neon wrote:"In order to save public education we had to destroy it" huh? Because every libertarian that I've heard of wants to privatize education. This would destroy it and create an underclass, further corroding our democracy. Not that there is much left these days.
Destroying public education to save the education of the public strikes me as worthwhile.
Let's think through this scenario. There are currently a large number of public schools, a small number of parochial schools, and a small number of private schools.
The government says, "ok, let's hand out school vouchers to parents, who can spend them at the school of their choice." The snooty private schools immediately raise their tuition by the amount of the voucher, giving them quite a bit more profit and keeping them socially selective. A bunch of new private schools spring up because they believe they can educate a child for the voucher's amount. Parochial schools expand or new ones are built because of the possibility of new revenue.
What happens to the county-run public schools? They're still the same, except now their revenue comes from the bottom, instead of the top.
Now, there are a few possibilities (per region; this won't be true for the entire country). One is that county-run schools offer a better
product than these private schools. Parents will be able to figure this out and will keep their kids in the county-run schools. No loss for the county. (This also covers the possibility of the competition making the county schools shape up and be better)
The other possibility is that county-run schools offer a worse
product than their competitors. Parents will pull their kids out; the schools will shrink and then close. A crushing defeat for the county, sure, but only because overall education improved
neon wrote:Economics isn't a zero sum game!? That will be news to the children working in sweatshops for 50 cents a week so that you can have your sneakers or your jeans.
No, it won't be news. Their other option is working for 25 cents a week on the family farm.
Sweatshop jobs tend to pay roughly double the average income for the region that they're in, and tend to be somewhat softer on the body (although they're still pretty brutal) than the other jobs in the region. It's not good, but it's an improvement (if it wasn't an improvement, they wouldn't be working there- in a free market, at least).
neon wrote:That will be news to every slave, past and present, whipped until their flesh fell from their bodies or burned alive because all the exits to their building were sealed shut. That will be news to the fishermen in Mexico who are given nothing but the entrails of the fish they once freely subsisted on to eat. Economics is not a game, it is a matter of life and death. We need government regulation to control such "excesses".
As a result people have tragically died.
Am I being too dispassionate for you?
neon wrote:Because it is abundantly clear that business cannot be trusted to police themselves.
It depends on the business. When there's a visible brand associated with it, businesses do
police themselves because a lot of the valuation in those corporations is tied up in their name. If Starbucks serves poisonous coffee, the cost of losing its good name will dwarf other financial costs (like having to compensate the victims). Many prominent companies greatly exceed environmental regulations, because their consumers push them harder than the government does.
For businesses that aren't visible (how much copper is in your car, and what mine did it come from?), you can't trust the consumers (and thus the business) to be the regulators, and government regulation is obviously necessary.
neon wrote:The retreat into abstraction is an emotional reaction.
This strikes me as a contradiction, but I may be looking at it the wrong way. Certainly, thinking something like "they oppose me, thus they oppose FREEDOM!" would be emotional, and you may mean it in that sense. But what I'm doing is stripping away the emotional attachments; replacing misery with a number to be minimized instead of pain to be felt.
And if the concept of replacing misery with a number seems beyond the pale, I'm sorry, but that's the only way to do an objective calculation (and thus actually minimize it).
neon wrote:I have little doubt that libertarians are able to construct a self-consistent theory, but what are the assumptions it is based on? Maybe the reason everyone else is criticizing it is because those assumptions have little or no basis in the real world?
The Austrian school of thought rejects empiricism and is rightly criticized for doing so, but not all libertarians (and certainly not this one) are followers of that school (going back to the topic of presidential primaries, Paul is generally an Austrian when it comes to economics).
As for the assumptions, it depends on the particular brand of libertarianism or market liberalism you're dealing with (and a bunch of them are kooky, impractical, or wrong). I think it's not really in the purview of this thread to go on about mine.
neon wrote:Yeah, I don't get the sense that you are aware that there are other ideas out there.
Ok. I have a working knowledge of Marxism (and even brought it up earlier), at least some familiarity with Keynesianism, and at least a cursory knowledge of the majority of other economic theories. I tend not to bring up concepts from things I disagree with/think are wrong except to point out why I disagree with them (like the Marxist reference).
neon wrote:What I get is your cocksureness that you are right.
How do I present myself as cocksure? I do my best to point out caveats, explain limitations, and accept criticism. If I have any confidence in my ideas, it is because they have survived attack for some time.
neon wrote:The problem with your "logic-based claims" is that logic works on junk information as well as it does on information grounded in reality.
I'll certainly agree with GIGO; but I'll point out that one of the reasons I care about things like GDPs and studies is because those things are useful at catching when your assumptions disagree with reality (like, also in this thread, btilly questioning my data on the efficacy of public and private schools).
neon wrote:And no, I don't think you have called yourself a genius, that was a cheap shot and I apologize.
neon wrote:People are suffering and some are dying because insurance companies deny them treatment that would save lives. Telling these people to go to emergency rooms or to visit free clinics is every bit as cruel, heartless and fatally out of touch as Marie Antoinette was.
Insurance companies aren't charities. Free clinics are. It's analogous to responding to "this restaurant won't feed people who can't pay" with "aren't there soup kitchens?" It's certainly not the most compassionate response imaginable, but it's better than just shrugging or forcing restaurants to feed anyone that asked them for food.
neon wrote:Multinational, multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies are just honest chaps just like the oil giants are. You can trust their numbers and their PR statements because even though their very existence might depend on them lying they would never do such a thing because they care so very much for each and every one of us.
Most research is done in Universities so the money comes from us. The pharmaceuticals then take those results of publicly funded basic research and try to patent it. If they can they then buy off a congressman, oh, sorry, they diligently spend millions to make sure that their studies are structured to hide any side effects, no, wait, so that there are no side effects and if their product does accidentally kill people then they buy off a congressman. Oops, then they say "Oh well, better luck next time" and then they fawn it off on a third world country that has no government protections , oh, sorry again, they give up and try again, goshed darn it.
The biochemistry PhDs I know working on drugs don't see their industry that way, and I find their view a bit more realistic than yours. Yes, they're corporations out for a profit- but because of that, quite a bit of research gets funded that wouldn't get funded otherwise.
Basic research (you may mean this differently than I do; there's a wide divide between basic research, which is a shot in the dark, and applied research, which is figuring out the practical details of something) is generally done in universities, but that's only a portion of the research costs for any particular drug. Someone's got to figure out the chemical that might work, and then conduct years of tests to see how it performs in actual bodies before there's even a chance at getting revenue out of it.
Now, I'm not making the claim that profit is the primary motivator of research; I'm just claiming that when you allow greed to fund research, you get more research than if you don't allow greed to fund research.