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Individual Liberty, Society, and the role of the State:

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Individual Liberty, Society, and the Role of the State:

The major problem with modern individualism which Bellah et al. illustrate quite clearly in "Habits of the Heart," is one which arises when individuality becomes more important than the society as a whole and to this end creates a situation where not only is the society harmed but also the well being of the individual. It stands to reason that, because the individual does not live in a vacuum but rather in an interconnected societal structure in which the actions of the individual will ultimately affect the society as a whole then certain restrictions on the individual can justly be set in place in order to have a functioning society. Bella et al would argue that these necessary restrictions were once set in place through institutions; such as, the church and the state but as modern individualism and the focus on utilitarianism became more prevalent to the neglect of biblical individualism and classical republicanism that there is no longer a guiding source of morality as a framework for how the individual should interact with the society around them. Furthermore; if the individual is only conscious of himself then how can it reasonably be expected of him to consider the consequences of his actions on the rest of society?

To illustrate why this problem of modern individualism taking the place of classical republicanism is so important we can use one of the more extreme theories of individual liberty and property called anarcho-capitalism. The anarcho capitalist would assert that the state itself is an unjust monopoly which derives its power through the forced taxation of the citizenry and if one were to adopt the economic policies of total deregulation then the invisible hand of the market could take the place of the state; resulting in true liberty. The Anarcho Capitalist would claim that the state can be abolished, because it is assumed that through the individual doing what is most profitable for himself and in his own self interests that this would ultimately be good for the society as a whole, in that, it stands to reason that it is of course not profitable for a business owner, to say, poison his consumers through a flawed product. Yet, what this anarcho-capitalist model fails to take into account is that which is good for one individual is not always good for the society as a whole. To illustrate this point one could take into consideration that what would be in the best interests of the business owner would be for him to automate all production. This would certainly increase his production capacity and, also, his profit margin by reducing the amount he has to allocate to wages… but at what cost? Well of course that negative impact can clearly be seen in the workers who are now found jobless. So while the individual who owns this hypothetical business would benefit through increasing his net gain by decreasing wage costs, and the individual consumer would benefit through the decrease in prices which would inevitably result through the laws of supply and demand, the individual worker is now left jobless and destitute.

Now how does this disproportional focus on modern individualism to the neglect of classical republicanism relate to the practices of individualism in the United States? The best way to put it into perspective is through the context of the extremes on both sides of the spectrum. On one side of the spectrum we have totalitarianism in which the state is all powerful and individual liberty is non existent and on the other side we have anarchism in which the restrictive functions of the state have been totally abolished and unchecked individualism is the law of the land. Now how would this hypothetical anarchist societal structure function? Well let us first assume that the economic structure of any given society would remain intact and in the case of the United States it would continue to be Capitalism. Now that there is no longer a state to provide for services; such as, security, defense, and education there would now be a demand from the public for private companies to fill the void. The individual upon seeing that there was now a demand for him to provide this security, defense, education, etc., would begin to form privatized police, military, and educational institutions. Now that state regulation has been abolished there would no longer be any checks on monopolies. Individual companies each doing what is in their own economic interests would form into large conglomerates. So now a societal structure is beginning to form which in fact looks very state like. Not only has it taken on the form of the state but through the formation of these large conglomerates in which every aspect of society is controlled by a single entity the society has in fact become totalitarian in nature. In effect the individual liberty which the abolishment of the state was supposed to provide has been all but eliminated and in the place of a government of, by, and for the people, we are now left with a government of, by, and for the government. So we can see in this extreme example of how a focus solely on the individual while ignoring the effect that this individual will have on the society as a whole can in actuality create the opposite of the intended effect.

--Thomas Askins (that's me)
 

galenrox

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I love how you claim to know what an anarcho-capitalist would say, especially because you're WAY off.
See, your opinions of what anarcho-capitalists believe is based on the assumption that we stopped paying attention to economists after Adam Smith.

As an anarcho-capitalist, let me describe it to you, since you clearly have no idea what we, or at least I believe.

It has been well proven that everything a government has stepped into it has screwed up. This is because government is a beurocracy, which in it's very nature is inhuman, and thus is ill-suited to meet the needs of individual human beings.
Anarcho-capitalism isn't based on greed or chaos, but instead non-governmental order. As an example, let's take GAAP, the group that sets the accounting standards for business. GAAP is a non-governmental group that has no formal power, but they are recognized as the foremost authority on what accounting practices lead to honest assesments of a business's finances by just about everyone. Now, although what they say becomes law, because people are so reliant on government to do everything for them, if people took responsibility for their own finances, they would realize that these laws are unneccisary.
Pretending that there are no laws dealing with accounting, if a corporation would not allow GAAP to assess their accounting practices, it would be reasonable for the investor to believe that this corporation is practicing inaccurate and dishonest accounting, and thus it would be reasonable to not invest in this corporation based on this. Because of this, it would become anti-profitable to not subject your accounting practices to GAAP scrutiny, and thus GAAP would still be able to assess the honesty behind corporations' accounting practices, and non-governmental order would be created.
(this is the invisible hand you speak of).
This is not all it is based on.
People don't always act solely out of greed. When I give a bum $5, I don't do it because I gain anything from it, I do it because I know it's the right thing to do. That is why the majority of anarcho-capitalists don't call for the immidiate elimination of government, because people aren't prepared for it. Instead, the government needs to get people to the point where they realize that doing what is good for society is good for themselves, instead of simply believing that they should do whatever the **** they please and it's the government's job to make sure everything gets done. No one feels accountability as long as someone or something else is also accountable (i.e. government).

Government recieves all of its power from its citizens, and thus citizens can do everything the government does without the government. There isn't a single thing the government does that cannot be done through the cooperation of individuals.

All of the problems that come from government come from the sheer size of nations, and thus creating the need to treat the masses as a mob instead of as individuals (not to mention the amount of power entrusted on humans, which will undoubtedly be abused). Now if government was elliminated, people in Lincoln, Nebraska could simply agree that abortions will not be tolerated, and if you don't like that, you can leave. People on the North East side of Iowa City could live by an entirely different set of standards than people in Southwest Iowa City, and if you like the way Northeast Iowa City lives, live there, and if you like Southwest Iowa City, live there, and if you don't like either, then go elsewhere.

Calling for the elimination of government isn't calling for the elimination of society, but instead increased reliance on society.

Once again, I'd reccomend that you stop talking about **** you know nothing about.
 
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galenrox said:
I love how you claim to know what an anarcho-capitalist would say, especially because you're WAY off.
See, your opinions of what anarcho-capitalists believe is based on the assumption that we stopped paying attention to economists after Adam Smith.

As an anarcho-capitalist, let me describe it to you, since you clearly have no idea what we, or at least I believe.

It has been well proven that everything a government has stepped into it has screwed up. This is because government is a beurocracy, which in it's very nature is inhuman, and thus is ill-suited to meet the needs of individual human beings.
Anarcho-capitalism isn't based on greed or chaos, but instead non-governmental order. As an example, let's take GAAP, the group that sets the accounting standards for business. GAAP is a non-governmental group that has no formal power, but they are recognized as the foremost authority on what accounting practices lead to honest assesments of a business's finances by just about everyone. Now, although what they say becomes law, because people are so reliant on government to do everything for them, if people took responsibility for their own finances, they would realize that these laws are unneccisary.
Pretending that there are no laws dealing with accounting, if a corporation would not allow GAAP to assess their accounting practices, it would be reasonable for the investor to believe that this corporation is practicing inaccurate and dishonest accounting, and thus it would be reasonable to not invest in this corporation based on this. Because of this, it would become anti-profitable to not subject your accounting practices to GAAP scrutiny, and thus GAAP would still be able to assess the honesty behind corporations' accounting practices, and non-governmental order would be created.
(this is the invisible hand you speak of).
This is not all it is based on.
People don't always act solely out of greed. When I give a bum $5, I don't do it because I gain anything from it, I do it because I know it's the right thing to do. That is why the majority of anarcho-capitalists don't call for the immidiate elimination of government, because people aren't prepared for it. Instead, the government needs to get people to the point where they realize that doing what is good for society is good for themselves, instead of simply believing that they should do whatever the **** they please and it's the government's job to make sure everything gets done. No one feels accountability as long as someone or something else is also accountable (i.e. government).

Government recieves all of its power from its citizens, and thus citizens can do everything the government does without the government. There isn't a single thing the government does that cannot be done through the cooperation of individuals.

All of the problems that come from government come from the sheer size of nations, and thus creating the need to treat the masses as a mob instead of as individuals (not to mention the amount of power entrusted on humans, which will undoubtedly be abused). Now if government was elliminated, people in Lincoln, Nebraska could simply agree that abortions will not be tolerated, and if you don't like that, you can leave. People on the North East side of Iowa City could live by an entirely different set of standards than people in Southwest Iowa City, and if you like the way Northeast Iowa City lives, live there, and if you like Southwest Iowa City, live there, and if you don't like either, then go elsewhere.

Calling for the elimination of government isn't calling for the elimination of society, but instead increased reliance on society.

Once again, I'd reccomend that you stop talking about **** you know nothing about.
And what of my critique on conglomerate monopolization and it's resemblence to a totalitarian state? Why would the indivual enter into a contractual agreement to end monopolization if it is not in his best interests, when in actuality, what would be in the individuals best interests would be for him to enter into contractual agreements to form a giant all encompassing conglomerate. And for that matter you didn't even answer the question posed concerning automization and the effect it would have on the workers.

Just trying to put it into a real world application for you buddy, something most anarcho-capitalists including yourself have been hard pressed to address.

As for your opinion concerning doing things for the sake of doing them, because you know it to be the right thing, that's the point I was trying to address concerning the lack of emphasis put on biblical individualism in favor of more focus being placed on expressive and utilitarian individualism which is the case in the current American culture. If the individual is only conscious of himself then how can it reasonably be expected of him to consider the consequences of his actions on the rest of society? In other words if there is no moral sign posts or structural framework to guide you then how do you know what that right thing is? Moral reletavism versus moral absolutism yadayadayada, etc etc, et al
 
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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
And what of my critique on conglomerate monopolization and it's resemblence to a totalitarian state? Why would the indivual enter into a contractual agreement to end monopolization if it is not in his best interests, when in actuality, what would be in the individuals best interests would be for him to enter into contractual agreements to form a giant all encompassing conglomerate. And for that matter you didn't even answer the question posed concerning automization and the effect it would have on the workers.

Just trying to put it into a real world application for you buddy, something most anarcho-capitalists including yourself have been hard pressed to address.

As for your opinion concerning doing things for the sake of doing them, because you know it to be the right thing, that's the point I was trying to address concerning the lack of emphasis put on biblical individualism in favor of more focus being placed on expressive and utilitarian individualism which is the case in the current American culture. If the individual is only conscious of himself then how can it reasonably be expected of him to consider the consequences of his actions on the rest of society? In other words if there is no moral sign posts or structural framework to guide you then how do you know what that right thing is? Moral reletavism versus moral absolutism yadayadayada, etc etc, et al
To be perfectly frank, I didn't read all of what you said, nor do I intend to. It's long, and considering my experience with your level of insight, not something I feel the need to spend my time doing.

I think to a large degree we are on the same page, just I believe more in the potential of human's, and believe that government is the case, not the solution, of the current moral state of things.
Think about it, we all agree that it's bad that people are starving, but we don't do anything about it, and that's only partly because of the disagreement on what the proper response should be. The biggest reason why we don't do **** is because we think it's the government's job.

What do pro-lifers do? Instead of going out and handing out condoms or helping pregnant women through their pregnancies, they're lobbying the government to make it illegal, because they think stopping abortion is the government's job, not their's.

And the list goes on. People don't view changing the world for the better as their job, but instead the government's, because this is the message that governments adherently send to their citizens.
 

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Anarcho-capitalism is just as idealistic, utopian, and impossible as communism is.

galenrox said:
It has been well proven that everything a government has stepped into it has screwed up.
That's not entirely true. Government screws up MOST of the things it gets involved with, but not everything. The government is simply better than the free market at establishing law and order, protecting citizens from invading armies, providing basic infrastructure to its citizens, and (if the proper precautions are taken) ensuring that the market remains free.
 
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galenrox said:
To be perfectly frank, I didn't read all of what you said, nor do I intend to. It's long, and considering my experience with your level of insight, not something I feel the need to spend my time doing.

I think to a large degree we are on the same page, just I believe more in the potential of human's, and believe that government is the case, not the solution, of the current moral state of things.
Think about it, we all agree that it's bad that people are starving, but we don't do anything about it, and that's only partly because of the disagreement on what the proper response should be. The biggest reason why we don't do **** is because we think it's the government's job.

What do pro-lifers do? Instead of going out and handing out condoms or helping pregnant women through their pregnancies, they're lobbying the government to make it illegal, because they think stopping abortion is the government's job, not their's.

And the list goes on. People don't view changing the world for the better as their job, but instead the government's, because this is the message that governments adherently send to their citizens.
Damn dude you didn't even read it and then you go onto say that I have no idea what I'm talking about? And you still haven't answered the real world questions that I posed concerning corporate monopoly and automization but then again I haven't met an anarcho-capitalist yet who has.
 

galenrox

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
Damn dude you didn't even read it and then you go onto say that I have no idea what I'm talking about? And you still haven't answered the real world questions that I posed concerning corporate monopoly and automization but then again I haven't met an anarcho-capitalist yet who has.
Man, it's long, but now I've read it.

The simple answer is consumer responsibility.

Your mistake lies here:
Trajan Octavian Titus said:
n one side of the spectrum we have totalitarianism in which the state is all powerful and individual liberty is non existent and on the other side we have anarchism in which the restrictive functions of the state have been totally abolished and unchecked individualism is the law of the land.
Neccisary restrictions can still exist, just not provided by a government.

For example, I don't use Saudi oil. I only buy gas at BP, even though it's further from my house and it costs more. There's clearly no law telling me that I can't use Saudi oil, but I know that I don't like the products of my money going to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the middle east, so I act as a responsible consumer and make the extra effort not to use their oil.

This is not realistic NOW. This is because we have been taught that such political things are to be covered by governments. I've been taught that if I don't like what's going on in the middle east all I can really do is vote for someone who doesn't like it as much as I do and has good ideas on how to change it, and in the absense of such a candidate I can either vote for whoever closest resembles that candidate or just do nothing.

But there are options, and if it's engrained in a society that such things are their responsibility, than the use for the government in that field would vanish.

This happens in small ways already with society, for example people taking their trash to the curb, and in certain small towns they have to take it to the dump themselves and pay to ditch their garbage (as it is in my dad's hometown). Now it could be argued that the government has the responsibility to get the garbage as soon as it's outside, because if no one took it to the curb to have it picked up we'd fill up with trash and society would more than likely fall apart. But that argument clearly doesn't apply, because people understand, through society, that they need to take the garbage to the curb themselves.
 
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galenrox said:
Man, it's long, but now I've read it.
Long? Ya right it's only 750 you should see the 20-30 pagers I have to write.

The simple answer is consumer responsibility.
How will consumer responsibility play into it if the only producer is the conglomerate.
Your mistake lies here:


Neccisary restrictions can still exist, just not provided by a government.

For example, I don't use Saudi oil. I only buy gas at BP, even though it's further from my house and it costs more. There's clearly no law telling me that I can't use Saudi oil, but I know that I don't like the products of my money going to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the middle east, so I act as a responsible consumer and make the extra effort not to use their oil.
Ya but that's still not getting at the heart of the matter which is their would no longer be any law against monopoly, the principle of anti-monopoly legislation is that if you don't stop it sooner or later everything will end up being controlled by one monopoly which would kill competition, not to mention the totalitarian nature of the beast. Without out the state there to prevent monopolization do you really expect the companies to do it themselves?
This is not realistic NOW. This is because we have been taught that such political things are to be covered by governments. I've been taught that if I don't like what's going on in the middle east all I can really do is vote for someone who doesn't like it as much as I do and has good ideas on how to change it, and in the absense of such a candidate I can either vote for whoever closest resembles that candidate or just do nothing.

But there are options, and if it's engrained in a society that such things are their responsibility, than the use for the government in that field would vanish.

This happens in small ways already with society, for example people taking their trash to the curb, and in certain small towns they have to take it to the dump themselves and pay to ditch their garbage (as it is in my dad's hometown). Now it could be argued that the government has the responsibility to get the garbage as soon as it's outside, because if no one took it to the curb to have it picked up we'd fill up with trash and society would more than likely fall apart. But that argument clearly doesn't apply, because people understand, through society, that they need to take the garbage to the curb themselves.
Now that's the real issue moral relativism has made the American culture one in which the line between right and wrong is skewed.

There's more than one form of individualism, traditional republicanism, utilitarianism, civic, expressive, etc etc.
 
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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
Long? Ya right it's only 750 you should see the 20-30 pagers I have to write.
yeah, I guess you're in the more further along classes, I just switched to political science, so all I've got in Intro to American Politics homework. Maybe in a year I can borrow some of your papers!
How will consumer responsibility play into it if the only producer is the conglomerate.
Because a society comprised of responsible consumers would not let that happen. The only reason why a conglomerate monopoly would naturally form with the consumer mentality we have today is with size comes increased elasticity in the supply curve and increased inelasticity in the demand curve for that one corportation (i.e. Walmart is large enough that it has its own demand curve, and suppliers for Walmart have a seperate supply curve), and due to this, the prices for the largest company are naturally the lowest, and if a society values price over everything else a conglomerate monopoly or oligopoly is what would form (largest gets larger and larger until no other competitors exist).
But if the consumers took it as their own responsibility to control monopolies, as they take it as their own responsibility to take the trash to the curb, than they simply would pay more to keep the market competitive, thus preventing the creation of said conglomerate monopoly or oligopoly.
Ya but that's still not getting at the heart of the matter which is their would no longer be any law against monopoly, the principle of anti-monopoly legislation is that if you don't stop it sooner or later everything will end up being controlled by one monopoly which would kill competition, not to mention the totalitarian nature of the beast. Without out the state there to prevent monopolization do you really expect the companies to do it themselves?
I think it addressed that perfectly well, if not, then what I just said should, and if it doesn't, than more specific criticisms will lead to more specific answers or consessions, depending on the merit of your criticisms.
Now that's the real issue moral relativism has made the American culture one in which the line between right and wrong is skewed.

There's more than one form of individualism, traditional republicanism, utilitarianism, civic, expressive, etc etc.
And that moral relativism comes from reliance on the government. We've been raised being told that all sorts of things are the government's responsibility, not ours.
Examples include the abortion thing I said earlier, pro-lifers are far more likely to try to get the government to try to ban abortion rather than taking steps that would stop people from getting abortions (i.e. helping pregnant women through their pregnancies, and talking to pregnant women's families about the pregnancy to eliminate any stigma they may have about their daughter/sister's pregnancy), and so on and so forth.
People don't view upholding morality while following the rules of society as their own responsibility, they either want to change the rules (i.e. ban abortion, eliminate the seperation of church and state, etc.) or completely ignore the rules (bomb abortion clinics).
And this creates moral relativism, because if it's the government's responsibility to set moral standards, than why should anyone outside the government give a **** about it?
I believe the vast majority of people could be considered moral, and in the absense of governmentally provided morals would provide the morals on their own. If there was no welfare, I would give more money to the poor, etc.
 
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galenrox said:
yeah, I guess you're in the more further along classes, I just switched to political science, so all I've got in Intro to American Politics homework. Maybe in a year I can borrow some of your papers!

Because a society comprised of responsible consumers would not let that happen. The only reason why a conglomerate monopoly would naturally form with the consumer mentality we have today is with size comes increased elasticity in the supply curve and increased inelasticity in the demand curve for that one corportation (i.e. Walmart is large enough that it has its own demand curve, and suppliers for Walmart have a seperate supply curve), and due to this, the prices for the largest company are naturally the lowest, and if a society values price over everything else a conglomerate monopoly or oligopoly is what would form (largest gets larger and larger until no other competitors exist).


But if the consumers took it as their own responsibility to control monopolies, as they take it as their own responsibility to take the trash to the curb, than they simply would pay more to keep the market competitive, thus preventing the creation of said conglomerate monopoly or oligopoly.
Yes but again if there is no moral framework established by the republic then how can it reasonably be assumed that the individual will know what is right and wrong? A nation whose soul focus is only on utilitarianism leads to an entire culture norm which as you expressed has taken route in America today. You could say that religion is the alternative but the people can not be forced to follow the doctrines of the church, go to church, read the bible, etc etc, but the state on the other hand can pass legislation compelling the people to follow a moral path which not only will secure the rights of a single indivual but also the rights of all of the indivuals in any given society.

I think it addressed that perfectly well, if not, then what I just said should, and if it doesn't, than more specific criticisms will lead to more specific answers or consessions, depending on the merit of your criticisms.

And that moral relativism comes from reliance on the government. We've been raised being told that all sorts of things are the government's responsibility, not ours.
Examples include the abortion thing I said earlier, pro-lifers are far more likely to try to get the government to try to ban abortion rather than taking steps that would stop people from getting abortions (i.e. helping pregnant women through their pregnancies, and talking to pregnant women's families about the pregnancy to eliminate any stigma they may have about their daughter/sister's pregnancy), and so on and so forth.
People don't view upholding morality while following the rules of society as their own responsibility, they either want to change the rules (i.e. ban abortion, eliminate the seperation of church and state, etc.) or completely ignore the rules (bomb abortion clinics).
And this creates moral relativism, because if it's the government's responsibility to set moral standards, than why should anyone outside the government give a **** about it?
I believe the vast majority of people could be considered moral, and in the absense of governmentally provided morals would provide the morals on their own. If there was no welfare, I would give more money to the poor, etc.
No moral relativism has come about due the decline of traditional republicanism and biblical individualism, and the rise in the emphasis of utilitarian individualism and expressive individualism. The anarcho-capitalist philosophy is the very emodiment of Benthan's utilitarianism run amok.
 

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Okay galen. Externalities. Joe buys steel from Fred's steel factory. Fred sells it at a price that is the highest he can get and Joe buys at the lowest price he can get. That's all well and good. But Town Anarchy 30 miles away has to watch their children die because of the nitrates in the air from the steel factory. It is in neither Joe's nor Fred's interest to pay external costs to people not involved in the transaction. So why would they?

And I don't want to hear the song and dance about enlightened consumers. Nothing prevents Fred from lying about the source of the pollution and nothing makes either him or Joe care about its effects.
 
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Kelzie said:
Okay galen. Externalities. Joe buys steel from Fred's steel factory. Fred sells it at a price that is the highest he can get and Joe buys at the lowest price he can get. That's all well and good. But Town Anarchy 30 miles away has to watch their children die because of the nitrates in the air from the steel factory. It is in neither Joe's nor Fred's interest to pay external costs to people not involved in the transaction. So why would they?

And I don't want to hear the song and dance about enlightened consumers. Nothing prevents Fred from lying about the source of the pollution and nothing makes either him or Joe care about its effects.
Come on why don't you just give him the argument? It is not in the best interests of the company to poison there consumers. It is in the best interests of the company to form conglomerate monopilies, it is in the best interests of the company to automize all production which is also in the best interests of the consumer, however, it is not in the best interests of the worker.
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
Come on why don't you just give him the argument? It is not in the best interests of the company to poison there consumers. It is in the best interests of the company to form conglomerate monopilies, it is in the best interests of the company to automize all production which is also in the best interests of the consumer, however, it is not in the best interests of the worker.
Umm, excuse me? Is that why all the heavy industries had to be dragged kicking and screaming into pollution controls? The great thing about pollution is that it takes a loonnng time to have a hugely detrimental impact. It certainly is in the best interest of an industry to pollute. It's called the tragedy of the commons. Look it up.
 
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Kelzie said:
Umm, excuse me? Is that why all the heavy industries had to be dragged kicking and screaming into pollution controls? The great thing about pollution is that it takes a loonnng time to have a hugely detrimental impact. It certainly is in the best interest of an industry to pollute. It's called the tragedy of the commons. Look it up.
In their short term interests but not in their long term intersts. If they kill their consumers how are they going to make a profit?
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
In their short term interests but not in their long term intersts. If they kill their consumers how are they going to make a profit?
I dunno, ask them. Doesn't seem to phase them much. They have no motivation to change. If they pollute less it costs them more and it only works if everyone else is doing it.
 

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Kelzie said:
Okay galen. Externalities. Joe buys steel from Fred's steel factory. Fred sells it at a price that is the highest he can get and Joe buys at the lowest price he can get. That's all well and good. But Town Anarchy 30 miles away has to watch their children die because of the nitrates in the air from the steel factory. It is in neither Joe's nor Fred's interest to pay external costs to people not involved in the transaction. So why would they?

And I don't want to hear the song and dance about enlightened consumers. Nothing prevents Fred from lying about the source of the pollution and nothing makes either him or Joe care about its effects.
Exactly.

While I agree with Galen that MOST government regulation makes things worse, no valid economic studies exist that show that ALL government regulation is bad.

Even if it were, anarchy is simply not possible. Within just a few hours of a government collapse or dissolution, there will be people filling the power vacuum.

Here's a short list of things where I believe the government can simply do a better job than the free market.

1. Law and order
2. Military
3. Basic infrastructure (roads, water, power, emergency services, etc)
4. Anti-monopoly laws
5. Environmental laws

And depending on one's definition of "doing a better job," one could also include education in that list (if it's implemented correctly).

I generally think of myself as a libertarian and/or neoliberal, but I don't think it makes any sense to reflexively condemn government intervention in ALL cases.
 

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Kandahar said:
Exactly.

While I agree with Galen that MOST government regulation makes things worse, no valid economic studies exist that show that ALL government regulation is bad.

Even if it were, anarchy is simply not possible. Within just a few hours of a government collapse or dissolution, there will be people filling the power vacuum.

Here's a short list of things where I believe the government can simply do a better job than the free market.

1. Law and order
2. Military
3. Basic infrastructure (roads, water, power, emergency services, etc)
4. Anti-monopoly laws
5. Environmental laws

And depending on one's definition of "doing a better job," one could also include education in that list (if it's implemented correctly).

I generally think of myself as a libertarian and/or neoliberal, but I don't think it makes any sense to reflexively condemn government intervention in ALL cases.
Just curious, would you believe a government should do what it can to remedy all externalities...or basically market failures? In short, punishing negative externalities so they go away and encouraging positive so that they are continued when they might not be. I'm thinking specifically of higher education for the last one. The benefit to society is huge from someone with an undergrad (more likely to be employed, less likely to commit a crime, etc) but that benefit isn't reflected in the price the student pays.
 
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Kelzie said:
I dunno, ask them. Doesn't seem to phase them much. They have no motivation to change. If they pollute less it costs them more and it only works if everyone else is doing it.
The problem isn't regulation it is to much regulation. Case in point the Kyoto Accord.
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
The problem isn't regulation it is to much regulation. Case in point the Kyoto Accord.
Except that's not the issue at hand. No government=no regulations. Which is what galen is arguing for. Too much regulation is just an opinion. And not one many people agree with. All respected scientists for instance, would think you're a nut.
 
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Kelzie said:
Just curious, would you believe a government should do what it can to remedy all externalities...or basically market failures? In short, punishing negative externalities so they go away and encouraging positive so that they are continued when they might not be. I'm thinking specifically of higher education for the last one. The benefit to society is huge from someone with an undergrad (more likely to be employed, less likely to commit a crime, etc) but that benefit isn't reflected in the price the student pays.
Depends on what type of regulation we're talking about here. The state should only regulate things which threaten the the vary foundations of the republic, however, a centralized Federal Government has a way of using regulation to usurp power to curb the individual liberties of the citizenry ie freedom of speech. When governmental regulation has gone to far and ends up becoming more of a problem than a cure, then it is up to the people to demand from our leaders that they backtrack. The problem lies in the fact that encouraging positive externalities can become a negative internalality; such as, the decay of the public school system in America, also, punishing a negative externality; such as, environmental regulations can lead to further negative externalities not forseen at the time the regulation was set in place.
 

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Kelzie said:
Just curious, would you believe a government should do what it can to remedy all externalities...or basically market failures? In short, punishing negative externalities so they go away and encouraging positive so that they are continued when they might not be. I'm thinking specifically of higher education for the last one. The benefit to society is huge from someone with an undergrad (more likely to be employed, less likely to commit a crime, etc) but that benefit isn't reflected in the price the student pays.
Yes, I think that the government's primary duty is protecting its citizens from force and fraud, but it also has a secondary duty to prevent market failure. If there's no government to implement infrastructure, it simply won't get done (at least not conveniently). The same goes for anti-monopoly and environmental laws; if there's no government to enforce them, the market will become LESS free.

As for education, I think the government can play a positive role. However, the way our education system is currently structured is certainly not the answer. I'd like to see the total implementation of a voucher system for students to attend whatever public or private school they want, but NOT the complete privatization of education.
 

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Kandahar said:
Yes, I think that the government's primary duty is protecting its citizens from force and fraud, but it also has a secondary duty to prevent market failure. If there's no government to implement infrastructure, it simply won't get done (at least not conveniently). The same goes for anti-monopoly and environmental laws; if there's no government to enforce them, the market will become LESS free.

As for education, I think the government can play a positive role. However, the way our education system is currently structured is certainly not the answer. I'd like to see the total implementation of a voucher system for students to attend whatever public or private school they want, but NOT the complete privatization of education.
What about things like government run soup kitchens?
 

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Kelzie said:
What about things like government run soup kitchens?
Meh, there's less reason for that sort of thing in my opinion. That's not really protecting anyone from force/fraud or preventing market failure; that's just a handout.

Private charities can pick up the slack for that sort of thing IMO. If a lot of people support that, they can "vote" by opening their wallets for charitable donations to soup kitchens.
 

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
Again it's not about state involvement in the affairs of its citizenry it's to what degree. When policies aren't working you don't cling to them out of priniple, you abolish or reform them.
Like tarriffs. Or subsidies. Suppose it will probably be more likely that soup kitchens get the ax before those. :lol:
 
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