Turn on thread page Beta

Free market arguments against public pensions and disability allowance? watch

    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Jay Riall)
    Could someone elaborate on a common objection to libertarianism for me? One of the most commonly heard objections is - well people are selfish so nobody would help the poor/disabled/elderly/orphaned etc.

    In modern democratic states the government is supposed to reflect the will of the majority. If this is true then people WOULD take care of the poor since the majority currently want the poor to be taken care of. The use of force to take care of them is not necessary to achieve this since people want to do it anyway. It would occur voluntarily. If you are arguing that the poor would not be taken care of, then you are suggesting that our current political system does NOT reflect the will of the majority, and is instead the opinion of a minority FORCED onto the majority of the population.

    This either undermines the argument that the poor would not be taken care of without a coercive welfare system or it undermines the whole premise and moral legitimacy of modern democratic states.

    How would you reconcile this (what I perceive as a) contradiction?
    Quite simply - psychology. I may wish to donate to, say, Schizophrenics UK, but my individual donation is insignificant unless a significant amount of other people also pay. Therefore I hold back my money, because I think it will be wasted. Unfortunately most people will similarly think like that. It's like a kind of prisoner's dilema.
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sconzey)
    Yes, it is, but schizophrenia doesn't make someone completely unemployable.
    At what stage of unemployability do you deem it neccesary to require benefits then? Besides, the idea of disability benefits is to make up for the shortfall in opportunity that one has with a disability.
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by SunOfABeach)
    Doesn't John Nash suffer from Schizophrenia? Kerouac did too?
    Exceptions, not the rule.
    (Original post by SunOfABeach)
    Maybe not all schizophrenics need special help or protection or whatever. And as with every illness, there are mild cases which won't really affect your employability.
    As a medical student currently on Psychiatry, I can tell you even the most mild cases affect you're employability. It's estimated that Schizophrenia costs 2% of the economy; 1% for the unproductiveness of the individual and 1% for the associated healthcare and living costs used on them.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Captain Crash)
    Quite simply - psychology. I may wish to donate to, say, Schizophrenics UK, but my individual donation is insignificant unless a significant amount of other people also pay. Therefore I hold back my money, because I think it will be wasted. Unfortunately most people will similarly think like that. It's like a kind of prisoner's dilema.
    I don't think that is true at all. I don't think I've ever thought like that when giving to a charity before and I've never heard it mentioned by anyone else when talking about charity before. There are questions of whether it is actually effective or not, how the money is used etc, but I've never heard anyone talk about it in these terms.

    Voluntary charitable donations in the UK were £10.9bn in 2005/06, at a time when government expenditure is somewhere around 40-45% of GDP. Voluntary charitable foundations and companies form a huge industry. I'd fully expect those numbers to skyrocket in the absence of welfare/pension programs and in the absence of high taxation levels. Everyone's first thought is that the government should do something - not them. Once that thought it taken away, once it is clear that it is not cool to use force to give to the needy, I really think personal responsibility and donations would skyrocket. No one wants to see people suffering for lack of money in their own country, do you really think that the majority of people in a prosperous country are going to let the unemployed starve rather than voluntarily help them out?
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Jay Riall)
    I don't think that is true at all. I don't think I've ever thought like that when giving to a charity before and I've never heard it mentioned by anyone else when talking about charity before. There are questions of whether it is actually effective or not, how the money is used etc, but I've never heard anyone talk about it in these terms.
    These aren't neccesarily conscious thoughts - rather psychological processes described in laymans terms. Also on top of that, people would be more reluctant to give because they can get away without paying and no-one would think any different from them and the charity wouldn't be much different without their individual donation. Indirectly the case of Kitty Genovese exemplifies this whereby 38 onlookers deigned not to phone the police despite witnessing a drawn out brutal murder on their doorsteps.
    (Original post by Jay Riall)
    Voluntary charitable donations in the UK were £10.9bn in 2005/06, at a time when government expenditure is somewhere around 40-45% of GDP. Voluntary charitable foundations and companies form a huge industry. I'd fully expect those numbers to skyrocket in the absence of welfare/pension programs and in the absence of high taxation levels. Everyone's first thought is that the government should do something - not them. Once that thought it taken away, once it is clear that it is not cool to use force to give to the needy, I really think personal responsibility and donations would skyrocket. No one wants to see people suffering for lack of money in their own country, do you really think that the majority of people in a prosperous country are going to let the unemployed starve rather than voluntarily help them out?
    Well they certainly did in the Victorian era, when charity levels were supposedly higher and there were little in the way of government spending. The empiricial evidence is quite simply against your baseless assertion that people will naturally give the money they've saved in tax to charity.
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Captain Crash)
    At what stage of unemployability do you deem it neccesary to require benefits then? Besides, the idea of disability benefits is to make up for the shortfall in opportunity that one has with a disability.
    As I argue in my original post, if you're going to do state disability support, the only just way to do it is to make it a general income support, raising peoples income through negative income tax or CBI.

    The only way to tell which disabilities affect someone's employability and to what extent is to let others assess their labour through the price mechanism, and then proportionally raise their income.
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Captain Crash)
    Well they certainly did in the Victorian era, when charity levels were supposedly higher and there were little in the way of government spending. The empiricial evidence is quite simply against your baseless assertion that people will naturally give the money they've saved in tax to charity.
    You're forgetting of course that people were poorer then, in general. Whether government taxed and spent, or people gave directly to the poor, the general welfare of people then would have been lower than now.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Captain Crash)
    These aren't neccesarily conscious thoughts - rather psychological processes described in laymans terms. Also on top of that, people would be more reluctant to give because they can get away without paying and no-one would think any different from them and the charity wouldn't be much different without their individual donation. Indirectly the case of Kitty Genovese exemplifies this whereby 38 onlookers deigned not to phone the police despite witnessing a drawn out brutal murder on their doorsteps.
    Just looking this up on wikipedia (I've never heard of it before) casts doubt on your claims - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catheri...ublic_reaction though I am not sure what a single anecdote is meant to prove anyway - where was your glorious state for Baby P? It isn't a typical case.

    Well they certainly did in the Victorian era, when charity levels were supposedly higher and there were little in the way of government spending. The empiricial evidence is quite simply against your baseless assertion that people will naturally give the money they've saved in tax to charity.
    What is this empirical evidence, out of interest? As I said in my post, that I've seen has indicated the opposite - that the Victorians had quite a developed system of charitable welfare with very high subscription rates, in addition to the even more wide-spread co-op and other voluntarist welfare insurance organisations where people paid their own way. Unfortunately this was quite a while ago so I can't remember the citations off hand, and I'd be interested to read what you're basing your opinions on if it is more concrete.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Captain Crash)
    Well they certainly did in the Victorian era, when charity levels were supposedly higher and there were little in the way of government spending. The empiricial evidence is quite simply against your baseless assertion that people will naturally give the money they've saved in tax to charity.
    Yeah, do you actually have any empirical evidence here or are you just parroting the now-dominant narrative of the time handed down by authors like Dickens? Like Collingwood, I have seen plenty of actual evidence that there was a thriving civil society with voluntary provision of welfare, with a considerable amounts of charitable giving in order to help those who were destitute through no fault of their own.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Jay Riall)
    Voluntary charitable donations in the UK were £10.9bn in 2005/06, at a time when government expenditure is somewhere around 40-45% of GDP. Voluntary charitable foundations and companies form a huge industry. I'd fully expect those numbers to skyrocket in the absence of welfare/pension programs and in the absence of high taxation levels. Everyone's first thought is that the government should do something - not them. Once that thought it taken away, once it is clear that it is not cool to use force to give to the needy, I really think personal responsibility and donations would skyrocket. No one wants to see people suffering for lack of money in their own country, do you really think that the majority of people in a prosperous country are going to let the unemployed starve rather than voluntarily help them out?
    If your last statement was true then why are there still billionaires in this country? The rich don't give a **** about the poor and they never will. Also whilst in theory force may be used people pretty much agree to it. When you go out to work and the government takes part of your income you realised that this would be the case and as such you agreed to it; no-one forced you to work. It is the same with VAT, just because the government makes you pay an extra 17.5 percent on almost everything you buy you agreed to it by buying it. Many libertarians claim that if I have a right to healthcare then someone else has a corresponding duty to provide it. Whilst this does strictly mean force may be used this is never the case. Doctors are not forced to be doctors, they choose to be doctors.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tomheppy)
    If your last statement was true then why are there still billionaires in this country? The rich don't give a **** about the poor and they never will.
    "The rich don't give a **** about the poor and they never will." Do you really want me to dig out the numbers of how much money people like Bill Gates, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, George Soros, Warren Buffet and others gave to charity? These are not outliers, there is a huge philanthropic culture amongst many rich people. My own family is pretty poor, but most of my aunts and uncles are very rich. Of my three aunts on my mothers side, 2 basically work full-time running charitable organizations (a group of care homes and a charity for Alzhemier's) and the other does a lot of part time work and charity event organization. Their husbands work full time, but I know they give a lot of money to charity and plan on doing some part-time charitable work when they retire. The rich as a class are not a bunch of tight-fisted misers.

    (Original post by tomheppy)
    Also whilst in theory force may be used people pretty much agree to it. When you go out to work and the government takes part of your income you realised that this would be the case and as such you agreed to it; no-one forced you to work.
    What is the difference between the government taking part of your income and a mafia protection racket taking part of your income? No-one forced you to go to work in your store, does that make the mafia's extortion justified or not force any more?

    How much easier would the mafia find running their extortion racket if they had a huge propaganda system in place for extolling the virtues of their racket and telling you that you giving them money was somehow voluntary and definitely NOT force?

    (Original post by tomheppy)
    It is the same with VAT, just because the government makes you pay an extra 17.5 percent on almost everything you buy you agreed to it by buying it.
    We as consumers are not the target of coercion with regards to this tax though. The seller of the product is. The seller of the product did not agree to paying that 17.5% tax when he sells me that product, I don't see how you can argue that this is voluntary.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    I can see Liberterians are not good on detail. For example, very few people are actually disabled enough to be unfit for any job. People with many forms of mental illness like depression can still work but they are at a severe disadvantge when competing for jobs and many find it difficult to get a job. Similarlly, 75% of blind people are unemployed regardless of their qualifications but there a lots of jobs blind people can do as well as sighted people but again, they find it very difficult to get jobs.

    So in the liberterains' view, only people who have absolutely no ability to work such as in a coma would get any public benefits and everyone else will have to look for work even though they will not get any.
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    Yeah, do you actually have any empirical evidence here or are you just parroting the now-dominant narrative of the time handed down by authors like Dickens? Like Collingwood, I have seen plenty of actual evidence that there was a thriving civil society with voluntary provision of welfare, with a considerable amounts of charitable giving in order to help those who were destitute through no fault of their own.
    Well that's the thing about charities - you and Captain Crash are both right because there was no uniform coverage and whilst you might have got areas with very active friendly societies or charitable organisations or, perhaps more importantly given the way the country was run in the Victorian era, local government, e.g. Birmingham under Chamberlain, but you also got areas with minimal welfare provision by either local government or voluntary organisations.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Maker)
    I can see Liberterians are not good on detail. For example, very few people are actually disabled enough to be unfit for any job. People with many forms of mental illness like depression can still work but they are at a severe disadvantge when competing for jobs and many find it difficult to get a job. Similarlly, 75% of blind people are unemployed regardless of their qualifications but there a lots of jobs blind people can do as well as sighted people but again, they find it very difficult to get jobs.

    So in the liberterains' view, only people who have absolutely no ability to work such as in a coma would get any public benefits and everyone else will have to look for work even though they will not get any.
    If they can actually work, why wouldn't it be in an employers best interest to offer them work? Employers are looking to make a profit and if a disabled person can do that for them, why would they not hire them?

    You're also ignoring the huge public relations advantage to employers that do have a pro-disability employment process and the disadvantages to companies that discriminate (orchestrated boycotts, bad press and public image).
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Jay Riall)
    If they can actually work, why wouldn't it be in an employers best interest to offer them work? Employers are looking to make a profit and if a disabled person can do that for them, why would they not hire them?

    You're also ignoring the huge public relations advantage to employers that do have a pro-disability employment process and the disadvantages to companies that discriminate (orchestrated boycotts, bad press and public image).
    I think you are overstating the power of bad publicity. Plenty of companies discriminate against older people, black people and women as well as the disabled and few people take any notice.

    A free market is not the same as a frictionless market. If people were assessed solely on their ability to do a job and fit in with an organisation and make money for the employer, then disability will be less of an issue.

    But many employers are uneducated and prejudiced against the mentally and physically disabled and cannot see pass their disability. In fact, I have noticed many companies would rather go out of business than change the way they do things even when its in their ability and interest to do so so the market will not improve the employment opportunities of the disabled.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Jay Riall)
    I don't think that is true at all. I don't think I've ever thought like that when giving to a charity before and I've never heard it mentioned by anyone else when talking about charity before. There are questions of whether it is actually effective or not, how the money is used etc, but I've never heard anyone talk about it in these terms.

    Voluntary charitable donations in the UK were £10.9bn in 2005/06, at a time when government expenditure is somewhere around 40-45% of GDP. Voluntary charitable foundations and companies form a huge industry. I'd fully expect those numbers to skyrocket in the absence of welfare/pension programs and in the absence of high taxation levels. Everyone's first thought is that the government should do something - not them. Once that thought it taken away, once it is clear that it is not cool to use force to give to the needy, I really think personal responsibility and donations would skyrocket. No one wants to see people suffering for lack of money in their own country, do you really think that the majority of people in a prosperous country are going to let the unemployed starve rather than voluntarily help them out?
    Charities do do a lot of good but they have severe limitations. For example a charity that provides money to pensioners may only do so if the pensioners agree with its policies like having to go to a particular church or leaving the charity money in their will.

    Charities can also change what they do and don't do without being accountable to anyone except their donars. The pensions charity may decide to change and only give money to people who they consider to be "moral" and they decide who is and who isn't "moral". So someone who lives with another person but not married could be excluded and theres nothing anyone can do about it.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Maker)
    Charities do do a lot of good but they have severe limitations. For example a charity that provides money to pensioners may only do so if the pensioners agree with its policies like having to go to a particular church or leaving the charity money in their will.
    Why would significant numbers of people donate money to charities which do this? Wouldn't you stop giving to that charity and give to a moral noble charity?

    (Original post by Maker)
    Charities can also change what they do and don't do without being accountable to anyone except their donars. The pensions charity may decide to change and only give money to people who they consider to be "moral" and they decide who is and who isn't "moral". So someone who lives with another person but not married could be excluded and theres nothing anyone can do about it.
    Apart from give money to a charity which will actually take care of people?

    I think there are problems with charities at the moment, there is certainly much scope for improvement. However, when you think about how much resources, man power and effort gets channeled into the welfare state right now, it is definitely conceivable that private charities will benefit from a huge expansion and improvements in efficiencies when they are asked to do more and are given a more central place in society.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Maker)
    I think you are overstating the power of bad publicity. Plenty of companies discriminate against older people, black people and women as well as the disabled and few people take any notice.

    A free market is not the same as a frictionless market. If people were assessed solely on their ability to do a job and fit in with an organisation and make money for the employer, then disability will be less of an issue.

    But many employers are uneducated and prejudiced against the mentally and physically disabled and cannot see pass their disability. In fact, I have noticed many companies would rather go out of business than change the way they do things even when its in their ability and interest to do so so the market will not improve the employment opportunities of the disabled.
    Err, what? Companies would rather go out of business than change the way they do things? Almost no company chooses to harm itself for the sake of keeping bad, entrenched business practices. If a company perceives that it is in it's financial interest to adopt better employment practices then it is not going to go out of business rather than do this. Of course, it might not perceive that it is not in its interest to adopt better employment practices, in which case, its competitors with better practices will enjoy a competitive advantage over them. If employment of disabled people is profitable, incentives in the marketplace will tend to increase disabled employment in many cases, since, as everyone knows businessmen are all about the profit (those evil *******s!!!)
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Jay Riall)
    "The rich don't give a **** about the poor and they never will." Do you really want me to dig out the numbers of how much money people like Bill Gates, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, George Soros, Warren Buffet and others gave to charity? These are not outliers, there is a huge philanthropic culture amongst many rich people. My own family is pretty poor, but most of my aunts and uncles are very rich. Of my three aunts on my mothers side, 2 basically work full-time running charitable organizations (a group of care homes and a charity for Alzhemier's) and the other does a lot of part time work and charity event organization. Their husbands work full time, but I know they give a lot of money to charity and plan on doing some part-time charitable work when they retire. The rich as a class are not a bunch of tight-fisted misers.
    A billionaire giving away half of his fortune is not generous. It reminds me of that parable in the Bible in which an old woman gives less than others in terms of the amount of money but as she is much poorer than the rest she gives proportionately more. Giving half your £ billion away is hardly generous as it really doesn't affect you in anyway.



    (Original post by Jay Riall)

    What is the difference between the government taking part of your income and a mafia protection racket taking part of your income? No-one forced you to go to work in your store, does that make the mafia's extortion justified or not force any more?

    How much easier would the mafia find running their extortion racket if they had a huge propaganda system in place for extolling the virtues of their racket and telling you that you giving them money was somehow voluntary and definitely NOT force?
    My argument was that you agree to an implied contract between yourself and the government to pay so much money in return for services. This government doesn't threaten anyone with violence if they do not pay their tax; they are merely sued, like any other violation of a private contract.


    (Original post by Jay Riall)


    We as consumers are not the target of coercion with regards to this tax though. The seller of the product is. The seller of the product did not agree to paying that 17.5% tax when he sells me that product, I don't see how you can argue that this is voluntary.
    Ok but my argument above still applies. It is a voluntary contract because you implicitly agree to give the government money by working there. Suppose that you set up a business in your home and said that I could work there if I pay you a percentage of what I earn there then this would be a contract; I don't see any morally significant difference with the government. Also I have yet to encounter a clear and correct definition of what consent is.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tomheppy)
    A billionaire giving away half of his fortune is not generous. It reminds me of that parable in the Bible in which an old woman gives less than others in terms of the amount of money but as she is much poorer than the rest she gives proportionately more. Giving half your £ billion away is hardly generous as it really doesn't affect you in anyway.
    This is merely your opinion. Those tens or even hundreds of billions given to charity make and are going to make a huge difference to the lives of millions of people. Tell all the people alive in 20 years only because of Bill Gates that he is not generous. Also, you ignore the fact that many of those millionaires created huge amounts of wealth. Bill Gates in becoming rich made society as a whole an awful lot richer. He created jobs, revolutionary products, drove the computer industry which in turn creates huge amounts of wealth in other parts of the economy. Economics is not a zero sum game - in free and voluntary exchanges, everyone can benefit, not just some at the expense of others.

    (Original post by tomheppy)
    My argument was that you agree to an implied contract between yourself and the government to pay so much money in return for services. This government doesn't threaten anyone with violence if they do not pay their tax; they are merely sued, like any other violation of a private contract.
    You will end up in being forcibly put into a cage if you refuse to pay your tax for long enough. Is that not violence?

    (Original post by tomheppy)
    Ok but my argument above still applies. It is a voluntary contract because you implicitly agree to give the government money by working there.
    So the example I gave of a mafia extortion racket taking the money of a shopkeeper is also valid right? The shopkeeper implicitly agreed to give the mafia his money by continuing to work in their territory.

    (Original post by tomheppy)
    Suppose that you set up a business in your home and said that I could work there if I pay you a percentage of what I earn there then this would be a contract; I don't see any morally significant difference with the government.
    Except I own my home, so me charging you a percentage to work in my home is legitimate.

    The logical conclusion to your argument would be that the government owns all the land, money and property in the country then? There are no such thing as personal property rights, or self ownership, everything is owned by the government? That is the only way that the government could charge me rent in a way that is analogous to the situation you described.

    (Original post by tomheppy)
    Also I have yet to encounter a clear and correct definition of what consent is.
    Good question. I'll have a think about it and post on the subject later (early essay deadlines ftl), it's quite a tricky question :p:
 
 
 
Poll
Have you ever experienced bullying?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.