Where does inflated value go?

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CorruptUser
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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:47 pm UTC

There are many definitions of market failure. Most involve some form of deadweight loss, or externalities. Externalities are things where the customer or producer don't bear the full cost or see the full benefit of a product, classic example pollution where the factory isn't the one paying for the damage, or CPR training at work that ends up saving lives outside of the workplace. Deadweight losses are where taxes or price controls shift the demand or supply curves away from equilibrium and total surplus decreases. But taxes are weird, in that all taxes cause a deadweight loss, but the spending causes a gain, and depending on how and what you tax and how you spend you can increase or decrease total surplus.

Interestingly, not all agree that the firm squeezing out every penny they can and keeping the entire surplus for themselves through different pricing is or is not a failure. E.g., the shopkeeper knows how valuable a good is, and charges you a different amount than someone else, with everyone whose demand is at least the variable cost gets the goods/service. That the shopkeeper gets 90+% of the actual benefit while the customer is barely better off is not of concern to some, so long as the total benefit is maximized. Typically they can't do this directly, but they can offer student/senior discounts to charge more or less by the cohort's expected wealth, offer coupons for poor people to use, charge different amounts in different regions, etc.

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ucim
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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby ucim » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:48 am UTC

elasto wrote:For me, governments have a duty both to make me happy and to prevent me from being unhappy...
What is your duty in all of this?

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CorruptUser
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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:42 pm UTC

1) Don't do things that make others unhappy, within reason
2) Pay your taxes so that government can help prevent people from being excessively unhappy

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ucim
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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby ucim » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:52 pm UTC

So... you have no duty to yourself to take care of your own happiness? You just sit around expecting some other entity to "make you happy"?

Jose
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CorruptUser
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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:11 pm UTC

Government prevents others from unreasonably making you unhappy. It's a disagreement as to whether they should make you happy. We have things like food stamps and the like to prevent excessive misery, but not so much as to make you happy on welfare. Many actually resent the idea that people on welfare could ever be happy, but those people are dicks. As for duty to make yourself happy, by definition duties aren't about yourself.

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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby ucim » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:53 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:It's a disagreement as to whether [government] should make you happy.
Yeah, that's where we disagree.
CorruptUser wrote: As for duty to make yourself happy, by definition duties aren't about yourself.
That's not true. There are many cases in which you have a duty to yourself, such as a duty to wear seat belts or get vaccinated or get educated. Arguably these are also duties to others (to prevent them from getting sick or having to take care of you), but the point is the onus is on you to take care of yourself.

This includes things like saving for retirement, which "takes money out of the system" and "reduces efficiency" but for a good reason.

Jose
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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby Thesh » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:57 pm UTC

You have a moral responsibility to the people who depend on you. Saying "free market" or "voluntary contract" does not absolve you of that responsibility. The vast majority of people in this country are wholly dependent on property controlled by other people for their survival, and thus the people who control that property have to look out for the happiness of the people who depend on them. Since most of the people who control property feel they have absolutely no responsibility to the people who depend on them, it becomes the responsibility of government to ensure the happiness of everyone.
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CorruptUser
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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:09 pm UTC

Your duty to wear a seatbelt is more a duty not to mentally scar onlookers with your mangled corpse, a duty not to waste hospital resources, or a duty not to turn your kids into orphans.

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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby morriswalters » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:20 pm UTC

Happiness is a pathetic metric since it is undefinable. The government has an obligation to level the playing field as much a is possible. If it can't make things better then certainly it shouldn't make things worse.

The government has to recognize that not all people are as capable as others. Either through systemic inequalities, of happenstance. When it can, if it can, it has an obligation to provide some minimum level of protection to every citizen. What that means will always be in contention.

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CorruptUser
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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:08 pm UTC

There's also the issue of how to level the playing field. Ensuring that the kids don't show up without shoes or too hungry or sick to play, e.g. welfare, is one piece. Then you have the issue of kids never having been allowed to play so of course they arent as skilled as the ones that have been coached since preschool, and how you go about correcting this is another piece, whether it's funding little leagues for everyone or forcing teams to draft players they'd otherwise not draft is a thorny issue.

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Zamfir
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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby Zamfir » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:05 pm UTC

So... you have no duty to yourself to take care of your own happiness? You just sit around expecting some other entity to "make you happy"?

This question can be safely postponed until some future utopia arrives. Where the government can't find anything else to do that helps people, except by chasing some passive people who sit round and wait to be made happy.

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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby elasto » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:11 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
elasto wrote:For me, governments have a duty both to make me happy and to prevent me from being unhappy...
What is your duty in all of this?

People don't need a duty to make themselves happy - it's the default mode for everyone. People who are self-sacrificing do it because it makes them happy. People who are vapid consumerists do it because it makes them happy too (albeit fleetingly).

I'm not saying governments have a duty to do anything and everything to make us happy, or that if we're unhappy it's the government's fault. There's plenty of room for the blame to be shared around between ourselves, our parents, our spouses, our children, our friends, our employers, our coworkers - as well as every level of government etc. etc.

I don't think any of us here are really disagreeing that the government has a duty of care towards its citizens; We are merely disagreeing as to how far that duty of care goes. I think the Scandinavian countries are pretty close to my ideal actually, fwiw: When people need a helping hand - whether that's in terms of unemployment, ill-health, addiction, falling into criminality etc. - the government is pretty generous in extending it.

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CorruptUser
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Re: Where does inflated value go?

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:18 pm UTC

Surprisingly, I'm actually in favor of the government providing people jobs. Ideally, this would be through R&D grants or art subsidies, not as ideal but acceptable would be directly hiring people as teachers or police and the like. Because ultimately, when the factories are all but automated, when the cars drive themselves, when the mines are 'lights out', the only real options you have are either figure out how to turn the bulk of humanity into an organic factory for churning out engineers, artists and scientists, or just rounding up said bulk and turning them into burgers. And I don't like the burger idea.


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