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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13733/the-story-of-stuff/

The Story of Stuff

August 31, 2010 by

Sterling Terrell discusses a new video that condemns the existence of markets that produce. The narrator doesn’t put it that way, but this is the upshot of a screed that fails to understand the benefits of either trade or production. FULL ARTICLE by Sterling T. Terrell

{ 116 comments }

augusto August 31, 2010 at 8:21 am

“Who says that? Give me one example. Does entering into voluntary transactions with foreign nationals, where labor or raw materials may be cheaper, imply that? I think not.”

Well, the problem is that the US has a record of transactions that are not so “voluntary” as you seem to imply. General Smedley Butler´s “War is a racket” is a very eloquent description of how many of those transactions come about (one may argue about the efficiency of non-voluntary transactions, but not with the fact that invading other countries and enthroning puppet governments has been a constant practice of the US government and large corporations).

Seattle August 31, 2010 at 8:45 am

What Ms. Leonard is arguing is that ALL economic transactions are coerced ones that can only benefit one at the expense of another. The developed world can only prosper by grinding the developing world into the dirt. It’s us or them. This is what Mr. Terrel was arguing against: That the US Government loves trying to “save” the third world with military interventions is not a refutation of this.

mpolzkill August 31, 2010 at 8:59 am

I think you’re missing what he was suggesting, Seattle. That “saving” is almost always the pretext for what Augusto and General Butler observed. Ms. Leonard’s confusion is understandable, as the U.S. government has got to be the worst ambassador for capitalism possible, being a foul gang of mercantilist invaders.

James Kidd August 31, 2010 at 8:55 am

Even if this is true sometimes it isn’t true for all the innocuous transactions we use. Are we militarily coercing Indonesia to sell us rubber or forcing them to manufacture cheap T-shirts? How about Singapore or China? Surely we have held them at gunpoint to manufacture silicon chips for our video game consoles and iPhones. Our government must surely be having a field day militarily pushing endless weaker countries around for the sole sake of cheap labor and goods from every corner of the planet, encompassing likely trillions of transactions and millions of resource and manufacturing agreements, yes?

While I do agree that for certain markets like oil, finance, and gold the government gets their hands dirty for their own profits and protections, nearly everything else is voluntary.

mpolzkill August 31, 2010 at 9:11 am

It’s not so easy to divide it like that. It’s kind of like saying that one of the victims of American government schools voluntarily plays the State lotto and only cries about his crappy “job” instead of improving himself, and thus keeps *himself* in a constant state of relative poverty. There really has to be a world of non-intervention before we can draw any conclusions like “nearly everything…is voluntary.”

augusto August 31, 2010 at 8:29 am

Also, about the forests: Leonard talks about “original forest” (4%) and you respond with “forested area” (24%). The key here is the word “original”.

But I know what you mean: she is basically arguing that the market is evil, that government is good, etc. I wonder when people will begin to argue that posting videos on Youtube is a “right”… :-/

James Kidd August 31, 2010 at 8:49 am

The authors’ point here is that if the current ‘forested area’ of the USA is 24% of its landmass and that this is also 4% of its original forested area, then the total forested area originally would have to be… ummm 25 x 24 = 600% of the USA’s total landmass today?

michael August 31, 2010 at 9:05 am

What the video simply says is that of that area of the United States that was originally covered in forest, 4% still remains as the original forest.

The 24% of the United States now covered in forest is mostly tree farms and second growth on fallow farms. It does not have the same character as does an untouched, original forest.

Much of my state is now covered in scrub forest, the transitional state between farms and subdivisions. Only one fairly small forest remains as having never been logged.

The Anti-Gnostic August 31, 2010 at 10:32 am

“The 24% of the United States now covered in forest is mostly tree farms and second growth on fallow farms. It does not have the same character as does an untouched, original forest.”

Too bad. There are more people now and they have to live/extract resources from somewhere.

Also, just what is an “untouched, original” forest? Ecosystems get attacked by blight or parasites, destroyed by volcanoes, drought, flood, etc. Swamps disappear over time, deserts (and glaciers) advance, etc. Unless you’re hoping for a massive Malthusian event, the amount of “untouched, original” land will shrink and eventually disappear. It happened in Europe, the Middle East, the Orient, etc., hundreds of years ago. The world does not end.

mpolzkill August 31, 2010 at 10:43 am

Does anyone know, is it true that aboriginal Americans (Indians) managed the forests for eons with controlled fires? And has anyone read about evidence of massive ancient South American land projects almost entirely swallowed up by the jungle over the centuries. Someone was telling me about a cable TV show theorizing on the supreme hard-left fantasy of all people being wiped out. It would be a matter of a couple centuries before there was not one trace on the earth’s surface that humans ever existed, I hear. Maybe that didn’t include the largest Egyptian pyramids.

michael August 31, 2010 at 11:28 am

You’re right. The original ecosystems of the planet will all either be transformed utterly or will disappear entirely over the next century. The event is already known as the Sixth Great Extinction. It’s just that some of us understand that things of immeasurable value will be lost if we don’t take action now to save a few of the most important things.

Most of Europe, as you say, is gone. But those pockets that have been saved– the Bialowieza Forest on Poland and the Dolomites in Croatia, are reminders of the planet we used to have. And they are of more worth to us by far than the sum total of developments that might be made on those locations.

No one is saying we have to stop transforming the planet into landfill– at this point such a wish would be untenable. We’re just saying that wise use policies will serve us much better than letting the transformation proceed unplanned.

Yes, life can probably survive without the natural world. But system degradation robs it of much of its worth. And it does so incrementally, so that each generation notices only that things have gotten somewhat worse than when they were kids.

Thinker August 31, 2010 at 2:16 pm

michael,

“It’s just that some of us understand that things of immeasurable value will be lost if we don’t take action now to save a few of the most important things.”

Some people think that things of immeasurable value will be lost. Others disagree. On what objective basis do you say that one set of subjective valuations should be exalted above another?

“But those pockets that have been saved– the Bialowieza Forest on Poland and the Dolomites in Croatia, are reminders of the planet we used to have. And they are of more worth to us by far than the sum total of developments that might be made on those locations.”

How do you know that these undeveloped pieces of land are more valuable undeveloped than they would be if they were developed? It’s perfectly reasonable to claim this as your opinion, but to justify it as an objective fact you need an objective basis for decision. Otherwise, you are simply substituting your values for those of someone else.

“We’re just saying that wise use policies will serve us much better than letting the transformation proceed unplanned.”

As Hayek and Mises explained, it is not a question of “plan” vs. “no plan,” but of “whose plans?” You want to substitute your plan for the plans of others–on what objective basis do you claim that your plan is superior?

michael August 31, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Thinker: You and I obviously have a differing conception of value. And I will concede that if you only assign a cash value to everything, the value of an intangible like wildness is nil. Yet there are those of us who are glad bits of wildness still exist. And when each one is lost we mourn it.

If your body were to be reduced to its constituent chemicals, how much would your water, your iron, your fluorine, your magnesium, etc, be worth in cash? Yet to you personally, does it not have a greater value than that small sum?

That’s exactly how we living beings feel about life. With us, it’s a sacred thing.

mpolzkill August 31, 2010 at 4:53 pm
Thinker August 31, 2010 at 4:53 pm

michael,

I actually agree with you that there is value beyond market exchange value, and even that there is value in “wildness” that is worth protecting. My questions are not about value, they are about the compulsory substitution of one set of values for another. I am more than willing to concede that there are objective reasons for the use of force against certain individuals, so my questions can be rephrased, “What are these reasons according to you?”

kash-money, kash-value August 31, 2010 at 10:03 pm

“You and I obviously have a differing conception of value.”

yours appears to be incorrect. luckly for you, you’re commenting on a site which extensively covers such topics ;D

“And I will concede that if you only assign a cash value to everything, the value of an intangible like wildness is nil. Yet there are those of us who are glad bits of wildness still exist. And when each one is lost we mourn it.”

you actually conceded to your own incorrect conclusion about the concept of value. “cash” need not even enter the equation, as value is simply determined by subjective preferences. you value wilderness because it makes you “glad” it exists, and you personally feel a loss each time some sort of [arbitrary] unit of it is touched by humankind.

you also implied that when money entered into the equation the value [your own subjective evaluation] of wilderness in terms of monetary units was “nil”, so it sounds like you prefer money over the wilderness. i’m pretty sure that’s not what you actually meant, but saying it were true for the sake of argument, it would also only hold true to your own preference on your own subjective scale of values. judging by the time, labor and, even money invested in conservation efforts would prove otherwise.

also wilderness is made up of physical matter and very tangible… otherwise it would make it quite hard to disturb! pillage! industrialize! by capitalist pig-dogs.

…but yes, this is going off track. back to the topic at hand… he’s asking why your [or anyone else's] plan is any more objectively important than anyone else’s [or yours]… especially to the point of using compulsory and coercive enforcement of said plan.

why in particular, for instance, should say an anti-industrialist’s own personal valuation of virgin/untapped land hold any higher objective importance than a capitalist who values the land as a resource perhaps just as much (or maybe even more?… he is pouring time, labor and capital into it’s development, after all) so that higher order goods can be produced and sent down the pipelines of production so that people can sit comfortably in their air conditioned homes and discuss the economic ideas presented in a youtube video they saw with other people across the globe?

michael August 31, 2010 at 10:15 pm

“My questions are not about value, they are about the compulsory substitution of one set of values for another. I am more than willing to concede that there are objective reasons for the use of force against certain individuals, so my questions can be rephrased, “What are these reasons according to you?”

Hi, Thinker. When I look at that video I do not think any form of compulsion is involved. Instead I think someone’s freely expressing their opinion. And I approve of that. I even approve of you expressing your opinion.

Ann Coulter, I’m not so sure about. Maybe we would have to kind of take her out behind the barn. :)

And Kash: Don’t you think it’s a tad simplistic to say that the person in the video is antimaterialistic? I suspect she would not be happy living in a cave, and knows it. The message that comes across to me is that there are other values beyond that of mere materialism, and that an economy based on the constant purchase and disposal of more and more stuff must necessarily end in disaster for us all.

It’s a false choice to be made out to be either 100% materialistic or 100% against it. We live somewhere along the middle of that wide spectrum.

kash-money, kash-value August 31, 2010 at 11:04 pm

“And Kash: Don’t you think it’s a tad simplistic to say that the person in the video is antimaterialistic? I suspect she would not be happy living in a cave, and knows it.”

I never said anything about any living person. The woman in that video could be an extremely hedonistic greedy materialist suburban mom hypocrite who pimps out her video to all her children’s friends as she drives them to soccer practice in a canary-yellow hummer for all I know. I don’t know that woman. The only judgement I have made about her is that she is obviously quite ignorant about the subject manner she’s speaking about. That’s not true… there’s the possibility she’s not ignorant as well… in which case she’s either a victim of coercive force, or treacherous.

“The message that comes across to me is that there are other values beyond that of mere materialism”

of course there are, i stated that earlier. you’re even the one who brought up monetary pricing.

“and that an economy based on the constant purchase and disposal of more and more stuff must necessarily end in disaster for us all.”

the economy is based on humans acting to meet their goals. if their goals include purchasing consumer products to meet their desired ends, then so be it. there is no disaster here, other than the presentation in that video.

“It’s a false choice to be made out to be either 100% materialistic or 100% against it. We live somewhere along the middle of that wide spectrum.”

not sure where you’re getting the binary decision from. i’m sure most people probably run all over that gamut on a daily basis.

as far as having a culture of consumerism… if you don’t like it… don’t buy it? [har har har] if spending money on consumer goods makes someone happier, what’s the big deal? could be somewhat repugnant to some people, but i mean personally i find mayonnaise repugnant, you know?

sigh. most people seem to enjoy mayo, too. :(

sometimes the price of freedom almost seems too high.

Thinker September 1, 2010 at 8:48 am

michael,

Though I disagree with your assessment of the video (I think she is implicitly calling for the use of coercion), that’s not what I’m getting at. You have proposed the use of force to protect certain wild places–on what objective basis do you justify this?

michael September 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

“I never said anything about any living person. The woman in that video could be an extremely hedonistic greedy materialist suburban mom hypocrite who pimps out her video to all her children’s friends as she drives them to soccer practice in a canary-yellow hummer for all I know. I don’t know that woman. The only judgement I have made about her is that she is obviously quite ignorant about the subject manner she’s speaking about. That’s not true… there’s the possibility she’s not ignorant as well… in which case she’s either a victim of coercive force, or treacherous.”

Pretty combative, kash. But she does seem pretty well armed with statistics. You could, of course, do a little research and question those stats. But as you haven’t, you’re the one who comes off as a bit ignorant about the subject.

Coercive force… treacherous… you’d have greater powers to convince if you laid off the hyperbole and insults and relied more on reasoned argument. I don’t know why it is that this site attracts so many adamant flamers.

kash-money, kash-value September 1, 2010 at 7:04 pm

“Pretty combative, kash.”

i wouldn’t really say that, perhaps we have rather different senses of humor, though.

“But she does seem pretty well armed with statistics. You could, of course, do a little research and question those stats. But as you haven’t, you’re the one who comes off as a bit ignorant about the subject.”

Conjecture. How did you come to the conclusion that I did not question [heh, it does not even exactly take much to question the validity of the statistics she presented] said statistics?

You do realize that the article itself presents the video as questionable and attempts to rebut it, right?

Besides her logic was obviously flawed from the get go, and in such cases statistics tend to be used as a way to give a face of validity to a fallacious statement. statistics can only take you so far, and, as they say 90% of them are made up. ;)

“Coercive force… treacherous… you’d have greater powers to convince if you laid off the hyperbole and insults and relied more on reasoned argument. I don’t know why it is that this site attracts so many adamant flamers.”

the statement you are complaining about was simply my attempt at humorously explaining that i was not talking about anyone specific in my previous statement. i obviously don’t know that woman. also i’d like you to explain to me how i’m not being “reasoned”… you want me to put it in a dryer tone?

micheal,

I was not talking about the person presenting in the video. I do not know that woman, her lifestyle nor her attitude. Though I have come to the conclusion that the reason she must be presenting such incorrect information must come down to one of these options:

A) she is ignorant of what she is presenting
B) she is saying statements she knows are false under duress
C) she is intentionally being deceitful

…is that better for you?

kash-money, kash-value September 1, 2010 at 7:31 pm

also i thought i’d already mentioned it, but i didn’t throw any insults at anyone. i simply stated that because i didn’t know that woman i could just as easily picture her as the antithesis [in my own satirical way] of what you believed i had attributed to her [antimaterialist], to further reinforce the fact that i was not talking about her.i did not say she was those things. i said she could be as far as i know. i didn’t even call her treacherous. what i did say, was that i did not know her. also this is pretty irrelevant, and a complete sidetrack from the topic at hand, so I’m going to apologize to Thinker for allowing this to derail as it has.

Thinker September 1, 2010 at 10:49 pm

kash-money,

Don’t sweat it. I asked my question more than a day ago, and michael still hasn’t answered, so I’m not holding my breath.

I also think I can narrow down your possibilities for Ms. Leonard’s motivation a bit: though I’m not especially familiar with her background, I seriously doubt she’s doing this under duress. I do know that she’s a former employee of Greenpeace, and after watching this video, would be very surprised if she left that organization because it was too radical. Furthermore, if she actually knew that what she was saying was such utter hogwash, I very much doubt that she’d have been able to actually make this presentation without bursting out laughing every few seconds. As such, I personally think she’s just a Marxist drone.

Case in point: the radio story. While waiting in line at Radio Shack to purchase a $4.99 radio, instead of marveling, “Wow! People from across the globe with little or no knowledge of each other managed to so efficiently combine resources to produce radios that in order for the supplier to sell all of them, they have to charge such a low price! Even more amazingly, they manage to produce it for less than that marginal cost, since this company is earning profits, meaning that even more of these radios will be produced in the future, allowing people from all walks of life to acquire information broadcast from various locations at previously unimagined distances!”, but rather, “The producers couldn’t possibly have been so efficient as to make this radio for less than $4.99! They must be cheating!” I think this example pretty clearly shows where she gets her economic ideas.

michael September 2, 2010 at 4:31 pm

“I asked my question more than a day ago, and michael still hasn’t answered, so I’m not holding my breath.”

Do you mean this question?

“You have proposed the use of force to protect certain wild places–on what objective basis do you justify this?”

I thought I answered that one before you even asked it. Do you remember this?

“Hi, Thinker. When I look at that video I do not think any form of compulsion is involved. Instead I think someone’s freely expressing their opinion. And I approve of that. I even approve of you expressing your opinion. ”

Or was it this one?

“I am more than willing to concede that there are objective reasons for the use of force against certain individuals, so my questions can be rephrased, “What are these reasons according to you?”

It sounds to me like you resent any law restricting your absolute freedom as being backed by force. Okay, here’s mine: America reserves the right to enact laws and enforce them.

Here’s my question for you: if you’re so unhappy with the rules here, what makes you stay?

Thinker September 2, 2010 at 5:26 pm

michael,

You seem to have a peculiar idea of what it means to answer a question. I ask, “You have proposed the use of force to protect certain wild places–on what objective basis do you justify this?”, and you respond, “When I look at that video I do not think any form of compulsion is involved. Instead I think someone’s freely expressing their opinion. And I approve of that. I even approve of you expressing your opinion. ” That doesn’t answer the question. I didn’t ask about the video or freedom of speech; I asked about the objective basis for the use of force. I’ll note that you still haven’t answered this question, or my rephrasing.

Also, how exactly do you make the jump from, “I am more than willing to concede that there are objective reasons for the use of force against certain individuals,” to “It sounds to me like you resent any law restricting your absolute freedom as being backed by force”? Inquiring minds want to know.

“America reserves the right to enact laws and enforce them.”

Elaborate. Who/what is America? How does it acquire this right to make laws? What are laws, for that matter? You would vastly clarify the discussion by simply answering my question about the objective basis for the use of force.

“if you’re so unhappy with the rules here, what makes you stay?”

I’ll answer this question despite your tenuous basis for asking it. People who think that various laws or actions of a government are illegitimate may remain within its bounds because of cost-benefit analysis. They may object to rules laid down by a government, but the costs of escaping these rules exceed the benefits of resisting or of remaining within the government’s territory. Also, considering that most governments are more oppressive in many ways than the US government, your question is comparable to Minos saying to a damned soul, “So you don’t like the second circle, eh? Would you prefer the third?”

mpolzkill September 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Or a bully at school: you don’t like the arm twisting for lunch money, how about I punch you in the gut?

kash-money, kash-value September 2, 2010 at 11:58 pm

“I also think I can narrow down your possibilities for Ms. Leonard’s motivation a bit…As such, I personally think she’s just a Marxist drone.”

Yeah, I knew about the background information… and despite my attempt at humor, my original statement implies that I’m agreeing with you that she’s simply ignorant of what she’s preaching.

The reason it even sounds like i’m questioning the possibilities is because i felt a need to defend my statement from an accusation of not being “reasoned” or logical, despite the fact that it was rather sarcastic and satirical. So in an attempt to cut these elements out, I reworded the original phrase. Of course I could have further embellished and explained which one I found most likely and why, but I didn’t really feel the need to continue, as I was simply trying to defend the logic against accusation.

I originally came to the conclusion that ignorance was the most likely prospect, because duress sounds pretty much completely ridiculous, and deceit seems rather unlikely. the only reason i even brought up the other two options was to emphasize the fact that I don’t know her, or her motivations, [but they must fall into one -or more- of those categories].

anyhow, i’m gonna stop derailing this, as i’m more interested in the response to your latest post.

J. Murray August 31, 2010 at 10:48 am

It doesn’t matter if it’s “original” or not. What characteristics? More frequent forest fires? More frequent disease? Lower quality soil? Forests maintained by tree farmers are far healthier to both flora and fauna than these “old forests” hippies are going on about all the time.

Nate August 31, 2010 at 12:08 pm

From the U.S. Forest Service”It is estimated that—at the beginning of European settlement— in 1630 the area of forest land that would become the United States was 423 million hectares or about 46 percent of the total land area. By 1907, the area of forest land had declined to an estimated 307 million hectares or 34 percent of the total land area. Forest area has been relatively stable since 1907. In 1997, 102 million hectares— or 33 percent of the total land area of the United States— was in forest land. Today’s forest land area amounts to about 70 percent of the area that was forested in 1630. Since 1630, about 120 million hectares of forest land have been converted to other uses—mainly agricultural. More than 75 percent of the net conversion to other uses occurred in the 19th century.”In a rebuttal which is also on YouTube, the 4% is a reference to the amount of forests that have not experienced logging activity since Europeans arrived. It’s a rather absurd statistic, since a 1 million hectare forest could no longer be claimed as “original” just because 100 hectares were logged in the 1800s.

Jack August 31, 2010 at 9:03 am

Leonard thinks that wealth is a zero-sum game. It’s like the most basic fallacy.

Or maybe it’s that she thinks trading destroys wealth – because somehow she thinks when Americans trade and invest in other countries, both sides lose…

michael August 31, 2010 at 9:14 am

She makes neither of those claims, nor are they the thrust of the video. Have you seen it?

The video asks us to question our participation in the consumer cycle. And there’s nothing implicitly non-austrian or anti-austrian in that. The author of today’s column was merely casting about for a theme to write about, and happened on this video.

She does offer that we could improve things somewhat by recycling, thus changing a ‘linear’ system, in her phrase, to a closed system. But she then states the fact that much of what we produce and waste is inappropriate for recycling. Thus the system she describes is a planet-wide machine for converting raw materials into unusable garbage. And she offers, I think accurately, that such a process can’t continue indefinitely on a finite world.

I’d have said more accurately that it can’t continue indefinitely without degrading the character of the planet. But then she was keeping it simple for the kids to be able to take it all in.

mpolzkill August 31, 2010 at 9:18 am

“Thus the system she describes is a planet-wide machine for converting raw materials into unusable garbage.”

As determined by these bozos. Is that all raw materials?

Go all over this site and see this liar supporting idiotic consumption when it suits his argument.

Abhilash Nambiar August 31, 2010 at 9:25 am

Lee Doren from the Competitive Enterprise Institute developed a critique for the Story of Stuff sometime back. It is really good. He covers most of the same points and presents it in an entertaining fashion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5uJgG05xUY

And recently he did another critique on Ann’s Story of Cosmetics ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfq000AF1i8 ), which also I liked:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxO3bPNyWzo

Is it unreasonable to suspect that there is deliberate deception going on? These videos are developed in a manner that children find receptive. These videos are shown to children in school, meaning shown to little people whose critical thinking faculties have not yet developed.

michael August 31, 2010 at 11:36 am

It is not unreasonable to suspect deception whenever any proscriptive message is aired, AN. Perhaps you should watch the video closely to see what the nature of the message is… and whether any deception has been employed. And to what purpose.

The stated purpose is to develop an awareness that blind consumerism should not be the ultimate purpose of society. And the message is being put forward precisely because for many Americans, blind consumerism is in fact their unexamined first principle.

I think the message is benign. Simplistic, certainly. She could have elected to write a doctoral dissertation instead. But it’s a timely message many American families might want to consider: that there is more to life than new shoes.

Abhilash Nambiar August 31, 2010 at 1:39 pm

The stated purpose is to develop an awareness that blind consumerism should not be the ultimate purpose of society.

That my dear fellow is just a fancy way of saying she wants Americans to live in a manner that she finds fit. It is rife with collectivism. Society has no purpose, individuals do. Society is an outcome of individuals interacting.

It is the individual that she seeks to influence. By itself I have no problem with that. We all seek to influence others in a manner that suits us. But she is not saying here are the facts that I consider relevant, here is the interpretation that I understood from them. It appears that way. However, there are factual several inaccuracies in her ‘documentary’ and Lee Doren has pointed them out.

Factual inaccuracies lead to mis-interpretations. Couple that with a fiery passion and you have a recipe for disaster. Now I would like to think that she is not deliberately misinforming, that she simply misunderstood things, that she was not being self-critical enough.

But this video is shown in schools, she actively promotes it, she has made a new one along the same lines. She ignores criticisms and rebuttals, pretends they do not exist, makes no effort to address them and targets school kids the most impressionable and uncritical audience there is.

michael August 31, 2010 at 4:45 pm

She offers advice to those who would listen but does not force. How exactly does that differ from any of the opinions being offered here, similarly with little if any evidence?

Also, what evidence can you offer that she ignores criticisms and rebuttals, pretending they do not exist?

Are you saying she should not be allowed to show the video?

mpolzkill August 31, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Go ahead and forget the part about children, liar.

Every day you are slapped with enough evidence to choke a donkey, but you heroically ignore it all.

Of course she’s allowed to show any propaganda video she likes, but there shouldn’t be government indoctrination camps (public schools).

michael September 1, 2010 at 1:13 pm

People are always free to take their children out of the public school and find some other way to teach them.

A parent home schooling indoctrinates the child every bit as much as does a public school… or a private school, for that matter. They all attempt to teach the child things they believe the child needs to know in order to function as an effective adult.

Keepa you hands off the public school curriculum and maybe the public will keepa they hands off your home school curriculum. We are all free each one of us, every day. We each make our own choices.

Russ the Apostate September 1, 2010 at 7:29 pm

“Keepa you hands off the public school curriculum and maybe the public will keepa they hands off your home school curriculum.”

If my tax money keepa going into the public school curriculum, then my hands keepa on the public school curriculum.

mpolzkill September 1, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Wow, like 20 lies packed into just over 100 words. A new, succinct Michael. It probably works better to spread the lies thin in your regular mind-numbing essays of old. Russ destroyed you already, but what the hell:

“People are always free to…”

People need a lot of money to pull *their* children out of your foul indoctrination camps. Doesn’t quite go with your (bogus) love of “the poor”.

The next paragraph is just disgusting, what a POS. Your “schools” mold cogs to fit in your corporatist hellhole out of the same feelings of parental love, right, degenerate?

“Keepa you hands off…”

Shove-a you curriculum uppa yo ass, Yankee.

michael September 1, 2010 at 8:47 pm

So what you’re telling me is if you had kids you wouldn’t take them out of public school because you couldn’t afford to?

Isn’t that kind of why we have public schools in the first place? Without them you’d have nowhere for your kids to go to learn anything.

mpolzkill September 1, 2010 at 9:23 pm

It’s like talking to lint. *Your* monstrous system makes people poor: poor in spirit, in culture, in knowledge, in free time, and makes them relatively poor by material standards.

Maybe you’re just senile. I got you to read this article:

http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/Educate/public_school_nightmare.htm

And this is what you said:

http://blog.mises.org/13341/police-state-usa/#comment-704315

So you understood the article, and of course being a corporatist stooge yourself (we are now three or four generatons into FDR’s benighted stooges, after all) you *agreed* with the righteous purpose of schools (and there are other places where you have even more horrifying fascist diatribes about how our children must be molded according to your standards). Now you again say it’s all to help “the poor”.

Russ the Apostate September 1, 2010 at 10:04 pm

michael wrote:
“So what you’re telling me is if you had kids you wouldn’t take them out of public school because you couldn’t afford to?”

That in no way logically follows from what I wrote. All I meant was that if I must pay into the system, then I should have a say, whether I have kids or no. But, if I had kids I probably wouldn’t be able to afford to pay for their education twice, no. That’s pay once for the public school and once again for the private school, in case you can’t figure out what I mean.

“Isn’t that kind of why we have public schools in the first place? Without them you’d have nowhere for your kids to go to learn anything.”

You truly are getting dumber, Michael. I think I felt my IQ drop just reading the above. Nominally, the reason we have public schools is because we are a democracy, and as such, we rely on an informed electorate. I’d say that the election of Obama proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the public school isn’t serving its supposed function. After all, the majority of American adults who care enough to vote voted for a man, who had no previous experience running so much as a hotdog stand, to be the leader of the so-called free world. I’d say that proves that the public school system is an abject failure at informing the electorate. But it’s still here, because, of course, education isn’t the real purpose of the public school system. The purpose of the public school system is twofold; 1) to give the teachers’ union jobs, and 2) to justify itself, by justifying welfare socialism.

michael September 3, 2010 at 8:04 am

“All I meant was that if I must pay into the system, then I should have a say, whether I have kids or no. But, if I had kids I probably wouldn’t be able to afford to pay for their education twice, no.”

Russ, you’re right. You’re a taxpayer, you should have a say. But the School Board isn’t going to listen to you. They don’t even listen to parents half the time. And in any event, that’s not the place to inject your opinion where it will do some good.

Instead, go to your state capitol when the legislature is considering the budget. As they’re undoubtedly in trouble now, like all the other states, tell them they can balance the budget just by cutting out a useless program. Say something like this:

“.. .education isn’t the real purpose of the public school system. The purpose of the public school system is twofold; 1) to give the teachers’ union jobs, and 2) to justify itself, by justifying welfare socialism.”

I’m sure they’ll appreciate your valuable input, and shut the public schools down immediately.

elgecko84 August 31, 2010 at 5:08 pm

You say the message isn’t delivered by force but I don’t remember being able to choose my homework assignments in school. If a school is using it as material, the student is going to be forced to view it.

Abhilash Nambiar September 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm

She offers advice to those who would listen but does not force.

She does not force. She misleads. But in case of showing to children in schools there is always some coercion involved.

Also, what evidence can you offer that she ignores criticisms and rebuttals, pretending they do not exist?

Her silence on such matters makes be deduce that.

Are you saying she should not be allowed to show the video?

Never said that. But now that you mention it, I do think this video should has no place in schools. It is adult content even if it is not porn.

michael September 1, 2010 at 1:18 pm

“She does not force. She misleads.”

That would be a very subjective assessment, Abhilash. It’s in the mind of the beholder, not an objective fact.

“But in case of showing to children in schools there is always some coercion involved.”

Any such coercion is consensual. The public has decided that the schools it supports with its tax dollars should reflect their values. And they are very vocal about showing either their support or their disdain for everything in the curriculum, at PTA and school board meetings. If you aren’t happy with their choices, do what everyone else does: get involved. Speak up and be heard (unless you don’t have a child in the system, of course).

mpolzkill September 1, 2010 at 8:04 pm

“Speak up and be heard”

Add *your* voice too, to the moronic cacophony, it works well on the internet.

Gaia September 1, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Show real solidarity with nature and give up toilet paper. God gave man hands for a good reason. The future belongs to us.

DD5 August 31, 2010 at 2:55 pm

This video is nothing but NAZI style propaganda less the jewish-mice analogies. It is an outright assult on humanity and all of civilization itself. Rather then line us all up at gun point to board trains with only final destinations, it proposes an insidious and stealth holacoust on all of humanity.

Once in a while, you’re allowed to let it all out. don’t care if she is just stupid, careless, or simply ignorant. She goes out of her way to show this stuff in public schools, therefore, let us apply the same statist rule she must adhere to, namely, that being unfamiliar with the law doesn’t excuse you in a court of law. Likewise, the author should rot in Hell along with Hitler, Stalin, and the rest of them for being some actively ignorant.

DD5 August 31, 2010 at 3:07 pm

I just realized that I have implicitly condemned myself to hell. I guess that explains why I’m an anti-FRBer.

Charles August 31, 2010 at 9:37 am

When I first watched this video, I thought it related more to govt intervention in the market (keynesian economic system, managed trade, etc. ) 1. Extraction- I see this as a problem that is caused by subsidizing the fossil fuel industry (direct subsidies & indirect subsidies i.e.-pollution). With more resepect towards property rights and less privitizing profits and socializing losses this would not be and issue. 2. Worthless statement 3. I thought she was confused about exploitation of 3rd world countries. Instead of realizing the problems are caused by managed trade and barriers to entry. i.e.-tarriffs, quotas, subsidies to multinationals and domestic industry. 4. Agreed- tragedy of the commons 5. I see this as a by-product of a keynesian economic system. Where savings is discouraged and spending is encouraged to boost demand. With market interest rates this would not be an issue. The current system definitely rewards those who spend rather than save. 6. There are several companies that sell us toxic products on a daily basis (eggs come to mind currently). The real problem is these companies continue to exist by protecting themselves from competitors by lobbying for protectionist regulations. Once again, not a problem of the free market. Her analysis is flawed here. Not for sure what toxic chemicals she is referring to. Perhaps petroleum? See ponit 1. 7. Wow! This is one of the dumbest statements I have heard. She needs an econ 101 lesson. 8. Once again, I think a lot of this actually relates to keynesian economics. Where consumption (boosting aggregate demand) is everything, and savings hurts the economy. 9. Like I said I think her actual beef is with keynesian econ. She just has zero understanding of economics. 10. Pointless!I do have to disagree with one assertion that Mr. Terrell makes-”ignoring that the rise of corporations has been largely an outcome of consumer preferences”. I don’t really think this is a fair statement. I don’t think you can claim that consumer preferences have led an increase in large corporations. Govt intervention in the market has led to large corporations and limited choice for consumers. I don’t think a truly free market system would lead to the same results. We should shy away from being corporatist apologists.

mpolzkill August 31, 2010 at 9:49 am

Excellent, Charles.

“We should shy away from being corporatist apologists.”

Exactly, it has to be hammered constantly how the U.S. is nothing like a free market country.

Assuming Michael here is not a professional Fed propagandist, just a freelance idiot, I’m trying to imagine what the leftie mind thinks of when it thinks “free market.” I believe it means to them: “free to bribe and corrupt their wonderful and otherwise innocent government.” If only annointed public servants could get more control of the economy….no, I just can’t understand the leftie mind.

Richie August 31, 2010 at 10:46 am

Remember, mpolzkill, those wonderful public servants are out there, according to Michael. They just haven’t been kind enough to grace us with their benevolence.

mpolzkill August 31, 2010 at 10:52 am

Or perhaps they are just stymied, Richie: the old “stabbed in the back” line that worked so well for Hitler and for the merchants of our new and ongoing Vietnams.

Phinn August 31, 2010 at 11:45 am

The government is pure of heart and works for noble, selfless purposes.

The problem is that rich merchants use their dirty money to corrupt the King’s men, these knights of olde, stout of heart, who would root out fraud and vice and crime wherever it may be found, with nothing but the best interests of defenseless people as their aim, if only their hearts were not poisoned by the promise of filthy lucre.

michael August 31, 2010 at 11:40 am

As you’ve invoked my name I’ll feel free to comment.

I don’t see that the video has anything to say about “the free market” one way or another. It’s not about markets. Nor is it about government intervention. It’s about the free choices individual consumers make.

Maybe the reason you don’t understand “the leftie mind” is because every preconception you have about it is wrong.

Phinn August 31, 2010 at 11:50 am

Everything is about markets.

The reason we have so much garbage is that the State has taken over the garbage business and socialized it. Product manufacturers can create as much packaging as they want, and consumers can generate as much packaging garbage as they want, without directly paying for disposing of it.

Every socialist, government-run garbage service I’ve ever been forced to pay for does not charge by the pound, as any private garbage service would do, which would immediately create an informational conduit directly to the consumer/homeowner about how much garbage he chooses to create (and pay for).

But in the era of mandated, government-supplied socialistic garbage service, there is no pricing information in garbage collection. The consumer creates whatever garbage he wants to create, according to his own convenience, with no thought of the true cost, because the socialization of garbage service has severed all connection to the true cost by eliminating the price system.

So, those “free choices” that those dirtbag consumers supposedly make that are ruining the planet? Every one of those decisions is an economic choice, and like every other economic choice, the State’s destruction of the free pricing system alters people’s behavior in ways that drive up costs, introduces waste, and causes a loss of overall wealth and value.

Statureman September 1, 2010 at 11:39 am

Great point.

michael September 1, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Phinn: Possibly you haven’t seen the video. When she tells us the whole stream of production leads to garbage she doesn’t just mean the packaging that we have to throw out. She tells us that 90% of the actual products we purchase get thrown away within six months of purchase.

It seems like a striking statistic. I understand she does provide an index of supporting documents. Maybe you could check that one out.

I wonder also at your use of the word “socialized” when speaking of packaging. It seems to me that there’s a lot of waste packaging because that decision is left up to the manufacturer. In a more socialized economy, like that in Europe, there are strict regulations limiting the amount of non-recyclable packaging that can be used.

Also, you’re just very VERY far off course with this comment:

“Every socialist, government-run garbage service I’ve ever been forced to pay for does not charge by the pound, as any private garbage service would do, which would immediately create an informational conduit directly to the consumer/homeowner about how much garbage he chooses to create (and pay for).”

In this country we have a mix of public and private trash collection agencies. And each one I’ve been familiar with has charged a weekly or monthly fee or rolled it over into a general municipal services fee. I’ve never heard of a company that took the extra, very tedious and expensive step of stopping to weigh each customer’s individual contribution before rolling the truck to the next house on the street. It looks like a very dumb idea.

And I have known a few trash companies, from a number of years’ experience as a property manager. Tell you what– why don’t you call up Browning-Ferris Industries, or Consolidated Waste Services (now I think they’ve merged with Republic), or Waste Management Inc., and tell them your idea. See what they say about it.

Or, as Statureman says, “Great point.”

Phinn September 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm

>>Possibly you haven’t seen the video.

I have. It’s insipid and superficial. It ignores the economic origin of the problem.

>>When she tells us the whole stream of production leads to garbage she doesn’t just mean the packaging that we have to throw out. She tells us that 90% of the actual products we purchase get thrown away within six months of purchase. It seems like a striking statistic. I understand she does provide an index of supporting documents. Maybe you could check that one out.

It’s irrelevant to my point whether the garbage is the packaging, or a product that’s designed and sold to be disposable (i.e., soon to be garbage). The result is the same — when the State cuts the connection between the cost of garbage disposal (owning the land, crushing, burning, moving, etc.) from the price paid by the consumer generating it, the consumer loses the price information that would otherwise inform his decision to make garbage.

When you pay a flat rate for garbage up to one bin-full per week, as I always have, the economic tendency is for everyone to use that allotment to something close to its fullest, because the mandated price is the same whether you fill the bin or not. There’s zero pricing information that would guide the consumer’s decision to make less garbage than one bin-full.

If you are interested in checking out sources, you ought to do that yourself. Respond with a substantive point and reference if you discover anything pertinent.

>>I wonder also at your use of the word “socialized” when speaking of packaging. It seems to me that there’s a lot of waste packaging because that decision is left up to the manufacturer.

I wonder about why you think I am talking about socialized packaging, when I am clearly talking about socialized garbage collection and disposal “services.”

>>In a more socialized economy, like that in Europe, there are strict regulations limiting the amount of non-recyclable packaging that can be used.

Regulation is not a substitute for pricing. Pricing provides economic information that regulation cannot. That’s the whole point of this website, and its foundational writings.

>>In this country we have a mix of public and private trash collection agencies. And each one I’ve been familiar with has charged a weekly or monthly fee or rolled it over into a general municipal services fee. I’ve never heard of a company that took the extra, very tedious and expensive step of stopping to weigh each customer’s individual contribution before rolling the truck to the next house on the street. It looks like a very dumb idea.

Every place I have ever lived in or heard about, the city or county government is the monopoly provider of garbage collection and disposal, which they typically farm out to a government contractor. Contracting does not make the service private, or market-based, and more than the existence of military contractors makes the military market-based. Instead, it makes the garbage contracting business rife with corruption, which is why garbage is a classic example of a mobbed-up industry.

Weighing the garbage would be simple — they have mechanical lifters on the trucks already. They can be fitted to weigh the bin, minus the weight of the bin, which the company provides, as they do now. They already have weighing devices on some trucks, to detect overloaded bins. They are simply not set up to weigh every bin, because they have no economic reason to do so, given the socialistic system.

If you had to pay for every pound of garbage, you could decide if it was worth it to you to produce less. Many people would, and so manufacturers would then have a market-based reason to know how valuable it is for them to start selling less packaging and/or less disposable products, by measuring market demand for it.

>>And I have known a few trash companies, from a number of years’ experience as a property manager. Tell you what– why don’t you call up Browning-Ferris Industries, or Consolidated Waste Services (now I think they’ve merged with Republic), or Waste Management Inc., and tell them your idea. See what they say about it.

I’m not interested in what government contractors have to say about perpetuating the current system of government contracts.

>>Or, as Statureman says, “Great point.”

How would you know? Your response shows no sign of having understood it.

michael September 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm

I’m sure you believe this gobbledigook makes sense. Phinn. But it’s neither good theory nor good reality. We do have large, national firms that privately collect people’s garbage. I live in an area where the service is given over to private industry, for example. And none would find it feasible to add to the cost of their services by weighing each canful of trash and charging accordingly. It’s dumb. The cost of the service would have to go up, for no good reason. And they are tasked with keeping the cost of disposal low, as a service to their customers.

BTW, you’re not interested in the fact that in many places there is no municipal pickup? The trash services I referred you to are not subcontractors for any government. The fact is, much of America has no municipal pickup. It’s either out in the country or it’s a comemrcial apartment building. Either way, you have to find a private company to handle your trash or (as I do) take it to the dump yourself.

The only way you could charge according to weight would be to do as they do in Europe, where the government penalizes people for throwing away more than the allotted amount of trash. Are you sure that’s what you want? Forced penalties for excess trash?

Phinn September 2, 2010 at 7:50 am

>>We do have large, national firms that privately collect people’s garbage. I live in an area where the service is given over to private industry, for example.

As government contractors, yes. That makes it a governmental operation, with governmental pricing, and virtually no competition for business at the consumer/garbage-producer level. The fact that you have failed to address this point means you have conceded it.

>>And none would find it feasible to add to the cost of their services by weighing each canful of trash and charging accordingly. It’s dumb. The cost of the service would have to go up, for no good reason. And they are tasked with keeping the cost of disposal low, as a service to their customers.

You have now conceded that government-run garbage service (or government-contracted, same thing) keeps prices artificially low. You have therefore conceded that government subsidizes garbage collection, and thus subsidizes garbage production. You are making all of my points for me.

>>BTW, you’re not interested in the fact that in many places there is no municipal pickup? The trash services I referred you to are not subcontractors for any government. The fact is, much of America has no municipal pickup. It’s either out in the country or it’s a comemrcial apartment building. Either way, you have to find a private company to handle your trash or (as I do) take it to the dump yourself.

The percentage of US land area serviced by government garbage companies is irrelevant. The vast majority of the population lives in urban or suburban areas with government-contracted garbage, just like most Americans live in areas with government-run or -contracted electricity and water.

The “dump” in most places (and probably yours) is also a government facility, with the same pricing problem as the collection service — a price structure that deprives the consumer of the necessary information to know the true cost of producing and disposing of his garbage. A subsidy, in other words. It’s the same with all socialized enterprises.

>>The only way you could charge according to weight would be to do as they do in Europe, where the government penalizes people for throwing away more than the allotted amount of trash. Are you sure that’s what you want? Forced penalties for excess trash?

That’s exactly what government-run and government-contracted socialized garbage service in my area does to me. And, no, I do not “want” it. That’s my point.

It is also precisely the problem I have been describing all along — by allotting everyone a weekly bin-full for a flat, non-negotiated price, there is no pricing information on which a consumer can base a decision, for example, to use one-quarter bin, or one-eighth of a bin, per week. The price to the garbage-producer for one full bin and one-quarter bin are exactly the same. He has no information to tell him whether reducing his garbage to one-quarter of his usual rate is worth the time, energy and inconvenience he will expend in changing his garbage-generating behavior.

You seem to think that merely hectoring, griping, bullying, shaming and ultimately fining people will get them to magically alter their behavior until they generate some level of garbage production that you find agreeable.

That’s not economics. That’s just typical Statist thinking — create an economic problem by destroying the market price for something (traffic, electricity, water, garbage, roads, etc.), and then blame people for acting in a way you find to be less than preferable, and then use force to get them to do what you want them to do (and also to cover up the disastrous results of your initial interference in the situation).

The fact that you have failed after several attempts to substantively respond to, or even comprehend, my point means that you have no rebuttal for it.

michael September 2, 2010 at 8:25 am

Phinn, there is definitely something wrong with your brain. I’ll go over it one more time, from the top.

You are unable to comprehend any residence in America where the local municipality doesn’t provide trash collection. But you would be wrong.

I do not live within any city limit. And my county does not provide trash collection in any way, shape or fashion. If I don’t want to pack it to the dump myself I have to take out the phone book and look up “trash collection services”.

They are not subcontracted to the state. They are not subsidised by the state. They are wholly private, profit-making firms. Those three I gave you are among the choices most people have across America. They are large, national corporations in the lucrative business of trash collection. They have no affiliation, contractual or otherwise, with any government agency.

I hope I haven’t left anything out.

Even If I were in a municipal jurisdiction I would very likely not be able to get the city to pick up my trash if I had a commercial address: an office, business or apartment building. Likewise, these people have to contract privately, individually, wholly independently, on their own initiative, at their own expense, with no intermediary… and pay the bills faithfully and directly from THEIR checkbook into the account of the PRIVATE TRASH COLLECTION COMPANY.

So I suggest to you: You think you have a bright idea. Go sell it to any of those companies. See what they have to say about it. My bet with you would be that they tell you it’s not feasible, it would make collection cost more, it would lose them business, it would be unpopular with their customers, it would be a pain in the ass for their operators and that they’re flatly not interested.

But I may be wrong. So bounce it off them. They’re in the phone book.

Idiot.

Phinn September 2, 2010 at 8:59 am

>>You are unable to comprehend any residence in America where the local municipality doesn’t provide trash collection. But you would be wrong. I do not live within any city limit. And my county does not provide trash collection in any way, shape or fashion. If I don’t want to pack it to the dump myself I have to take out the phone book and look up “trash collection services”.

You are committing the fallacy of the false dichotomy. There are more than two possibilities here, but you are assuming that either 100% of American residential garbage is socialized, or none of it is. The fact that there is some number of residences in America without governmental trash collection is not significant. The fact is that for most Americans, it is.

>>They are not subcontracted to the state. They are not subsidised by the state. They are wholly private, profit-making firms. Those three I gave you are among the choices most people have across America. They are large, national corporations in the lucrative business of trash collection. They have no affiliation, contractual or otherwise, with any government agency.

This is simply false. Most residential garbage collection is done under the authority of local or county governments, but contracted out to a nominally private vendor. The vendor is required by the governmental agency to price their service according to the government’s instructions. This system destroys the essential pricing mechanism where each consumer pays the cost of his own services.

>>I hope I haven’t left anything out.

You have left out logic, facts, and economics.

>>Even If I were in a municipal jurisdiction I would very likely not be able to get the city to pick up my trash if I had a commercial address: an office, business or apartment building. Likewise, these people have to contract privately, individually, wholly independently, on their own initiative, at their own expense, with no intermediary… and pay the bills faithfully and directly from THEIR checkbook into the account of the PRIVATE TRASH COLLECTION COMPANY.

These garbage delivery services are typically either subject to price-fixing rules (which also destroys the aforementioned price system), or they are required to use government-run or government-controlled garbage disposal sites. The delivery component is one small piece of the total price, but the larger, more significant component is the storage of the garbage, which is almost always on government-managed property.

>>So I suggest to you: You think you have a bright idea. Go sell it to any of those companies. See what they have to say about it. My bet with you would be that they tell you it’s not feasible, it would make collection cost more, it would lose them business, it would be unpopular with their customers, it would be a pain in the ass for their operators and that they’re flatly not interested.

Once again, government contractors can be counted on to prefer the system of government contracts from which they now benefit.

The “bright idea” I am describing is that each consumer pays his own way. The only way to do that is to stop interfering with the market price for all the factors of each person’s garbage collection and disposal services. That price will be in proportion to the costs incurred according to each consumer’s quantity of garbage production. For large-volume generators, the price will be higher than it is now. For low-volume generators, the price will be lower. More importantly, this price system will enable people to decide if its in their economic interest to generate less garbage. Many would, I suspect.

>>Idiot.

By resorting to name-calling, you have proven your total failure in this debate.

michael September 3, 2010 at 8:18 am

“You are committing the fallacy of the false dichotomy. There are more than two possibilities here, but you are assuming that either 100% of American residential garbage is socialized, or none of it is. The fact that there is some number of residences in America without governmental trash collection is not significant. The fact is that for most Americans, it is.”

Phinn, you’re just being a persistent lunatic. I am assuming neither of those idiotic positions and you know it full well.

Some places have private collection, others have it done by the municipality. Neither gives appreciably bad or more expensive service than the other. Both work reasonably well and deliver the service at an acceptable cost.

But yet you soldier on, mindlessly. I just finish telling you that there are private systems in much of the US with no affiliation with any government and you continue with this:

“This is simply false. Most residential garbage collection is done under the authority of local or county governments, but contracted out to a nominally private vendor. The vendor is required by the governmental agency to price their service according to the government’s instructions. This system destroys the essential pricing mechanism where each consumer pays the cost of his own services.”

Your brain has achieved total density. It admits no evidence you’re not willing to accept. You are bringing up a case that has nothing to do with those many areas where there is no government-funded or government-provided trash service of any sort.

And your original assertion, “when the State cuts the connection between the cost of garbage disposal (owning the land, crushing, burning, moving, etc.) from the price paid by the consumer generating it, the consumer loses the price information that would otherwise inform his decision to make garbage”, is off base. The customers buy things they want to own, and throw away the packaging. They don’t design the boxes those things come in, nor do they keep the discarded wrappers around the house. Nor do they take them out in the back yard, rake them into piles and burn them. Consumers are stuck with the packaging producers give them. And must throw it out so it doesn’t accumulate.

But please, keep banging your drum.

Phinn September 3, 2010 at 9:02 am

>>Phinn, you’re just being a persistent lunatic. I am assuming neither of those idiotic positions and you know it full well.

You said that I was “unable to comprehend any residence in America where the local municipality doesn’t provide trash collection.” That is an either-or, black-and-white assertion. And a fallacious one, based on a false dichotomy, as I said.

I am obviously not talking about the minority of people who have fully private garbage service (up to and including private ownership and management of the land on which garbage is disposed). That is a rare situation in America. Most of the population is subjected to not only governmental collection, but more importantly, to governmental dump sites, whose (socialist) pricing system determines the economic choices all the way back through the entire garbage process, to the collection service through to the consumer (and beyond, but we’ll get to that later).

The small number of other people whose garbage system is fully private are not at issue here. What we are discussing (and you are avoiding) are the vast majority of the population whose garbage-generating behavior is directly affected by the economics of government-run, socialized garbage service. These are the people you are persistently avoiding even addressing. Your persistent avoidance confirms that you have no substantive response to offer.

>>Some places have private collection, others have it done by the municipality. Neither gives appreciably bad or more expensive service than the other. Both work reasonably well and deliver the service at an acceptable cost.

No, socialistic garbage agencies deliver their service at what YOU think is an acceptable PRICE. The total COST of the socialized garbage service includes a great many costs, which are forcibly externalized from the price that is charged to the homeowner.

These fact that these costs are NOT passed onto the consumer is what enables the consumer to generate more garbage than he otherwise would.

>>The customers buy things they want to own, and throw away the packaging. They don’t design the boxes those things come in, nor do they keep the discarded wrappers around the house. Nor do they take them out in the back yard, rake them into piles and burn them. Consumers are stuck with the packaging producers give them. And must throw it out so it doesn’t accumulate.

You have heard of the term “economics,” haven’t you? It’s the study of how causes have multiple effects, and how those effects are then causes of other multiple effects, and so on.

I’ll simplify it for you: on a general level, everything affects everything else. Economics is the study of the complex system of causes and effects.

Ponder that for a while before you continue reading.

If, like the author of the original video, you think people generate “too much” garbage, then the obvious solution is for various local governments to stop causing this problem, and repeal their declarations of socialistic control over garbage service and disposal, and thereby stop subsidizing the generation of excess garbage.

That way, the full cost of collection and disposal will be included in the price each person pays, and each person will then have the price information available to him to help decide what amount of garbage he can afford to generate. That’s the basic mechanism. A ten year-old could understand this, even if you cannot.

Then (and here’s the advanced portion of the lesson), when people decide they want to reduce the price they pay for garbage (which they can only do when they are allowed to do so, in a free market system instead of a government-mandated price), they will be motivated to buy products that contain less packaging. They won’t need to be bullied and threatened into doing this. There would be no need for public service propaganda. They will do it out of self-interest. And, when enough people start doing this, the smart product manufacturers will cater to that consumer demand by changing their packaging, to appeal to the garbage-conscious consumer.

To people (like you) who do not understand economics, this will all appear to happen as if by magic.

jerry September 3, 2010 at 9:35 am

Phinn says – “Then (and here’s the advanced portion of the lesson), when people decide they want to reduce the price they pay for garbage (which they can only do when they are allowed to do so, in a free market system instead of a government-mandated price), they will be motivated to buy products that contain less packaging. They won’t need to be bullied and threatened into doing this. There would be no need for public service propaganda. They will do it out of self-interest. And, when enough people start doing this, the smart product manufacturers will cater to that consumer demand by changing their packaging, to appeal to the garbage-conscious consumer.”

michael – reading your comments, I have a genuine question. When you said

” The customers buy things they want to own, and throw away the packaging. They don’t design the boxes those things come in, nor do they keep the discarded wrappers around the house. Nor do they take them out in the back yard, rake them into piles and burn them. Consumers are stuck with the packaging producers give them. And must throw it out so it doesn’t accumulate.”

did you say it without even thinking of the possibility of what Phinn says above at all, or did you consider this line of thought and think it just isn’t true?

michael September 3, 2010 at 9:37 am

Phinn, I can see where something is really eating at you. So I’ll do what I can to try to figure out your complaint and address it head on.

First, I don’t think it has to do with who actually picks up and disposes of the trash, whether public or private. You appear to be complaining about the regulatory framework. As you do here:

“If, like the author of the original video, you think people generate “too much” garbage, then the obvious solution is for various local governments to stop causing this problem, and repeal their declarations of socialistic control over garbage service and disposal, and thereby stop subsidizing the generation of excess garbage.”

In your mind, the government is “causing” all this garbage. And they are doing so by “subsidizing” it, that is, by paying for its disposal.

Is it your position that everything would be better if they just stopped picking it up and filling up landfills with it? Do you have the slightest idea how closely the country’s thousands of city and county governments work together with the experts in trash, those in the private industry?

I don’t think you do. For what it’s worth we have seen tremendous progress in every area of trash disposal since the pre-regulatory period (let’s say, the 1960s). First and foremost is the matter of wastewater disposal.

Sewers used to just flush out into the rivers, where the city’s load of crap mixed with the water the next city downstream had to get its drinking water from. The whole process of rethinking the entire water cycle out has led to a revolution in how we handle water resources. It’s now a holistic system, and industrial effluents are handled on site by the companies that generate chemical waste. The water that enters the stream is subject to more rules on safe handling and treatment than are the rules on purifying water leaving the stream, and ending up in your tap.

The transforming regulations are put out by the evil government on the best advice of the academic community. They are the best version we can arrive at on how to dispose of wastewater and provide clean water in the amounts necesary in an advanced industrial society, for the cheapest cost.

In other words they have anticipated your anguished complaint, and for the past forty years have been doing something intelligent about it. Likewise with municipal solid waste, which seems to be your central concern.

Waste is now being divided up in an increasing number of jurisdictions, into organic garbage, yard waste, paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, metal, toxic industrial chemicals and ordinary trash. For each category they have attempted to find re-users. You have heard of recycling? It’s a government initiative. And the reason why total recycling isn’t a fact throughout this country is economic. For the most part, the numbers don’t add up. It costs more to collect and separate categories of waste that have a potential use merely because the private market won’t pay the recyclers what they need to get.

Europe is way ahead of us in this regard. They’ve been recycling for longer than we have, and devote government funds toward subsidising the effort. They help bridge the gap between the cost of separating post-use products and their market price. We’re behind because we don’t have the funds in most budgets to do that.

And Europe does something else we don’t do: they regulate industrial waste by charging serious penalties to any industry that discharges an unusable waste material. That has led businesses there to find novel industrial processes that use one another’s waste products. It has spawned entire new industries that process waste and produce valuable industrial inputs. And it has occurred through penalties being enacted against corporate polluters (that is, the producers of industrial goods). The plain fact is, when the market dictates everything, producers will neglect every step that costs them money, and just dump their crap in the back yard.

Goverment’s informed efforts are essential to this entire process. Otherwise, if we continue producing utter waste (waste that can’t be reused) we will in fact end up with Planet Landfill. We all need to get behind the effort and start rowing in the same direction.

The inefficiencies implicit in your approach, that somehow the consumer will be charged for waste production, and they will then complain to the producers by not buying their products, is ass backwards. It’s something a corporate flack for a polluting industry would come up with.

michael September 3, 2010 at 9:48 am

One small edit, for meaning:

The reason why total recycling isn’t a fact throughout this country is economic. For the most part, the numbers don’t add up. It costs more to collect and separate many categories of waste that have a potential reuse than the private market is willing to pay for them. That’s the practical limit we have in all attempts at non-subsidised recycling.

Put that way it makes more sense than in my original wording.

jerry September 3, 2010 at 10:15 am

michael said

” The customers buy things they want to own, and throw away the packaging. They don’t design the boxes those things come in, nor do they keep the discarded wrappers around the house. Nor do they take them out in the back yard, rake them into piles and burn them. Consumers are stuck with the packaging producers give them. And must throw it out so it doesn’t accumulate.”

Then he said

“And Europe does something else we don’t do: they regulate industrial waste by charging serious penalties to any industry that discharges an unusable waste material. That has led businesses there to find novel industrial processes that use one another’s waste products. It has spawned entire new industries that process waste and produce valuable industrial inputs.”

to which I reply

“” The FIRMS buy things they want to own, and throw away the packaging. They don’t design the boxes those things come in, nor do they keep the discarded wrappers around the BUILDING. Nor do they take them out in the back yard, rake them into piles and burn them. FIRMS are stuck with the packaging producers give them. And must throw it out so it doesn’t accumulate.”

Why does attaching a cost to garbage produced not matter when done by the market but does matter when done by regulation?

This doesn’t make sense – and neither, notwithstanding your propensity for long waffly non-sequiters – do you. YOu don’t have any core to your thinking, you just say whatever you like at different times, contradictory or not.

Phinn September 3, 2010 at 10:18 am

>>Phinn, I can see where something is really eating at you. So I’ll do what I can to try to figure out your complaint and address it head on.

Are you really going to try to adopt a pose of being knowledgeable, helpful, and interested in discussing the substance of this topic? Really? After your sarcasm, calling my explanations “gobbldigook,” the idea of weighing of garbage “dumb,” intentionally misrepresenting my positions, trying to shift the topic into irrelevancies, and saying there’s something wrong with my brain?

Now, after responding to my comments with a variety of these childish, petulant, bad-faith forms of behavior, you now want to appear as though you are sincere? You’re going to adopt a paternalistic tone, declaring that you are going to sort this all out, like grandpa breaking up a scuffle amongst some school kids? Really? Your behavior thus far has been the problem. You have done everything you could to undermine your own credibility and authority. You’re silly.

>>Is it your position that everything would be better if they just stopped picking it up and filling up landfills with it?

My position (i.e., the truth) is that the entire garbage industry would be better run if private landowners and private collection services charged private homeowners, in a system of free-market pricing.

>>Do you have the slightest idea how closely the country’s thousands of city and county governments work together with the experts in trash, those in the private industry?

When government controls the industry and hands out all the work under government contracts, the system is no longer “private.”

>>The transforming regulations are put out by the evil government on the best advice of the academic community. They are the best version we can arrive at on how to dispose of wastewater and provide clean water in the amounts necesary in an advanced industrial society, for the cheapest cost.

The reason pollution came to be this kind of problem is because, in the 19th century, government courts decided, for the first time, that it was legally permissible for industrial businesses to violate the age-old common law rules against polluting your neighbors’ land. They did this because the government was in the pockets of the industrialists, and the larger the operation, the more the government tolerated behavior that no small-time operator was allowed to get away with.

The most effective way to prevent pollution is to enforce property rights, not by creating a governmental bureaucracy to fix the problems caused by earlier act of government-granted license to harm your neighbor’s land.

>>The plain fact is, when the market dictates everything, producers will neglect every step that costs them money, and just dump their crap in the back yard.

The plain fact is that you are ignorant of the legal history whereby industrialists were expressly enabled by governments to do this sort of thing.

>>The inefficiencies implicit in your approach, that somehow the consumer will be charged for waste production, and they will then complain to the producers by not buying their products, is ass backwards. It’s something a corporate flack for a polluting industry would come up with.

My office neighbor is a private paper-shredding company. They use bins that are virtually identical to the ones I am forced to use for my home garbage, and they have scales on their trucks. They charge by the pound.

I am against polluting on the basis of property rights. Enforcement of property rights, and the price system that follows it, are the solution to both the garbage and the pollution problems.

But, like a typical Statist, you refuse to see it, and instead expend endless effort trying to portray the aggression inherent in government as somehow peaceful and voluntary, and the free market of private property owners voluntarily cooperating with one another as somehow rife with evil and corruption. It is you that has everything ass-backwards.

You’re silly.

michael September 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm

“michael – reading your comments, I have a genuine question. When you said (….), did you say it without even thinking of the possibility of what Phinn says above at all, or did you consider this line of thought and think it just isn’t true?

Real life doesn’t work the way Phinn’s theory says it should. The markets don’t instantly respond intelligently to inputs because no one has complete knowledge. In fact no one can see more than a fraction of a sliver of what’s going on.

The common feeling today is that life out of everyone’s control, and no one has the power to affect anything… because reality is no longer responsive to our wishes. If we want to buy products with no packaging, we can’t. Because every manufacturer of many categories of common ‘stuff’ has followed the same lead, and entombed his products in plastic bubble cards.

Why does he do it? Money decisions. The retail chains pay him more per unit for bubble carded stuff because it makes stocking and inventory control so much easier– and also curbs shoplifting. So they pay more for the efficiencies implicit in heavily packaged goods, and the manufacturer who stays ideologically pure earns less. He’s going to just put buckets of loose screws in the hardware stores, and lose money, when the competition puts six screws in a little plastic packet and sells them easily for what twenty screws are worth? I don’t think he’s going to do that.

Faced with realities like these, the consumer is not going to be able to choose unpackaged goods, in most cases, and see his choices reflected in what kinds of goods are available in the store. He is helpless against the efficiencies.

There are a very few instances where it has worked. Supermarket tomatos used to come in those little baskets covered in cellophane. Everyone hated them. Now people pay more for real tomatos, ones they can pick up and sniff before buying. But most of the stuff in our society is not like tomatos. It’s more like those little packs of screws. So the best we can do is recycle after the fact.

michael September 3, 2010 at 9:10 pm

“My office neighbor is a private paper-shredding company. They use bins that are virtually identical to the ones I am forced to use for my home garbage, and they have scales on their trucks. They charge by the pound.”

Phinn: Ask your friend about how his business opportunity was only created by regulatory acts of government. His customers are forced to use his services:

“Investing in a paper shredding business now is like buying a gold mine. The list of documents the Federal Government says must be destroyed is getting lengthier everyday. Every time you sign a document, be it a job application or a credit card receipt, there is a time limit that the receiving company has to hold that document. After that time limit, they are required by law to destroy, or shred, that document.”

http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Start-a-Paper-Shredding-Business&id=54647

If regulations hadn’t created this business, companies would just do what they used to do: throw tons of old paper in the dumpster and let the trash truck haul it away.

And I will remind you for yet another time: commercial firms can’t get their trash picked up by the city. Cities only offer residential service. Commercial outfits have to hire a private service. And yes, all such services bill based on volume or weight. Trash collection sites, ones that accept commercial trash loads, have scales at the dump entrance. There are no scales on trucks that I’m aware of, they’re at the landfill entrance.

Households? A city would never bother to weigh their trash. Most households have about the same volume of trash, and it wouldn’t be worth the trouble and expense of doing so. And if a homeowner shows up at the landfill with his trunk full of trash, most of them will take it at no charge. His load is too small to weigh.

Interestingly, as recently as the early nineties, businesses used to routinely throw away huge volumes of confidential material about their clients, their finances, personal identities and other info that today would be unthinkable not to destroy. There just weren’t that many dumpster divers performing industrial espionage. If you wanted to, you could even pick up people’s loan applications in the bank’s dumpster. How times change, eh?

Phinn September 4, 2010 at 5:52 am

>>A city would never bother to weigh their trash. Most households have about the same volume of trash, and it wouldn’t be worth the trouble and expense of doing so.

If you were as genuinely interested in this topic as you sometimes pretend to be, and were as sincere in having a good faith discussion of it as you tell yourself you are, you would see how this statement contradicts your position.

You have spent several days now telling everyone how the price to the consumer for garbage service is kept low by benevolent governments, and how everyone is satisfied with that arrangement.

You also complain about the excess garbage people generate.

Now you are saying that trash companies would never bother to weigh household trash because the price consumers pay does not justify it.

As an initial matter, your assertion that most household generate the same amount of trash as each other is patently false. But the real contradiction in your various assertions is that if consumers paid quadruple prices for generating quadruple the amount of trash than they otherwise could, then IT WOULD THEN BE WORTH THE TROUBLE AND EXPENSE of generating less garbage.

(The density of garbage being highly variable, the only reliable metric is weight, as with most commodities.)

You applaud the top-down regulatory system whereby some bureaucratic committee decides how much trash everyone is allowed to make, and devises a penalty structure for violators.

What you do not see is that this bullying method of changing people’s behavior is merely a ham-fisted substitute for a free pricing system. The fact that Statists resort to increasing the price of garbage (artificially, via fines) to get people to generate less of it demonstrates the obvious — people make economic decisions based on costs and benefits, as measured by money. If people did not respond to an increase in garbage prices, then the fine system would not even be proposed.

The problem you are having is that you have failed to understand that free prices transmit economic reality, whereas regulatory fines transmit political reality.

You asserted that “markets don’t instantly respond intelligently to inputs because no one has complete knowledge. In fact no one can see more than a fraction of a sliver of what’s going on.” Here’s the problem with your view of the world: governments don’t either. No one can have perfect knowledge. In fact, market prices are the ONLY means of transmitting that knowledge, imperfect as it may be. By cutting off markets, you eliminate the informational content of prices. When that happens, the transmission of accurate information is impaired or eliminated. In other words, government control of prices and other economic factors makes the knowledge problem worse, not better.

Here’s Hayek’s great contribution to the world — a free-market price derived from private property exchanges is the only way to give people an informational signal to guide them in their production and consumption decisions.

I am suspecting that you have not familiarized yourself with Hayek and his writings on the price system.

As for the shredding company, I did not mention it as an all-round example of free markets at work. I don’t know much about his business, but I have seen the brochures trumpeting the various governmental dictates and (naturally) how they translate into motivating victims of government into buying his service. My point was that the weighing of consumer-sized bins of trash is neither technologically difficult nor new.

michael September 4, 2010 at 10:04 am

Good game, so far. At least the volley is still in the air.

“If you were as genuinely interested in this topic as you sometimes pretend to be, and were as sincere in having a good faith discussion of it as you tell yourself you are, you would see how this statement contradicts your position.”

I’m not just interested, I’m very well informed on the subject. I worked in this area for years, trash issues, and have taken some coursework on it as well. I know my trash.

As for my statements contradicting my position, Let’s remind ourselves that my fundamental outlook is different than yours. You have to hold a consistent position, above any other value. And if you find facts that contradict that position, you have to deny them. The position is more valuable than any mere fact.

I’m the other way around. I have no position to defend, I think they’re all in some degree off base– and certainly incomplete. I even like the ABCT, as being a good summary of one basic set of observations about the nature of the economic cycle.

But it’s not the last word. Real life always has the last word.

2. “You have spent several days now telling everyone how the price to the consumer for garbage service is kept low by benevolent governments, and how everyone is satisfied with that arrangement.”

When your eyes move across my comments I have no idea what you actually think you;’re reading. No, I have not referred to government pricing… although I would certainly agree, governments are always tightly constrained by budgets, for the reason that politicians don’t like raising taxes to meet expenses. So the general approach is to provide adequate service at a competitive price.

Come to think of it isn’t that the general approach private service providers like to take?

3. “Now you are saying that trash companies would never bother to weigh household trash because the price consumers pay does not justify it.”

I think the problem here is that you just don’t know enough about the business to have pictured what I was saying. I was talking about the landfills.

Many landfills in this country are publicly owned, while others are privately run. All are subject to strict regulation– and anyone knowledgeable about the business would consider that to be a very good thing. Impervious pans are a necessity, for example, to prevent serious groundwater contamination. You could start by absorbing the content of this short article, if interested:
http://wasteage.com/mag/waste_landfills_public_private/

Most landfills take three kinds of trash: that from private haulers, that from municipal haulers and that directly from individual households. With me so far?

They also have a fee schedule. The city will take its trash at no cost, and charge a weigh fee from private haulers and commercial contractors like builders. Private homeowners carry such dinky loads of trash that they’ll just wave them in for free; it’s a negligible proportion of the contents of the entire landfill.

Now let’s pause for a moment while I hear you thinking: Wait! In one breath he just finished saying that he was complaining about the excess garbage (sic) people generate. And now he’s saying it’s a negligible amount. What gives with this guy!

I’ll confess I’ve been at a loss many times, trying to cope with this level of obliviousness. First, it’s not ‘garbage’ if it isn’t organic. It’s ‘trash’ or ‘waste’. Second, if you go back for a closer look you’ll see where I was talking about that tiny fraction of household trash that gets hauled directly to the dump in someone’s car trunk. If the guy only has an old TV set and a couple of boxes of jubnk from the garage, that’s nothing.

The daily amount of waste generated by all of America’s households is quite another thing. Please at least try to discriminate between usages, and not just look for tiny places where you think you can insert your wedge. It doesn’t matter whether or not you ‘win’ the argument. It matters what’s real and what isn’t. I’m just trying to enlighten you, not defeat you.

4. “As an initial matter, your assertion that most household generate the same amount of trash as each other is patently false.”

In the aggregate, if you examine the trash from a million homes this year it will be pretty much the same as it will be next year. And most households fall within the middle of the bell curve, with only a few generating mountains of trash while a few generate very small amounts. So I generalize that most of us produce ABOUT the same. I did not imply that every household by some immutable law must generate precisely the same amount of trash as every other.

5. “But the real contradiction in your various assertions is that if consumers paid quadruple prices for generating quadruple the amount of trash than they otherwise could, then IT WOULD THEN BE WORTH THE TROUBLE AND EXPENSE of generating less garbage.”

That’s very true. And I think I noted that that’s the approach they take in places like Germany. Households are penalized by law for excess trash by the local government. It’s a ‘socialist’ approach, in Austrian parlance.

But they also have a general worldview that too much trash is bad, while in the US that’s only a minority opinion, held by the environmentally conscious. So here things are a lot different. And here, the opinions of the few can only do so much to alter the paradigm.

My observation was based on the supposition that existing trash haulers would find it to be far too expensive and too much trouble to try to weight each household’s trash on their route, and to compose individual bills the way phone service providers do to their customers. It would be very expensive and tedious, compared to just pulling the trash and billing each customer based on average volumes. It’s a dumb idea.

I also told you to not just believe me. Call up any of those companies I gave you. Run your idea past them See what they tell you. They’re the experts. In fact if you’re too incurious as to even call them up, go looking on the web. I’m sure you can google trash rates and how they are computed.

Then you can observe the reality. But I doubt you will do that. It would only bring you face to face with information counter to your theories.

6. “You applaud the top-down regulatory system whereby some bureaucratic committee decides how much trash everyone is allowed to make, and devises a penalty structure for violators.”

Such a total moron. How can you even tie your shoes in the morning?

I want you to cite one passage where I have “applauded” the system. I describe the system as it really is, not as it ought to be under your theory. And I do not think some committee ought to be deciding how much trash everyone’s entitled to throw away, although I do understand that’s your vision of the way the stick figure people you don’t like think. I do happen to think it would be nice if we could find economic incentives to the trash PRODUCERS to produce less trash. It’s wrong way to, to decide to penalize the trash CONSUMERS. They have little if any control over how much trash they have to buy. When they buy a product they buy all the styrofoam and plastic and cardboard it’s encased in. And if they buy cheap, the thing breaks so fast they have to go out and buy another one. The trash is actually generated by the manufacturer, not the household.

Do you even begin to get it now? I’m sure you don’t. But I’m starting to tire of having to explain over and over, how this thing works. So I’ll leave you to your delusions, and you can continue thinking of me as a statist wanting to impose his vision of trash on the world by force. So trite, so wilfully ignorant.

Mashuri August 31, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I don’t see that the video has anything to say about “the free market” one way or another. It’s not about markets. Nor is it about government intervention. It’s about the free choices individual consumers make.

Sure, “free” choices in a distorted market. Since our Keynesian system rewards people for spending and punishes people for saving, what choices do you think people tend towards?

Tokyo Rose September 1, 2010 at 7:33 pm

I taught michael well.

newson September 1, 2010 at 9:32 am

mpolzkill, you assume too much.

james b. longacre September 4, 2010 at 4:23 pm

No, I have not referred to government pricing… although I would certainly agree, governments are always tightly constrained by budgets, …..
They also have a fee schedule. The city will take its trash at no cost, and charge a weigh fee from private haulers and commercial contractors like builders. Private homeowners carry such dinky loads of trash that they’ll just wave them in for free; ….

if i remember correctly , in the area i used to live garbage removal bill was included with the sewer and muni water. so even if you dumped your own trash at muni landfill you still paid a monthly bill for garbage.

J. Murray August 31, 2010 at 10:54 am

Corporations ARE a natural extension of consumer preference. Why would I prefer to buy a product from a smaller, less efficient operation? Corporations enjoy economics of scale which allows them to produce the same product at the same quality for a lower price since the overhead costs have a larger product base to be absorbed into and the manufacturing process allows for greater output using fewer inputs and less waste.

I could buy a hand built Hyundai Accent from a small-town garage that would cost $250,000 and take a year to produce or I can buy one from the Hyundai factory for $10,000 that was spit out in an hour.

The corporation is currently the only business creation that can satisfy a large volume of customers.

Inquisitor August 31, 2010 at 11:06 pm

I think their problem is with the LLC under a state, not so much large, diversified firms. If it’s with the latter, then I am mystified.

J. Murray September 1, 2010 at 5:51 am

The limitation of owner liability is a state creation, but isn’t incompatible with property rights. What is a creation of the state, however, is the concept of holding an unknowing owner responsible for the actions of the manager.

I wouldn’t expect in a large, diversified organization for those who have an ownership stake to take personal responsibility for any improprieties. The only way I would hold the owners responsible is if they became aware of the improprieties and did nothing to resolve the issue, such as terminate the manager who engaged in the behavior.

I wouldn’t hold responsible the average citizen who holds a few shares of stock in a company as a responsible party for the actions of a manager, nor would I hold the person with a 50% share responsible either, unless of course that shareholder was party, actively or passively, in the action.

Donald Rowe September 1, 2010 at 10:18 am

If the owner is not ultimately responsible for the use to which his property is put, then who is? If owners of shares do not *share* responsibility, then who does, and why?

Kabal August 31, 2010 at 9:43 am

Problem is, this planet when interacted by mankind is not a “linear system”. Julian Simon tried to explain this in his “The Ultimate Resource”. Physical quantities of natural resources may be finite, but the utility that man can derive from them is infinite, as the man´s ability to think up new processes of how to utilize the natural resource is infinite.
People like the narrator in this video neglect such ultimate resource and the resulting advancement of technology and knowledge.

Allen Weingarten August 31, 2010 at 10:08 am

A simple example is atomic energy, where the mass of a golfball can light up a city. (Some scientists claim that ‘empty space’ contains far greater amounts of energy.)

mpolzkill August 31, 2010 at 10:29 am

“‘Empty space’ contains”!!! Oh dear, you *do not* want the logos inebriate, Bala on your case, Weingartren.

- – - – - – - –

Abhilash,

How about “infinite for all intents and purposes”?

I also wanted to once again marvel at this strange modern religion where nature is god and good lefties its priestly class.

Abhilash Nambiar August 31, 2010 at 1:45 pm

How about “infinite for all intents and purposes”?

Not precisely true I think. Instead of giving a proper estimate of man’s capabilities, this statement exaggerates it. The human being as remarkable as can be still does not possess infinite capabilities. It is tending towards infinity but never quiet getting there. In fact sometimes we take giant leaps backwards.

Horst Muhlmann August 31, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Some scientists claim that ‘empty space’ contains far greater amounts of energy.

Let’s mine leftists’ heads. Talk about infinite energy. If we could mine their souls and consciences, we can enter a post-scarcity world!

Abhilash Nambiar August 31, 2010 at 10:08 am

Physical quantities of natural resources may be finite, but the utility that man can derive from them is infinite.

The utility that man can derive from any resource is huge and expanding with time, but at any point in time, it is still finite.

J. Murray August 31, 2010 at 10:56 am

It’s also assumed that once it’s used, it gets discarded and never used again. Recycling is a huge industry, even without all the government mandates for it.

Mushindo August 31, 2010 at 11:45 am

I have no argument with the general thrust of this article. But I must take issue with this :

‘she presses forward and laments the increasing size and importance of corporations, ignoring that the rise of corporations has been largely an outcome of consumer preferences.’

I would argue that this particular lament is well-founded – she just misidentifies th eculprit!

the ‘increasing size and importance of corporations’ is not ONLY a reflection of consumer preferences – Particularly on the Austrian school view. For a start, the legal principle of limited liability drives a wedge between actions and and adverse consequences for the actor, which contaminates the workings of a properly free market, as risks and costs are not brought fully to bear on any given decision. The asymmetric bearing of adverse and beneficial consequences of individual decisions permits corporations to grow beyond their optimal size . But let’s let that pass here, there are 2 opposing forces at work which drive any enterprise to find its optimal size.

While economies of scale mitigate for larger enterprises and the production of cheaper output, these economies of scale can only go so far, and there is some ceiling on how large an enterprise can grow before its own behaviour ( both the increasing internal costs of bureaucracy and freee internal decisionmaking/information flow, and the natural influence of rent-seeking off th eback of monopoly power) mitigates against further growth by inviting innovative competitors.

There is another powerful force driving th econcentration of enterprises into ever-fewer , ever-larger behemoths, and this force takes them far beyond the benefits of scale economies into the active generation of IN-efficiency, and the destruction of value – Malinvestment, in a word.

This force is none other than government intervention – the use of licensing, imposed minimum quality standards, costly compliance with onerous regulation, and scores of other interventions, all mitigate to drive concentration of enterprise into ever-fewer , ever-larger dominant ologopolists, culminating ultimately in monopolies ( which in recent decades have driven absurd counter-interventions in the form of ill-concieved antitrust ideology , to vainly try to limit the inevitable concentrative outcomes of all the other interventions, but I digress….). It is significant that this degree of concentration into a few juggernauts has been most acute in the sector subject to the most fuindamental and comprehensive intervention: Financial services. The regulatory regime is so oppressive and so costly to comply with, its only the largest of banks which can afford to do so and still come out profitable ( theres a thought: economies of scale in cost of regulatory compliance). If its ‘too big to fail’, its too big, and its almost certain its size is a consequence of not only regulatory intervention, but probably taxpayer subsidisdation as well. This is definitely not a reflection of consumer preference.

I am convinced that if we were to see a bona fide free market, we would not see the colossal global juggernauts which litter the globe right now. We would see economies of scale mitigating for larger enterprises serving wider markets, balanced against the increasing cost of administration of larger corporate bureaucracies and the monopolisitic behaviour of those which get too dominant , which self-limiting effects gets progressively stronger as any one approaches 100% market share. The optimal balance in any sector would be found at a larger number of differently- niched, yet competitive, offerings, from a loarger number of enterprises of varying sizes , with a wider choice range of quality vs price trade-offs for all potential consumers. Ultimately a far larger number of consumers satisfied than under the current gigantism which coalesces at the ugly nexus between State and Market.

$0.02

Guard August 31, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Agree. Corporations exist solely by the coercive authority of the state and are therefore direct extensions of it. As such they are neither business nor private and most of the highly destructive effects of democratic government, such as very short term thinking, are brought about also by corporations.

Jon Leckie September 1, 2010 at 9:51 am

Why shouldn’t a group of individuals voluntary form an entity that contracts with third parties on the basis that the liability of those individuals to third parties is limited to the equity contributed? It’s a very efficient way to raise capital and to spread risk. Third parties dealing with a limited liability entity may refuse to do so if insufficient equity is in the business to meet the obligations assumed by the entity. The separate legal personality of a corporation that shields equity investors from liability may also be pierced in certain defined circumstances, and the board can become personally liable for intentionally trading while insolvent. It comes down to a voluntary exchange between consenting individuals. I don’t see the problem here or the ipso facto connection with the coercive authority of the state: the state provides the institutional framework in support of limited liability, but companies remain private actors that cannot be regarded as direct extensions of the state (although Mushindo’s point is well taken that in a free market without government support/interference the size of corporations may be limited by the sharper impact of smaller competitors entering the market).

Mushindo, Guard, would you say that it’s a common view among Austrians that limited liabilty is a bad thing? I can’t say I’ve found a foundation for such a view in my oh so shallow reading of the literature, but I’m interested in any views/info to the contrary.

Jim Caton September 1, 2010 at 1:52 am

Bravo!

Quig August 31, 2010 at 1:24 pm

“rise of corporations has been largely an outcome of consumer preferences.”

Hahahahahaha

J. Murray September 1, 2010 at 5:48 am

So…you’d rather spend more and get less then?

Quig September 1, 2010 at 8:10 am

How is that relevant? I mean, to the extent that selecting one option within an artificially limited selection constitutes “consumer preference,” you could say the same thing of slave plantations. They rose to prominence because they offered lower prices than their competition. So?It’s one thing to say that certain economic forms became more prevalent over time because “consumers” (including governments) found them to serve their own, immediate, interests, but it’s another to claim that this phenomenon somehow justifies, automatically, (rather than simply, in a very short-sighted, simplistic sense explain) their prevalence (such that criticisms of the form can be dismissed).

JohnnyV13 August 31, 2010 at 1:44 pm

All voluntary transactions benefit both parties, by definition? How dogmatic. You need to spend 10 seconds outside of your a priori universe. Both parties might THINK a voluntary transaction benefits them, but that’s VERY different than what may happen in reality. Any sports fan has seen trades that hurt both teams. Bad trades can happen repeatedly when both sides operate by poor conceptual models regarding benefit.

Inquisitor August 31, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Why do you try use the term “a priori” in a denigrating sense and then go to propose an actual a priori postulate of the Austrian school (ex ante expectations of mutual benefit forming the basis of trade)…? I think the use of “a priori” to designate anything someone finds unsubstantiated is a dogma in and of itself.

Jim Caton September 1, 2010 at 1:51 am

Do you have any suggestions to remedy this. All trades are dependent on an individuals finite knowledge. People are free to educate themselves and improve their perception. They are also free to make bad decisions and must then pay the penalties for those decisions.

Phinn August 31, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Any sports fan has seen trades that hurt both teams. Bad trades can happen repeatedly when both sides operate by poor conceptual models regarding benefit.

The problem you’re describing is based on prediction errors. Sports trades make for a particularly bad analogy for commercial trading, because of the wide variation in their respective rates of prediction errors.

The whole idea of sporting competition is that the outcome is unknown and unknowable. The organizers of the sports increase the difficulty of prediction even further by adopting and refining rules that eliminate certain kinds of predictable advantages. Also the complexity of interaction among team members makes the prediction of performance even more difficult (i.e., impossible beyond a very basic approximation). The end result is that trading Player A for Player B is never going to yield a predictable result. It can be approximated with detailed statistics of past performance, but never fully known.

Most commercial trades don’t work that way. Mass-produced products are carefully designed to yield predictable performance patterns. Houses can be inspected. Cars can be returned if they perform too far outside of expectations. You may not know with absolute certainty what will happen to a shirt you buy in a store the first time you wash it, but its performance is far more predictable than buying a sports player’s services. Buying a business is more complex than buying a product, but businesses can be monitored and audited. There are ways to reduce commercial prediction errors to manageable levels.

The least predictable commercial transaction is probably debt — unsecured personal debt. But that’s a relatively new phenomenon, and only really exists because of the sponsorship of our glorious banking cartel by government.

Old Mexican August 31, 2010 at 5:25 pm

From the video:

“We chop down trees, we blow up mountains to get the metals inside, we use up all the water, and we wipe out all the animals. … We are running out of resources. We are using too much stuff.”

Seems like some posters here accept this level of question-begging with no worry.

JohnnyV13 August 31, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Phinn, I suppose how valid you perceive my sports trade analogy to be depends on your commercial experience. If you operate in the world of venture capital financing, you won’t blink at the idea that our commercial marketplace is full of difficult-to-predict trades. Equity financing contracts have multiple legal devices designed to minimize the impact of wild unpredictability, all designed to protect against poor valuation: anti-dilution mechanisms, exit preferences, restrictions on transactions, ect. Even so, the most sophisticated players in this game (VC firms) generally bust on 1/3 of their investments, get a push on 1/3 and maybe make money on 1/3. And, since individual VC funds usually contain no more than 10-12 different investments (otherwise management is too cumbersome), small sample sizes can wreck havoc on your returns. Unsecured debt is MUCH more predictable than trying to figure out the potential market impact of a product or service that doesn’t have any existing analogue in the current marketplace.

Inquisitor August 31, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Trust Michael to defend every stupid leftist video out there, no matter how ill founded.

Jon Beebe August 31, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I expect better articles from Mises.org.

You state at the end “Not only is the entire video dishonest, vague, and devoid of any citation of sources…” but if you took just a moment to explore the site you would see that the video is extensively sourced in the Annotated Script available in the Downloads section.

Regarding #3, you cannot disarm her argument by simply saying “Who says that? Give me one example.” Weak. Especially when she has a source for that statement in the Annotations.

And then there’s statements like your comment on #8. You think she’s wrong simply because you don’t know anyone who’d say she’s right? Weak.

Lastly, on point #9, you mistakenly equate “purpose” with results. Just because the “end result of all economic activity is consumption” does not make consumption the “purpose” of an economy.

Next time it would be helpful to actually explore the sources behind her argument first, so you can constructively take apart her arguments, attack her sources if necessary.

Like I said, I expect better from Mises.org

Inquisitor August 31, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Then try Lee Doren’s video on for size when it comes to her oh so valuable “citations”.

“Just because the “end result of all economic activity is consumption” does not make consumption the “purpose” of an economy.”

Then what is it for?

Jim Fedako August 31, 2010 at 9:01 pm
noah September 1, 2010 at 1:14 am

Improving? Those damn trees are worthless! How “original” are they?

I wonder what happened to all those trees that came and went between glacial advances and retreats in Ohio, 10,000 and 100,000 and 2 million years ago. Wait, trees came and went? They weren’t all original issue, sitting happily in place for five billion years until naughty white men cut them all down 200 years ago, clearly ruining the planet forever? (Or at least until the next election.)

I’m sure those “original” trees had survived the minor hassles of plate tectonics, you know, just surfing into the subduction zones and popping up intact millions of years later. All that time and effort put into being “original”, and just to end up as boards in some stupid hospital or school. Such a waste.

Jim Caton September 1, 2010 at 1:47 am

Perhaps what is missing from this post is Leonard’s ignorance of government intervention. While Terell does mention the tragedy of the commons, he leaves unsaid the tragedy of legal tender monopolies and disrespect for private property rights. Specifically, I am thinking of the overvaluation of the US dollar and its use as reserve currency across the globe. Dollars are overvalued abroad because of their relative scarcity in foreign countries compared to their abundance in the United States where they are “produced.” This distorts the perception of actors in the market, causing them to undervalue their property and overvalue the dollar. Thus, the third world faces environmental degredation, but this is largeley due to disrespect for private property, an unethical monetary system, and the government spawned “moral hazards” which accompany them, not the free market.

Josh September 1, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Steve Irwin purchased heaps of land from the state, WHY? Because he saw value in conservation. Privatization is the only way he saw of protecting endangered species. and I totally agree, If you want to save the whales, you sell them off, because you watch Greenpeace would purchase a hell of a lot of them and then have the wright to protect them. Peaceful, voluntary, Non-violent interaction and trade will actually save our resources and planet.

james b. longacre September 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm

with a pay per pound wste removal fee i bet a company could have the wste remover carry a type of hand scale that immedialy weigh the can and ann automated dump truck that prints a receipt and tack it on the can left behind.

i think there are remote water meter readers now.

http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=WFaH2Fr6Vxs&feature=related

Alex September 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm

In other words herpa derp I think equivocation fallacy is a clever way to argue.

Alex September 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm

There’s some prize bullshit in this specimen. I was blown away by this guy’s power to spew out fallacy like it’s his own urine.

Equivocation:

“She declares that

It’s a linear system, and we live in a finite planet. And you cannot run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely.

What? Semantically, this is nonsense. “Linear systems” are drawn all the time, by both computer and ruler. A line is what cannot exist in a finite plane, not a “linear system.”"

I don’t even know what this argument is supposed to be:
“Instead, however, she presses forward and laments the increasing size and importance of corporations, ignoring that the rise of corporations has been largely an outcome of consumer pre…ferences.”

Does that mean he’s saying consumers prefer to buy things made by corporations? Implying, I suppose, that they have much choice in the matter.

“”We are using too much stuff”? Compared to what?”

Compared to the level we could be using to sustain ourselves indefinitely.

‎”2. “In the US, we have less than 4 percent of our original forests left.”

Wrong again. According to Global Forest Watch, approximately 24.7 percent of the United States’ land area is forested. That makes Leonard’s statistic impossible.[1]“…

actually, the modifier original matter here. it means old-growth forests, which are the big ones like the sierras. 24% of our land can be forested, but that would include newer ones (which incidentally produce one quarter the paper that hemp can per acre) which aren’t as cool, yo.

‎”3. Leonard later contends that the United States’ response to consuming too much stuff is that it just takes someone else’s: “[The third world,] some would say, is just another word for our stuff that got on someone else’s land.”

Who says …that? Give me one example. Does entering into voluntary transactions with foreign nationals, where labor or raw materials may be cheaper, imply that? I think not.”

i suppose it’s the White Man’s Burden to trade to the poor countries for the identical labor and resources that magically become cheaper when sold by impoverished nations. should we pay them livable wages or help them live in comfort just because they were in the wrong place (i.e. slavery) during the industrial revolution? what do we look like, a charity?

‎”4. “Seventy-five percent of global fisheries are fished at or beyond capacity.”

Again, it would be helpful if Leonard understood the tragedy of the commons.”

apparently this guy thinks the tragedy of the commons has no solution and is the o…ptimal way of organizing ourselves. but then, it’s really only a tragedy for the people who didn’t take the fish. and i think we know who this guy represents.

‎”5. “In this system, if you don’t own or buy a lot of stuff, you don’t have value.”

First, value is subjective. Second, if you don’t produce that which your fellow man wants and values, you will be entitled to less of what he/she has taken …the time to produce. How is that bad?”

you’re right. those sand people should have built factories for things we wanted while they had the chance. or they should have magically been paid better so they could purchase what they wanted and have some control over the market. good plan, you should go and tell them that.

” 6. “What happens there [production] is that we use energy to mix toxic chemicals in with the natural resources to make toxic contaminated products.”

That’s it? That’s all we need to know about the production of “stuff”? By what definition… are all of these chemicals toxic? What is their rate of impact on health? What is the severity of their impact on health? I doubt it is actually common for truly toxic products to be produced and sold in the United States. Furthermore, I doubt many corporations would be in business for long if they sold them.”

for an example without a lot of syllables, see leaded paint. companies don’t care about safety because testing for it doesn’t improve profits (except in baby stuff because we’ve learned to be paranoid there) and it’s just an extra cost to find a different chemical to use. that’s why the FDA regulates what can be put into consumables, because before they did that there were serious problems with the chemicals in our foods. upton sinclair figured it out like a hundred years ago when he wrote The Jungle. it’s not very hard to see. oh and if you still think a company that sells toxic products won’t stay in business, visit Marlboro.

‎” 7. “How do [distributors] keep the prices down? Well they don’t pay the store workers very much, and they skimp on health insurance every time they can. It’s all about externalizing the cost.”

“They don’t pay workers very much.” Compared …to what? By disregarding the concept of the marginal productivity of labor, Annie Leonard displays her ignorance of even the most basic concepts in economics.”

compared to a livable wage, dipshit. you need to understand that people aren’t possessions, and that even though there’s a minimum amount that a company can pay them to acquire their labor, ethics still exists. it’s not okay to pay as little as possible to a person who will need that money for food, clothing, and shelter. otherwise you’re missing the entire point of figuring out how to organize our resources for the betterment of society, the core of economics. oh and it makes you an asshole.

‎” 8. “Our primary identity is that of being consumers — not mothers, teachers, farmers, but consumers.”

Is that true? What is Leonard’s basis for such a statement? I know of no one, personally, that would identify themselves foremost in tha…t way. And even if some people do, so what? Isn’t that a moral judgment?”

last time you said value was subjective, but now you’re looking for a measure of identity? she’s describing the consumerist culture we’ve developed over the past half-century. it’s there, and it’s marked by credit purchases and increased product advertisements and sales. we buy more bullshit that we don’t need and don’t make us happy, compared with our past in which we didn’t. it’s there.

‎”9. “President Eisenhower’s Council of Economic Advisers chairman said that the American economy’s purpose is to produce more consumer goods.”

Leonard bemoans the statement, but the advisor[sic] was right! Everything is produced for consump…tion. The end result of all economic activity is consumption!”

i see you’ve learned to analyze a single bit of information at a time. however, please recognize that the cited concern is not in the object of produce, but in the entire verb phrase. producing goods itself should not be seen as an end goal, because we don’t actually need more and more stuff. what you don’t seem to get is that things can be bought and sold, but it can still be wasteful in general. resources that could be better used to make food more available to a world still crowded with starving people, are instead used on more profitable porcelain dalmatians. some things are more important than producing consumer goods.

‎”10. “Our national happiness peaked in the 1950s, the same time that this consumption mania exploded. Hmmm. Interesting coincidence,” Leonard says, smiling.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Using the same foolish logic, I could say that Dwight Ei…senhower’s election as president caused Castro to take over Cuba.”

the difference is that she provided a probable link. you can say post hoc ergo propter hoc to me if i say the sun is out and it’s hot. however, if i say the sun’s rays are likely responsible for the heat, it’s valid. her thing is valid. you just like leaving things out of your analysis because they get in the way.

so from now on, don’t be an asshole, okay?

TokyoTom November 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Sterling, I’m late to the party, I see, but allow me to offer a few comments:

- Leonard “presses forward and laments the increasing size and importance of corporations, ignoring that the rise of corporations has been largely an outcome of consumer preferences.”

My own humble view is that the rise of corporations has been more than a little affected by the fact that they are risk-transfer machines created by government and that could not exist in present form in a truly free market (certainly people injured by corporate actions do not chose the corporate structure of their tortfeasors). The grant of limited liability to shareholders has had a profound impact on society and communities and on the growth of the captured mega-regulatory
state. See, e.g., http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2010/09/26/limited-liability-part-4-libertarians-sidestep-the-gift-of-limited-liability-amp-the-resulting-wreckage-by-arguing-it-39-s-now-unfair-to-make-irresponsible-shareholders-liable.aspx.

I agree with Mushindo here.

1. “We are using too much stuff”? Compared to what? How Malthusian can Leonard be? One can grow tired repeating over and over the concept of the tragedy of the commons to those that are unable to think two steps ahead.

How about, compared to what our societies would exploit if governments across the world did not fuel the tragedy of the commons by purporting to “own” so much of the commons (often stealing it from natives and preventing management by users) and auctioning off lease rights to favored inside corporations for a song?

Why do Austrians feel compelled to contest phenomena that they know full well exist?

2. Aren’t you the least bit embarrassed?

3. “Leonard later contends that the United States’ response to consuming too much stuff is that it just takes someone else’s”

Did you miss the movie Avatar or our discussion of it? Isn’t it obvious that property rights are respected even LESS in the Third World than in the US? What does this imply for prices of raw materials sourced from the Third World, or for used products we dump there?

4. “Seventy-five percent of global fisheries are fished at or beyond capacity.” Again, it would be helpful if Leonard understood the tragedy of the commons.

True; but again, it would be helpful if you acknowledged that, far from being something Leonard got wrong, this is one of those points that lack of property rights and/or government ownership means she is absolutely right.

5. Leonard is right that we live in a very materialistic society with weakening communities; Austrians should recognize that this is fuelled by the government actions that favor corporations, and by the growth of the government itself, including fiscal and monetary policy.

What is it with the reflexive disagreement with Leonard? Can’t one disagree with many aspects, but yet find common ground and venture productive explanations?

6. I doubt it is actually common for truly toxic products to be produced and sold in the United States.

Do you also doubt that cancer and pulmonary problems are clearly linked to environmental toxins? Do you doubt the existence of Superfund sites, and toxicity associated with US nuclear weapons production programs and mines generally?

Furthermore, I doubt many corporations would be in business for long if they sold them.
Have you failed to notice greenwashing by chemical cos? Or that federal pollution licensing regs keep in business Midwestern industries whose pollution East Coast states have been suing for decades to halt?

8. “Our primary identity is that of being consumers — not mothers, teachers, farmers, but consumers.”

Isn’t it obvious that Leonard is referring to how we are perceived/treated by corporations and governments – and like you personally believes we are much more than that? You continue to drum up disagreements where there don’t appear to be any.

9. “the American economy’s purpose is to produce more consumer goods.” Leonard bemoans the statement, but the advisor was right! Everything is produced for consumption.

Now I’m confused: in 8 you suggest that our primary identity is NOT as consumers, but now you inform us that the whole “purpose” of the American economy is to produce more consumer goods.

In any event, any Austrian should disagree with you: the “American economy” has NO purpose whatsover; rather, only individuals, acting alone and in groups, have purposes. Such purposes may necessitate purchases of goods and services, but I would wager that no one has purposes of simply consuming consumer goods.

10. “Our national happiness peaked in the 1950s, the same time that this consumption mania exploded. Hmmm. Interesting coincidence,” Leonard says

Leonard hasn’t offered a conclusion, but simply offered a rather pedestrian suggestion that consumerism may adversely affect personal happiness – a viewpoint that is widely echoed by religious leaders and psychologists. I don’t believe that Austrians disagree axiomatically here – did I miss something?

TT

yang November 9, 2010 at 5:27 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sW_7i6T_H78&feature=player_embedded
New video by storyofstuff.org. Would someone pls blog on this?

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