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Nietzsche, Austrians and Creative Destruction

Xerographica

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How many tabs are currently open on your browser? Right now I have 5 tabs open.

My computer, like all computers, has limited resources. Each tab requires some resources, so if I open up too many tabs, then I'll tie up too many resources and my computer will become sluggish and unresponsive. This will of course limit my productivity. So if I want to increase my productivity, I'll have to close some tabs. Doing so will free up resources for more valuable uses.

This is the basic concept of creative destruction...

1. we have limited resources
2. some uses of resources are more valuable than other uses
3. destroying less valuable uses frees up resources for more valuable uses
4. total value is increased

The question is...which uses should be destroyed? How do we determine which uses are less valuable? There are really only two ways to answer this question. Either you decide for yourself (capitalism) or somebody else decides for you (socialism).

Capitalism (private sector) is where you decide for yourself which of your tabs you'll close...while socialism (public sector) is where somebody else decides for you. Therefore, with capitalism, the allocation of your computer's resources will reflect your preferences...but with socialism, given that you're not free to choose, obviously there will be a disparity between the two. This is why capitalism results in the efficient allocation of resources while socialism does not. An allocation of resources is "efficient" if it accurately reflects the true preferences of consumers.

Last month a Crooked Timber Liberal blogger, Corey Robin, wrote an article for the Nation in which he drew a connection between Friedrich Nietzsche and the Austrian Economists..."Nietzsche's Marginal Children: On Friedrich Hayek". I'm not going to link you to it because the website has a popup...but I will link you to his recent post at Crooked Timber...Nietzsche, Hayek, and the Austrians: A Reply to My Critics. I'll also link you to John Holbo's (my favorite Crooked Timber Liberal) post on the topic...O upright judge! Is Hayek Like Nietzsche or not?

As you might have guessed from the intro of this post, one concept that both Nietzsche and the Austrians have in common is "creative destruction". Unlike Corey Robin, at least John Holbo uses the term "creative destruction"...but that's all he does is use the term.

A while back I added a couple passages to the Wikipedia article on creative destruction. The first was a passage by Nietzsche...

But have you ever asked yourselves sufficiently how much the erection of every ideal on earth has cost? How much reality has had to be misunderstood and slandered, how many lies have had to be sanctified, how many consciences disturbed, how much "God" sacrificed every time? If a temple is to be erected a temple must be destroyed: that is the law - let anyone who can show me a case in which it is not fulfilled! - Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality

...and the second was a passage by an Austrian Economist...

These economic facts have certain social consequences. As the critics of the market economy nowadays prefer to take their stand on "social" grounds, it may be not inappropriate here to elucidate the true social results of the market process. We have already spoken of it as a leveling process. More aptly, we may now describe these results as an instance of what Pareto called "the circulation of elites." Wealth is unlikely to stay for long in the same hands. It passes from hand to hand as unforeseen change confers value, now on this, now on that specific resource, engendering capital gains and losses. The owners of wealth, we might say with Schumpeter, are like the guests at a hotel or the passengers in a train: They are always there but are never for long the same people. Ludwig Lachmann, The Market Economy and the Distribution of Wealth

Life is dynamic...circumstances are constantly changing. As such, people's preferences are not fixed. One minute you're thirsty, so you spend a $1 on some lemonade...and the next minute your thirst has been quenched.

The capitalist society is a democracy in which every penny represents a ballot paper. It is a democracy with an imperative and immediately revocable mandate to its deputies. It is a consumers' democracy. By themselves the producers, as such, are quite unable to order the direction of production. This is as true of the entrepreneur as of the worker; both must bow ultimately to the consumers' wishes. And it could not well be otherwise. People produce, not for the sake of production, but for the goods that may be consumed. As producer in an economy based on the division of labour, a man is merely the agent of the community and as such has to obey. Only as a consumer can he command. - Ludwig von Mises, Economic Democracy

Each penny that you are free to spend is a vote for the continued creation of a product/service that matches your preferences. But each penny that you spend on lemonade is a penny that cannot be spent on soda, carrot juice, a new computer or any of the other millions and millions of other products/services.

Likewise, each second you spend reading this post is a second that cannot be spent reading other posts. Each second you spend replying to this post is a second that cannot be spent replying to other posts. In other words, there's always an opportunity cost. Spending is always creating/destroying...

By preferring my work, simply by giving it my time, my attention, by preferring my activity as a citizen or as a professional philosopher, writing and speaking here in a public language, French in my case, I am perhaps fulfilling my duty. But I am sacrificing and betraying at every moment all my other obligations: my obligation to the other others whom I know or don’t know, the billions of my fellows (without mentioning the animals that are even more other others than my fellows), my fellows who are dying of starvation or sickness. I betray my fidelity or my obligations to other citizens, to those who don't speak my language and to whom I neither speak or respond, to each of those who listen or read, and to whom I neither respond nor address myself in the proper manner, that is, in a singular manner (this is for the so-called public space to which I sacrifice my so-called private space), thus also to those I love in private, my own, my family, my son, each of whom is the only son I sacrifice to the other, every one being sacrificed to every one else in this land of Moriah that is our habitat every second of every day. - Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death

Markets give you the freedom to decide for yourself what you're willing to pay/give up/sacrifice/exchange/trade for the things you want. As a result, the allocation of resources reflects the true preferences of consumers. The allocation of resources is efficient.

One critique that Holbo brought up is that the idea that markets make it so that some people have more economic freedom than other people. But isn't it intuitive that some people belong in jail? Do we really want Jeffrey Dahmer to have as much freedom as Michael Moore?

Why does Michael Moore have more economic freedom than most of us? Here's his answer...

I'm a millionaire, I'm a multi-millionaire. I'm filthy rich. You know why I'm a multi-millionaire? 'Cause multi-millions like what I do. That's pretty good, isn't it? - Michael Moore

Should Moore have more economic freedom than the rest of us? Personally, I don't think so, which is why I don't give him my money. I don't give him my money because I don't value how he is using society's limited resources.

Money is positive feedback. If you derive value from how somebody is using their limited resources, then you give them your positive feedback. If you take away consumer's freedom to give producers their positive feedback, then it's inevitable that we will greatly reduce how much value we derive from how society's limited resources are used.

So when you open and close tabs...don't take your freedom for granted. Understand that your preferences are determining how society's limited resources are allocated. In other words, it's demand that's determining supply. It's demand which is determining what is destroyed and what is created. It's demand which is determining which uses of society's limited resources are more valuable than other uses.

Given that the government cannot know your true preferences for public goods, it's a given that the government will supply the wrong quantities of public goods. This is what's wrong with the public sector. It's absurd to believe that 300 congresspeople can know the true preferences of 300,000,000 people better than those 300 million people can. It's the epitome of conceit. Hayek, Mises and Bastiat understood the value of individual foresight...which is what made them Austrians...

If the socialists mean that under extraordinary circumstances, for urgent cases, the state should set aside some resources to assist certain unfortunate people, to help them adjust to changing conditions, we will, of course, agree. This is done now; we desire that it be done better. There is, however, a point on this road that must not be passed; it is the point where governmental foresight would step in to replace individual foresight and thus destroy it. - Frédéric Bastiat

But was Nietzsche an Austrian?

Every animal, including the bête philosophe, instinctively strives for an optimum of favorable conditions under which it can expend all its strength and achieve its maximal feeling of power; every animal abhors, just as instinctively and with a subtlety of discernment that is "higher than all reason," every kind of intrusion or hindrance that obstructs or could obstruct his path to the optimum (– it is not his path to ‘happiness’ I am talking about, but the path to power, action, the mightiest deeds, and in most cases, actually, his path to misery). Thus the philosopher abhors marriage, together with all that might persuade him to it, – marriage as hindrance and catastrophe on his path to the optimum. Which great philosopher, so far, has been married? Heraclitus, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Schopenhauer – were not; indeed it is impossible to even think about them as married. A married philosopher belongs to comedy, that is my proposition: and that exception, Socrates, the mischievous Socrates, appears to have married ironice, simply in order to demonstrate this proposition. Every philosopher would say what Buddha said when he was told of the birth of a son: ‘Râhula is born to me, a fetter is forged for me’ (Râhula means here ‘a little demon’); every ‘free spirit' ought to have a thoughtful moment, assuming he has previously had a thoughtless one, like the moment experienced by that same Buddha – he thought to himself, ‘living in a house, that unclean place, is cramped; freedom is in leaving the house’: so saying, he left the house. The ascetic ideal points the way to so many bridges to independence that no philosopher can refrain from inwardly rejoicing and clapping hands on hearing the story of all those who, one fine day, decided to say ‘no’ to any curtailment of their liberty, and go off into the desert: even granted they were just strong asses and the complete opposite of a strong spirit. Consequently, what does the ascetic ideal mean for a philosopher? My answer is – you will have guessed ages ago: on seeing an ascetic ideal, the philosopher smiles because he sees an optimum condition of the highest and boldest intellectuality [Geistigkeit], – he does not deny ‘existence’ by doing so, but rather affirms his existence and only his existence, and possibly does this to the point where he is not far from making the outrageous wish: pereat mundus, fiat philosophia, fiat philosophus, fiam!… - Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality
 

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Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

Over at the BHL blog, Jacob Levy wrote a post on fringe libertarian perspectives on the Civil War... Bleeding-Heart Kansas.

I get the sense that most people solely rely on moral arguments against slavery. It's wrong to enslave people...and that's it.

So thought I'd create a thread to give members the opportunity to share their arguments against slavery.

What are your arguments against slavery? Would you classify your arguments as economic or moral?

Personally, I see the moral arguments as easier...but completely lacking of substance. Arguments that are easily digestible. Parents spoon feed their kids and their kids spoon feed their kids.

Economic arguments require appreciating the unseen. Bob, as a slave, engages in activity A. But as a free man, he would engage in activity ?.

Pro slavery economic arguments consisted of predicting that Bob would engage in less valuable activities if he was given his freedom (see J.S. Mill's response...The Negro Question)

Right now Bob's taxes pay for activity A, B and C. But if Bob could choose where his taxes go, he would spend his taxes on activity ?.

Most people believe that Bob would spend his taxes on less valuable activities. If this were not the case, then we would already be able to choose where our taxes go.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

The moral argument against slavery is so overwhelmingly strong, it hardly needs any "economic" backups.

Besdies, how exactly are you proposing to make an economic argument? Should we view slaves as legitimate economic actors - labor, consumers, investors - or merely as extention of the economic persona of their owner?

The "moral" and the "economic" cannot be spearated here: the study of exchange between people (goods, services, ideas) cannot avoid accounting for the degree of voluntary cooperation in a given society. For example, was the USSR an economic success, or an economic failure. Yes, both - to a greatest degree imaginable. Success, if the purpose of all economic activities is to build a nuclear superpower capable of gobbling neighoring countries whole and enacting most gargantuan project, no matter how idiotic. Failure, if you look at it from a point of view of a Gulag prisoner, or a peasant forced into a "collective farm".
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

Over at the BHL blog, Jacob Levy wrote a post on fringe libertarian perspectives on the Civil War... Bleeding-Heart Kansas.

I get the sense that most people solely rely on moral arguments against slavery. It's wrong to enslave people...and that's it.

So thought I'd create a thread to give members the opportunity to share their arguments against slavery.

What are your arguments against slavery? Would you classify your arguments as economic or moral?

Personally, I see the moral arguments as easier...but completely lacking of substance. Arguments that are easily digestible. Parents spoon feed their kids and their kids spoon feed their kids.

Economic arguments require appreciating the unseen. Bob, as a slave, engages in activity A. But as a free man, he would engage in activity ?.

Pro slavery economic arguments consisted of predicting that Bob would engage in less valuable activities if he was given his freedom (see J.S. Mill's response...The Negro Question)

Right now Bob's taxes pay for activity A, B and C. But if Bob could choose where his taxes go, he would spend his taxes on activity ?.

Most people believe that Bob would spend his taxes on less valuable activities. If this were not the case, then we would already be able to choose where our taxes go.

I love the first concept - the economic results of slavery. It's something that does need to be discussed. But I'm not sure how or why you are linking in the expenditure of government revenue into this issue.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

Right now Bob's taxes pay for activity A, B and C. But if Bob could choose where his taxes go, he would spend his taxes on activity ?.

Most people believe that Bob would spend his taxes on less valuable activities. If this were not the case, then we would already be able to choose where our taxes go.

Yes, sure, taxation in its present form is also coercive, and I hope it will be reformed out of existence eventually. But, as a wise man said long ago, "all morality rests on the sense of proportion". A slave, a serf, a prisoner in a totalitrian state had to deal with virtually complete lack of the freedom of choice - in matters both "economic' and "non-economic". Taxation is coercion on the level where we can think of it as a lesser evil, or greater - depending on other evils we have to deal with.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

I love the first concept - the economic results of slavery. It's something that does need to be discussed. But I'm not sure how or why you are linking in the expenditure of government revenue into this issue.

Slavery is when somebody else controls your resources. Taxation is where somebody else controls your resources. In both cases, your preferences are subjugated. As I might have mentioned a few billion times..."preference" is the same thing as "demand".

Therefore, slavery results in disparities between supply and demand. Same thing with taxation. So make some arguments in favor of this disparity. How large do you want this disparity to be?
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

Okay, I'll bite:

Slave labor is an inefficient method of productivity.

Slaves are unwilling to work at peak performance without constant threat of punishment. They will make every effort to do as little as possible whenever possible to spite their masters. They often act to undermine productivity through acts of petty sabotage, and even major destruction. There is also the constant threat of slave revolt.

This is not the case where a person seeks paid employment. If the wages are satisfactory they willingly work to meet productivity standards. If there is room for advancement or bonuses they even strive to increase productivity or develop methods to help the employer. There is no benefit in undermining the business because then they would not be paid for time not worked. If employees are having a problem, they can strike. Unlike a slave revolt, the employer does not have to fear either death or the destruction of his property because the workers want to continue working once the labor dispute is concluded.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

The moral argument against slavery is so overwhelmingly strong, it hardly needs any "economic" backups.

The moral argument against controlling other people's resources is overwhelmingly strong?

Besdies, how exactly are you proposing to make an economic argument? Should we view slaves as legitimate economic actors - labor, consumers, investors - or merely as extention of the economic persona of their owner?

Stealing bread is wrong because stealing is always wrong - deontological argument (moral)
Stealing bread isn't wrong if it results in saving the life of a starving child - consequentialist argument (economic)

Slavery is wrong because violence is always wrong - deontological argument (moral)
Slavery is wrong because we're better off when people are free - consequentialist argument (economic)

Why are we better off when people are free? Well...because, given that we are unique individuals, we do different things with our resources. Doing different things with our resources is how we can discover more better uses of our resources. As a result, we're better off.

Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. Slavery, and taxation, promote homogeneous activity...they are insanity. Allowing people to choose where their taxes go would facilitate heterogeneous activity.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

Slavery is when somebody else controls your resources. Taxation is where somebody else controls your resources. In both cases, your preferences are subjugated. As I might have mentioned a few billion times..."preference" is the same thing as "demand".

Therefore, slavery results in disparities between supply and demand. Same thing with taxation. So make some arguments in favor of this disparity. How large do you want this disparity to be?

Yeah I disagree with your definitions as woefully simplistic, not the least of which is that the demand for insulin is not the result of people preferring to be diabetic.
 

Republic Now!

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

By making arguing the "economic detriments" of slavery as opposed to the moral implications, you imply that strong economic arguments for slavery could justify it. The economic detriments of slavery are not why we do not engage in slavery, making them irrelevant.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

The moral argument against controlling other people's resources is overwhelmingly strong? .

The moral argument against denying other people their freedom of choice is overwhelmingly strong. If what you do in your life is determined by someone else - what are you? Are you even there? You could have been murdered or never born - same result.



Stealing bread is wrong because stealing is always wrong - deontological argument (moral)
Stealing bread isn't wrong if it results in saving the life of a starving child - consequentialist argument (economic) .

We need to establish definitions here. (As you could have noticed, most of the threads on this forum quickly disintegrate into a pile of inanities under purely semantic pressures).

Morality is a set of rules. It needs to be consistent, it needs to be firm. Stealing is always wrong. Period.

But morality is not everything. There's also compassion (empathy, "love", whatever you want to call it). Stealing bread to save the life of a starving child is not done out of any economic considerations: it is done to save the life of a child. Sometimes, you have to let empathy override morality. Heart over brain. But only rarely, only in truly extreme cases. I guess that's the whole challenge: Retain your humanity, without losing your mind.


Slavery, and taxation, promote homogeneous activity...they are insanity. Allowing people to choose where their taxes go would facilitate heterogeneous activity.

I agree in principle. Still, I find it inappropriate to put slavery and taxation on the same shelf.

A few centuries ago, my ancestors fled from the European Russia to the deadly, frozen wilderness of Siberia to escape the fate worse than death - slavery. We call it "serfdom", but who are we kidding - members of a family could be sold separately, to never see each other again. "Serfdom" my arse. Now, those folks were not some freewheeling Cossacks or Gypsies. Solid, stolid Old Believer farmers and craftsmen (metalworkers, actually), perfectly used to paying tithes up to 50% of their incomes. But that was just money. Silver, copper, sometimes grain or fur. Their bodies and souls were not anyone else's property. If they did not like it "here", they could move "over there" (to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of my other ancestors, for example - many did).

Everything has changed in the 1650s: leaving your landlord became a felony. And no, you cannot buy your freedom. Freedom is a bourgeois superstition - oops! how anachronistic of me: same place, but four centuries off....

The reasoning behind this enslavement of the majority of the population (as white, as Christian, and as Russian as their owners)? Oh, the wisdom of central planning, to use our modern language: Moscow believed that securing labor force in every productive locale will eliminate shortages of food and goods. "Economic reasoning", pure, simple, and (as usual) wrong. Famines only got worse, of course.

The taxes were heavy, but it was protection money the thugs in the Kremlin want in exchange for letting you do whatever it is you want to do. The "serfs" did not have to pay taxes anymore (their owner did). But now they could not choose where to be, who to be, with whom to be (marriages even within the same serf colony had to be sanctioned by the owner, to prevent chaotic migration between villages), what to do....

It is "a matter of degree", but "degrees" do matter. You can breathe when oxygen is the usual 21%, or 30%, or 18% of the air. If it drops below 14% and stays there, you are dead.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

Yeah I disagree with your definitions as woefully simplistic, not the least of which is that the demand for insulin is not the result of people preferring to be diabetic.

How are my definitions woefully simplistic?

The demand for insulin is the same thing as people's preference for insulin. How do we know that people have a preference for insulin? Because they are willing to pay for it. That's what demand is. It's what people are willing to sacrifice for. If you're not willing to sacrifice for something, then you can't say that it matches your preferences. And the more you're willing to sacrifice for something, the more it matches your preferences.

But nobody prefers diabetes or cancer. There's no demand for diabetes and no demand for cancer. However, some people prefer to smoke...while others do not. Some people prefer healthy lifestyles...while others do not. Some people end up with cancer despite living healthy lifestyles.

The point of markets...people shopping for themselves...is to figure out how to divide society's resources between cancer research, diabetes research and a gazillion other possible uses of society's limited resources. If you think that government planners can simply look at the statistics, consult the experts, conduct a few surveys and come up with the most efficient allocation of society's limited resources...then your understanding of economics is woefully simplistic. And I already know that your understanding of economics is woefully simplistic given that you believe that government planners can determine the quantity of resources that should be allocated to defense and education.

You believe that government planners can somehow divine 300 million's people's preferences for defense and education...but they can't divine 300 million people's preferences for cancer/diabetes research/treatment. Somehow their crystal ball has a few blind spots? Or maybe people's preferences...aka "demand"...matters for some goods...but not for other goods? Demand is important when it comes to supplying private goods...but not when it comes to supplying public goods?
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

By making arguing the "economic detriments" of slavery as opposed to the moral implications, you imply that strong economic arguments for slavery could justify it.

Are there strong economic arguments for slavery? Are there strong economic arguments for genocide? Rather than trade with the Chinese...why don't we simply just nuke them and take all their resources? Because it would be immoral to do so? Because we would go to hell if we did so? Those are retarded arguments. Those are the arguments of babies.

The correct answer is because we would be severely limiting our prosperity. Why would we limit our prosperity? Because we would not be able to benefit from Chinese innovation! There wouldn't be any Chinese innovation because there wouldn't be any Chinese. There would only be American innovation. But as a species, we're better off with American AND Chinese innovation.

Innovation depends on different perspectives. As Americans, we have quite a bit of innovation because we have quite a bit of diversity. Relatively speaking, for the most part, we encourage free thinking. We believe it's a good thing for people to think outside the box.

Chinese, by virtue of their not being Americans, think differently...which means that they'll come up with different uses of their resources than we would have. And free-trade will allow us to indicate which of these different uses benefit us the most.

The economic detriments of slavery are not why we do not engage in slavery, making them irrelevant.

Just because you don't understand the economic arguments for freedom, doesn't mean that they are irrelevant. They are painfully relevant...each war we suffer is proof positive that they are relevant.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

The moral argument against denying other people their freedom of choice is overwhelmingly strong. If what you do in your life is determined by someone else - what are you? Are you even there? You could have been murdered or never born - same result.

The moral argument falls incredibly short...which means that it is not overwhelmingly strong...it's overwhelmingly weak. How do I know that it's overwhelmingly weak? Because people can't choose where their taxes go. Your actions speak louder than your words. You say that people's freedom of choice (their preferences) is so important...yet you're not a pragmatarian. The only logical conclusion is that you don't truly appreciate the value of people's freedom of choice. You don't really understand why people's preferences are important. Therefore, the moral arguments do not go the distance. They "bonk" just outside the starting gate.

We need to establish definitions here. (As you could have noticed, most of the threads on this forum quickly disintegrate into a pile of inanities under purely semantic pressures).

Morality is a set of rules. It needs to be consistent, it needs to be firm. Stealing is always wrong. Period.

But morality is not everything. There's also compassion (empathy, "love", whatever you want to call it). Stealing bread to save the life of a starving child is not done out of any economic considerations: it is done to save the life of a child. Sometimes, you have to let empathy override morality. Heart over brain. But only rarely, only in truly extreme cases. I guess that's the whole challenge: Retain your humanity, without losing your mind.

You wouldn't derive any utility from saving the life of a child? It doesn't seem like you even have a rudimentary grasp of basic economics.

When Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Issac...was that a matter of economics? What do you think economics is? It's trying to sacrifice the least to gain the most. That's what trade/exchange is all about...getting the most bang for our buck.

I agree in principle. Still, I find it inappropriate to put slavery and taxation on the same shelf.

Maybe from the moral perspective...but not from the economic perspective. Both negatively impact how much benefit we derive from society's limited resources. Why? Because people's preferences (aka "demand") do not determine how society's limited resources are used. Therefore, we severely limit how much value we derive from our resources.

The reasoning behind this enslavement of the majority of the population (as white, as Christian, and as Russian as their owners)? Oh, the wisdom of central planning, to use our modern language: Moscow believed that securing labor force in every productive locale will eliminate shortages of food and goods. "Economic reasoning", pure, simple, and (as usual) wrong. Famines only got worse, of course.

There's good economic reasoning and bad economic reasoning. Thinking you can ignore the actual preferences of consumers is bad economic reasoning. That's why central planning always has negative outcomes. People don't understand this basic truth because here in the US we have a mixed economy. We have a market economy in the private sector and central planning in the public sector. Half our resources are allocated by consumers while the other half is allocated by central planners (congress).

Either the preferences of consumers matter...or they do not. Which is it? If they matter...then you'll agree that taxpayers should have the freedom to choose where their taxes go. If you disagree with tax choice, then clearly you can't truly believe that we're better off with the freedom to choose.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

On the Wealth of Nations Adam Smith, 1776
But if great improvements are seldom to be expected from great proprietors, they are least of all to be expected when they employ slaves for their workmen. The experience of all ages and nations, I believe, demonstrates that the work done by slaves, though it appears to cost only their maintenance, is in the end the dearest of any. A person who can acquire no property, can have no other interest but to eat as much, and to labour as little as possible. Whatever work he does beyond what is sufficient to purchase his own maintenance can be squeezed out of him by violence only, and not by any interest of his own. In ancient Italy, how much the cultivation of corn degenerated, how unprofitable it became to the master when it fell under the management of slaves, is remarked by both Pliny and Columella....
The pride of man makes him love to domineer, and nothing mortifies him so much as to be obliged to condescend to persuade his inferiors. Wherever the law allows it, and the nature of the work can afford it, therefore, he will generally prefer the service of slaves to that of freemen. The planting of sugar and tobacco can afford the expence of slave-cultivation. The raising of corn, it seems, in the present times, cannot.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

Are there strong economic arguments for slavery?

Possibly. If someone does conceive of them, shall we adopt slavery again to reap these economic benefits?
Are there strong economic arguments for genocide?
Depends on who you're killing.

Rather than trade with the Chinese...why don't we simply just nuke them and take all their resources? Because it would be immoral to do so?

Well, firstly because they wouldn't have any resources left if we nuked them.

Because we would go to hell if we did so?
I never mentioned theology.

Those are retarded arguments.
And that, of course, is the epitome of thoughtful discourse.

Those are the arguments of babies.

Yes, babies often ponder the issue of ethics.

The correct answer is because we would be severely limiting our prosperity. Why would we limit our prosperity? Because we would not be able to benefit from Chinese innovation! There wouldn't be any Chinese innovation because there wouldn't be any Chinese. There would only be American innovation. But as a species, we're better off with American AND Chinese innovation.

Okay. What the hell does this have to do with anything?

Innovation depends on different perspectives. As Americans, we have quite a bit of innovation because we have quite a bit of diversity. Relatively speaking, for the most part, we encourage free thinking. We believe it's a good thing for people to think outside the box.

Chinese, by virtue of their not being Americans, think differently...which means that they'll come up with different uses of their resources than we would have. And free-trade will allow us to indicate which of these different uses benefit us the most.

Well, my dear amoral friend, you've convinced me the Chinese deserve to live. Bravo. I'll be sure not to exterminate them until someone makes a better economic argument for it to me later.

Just because you don't understand the economic arguments for freedom, doesn't mean that they are irrelevant. They are painfully relevant...each war we suffer is proof positive that they are relevant.

I understand them fine. They're not relevant because there's no other option but to deny slavery and therefore a denial of slavery does not need to be justified. To make an economic justification to remove slavery is to invite the possibility of an economic justification for slavery.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

Slavery is when somebody else controls your resources. Taxation is where somebody else controls your resources. In both cases, your preferences are subjugated. As I might have mentioned a few billion times..."preference" is the same thing as "demand".

Therefore, slavery results in disparities between supply and demand. Same thing with taxation. So make some arguments in favor of this disparity. How large do you want this disparity to be?

OK, now I see your point. You are trying to tie in your meme about tax preference into slavery.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

OK, now I see your point. You are trying to tie in your meme about tax preference into slavery.

I solicited arguments against slavery...and shared my own argument. So far you have yet to share any arguments against slavery. Do you have any?
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

OK, now I see your point. You are trying to tie in your meme about tax preference into slavery.

Now, did you honestly think that this thread would not be about preference revelation and stretching it to private goods and then onto the government budgeting process before it was over?
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

Possibly. If someone does conceive of them, shall we adopt slavery again to reap these economic benefits?

If miniature pink unicorns fly into your bedroom one night...should you let them anally probe you?

Do you know what it means for resources to be efficiently allocated?

Okay. What the hell does this have to do with anything?

It was my economic argument in favor of allowing the Chinese to live free. In case you missed it, this thread is about economic arguments against slavery.

Well, my dear amoral friend, you've convinced me the Chinese deserve to live. Bravo. I'll be sure not to exterminate them until someone makes a better economic argument for it to me later.

You don't understand enough about economics to understand that it's impossible for there to be better arguments in favor of slavery/genocide.

1. Prosperity/progress depends on what we do with our limited resources
2. What we do with our limited resources depends on different perspectives. The greater the variety of perspectives...the greater the variety of new and different uses.
3. Genocide, slavery, taxation...all limit the variety of perspectives...they all reduce new and innovative uses of our limited resources...and they will always restrict prosperity/progress.

I understand them fine. They're not relevant because there's no other option but to deny slavery and therefore a denial of slavery does not need to be justified. To make an economic justification to remove slavery is to invite the possibility of an economic justification for slavery.

No, you don't understand the economic arguments against slavery. If you did, then you would support allowing taxpayers to choose where their taxes go. You would understand that there can't be true progress without giving people the freedom to use their sacrifices to indicate what the government does that can be considered progress.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

No, you don't understand the economic arguments against slavery. If you did, then you would support allowing taxpayers to choose where their taxes go. You would understand that there can't be true progress without giving people the freedom to use their sacrifices to indicate what the government does that can be considered progress.

Then you support allowing poor people to have no vote because they do not pay federal income taxes, and for everyone who gets the earned income credit to have to work it off as indentured servants? Same logic.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

Now, did you honestly think that this thread would not be about preference revelation and stretching it to private goods and then onto the government budgeting process before it was over?

See...you had a choice. In my original post...I gave you the option to share your arguments against slavery...and I also gave you the option to address my own argument against slavery. Except, were those your only options? Nope, you could have also addressed Captain Adverse's argument.

But you choose to address my argument. Did I force you to address my argument? Did I send miniature pink unicorns over to your place to threaten you? LOL. Yet, here you are, crying because you and I went a certain direction.

It's free-trade man. It takes two to tango. We're tangoing because you asked me to dance. Except, as usual, you fail to address my arguments. Learn to tango and then try again. In other words, learn the first thing about economics and try again.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

Then you support allowing poor people to have no vote because they do not pay federal income taxes, and for everyone who gets the earned income credit to have to work it off as indentured servants? Same logic.

I support allowing people to choose how their own resources are allocated. Do you know what you have to do if you want more resources? You have to persuade other people to give you their resources. For example, I created this thread and persuaded you to give me your time.

Why does it matter that people only be allowed to spend their own resources?

As was noted in Chapter 3, expressions of malice and/or envy no less than expressions of altruism are cheaper in the voting booth than in the market. A German voter who in 1933 cast a ballot for Hitler was able to indulge his antisemitic sentiments at much less cost than she would have borne by organizing a pogrom. - Geoffrey Brennan, Loren Lomasky, Democracy and Decision

WWII would have been avoided if voters had had no choice but to put their own money where their mouths were. And because you don't understand this basic concept...WWIII is a given.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

See...you had a choice. In my original post...I gave you the option to share your arguments against slavery...and I also gave you the option to address my own argument against slavery. Except, were those your only options? Nope, you could have also addressed Captain Adverse's argument.

But you choose to address my argument. Did I force you to address my argument? Did I send miniature pink unicorns over to your place to threaten you? LOL. Yet, here you are, crying because you and I went a certain direction.

It's free-trade man. It takes two to tango. We're tangoing because you asked me to dance. Except, as usual, you fail to address my arguments. Learn to tango and then try again. In other words, learn the first thing about economics and try again.

No I did not ask you to dance. I laughed at your dress from across the room. There is no need to address your arguments again. They are just as wrong now as they were the last time. Who exactly do you think will select to fund the IRS to collect the money from them? And you are still avoiding the points I raised, but that does not bother me, because you will still be just as wrong about letting people directly decide which programs to fund and which ones not to fund because they will have to spend all their money raising money just like a bad charity with 99% overhead.
 

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Re: Economic Arguments Against Slavery?

If miniature pink unicorns fly into your bedroom one night...should you let them anally probe you?

Probably not.

Unless you're into that sort of thing.

Do you know what it means for resources to be efficiently allocated?

It was my economic argument in favor of allowing the Chinese to live free. In case you missed it, this thread is about economic arguments against slavery.

You were arguing against killing the Chinese, not enslaving them (until an economic advantage appears in doing so, then it's cool to just kill them all.)


You don't understand enough about economics to understand that it's impossible for there to be better arguments in favor of slavery/genocide.

Okay, I get it. You know everything.

1. Prosperity/progress depends on what we do with our limited resources
2. What we do with our limited resources depends on different perspectives. The greater the variety of perspectives...the greater the variety of new and different uses.
3. Genocide, slavery, taxation...all limit the variety of perspectives...they all reduce new and innovative uses of our limited resources...and they will always restrict prosperity/progress.

How does slavery limit perspective? If anything, you're advocating limiting the slavery perspective.



No, you don't understand the economic arguments against slavery. If you did, then you would support allowing taxpayers to choose where their taxes go. You would understand that there can't be true progress without giving people the freedom to use their sacrifices to indicate what the government does that can be considered progress.

You have no clue what I support. For knowing everything, you sure do say a lot of false things about me. Maybe you're just arrogant?
 
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