A small, specific question about libertarianism

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
sam_i_am
Posts: 624
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:38 pm UTC
Location: Urbana, Illinois, USA

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:09 pm UTC

capefeather wrote:
sam_i_am wrote:Unless you want a full blown communist system


Why is it that whenever anyone brings up any kind of wealth redistribution, it's automatically communist? Are we really doing this? Really? The whole point of my silly example was that the person with the serum loses nothing by giving it away. There's literally no reason not to do it, other than some worry that I will somehow not strive for productive goals just because someone gave me the means to become the Hulk or whatever I happened to want.

Distribution of work for a team project works in much the same way. People are assigned jobs that they are good at to cover the deficiencies of others, who, consequently, are assigned jobs that THEY are good at. You don't get an effective project by judging people for their deficiencies and firing people who may have simply been mistakenly assigned. That is what I'm going for in the end: a society that embraces understanding and solutions that benefit more people, not the kind of ham-fisted judgmental systems that people try to pass off as "meritocracy".

This does not translate to "I want to force everyone to have the same wealth". I value the benefits of competition, and measures commonly supported by libertarianism are often good for society. Hell, I'm not even adverse to the idea, in itself, of drastically modifying how the government handles social programs. However, sometimes people just can't "play the game" for whatever reason, and sometimes people are in a position to fix what they can. Each person just does what he/she can to improve society bit by bit. There is no endgame, just constant improvement as people realize what society needs is neither naive freedom nor over-cynical regulation, but just something a bit better than what was before.

And btw, by "what they can" I include willpower as a (set of) finite resource(s) that people do or do not have enough of even if they do have the other resources. I think most people can afford to donate to charities but they just don't have the appropriate willpower. Such is the fickleness of human will.



My full sentence was

Unless you want a full blown communist system, It must always be harder to be poor than to be rich. If it's not, then Nobody really has too much of a motivation to succeed. Yes, there is a lot of luck involved, but in a world without chance, you can hardly have any freedom.


Your post is fairly hard to argue with without making doing a meta-discussion. On one hand, You act offended at the notion that it is somehow communist to redistribute wealth, and then you turn around and say that you're not quite for full redistribution of wealth anyway.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby morriswalters » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:07 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Again, you're using the word "debt" to describe something that isn't acting like a debt at all. If it isn't something you need to repay, the word "debt" should not be used.
Let's see if I can phrase it more to please you.

From the Wikipedia.
A debt is created when a creditor agrees to lend a sum of assets to a debtor. Debt is usually granted with expected repayment; in modern society, in most cases, this includes repayment of the original sum, plus interest.[1
When your are born in this society you borrow something even though you didn't so intend, or know that you did. This was the inherent value of all the work done before you to make things the ways they are. The capital from which the loan was made to you belongs to the society of the regime that you were born into. You pay the debt and it's interest by maintaining society for the next generation. If you had to return the total value of debt that you incur you would go broke. What you do instead is to return to the society what it loaned you plus the value that you added. Here is how to interpret what I mean. How much would it cost the average citizen of Afghanistan to live the way we live in the US? What expenditures would he have to make? Even the wealthiest could never live within the borders of that country with the security and freedom you would have if you lived in the US for example.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7591
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:07 pm UTC

Yeah, game theory entirely answers most of these sorts of social things.

Hmm, I'd say that's the wrong way round. Game theory has enormous trouble incorporating such social things in its frameworks. That's why it's ironically highly useful for evolution theory, and not so much for the human situations it was supposed to model. It describes problems, but rarely the real-world solutions. When I make too much noise, my neighbour doesn't play tit-for-that-with-forgiveness. Only jackasses would. I don't push people in the train even when nobody there knows me.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:28 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Again, you're using the word "debt" to describe something that isn't acting like a debt at all. If it isn't something you need to repay, the word "debt" should not be used.
Let's see if I can phrase it more to please you.

From the Wikipedia.
A debt is created when a creditor agrees to lend a sum of assets to a debtor. Debt is usually granted with expected repayment; in modern society, in most cases, this includes repayment of the original sum, plus interest.[1
When your are born in this society you borrow something even though you didn't so intend, or know that you did. This was the inherent value of all the work done before you to make things the ways they are. The capital from which the loan was made to you belongs to the society of the regime that you were born into. You pay the debt and it's interest by maintaining society for the next generation. If you had to return the total value of debt that you incur you would go broke. What you do instead is to return to the society what it loaned you plus the value that you added. Here is how to interpret what I mean. How much would it cost the average citizen of Afghanistan to live the way we live in the US? What expenditures would he have to make? Even the wealthiest could never live within the borders of that country with the security and freedom you would have if you lived in the US for example.


When I was born, did I agree to borrow anything? I'm pretty sure that no such agreement took place, nor was I even capable of making such an agreement at the time. I'm pretty sure the work done before me to make things the way they are would have been done regardless of if I'd been born or not. This really seems not like a debt at all. After all, most of the people who built the society in which I live are entirely ignorant of my existence. There can not have ever been any form of agreement between us as to a debt.

"maintaining society for the next generation" is remarkably non specific, too. If a person is born in Afghanistan, and moves to the US, does he still owe a debt to Afghanistan? If not, why? How much repayment is enough? How do you even measure such a thing?

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7591
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:49 pm UTC

Perhaps another way to look at it, instead of questioning whether there is some metaphysical debt: is it useful to base our social expectations of each other as if we owe the people around us more than we explicitly agreed on?

Again, you seem completely comfortable with that idea in general. I never agreed to keep people alive, even when they are crossing the street in front my car and I could save valuable time, or when I have a knife and they a fat wallet.

I bet that you think that I have an obligation to stay peaceful in such situations, even when I can get away with it. That doesn't mean you have to agree with any such obligation that people suggest, but you can hardly protest against the general idea of such unagreed obligations.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:10 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Perhaps another way to look at it, instead of questioning whether there is some metaphysical debt: is it useful to base our social expectations of each other as if we owe the people around us more than we explicitly agreed on?

Again, you seem completely comfortable with that idea in general. I never agreed to keep people alive, even when they are crossing the street in front my car and I could save valuable time, or when I have a knife and they a fat wallet.

I bet that you think that I have an obligation to stay peaceful in such situations, even when I can get away with it. That doesn't mean you have to agree with any such obligation that people suggest, but you can hardly protest against the general idea of such unagreed obligations.


Such a situation is entirely fair, and while it isn't explicit agreement for each and every individual, these examples all involve pretty obvious actual harm/use of force. If you initiate force on others, eventually, someone will initiate force on you, since it's the only real recourse. Therefore, essentially every functional society attempts to reduce the reliance on force.

Mutual agreement is what we usually accept as something vastly, vastly better.

Long story shot: Agreeing to not kill people is pretty wildly different than agreeing to pay for a stranger's lifestyle because he'd rather not work.

fifiste
Posts: 217
Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 11:48 am UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby fifiste » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:14 pm UTC

To Zamfirs last post. Just wanted to compliiment, that was eloquent.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby morriswalters » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:40 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:When I was born, did I agree to borrow anything? I'm pretty sure that no such agreement took place, nor was I even capable of making such an agreement at the time. I'm pretty sure the work done before me to make things the way they are would have been done regardless of if I'd been born or not. This really seems not like a debt at all. After all, most of the people who built the society in which I live are entirely ignorant of my existence. There can not have ever been any form of agreement between us as to a debt.

"maintaining society for the next generation" is remarkably non specific, too. If a person is born in Afghanistan, and moves to the US, does he still owe a debt to Afghanistan? If not, why? How much repayment is enough? How do you even measure such a thing?
Absolutely, they would have done it, and your quite right, nobody asked you. So? What is it that the current generation does? I give you the simple answer, grow old and die. The only thing that lasts is society. There is nothing particularly special about this. And even the society will grow old and die. I know people don't like this but we aren't special. We are part of a larger organism, or actually several. As meaningful as your life may be to you, in the grand scheme of things you are nothing more than a cell in a body. And nobody has to ask you if you wanted to take the loan. The only way to escape it is to leave. You owe the society that you live in, while you live in it. Immigrants tend not to take this so lightly as those of us who have lived in our society all of our lives. They know what it means to be part of a poorer organism that can't supply them with what this organism does. As such they tend to be hyper about it. Shout out to Ayn Rand. One of the things that I don't like about excessive wealth is that it allows you in some simple ways to break the rules. You cheat the bank, so to speak.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:48 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Absolutely, they would have done it, and your quite right, nobody asked you. So? What is it that the current generation does? I give you the simple answer, grow old and die. The only thing that lasts is society. There is nothing particularly special about this. And even the society will grow old and die. I know people don't like this but we aren't special. We are part of a larger organism, or actually several. As meaningful as your life may be to you, in the grand scheme of things you are nothing more than a cell in a body. And nobody has to ask you if you wanted to take the loan. The only way to escape it is to leave. You owe the society that you live in, while you live in it. Immigrants tend not to take this so lightly as those of us who have lived in our society all of our lives. They know what it means to be part of a poorer organism that can't supply them with what this organism does. As such they tend to be hyper about it. Shout out to Ayn Rand. One of the things that I don't like about excessive wealth is that it allows you in some simple ways to break the rules. You cheat the bank, so to speak.


The analogy of the individual to the cell is one I've heard before, and breaks down pretty rapidly when you consider that "leave and join another one" is an option. Cells don't decide things like that.

And "in the grand scheme of things", we're all nothing but bits of carbon on a backwater world doomed to eventual death. However, that is not particularly helpful in informing us on the best schema of government.

If this debt only applies while living here, what sort of debt is that? You mean I can grow up in the US, opt to leave to somewhere else, and owe the US nothing? Why? Again...this concept you're applying is nothing at all like a debt. It's more of an obligation to society, and what that obligation is, is unclear at best.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby morriswalters » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:22 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If this debt only applies while living here, what sort of debt is that? You mean I can grow up in the US, opt to leave to somewhere else, and owe the US nothing? Why? Again...this concept you're applying is nothing at all like a debt. It's more of an obligation to society, and what that obligation is, is unclear at best.
We'll maybe your a deadbeat, or maybe society can afford to write off your obligation because in the scheme of things it disappears into the bookkeeping. Are you suggesting that every loan made is repaid? All you have to do is show a profit.

However, I have another tact to take. Lets make it every man for himself. Pay as you go for everything. This is the true libertarian ideal, isn't it. I know that you say it is not part of your personal credo. But let us start there and subtract. Let us take roads. Roads in some form or another have existed since the founding. We each use those roads. They were there before either of us were born. But to keep it simple lets say that all paved roads created since 1900 till today. What is your share of the costs for those roads? Lets tally it up. Acquire the land and pave them. Maintain them, expand them. Connect them to other roads into a network. Keep maintaining them. Introduce and maintain the signage and maps. Create law to regulate them.

Now you are born and grow up and get your license. Time to pay. What is your cost of the road network and its accoutrements that came into existence before you started to drive. It's not the current cost of maintaining the road daily but your share of all the costs of the whole network that you may end up driving on. Your debt in this case is to repay the expenditures which were made up to the point where you started to participate so that those funds may be returned to all the people who paid to keep those roads going until you were ready to use them. And your share of the cost of building new ones until the next generation starts to rebate your costs as they use them. That would be the total cost for the number of people who use them at any point while they exist. Why would anyone have to subsidize your driving? The cost should be spread across the whole body of people who have used them or will use them. No road you can drive on today or by which the commerce of the US moves, could exist without all the intervening roads and everything it took to create them and maintain them. Calculate that.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:38 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:However, I have another tact to take. Lets make it every man for himself. Pay as you go for everything. This is the true libertarian ideal, isn't it. I know that you say it is not part of your personal credo. But let us start there and subtract. Let us take roads. Roads in some form or another have existed since the founding. We each use those roads. They were there before either of us were born. But to keep it simple lets say that all paved roads created since 1900 till today. What is your share of the costs for those roads? Lets tally it up. Acquire the land and pave them. Maintain them, expand them. Connect them to other roads into a network. Keep maintaining them. Introduce and maintain the signage and maps. Create law to regulate them.


The example of roads has already been covered as not something a significant amount of libertarians support. So, there's no need to hash over this particular poor example again.

Now you are born and grow up and get your license. Time to pay. What is your cost of the road network and its accoutrements that came into existence before you started to drive. It's not the current cost of maintaining the road daily but your share of all the costs of the whole network that you may end up driving on. Your debt in this case is to repay the expenditures which were made up to the point where you started to participate so that those funds may be returned to all the people who paid to keep those roads going until you were ready to use them. And your share of the cost of building new ones until the next generation starts to rebate your costs as they use them. That would be the total cost for the number of people who use them at any point while they exist. Why would anyone have to subsidize your driving? The cost should be spread across the whole body of people who have used them or will use them. No road you can drive on today or by which the commerce of the US moves, could exist without all the intervening roads and everything it took to create them and maintain them. Calculate that.


You offer me no particular libertarian option. The idea that I must buy into the existing system because I happened to be born under the existing system, and it is dependent upon me sounds...not really different from say, an argument for slavery.

Realistically, there is no choice, and every subsidy depends on the lack of choice. If I could have opted out of SS benefits and payments altogether, I would have. If I could opt out now, abandoning every cent I've paid in, I still would. This choice is not one that has been given to me. Arguing that I am "indebted" to the current system because of options I am forced to take, and that, thus, we should not change, is one that could apply to literally ANY system in which participation is forced.

However, I doubt you would say that all coerced systems are actually beneficial or just ones.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby morriswalters » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:02 pm UTC

I really posted that example for humors sake more then in any belief that you would take it seriously, since I know you have disavowed it. And if was up to me I would let you off the hook for SS. It makes no difference. Social Security is doomed as we know it, and am sorry that it's taking your money. It's a good idea, like Libertarianism. And it will fail for similar reasons. Because people are involved. Maybe if the post scarcity society they like to fantasize came about the outcome might be different. But I don't believe in that either. The only reason it is worth arguing about is to see if there are any ideas worth taking from it. Robert Heinlein was an advocate for it and proposed a Lunar Society based on it. And in his story it failed, for the same reason Democracy is failing now. It can't be held constant, and somebody always thinks they have a better way. Actually living in any society is much like slavery. Although no more so than any other thing that force obligations on you that you don't wish to keep.

User avatar
lutzj
Posts: 898
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:20 am UTC
Location: Ontario

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby lutzj » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:13 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Now you are born and grow up and get your license. Time to pay. What is your cost of the road network and its accoutrements that came into existence before you started to drive. It's not the current cost of maintaining the road daily but your share of all the costs of the whole network that you may end up driving on. Your debt in this case is to repay the expenditures which were made up to the point where you started to participate so that those funds may be returned to all the people who paid to keep those roads going until you were ready to use them. And your share of the cost of building new ones until the next generation starts to rebate your costs as they use them. That would be the total cost for the number of people who use them at any point while they exist. Why would anyone have to subsidize your driving? The cost should be spread across the whole body of people who have used them or will use them. No road you can drive on today or by which the commerce of the US moves, could exist without all the intervening roads and everything it took to create them and maintain them. Calculate that.


If it seems juster (but, more importantly, more practical) to spread the costs of building a road network across the entire life of that network, municipal bonds are used for that purpose all the time. They still should only be supported by use taxes like gas surcharges and tolls.
addams wrote:I'm not a bot.
That is what a bot would type.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:27 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I really posted that example for humors sake more then in any belief that you would take it seriously, since I know you have disavowed it.


Ah, gotcha. I frequently have trouble telling the difference between humorous arguments and actual ones in politics, for some reason. I guess one person's joke is another's proposal.

And if was up to me I would let you off the hook for SS. It makes no difference. Social Security is doomed as we know it, and am sorry that it's taking your money. It's a good idea, like Libertarianism. And it will fail for similar reasons. Because people are involved. Maybe if the post scarcity society they like to fantasize came about the outcome might be different. But I don't believe in that either. The only reason it is worth arguing about is to see if there are any ideas worth taking from it. Robert Heinlein was an advocate for it and proposed a Lunar Society based on it. And in his story it failed, for the same reason Democracy is failing now. It can't be held constant, and somebody always thinks they have a better way. Actually living in any society is much like slavery. Although no more so than any other thing that force obligations on you that you don't wish to keep.


Post scarcity sounds lovely. But, of course, there's the issue of getting there. I suspect that while we can make specific things pretty non-scarce(food is cheaper and more available now, and likely to become more so)...we'll probably never get to the point of making everything effectively free. There's always going to be things that some people want that are limited in supply. Say...living next door to a specific celebrity. I can't conceive of a reasonably way to make that a non-scarce thing.

Social Security has a more immediate problem, I fear. It was based on some demographic assumptions that were not at all constant. Plus, it relied on the next generation paying for the current. Had it not had that flaw, the demographic assumptions would not have been such a major concern. I'll grant that people are all flawed, but the systems they build vary greatly in levels of flawed. A libertarian system likely wouldn't be perfect either...but I'm satisfied with getting better.

User avatar
sam_i_am
Posts: 624
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:38 pm UTC
Location: Urbana, Illinois, USA

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:27 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I really posted that example for humors sake more then in any belief that you would take it seriously, since I know you have disavowed it. And if was up to me I would let you off the hook for SS. It makes no difference. Social Security is doomed as we know it, and am sorry that it's taking your money. It's a good idea, like Libertarianism. And it will fail for similar reasons. Because people are involved. Maybe if the post scarcity society they like to fantasize came about the outcome might be different. But I don't believe in that either. The only reason it is worth arguing about is to see if there are any ideas worth taking from it. Robert Heinlein was an advocate for it and proposed a Lunar Society based on it. And in his story it failed, for the same reason Democracy is failing now. It can't be held constant, and somebody always thinks they have a better way. Actually living in any society is much like slavery. Although no more so than any other thing that force obligations on you that you don't wish to keep.


So, you like to talk about "Libertarianism" as though it were in it's most extreme form. Let me try



Conservatism will fail completely because it will be as though we were in the stone age

It is impossible to know whether or not Liberalism will fail because absolutely everything will be completely different

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby morriswalters » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:53 pm UTC

Oh, I don't believe in those forms anymore than I believe in Libertarianism. They are failing as well. It doesn't mean anything to be a liberal anymore. But if you think you can change things you should at least try. I'll give you a sample. You want to fix Medicare, start by doubling the premium for it tomorrow. Let Medicare dicker for drugs. Social Security, change the retirement age now, by five years. You want to solve the infrastructure problems that we are facing, put tolls on all highways. Cut the Military in half. And here is a really unpopular one. Freeze the purchases of newly developed medical gear for 5 years. And don't let congress re-purpose any funding, ever. I have several more. They will save money and they will never happen unless there is no other choice.

capefeather
Posts: 98
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 4:23 am UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby capefeather » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:43 am UTC

Erm, we don't currently feel we are in the best possible era, nor do we believe we know everything. That's kind of why we are funding science, because while we don;t know everything, we want to.


You wouldn't know it by what people talk about when discussing politics <.<

Your post is fairly hard to argue with without making doing a meta-discussion. On one hand, You act offended at the notion that it is somehow communist to redistribute wealth, and then you turn around and say that you're not quite for full redistribution of wealth anyway.


That's because this was never about communism or making everything equal. True equality is impractical; I believe I've conceded that multiple times now. Plus I have read Harrison Bergeron, thanks for asking. That's actually why I never even went for equality. Life is harder for some people than for others, and this will always be the case. I get that. However, there is a difference between "hard" and "unfair"; we can distinguish a tough call from a dick move. And when we are talking about dick moves, does it really matter whether it's happening to a minority of people, if we could make that minority smaller?

All I was, and am, asking for is for us to stop with this all-or-nothing deal with these arguments. There are middle grounds between liberty and equality. I suspect that some people are losing sight of that when trying to explain their viewpoints. I'm also pretty sure that when people like Zamfir pick at the arguments the way they do, ultimately this is what they're trying to get at as well. The whole semantic side argument about debt is especially embarrassing...

I generally think that society's rules should be in line with human psychology or it's not going to "work". At the very least it makes more sense to me to go by how people work (thereby utilizing motivation effectively) than by rationalizing some hypothetical situation that may or may not be relevant. Without our psychology, what is there? If there are two people in the world and they disagree on some statement, who's to say which one is correct? That is why I think agreement is important, because without it, everything really is just arbitrary. A tree falls in the forest, but no one's around to hear it... It's not something profound, it's just a little thing called clear communication.

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby leady » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:50 am UTC

.... the roads....


If there is any government supplied service that can conceptually easily be broken into its constituent parts and sold or rented in the private sector its roads - hell they were generally private and examples still exist in the real modern world. You also practically list out the component costs in the post :)

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby leady » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:20 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:Oh, I don't believe in those forms anymore than I believe in Libertarianism. They are failing as well. It doesn't mean anything to be a liberal anymore. But if you think you can change things you should at least try. I'll give you a sample. You want to fix Medicare, start by doubling the premium for it tomorrow. Let Medicare dicker for drugs. Social Security, change the retirement age now, by five years. You want to solve the infrastructure problems that we are facing, put tolls on all highways. Cut the Military in half. And here is a really unpopular one. Freeze the purchases of newly developed medical gear for 5 years. And don't let congress re-purpose any funding, ever. I have several more. They will save money and they will never happen unless there is no other choice.


Herw lies the problem with centralised government, neatly summed up in one simple post :)

doubling medicare = trivial improvements in outcomes (see the NHS over the last 15 years), all that happens is that this becomes the fixed cost and the money is swallowed in the existing cost base (wages etc). Add to that the implications of either the horrific extra debt or crippling taxation and rapidly you realise that the net effect will be net negative.

social security - adding 5 years = get immediately kicked out of office for 20 years for little more that a delay to the problem. The core problem of SS is that its benefits now paid for by the future, without correcting this fundamental flaw you are only delaying a similar outcome.

Tolls on highways = cost of all goods increases by this direct extra cost, which in turn reduces consumption and lowers growth

military cuts - well I think the US could survive a fair amount of these :)

Freeze the purchases of newly developed medical gear for 5 years = explain to the public why you are deliberately killing them = out of office for 20 years


The alternative to all this central control with its inefficiencies and unintended consequences is to slowly wean people off the states teat towards a libertarian style government. However to be clear I don't think this is plausible either given that an appalling percentage of people get some or all their income from the state - we are just going to have a decay spiral in the west whilst we eat ourselves before an unpleasant reset ala greece but without the bailouts.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby morriswalters » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:38 am UTC

I said double the premium, not the program. Currently around 90 dollars a month. Reduces the deficit since we are spending more then we are collecting in premiums.

If you don't start somewhere you'll end nowhere. Again half the problem is the assumptions the program makes about how long people live. If your intent was to fix it then that's where you start.

Tolls on highways could be offset by removing the gas tax, but who cares. If you want roads, be prepared to pay for them or quit driving.

On medical devices. Reality check. If you bought cars the way hospitals and doctors bought medical equipment you would go broke. But then again this private enterprise function can rely on the government to bail them out by footing the bill. And you would be hard pressed to show that the increase in longevity produced by the equipment.

That's right wait for the end game. A very good strategy. Of course people will still be people. Greece will be lucky to come out of the current crisis intact politically intact. Their democracy is fragile. And they already are feeling the instability, with riots and protests. and it has the potential to get worse. As for the US, it will be interesting to see. But we are no more immune to civil unrest than Greece. We've seen it before. And none of this helps Libertarianism one whit. Instability breeds dictatorships, because the same people who want what they want regardless of the cost, will want the instability to end at any cost. But who really knows.

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby leady » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:52 am UTC

That's right wait for the end game. A very good strategy. Of course people will still be people. Greece will be lucky to come out of the current crisis intact politically intact. Their democracy is fragile. And they already are feeling the instability, with riots and protests. and it has the potential to get worse. As for the US, it will be interesting to see. But we are no more immune to civil unrest than Greece. We've seen it before. And none of this helps Libertarianism one whit. Instability breeds dictatorships, because the same people who want what they want regardless of the cost, will want the instability to end at any cost. But who really knows.


I'm open to alternative strategies to prevent the inevitable but I can't think of any given where we find ourselves. However I definitely wouldn't throw more fuel on the fire, I think I'd prefer a heavy crash landing to nose dive into the earth :)

If we accelerate the dependency on state money then the only outcome I can see after the fiscal crunch is one of totalitarianism - the difference between a "bad outcome" to "worst outcome" being a strong arm state that is still nominally democratic whilst bashing rioters and complete descent into one of the isms. I suspect for historical reasons, the UK and the states will follow the former, continental europe, well they have a different history and culture... (my prediction would be to watch Spain and italy - red and black respectively if I had to guess the outcomes)

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:27 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Oh, I don't believe in those forms anymore than I believe in Libertarianism. They are failing as well. It doesn't mean anything to be a liberal anymore. But if you think you can change things you should at least try. I'll give you a sample. You want to fix Medicare, start by doubling the premium for it tomorrow. Let Medicare dicker for drugs. Social Security, change the retirement age now, by five years. You want to solve the infrastructure problems that we are facing, put tolls on all highways. Cut the Military in half. And here is a really unpopular one. Freeze the purchases of newly developed medical gear for 5 years. And don't let congress re-purpose any funding, ever. I have several more. They will save money and they will never happen unless there is no other choice.


If I were elected president today, the absolutely first thing I'd do is chop up the Dept of Homeland Security. TSA and such would be axed outright. Bits like the Coast Guard would get moved back where they came from.

I'd start by allowing people to opt out of SS/Medicare. Don't pay in, don't get benefits out. Doubling premiums would be rather costly to the public that currently uses them.

I would not, however, freeze purchases of newly developed medical gear. Medical R&D is costly, but has some very real long term benefits. R&D is not the place to cut. Even leaving aside the political question of how you could ever sell these changes to the public, these steps have a very painful long term cost associated with them, and I'm all about maximizing long term gains. If there's one thing I'd pour MORE money into, it's R&D. NASA, medical researchers, etc...they provide pure research that acts as a common good that anyone can use without depleting it. The more of that you have, the better.

leady wrote:If there is any government supplied service that can conceptually easily be broken into its constituent parts and sold or rented in the private sector its roads - hell they were generally private and examples still exist in the real modern world. You also practically list out the component costs in the post :)


Purely as a theoretical exercise...I suppose privatization of roads is more easily done today than in the past. Tolls have been automated to a degree where they are significantly less tedious.

That said, I still have objections to privatizing the road network entirely. Don't get me wrong, if someone WANTS to build a private road on their own land, and even charge tolls...go knock yourself out. But the government needs roads to support it's own internal processes, and "can a tank drive on it" is not usually a criteria for private road design.

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby leady » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:46 pm UTC

[quote]
"can a tank drive on it" is not usually a criteria for private road design.
[\quote]

must resist obvious dig at the french and Champs-Élysées.... oops failed :)

One might argue that roads that facilitate repaid military deployment are a bad idea strategically

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:58 pm UTC

leady wrote:
"can a tank drive on it" is not usually a criteria for private road design.
[\quote]

must resist obvious dig at the french and Champs-Élysées.... oops failed :)

One might argue that roads that facilitate repaid military deployment are a bad idea strategically


Possibly. Such a decision, however, would be something I'd leave to military strategists. If they insist that roads are no longer necessary, due to whatever factors, I'd happily revisit the idea of getting government out of the road business. I suspect that this is not currently the case in the US, as my last mil career field was air transportation, and a LOT of our stuff came in by truck. We're a big country, rail is not terribly redundant, and air transport is expensive. Trucks are gonna be important for a while, at least.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby morriswalters » Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:45 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I would not, however, freeze purchases of newly developed medical gear. Medical R&D is costly, but has some very real long term benefits. R&D is not the place to cut. Even leaving aside the political question of how you could ever sell these changes to the public, these steps have a very painful long term cost associated with them, and I'm all about maximizing long term gains. If there's one thing I'd pour MORE money into, it's R&D. NASA, medical researchers, etc...they provide pure research that acts as a common good that anyone can use without depleting it. The more of that you have, the better.
And this is the point of this exercise. What we've been doing is about making people happy, not doing it right. Long terms gains are a smokescreen. Where have most of the increases in longevity come from? It always comes down to the same thing, this is about the primary human trait, which we disguise with various philosophies. We want what makes us happy without being inconvenienced. And that is a pretty poor metric.

By the way in your argument for roads consider that while the interstates in the US where seen as having a possible Military use tanks managed to make it through Wars almost everywhere without needing roads at all. And by definition if a road has to carry commerce it will always work as well for the military. Make the Military pay, why should they be special. However you seem to miss the point. Tolls today shouldn't have to slow down commerce or movement at all, and the only difference in costs should be due to the need to make a profit. And if the Libertarian assumption that private enterprise is more efficient than Government then the overall cost should be less than the taxes that you pay in one way or the other for the roads.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:20 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:And this is the point of this exercise. What we've been doing is about making people happy, not doing it right. Long terms gains are a smokescreen. Where have most of the increases in longevity come from? It always comes down to the same thing, this is about the primary human trait, which we disguise with various philosophies. We want what makes us happy without being inconvenienced. And that is a pretty poor metric.


Not at all. Long term gains, short term gains...these are common trade-offs in a system. For instance, us having a budget that is substantially over receipts is a short term gain, but I doubt anyone would consider it a long term gain.

The other major trade-off is who is benefited.

By the way in your argument for roads consider that while the interstates in the US where seen as having a possible Military use tanks managed to make it through Wars almost everywhere without needing roads at all. And by definition if a road has to carry commerce it will always work as well for the military. Make the Military pay, why should they be special. However you seem to miss the point. Tolls today shouldn't have to slow down commerce or movement at all, and the only difference in costs should be due to the need to make a profit. And if the Libertarian assumption that private enterprise is more efficient than Government then the overall cost should be less than the taxes that you pay in one way or the other for the roads.


Interstates were originally pretty tightly coupled with military uses. They now are dominated by civilian use, true...but if you have the road there for one purpose, you might as well allow commercial traffic on it as well. To do otherwise would result in very poor resource utilization.

However, your point above is incorrect. Tanks in particular are pretty heavy, and not every road is capable of handling them effectively. This is especially true of features like bridges. Yes, you can drive tanks over a muddy field, if you need to, but it'll be at nothing like the speed and efficiency of having them transported properly along a dedicated interstate. You're going to have military-specific requirements, and the importance of rapid military redeployment cannot be overstated.

It's possible that we might be able to do more privatization of roads than we have right now...but we're very unlikely to ever get to a point where it goes entirely private.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby morriswalters » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:19 pm UTC

Tanks don't use roads to travel in any rational sense. In normal transfers they use rail, not roads. You don't drive tanks on roads if your not fighting them and road durability will be unimportant if you do. Single tanks are sometimes moved on heavy lift semi's. They can cross almost any bridge which can carry semi's. The interstate highway system was built in a different era than modern tanks, and while they had an eye on nuclear war when they were built they were never used that way. Trains are always cheaper than roads when you talk weight over distance. I have never believed that we would move to toll roads. My small point was that it's all the same. You'll pay no matter what, It's all about who gets the money.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:43 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Tanks don't use roads to travel in any rational sense. In normal transfers they use rail, not roads. You don't drive tanks on roads if your not fighting them and road durability will be unimportant if you do. Single tanks are sometimes moved on heavy lift semi's. They can cross almost any bridge which can carry semi's. The interstate highway system was built in a different era than modern tanks, and while they had an eye on nuclear war when they were built they were never used that way. Trains are always cheaper than roads when you talk weight over distance. I have never believed that we would move to toll roads. My small point was that it's all the same. You'll pay no matter what, It's all about who gets the money.


All of this applies just fine in peacetime. The primary needs of the military are not determined by peacetime, and rail transit is a lot more vulnerable to disruption in modern warfare than roads. And hey, the aerial ports don't typically even have rail going to them. None of the aerial ports I worked at were served by rail. And yes, C-5s do ship tanks and other armored vehicles...those invariably were shipped by road.

Heavy lift semis are not something roads universally support. We ignore it a lot, because hell, most of us don't drive semi's, but there's actually rather a lot of rules semi drivers need to comply with, roads they're simply not allowed on, etc. You can't reasonably assume that because someone would build a road to support commuter traffic, that same road would automatically support heavily loaded semis.

It turns out that we've never had to deal with an invasion, or nuclear war. This is just dandy...but we shouldn't entirely ignore such things. Road networks are pretty critical for internal transit in wartime...more so as the war is closer to us, but even now, we use them a pretty fair bit.


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests