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Liber Question Time - Ask a Libertarian

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    (Original post by D.R.E)
    You do. Almost all human interaction has an element of competition to it - it also has an element of collaboration to it. If you are against all competitive interaction, are you also against dating? Or football? Or thumb-wrestling? Chess? Are those activities not 'social' because we have to compete against each other in them?
    Okay, yes that does require some great nuance than I provided earlier. The easiest distinction is made between Competition - the essential dog-eat-dog basis of 'the market' and competition which refers to the many social interactions such as you describe in which two individuals (or teams) are engaged in a challenge with each other. Now, I wouldn't ever say I'm against competition but I would say that I am against many of the facets of Competition. If you understand my distinction?
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    Human interaction involves a degree of both competition and collaboration - that's why I'm not a libertarian!
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    (Original post by obi_adorno_kenobi)
    Okay, yes that does require some great nuance than I provided earlier. The easiest distinction is made between Competition - the essential dog-eat-dog basis of 'the market' and competition which refers to the many social interactions such as you describe in which two individuals (or teams) are engaged in a challenge with each other. Now, I wouldn't ever say I'm against competition but I would say that I am against many of the facets of Competition. If you understand my distinction?
    Not really!

    You are committing the zero-sum fallacy by assuming economic (or 'market') activity is dog-eat-dog. This is simply not true, and I would go as far as to say all voluntary trade that happens, sans any fraud, duress or misrepresentation, has reciprocal benefits to the parties involved.
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    (Original post by JPKC)
    Human interaction involves a degree of both competition and collaboration - that's why I'm not a libertarian!
    That's why Libertarians always win!

    :dance:
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    (Original post by D.R.E)
    Not really!

    You are committing the zero-sum fallacy by assuming economic (or 'market') activity is dog-eat-dog. This is simply not true, and I would go as far as to say all voluntary trade that happens, sans any fraud, duress or misrepresentation, has reciprocal benefits to the parties involved.
    It may do - and that's why I said many rather than all - but I find greater faith in collaboration rather than competition (leaving aside the notion that chess is the same as trade). In that sense I favour mutuals over other forms of business. The issue I have with right-Libertarians is that they do promote dog-eat-dog and the rampant forms of capitalism that seem totally at odds with values I hold dear. Perhaps that's a failure of the party and how it presents its message, I don't know.
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    (Original post by MacCuishy)
    That's why Libertarians always win!

    :dance:
    You just went there.

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    (Original post by obi_adorno_kenobi)
    It may do - and that's why I said many rather than all - but I find greater faith in collaboration rather than competition (leaving aside the notion that chess is the same as trade). In that sense I favour mutuals over other forms of business. The issue I have with right-Libertarians is that they do promote dog-eat-dog and the rampant forms of capitalism that seem totally at odds with values I hold dear. Perhaps that's a failure of the party and how it presents its message, I don't know.
    Co-ops, communes, collectives, councils and mutal aid business will be totally acceptable (even promoted) in a right-libertarian society, what we have now is the state that places many restrictions on co-ops, and in some cases, has the police and council watch over then (bar 1 in 12, Bradford).

    I personally favour a free market, not capitalism. And I know its ahistirical http://www.mutualist.org/id66.html but when you are building a society from scratch then we don't need to be revisionists. The market will pretty much destroy those corporations and monopolies that have been helped along by the state, patents, subsidies, legal status, public limited statuses, all the ... gone.

    paul will dumb that down for me here



    Of course this is going towards the market anarchist (trying to avoid the word anarcho-capitalism here) view, I'm currently battling with myself over a private court system, or a common court, a georgist state, all sorts really.
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    Without patents, how do you create an incentive to innovate? In a patentless system, the moment an individual creates something new and desirable, everyone else in the market can immediately copy him. The competition then creates normal profits (everyone breaking even). At best, the inventor gets the proceeds of short-run supernormal profit, but that's no great deal and in near-perfect markets is essentially nothing. Why would anyone invent anything new? You're removing all incentive from the economic system! Blimey, and I thought we were supposed to be the lefties...
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    (Original post by TopHat)
    Without patents, how do you create an incentive to innovate? In a patentless system, the moment an individual creates something new and desirable, everyone else in the market can immediately copy him. The competition then creates normal profits (everyone breaking even). At best, the inventor gets the proceeds of short-run supernormal profit, but that's no great deal and in near-perfect markets is essentially nothing. Why would anyone invent anything new? You're removing all incentive from the economic system! Blimey, and I thought we were supposed to be the lefties...
    Well do patents really work now? Or even with patents, are there many other companies that may create a product almost Identical to the original, that's just as popular or even moreso?

    We also have the first mover advantage scenario, I'm sure you know what that is.

    And yes, it is a common misconception about right-libertarians, that we are all basically ultra-conservative ultra-capitalists that love expoitation, corporations and profit $$$.

    The reasons we still stick to economic liberalism - liberty (leading to liberty of the individual), unlike our brothers and sisters on the far-left libertarian side, is because we actually think that a freed market will do more for wealth distrobution than what this system does not. Whilst far-left libertarians want to abolish capital and all forms of property, and redistrobute things that way, we think that will lead to everyone being poorer, despite more equality, in our society, the vast majority will be richer and the richest (who almost all of them have done so via state privilage) will be faced with a free market, and become less rich since all their state enforced shieds have been taken away.
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    (Original post by prog2djent)
    Well do patents really work now? Or even with patents, are there many other companies that may create a product almost Identical to the original, that's just as popular or even moreso?

    We also have the first mover advantage scenario, I'm sure you know what that is.

    And yes, it is a common misconception about right-libertarians, that we are all basically ultra-conservative ultra-capitalists that love expoitation, corporations and profit $$$.

    The reasons we still stick to economic liberalism - liberty (leading to liberty of the individual), unlike our brothers and sisters on the far-left libertarian side, is because we actually think that a freed market will do more for wealth distrobution than what this system does not. Whilst far-left libertarians want to abolish capital and all forms of property, and redistrobute things that way, we think that will lead to everyone being poorer, despite more equality, in our society, the vast majority will be richer and the richest (who almost all of them have done so via state privilage) will be faced with a free market, and become less rich since all their state enforced shieds have been taken away.
    I think patents do work well enough. But the biggest problem I have with some free market economist voices is the seemingly lack of support for sufficient and necessary State regulation in markets. Without some sort of regulation, the rich will indeed get richer and more pressingly, monopolies will dominate many markets. They will literally kick people out of the market all together with predatory pricing and what not. The message of Ron Paul (his foreign policy is really the only thing I admire) is downright dangerous. Extreme free-market advocates fail to realize that they want to re-define what it means to be poor.
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    (Original post by noisy06)
    I think patents do work well enough. But the biggest problem I have with some free market economist voices is the seemingly lack of support for sufficient and necessary State regulation in markets. Without some sort of regulation, the rich will indeed get richer and more pressingly, monopolies will dominate many markets. They will literally kick people out of the market all together with predatory pricing and what not. The message of Ron Paul (his foreign policy is really the only thing I admire) is downright dangerous. Extreme free-market advocates fail to realize that they want to re-define what it means to be poor.
    Here in lies the difference between the Libertarian ethos and Tory economic policy (on TSR) as while some Libertarians advocate almost no state we believe in a degree of regulation where needed (i advocate greater regulation in the financial sector for instance).
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    What, precisely? You've outlined no exact details at all. Simply vague promises of "oh, yeah, regulation, we're occasionally in favour of that". Detail me a regulation policy you'd support.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Here in lies the difference between the Libertarian ethos and Tory economic policy (on TSR) as while some Libertarians advocate almost no state we believe in a degree of regulation where needed (i advocate greater regulation in the financial sector for instance).
    Well then I'm certainly not a TSR libertarian. I do like libertarian social views very much, but their economics is just toxic in my opinion. Where do you stand on income inequality as a conservative?
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    (Original post by TopHat)
    What, precisely? You've outlined no exact details at all. Simply vague promises of "oh, yeah, regulation, we're occasionally in favour of that". Detail me a regulation policy you'd support.
    A complete review of all financial products.
    Short selling would be banned - only creates negative sentiment and instability
    Higher capital reserves than those proposed
    Greater regulation over who a bank can lend to (i.e. no mortgages given to people at 8 times their income)

    The financial sector is a very special case when it comes to regulation, namely because i believe it to be a bastardisation dealing in something not backed by a resource (rather than trading currency for a good, they trade currency to make currency).

    I can promise you a bill will be released on this issue by the end of parliament.

    Further measures will be coming in order to prevent another bailout situation although i have not even began discussing those.
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    (Original post by noisy06)
    Well then I'm certainly not a TSR libertarian. I do like libertarian social views very much, but their economics is just toxic in my opinion. Where do you stand on income inequality as a conservative?
    Income inequality - A nessesary evil which will always exist

    Nobody should be punished for success and some people are always going to succeed in comparison to others whether it be by virtue of a head start in life or by being more intelligent, thus while government should create the right conditions for prosperity and attempt to incentivise reduced inequality though a 'bottom up approach' (rather than the socialist 'top down' approach) it should not attempt to punish success via increased taxation or any other measure.
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    (Original post by CyclopsRock)
    Thanks for the well structured reply!



    Well there are a number of metrics upon which one can compete. Harrods doesn't have the economies of scale that Tesco has (or even Co-Op, as a relatively small supermarket) but it still has a large market based upon its reputation for quality. There are a load of cafe's around where I work that are more expensive than Costa/Starbucks/Nero but get loads of customers because they offer better quality, or a fun atmosphere or their location is better. Price isn't the only metric by which small businesses can compete - service, quality, location etc. Usually these are the metrics that the huge businesses are forced to sacrificed to keep costs low.

    Furthermore, if the inclination of people is towards large companies because of the products they offer (Be that price, quality, atmosphere etc) then do be it. The only alternative to that is actively handicapping said companies, and thus getting in the way of what people actually want, so that they have better access to things that presumably they do not want (otherwise the market would already be supporting such businesses).



    I'd argue that there's a pretty huge difference between voluntarily giving your money to a company in exchange for a service, and involuntarily being forced to give up your money in return for some services that they may not want at all. Can you give me an example of a private company "seeping money" from hard working people? I mean, technically I suppose Waitrose "seep" money from me because I'm forced to buy food - but I could go to Tesco if I wanted, or Sainsburies, or grow my own food in a window box if I was a nutter. That's what makes the market different to government - it's very rare that you're actually forced to give your money to one company with no other options.



    Well there may be some extreme libs, but scrapping the minimum wage really isn't an extreme policy. It was only introduced in 1997 in the first place! A lot of people - including myself - don't believe that people should be stopped from working voluntarily if they want to. Like most non-Libertarian policies, they come with good intentions but often have unfair or otherwise unintended side effects. In this case, it makes it very difficult for anyone who has low levels of skills to get a job. To make a point, imagine the minimum wage was £500 an hour. Very few companies could justify paying £500 an hour for most people, and we can safely assume that employment would collapse.

    The only people who would keep their jobs (let's pretend, for the sake of simplicity, that the rest of the economy actually remained the same in terms of purchasing and whatnot) are people who gain their company more than that per hour. That's not many people!

    The same is true when the minimum wage is only £7, only it affects far fewer people than it being £500. For those that it effects, though, it makes little difference. If someone is unskilled and lack employable skills, they might be willing to work for £5 an hour, and a shop or restaurant might be willing to hire them for £5 - but the government stops them entering into that voluntary agreement because it's telling the person that they're being exploited and so instead they have to go onto the dole. That's not really better, in my view. The majority of people earn more than the minimum wage, so I don't think we'd suddenly see a huge drop in everyone's wages. It would lower some wages, but I think it'd also increase employment - it's like any sort of union really; Good for the people inside the union, bad for those that aren't in it.



    I personally don't, but I think the system needs a great deal of reform. You're right though, there is a big split on this (and it's familiar cousin, intellectual property).



    If you think it's the right party for you, you're welcome of course!
    No problem, i'm expanding my knowledge and misconceptions this way

    1) I was thinking more along the lines of those "market sellers" who start up, but are blown away from big super markets.
    Think along the lines of NICS eg India etc
    The main problem with having many big supermarkets, is that you lower competition from these "market sellers"
    And these super markets could control the costs and make an entire country go hunger ( Exterme example I know)

    For instance, say wall-mart opened in India and started selling corn good; quality American corn, but at a cheaper price than the indian corn, it would damage indian agriculture and a whole host of problems would arise.

    Of course a valid point was made, saying we would have to "start from scratch", but I'm just thinking starting from scratch would mean a very low quality of life from the onset.
    Britian a country with relatively good quality of life, got to where it is now, from invasion, industrial reform etc, so starting from scratch would mean hardly anyone would want to join.

    2) But don't you think that the quality of employment would go down? And also how would you contest that someone who does the same job as you is being paid more, in the same company.
    Also these minimum wage jobs eg stacking will still be taken by the same unskilled people, but a lower wage?
    Correct me if i'm wrong; It's just that i've just seen many parties arguing on this point.
    Also could you just do work experience there and if they like you they employ you?
    Ie if you do work exp there ,then the employers have to pay you say X amount for how many weeks of experience, then offer you a job at what ever the wage is.
    No need to scrap it?

    3) Monsanto and the exploitation of farmers. See a documentary on it on RT or youtube.

    4) Same here, I don't know why some libbys here think they should remove patents.
    By doing that you would damage innovation because no company would be bothered to invest time and money in a product, if someon else would just copy it?

    5) Thanks
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    (Original post by prog2djent)
    Well do patents really work now? Or even with patents, are there many other companies that may create a product almost Identical to the original, that's just as popular or even moreso?
    My query was that "some form of the patent system is necessary to retain incentive". Your reply was "some aspects of the patent system do not work well. Therefore, we abolish the patent system". This is nonsensical. Firstly, you haven't proved a patentless system works better than a system with patents. In fact, you totally ignored my point about incentives being removed, and gave no answer. Secondly, you haven't proved why, even if there are flaws with the patent system, these flaws are incapable of being ameliorated. Instead, you've skipped straight to "abolish!".

    We also have the first mover advantage scenario, I'm sure you know what that is.
    Yes, I do, and I also know that it doesn't exist in near-perfect markets, particularly markets based on the information market. I find it highly amusing that you promote strong physical property rights whilst planning to abolish strong intellectual property rights.

    (Original post by Rakas21)
    A complete review of all financial products.
    Short selling would be banned - only creates negative sentiment and instability
    Higher capital reserves than those proposed
    Greater regulation over who a bank can lend to (i.e. no mortgages given to people at 8 times their income)

    The financial sector is a very special case when it comes to regulation, namely because i believe it to be a bastardisation dealing in something not backed by a resource (rather than trading currency for a good, they trade currency to make currency).

    I can promise you a bill will be released on this issue by the end of parliament.

    Further measures will be coming in order to prevent another bailout situation although i have not even began discussing those.
    I look forward to the Libertarian response to this statement.
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    (Original post by JPKC)
    Hmm, we're getting bogged down in the analogy. The Tragedy uses the example of the pasture, land, but that doesn't necessarily mean it has to be about land - what if the same dilemma was applied to, say, the environment in general, or, more specifically, extracted resources like oil?
    I don't think we are. It relates specifically as to something which is commonly owned. Oil belongs to the owner of the land, and then when extracted to that person/company until sold on as private property. There's no 'commonly owned resource' here. See below for environment.

    With fossil fuels, it is in most people's immediate self-interest to buy and use more petrol etc. - this is true of consumers in Britain, and even more so of those in developing countries. However, it is not in the collective interests of everybody in the long run as the environment gradually becomes more deformed from the rise in CO2 emissions that would ultimately come about from everyone pursuing their own narrow interest. How would the market handle a problem like this (or do you somehow reject the premises)?
    As I've said elsewhere, I consider pollution to be an externality and I wouldn't be against the idea of taxing pollution at the estimated level of the externality; thus both repaying the cost to society and adjusting to the socially optimal level of consumption with individuals making decisions facing the rights costs (including that of the wider cost to society from their action). I think this is a much more efficient and fair solution than having the state dictate emissions targets and impose standards on all businesses to meet them. With a carbon tax we would see those businesses where it's easiest to cut down emissions reducing further than now, and those where it's very costly to do so not having this larger cost dumped on them. Pigouvian taxation, magical.


    How are the resources divided?
    You have a commonly owned resource, you sell it to private owners, whoever wishes to buy it at the market price. The question is a much more tricky one when it's commonly owned, since it's merely a scramble to use them.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    A complete review of all financial products.
    Short selling would be banned - only creates negative sentiment and instability
    Higher capital reserves than those proposed
    Greater regulation over who a bank can lend to (i.e. no mortgages given to people at 8 times their income)

    The financial sector is a very special case when it comes to regulation, namely because i believe it to be a bastardisation dealing in something not backed by a resource (rather than trading currency for a good, they trade currency to make currency).

    I can promise you a bill will be released on this issue by the end of parliament.

    Further measures will be coming in order to prevent another bailout situation although i have not even began discussing those.
    This is completely the wrong approach to take with regards the financial system. Why did the system blow up in the first place? It's worth answering that question clearly and decisively before we try to look for ay solutions - since we should be treating the problem not the symptom. Hint, look at the government created moral hazards from deposit insurance, fractional reserve banking, artificially low Fed interest rates, vast lines of credit from the Fed, legal intimidation, guaranteed loans, and so on.

    We need monetary reform, not bank regulation. We need a parallel system of 100% reserve banking. We need to ban maturity transformation (where lenders borrow short [instant consumer deposit accounts] and lend long [mortgages] since it leads to inherent instability). We don't need to ban short-selling, change capital reserve ratios, or regulate who banks can (or have to, as before 2007) lend to. It's going to solve none of the problems and just throw a bit of sand in the cogs. Greaaat!
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    (Original post by blueray)
    4) Same here, I don't know why some libbys here think they should remove patents.
    By doing that you would damage innovation because no company would be bothered to invest time and money in a product, if someon else would just copy it?
    Stephan Kinsella explains it a lot better here, but here's my take on it. My objection to patents doesn't stem from economics, so that argument doesn't really hold much water with me. It comes from ownership and property. When it boils down to it, ownership of property is the right to control or decide what to do with it and patents interfere with that.

    Take this scenario as an example, let's say that A builds a chair. Nothing fancy, just four legs, a seat and a backrest, but he's the first person to make a chair and goes along to the patent office and gets a patent for it. The patent is granted and now he can use the state as an enforcer to stop anyone else from building and selling a chair.

    Now B has heard about A's chair and decides that he'd quite like one for himself. He goes to A, but A doesn't want to sell him one. Whilst at A's house however, B has a look at the chair and thinks to himself "Yeah, I could make one of those". After leaving, B calls into his local hardware store and purchases some wood, glue, nails, a saw and a hammer. The wood, glue, nails, saw and hammer are now B's property and he has the unabridged right to control and decide what he does with them.

    Hearing that B is planning to build a chair, A becomes enraged and his lawyers apply for an injunction to stop B from building the chair. The judge has no choice but to grant the injunction as A does have a patent and in doing so, he diminishes B's control over his own property (the wood, glue, ect) by asserting that A has the right to control B's property to prevent B from infringing A's patent.

    Patents are so thoroughly un-libertarian, it really surprises me that any libers could support them.

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