Thesh wrote:Tyndmyr, at this point I don't really see you as having good intentions for libertarianism. You really just don't seem to care at all about outcomes, and just want to be an apologist for capitalism. Literally, you default to the position that unless we can prove that it's worse for society, we should let people in power do whatever they want. That because you can think of a scenario where profits are a positive, you can completely dismiss everything negative.
We should let *everyone* do whatever they want, unless that forces something unwanted on someone else.
This isn't a matter of power, money, or profit. It's simply what liberty is.
Profits are positive in the same way that wages are positive. A profit is to the professional investor what a wage is to anyone else. Just, yknow, much less reliable. Given that I want folks to invest, I want investment to be profitable.
I don't believe there is a single thing in this world, that you can't rationalize away or dismiss as "Well, the world isn't perfect" if you perceive it as benefiting you, nor do I think you make any attempt to see the world from the perspective of someone who isn't wealthy. You don't seem to place any value on people. Assume that the wealthy know best, and dismiss all other suffering as being necessary for the greater good.
I'm not sure what part of the conversation you're talking about. Being wealthy is not an intrinsic identifier of wisdom.
However, in a properly functioning economic system, people should become wealthy as a result of making good decisions and building a better world. Observing that this is not always true in today's world is...trivial. The current economic system is imperfect. This isn't a libertarian specific ideal. I find that libertarianism and socialism are often in agreement on the problems introduced by cronyism, but we use different terms to describe this problem. Socialist worldviews often pair that with "capitalism", where libertarians perspectives tend to use capitalism to describe competitive markets, and cronyism to describe, well, non-markets where market decisions don't really apply, and often have been avoided or shut out using legal means.
Your views of economics are not in the least bit utilitarian; they're nihilistic, and based on economic theories that have completely failed to deliver in the real world. I don't think there is a single argument you will accept, because you have never examined the areas of the economies where the people are being failed, and just assume it's all the fault of things that are not capitalism while pointing out that America is on top without examining why.
They're based on fairly standard economics, which are presented here in a fairly simple version. If you'd like, we can talk about how inflation related to money supply differently based on what type of money it is...specifically, why M0 is particularly bad to bulk print...but I think that would get off in the weeds, and might get away from the philosophical aspects of the conversation.
LaserGuy wrote: Tyndmyr wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:But LLC doesn't get rid of the risk, it just dumps it on the public. If your business does a billion dollars in damages, but only has assets of 100 million, that means that the public is on the hook for the remainder of the cost, even if the people who own the corporation actually have the assets to cover the damage. This means that the property rights of corporations and their shareholders are more valuable than those of the people that they harm... it's nonsense (especially if you're also insisting on a limited government that can neither provide oversight nor has the assets to actually cover the costs anyway).
It is not likely that Joe Blow, who invested his 401k into a mutual fund, holds any particular responsibility for the financial irresponsibility of the company that his mutual fund invested into. Emptying his retirement account is not particularly just.
He is a partial owner of the company, ergo, yes, he is partially responsible for any liabilities that the company accrues. If your property causes someone else harm, you are responsible for that. If he doesn't have a lot of stock in the company, then his out-of-pocket cost would be small, but it wouldn't be nothing.
(I'm pretty sure that 401ks wouldn't exist in a libertarian government anyway).
What's the virtue in punishing him, though? His personal responsibility is pretty minimal. Is justice being served here? If so, how? The unrepaid debt of the failed company is not, in a libertarian system, to society. Society isn't really treated as an economic entity in that fashion. We do have the government, but the government also shouldn't usually be making loans in this fashion. When a business goes bankrupt, largely it's unpaid obligations are to the bank or investors it borrowed from.
What's wrong with a 401k? Or any investment account, really. We'd probably simplify the tax code, sure, but saving for retirement is not likely something that would change under libertarianism. After all, libertarians are not super big on huge social safety nets. So, retirement planning ends up being fairly important.
LaserGuy wrote:Why should we care about whether it is easy or hard to start a business? Why is that more important than providing a mechanism for innocent third parties to get protection and compensation from maleficence by businesses?
You should care because if it is hard to start a business, then fewer people will do so. Basic incentives at play. The market will have fewer participants, lower turnover, and generally be less competitive. Thus, it will be slower to adapt, consumers will have less choice, and upward wealth mobility is hampered. Economically speaking, these are all obviously bad.
Innocent third parties can get protection and compensation from maleficence. Criminal acts fall under criminal law, and just because you have an LLC doesn't make you immune to criminal law. Even negligence may cause the veil to be pierced, sometimes, depending on the extent of it. When we talk of LLC's protection, we are talking about non-criminal debts. Individuals have similar abilities with regards to bankruptcy. When you do that, some debt often goes unpaid. This is an inherent risk in all debt.
Just as an example, in '84, a Summitville Consolidated Mining Company
started a mining operation in Colorado. They mined there for 8 years, creating a huge volume of contaminated water, some of which made its way into local rivers. In '91, the company declared bankruptcy, leaving the government with the bill for $155 million dollars in environmental damages. Why shouldn't the government be able to recover that money from the people who owned the company? Why shouldn't individuals who suffered health problems or property damage resulting from this be able to get compensation from the people who owned the company?
Which stockholders are you going to recoup the money from? The ones who owned it when the company went bankrupt? When the problem started? Where does culpability lie?
If you wait many years for economic redress, and the company has failed in the meantime, collecting damages is going to be more difficult. This is particularly true if your community has allowed a vast amount of damages to accrue. If damages vastly exceed the company's assets available, you cannot collect on that. In some respects, this would be eased under a libertarian system, since the individual focus would make it somewhat easier for an individual to seek damages independently, but there is still an inherent issue that if damages are not sought promptly, there is a risk they may become uncollectable. This isn't in any way specific to libertarianism.
You can't fix that by assigning the cost to people who were not responsible for the decisions made. All that does is, like with the redistribution, change who the victim is.
Pfhorrest wrote:In your first paragraph, you're capitalizing the L in Libertarianism, using it as a proper noun, like say the ideology of the Libertarian Party, or something similar, so everything you say is fine. But in your second, you're using it with a lower case l, in which case that's just false: all forms of anarchism are lowercase-l (common noun) libertarian, and most lowercase-l libertarian positions are anarchistic, with just a little bit along the edge (in the conceptual space of possible positions, not in the number of people who adhere to them) being okay with a small state.
Apologies for being sloppy with the labeling. I've *mostly* been talking about the ideology, not the party specifically, and it should generally be clear in context which is which. However in this case, I definitely mean the ideology. The ideology of libertarianism, while a cousin to anarchy both historically and philosophically, is not part of it. Neither is the converse true.
A purely anarchistic state does not uphold rights. Someone with more force could abrogate another's rights. This is an innate conflict between anarchy and libertarianism. There might be some people who believe that, somehow, this will not happen, but the historical evidence for that is...pretty rough. Might makes right has been used a great deal in the past. In any case, libertarians believe that the government does have valid roles. Fewer than is commonly claimed at present, but not none. All political systems disagree to some extent about which roles government ought to serve, and save for anarchy, none of them are anarchy.
Pfhorrest wrote:Technically, all of the positions I discussed in that prior post, building up from maximal liberty to what I was calling "right-libertarianism", were still forms of anarchism. Even the "right-libertarianism" at the end was really just the groundwork for anarcho-capitalism, finally providing the contractual basis to build something like a state with. At no point in the construction did we add in any specifically statist power for anyone to command, or duty for anyone to obey.
Yup, those are all anarchistic ideals.
There is a pragmatic quasi-alliance between libertarians and anarchists in the US political scene, with the understanding that the practical changes we both want pull in the same general direction. This does not imply that the ideology is the same. Were the anarchists and the libertarians somehow as popular as the big two parties, and republicans and democrats as niche as third parties nowadays, a roughly similar amount of political disagreement would exist.
Ownership of property stems from the same ethical basis as ownership of self. The two are paired, and if you throw out the moral justification for one, you throw out the moral justification for the other. Libertarianism without property ownership is ideologically inconsistent.
Were you really not following along in the constructive exercise at all? Starting from a "blank slate" of "everything is permitted", we added one obligation, along the lines of "don't act upon a person against their will", and then carved out a caveat "...unless you have to to stop them from doing so to you". We've made no mention so far of any kind of property other than people's own bodies, so so far, everyone is allowed to do anything they want to any other stuff in the universe, even if somebody else doesn't want them to do that to it. What is ideologically inconsistent about that scenario?
It's ideologically consistent, but it's not libertarianism. Not all ideologically consistent systems are interchangeable.
You've placed the wrong thing as your highest order value, and as a result, derived the wrong system. If I said that the highest moral of socialism was "ecological preservation", I would similarly derive a very strange impression of what socialism is. That's something that socialists value, but it's not the most critical thing about socialism.
Pfhorrest wrote:That is, if you have a concept of general property ownership, you pretty much have to get self-ownership with it; but you can have self-ownership without the broader concept of property ownership, which I just described again in the paragraph above.
Not justified in the way libertarians rely upon. If you eat a burger, that burger becomes part of you, yes? At some point, the burger becomes owned by you. The rest follows as already described.
You can use a different philosophy if you like, but if you do, it's not particularly libertarian. You've missed a particularly fundamental element. You are using the term "libertarian" to mean merely "less restriction". That is something that libertarians like, but it would be like describing socialists as protestors.
I don't object to you tossing up a hypothetical scenario, I object to the language you're using.
Contracts generally must contain meaningful value for both parties to be valid.
Which is a limit on the power to contract. As I said, we agree that there should be some limits, just not on what they should be. I was raising a problem with a hypothetical unlimited
power to contract, to illustrate why limits are needed.
There are a few limits, mostly imposed by reality, and by the necessity for agreement on both parties. If you manage to figure out a clever way to get around limitations imposed by reality in a reasonable fashion, excellent. That doesn't pose any obstacle. It is the agreement that is fundamental.
All ideologies, to some degree, have limitations like this. However, in the case of contracts, it's pretty minor. We can and do use both formal and informal contracts all of the time in the real world, and they generally work well. I do not have any problem in theory with a contract specifying some degree of limitation. A non disclosure agreement, for instance, is a real world example of this. There is no ethical problem inherent to one of those. If you do not wish to be bound by one, don't sign.
Additionally, how would it be enforced? Libertarian ideology is big on recompense. Taking from the thief to give back to the victim is just. If someone sells themselves into slavery, then later decided, fuck this, and left, how would they recompense the owner for the lost time?
If a slavery contract was valid, the recompense would be to return the slave to his owner, of course. If it's not valid, then the slave is free to walk away and no recompense is needed for "the lost time" because the "slave"'s time didn't actually belong to his "owner" in the first place. I guess the "owner" is owed back whatever he paid, because he didn't actually get what he paid for, because the seller didn't have the power to give it to him, because the power to contract has limits. (Just like if I sold you the Brooklyn Bridge. You gave me money, and maybe you got to use the bridge some, but you didn't actually get ownership of the bridge, because I didn't actually have the power to sell it to you, so you've been scammed and deserve your money back).
But if the slave is the seller, you see how no recompense can be made if we treat slavery as valid. After all, we're starting from a premise that everyone owns themselves. If you sell yourself into slavery, then you have given over your future time to the buyer. If you then use that time for other things, that time cannot be returned. Ultimately, control of your body always remains in your hands, and cannot actually be transferred, barring perhaps some kind of strange sci fi development. Or death, I suppose. Nobody seems to have a problem with giving one's body to science after death. After consciousness has departed, no conflict exists. From that perspective, one could say that slavery is not something one *can* properly sell. You can sell your work, but it is always possible you will change your mind later and cease working.
As far as selling bridges goes, this is not a special limit. It's merely a standard case of property rights intersecting with required consent. If the bridge owner agrees, you can totally sell his bridge for him. That's what a realtor does. If you are attempting to 'sell' something without agreement, you are obviously violating basic libertarian principles right off. This isn't specific to contracts, it's part of all human interaction. The agreement has to be between all involved parties, not merely some of them.
Pfhorrest wrote:You're mixing up the practical ability to make a contract and the legal right to do so. I'm only concerned with the latter. If contracts that limited your practical ability to enter into any other contracts were invalid, then taking a job in Antarctica would be invalid because there's a hell of a lot of potential contracts you will be unable to enter into while you are out of communication at the bottom of the world. But that's not the kind of thing we're talking about. We're talking about creating legal obligations to (or not to) take on other legal obligations. That's what should be invalid.
So, things like NDAs you dislike? I don't think libertarians have any particular problem with their existence.
Many wouldn't care to sign, say, non-compete agreements, but they don't believe that they are immoral for those who want to sign them.
Thesh wrote:Another thought: if you are paying people a premium for risk, are you not just encouraging more bubbles? If people can invest in 10 different companies in a new industry, knowing at least one or two will be dominant and your expected returns will be positive, then they can act in a way in which there is no risk to them even though their actions necessarily create a bubble that will necessarily burst. Paying people a premium for risk is just as likely to lead to economic instability as it is to lead to growth.
No. Not paying premiums for risk encourages bubbles. See also, the housing bubble. The risk was there, but folks discounted it's existence, and began acting as if it wasn't. This went poorly.
Hedging bets is a valid strategy. It is not absolutely guaranteed to work, as it is possible that no option you choose will be successful. Perhaps the industry as a whole will not be nearly so hot as you thought. Risk remains. It is lower, but you will also make less money relative to your initial investment, because you invested in many more companies. It's the difference between betting on black at the roulette table and betting on a single number. Risk/reward exists in either case, you've just traded off between the two.
For true diversification from an investment point of view, you often want to make your bets as independent as possible. If all of your investments can be affected by the same thing, you haven't gotten all the risk hedging out of diversification you can. So, it's generally advisable to select a decent range of widely separated industries or markets if your goal is to maximize diversification. If you choose to buy a range of options available within an industry, you are essentially betting on that industry as a whole. It's a valid option, it's just less diversified. Many mutual funds do something like this, focusing on a specific area, sector, or investment style. For instance, I've been heavily invested in trans-pacific growth funds for some time, and those have worked out pretty well.
Thesh wrote:Coordinating your resources better so you don't have umpteen businesses entering a market where only a few can survive, and then investing the rest of the money in other new investments that are much more likely to benefit the overall economy (which, the more equal the wealth is, the more incentive there is for this) is more likely to lead to productive results. Yes, I know, any economic crash is really a good thing because creative destruction.
That's the part of socialist ideology that gets described as "picking winners". Libertarians are against it on the basis that people are remarkably bad at it.
Economic crashes are definitely not a good thing. Libertarianism acknowledges that a degree of variability inherently exists in markets and economies, and you can't actually get rid of that without destroying them(much the same as with people). However, desiring a crash isn't part of the ideology. You may sometimes see people hoping for a crash with the idea that this'll somehow show that the current, non libertarian system is broken. Not unlike republicans hoping to see the economy crater when a democrat will catch the blame. This, however, is nothing like thinking crashes are good.