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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/8032/has-capitalism-failed/

Has Capitalism Failed?

April 16, 2008 by

Capitalism should not be condemned, writes Ron Paul, since we haven’t had capitalism. A system of capitalism presumes sound money, not fiat money manipulated by a central bank. Capitalism cherishes voluntary contracts and interest rates that are determined by savings, not credit creation by a central bank. It’s not capitalism when the system is plagued with incomprehensible rules regarding mergers, acquisitions, and stock sales, along with wage controls, price controls, protectionism, corporate subsidies, international management of trade, complex and punishing corporate taxes, privileged government contracts to the military-industrial complex, and a foreign policy controlled by corporate interests and overseas investments. FULL ARTICLE

{ 201 comments }

newson April 21, 2008 at 11:33 am

owen says:
“Those are merely public safety laws and exist for all forms of activity be they public or private in New Zealand.
They would not add greatly to the difficulty in establishing an oil port or refiner in NZ.”

a few million dollars for regulatory hurdles, and tens of millions in construction? sorry to burst your bubble, but reliance are building one in india, and expect to fork out more than usd$6 billion. so you’re out by orders of magnitude. typically they take around five years of construction time. have you never seen an oil refinery? perhaps you’d wake up if one was planned for your neighbourhood. does the word “inflammabile substance” mean anything to you? the americans haven’t built one since the mid-seventies for the same reasons as nz, regulatory impediments.

your argument is all over the place. first you state the existence of a “cartel” in oil companies in nz. cartel meaning there is a group of companies colluding to keep margins higher than they otherwise would be. then, about bringing on new capacity you say:

“there is just no need because the capacity of the existing one is enough for the entire country’s needs.”

just to bring you up to speed, companies invest on the basis of returns on capital outlayed, not on some quirky thing like“national needs”. if, as you say, there are no regulatory barriers to entry, then there is no cartel.

“joint-monopoly” perhaps you’d like to share this interesting concept with us?

Owen April 21, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Inquisitor:

Seems like you are missing the point. A banking cartel is not the same as a business selling widgets.

A good is not produced and sold but rather

The performance of 100% reserving banks will always be eclipsed by fractionally reserving banks because they can pay their depositors interest and barring very very very very unlikely situation of millions of customers arriving on the same day, they will be able to meet all claims.

All this whilst printing money for themselves. They can print money that their customers can then use to withdraw all the gold from smaller banks because due to the size of the large counterfeiting bank it could swap all the gold in the other bank for worthless paper from it’s printing presses.

And you still think this is a good idea? What have you been smoking?

Owen April 21, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Newson:

The “need” is as demanded by freely participating consumers in the market. There is no need by these consumers as judged by their demand thereby meaning that a new refinery would be a susstantial outlay for non-existent demand.

Secondly there is such a thing as voluntary cartels. Look up your Economics 101 book.

Exactly you are right. New Zealand oil companies have been accused for decades of moving together on prices and keeping them artifically inflated. Everyone knows it is in their best interest anyway.

Your “regulatory impediments” are other peoples “measures which save lives” and are simply the conditions of doing business in New Zealand. The existing refinery must comply with all of these anyway so there is no favouritism.

I am not into oil refineries but it seems you have proved my point that the economic cost considerations far outweigh any claimed “regulatory barriers to entry” as you may put it.

We also make it a condition of entry that businesses in New Zealand do not shoot and kill their customers and rob them and ransom their body parts, despite how lucrative this might be for the business concerned. Would you also call the prohibition of this act a “regulatory barrier to entry”?

You are crazy!

Inquisitor April 21, 2008 at 7:14 pm

Gee, silly me for asking for you to actually prove your case. You can’t refrain from insulting either. I still want to know what this “economics 101″ is.

Owen April 21, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Inquisitor:

“Economics 101″? You obviously never graduated Hugh School. Maybe you should stick to discussions you can add to. If ther eare any.

You obviously don’t get bored with endlessly trolling message boards adding nothing to any discussion except displaing your inability to grasp simple things.

Inquisitor April 21, 2008 at 8:07 pm

Troll? No, merely an Inquisitor. I will not hesitate in pointing out the fact that so far all you’ve done is asserted ad nauseam, offering little to no proof for anything you’ve said. I asked, which school of economics, outlining a range of possible answers. You merely decided to label me a troll and again (as before) avoid giving an answer. So much for me being the troll.

And you’re right, I never graduated “hugh school”, whatever that is.

Owen April 21, 2008 at 9:09 pm

Yes, Troll is the best word for people like you. Troll it is. Now get back to saying nothing about everything, ok?

God, another person who hasn’t graduate High School coming on message boards and trying to play with the big boys. Sad. Just sad.

newson April 22, 2008 at 1:15 am

owen says:
“Secondly there is such a thing as voluntary cartels. Look up your Economics 101 book.”

no, you explain what you mean! voluntary cartel? how would that work? what textbook are you citing? if one can freely enter a market, with no more than capital costs as a barrier, then it’s no cartel. any attempt at cartellization without the force of government is destined to fail.

“regulatory impediments” are other peoples “measures which save lives” and are simply the conditions of doing business in New Zealand.”

so the government sets up strict entry conditions with the pretext of “saving lives” – in other words, the state makes competition by all but the biggest and most sophisticated players impossible.

Owen April 22, 2008 at 3:58 am

newson:

Ever heard of predatory pricing?
Ever heard of markets with high economic barriers to entry?

Well, when firms can stop competing with eachother and set prices above a competitive level by MUTUAL AGREEMENT.

Then this is a voluntary cartel. It has nothing to do with government regulation. It is what we have in New Zealand. There are hundreds of oil companies in the world but only 4 operate in New Zealand YET there are no rgulatory barriers to their entry. In fact the New Zealand government would encourage them…except for the fact that once they came they would just end up setting their prices the same as tthe other 4…why?

BECAUSE IT IS A CARTEL MARKET STRUCTURE. Which for you because you do not understand is when 4 firms can from the outside seemingly act as if they were one.

Who told you the New Zealand government sets strict conditions for the setting up of oil refineries in New Zealand? The government with the mandate of the people does not let any one business or group knowingly endanger the lives of the people. I think you will find that barring the finding of a suitable piece of land which will not be hard, a refinery would be welcome in New Zealand. It would create jobs and we need those at the moment.

So you are wrong…twice.

Owen April 22, 2008 at 3:59 am

I think you will find, once again, that the exclusion of all but the “biggest and strongest” competitors from the New Zealand oil industry is because of the economic and financial barriers to entry.

NOT any perceived government regulation which doesn’t actually exist.

Owen April 22, 2008 at 4:05 am

I think you are mixing New Zealand up with some other imaginary government out there.

The government just lets the market do it’s thing with regard to petrol and oil products.

The New Zealand Government knows, like I said before, that even if another player was in the market it would just join the cartel pricing agreements and prices and supply would remain unchanged.

So who cared anyway. BUT it is a cartel and that is th main point.

ktibuk April 22, 2008 at 7:18 am

“Then this is a voluntary cartel. It has nothing to do with government regulation. It is what we have in New Zealand. There are hundreds of oil companies in the world but only 4 operate in New Zealand YET there are no rgulatory barriers to their entry. In fact the New Zealand government would encourage them…except for the fact that once they came they would just end up setting their prices the same as tthe other 4…why?”

After this assertatioın there are two possible options.

Either there are nobody else in the world with a profit motive, that does or can do oil business in NZ.

Or you are very ignorant to the real facts of the New Zealand oil industry.

Common sense says it is the second option.

If you were in the oil business, would you go and undercut the so called cartel and make shit load of money by taking a big percentage of the market, or would you join the so called cartel and just do with whatever leftover for you, and not bigger than 20% since there would be only 5?

Inquisitor April 22, 2008 at 7:22 am

Alright, so you can’t prove your point, so you resort to calling me a troll. What a lovely demonstration of how utterly pathetic you are. You can’t even identify the school of economics to which you refer. Sad, just sad.

Jeremy April 22, 2008 at 10:16 am

Hi Owen,

Quoting myself here:

The deflation of the 30s could not have occured absent the prior inflation of the money supply that took place in the 20s.

That inflation of the money supply took place with an almost constant CPI – no apparent inflation. Yet the money supply was ‘increasing at pace with the economy’ – in fact, the money supply was increasing almost perfectly in step with productivity gains, hence the very low CPI inflation.

Now quoting you:


If you believe that a constant low rate of inflation is what caused the 30′s depression…you’ve gotta have a look at your economics 101 man. It was caused by the DEFLATION SHOCK. If the money supply was continued to be increased at a constant low rate so that CPI inflation remained within 0 – 3% then there would have been no depression. You gotta do better than that mate.

I have already explained to you that a gold standard is potentially much worse than a Steadily Increasing Money Supply (SIMS) system because a gold system allows Fractional reserve banking which would not be possible under a SIMS.

If you propose to enact regulations to stop gold-backed banks from fractionally reserving then you have just broken the cose of Austrian 101 – no government intervention in the economy.

Let’s see… I very clearly stated that the inflation of the money supply was a large contributing cause to the great depression, but that CPI stayed almost constant during the 20′s.

Go look up CPI for the 1920s – you’ll find that it was almost 0 on average. That’s because the CPI measures consumer prices (hey, something you don’t understand at all aparently. Better go back to your econ 101 book – and by the way, if you want to continue making assinine comments about basic econ, I got a 3.9 GPA in Econ at the #1 / #2 public school in the nation, so stfu). You’re right when you say that the money supply increased quite a bit during the 20s, you are absolutely wrong to equate the CPI with the money supply.

A gold standard and 100% reserve backed banking are not mutually exclusive. You are 100% wrong to say that all Austrian economists believe that a 100% reserve requirement is not within the province of government. Why? They view it as a basic legal protection against what is really nothing more than the legalized counterfitting of money.

There is a very strong legal argument to be made for 100% reserves. Whether an Austrian economist agrees with it or not should be based on the legal, moral , and economic arguments supporting a 100% reserve backed requirement, not their guy feeling (and many Austrian economists do support 100% reserve backed banking). Read the first three chapters of De Soto’s Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles, which deals with the legal case against fractional reserve banking. Actually, read the whole book.

Look, Owen, you have twice told me things that are not true. The first time is when you said I hadn’t clearly read your arguments – actually, I had, you hadn’t clearly read mine. The second is when you flat out incorrectly told me that I believed there was little inflation of the money supply leading up to the Great Depression, after I had clearly stated there was – based on your idiotic misunderstandings of CPI and aggregate inflation of the money supply.

newson April 22, 2008 at 11:29 am

owen says:
“The government just lets the market do it’s thing with regard to petrol and oil products.”

the maritime safety authority of new zealand administers the use of seaways using the following codes:

*Maritime Transport Act 1994,
*Ship Registration Act 1992
* The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (maritime sections)
* Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
nz is also subject to multiple international treaties, like the environmental protocol to the antarctic, as well as the london dumping and MARPOL1 conventions, plus the rotterdam convention on international trade of hazardous chemicals etc.etc.

this is only part of the regulatory regime, the tip of the iceberg. you’ve also got the onshore maze – Petroleum Products Specifications Regulations 2002
Environmental Protection Act 1994
The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (land sections) etc etc.

have you ever had to pay for a lawyer? do you know how many tens of thousands of billing hours (partner rates) would be required even to get you to base one of the application process?

then the battles with local councils, stakeholders etc.

give owenomics 101 a break and take a wander in the real world. come back when you’ve got some facts.
thanks for the laughs, though, it’s been a rare treat on this generally serious site.

Owen April 22, 2008 at 4:27 pm

ktibuk:

If you undercut a Cartel then you better be bigger and stronger than all the other members of the Cartel combined because they will jointly undercut you back and bankrupt you then raise their prices again.

If you don’t believe there is such thing as a financial barrier to entry (i.e. the building of a refinery, massive marketing and a network of 500 petrol stations) you are an idiot. That is an entry barrier amounting to hundreds of millions if not billions and has nothing to do with the government.

If you know nothing about cartels don’t try and say you do, ok? It just makes you look silly.

Non-Inquisitor:

Once again says nothing so we’ll move on.

Jeramy:

I think we are closer than you think.

First of all. The inflation of the 20′s was a precurser to the Depression but there has been many other periods of high inflation since then in various countries. The difference is that people learned from the depression and ensured that banks DID NOT TURN OFF THE MONEY SUPPLY thereby causing a depression.

Inflation means things get more expensive in nominal dollar terms.

Shock deflation means there is suddenly less money in the economy and businesses start going broke and people go out of business.

The solution to the Depression was simple…turn the money back on. That was done via war related spending and away we go again.

Low, steady inflation has absolutely no comparison to the shock deflation which caused the depression. And stop arguing otherwise…you look silly.

I am all for 100% reserves and that is exactly what I am advocating for. Problem is an unregulated Gold standard DOES NOT ACHIEVE THIS because it is still possible under a free gold standard for large multinational banks to fractionally reserve and “create money” thereby allowing the few to dominate the many with their “created money”.

newson:

Those are not artificial barriers to entry. They are for the protection of the public. They merely specify how to carry out such activities safely based on years of practice. In fact following them would save in the long run because they would likely prevent catastrophies which would end up costing more. So in this sense we can say that the government is actually helping business. Funny that? How your onerous regulations can be turned around to be in fact assistance for business in reducing their potential thrid party liabilities.

Newson is proposing we allow bazooka wielding terrorists who wanna commit genocide because stopping them would be a “barrier to entry” too. Sad.

Considering that most of these regulations are for helath and safety and thereby reduce potential future litigation and liabilities for the prospective business they are actually in most cases a net positive financial impact on new business.

A new business would always employ experts to analyse it’s business case from an engineering, financial, legal and economic standpoint. The regulations simply give useful guides on the best way to navigate the health and safety part – for free!!

Thank you New Zealand Governmet.

Inquisitor April 22, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Owen again lies and tries to evade the issue, so we’ll move on.

Why not just admit you’re clueless? You can’t answer any of my questions.

newson April 22, 2008 at 6:19 pm

owen, again:
“A new business would always employ experts to analyse it’s business case from an engineering, financial, legal and economic standpoint. The regulations simply give useful guides on the best way to navigate the health and safety part – for free!!

you’re probably too young to have paid any taxes, so the experience will be new to you. but free it ain’t.

business will employ all the experts it deems necessary (and no more) to avoid tort actions. do a search on mises under “environmentalism” or “pollution” if you have any genuine interest.

leave the war comics and read psychology 101 – people spend others’ money more freely than there own.

Owen April 22, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Inquisitor:

Youi can’t answer any of mine. You first.

Newson:

The regulations set up in New Zealand that you referred to are those which will ensure the business does not incur any torts or third party liabilties of negligence.

Businesses that comply will save the equal amount in reducing their liability to future torts.

Businesses that do not follow these regulations would incur this amount further down the line in the form of tort payments to third parties.

So they are benign because the cost of compliance is roughly equal to that amount that would otherwise need to be spend on lawyers and safety experts to estimate and measure and research in order to avoid future tort legislation.

The government has done all this expert research and investigation and so the regulations are a help not a hinderance. I would actually be very surprised if they didn’t save money in the long run.

Do people complain about the “onerous” building safety or vehicle safety regulations? If they do what they don’t realise is that if they didn’t follow these guidelines then researching and creating their own that would limit their liability to Torts would likely cost them more.

Next question.

newson April 22, 2008 at 8:44 pm

owen says:
“The government has done all this expert research and investigation and so the regulations are a help not a hinderance. I would actually be very surprised if they didn’t save money in the long run.”

how much did this “expert research and investigation cost the nz taxpayer? figures please, not guesses! i guess you think the government invented car airbags, too. try to back your personal views with facts, if possible.

Owen April 22, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Airbags were a great invention. They save lives. They are not however compulsory in any New Zealand cars.

The Majority of people in New Zealand (who vote) have decided that we wish these standards to be introduced. It is done bycommissioning the same scientists that would be commissioned by the private sector.

So you lose.

newson April 22, 2008 at 9:17 pm

how much did this “expert research and investigation cost the nz taxpayer? figures please, not guesses!

newson April 22, 2008 at 9:39 pm

to owen:
you’re obviously too young to have lived through robert muldoon’s prime ministership, but those days the “wise” government used to run virtually everything in nz. in 1984, i can remember the place was full of 1950′s cars, just like cuba is today. whitegoods were unbelievably expensive, and i saw washing machines in private houses that would have done any museum proud. thanks to the lively reforms put in during post-muldoon, nz actually has a very successful multinational whitegoods company – fisher & paykel. add nz contemporary history 101 to your reading list. happy studying!

Owen April 22, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Newson:

If you are comparing health and safety regulations which protect lives to government participation in private markets…then it is you that needs to go back to economics 101 mate.

Health and safety regulations which actually save businesses money (by conducting research and investigation into potantial tort liabilities) are completely different to a government producing and selling cars.

Governments have no business participating in private markets.

They have every business in regulating markets so that participation by anyone does not injure or put in jeapardy the health or life of citizens.

Instead of picking up the pieces of damage done it is much cheaper and easier to prevent these things ocuring.

Or are you anti-common sense?

newson April 22, 2008 at 10:24 pm

how much did this “expert research and investigation cost the nz taxpayer? figures please, not guesses!

Owen April 23, 2008 at 4:50 am

Newson:

It costs the same that it would have cost the businesses to do it themselves because the very same private independent scientists and experts would have been used and their findings turned into legislation by our Parliament.

But then divide that between the number of business in the market and they each actually make a saving.

Sounds like everyone got a good deal. The people of New Zealand people that voted (the majority of the country over 18) find such expenditure a good use of their money as a hedge against having to litigate and suffer ill-effects later from business mistakes and tradgedies.

If the people didn;t find it a good use of money then why aren’t there more libertarian party members in New Zealand? I guess because people feel that the government is meeting their needs at the moment.

Next question.

David C April 23, 2008 at 8:17 am

In all this talk about airbags in NZ reminds me of th eperversity of legislating safety standards in general.

why cant a member of th epublic choose himself? cheaper car, less safety, or more expensive car, more safety. Why force everybody into the expensive option – are they deemed too stupid to assess their own risks, costs and benefits?

And besides, airbags and indeed safetybelts make the roads more dangerous, not less. SUre, forced seatbelt wearing might perhaps reduce the number of deaths per 1000 accidents. But they INCREASE the number of accidents. Simply because seatbelts and other safety features reduce the cost of bad driving.

If you believe in a nanny state, and want to really make a difference in road accident statistics, your best option is to

- make passenger seatbelts compulsory by all means, but
-BAN drivers from wearing them. And replace the steering wheel airbag with a spring loaded spike that plunges into the driver’s chest on impact. And watch your accident statistics plunge.

Not that Im advocating it, mind, this is just to show the perversity of compulsory safety standards.

Inquisitor April 23, 2008 at 8:25 am

Owen, why don’t you actually offer some hard quantitative proof to Newson of that claim? That is after all what he asked for. Whilst your at it, get to answering my questions too.

BTW, heard of the book Beyond Politics? Might wanna check it out if you’re so confident in government-mandated “safety” regulation.

Inquisitor April 23, 2008 at 8:30 am

you’re*

newson April 23, 2008 at 11:15 am

to owen:
clearly you’re not able to back your wild theories with facts, only appeals to the infinite wisdom of crowds.

please try and rebuff my central contention – that one is less careful spending others’ money than one’s own.

a democratic election only reflects what’s on offer. sir robert muldoon was a very successful politician following socialist/nationalist policies. sir roger douglas lead the counter-revolution back towards the market. helen clark has charted a middle course. three different political directions, all elected by majorities – proves absolutely nothing about economics.

at least one point you are right on – the libertarian movement struggles in nz and elsewhere because the allure of socialism is in its perceived fairness, and it’s promise of the illusory free lunch, mixed in with a good dose of class-envy.

people still proudly wear hammer and sickle lapel-pins in parts of europe, confident in the moral superiority of socialism, and its inherent fairness. it doesn’t matter how many mass graves are unearthed, because their hope in the “marxian “new man” springs eternal.

as you’ve ably demonstrated, socialists are uneasy with figures, be they regulatory compliance costs or corpses. it’s feelings that count.

Owen April 23, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Inquisitor:

The New Zealand government doesn’t employ world leading experts in every conceivable area of medicine, science and health and safety. But it does want their research to make decisions.

There is the proof. The regulations on health and safety in New Zealand are drawn up by reference to the work of such people who where necessary are commissioned to give opinions.

Do you have no idea how governments work?

David C:

The government is protecting the child passengers of cars and the passengers of other cars who had no influence over the car that was bought. There is a legitimate argument that instead of picking up their dismembered limbs off the road and pursuing litigation it is cheaper and more humane to enforce minimum safety regulations to prevent such a thing happening.

You must remember that New Zealand is a Libvertarian society…but just one in which the majority have been able to force their will onthe minority.

You know the old Libertarian Maxim – “might is right”?

Secondly, you say that government safety regulations increase the liklihood of accidents…well so does insurance which is a purely free-market phenomenom. So that argument doesn’t hold. In fact it cancels itself out.

Newson:

I agree that one is less careful spending anothers money than their own. But you seem to think that New Zealand is not a libertarian state? It is. Only the largest majority is called the government and they enforce their laws and morals on the rest. Other ‘groups’ are free to emerge but so far libertarians for example number in the hundreds not the thousands.

So…the majority spends the minority’s money swell as their own to achieve their own ends because…they ca. Remember in Libertarianism “might is right” and their are no state laws but only the ability of one group to bring another to justice. Well I would like to see the libertarians her ebring hte NZ government to justice. They can’t .

That answers why the government spends libertarian’s money. I am not sure whether it is right or wrong and it doesn’t matter because in Libertarianism there is no “right” or “wrong” only defence of one’s perceived own “rights” against another.

It is obviously you that want to force people into something they don’t want. Seems Democracy is not forcing anyone. No-one is forced to vote here.

Libertarianism preaches freedom of choice…so how can you impose a choice on them? The libertarian party is on the electoral role and has candidates in many electorates. Sadly their policies do not attract many people.

newson April 23, 2008 at 9:29 pm

owen says:
“You know the old Libertarian Maxim – “might is right”?

never heard anything of the sort from a libertarian. your epithet sounds like something out of the little red school book – sure it’s not a mao quote? non-aggression is the cornerstone of libertarianism. defense of both person and property is only legitimate in the face of attack.

“Seems Democracy is not forcing anyone. No-one is forced to vote here.”

non-voters are still subject to the rule of the majority. hitler won power through democracy, as did chavez, mugabe etc. does majority rule legitimize them?

“Libertarianism preaches freedom of choice…so how can you impose a choice on them?”

it seems you have taken little away from this discussion. the creed of libertarianism involves no imposition on others, except for the non-initiation of violence.
libertarians hope to win followers not by oppression or intimidation, but by the merits of their arguments.

there will always be a percentage of any population who is not taken in by political spin. these people are the hope of libertarianism. read george orwell’s 1984 and decide whether you’re with the proles or with big brother.

libertarianism treats people as goats, not sheep. if you’re more comfortable running with the flock, then socialism’s your kettle of fish.

Jeremy April 24, 2008 at 2:31 am

Owen,

Newson is 100% correct. Might is right is a term that socialists or at least those who don’t believe in the nonaggression principle believe in.

It is 100% contrary to libertarian views.

Owen April 24, 2008 at 5:05 am

Newson and Jeremy:

This is good constructive debate. Let me respond:

Might is right is actually a Anarchist Maxim stemming from the fact that an Anarchist rejects any function for a government at all and instead believes that all people should defend their own rights by themselves. Of course what actually happens is that those with more resources (i.e. Might) are able to enfore their rights over and at the expense of others leading to them being “Right” – well at least in all practical senses of the word.

Aswell, if you are an Anarchist then you have no problem with other people joining up as a group in order to enforce their rights upon others, No? Guess what the biggest of such groups is….ta da
! The Government! it is actually just the largest libertarian group that uses it’s own democratic processes in order to choose it’s leadership which then goes on to enforce it’s rights upon all others within it’s territory. If you don’t like it then it is your problem because it is a libertarian institution that is simply enforcing the right’s of it’s members at the expense of those people who disagree with those rights.

This is a violent and merciless world and much like the state of nature where humans came from – each for himself. For those within the “group” called government there are rules and processes and freedoms and rights. Outside of this group, unless you are stronger than this group and have for example a nuclear warhead, you can be trampled on and if you don’t wanna pay taxes or obey with the health and safety laws the “group” imposes on you, then you are liable to go to prison or at the worst be killed. Such has it been throughout history.

This is just the way of the world guys…like it or lump it. Moaning about it won’t change either.

Now. If you are not Anarchist, and DO indeed believe that there is a role for the government to play in enforcing the rights of one man against another then you accept the right of that government to ask for an equitable amount of money from each Citizen in order to enforce those rights. For you cannot say that you believe there should be an independent and soveregn power withe the power of enforcement over all peoples in a territory if you are unwilling to fund your fair share if it. If you deny it’s funding then you deny it’s existence. So you accept funding if you accept it’s existence.

If you accept the existence of the government but you believe that it has it’s fingers in too many pies and enforces too many positive and negative rights on people then you have your right to say this every three years in an election. For your voice is not any more worthy than another man’s. If your thoughts are shared be many others then there might indeed be a pullback in the operations of government. But until then you have to accept that the majority of people’s views are as equally valid as yours and in a democratic society you have no right to force your views on others other than by democratic means.

That is a brief reasoning for why you either think that “Might is Right” or conversely you agree to paying taxes. There is no in-between.

Inquisitor April 24, 2008 at 10:41 am

Owen, arguing with you is a waste of time. You are nothing short of a socialist liar unable to offer even the slightest amount of proof for your claims (the best you can do is “the government knows best”, evading the request to actually prove your claim), as the above has proven beyond doubt.

“You know the old Libertarian Maxim – “might is right”?”

Why is anyone still wasting time by responding to this troll advocate of government-enforced parasitism?

newson April 24, 2008 at 11:06 am

owens says:
“Might is right is actually a Anarchist Maxim”

which libertarian anarchist has ever stated this? names, please!
your language is that of a typical socialist. the “dog-eat-dog” line is a classic socialist caricature of libertarianism. sanctity of all property rights (especially those of the weak and vulnerable) is at the heart of all streams of libertarianism, be it minarchism or anarchism. the former sees an extremely limited role of government in overseeing the administration of justice and defence, the latter allowing spontaneous collaborations and mutual protection arrangements to spring up, but with no central oversight.

civil society existed, and indeed flourished before the income tax was introduced. family structures were stronger, not denatured by welfare, communities grew up with self-reliance.
philanthropy would be more amenable if the tax burden were less punitive. why help anyone when that’s the nanny state’s role?

what is an “an equitable amount of money from each Citizen” 10%, 20%, 80%?

obviously everyone on this forum understands the voting mechanism, and is bound to respect whatever may be the outcome. however, just as socialism looked a spent force immediately after marx’s death (only capturing the public psyche last century), things may well improve in the future. certainly venues like mises.org mean the ideas have a much larger audience that was the case pre-internet.

one thing however, unlike socialism, libertarianism will not achieve predominance by the cracking of skulls.

Owen April 24, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Inquisitor:

Again adds nothing to the debate

newson:

“one thing however, unlike socialism, libertarianism will not achieve predominance by the cracking of skulls.”

Yes we both agree.

I guess the difference between libertarianism and whatever systems are in place now boils down to a differing rank order of values.

Whereas a Libertarian values the rights to property highly and above (almost?) all others, those who followthe UN Declaration of Independence suborinate the right to property to the right’s to basic necessities, moving freely, being safe in their country and having protection of their rights by Police.

What this effectively means is that someone who believes in Libertarianism does not believe in having tax taken off them in order to achieve these “higher order” rights but manoy other people do.

As I stated before we live in a world which is in fact still in a “state of nature” where might is right outside of governments. Governments answer to no-one and disagreements are settled with negotiation or resort to force. As governments are simply a voluntary organisation of people you have the choice to be a member of one or you have a choice to be independent but in being independent you send yourself back into the “state of nature” where you may be subject to any form of force which is not governed by any higher power.

So a government is simply an Anarchistic organisation that has forcibly won the power to impose its rank order of rights and responsibilities on all people who will submit. One government cannot force it’s value system on people who are members of other government “groups” because they can defend with force.

However within a country such asthe USA or New Zealand, you either submit to their value system, fight it (futility!) or leave and join another government group or live in exile.

Fancy notions of “lets all live in a yellow submarine” of libertarianism can only be achieved if enough libertarians are found to create a state and to forcibly defend it.

There is no magical higher power or set of rights to which all peoples in the world will submit as is amply evidenced by the US Government’s stubborn refusal to accept any UN Resolutions it doesn’t like – thereby destroying the illusion that the UN has power other than that which it can enforce with guns.

It is noble to say “governments are despotic and impose their will on others” but there is no other possible state of the world unless you wanna get everyone to start smoking pot and mellowing out. This is because the Paradox that a libertarian says “you have no right to force me to do anything I don’t wanna do” is merely a reflection of their rank order of rights. And once you mention the word rights…

…another person will say “we have the right to control how you use your land and force you to pay for taxes because that is part of our higher order of rights and responsibilities”.

There is always an inevitable clash of “Priorities of Rights” and just at the moment libertarian rights are losing.

Maybe someday they will become stronger – you never know? Hell, if Osama gets his way our women will all have to cover their faces and not be able to drive because that is based his fundamentalist form of “rights”.

Inquisitor April 24, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Ah I see, lying and misrepresenting the claims of others and offering no proof of anything is “adding” to the debate. Well have fun “adding” to the debate then.

Owen April 24, 2008 at 7:54 pm

Inquisitor:

Oxford Dictionary – Debate:

“to discuss or argue about”

According to the Oxford dictionary one is not required to put forth proof or evidence of their assertions in order to carry on a debate. A debate is about arguing propositions using logic.

Sad that you do not even know the meaning of the words you are using? Are you still in highschool?

BTW/ Go to the other thread and you will see your fabulous lack of logic on full display.

I would provide evidence to a PARTICIPATING person in this debate if it was required. However so far i have countered assertions with logical assertions that have not yet been countered at all within this debate so they require no proof as of yet.

For example, to the question of:

“how much would it cost for government to make those safety regulations”

I countered:

“this is irrelevant because government would use the same scientists and experts the private sector would”.

Therefore I won on that point because that is true that governments obviously do not hire the worlds experts on everything and yet laws are made with that knowledge those experts hold. Governments pay the same market price for their expertise as a private firm does.

Do you wanna keep goin down?

newson April 24, 2008 at 9:32 pm

to owen:

unless you want to fault my earlier assertion - that people spend others’ money more freely than their own – all appeals to the wisdom and parsimony of government spending are futile.

you’ve not given me facts, so at least try and argue how anybody could possibly care more about your welfare than you yourself do.

self-interest is a primal survival instinct, as you’ve acknowledged in your “dog-eat-dog” comment. why should government not be subject to self-interest? is not government a collection of self-interested agents?

TLWP Sam April 24, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Inevitably Owen hits on the one issue that hit Libertarians’ Achilles Heel – there are many governments in the world therefore how is this not competition? Governments have to be reasonable with their rules and laws lest they lose their best and brightest. Similarly in the private world if there’s a rental shortage such landlords can up the rent and rules knowing their tenants won’t leave because there’s no rental places without the high rent and rules whilst having the same comfort – the landlords are acting fully within the free market besides tenants complain now but they won’t be complaining when the market changes and the landlords have to compete viciously to provide high quality apartments at rock-bottom prices. So there’s a global land shortage whereby governments control the best lands such that there’s only desert left unoccupied and no aspiring pioneer wants that. Oh dear tough luck for those who want find their land and start anew. Smart Libertarians could secretly conspire to create spaceships and explore nearby stars for new land before any one else and therefore get first dibs.

Owen April 24, 2008 at 11:38 pm

newson:

Yes. People do spend others’ money more freely than their own.

Government is done via the collective will of those who support it and if its spends their money that is by their consent. If it is not by their consent then they will vote in someone else or impeach them.

The “supreme” machines of commerce and free-market interaction also carry out purchases and make decisions on behalf of shareholders so it is exactly the same thing.

In fact, think of yourself as a shareholder. You were given a share in the government of your land when you werre born. For those “shareholders” who didn’t want any government…um…I have already explained that of course they will consider this a form of theft. And that would be their point of view. From others’ point of view it is simply the enactment of a perceived right.

Outside of the sanctity of a government “group” it is Might is Right. I thought you knew that?

If you wanna diagree with the majority in any situation then prepare to either back your position up with force or be quiet. that is the way of the world.

Can you tell me the “Laws” governing the actions of governments on the international stage?

There are none. Why? Because “laws” only apply within groups of people who freely consent to live within those laws. For those who dont, they have to live in the much scarier world called “Might is Right” where they are either strong enough to defend their patch, or they perish or they submit to another groups will.

Or did you think the world was rose petals and rainbows? Sorry to burst your bubble sunshine…Two major World Wars, a Cold War and a Current hegemonic balance of power should tell you that there ain’t nothin but foce deciding what goes and what doesn’t.

Again, if you want everyone to just mellow out and “leave eachother alone” then you will in fact be infringing on other peoples perceived rights. They will defend these rights with deadly force if required.

newson April 25, 2008 at 1:44 am

owen says:
“If you wanna diagree with the majority in any situation then prepare to either back your position up with force or be quiet.”

words of a socialist. you ignore the option of non-violent dissent. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s account experience as a political prisoner (read ” the gulag archipelago” or “one day in the life of ivan denisovich”) blew away the idealized view of soviet life. ideas have power, too.

newson April 25, 2008 at 1:51 am

to owen:
your “might is right” mindset blinds you to the power of ideas. take a look at how active the chinese government is in stamping out falun gong, a social movement with religious overtones. the communists understand the force of ideas, why don’t you?

Owen April 25, 2008 at 2:03 am

newson:

Yes I agree with you Newson. THe only and best way to improve things is via “passive resistence” and education to begin a chaning of ideas.

I too agree that government well oversteps its mark in the current world:

- fractional reserve banking has ruined economic prosperity

- Governments extremely overtaxing and then spending on frivilous things that benefit a select few rather than the majority only

- in fact I disagree with all income taxes in all their forms and only would accept a small property tax which is redistributed in order that every man has his right to lifes necessities.

- But I do agree with protection of peoples rights as they exist in documents such as the declaration of human rights or constitutions

- Healthcare and education should not be the business of the state because althoug they are ‘essential’ goods in some respects, they can be much better provided by the free market. For those that cannot afford either then their land tax redistribution would cover this.

- I do not agree with prohibitions on recreational drugs or activities that cause no harm to others

Obviously these are my beliefs and I do not expect that others will share many or all of them but my only recourse is to share them by education and passive resistance.

Inquisitor April 25, 2008 at 8:21 am

Owen, look up the burden of proof too, seeing as you’re such a dictionary afficionado. Dictionaries are not going to come to your rescue.

Your counterpoint proved nothing. Newson asked for figures. You said the government would use the same experts as the private sector. Umm, so what? The logic you provided is empty, as you did not prove that governments were acting profitably (and by this I do not mean simply spreading their costs across the population.) Bryan Caplan actually has a book on why voting populations are far less economically rational than market participants. The only one going down here is you, with your repeated exhibitions of horrifying ignorance… typical of socialists.

newson April 25, 2008 at 9:51 am

interesting… i was just now reading “the freedom philosophy” (downloadable from the publications archive), and bumped into this essay from frank chodorov (p62)

“The basic axiom of socialism, in all its forms, is that might is right. And that means power is all there is to morality. If I am bigger and stronger than you, and you have no way of defending yourself, then it is right I thrash you; the fact that I did thrash you is proof that I had the right to do so.

strange how a turn of speech can reveal a whole mindset.

Owen April 25, 2008 at 6:22 pm

Inquisitor:

You will not find “burden of proof” in a dictionary idiot.

Newson asked for figures to prove that government spends more on providing that service than the private sector would. Showing that in fact they spend the same nullifiesthat line of argument.

You lose. How does it feel?

I never said they were acting profitably, that is a livertarian word which has limited meaning. I said governments provide a service which would definately need to be provided under libertarianism, at a cost the SAME as a private market would.

I have no doubt that Bryan Caplan’s book has many valid detractors. Not least of all because the decisions made by voters are not only economic ones.

Newson:

“Might is right” is merely the state of nature in the world we live in. It is the interaction experienced outside of the sanctity of a governments protection, and explains the interactions between governments.

Inquisitor April 25, 2008 at 6:32 pm

“You will not find “burden of proof” in a dictionary idiot.”

Erm, duh. That’s why I said dictionaries will not come to your rescue. Now go find an accurate description of the notion.

“Newson asked for figures to prove that government spends more on providing that service than the private sector would. Showing that in fact they spend the same nullifiesthat line of argument.”

But you haven’t even shown that much.

“You lose. How does it feel?”

Amused at your silliness? Yes, that.

“I never said they were acting profitably, that is a livertarian word which has limited meaning. I said governments provide a service which would definately need to be provided under libertarianism, at a cost the SAME as a private market would.”

Bullshit. It means that the expected gains of an action exceed its costs. This can be psychic, pecuniary etc. You also did not demonstrate the latter assertion.

“I have no doubt that Bryan Caplan’s book has many valid detractors. Not least of all because the decisions made by voters are not only economic ones.”

Even if that were so, you’re discussing economics here, so this won’t save you.

Owen April 25, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Inquisitor:

“burden of proof”…I know what it means. If you are unsure why are you still asking others to find the meaning for you…socialist troll.

I don’t need define the cost of a government action if it is the same as the cost under libertarianism. What is the point? It is the same. The answer achieves nothing…like everything you say.

Therefore I won.

I said governments provide a service which would definately need to be provided under libertarianism, at a cost the SAME as a private market would.

Profitability does not enter that. However unprofitable that government would be…then the market would then be the same…becaus the government is using the market.

We are not discussing economics child. We are discussing whether government should regulate markets to protect health and safety of citizens.

I have shown that it would cost the same or cheaper than under a free market and have better outcomes (less litigation and loss of life).

health and safety is not an economic topic, it is a health and safety topic. It has economic implications but those are just one aspect of it.

You really have to come out of your dark, confederate flagbearing militia basement buddy and join the world.

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