Tyndmyr wrote:If one person owned literally all wealth, then yes, you would no longer have choice, and people would only be as free to choose as that individual is benevolent. Given the track record of one person having ultimate power, this seems to be a poor bet. Fortunately, this is not the case.
If one fraction of the populace owns all the wealth, are not the remaining populace their slaves collectively? If your only choice is which slave master to serve, but you are required to serve one of them or another or else, is that really not slavery?
One entity is not the same as even a few entities. The former is a monopoly, and the latter provides competition(assuming we avoid collusion, etc).
Also, you're not required to work for anyone at all. You can start your own business if you wish. It's desirable that we reduce obstacles to that, of course, but even now, you can, and a decent percentage of people do.
Additionally, rich people do not own all property. They own a significantly greater than proportionate share, but definitely not all. It is still entirely normal for individuals in many countries to own their own homes or small businesses. Yeah, practical limits exist on how much you can reasonably own, but we are definitely not in a scenario close to slavery in most countries.
One could make a case for say, Quatar, though. It's a good deal closer than the US is. Quatar is not much like a libertarian state, though.
Tyndmyr wrote:We measure wealth in money. Do I need a citation for that as well?
Your argument was it resulted in less wealth. Saying that we spent more money on something doesn't imply that we have less wealth.
The exact effect on wealth depends on what you get in return. Spending money on health care is often a net gain.
However, spending more on health care for the same effect is a comparative loss.
Thesh wrote:You ignored the rest of my question. At what point do we go from everyone except for the one person who owns wealth being a slave to no one being a slave?
It's a standard monopoly issue. If one entity monopolizes the labor market, they will cause that market to become unfree. The labor market works no differently than any others.
As a general rule of thumb, three entities that are competing will suffice to make a market properly competitive. A lot of large markets are dominated by three large generalist companies, along with a variable number of specialists. Exceptions exist. If one of the largest generalists grows too large, that may be a warning sign that they're shoving one of the other entities out, and may be attempting to gain a monopoly. Large mergers between the top entities can also reduce competition as the number of entities with a meaningful share of the market decreases.
It's always the case that a tiny minority of the population will control a market, regardless of if that market is soda, or cars, or aircraft. Nevertheless, there is a huge practical difference between one person attaining a monopoly, and competition between a handful of players.
The above is all standard economics, and is not specific to libertarianism.
gmalivuk wrote: Tyndmyr wrote:↶
We measure wealth in money. Do I need a citation for that as well?
The question of if the gains in terms of equality, etc are worth the cost, sure...that's a standard argument, and the answer will vary depending on your values and the specific safety net in question, but the fact that safety nets require a good deal of wealth, and contain an economic flaw that will increase that drain at least somewhat is pretty basic.
The fact that wealth is not zero-sum is also, I should think, pretty basic, and yet here you are pretending that returns on investment are only possible for corporations.
This is a blatant misrepresentation of my comments in this thread. I invite you to reread them and note the many other explicit examples, and we can perhaps discuss my actual words.
Pfhorrest wrote:I was editing this into my previous post but I've been ninja'd meanwhile...
on the topic of enthusiastic consent vs coercion: you understand that coercion is not only on threat of violence, right? Like, a guy tells a girl he'll spread some horrible humor about her around their college if she doesn't sleep with him, and she believes him and is afraid of that consequence, so she does it, that's coercion. (That's basically blackmail, which we already brought up earlier). Or, a guy sees a homeless woman starving on the street and suggests that he can toss her some food money if she... y'know... [gestures].... That's coercion too
Spreading lies is, of course, libel/slander. That definitely constitutes coercion. Libel and slander are already illegal/immoral, so threatening to do them without recompense is not terribly different from the example of "I won't give your kids back unless paid".
The latter is more interesting. Is it wrong to offer people jobs because they are poor and starving? Would the same standard be applied if it wasn't sex work? Let's take your assumption that it's not, and it's possible to generalize to all work. Is a person doing wrong by offering employment of any kind to the poor? Libertarianism would say no. Yes, their poverty may limit their options, but unless you've created that poverty, you're not morally responsible for that. You're merely increasing their number of options by one. If you had walked by and not made a job offer, that person would not be better off.
It's not limited to the starving, either. Perhaps someone could offer a person a million dollars to drive a car they think is ugly and wouldn't otherwise drive. Sure, almost everyone will accept that offer. That doesn't make it forced. It's just sufficiently weighted that the most advantageous decision is obvious.
Pfhorrest wrote: it's that the fact that people are in this hopeless position where they have no choice but to turn over their bodies for other people to do what they like to in order to survive is an unjust prior circumstance, so the justice of the individual transactions following from that circumstance is kind of irrelevant.
Why should we assume that the position of someone in poverty is necessarily unjust? It might be just or unjust, and in any case, it is unlikely to be caused by the individual now offering them employment. Sure, if it is, then that person is just using garden variety force, and no conflict exists. But if it's not caused by that individual, and even if it is unjust, why is it only moral to offer employment to those who are not victims of circumstance? Surely a policy of only employing those who have never been victimized would only victimize people further.
Pfhorrest wrote:Basically, agreements between vastly unequal parties are not really freely made. Freedom demands equality. You cannot actually be free without being equal enough not to be dependent on those who you're supposedly free from. Dependency is contrary to freedom.
If that is the case, can any person meaningfully agree with government?
Tyndmyr wrote:Consent is binary. Either you give it or you don't.
Coersion isn't binary. It occurs by degree. Consent can be given freely, grudgingly, or helplessly. That is the continuum under which it occurs. See again "your money or your life".
Under a libertarian viewpoint, that is simply interpreted as "not consent", and the resulting exchange of money is considered theft. What gain is there to be had by considering it differently?
Tyndmyr wrote:I'm all for trying out ideas to try to better humanity, but I think our government should be based on the sort of humanity we have now, and allow the possibility for change, rather than being reliant upon it.
This is why I favor (restrained) capitalism over socialism. But in that case, greed (normally a vice) provides fuel for the economy that would otherwise be absent. It still needs steering, and I acknowledge that. But in the case of libertarianism, I don't see an equivalent benefit. It seems to me more like a codified version of heartlessness. It's touted to increase "freedom", but I don't think that it actually does this. There are a few good points about libertarianism, but as a social and legal framework, I think it misses something vital, and I'm not sure how to add that back in.
Looking over the history of government, the institution of laws or power structures that could be abused, but which society depended on humanity's better nature to not abuse them....it's rough. Abuse happens a lot when you rely on people to simply do the right thing.
Codification from a pessimistic viewpoint appears to be essential, or else someone will eventually abuse power for their own ends. Sure, people can be better, sometimes, but not everyone is, and those who seek power are often the sort to abuse it. Many people didn't think Trump could become president, but now that he is, existing checks and balances on executive power are appreciated by many. Hell, a lot of people wish we had more of them. One doesn't need cynical safeguards for the good men, one needs it for the bad.
Thesh wrote:Slavery: a system in which people in power limit opportunity for others for the sake of personal gain.
This is true of slavery, but one could use the same definition for nearly any power structure. Therefore, this seems to be a very vague definition of slavery. Not all power struggles are slavery, slavery is a term for one of the worst possible outcomes of loss of power.
Indentured servitude is historically distinguished by enforcement via state violence. In this regard, it differs from regular labor. The "paying in advance" is not a problem, and is merely a normal debt. The state use of violence to compel work is a problem.
As an aside to whoever asked the room and board question. That's actually fine with me. Happened in the old west sometimes. Nobody has money, so they exchange services. You work some amount in return for room and board. In a world with fiat money, barter is a lot less practical nowadays, but it's not morally wrong.