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    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    That's quite a particular and non-general example. Nevertheless, I would contend that begging is a form of work (self-employed charity). It isn't desirable, of course, but so long as there is some 'public' property then he can realistically 'earn' one penny per hour.
    Begging is not employment in the strictest sense. Its not value adding anywhere. Its just leeching off society.

    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    On the other hand, in my ideal anarcho-capitalist society, there would be no public property whatsoever - it would either be private or unowned.
    You wouldn't even have the government provide public goods (police, street lighting etc.)? Interesting.

    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    And this shows the evils of the minimum wage, btw. If you have, for example, mentally or physically retarded people who can only perform menial tasks and whose supervision costs the employer so much that the wage paid to the employee is less than the minimum wage, then you make it illegal for them to work. So in a society with government intervention, there will always be some unemployment for the least skilled and the retarded (who, it has been shown, benefit psychologically from the responsibilty), who can't surmount the metaphorical high jump barrier when it's forcibly raised above their maximum potential.
    No I'm not a fan of the minimum wage either. It hasn't gone so badly for the UK though.
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    (Original post by biggie-n)
    Begging is not employment in the strictest sense. Its not value adding anywhere. Its just leeching off society.
    I accept that. On the other hand, some public sector workers might be thought of in the same sense.

    (Original post by biggie-n)
    You wouldn't even have the government provide public goods (police, street lighting etc.)?
    No. I dislike the proto-utilitarianism of the classical economists, and prefer economics to be founded upon philosophical principles, namely the Lockean one of self-ownership & property acquired by application of labour. From the Second Treatise of Government, paragraph 138 (italics/spelling not mine; bold is my emphasis):

    "The Supream Power cannot take from any Man part of his Property without his own consent. For the preservation of Property being the end of Government, and that for which Men enter into Society, it necessarily supposes and requires, that the People should have Property, without which they must be suppos'd to lose that by entring into Society, which was the end for which they entered into it, too gross an absurdity for any Man to own. Men therefore in Society owning Property, they have such a right to the goods, which by the Law of the Community are theirs, that no Body hath a right to take their substance, or any part of it from them, without their own consent; without this, they have no Property at all, For I have truly no Property in that, which another can by right take from me, when he pleases, against my consent...

    For a Man's Property is not at all secure, though there be good and equitable Laws to set the buonds of it, between him and his Fellow Subjects, if he who commands those Subjects [the legislative body], have Power to take from any private Man, what part he pleases of his Property, and use and dispose of it as he thinks good."
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    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    No. I dislike the proto-utilitarianism of the classical economists, and prefer economics to be founded upon philosophical principles, namely the Lockean one of self-ownership & property acquired by application of labour. From the Second Treatise of Government, paragraph 138 (italics/spelling not mine; bold is my emphasis):

    "The Supream Power cannot take from any Man part of his Property without his own consent. For the preservation of Property being the end of Government, and that for which Men enter into Society, it necessarily supposes and requires, that the People should have Property, without which they must be suppos'd to lose that by entring into Society, which was the end for which they entered into it, too gross an absurdity for any Man to own. Men therefore in Society owning Property, they have such a right to the goods, which by the Law of the Community are theirs, that no Body hath a right to take their substance, or any part of it from them, without their own consent; without this, they have no Property at all, For I have truly no Property in that, which another can by right take from me, when he pleases, against my consent...

    For a Man's Property is not at all secure, though there be good and equitable Laws to set the buonds of it, between him and his Fellow Subjects, if he who commands those Subjects [the legislative body], have Power to take from any private Man, what part he pleases of his Property, and use and dispose of it as he thinks good."
    Pity it won't work. The whole point is that public goods are underprovided by the private market because they are non-excludable etc.
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    The problem is that the meaning of a good being "under-produced" is subjective in the first place. I like Chinese food, and don't like Indian food. In my opinion, the market is under-producing Chinese food and over-producing Indian. Therefore I think the government should step in and forcibly subsidise Chinese food.

    For the Soviets, most luxury and consumer goods were allegedly "over-produced" by the market. For the Nazis, gas chambers for killing Jews were a public good, "under-produced" by the market. The question is, who are you to tell the free market (i.e. free people and the consensual trades they undertake) what it should be producing more of? Your fundamental misunderstanding is that you think there is a point the market should be producing at.
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    The problem is that the meaning of a good being "under-produced" is subjective in the first place. I like Chinese food, and don't like Indian food. In my opinion, the market is under-producing Chinese food and over-producing Indian. Therefore I think the government should step in and forcibly subsidise Chinese food.

    For the Soviets, most luxury and consumer goods were allegedly "over-produced" by the market. For the Nazis, gas chambers for killing Jews were a public good, "under-produced" by the market. The question is, who are you to tell the free market (i.e. free people and the consensual trades they undertake) what it should be producing more of? Your fundamental misunderstanding is that you think there is a point the market should be producing at.
    lol. you've completely misunderstood.

    public goods and the case for govt intervention: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~jhertel/L24.ppt

    Why do you think the government provides street lighting? Because no private company will. Its not feasible to charge every person getting the benefit of the street lights since its non-excludable and non-rivalrous.
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    (Original post by biggie-n)
    Pity it won't work.
    Britain resisted the need to introduce a national police force until 1835, and there wasn't anarchy; traversable roads were created by private property owners (turnpike trusts) from the early 18th century onwards, and in the US between 1800 and 1830; railroads were almost entirely private, until war needs put them into the hands of the government, where they unfortunately stayed. Thirty years ago, people would have said telephone exchanges were a public good, but privatisation has been the best possible outcome.

    (Original post by biggie-n)
    Why do you think the government provides street lighting? Because no private company will. Its not feasible to charge every person getting the benefit of the street lights since its non-excludable and non-rivalrous.
    The government provides the street lighting not because no private company will, but because the government has a monopoly on the roads. Look at private estates - don't they have any street lighting? If roads were privately owned then whatever mechanism the owner decided to implement would enable him to collect revenues for the provision and maintenance of utilities - such as electric lights, road markings, sewage facilities and so on. This might imply toll roads everywhere, but that'd be better than the current policy, where people who don't demand things (non-car drivers) have to pay for them.
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    (Original post by biggie-n)
    lol. you've completely misunderstood.

    public goods and the case for govt intervention: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~jhertel/L24.ppt
    I can't open this, but I'm fairly sure I know the arguments.

    Why do you think the government provides street lighting? Because no private company will. Its not feasible to charge every person getting the benefit of the street lights since its non-excludable and non-rivalrous.
    No, it's because the government has a monopoly on roads. This is like saying if the government provided everyone with hotdogs, "free of charge" i.e. through taxation, no private hotdog companies would exist. Of course not - how can you compete with a monopoly which takes people's money for a service whether they like it or not?

    Look at private housing estates - do they have streetlights? Do you honestly think private roads wouldn't similarly be lit?
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    No, it's because the government has a monopoly on roads. This is like saying if the government provided everyone with hotdogs, "free of charge" i.e. through taxation, no private hotdog companies would exist. Of course not - how can you compete with a monopoly which takes people's money for a service whether they like it or not?

    Look at private housing estates - do they have streetlights? Do you honestly think private roads wouldn't similarly be lit?
    You've stolen my arguments - almost verbatim!

    "The government provides the street lighting not because no private company will, but because the government has a monopoly on the roads. Look at private estates - don't they have any street lighting? If roads were privately owned then whatever mechanism the owner decided to implement would enable him to collect revenues for the provision and maintenance of utilities - such as electric lights, road markings, sewage facilities and so on. This might imply toll roads everywhere, but that'd be better than the current policy, where people who don't demand things (non-car drivers) have to pay for them."
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    I can't open this, but I'm fairly sure I know the arguments.
    You clearly don't. Read about public goods and government intervention in a basic economics textbook.
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    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    You've stolen my arguments - almost verbatim!
    I know, I read your post afterwards. What can I say, great minds...

    You clearly don't. Read about public goods and government intervention in a basic economics textbook.
    Way to go, ad hominem attack while you have nothing to say about the point that both thermoregulatio and I raised basically simultaneously. You think there's such an open and shut case? Try reading this, by - gasp - a professional economist. Or maybe have a look at this paper by Coase, where he questions the very basis of government intervention in the market when externalities exist. Maybe if you feel he needs to learn some "basic economics" you can tell the Nobel Prize committee why?
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    (Original post by biggie-n)
    You clearly don't. Read about public goods and government intervention in a basic economics textbook.
    The fundamental problem, if I might jump in to defend DrunkHamster, is that on a utilitarian scale, people are not treated as inviduals, owning justly-acquired property, but as part of the collective, subordinate to it in everything. So there might be a utilitarian justification for protection (if say, 90% of citizens of a nation were employed in one nationalised industry) but there is never a natural-rights justification (which is what Locke is on about, in the quote that you dismissed without reason).

    All the arguments for public goods presuppose utilitarianism. Which is, for individualists like me (and DrunkHamster, judging from his anarcho-capitalism) an unreasonable moral premise. So the arguments predicated upon that are worthless, to Austrians, anarcho-capitalists, objectivists, right-libertarians &c.

    EDIT:
    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    You think there's such an open and shut case? Try reading this, by - gasp - a professional economist.
    Walter Block rocks! You should listen to this lecture series, if you haven't already.
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    (Original post by thermoregulatio)
    The fundamental problem, if I might jump in to defend DrunkHamster, is that on a utilitarian scale, people are not treated as inviduals, owning justly-acquired property, but as part of the collective, subordinate to it in everything. So there might be a utilitarian justification for protection (if say, 90% of citizens of a nation were employed in one nationalised industry) but there is never a natural-rights justification (which is what Locke is on about, in the quote that you dismissed without reason).

    All the arguments for public goods presuppose utilitarianism. Which is, for individualists like me (and DrunkHamster, judging from his anarcho-capitalism) an unreasonable moral premise. So the arguments predicated upon that are worthless, to Austrians, anarcho-capitalists, objectivists, right-libertarians &c.
    This is interesting, and although I do sympathise with what I guess is best called the natural law rationale for anarcho-capitalism, I think you're saying that AC is incompatible with utilitarianism too quickly. For example I know one anarcho-capitalist who doesn't believe in morality in the first place, and bases his entire system of beliefs on essentially a preference utilitarian approach.

    I think if you think of property rights as arising because they are the best way of allocating scarce resources, everything else still follows. If we didn't have property rights, we would be in a Hobbesian war of all against all, and nobody would be able to satisfy any of their wants except for the most basic ones. Compare this to a modern capitalistic society where even the poorest have colour TVs and cars, and you can see where the utilitarianism comes in. So once you grant that property rights are the best way of proceeding, whether that comes from a sense of self-ownership and natural law or a naked utilitarian perspective, AC basically follows.

    Where I would agree utilitarianism goes wrong is that it implies we can somehow quantify the benefits that people get from a good or an action, and somehow come up with a meaningful interpersonal comparison of how much "utility" would be gained by carrying out an act.


    Walter Block rocks! You should listen to this lecture series, if you haven't already.
    I've listened to some, I'm still working my way through all of Rothbard first though :cool:
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    This is interesting, and although I do sympathise with what I guess is best called the natural law rationale for anarcho-capitalism, I think you're saying that AC is incompatible with utilitarianism too quickly. For example I know one anarcho-capitalist who doesn't believe in morality in the first place, and bases his entire system of beliefs on essentially a preference utilitarian approach.
    The two aren't incompatible - but I can't think why they are necessarily compatible in every case. For me, taxation is unjustified because it violates natural rights. But on a utilitarian analysis, if taxing (a rich person, say) has the effect of satisfying a greater quantity of other people's wants (through healthcare) then it's justified, isn't it?

    And utilitarianism is a moral system. Quoting Rothbard's "The Ethics of Liberty", chapter 26:

    "Utilitarians, like economists, like to think of themselves as 'scientific' and 'value-free,' and their doctrine supposedly permits them to adopt a virtually value-free stance; for they are presumably not imposing their own values, but simply recommending the geratest possible satisfaction of the desires and wants of the mass of the population.

    But this doctrine is hardly scientific and by no means value-free. For one thing, why the 'greatest number'? Why is it ethically better to follow the wishes of the greater as against the lesser number? What's so good about the 'greatest number'? Suppose that the vast quantity of people in a society hate and revile redheads, and greatly desire to murder them; and suppose further that there are only a few redheads extant at any time. Must we then say that it is 'good' for the vast majority to slaughter redheads? And if not, why not? At the very least, then, utilitarianism scarcely suffices to make a case for liberty and laissez-faire. As Felx Adler wrly put it, utilitarians
    "pronounce the greatest happiness of the greatest number to be the social end, although they fail to make it intelligible why the happiness of the greater number should be cogent as an end upon those who happen to belong to the lesser number." "

    (I won't quote the bit where - sacrilege - he goes on to attack Mises)

    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    I think if you think of property rights as arising because they are the best way of allocating scarce resources, everything else still follows. If we didn't have property rights, we would be in a Hobbesian war of all against all, and nobody would be able to satisfy any of their wants except for the most basic ones.
    So Hobbes prescribes the Leviathan solution - which might satisfy more wants (eg. religious puritans under Cromwell destroying church icons, banning licentious activities) than under a free market.

    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    Compare this to a modern capitalistic society where even the poorest have colour TVs and cars, and you can see where the utilitarianism comes in. So once you grant that property rights are the best way of proceeding, whether that comes from a sense of self-ownership and natural law or a naked utilitarian perspective, AC basically follows.
    Post hoc ergo propter hoc. We're rich, we intermittently followed proto-utilitarian free markets (from Smith onwards), so utilitarianism is the reason for our comfortable standard of life.

    And, on a factual point - a modern capitalistic society is far from AC. So if more wants are satisfied under the mixed economy we have at the moment, the utilitarian can't oppose it, can he?
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    Don't get me wrong, it's not the approach I'm most sympathetic to, I favour the whole natural law approach personally. I was just making the point that it is not a given that utilitarianism is incompatible with anarcho-capitalism, and I probably haven't put it very well because I'm unconvinced. Have you read David Friedman's The Machinery of Freedom? He makes the case for approaching AC from a utilitarian point of view a lot better than I could. Like I say, I'm not sure I agree with him, but I think conceding that a utilitarian approach does require a state is conceding too much.
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    In my opinion these are the positives and negatives of imperialism:

    Positives:
    -Economic wealth
    -Technological Adv.
    -International relations
    -Education
    -large amounts of Gold
    -Abundance of resources

    Negatives:
    -Loss of culture
    -Racism
    -Loss of Individualism
    -Unknown diseases
    -Economic problems
    -Massacres
    -Genocide
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    (Original post by History_Boys)
    In my opinion these are the positives and negatives of imperialism:

    Positives:
    -Economic wealth
    -Technological Adv.
    -International relations
    -Education
    -large amounts of Gold
    -Abundance of resources

    Negatives:
    -Loss of culture
    -Racism
    -Loss of Individualism
    -Unknown diseases
    -Economic problems
    -Massacres
    -Genocide
    That list there shows the ones from economic imperialism in the positive list and the negative effects of political imperialism bellow.
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    Way to go, ad hominem attack while you have nothing to say about the point that both thermoregulatio and I raised basically simultaneously.
    Hmm, how exactly do you propose we charge people for using every single street in the UK?

    And it doesn't get around the fact that the social benefit is greater than the private benefit, so privatising would lead to underproduction (where MSC=MSB is socially optimum). And I fully realise its very difficult to quantify this level.

    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    You think there's such an open and shut case? Try reading this, by - gasp - a professional economist.
    From reading the first few pages I can see where he's going. He basically believes that all goods are effectively public goods and challenges the reader to think of one good that is not. Well, the TV in my room is NOT a public good.
    If you assume like Walter here that everything is a public good then its not difficult to make an argument for complete nationalisation of every industry (which he believes is a logical extension of his assumption).
 
 
 
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