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A critique of Libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism. Watch

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    (Original post by HappinessHappening)
    And of course I agree with you that many of the poorest countries have corrupt governments and socialist market intervention. I think it's about balance though. I don't want the state to tell me where to work or to control every aspect of the economy; but I actively support the provision of universal education (or vouchers) and a safety net for the very poorest and desperate.
    Hello and welcome to today's edition of "You're a Classical Liberal." Congratulations!

    Sorry, but the way you described what you believed there makes you sound like somebody who could easily be described as Classical Liberal or Libertarian. We aren't all about no state intervention whatsoever, you know!
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    (Original post by HappinessHappening)
    Wow, I thought you absolutely abhorred the idea of redistribution?
    It doesn't really bother me. I want to see the vast majority of human beings happy. Some degree of redistribution can achieve that. No degree of regulation or state ownership can.
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    Hello and welcome to today's edition of "You're a Classical Liberal." Congratulations!

    Sorry, but the way you described what you believed there makes you sound like somebody who could easily be described as Classical Liberal or Libertarian. We aren't all about no state intervention whatsoever, you know!
    This is where I start to get confused though. Where does one draw the line? I mean, providing education vouchers and welfare benefits for the poorest isn't really libertarian at all, is it? How many welfare reforms would have to be introduced before you could no longer call a society libertarian? A national health service? What if you had a national health service instead of educaton vouchers?
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    (Original post by HappinessHappening)
    This is where I start to get confused though. Where does one draw the line? I mean, providing education vouchers and welfare benefits for the poorest isn't really libertarian at all, is it? How many welfare reforms would have to be introduced before you could no longer call a society libertarian? A national health service? What if you had a national health service instead of educaton vouchers?
    Well it depends, really. In the end, it really is about what you personally want to class yourself as, but vouchers are a libertarian idea, promoted historically by libertarians (friedman, iirc) as a replacement for state ownership. They're abhorred by the Left, generally. (And by the centre, since the centre follows whatever the Left do but in a less extreme fashion)
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    Well it depends, really. In the end, it really is about what you personally want to class yourself as, but vouchers are a libertarian idea, promoted historically by libertarians (friedman, iirc) as a replacement for state ownership. They're abhorred by the Left, generally.
    Why do the left hate them?

    And do you support the NHS?
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    (Original post by HappinessHappening)
    Why do the left hate them?

    And do you support the NHS?
    Because it removes state influence in the education sector and encourages competition.

    No but I haven't seen a good plan to replace it yet. here are my thoughts on the NHS.
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    Because it removes state influence in the education sector and encourages competition.

    No but I haven't seen a good plan to replace it yet. here are my thoughts on the NHS.
    Well, that's just silly. I've always thought vouchers were a great idea for that very reason.

    Thanks. I'll have a read of that.
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    (Original post by HappinessHappening)
    This is where I start to get confused though. Where does one draw the line? I mean, providing education vouchers and welfare benefits for the poorest isn't really libertarian at all, is it? How many welfare reforms would have to be introduced before you could no longer call a society libertarian? A national health service? What if you had a national health service instead of educaton vouchers?
    Baggers is right, there are plenty of people who count as libertarians who have little problem with a safety net or state funding of education (not state provision of education, because of course the two are detachable). Hayek, for one. Friedman is another.
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    (Original post by HappinessHappening)
    However mental ill or unintelligent the son of a billionaire, chances are they will end up just fine in terms of material comfort and provision. If you are mentally retarded and born into a poor family however, you're pretty much f*cked in DrunkHamster's world.
    Let's look at it in perspective though, if you are mentally retarded and born into a poor family at the moment you're pretty much f*cked in the actual world. You think the provision for mentally ill people is that great in the UK? In a libertarian society I have full confidence that people would realize that without their voluntary contributions, there will be no state to pick up the pieces as there (supposedly, in theory but not so much in practice) is now. And so, as people have consistently done when there has not been a state, they will give to charity. Civil society if it is left to its own devices has more than enough resources to provide for the sick and the poor without needing to resort to coercion. I really do think that people are so in favour of putting all of the responsibility for the sick, the poor, the worst-off onto 'society' as a way of avoiding the realization that the well-off have a moral burden which cannot just be discharged through the state.
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    Well it depends, really. In the end, it really is about what you personally want to class yourself as, but vouchers are a libertarian idea, promoted historically by libertarians (friedman, iirc) as a replacement for state ownership. They're abhorred by the Left, generally. (And by the centre, since the centre follows whatever the Left do but in a less extreme fashion)
    Were vouchers seen as a 'step' to no state intervention or a solution? Persoanlly I like the idea - and think it should be trialled. I wouldn't class myself as libertarian though - and I still don't think it matches with some Libertarian positions (or the implications of them anyway) regarding no state intereference in anything. But I am also perfectly happy for 'state owned' schools to op[erate in a voucher system - why not? If they're popular and succeed - what would a liber position be on this?
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    Let's look at it in perspective though, if you are mentally retarded and born into a poor family at the moment you're pretty much f*cked in the actual world. You think the provision for mentally ill people is that great in the UK? In a libertarian society I have full confidence that people would realize that without their voluntary contributions, there will be no state to pick up the pieces as there (supposedly, in theory but not so much in practice) is now. And so, as people have consistently done when there has not been a state, they will give to charity. Civil society if it is left to its own devices has more than enough resources to provide for the sick and the poor without needing to resort to coercion. I really do think that people are so in favour of putting all of the responsibility for the sick, the poor, the worst-off onto 'society' as a way of avoiding the realization that the well-off have a moral burden which cannot just be discharged through the state.
    at no time has this been the case. You chose a bad example with mentally ill - they have in general always been outcasts. Likewise whilst general philanthropy may incresase that does not mean it will cover what is left behind by the state.

    While I would live to see more voluntary charity the only way that real differences can be made is in a system where there are people rich enough to give large amounts of money. The model preupposes massive inequality. Indeed this is what occoured in the Industrial Revolution.
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    (Original post by Janos_D)
    Were vouchers seen as a 'step' to no state intervention or a solution? Persoanlly I like the idea - and think it should be trialled. I wouldn't class myself as libertarian though - and I still don't think it matches with some Libertarian positions (or the implications of them anyway) regarding no state intereference in anything. But I am also perfectly happy for 'state owned' schools to op[erate in a voucher system - why not? If they're popular and succeed - what would a liber position be on this?
    The Liber position is that it's more favourable than what we presently have. That said, the Liber position again is that a state owned school would not out compete a private owned school and empirical evidence shows that this is true, otherwise private education would basically cease to exist except for the super super rich. It doesn't hold that state schools would be popular or succeed if the reason for their present existence, i.e. price to the consumer (which is directly 0) disappeared. I personally don't see the point. The point in a state school is that it's free at the point of consumption. Why bother allowing them to exist in a voucher environment?

    Whether you classify yourself as a Libertarian or not is irrelevant. You and I both think that murder is wrong, that doesn't make us the same political ideology. If someone holds otherwise Libertarian views but agrees with vouchers over state ownership, well I don't think that means they aren't a Libertarian. It's just factually wrong that all Libertarians want to see the state go away.
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    Who ever said ....
    You haven't addressed my point though. I'm suggesting that 'liberty' that can't be exercised isn't worthy of the name. I'm suggesting that private property curbs liberties for some as it allows others to enjoy it. To the extent that libertarians regard themselves as the champions of liberty for everyone their defence of private property shows this to be false. In short, right-libertarianism is the defence of the liberty of owners and, with lesser satisfaction, those who rely upon the favours or employment of owners.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    You haven't addressed my point though. I'm suggesting that 'liberty' that can't be exercised isn't worthy of the name. I'm suggesting that private property curbs liberties for some as it allows others to enjoy it. To the extent that libertarians regard themselves as the champions of liberty for everyone their defence of private property shows this to be false. In short, right-libertarianism is the defence of the liberty of owners and, with lesser satisfaction, those who rely upon the favours or employment of owners.
    Only if you identify liberty with physical ability does this follow; and, of course, liberty is not ability, or wealth, or power, or anything else - it's liberty, and that is why we have different words for all of these different concepts. If private property curbs liberty, as you understand it, would you say that (successfully enforced) laws against rape curb liberty? If so, what makes you think that anyone is defending this liberty, as you understand it? If not, how is your conception of liberty even coherent?
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    I might go home and make a drink using a kettle (which exists because of PCG) ... Then I might use my flushing toilet (which exists because of PCG) and then go upstairs and go on the computer for a bit (which exists because of PCG) and browse the internet (which exists because of PCG).
    I can't be bother to dissect your post entirely but these things in particular weren't developed by PGC (at least not entirely). Computers (and the internet) in particular are a case in point whereby they were predominantly developed by state funding for 20 years plus before they became commercially viable for the private sector to be willing to invest.

    Moreover, many of the things you mentioned are there often by virtue of post-war Japanese innovation, which owes a lot to it's Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

    And if we look at medical advances, almost all of the fundamental discovers since 1930 have been done under state funding. Advances under private funding has been limited to a few low-impact specific treatments for certain cancers and arthritic conditions etc.
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    (Original post by Captain Crash)
    I can't be bother to dissect your post entirely but these things in particular weren't developed by PGC (at least not entirely). Computers (and the internet) in particular are a case in point whereby they were predominantly developed by state funding for 20 years plus before they became commercially viable for the private sector to be willing to invest.
    The idea of a computing machine was developed by Charles Babbage who created a (working) design for one which was never built. Hollerith developed the tabulating machine. Whilst the big computers of the Second World War were built using public funds, the ideas and the fundamental technologies (like transistors and thermionic valves) were developed by private individuals working in for-profit companies.

    Flush toilets were first used by the Indus Valley civilisation. Giblin, a British inventor developed the design which was then manufactured and sold for profit by Crapper.

    The internet is similar to computers; whilst built using public funds, the technologies were developed by private individuals in universities and for-profit companies.

    (Original post by Captain Crash)
    And if we look at medical advances, almost all of the fundamental discovers since 1930 have been done under state funding. Advances under private funding has been limited to a few low-impact specific treatments for certain cancers and arthritic conditions etc.
    Really? Most of the fundamental discoveries seem to be made by for-profit Pharmaceutical companies in the US, where their lack of price-control means they can charge sky-high prices for new drugs in order to subsidise the sale in countries with price control.

    Health is a difficult one. If someone wants a ferrari they can't afford you say "tough cookies", but if someone wants a heart transplant they can't afford, it's different. Price controls, national triage (NICE) and regulation (FDA) don't bring the cost of cutting edge treatments within reach of the average Joe, they increase the cost of developing cutting edge treatments until they're not made at all.
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    (Original post by Captain Crash)
    I can't be bother to dissect your post entirely but these things in particular weren't developed by PGC (at least not entirely). Computers (and the internet) in particular are a case in point whereby they were predominantly developed by state funding for 20 years plus before they became commercially viable for the private sector to be willing to invest.

    Moreover, many of the things you mentioned are there often by virtue of post-war Japanese innovation, which owes a lot to it's Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

    And if we look at medical advances, almost all of the fundamental discovers since 1930 have been done under state funding. Advances under private funding has been limited to a few low-impact specific treatments for certain cancers and arthritic conditions etc.
    http://www.masterplumbers.com/plumbv...t_tribute2.asp
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/paul.li...o/kettles.html

    Both these articles contradict the notion that kettles and flushing toilets were;
    a. inventions that came from a state bureau,
    b. inventions that require state funding to be created,
    c. inventions that came about because of state support.

    While some specific technology that we use may have come because the state deemed it important enough to invest in, that isn't an argument to say that private investors would not have come to invest in it nor is it to say that technology requires state intervention. Neither of those are logical conclusions of the statement "Some important technological advancements are because of state intervention."

    Secondly, although the state has been able to intervene in these situations, this is because of the general wealth of free market countries compared to their alternatives. A wealthier country can be taxed more (that isn't really undeniable) and therefore more can theoretically be spent by the Government -- USA vs USSR for instance, the USA had the private technology base and the economy large enough to properly invest in space travel whereas the USSR had to use a much larger resource base because they were simply not as efficient or advanced.
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    Secondly, although the state has been able to intervene in these situations, this is because of the general wealth of free market countries compared to their alternatives. A wealthier country can be taxed more (that isn't really undeniable) and therefore more can theoretically be spent by the Government -- USA vs USSR for instance, the USA had the private technology base and the economy large enough to properly invest in space travel whereas the USSR had to use a much larger resource base because they were simply not as efficient or advanced.
    Well indeed, but even there:
    "How in the world could the Langley Research Center, which is nothing more than a bunch of plumbers, manage this scientific program to the moon?" asked the prominent Nobel-prize winning scientist Harold Urey, to NASA's administrator James Webb.

    That's an odd question, and reflected the academic snobbery of the time. The private sector, which came to the rescue of the Apollo program time and again, had plenty of talent - particularly in the shape of STL (Space Technology Laboratories).
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    (Original post by sconzey)
    The idea of a computing machine was developed by Charles Babbage who created a (working) design for one which was never built. Hollerith developed the tabulating machine. Whilst the big computers of the Second World War were built using public funds, the ideas and the fundamental technologies (like transistors and thermionic valves) were developed by private individuals working in for-profit companies.
    For 20 years after the war, no private company would go near computers, and quite right too. They were anywhere near commercially viable until the 70s. The early stuff doesn't really classify as computers, but Babbage didn't develop it out of PGC, rather out of academic interest.
    (Original post by sconzey)
    Flush toilets were first used by the Indus Valley civilisation. Giblin, a British inventor developed the design which was then manufactured and sold for profit by Crapper.
    The idea wasn't PGC
    (Original post by sconzey)
    The internet is similar to computers; whilst built using public funds, the technologies were developed by private individuals in (state-run) universities and for-profit companies.
    The internet was never 'developed' by private companies.
    (Original post by sconzey)

    Really? Most of the fundamental discoveries seem to be made by for-profit Pharmaceutical companies in the US, where their lack of price-control means they can charge sky-high prices for new drugs in order to subsidise the sale in countries with price control.
    Pharmaceutical companies have a habit of altering existing drugs for slightly better side-effects or bioabsorption. The original and fundamental breakthrough drugs (e.g. penicillin, cortisone) were all developed by scientists attached to (state run) universities. There are only a handful developed by the companies and these are usually very specific, low-impact drugs. The companies are very good at refining the methods and charging a fortune for them, but very little important research actually gets completed by them.
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    (Original post by Bagration)
    http://www.masterplumbers.com/plumbv...t_tribute2.asp
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/paul.li...o/kettles.html

    Both these articles contradict the notion that kettles and flushing toilets were;
    a. inventions that came from a state bureau,
    b. inventions that require state funding to be created,
    c. inventions that came about because of state support.
    You'll note I didn't say that these were developed due to state support, rather their development wasn't a result of PGC. Your kettle may be mass produce by a for-profit company but a for-profit company didn't come up with the idea of kettle.
    (Original post by Bagration)
    While some specific technology that we use may have come because the state deemed it important enough to invest in, that isn't an argument to say that private investors would not have come to invest in it nor is it to say that technology requires state intervention. Neither of those are logical conclusions of the statement "Some important technological advancements are because of state intervention."
    (Original post by Bagration)
    On the contrary. Private investors only invest if there is a short-term to possibly medium term gain. Ask an investor to invest in something that may or may not give them material returns in 20+ years and you'll be hard pressed. The idea's a bit like evolution - progress is only made is it improves/returns a profit in the short term; long-term aims are neglected for immediate returns. Computers are an excellent example of this. I'm not saying that private investment is a bad thing; on the contrary, however I'm dubious of the fact that something like computers could be developed privately in the same time span. Likewise, fundamental scientific research is largely ignored by the private sector, mostly because it's hard to prevent tangible benefits in advance.
    Secondly, although the state has been able to intervene in these situations, this is because of the general wealth of free market countries compared to their alternatives. A wealthier country can be taxed more (that isn't really undeniable) and therefore more can theoretically be spent by the Government -- USA vs USSR for instance, the USA had the private technology base and the economy large enough to properly invest in space travel whereas the USSR had to use a much larger resource base because they were simply not as efficient or advanced.
    Of course to take that line would be to ignore Japan. Japan were in a terrible state economically post WW2 but the Ministry of International Trade and Industry acted as an architect for improving the economy and directing technological growth.
 
 
 
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