yup.


Okay so good...now you realize that a monetary gain of one person does not necessarily make someone else poorer, in fact they both get richer.


Nah, they just don't care:lol:

Ain't that the truth.

Hmmm.... I thought communism was something else, apparently. Ah, well, as you said, that's a matter for another thread.

Communism is an economic system where a brutal, coercive, and violent government owns everything.

Castle
June 3rd, 2006, 10:43 AM
Well that is because of Gresham's law saying that bad (unsound) money tends to drive good (gold-standard/sound) money out of circulation. This has nothing to do with the market but rather coercion by the government.
So in a free market system we'd have multiple currencies? And that's a good thing?


This also still doesn't account for the changing value of said monetary unit and how it flutuates.
That one you get to blame half on the government (inflation) and half on your free market system (with different currencies that keep changing value relative to each other).


Okay so good...now you realize that a monetary gain of one person does not necessarily make someone else poorer, in fact they both get richer.
Richer in terms of standard of living...quite possibly. Richer in terms of ability to buy stuff...most likely not.


Communism is an economic system where a brutal, coercive, and violent government owns everything.
Communism is a system where the government owns everything. I don't think brutal, coercive or violent are neccessary for it to be a communism:lol:

Dr. Gonzo
June 3rd, 2006, 07:05 PM
So in a free market system we'd have multiple currencies? And that's a good thing?
Well no there probably would only be one currency...I'm betting on gold, but the point is that money is a naturally arising commodity when you go past simply barter and into more complex transactions.


That one you get to blame half on the government (inflation) and half on your free market system (with different currencies that keep changing value relative to each other).

But inflation is fake growth, whereas your so called "free market failure" is really an example of the free market giving an accurate forecast of a currency's value.


Communism is a system where the government owns everything. I don't think brutal, coercive or violent are neccessary for it to be a communism:lol:
Okay so how does the government own everything? What if I don't want to give my property up? Will then just ask me? Or will they, as they have consistently done in the past, violently confiscate it from me. That is one of the fundamental fallacies of anarcho-communism/syndicalism. How are you going to own all the property if people don't want to give it to you.

Kaizen
June 3rd, 2006, 07:07 PM
Okay so how does the government own everything? What if I don't want to give my property up? Will then just ask me? Or will they, as they have consistently done in the past, violently confiscate it from me. That is one of the fundamental fallacies of anarcho-communism/syndicalism. How are you going to own all the property if people don't want to give it to you.
And removing the incentive to produce known as profit, how will one fill the void? How does one make another create "surplus value" independent of the incentive of profit and self-interest?

It's called a gun to your head.

Dr. Gonzo
June 3rd, 2006, 07:08 PM
Welcome to the forums Kaizen...good first post!

Kaizen
June 3rd, 2006, 07:17 PM
Why thank you, Dr. Gonzo. :)

Castle
June 3rd, 2006, 08:29 PM
Well no there probably would only be one currency...I'm betting on gold, but the point is that money is a naturally arising commodity when you go past simply barter and into more complex transactions.
There's not enough gold around. You can't use gold for all your transactions. You'd have to have some smaller units of currency (that, perhaps, represent tiny quantities of gold). Which begs some questions: Who prints that currency? Who makes sure it is accepted among people in general? What's to stop people from printing multiple currencies?


How are you going to own all the property if people don't want to give it to you.
How are you going to get rid of government if the people don't want to?


And removing the incentive to produce known as profit, how will one fill the void? How does one make another create "surplus value" independent of the incentive of profit and self-interest?
It's called a gun to your head.
The biggest problem with communism. I didn't say it was a perfect system; in a perfect world, it would work. Too bad we don't live in one.

But anyway, this isn't a thread about communism; it's a thread about capitalism. Back on track, people!

Dr. Gonzo
June 4th, 2006, 06:10 AM
There's not enough gold around. You can't use gold for all your transactions. You'd have to have some smaller units of currency (that, perhaps, represent tiny quantities of gold). Which begs some questions: Who prints that currency? Who makes sure it is accepted among people in general? What's to stop people from printing multiple currencies?

For hundreds of years the government didn't print currency and it was printing by banks, and even goldsmiths. The first paper currency was actually receipts for gold coins printed by goldsmiths in (Germany...I think). What do you think a check is? Or a credit card? Does the government issue these things? No. Then why do people accept them? Because they know that your private bank is good for it. Otherwise they will sue you.

The ONLY think that printing more money does is decrease the purchasing power of the existing money (over time). Now on a gold standard, all that would be done would that more paper money would be printed at lower increments, e.g. 1/4 of an ounce, 1/8 of an ounce. There really is no limit to how this could be done. I hate to break it to you, but America has been on a gold standard far longer than we have been off of it...that's how we got to be such an economic powerhouse.

Unfortunately central banks can't help but inflate because it is in the government's best interest. “Fiat money is the cause of inflation, and the amount which people lose in purchasing power is exactly the amount which was taken from them and transferred to their governments by this process.”

-G. Edward Griffin


How are you going to get rid of government if the people don't want to?

If you talk to most people, Americans especially, you will find that they are quick to spew the most caustic vitriol at the state, but are lacking in what to do next. There needs to be education and learning about the state's tyrannt. Violence is not the solution because you go against your libertarian principles. Knowledge and wisdom are the answer. Violence is only allowed when the state is physically threatening/initiating aggressioin against your body.

Communism is about violence plain and simply. In a perfect world (one without scarcity?), then no economic system is needed. Economics is a response to scarcity...plain and simple. Communism is STILL not better than capitalism...even in a scarcity-free world.

starcreator
October 8th, 2006, 01:05 PM
Of course. The point is though, there is a fixed amount of money in the economy. If the companies are getting richer, someone else is getting poorer.

I hate to be the one to jump back into old debates, but I saw this thesis being argued and wanted to point out that I'm afraid this isn't the case. I am no expert on this subject (far from it), but this particular view of economics is known as mercantilism, the idea that the total amount of value to be had does not change. In reality, however, the ability to create value through innovation and production has debunked these theories. Anything that I can produce or innovate that has value to someone else has resulted in the increase of my wealth to the detriment of nobody else. The more I can produce, the more I have to stimulate the production of others. A country's true standard of wealth is the value of how much it can produce, which can raise living standards for all people in a nation.

Ibelsd
October 9th, 2006, 11:39 AM
To add to what Star was saying and debunk Castle's rather odd conclusion:
If economy was fixed, how could wealth ever be created? Wouldn't we all still be sitting in caves? Demand is continually expanding as markets and supply expand. This is why capitalist merchants are always looking for new markets. New markets input new capital into the system, expanding the total wealth. Of course, new markets benefit as well. They receive goods previously unavailable and find new consumers for their own goods. Finally, as specialization increases, the laboror is able to produce more with less meaning his labor becomes more valuable. So, as he makes more money, so does his master. If the master earns more, so does the landlord. The trickle runs both up and down so to speak.

Castle
October 9th, 2006, 01:14 PM
Oops. T'would appear I missed a post.

Ermm...I conceed Gonzo's first section (above the second quote box).


Communism is about violence plain and simply. In a perfect world (one without scarcity?), then no economic system is needed. Economics is a response to scarcity...plain and simple. Communism is STILL not better than capitalism...even in a scarcity-free world.
Wrong definition of perfect. By perfect, I meant everyone cooperating, not a scarcity-free world.

Star and Ibelsd, I believe I already conceeded that one. If not, I do now.