Pfhorrest wrote:I'm American myself, and have only existed since the 80s myself, so I understand that that's how the word "libertarian" is most frequently used here and now. I'm just pointing out, as I have had to learn myself, that "America since the 80s", my own domain of experience, is a pretty narrow little bit of space and time, and the use of the term "libertarian" within that little bit of space and time is pretty restricted compared to the whole history of the entire world.
(That was to Tyndmyr, but ninja'd by Thesh).
I've only existed since the '80s myself, so anything before then is of historical interest, but doesn't fall into current usage of a word. There's a lot of language from the pre-80s time period that has changed by today.
Thesh wrote:Regulations that protect workers and consumers should be handled through collective bargaining between employees and customers of a business.
This is exceedingly unwieldy. You, as a consumer, would need to join a collective bargaining association (a union) for pretty much everything you buy, and every company you buy it from. Think of all the meetings, subcommittees, ad hoc committees, email chains, legal consultations, etc, you'd need to ensure that toasters are safe, that toaster ovens won't burn your house down, that ceiling fans are properly grounded... and what will protect you from manufacturers of things you only buy a few times in your lifetime?
Ain't gonna happen.
Now, if you could unite these unions so that one union would cover all products, it might work. We call that a government. This is one reason why consumer protection is a valid purpose of government.
Yeah, even libertarians accept that fraud prevention is a viable role of government. If you accept property rights, then theft is of course a problem, and that ought to apply to white collar crime as well. It seems odd that under the current system, a pickpocket or shoplifter might be penalized a great deal more per dollar stolen than someone who engages in other forms of theft.
Ultimately, competition works well within it's domain, but if you allow things like, say, chinese knockoffs of a brand name item that are of vastly inferior quantity, sold through some of the same sales channels as the original thing, you screw up competitive forces. Now some percentage of people believe this brand of microwave will burn down their house, and the original manufacturer suffers for the actions of the cheap one, who essentially is trading on the strength of their name. You need a certain clarity of information for consumers to accurately compare, and allowing overt fraud screws that all up, and there is no real need of collective bargaining for legal enforcement.
If it's actually advertised as "Whatever Brand Shitty Microwave, probably will burn your house down", then you're good. The consumer then knows exactly what they're getting, and will probably not buy the thing unless it's for somewhere that literally can't burn down.
Consumer Reports and similar are very powerful informative forces, and we need no government agency for that role...but we do need to maintain product identity for the consumer reports information to remain meaningful. There are a number of scams that essentially break that system by pretending to be something legitimate.
Pfhorrest wrote:Thesh, I’m not sure how you read all that into ucim’s comment. It sounded clearly to me like he was saying that having to collectively bargain about everything they bought would be onerous work for consumers to do, and hence they largely wouldn’t bother to do it, but that someone should do it anyway, so the government should do it for them. (Or technically, he seemed to be saying that a particular way of consumers organizing themselves to do so less onerously would just BE a government).
How is that not just skepticism about democracy? Like, he's making all sorts of assumptions about how it will function purely so that he can just dismiss the possibility that democracy can work, and say that the best solution is to just not have any democracy at all and allow property owners to have the full power to decide.
It's not anti-democracy. It's just accepting that people really, really hate tedium. Collectively bargaining for everything includes a great deal of hassle. In practice, people right now don't usually bother to read EULAs and similar. That gives you some idea of how much the average consumer wants to negotiate before making a purchase. Fairly little. The decision to purchase is the most critical element. Now, there's nothing wrong with collective negotiation if consumers decide they want to do so, but in practice, it doesn't arise naturally. The only market for which collective bargaining has caught on is the labor market, and even there it's not universally preferred.
The labor market is one in which consumers are a seller, not a buyer. It's also more significant to them than most things they buy. Getting a fair wage is of more importance than negotiating the best price on detergent. It's rational for consumers to prioritize accordingly.
There's nothing wrong with voluntary standards, but you ultimately need some sort of anti-fraud system all the same. Otherwise, a non-compliant entity can simply fake it, and the average consumer can't be expected to independently solve every instance of fraud. The same is true for voluntarily arranged cooperatives. Go nuts, do that if you want. It's libertarian-compatible. However, you can't assume that everyone will want to join, nor can you force others to join.
Thesh wrote:Do you read all your government regulations? So, obviously, you can't have democratic government because then you would just have to vote on every little thing.
Of course not. Neither do the people voting on them, in many cases. They're simply too lengthy for that to be practical. Neither has any cop I've met pretended to read every regulation. The summarized legal code available online can be eighteen months behind current legislation because it's so unwieldy, and it's only published every six years in paper. The many volumes are probably not practical for each individual to read, even if they were so inclined.
The government and current legal system are hard for the average person to comprehend, and that is a shortcoming. It expands the lawyer/compliance class which incurs significant overhead. The average person just gives up on fully understanding taxes, and thus, pays a tax compliance expert to make sure it's probably pretty close to accurate. The more such areas exist, the more specialists are needed for no other purpose but supporting the government. We should aim to reduce this.
Thesh wrote:Seriously, there is no argument here but "People are stupid".
People are not stupid. They simply have limited time, focus, and energy. They search for a good enough solution, and then buy that. If one item on the supermarket shelf costs half of whatever, but lacks brand name appeal, that's something they'll consider. It's right there, and the prices and brands are known, so they do not need to do extensive research to determine that some portion of brand z is forged, and is instead made of lead and arsenic. That's expecting an unreasonable amount of knowledge on the basis of every consumer.
Consider knowledge as a cost. In practice, gathering information is not free, and your consumer does not wish to spend many hours of time researching a small decision.
elasto wrote:What? The reason people want phones that 'spy' on them is because the 'spying' has huge benefits for consumers. If it was all drawbacks of course market forces would take care of it. That's neither here nor there when it comes to government regulation.
Okay, wow, that's a fucking ridiculous statement.
No, it's not. People accept free, ad-supported products all the time. They're aware of the ads. They just don't care, and many people won't pay to avoid ads. In some cases, they can if they want, they simply choose not to. Let's look at Youtube. You can watch it for free with the occasional ad, or you can pay for a no-ad version.
The former is used by approximately a billion people. The latter, 1.5 million. So, 99.x% of people prefer the ads.
They don't *like* the ads, they just like paying less.
So, because people can't understand everything in the GPL, they are incapable of using it or even knowing whether it's better than anything else?
Actually a problem, as people can violate the GPL as a result. gpl-violations.org exists for a reason. Sure, some are knowing, but sometimes people just don't read licenses. Mostly, people get by based on a vague idea of the license based on public impression, advertisement of unusual features, and familiarity with similar things.
Of course you can have courts. That doesn't mean you need a state.
If you have law enforcement, courts, and a military, plus a voting system to determine leadership of them, you've kinda created a state.
Now, figuring out how to have multiple non-exclusive states overlap is interesting, and I don't mind discussing that, but if you have a "choose your own courts" system, how do you resolve an insistence on the most advantageous courts for each? We already have arbitration for cases in which folks can agree on an adjudicator, but it's possible that two parties might not agree on that.
Nobody here is arguing for a dictatorship, but if we agree that specific functions ought to exist, then we're agreeing on at least some minimal state.
sardia wrote:More contract hypotheticals. Am I allowed to write small loan terms with 300% interest rates? I have a large captive market, because they aren't served by traditional Banks. There's a group of lobbyists who are trying to limit my interest rate below what the market can bear, something like 30ish percent.
Payday loan places are okay, so long as the terms of the agreement are clear. Loans are sometimes critical. Allowing someone to get that car to get that job, or prevent an eviction, can matter a great deal. It's unfortunate that the rates are so high, but in practice, origination costs are somewhat static, and the loan amounts are small. It's better that than we choke them out of credit entirely. Freezing people out of credit entirely is a way to keep them in poverty.
It's similar to the check cashing problem. Someone paying to get checks cashed is less advantageous than cashing them for free at a bank, but if an individual does not have access to traditional banking services, then availability of check cashing services lets them participate where they otherwise could not.
Oftentimes, people see things as exploitative because they are comparing to the options that they themselves enjoy, when the consumers of those things may not actually have those superior options, or they may not be practical for other reasons.