Libertarianism

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Tyndmyr
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:00 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:That is, again, defining libertarian solely on the basis of liberty(using a very particular definition of it). This is akin to defining Democrats by voter participation rate. Yes, voting is important to them, and it is a bit connected with the name, but it isn't the only defining feature.

Again you seem to be unclear on whether you want to talk about a common noun generally or the platform of a particular political party. A Democratic viewpoint is a different thing from a democratic viewpoint: the former is a viewpoint associated with the party called "Democrats", while the latter is a viewpoint associated with democracy. Likewise, a Libertarian viewpoint is different from a libertarian viewpoint: the former is a viewpoint associated with the party called "Libertarians", while the latter is a viewpoint associated with liberty.

You said (I think, maybe I misunderstood) that you wanted to discuss the latter, but then you seem to keep restricting things to discussion of the former.

(Also, how is liberty = freedom = permission = non-prohibition = non-restriction etc "very peculiar"? Advocating for unlimited liberty would be peculiar, sure, but not understanding what liberty is like that).


In the US, at least "libertarian" describes the ideology of libertarianism(which is distinctly capitalist, and highly anti-socialism). Historical uses vary, but it's been this way since, oh, Reagan era, at least? Overseas, it may be somewhat different. You sometimes get a bit of skew when labels go across the pond, and it occurs to me that we may have something like that happening here?

It is broader than the specific party of the US Libertarian Party. Other independents, some members of major parties, call themselves libertarian. More Republicans than Democrats, if memory serves. 2:1 ratio or so. It is sometimes summarized as fiscally conservative, socially liberal, though that is definitely a rough outline.

Liberty = freedom is not peculiar, the point is that liberty is not the online defining characteristic of the party, nor is it unique to libertarians. It's very important, but the name alone doesn't give you sufficient detail. This is true for most political parties or ideologies as well. The word or two included probably includes something important to them, but there's likely a lot of other details bound up as well. For instance, if we say fascist, it conveys a great deal besides the etymological meaning of "united" or "authority".

Yeah, I've used the terms left-libertarian and libertarian socialist both in this thread, and I use both of them to describe myself, as I think does Thesh, though they're probably more in the mainstream of them than me (because I am, unlike most of them, still propertarian, despite being anti-capitalist).


I think the abolition of property is a significant dividing line between different ideologies of socialism. I'm not as familiar with the various flavors of socialist ideology in terms of preferred labels, but the nordic system doesn't have any issue with private property ownership, whereas the USSR sort included a rather comprehensive reordering of property ownership. I agree that Thresh'd probably be some flavor of mainstream socialism, whereas you'd likely be left-libertarian/socialism.

On a different note I'm not quite following your description of where you think left-libertarianism and (what kind of?) anarchism are on a circular political spectrum (I get the spectrum shape just fine, just not where you're putting things on it), but this is as good an opportunity as any to drop my own view of the political spectrum, and where various kinds of libertarianism and socialism fall on it:


Oh, it's a visualization that describes the political spectrum as, instead of a straight line, a circular one, with the logic that right and left wrap around and meet. It is...sometimes helpful, but like all visualizations, can only convey so much. On it, anarchy ends up pretty much at the opposite of traditional statist governments, with libertarianism and socialism opposed. Kind of like points on a compass.

It's somewhat akin to the more popular quadrant chart you referenced, but older, I believe. The quadrant found in the lower right of your graph is pretty useful for highlighting currently popular views and summarizing important differences. I'd use distinctly different terms for the more crazy parts of the scale on the extended quadrant. They're relatively uncommon, and overloading terms already used in more mundane fashion is...indistinct. Socialism in it's usual form I usually view as a bit to the left of social democrat parties, who are usually advocating some sort of mixed system between capitalism and socialism.

You do get some oddities, like the US green party, that don't map fantastically well to one point. Some of their ideology maps well to others, and they do have significant agreement with libertarians on more aspects than their right/left alignment might indicate(roughly half their ideals line up okayish)....but the ecological focus isn't traditionally mapped out on 2-axis political graphs, so you lose some information there.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:19 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Yeah, I've used the terms left-libertarian and libertarian socialist both in this thread, and I use both of them to describe myself, as I think does Thesh, though they're probably more in the mainstream of them than me (because I am, unlike most of them, still propertarian, despite being anti-capitalist).


I kind of have an inverted view of most socialists - I think we should primarily be concerned with the economy from the perspective of the consumers, not he perspective of the workers. The workers trade their ability for money, but otherwise everything is done in the interest of consumers. I value the independence of the consumer over the power of the worker. I'm a market socialist, with a fairly anarchistic view of things. I see government as existing to resolve our conflicts and nothing more. We should have the minimum government necessary to resolve our conflicts, but we shouldn't be too constricted by the mechanism in which we do this - not everything can be handled by voluntaryism, because our conflicts are not voluntary. Otherwise people should be free to associate with who they want and self-organize.

Regulations that protect workers and consumers should be handled through collective bargaining between employees and customers of a business. Environment, human rights, and overconsumption, however, are things that we are conflicted over on a global level, and these require global regulations, however, we don't need a state. Using petition and direct democratic systems, we can create a government department to manage our conflicts wherever they are, and enact regulations when necessary to protect against harm. Each department is completely independent, and the public can remove people or disband them at any time. Some public agencies are going to be global, continental, regional, or local. Generally, the market system is the best to resolve our conflicts, so we should leave it up to that most of the time - better to just put a fixed limit on CO2, a fixed limit on oil production, and then auction off rights based on what is sustainable (auction off rights is already done for a lot of things like logging and fishing, which are better managed regionally), while using similar methods for rent, and paying out to each citizen as a social dividend.

As I believe the consumers should be the main driver of economic activity, I also think they should be responsible for the quality. It is their responsibility to make sure the products they buy are properly vetted. They should make sure that there is an environment where the products they buy have been tested, inspected and audited based on what is worth it to them. It is the responsibility of the workers to adhere to contractual obligations, but the responsibility of the consumer to make sure that they provide sufficient terms. Consumers are responsible for paying for government, which is deducted from their social dividend, while workers get to keep all of their wages.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:22 pm UTC

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).
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:30 pm UTC

Basic rule of thumb: the more flexible your structures are, the more efficient your economy will be and the easier it will be for anyone to get the things that they want. Private property ownership tends to lead to larger and larger, less and less flexible structures over time.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:26 am UTC

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.

Thesh wrote:Basic rule of thumb: the more flexible your structures are, the more efficient your economy will be and the easier it will be for anyone to get the things that they want.
I'm not convinced that is true. And even so, it also makes it easier for companies to do the things they want to consumers. And this power scales faster for companies, since they can amass more knowledge and leverage.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:36 am UTC

ucim wrote:[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?


Why would you assume all of that?

Seriously, is the only argument a capitalist can make against socialism to assume that there must be a very specific structure and way of doing things? Like, when I suggest people working together it's "What, you mean you are going to use government to force people to fund the things you want?"
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:47 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Why would you assume all of that?
Because people operate in their own interests, not in the interests of others. Groups do the same thing. If a company can make a cheaper toaster that's not as safe, they will sell more of them, and make more profit wages for the workers. Especially if the knowledge that these toasters aren't as safe is not available to the public. So.... how would you, as a customer, defend yourself against this? You can't, unless you know which toasters are safer and which aren't so safe, and which are deadly. You suggest a collective bargaining association.

Fine. That's just toasters. What about laundry detergent? How much chemistry do you expect each individual consumer to learn, in order to discern that one brand is more polluting (and what kind of pollution) than another?

I have no problem allowing people to work together. I just don't believe that people will naturally work together in my best interests.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:20 am UTC

One big consumers union /advocacy group / information source (a la Consumer Reports?) for all kinds of products from all manufacturers is an obvious solution, that you (ucim) mention, but that solution does not require state power to create or maintain. I guess it is technically a kind of governance, but only in the sense of government that is properly distinguished from the state. In other words, such a thing could be part of an anarchic government (which is no oxymoron), and that’s fine and good. (And so long as there has to be a statist government at all, that’s fine as a kind of thing for it to do, too).
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:38 am UTC

ucim wrote:
Thesh wrote:Why would you assume all of that?
Because people operate in their own interests, not in the interests of others.


What in the fuck are you talking about? Are you deliberately fucking dense? Not only does that have absolutely nothing to do with what I said, how you get from that to "Therefore, a we should leave all decisions up to wealthy people in which we have no real power over" just boggles my mind. I want to reiterate my point about libertarians simply having a one-track cynical view of humanity, that assumes people are too terrible to function without strong leaders controlling all the wealth.

Collective bargaining just means collective bargaining. It doesn't imply any particular structure. It doesn't imply a union at all. It doesn't imply trade associations. You can have that stuff sure. Or it could just mean that you agree on the supplier of vegetables, or the company that inspects the restaurants. Like, you for some stupid fucking reason have to turn the idea of democracy into "less freedom". Do you not understand what a cooperative is? Does the entire idea of anarchism, libertarianism, and decentralized democracy elude you? How is having the right to negotiate your contract with Verizon or decide your privacy rights with Google having less choice than letting them dictate it? Like, your assumption is that if the consumers and workers have power, they will just act stupidly because only a wealthy person knows what's best.

Libertarian-capitalists are seriously fucked in the head. I don't know how they don't consider themselves authoritarians. They are skeptical of the entire idea of equalizing power, or any possible concept of people acting in their own best interest.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:04 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Are you deliberately fucking dense?
This is getting very close to ad hominum again.

Do you really think that, left to their own devices, people naturally operate for the good of others rather than themselves? Sure, sometimes, but it's not the norm. Isn't that your own objection to capitalism to begin with?

In any case I was talking about basic consumer protection, which I maintain is a valid role of government. In part because people are too ignorant to do it themselves for some products, and in part because people are too busy to do it themselves - that's why they hire a government to begin with. Now yes, there are some alternative approaches, such as UL and Consumers' Union. The latter is pretty much a fringe publication as far as the entire economy goes, but the former has some promise of working in a libertarian environment. UL itself is worldwide, and draws its power from liability insurance requirements rather than government regulation. But in practice, the idea that it's a consumer's choice as to whether to use non-compliant equipment is a bit of a chimera. What's available is still dependent on big companies - the UL labs, the insurance companies, and the manufacturers.

Thesh wrote:How is having the right to negotiate your contract with Verizon or decide your privacy rights with Google having less choice than letting them dictate it?
In practice, you might have the "right", but you would still not have any ability to negotiate your contract with Verizon or Google. They are too big. They will tell you what the rules are, take it or leave it. If you want enough clout, you'd need a yuge collective bargaining organization. If its only teeth is "we won't use Verizon unless..." you'd need pretty much the whole country to agree. Good luck with that. Government, as a representative of the people, can dictate to Verizon "you must supply 911..." or whatever, because it's in the public interest, and it has the teeth to enforce it. If you think getting government to do this is hard (protip: it is), I think you'll find that getting the population to do this is much harder. Pretty much the only way to influence a big organization is with a big organization.

Thesh wrote:how you get from that to "Therefore, a we should leave all decisions up to wealthy people in which we have no real power over"
You can vote your representatives out of office...for free. Can you do that with UL or CU (If you are not personally a member of the UL or CU cooperative you envision)?

Thesh wrote:Like, your assumption is that if the consumers and workers have power, they will just act stupidly because only a wealthy person knows what's best.
I am not talking about wealthy people. You are the one with the wealth hangup. I'm talking about elected officials. Many are wealthy, yes. Many of them are white Christians. Am I saying "only white Christians know what's best" because I think consumer protection is a valid role of government?

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:29 pm UTC

ucim wrote:I am not talking about wealthy people. You are the one with the wealth hangup. I'm talking about elected officials. Many are wealthy, yes. Many of them are white Christians. Am I saying "only white Christians know what's best" because I think consumer protection is a valid role of government?


Huh? Elected representatives? Dude, you were talking collective bargaining. You said that the customers of a store should not be able to negotiate a contract. Your argument is that if the customers are allowed any democratic control, that they will make bad decisions because people are terrible, and thus we should appoint dictators to control our resources without any democratic recourse.

The sheer idea of equal power or democracy causes you to automatically go into defense mode, because these are the concepts you are against.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:01 pm UTC

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).
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:04 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:You said that the customers of a store should not be able to negotiate a contract.
No, I didn't say that. Customers of a store should certainly be permitted (within the law) to negotiate a contract. What I am saying is that in practice, (outside of haggling a price or substituting rice for fries) this doesn't happen for structural reasons that are independent of political and economic philosophy.

But in any case, what I was focusing on was the idea of consumer protection not being a valid role of government, and it being left to collective bargaining. And by now I've lost track of the point I was making, and the point I was making it against. So I'll drop it.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:06 pm UTC

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.

Like, all he cares about is dismissing the idea of individuals being capable of acting in their own best interest without using large power structures to force it on others.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:21 pm UTC

It sounds like the government he assumed would be a democratic one. Presumably not as pure and stateless a democracy as you or I would like, but not any particularly egregiously bad kind of government either, just “a government”. Not because people shouldn’t be allowed to do it themselves, but because they shouldn’t have to do it themselves. Kinda like self defense as it’s usually brought up against anarchism: “people shouldn’t be forced to fight off attackers or figure out some organizational structure to mutually defend each other, there should just be police there to protect them.” And similarly missing that a mutual defense organization would just be police, but that you don’t have to have a state to have police, a properly structured police force can be compatible with anarchism.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:28 pm UTC

My understanding was that ucim was advocating for a libertarian capitalist form of government - "people don't work in the interests of others" and "I don't expect people to act in my interests". That is, he's promoting the idea of a system based on the libertarian idea of mutually beneficial arrangements, i.e. leaving it up to the property owner to decide the rules.

It's like one of my original comments on Locke - the assumption is that there is only state ownership of land or private ownership of land, therefore the only possible way to have freedom is private ownership of land.

EDIT:

Think of it this way. You don't have to be a member of GNU to use the GPL. You don't have to pay them money, you don't even have to release your software under it if you don't want to. There are many competing licenses as well. All you, as customers of the developer, need to do is negotiate that you want the software released under the terms of the GPL (note that I wouldn't actually have copyright in the first place).

In the same way, you might have an organization called the "Vegan Farming Association", in which people pay $100 to become a member so they can vote on what rules they believe are best for vegan farming. Anyone can adhere to the standards of the Vegan Farming Association, and if they say they do it's false advertising if they don't, and customers of a vegan grocer can choose to buy from farms that adhere to the standards. Customers can also accept standards from the Minnesota Vegan Alliance, which are entirely different. If they don't trust the farms to adhere to the standards, it's their responsibility to make sure they are properly inspected and audited. These associations will likely have certified inspectors that the farms work with, and customer-owned purchasers and wholesalers would likely be delegated responsibility for making sure they are audited.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:35 am UTC

Thesh wrote:My understanding was...
...wrong. Again.

I'll leave it at that, except to point out the subject line of this thread. That is all.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:14 am UTC

Then I'm not sure what your point is. You seem to be just looking to assume people cannot solve problems in order to dismiss the idea of functioning democracy, while expressing absolutely nothing but cynicism about humanity. Literally, you had absolutely nothing to add to this conversation but to vomit out the first half-assed excuse to dismiss the idea of customers being able to collectively bargain in their own interest. I stand by my comment about you being dense, as you seem absolutely unwilling to allow a thought that isn't "socialism bad" enter your thick skull.

Like, I have never seen any evidence that you put any thought into anything but dismissing criticism of capitalism. You adhere to it like it's a fucking religion. I have never seen you say a single positive thing about democracy, and have only seen you complain about tyranny of the majority. I don't see how you aren't just an authoritarian that hates people.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:54 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:In the same way, you might have an organization called the "Vegan Farming Association", in which people pay $100 to become a member so they can vote on what rules they believe are best for vegan farming. Anyone can adhere to the standards of the Vegan Farming Association, and if they say they do it's false advertising if they don't, and customers of a vegan grocer can choose to buy from farms that adhere to the standards. Customers can also accept standards from the Minnesota Vegan Alliance, which are entirely different. If they don't trust the farms to adhere to the standards, it's their responsibility to make sure they are properly inspected and audited. These associations will likely have certified inspectors that the farms work with, and customer-owned purchasers and wholesalers would likely be delegated responsibility for making sure they are audited.

And that brings it back to ucim's initial point: People don't have the time or energy to do heaps of research on how safe their toaster is, how polluting their laundry detergent is and so on. Just look at how uninformed most people are when it comes to voting, one of the most important decisions they ever get to make! Most just vote how they always have (which probably matches how their parents voted before them.)

There's nothing stopping your suggestion happening right now - and indeed it does. You get things like the Fairtrade mark which certify various standards as being met. But if there were hundreds of such 'kitemarks' - many of which would surely be of dubious worth (think 'industry awards') people would just throw up their hands and give up. It'd be pure information overload.

Plus, who is going to fund all these inspectors and inspections? Are they all going to be funded out of this $100 payment? How many different organisations are you going to have to pay $100 to? The one certifying your toaster? The one certifying your detergent? And how many overlapping organisations are going to be inspecting the same company? The farm gets visited by the Vegan Farming Association, and also the Vegetarian Farming Association, and the Farming Association of Vegans, and the Vegan Farming Association (Southern Chapter), and also the Paleo Farming Association etc. etc.? Seems pretty inefficient and wasteful at best.

There'd also be a huge free-rider issue here: Everyone would want the benefit of inspections being carried out but without the cost coming out of their own pocket. And if the inspections get funded from industry, a huge-conflict of interest arises as we saw with the financial crash and the auditing firms messing up there.

That's why all civilised countries delegate things like product safety to organisations directed to act in the public interest - commonly government departments funded through the taxpayer. Incompetence, corruption and inefficiencies can happen, sure, but nothing like what I believe would occur if regulation were entirely self-organised in the manner you outline.
Last edited by elasto on Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:08 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:03 pm UTC

"Decentralized democracy cannot work, because people are incapable of knowing everything about everything, and people would have to vote on every little thing, because there is only one possible way to do things" requires more than an assertion. It's just a bullshit rationalization for why people cannot make decisions for themselves and require a strong leader to make decisions for them.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:18 pm UTC

So do you read all your software licence agreements? I don't and I work in the industry.

Most people are exhausted after a day in the office followed by taking care of the kids. Most don't even have the time or energy to educate themselves on basic but vital things like taking care of their finances, taking care of their health, furthering their education and so on (and that's provably factual, not just an 'assertion') - and you think people have time to do deep research on every single purchase they make?

The fact that advertising works (again, factual, not an 'assertion') proves that most people mostly make surface decisions. All of the suggestions you've made could happen under our current political/economic system. The fact that they largely don't should tell you something.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:38 pm UTC

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.

Seriously, there is no argument here but "People are stupid".

elasto wrote:The fact that advertising works (again, factual, not an 'assertion') proves that most people mostly make surface decisions. All of the suggestions you've made could happen under our current political/economic system. The fact that they largely don't should tell you something.


That's the stupidest argument ever. "If something better could happen, it would, because that's how capitalism works and because everyone in society has equal power, and that's why we shouldn't have power to collectively bargain. Thus, if something is in the interest of the general public, even if it doesn't benefit the wealthy or if it comes at their expense, then the market would have guaranteed it."

It's the same argument for "If people wanted phones that didn't spy on them, they wouldn't be buying smartphones". It's just a thick layer of bullshit to rationalize why we can't have anything better.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:04 pm UTC

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.

I don't have democratic government and nor do you. I have representative government. That means I vote for the person I think best capable of representing my interests.

Not even professional politicians have time to read all government regulations. The argument isn't 'people are stupid', it's that 'people aren't Watson/DeepBlue bots capable of digesting millions of pages of information'.

That's the stupidest argument ever. "If something better could happen, it would, because that's how capitalism works and because everyone in society has equal power, and that's why we shouldn't have power to collectively bargain.

Huh? We have the power to collectively bargain right now. Where am I arguing that power should be taken away? I'm arguing that that power on its own isn't enough to regulate markets, that we need further institutions acting on our behalf. Part of the proof for that is that hardly anyone involves themselves in any collective bargaining even though they could.

Should we not have a judiciary either, because in theory we could band together to decide and enforce our own laws? Would that make us 'freer'?

Sometimes you need a 'strongman' to ensure freedom persists - whether that be the police and judiciary, or an EPA to check if a factory is dumping toxic chemicals.

It's the same argument for "If people wanted phones that didn't spy on them, they wouldn't be buying smartphones". It's just a thick layer of bullshit to rationalize why we can't have anything better.

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.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:16 pm UTC

elasto wrote:I don't have democratic government and nor do you. I have representative government. That means I vote for the person I think best capable of representing my interests.


Representative democracy is still democracy. So, you believe there exists an all-knowing individual who is capable of making better decisions about standards for veganism than the Vegan Farming Association, as well as every other aspect of the economy? That sounds quite insane.

elasto wrote:Not even professional politicians have time to read all government regulations. The argument isn't 'people are stupid', it's that 'people aren't Watson/DeepBlue bots capable of digesting millions of pages of information'.


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?

elasto wrote:Huh? We have the power to collectively bargain right now.

Great, then go collectively bargain against Verizon.

elasto wrote:Where am I arguing that power should be taken away? I'm arguing that that power on its own isn't enough to regulate markets, that we need further institutions acting on our behalf. Part of the proof for that is that hardly anyone involves themselves in any collective bargaining even though they could.


No, you are arguing that you need big government. I gave you examples with the Vegan Farming Association, you dismissed the idea, and suggested the state is better.

elasto wrote:Should we not have a judiciary either, because in theory we could band together to decide and enforce our own laws? Would that make us 'freer'?


Of course you can have courts. That doesn't mean you need a state.

elasto wrote:Sometimes you need a 'strongman' to ensure freedom persists - whether that be the police and the judiciary or an EPA to check if a factory is dumping toxic chemicals.


As I said:
Thesh wrote:Regulations that protect workers and consumers should be handled through collective bargaining between employees and customers of a business. Environment, human rights, and overconsumption, however, are things that we are conflicted over on a global level, and these require global regulation.


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.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby ucim » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:46 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Then I'm not sure what your point is. You seem to be just looking to assume people cannot solve problems in order to dismiss the idea of functioning democracy,
You seem to be of the opinion that I am only capable of considering either an absolute dictatorship, or a free-for-all democracy. In that you are incorrect, and in the underlying premise you are also incorrect. Life is complicated, and so is governance.

An absolute dictatorship is Bad, even if the dictator is benevolent. I won't bother to go into why; I suspect we all know.

An free-for-all democracy is unworkable in any but the smallest organizations. There are too many decisions that have to be made even before people get up in the morning, let alone throughout the day. Pretty much everything somebody does affects somebody else, from what kind of weed killer (if any) to use, to whether or not I should be able to have a certain medical procedure, to how fast to drive my car, to whether I should be able to put a permanent end to that barking dog across the street. Or the one further down the block. Each case is different, and holding a town meeting for each of them (which is what a free-for-all democracy entails) would put an end to whatever it is we want a democracy for - which is to be able to go about our lives.

So, we hire strongmen to ensure that our rights are defined and defended. And these strongmen take care of all this petty stuff, freeing us from having to make all these decisions. Now, we don't want these strongmen to run us over, so we do so in a manner that gives us the right (and ability) to remove them peacefully should they go against the "general wishes of the populace" (which itself is a fuzzy concept). In the case of the US, we hold elections, using a democratic process.

Yes. We democratically elect temporary dictators. Sort of. (I'm omitting the judiciary right now) Point is, there is a mix of democracy and strongmen, wherein the strongmen are subject to the populace through democracy. It's a system I'm happy with, even though it's "the worst possible system, except for all the others" (--Churchill?)

Now, this thread isn't about that. It's about {L|l}ibertarianism, which is <WARNING! OVERSIMILIFICATION AHEAD!> a kind of extreme form of <WARNING! GENERALIZATION AHEAD!> democracy</WARNING> in which voting isn't even needed, because Each of The People make contracts between themselves, and government's purpose is primarily to enforce these contracts. With (you guessed it) Strongmen. These strongmen could be elected, they could rise through graft and corruption, they could come about in many ways, but so long as they restrict themselves to merely enforcing contracts, you have libertarianism.</WARNING>

Libertarianism prides itself on eschewing coercion, but this is not really the case. Every form of governance requires Strongmen to ensure that its particular rules are followed when the people under the system don't want to follow them. Even anarchy does (except that in that case, each individual is their own Strongman; it's a degenerate case).

Libertarianism also seems to assume a one-dimensional view of value. Ethics do not enter into it at all. Individuals are free to make unethical contracts, and they will be enforced (perhaps except in extreme cases like slavery, but you can approach those limits if you like).

Libertariansim also seems to eschew one of what I consider a principle role of government - that being, to protect the weak from the strong. If somebody is weak enough to be fooled by propaganda out of a strong entity's marketing division, that contract is still valid, and the rooking is upheld. It doesn't have to be an actual lie in order to convince people to buy into something.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:57 pm UTC

<Accidental double post>
Last edited by elasto on Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:12 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:05 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:So, you believe there exists an all-knowing individual who is capable of making better decisions about standards for veganism than the Vegan Farming Association, as well as every other aspect of the economy? That sounds quite insane.

You seem to have a really odd view of how government does and should work.

I don't expect my political representatives to be 'all knowing' in any fashion. Obviously experts in a field know more than laypeople - that's what makes them experts. I don't expect my representative to be more of an expert than me in climate science, veganism, or anything else. I do however expect them to seek the counsel of experts in any field when drafting laws or appointing regulators.

It's simply a matter of efficiency: It's (much) more efficient for my representative to seek the counsel of a climate specialist once before drafting a climate change law than for all 45m UK voters to individually seek the counsel of climate specialists before voting on a climate change law.

Our politicians are particularly poor at seeking and listening to experts, it's true, but that's not my fault, it's the fault of the mass of voters who value ideology and party politics over competence...

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?

It's not that they couldn't understand it if they sat down and studied it for a week or two, it's that if I had to sit down and study every software licence agreement presented to me I'd never have time to do anything else.

Great, then go collectively bargain against Verizon.

Not living in America that'd be hard, but, in general, for industries which make sense as local monopolies like utility providers, I'd argue for either state ownership or extremely heavy regulation.

Monopolies deliver poor value for consumers under any economic system, but I feel like they'd behave worse under libertarianism than under virtually anything else.

Collective bargaining applies more to well-functioning markets where companies feel obligated to respond to consumer pressure like, I dunno, when a company gets publicly shamed for some practice and people organise boycotts and it bows to public pressure.

In a very real sense, collective bargaining applies every time a company chooses a price-point for its product. If it pitches it too high, the market will make its opinion known loud and clear.

No, you are arguing that you need big government. I gave you examples with the Vegan Farming Association, you dismissed the idea, and suggested the state is better.

Well, obviously the government doesn't and shouldn't involve itself in regulating veganism, so that's a slightly spurious example.

As I said before, I have nothing against organisations like FairTrade. Another organisation that seems to have caught the public attention here in the UK is MumsNet. I just think it'd become unmanageable if the average consumer had to be up on which of hundreds of kitemarks were worth following and which were just industry stooges.

I'm also not arguing for 'big government' - merely bigger government than you apparently advocate. In many cases it could be a lot smaller than now.

Of course you can have courts. That doesn't mean you need a state.

So private courts? The private prison system functions so well I can't see any problems with that notion...

Okay, wow, that's a fucking ridiculous statement.

Seriously? 'Big data' has produced a revolution in consumer services, and it wouldn't be possible without 'spying' - which is a perjorative way to describe what's going on anyway.

To give just one example, Google Maps can tell me in real time where all the delays are on my route. It gathers that information by 'spying', as you put it.

People want their services to be smart, not dumb. Information makes services smart. That's why services that 'spy' win a lot of market share.

Corporate 'spying' would definitely go up under a libertarian model. Our 'big government' EU keeps a heavy lid on data protection, limiting both what can be gathered and what can be done with it, and personally I consider that a good thing. That's something of a side-argument though.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:06 pm UTC

ucim, you were responding to me explaining what I believed best, so I don't care about your idea of what libertarianism is; the only thing you have shown is that you are capable of rationalizing why anything different than capitalism is bad, and why every negative feature of capitalism is actually a positive. Your idea of libertarianism is about just dismissing power imbalances in capitalism. That's it. That's not liberty.

You say libertarianism is about people making voluntary contracts and deciding for themselves; I do too. You just believe that only undemocratically appointed property owners should have legal authority to make the rules, and I think that the people affected by the rules should have legal authority to decide the rules. Your belief is that capitalism is a (nearly) perfect set of rules that we can move to in order to decide what's best for the people, without people actually having to put real effort into figuring it out for themselves. You want a system in which, once it's in place, the only way for the people to change it if it's wrong is military force. That's not libertarian; you just rationalize all power imbalances away, and assume any outcome is the choice of consumers.

Your view of capitalism centers entirely around the business leader. It centers around the wealthiest and most powerful people in society, and justifies their power no matter what. If a single company arose and bought all property in the world, you would rationalize that it must be the aggregate of consumer preferences and that the single company is more efficient. You completely ignore the people in society who have the least power, and dismiss why they don't deserve anything better. You are making those decisions for them, by choosing capitalism; because if they don't own the property where they live, they don't have a choice.

elasto, you are rationalizing why all the spying is good. What's never happened is a cost-benefit analysis to see how it affects the consumer. What you completely ignore is the fact that it gives the wealthy and politicians massive amounts of power over society. The 2016 election is a great example of the power of big data to manipulate the population. But yes, let's just assume the markets always do what's best no matter what, and just dismiss the negatives as necessary for the greater good.
Last edited by Thesh on Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:12 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:11 pm UTC

Thresh, you realise this is ucim you are talking to, right? He's more critical than most of the failings of corporatism, capitalism and the current political system.

Don't assume his criticism of (your approach to) libertarianism means he's not critical of the way things operate currently. It merely means he has different ideas for how to fix things than you do.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:15 pm UTC

Thresh wrote:elasto, you are rationalizing why all the spying is good [...] But yes, let's just assume the markets always do what's best no matter what, and just dismiss the negatives as necessary for the greater good.

I don't think the negatives are necessary for the greater good. Did you miss the part where I said the EU strongly limits the ability of companies to spy, and that I approve of that fact..?

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:20 pm UTC

Could you at least make an effort to spell my name correctly?

elasto wrote:Don't assume his criticism of (your approach to) libertarianism means he's not critical of the way things operate currently. It merely means he has different ideas for how to fix things than you do.


I've had many many many debates with him; he has never agreed that any negative feature of capitalism is a problem. There isn't a single problem with capitalism that is not rationalized away. Inequality? Technological advancement. No effort is done to show the cost-benefit, much like you with the spying. He points out the iPhone and SpaceX as proof of capitalism, while dismissing the work put into it by government.

He's critical of government, he is not in the least bit critical of capitalism, or even in the least bit concerned about things like imbalances of power, which are necessarily good things.

elasto wrote:I don't think the negatives are necessary for the greater good. Did you miss the part where I said the EU strongly limits the ability of companies to spy, and that I approve of that fact..?


So, with these limits in place, now the spying is good? Government has shown that it is only capable of delivering the bare minimum standards acceptable to society, in reaction to the negative actions of business. They don't actually do serious analysis to actually determine how much privacy people should have.

Since the wealthy control businesses and politicians, they have disproportionate say over what happens with our legislation. Without government, they would have even more say in the rules, and ucim would be creating an environment where there would be no government oversight.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:36 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Could you at least make an effort to spell my name correctly?

Are you just trolling? I've replied to many of your posts with the correct spelling. Obviously it was a typo.

I've had many many many debates with him; he has never agreed that any negative feature of capitalism is a problem.

Perhaps you have a selective memory. I've had many debates with him where he can see more problems than even I can, and I have some pretty gigantic complaints.

So, with these limits in place, now the spying is good?

Why are you so black and white? Obviously the current regulations can be improved upon, though reasonable and rational people can disagree on what needs improvement. I don't say they are good, merely that they are better than what you have your side of the pond.

And is spying still spying if it's consented to? You were the one advocating that people are capable of fully informed decision making without need for government oversight. I, like ucim, would argue that sometimes the weak need protecting from the strong - which includes people self-harming through unwise consent.

Since the wealthy control businesses and politicians, they have disproportionate say over what happens with our legislation. Without government, they would have even more say in the rules, and ucim would be creating an environment where there would be no government oversight.

As far as I know, ucim is not for 'no government', he is for 'more capable government' (or more informed voters, which under a democracy is the same thing), so ucim would be creating no such environment.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:41 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Thesh wrote:Could you at least make an effort to spell my name correctly?

Are you just trolling? I've replied to many of your posts with the correct spelling. Obviously it was a typo.


You misspelled it twice in a row, and I've let it slide when you've misspelled it in the past. After a while, it gets annoying.

elasto wrote:Why are you so black and white? Obviously the current regulations can be improved upon, though reasonable and rational people can disagree on what needs improvement. I don't say they are good, merely that they are better than what you have your side of the pond.


My point is that I should have a fucking choice in the matter. Just saying "well, spying can be good for consumers" and "there are regulations" is a load of bullshit. The reality of the situation is that consumers do not get to make those decisions for themselves. That's the problem. I don't want other people deciding how much I "value" privacy.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:49 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:You misspelled it twice in a row, and I've let it slide when you've misspelled it in the past. After a while, it gets annoying.

Apologies then.

But chill, man! You're using a lot of emotive and aggressive language in this thread, and, for what? It's not like anything we say here will change anything. We're just shooting the sh*t. Let's keep it light! :)

My point is that I should have a fucking choice in the matter. Just saying "well, spying can be good for consumers" and "there are regulations" is a load of bullshit. The reality of the situation is that consumers do not get to make those decisions for themselves. That's the problem. I don't want other people deciding how much I "value" privacy.

You do have a choice in the matter. Get a smartphone and turn off all the features you don't like. Use DuckDuckGo instead of Google etc. It's not that hard.

And everyone else has the same choice you do. People don't make that choice because phones and apps being smarter is just damn convenient though, and to be smarter it needs more information - both on you and on people in aggregate.

And I really don't get how your brand of libertarianism would give you better control over your privacy than now. Right now at least there is some level of government-enforced limitation on what companies can get away with. If there was no government regulation, by definition companies would be free to take more liberties.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:57 pm UTC

elasto wrote:And I really don't get how your brand of libertarianism would give you better control over your privacy than now. Right now at least there is some level of government-enforced limitation on what companies can get away with. If there was no government regulation, by definition companies would be free to take more liberties.


"What companies can get away with" is only a problem with private property ownership. The point of libertarian socialism is that the customers and workers have control over the business and decide for themselves what they want.

Why am I hostile? Because it's annoying when people like you just dismiss ideas as unworkable when you obviously haven't put any thought into them. You look for the first way that it can't work, and dismiss it. You've basically made the same arguments for why workers collective bargaining won't solve the problems with poor working conditions - because people can't make decisions in their own interests, only authoritarian leaders.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:25 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:"What companies can get away with" is only a problem with private property ownership. The point of libertarian socialism is that the customers and workers have control over the business and decide for themselves what they want.

And what if they decide they want spying? I have given one example of how I personally find it useful, and I could give many more. In general, people seem to be pretty happy with it, so why would that change under libertarian socialism? Personally I think it would only get worse under libertarian socialism or libertarian capitalism.

Why am I hostile? Because it's annoying when people like you just dismiss ideas as unworkable when you obviously haven't put any thought into them.

It's also arrogant to dismiss any criticisms as 'you obviously haven't put any thought into it because if you had you would obviously have come to the same conclusions I have'.

There are people on this board with much more education than you or I, or with much more life experience than you or I, and I for one approach arguments from the viewpoint of 'what can I learn from this person?' - regardless of whether I agree with them or not.

I assure you, I listen to your position with just an open a mind as I listen to anyone else. Heck, I advocate some pretty far-out-there policies too, such as universal housing, income, healthcare, legal aid etc. But I am honest enough with myself to realise all the ways such policies are currently unworkable.

If I criticise your ideas, be assured that I am just as critical of my own. I guess that's the scientific mindset in me: A good scientist works tirelessly to break their own current best theory.

You've basically made the same arguments for why workers collective bargaining won't solve the problems with poor working conditions - because people can't make decisions in their own interests, only authoritarian leaders.

You must have confused me with someone else. I am an advocate for stronger unionisation in the workplace, not less. However, that still requires a strong leader - just a union leader rather than someone in government. Unless you think that workers can collectively bargain on an individual basis?

Sure, it's obvious the ways that government regulation can go wrong. But it's fairly easy to see how self-organised regulation can go wrong too. That's why personally I am in favour of both, so that each can go some way to mitigate the failings of the other.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:44 pm UTC

elasto wrote:And what if they decide they want spying? I have given one example of how I personally find it useful, and I could give many more.


The only question that matters is whether they would agree to the lack of privacy we have today.

elasto wrote:It's also arrogant to dismiss any criticisms as 'you obviously haven't put any thought into it because if you had you would obviously have come to the same conclusions I have'.


I'm dismissing criticisms because your arguments are completely substanceless, assuming that not only will people just do things in the stupid way that makes your point, but fails to provide any libertarian alternative, and just basically says "Oh well, government is the only solution".
elasto wrote:I assure you, I listen to your position with just an open a mind as I listen to anyone else.


I don't doubt it. I mean, even when I proposed how anarcho capitalism could work, it was dismissed as being not things that are part of their idea of how libertarianism could work. That's how rationalization works, and you are doing the same thing.

elasto wrote:If I criticise your ideas, be assured that I am just as critical of my own. I guess that's the scientific mindset in me: A good scientist works tirelessly to break their own current best theory.


LMAO. You are presented with brand new ideas that you have never come across before, and you just assume it will not work, and rationalize why all my criticisms of capitalism are invalid. Rationalization is just allowing your cognitive biases to take over. The problem is that you haven't studied stateless systems. Your only frame of reference is the system we have now. It takes a lot more than just a two second look at an idea to understand a completely different system from the one you lived your whole life, especially when it was spent consuming propaganda explaining why it was the best. Your "criticism" amounts to nothing more than saying "I don't know how this would work, so I assume it can't".

It takes a lot more than just "here's a brand new idea, so let me figure out why it won't it work".

elasto wrote:You must have confused me with someone else. I am an advocate for stronger unionisation in the workplace, not less. However, that still requires a strong leader - just a union leader rather than someone in government. Unless you think that workers can collectively bargain on an individual basis?


Large unions are necessary to counter large corporations; they are not a good way to run things, but allow workers to get a lot more for themselves by using their power. I'm arguing that consumers should have the same power. The point of libertarianism is that only the people affected by the decisions are involved in the decision making process. Every grocery store can be independently owned, with just those customers and just those workers bargaining. Most of the problems in our economy come from people trying to increase their money without working and economic rent comes at the expense of both workers and consumers.

As inequality grow, the people with the most power become more and more in conflict with the people that have the least power. When it's just the workers and consumers negotiating together, then there are a lot fewer conflicts of interests - workers don't give a shit what they sell, only how much they get paid. Consumers don't give a shit about working conditions, just price and quality. The more they have to deal with each other, the more empathetic and understanding they will be, and the more willing they are to work together.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby sardia » Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:36 pm UTC

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.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:24 pm UTC

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.

ucim wrote:
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.

Thesh wrote:
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.

Thesh wrote:
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.

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Thesh
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:52 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It's not anti-democracy. It's just accepting that people really, really hate tedium.


And again, as I said, this is the whole fucking point I was making. Libertarians are absolutely unwilling to actually do anything but dismiss other ideas. So you ignore where I explain how it would be done without being tedious, and you just fucking ignore it. Your core assumption is that people are too stupid to recognize that voting on every little thing is tedious, and so they will simply walk away instead of just not holding votes on every little thing. Again, everything is just about assuming that the businessman is smarter and better than regular people.

And it's not just this. You dismiss the point I was making about spying by saying "people buy ad-supported stuff" without a single hesitation, as if that has anything to do with it. I talk about consumers taking responsibility, and you just say "well, you can't leave it up to the markets to handle fraud" - no shit, I didn't say anything about consumers being responsible for fraud; it's just that it puts workers off the hook for negligence. You also decide to play stupid word games that clearly show you don't know what a state is.

Like, you have an extremely narrow perspective of the economy. The idea of people working together in their own best interest is alien to you - the assumption is that people are selfish, and only work in their own interest, which is again just another rationalization that clashes with reality. You argue that profits are a good thing because it creates incentives, but you ignore that profits in and of themselves are negative, and just assume that the goods outweigh the bad.

Profits are a negative to consumers, a negative to workers, and a positive to the artificial entity we call the business, and all of your economic theory then revolves around rationalizing why we should prefer that artificial entity over the workers and consumers. The consequence of this is that you look at everything from the perspective of what's good for the businessman, purely on the assumption that if they get more money then they are going to spend it wisely, but if it goes to poor people they are just going to squander it.

Because your entire concept of economics revolves around the businessman, you have absolutely no way to even contemplate how an economy without an investor class could even function. So what do you assume? Well, that it just won't function. Well, I hate to break it to you, but your theories fail to actually explain the last forty years under capitalism, but I'm sure you have a bunch of excuses for why that's actually the government's fault.
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