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  1. #81

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    I read an excellent book on radical economics once, its dated now and there's nothing like it available, it took all the theories, socialist or capitalist/neo-liberal, seriously and looked at how they could be or had been applied both with and without qualifications to do with social consequences and cultural underpinning.

    It concluded, and I have to say I largely agree, that the libertarian ideas had largely been exhausted by the eighties, they play a largely normative role now and its also what explains their popularity, most posting by libertarians on this forum even has been of a strongly personalised nature in that way, its about compelling others to adopt the way of life which you hold dear and should they not, well, let them perish.

    Its a pretty narrow view finder and what bothers me is that with its spread the possibility of objective, critical judgements about the limits and expectations of the market or the role of class struggles is just disappearing. So there's less and less ability to explain crisis such as the financial crisis which is still working itself out at all.

  2. #82
    Senior Member BAJ's Avatar
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    When does it become "freeloading"? What percentage of our income should we pay for this insurance? What percentage of take-home (after-tax) income should someone pay on top of the enormous amount of taxes we already pay?

    25% ?

    10% ?

    Why not just raise everyone taxes an additional 15% ? That plan would be CHEAPER for me.

    Yet, increasing the taxes of the rich a few percentage points would also cover it too...maybe.

    My current plan worked well. My current plan is not pay and let them try to collect. Sure, I agree to $3000, but I looked around on the internet, and I generally paid about the same as people with insurance, not even considering their perpetual premiums.

    In addition, I hear various horror stories of denied claims. Insurance companies get richer by denying your claim. It's not like car insurance where they just pay your claim and then drop you if you cost too much. It seems you have to fight medical insurance people from the beginning, then they drop you.

    Billing was crazy. At one hospital some tests were billed externally and the doctor was included in the bill. At the second hospital, all the doctors and labs billed separately. Therefore it was complex to negotiate with everyone.

    Like I said, I got them to write off 90% of the medical bills. It's really time for a revolution. I don't think I can tell you specifically, but I will tell anyone in a general way how to get them to slash or write off their bill. It's time for a revolution, really. Everyone will eventually support medical care for all people. It's only way people will get paid.

  3. #83
    Happy Dancer uumlau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Although it seems like you support Hayek and supply side theories from the content, your tone seems fairly neutral, and unbiased.

    I have gone back and forth on this subject (was Libertarian for a while, now I am not), and you seem fairly knowledgeable. So do you mind if I ask some questions? (I suppose anyone can answer)

    If productivity drives economic growth, why do we generally advise entrepreneurs and inventors to be “market driven”? That is to look for pent-up demand to decide when and where to start a business, and in deciding what to offer?
    The financing for more production comes from meeting market demand, which is why it's easy to believe the Keynesian model that a market is driven by demand. The flaw is that the government spending 1) can only create demand on a temporary basis, and everyone knows it, and 2) is usually just consumption, not creation of capital to be more efficiently productive.

    What, exactly, is a “free” market? Does it resemble one where there are no rules, where I can kill you and take your stuff, and only the strongest survive? If one were to admit rules, where do you draw the line on what rules are admissible? How do you deal with people’s cleverness to follow the letter of the rules, while breaking the spirit of them?
    A free market is an idealization. The ideal, however, is rather close to the reality: as long as theft and fraud are largely deterred, people just buy what they want to buy and can afford, while suppliers try to figure out what people want that can be supplied/produced at an affordable price. If people don't want it, or cannot afford it, it isn't produced, and that is what keeps it efficient without direct manipulation.

    When economists talk about a free market, they presuppose rule of law, not the law of the jungle.

    Without “incentives” or other forms of “manipulation” of the market, how does one account for market externalities? Like, limited bandwidths, limited land, pollution, etc.?
    There are always those things that are not easily governed by a market, and thus require governments. Ideally, the policies would be implemented in such a way so as to prevent the tragedy of the commons, rather than cause it.

    Why are there so few Hayek followers in power? Why is Keynesian macroeconomics the one predominantly taught in college undergrad?
    Keynes says what the powers-that-be want to hear: give them even more powers to make the economy better. Spend money you don't have; you can justify it as "stimulus". It's a circular argument that is analogous to a patent for a perpetual motion machine. Those who truly understand the topic know it's impossible for it to work that way, but it can be difficult for the layman (and the politicians are generally laymen w/r to economics) to discern that the argument is wrong. Since the Keynesian argument is good enough that Ph.D. economists believe it, how is the layman supposed to know the difference?

    Real GDP is supposed to be inflation adjusted. How is that done? Based on the CPI?
    I believe so, yes, but I've never gone into the math that much.

    It does seem weird to measure the result of rebuild after a riot, earthquake, or flood, and war, as being part of economic output. But how do you differentiate between “good” and “bad” economic output?
    Read Frédéric Bastiat. He came up with the broken window fallacy (not the same thing as "broken window theory" as used by law enforcement).

    Here's the thing: all of the economic output is "good." There's nothing wrong with fixing the broken window. In the end, however, that can never make up for purposefully breaking it in the first place: the net assets of society are less than they would have been. Worse, economic growth and productivity generally increase exponentially, so any setback has an exponential impact, just as if one had to pay interest on the destruction.

    In the case of government stimuli, it moves money around more, which increases GDP, so at first blush it looks like Keynesianism works. But this is not unlike a child holding a thermometer next to a light bulb so as to appear sick and stay home from school. The real temperature is still 98.6, but one is fooled into believing it has become 106. The analogy has a flaw, though: the child knows he is lying, but Keynesian theory is stuck with a (quite understandable) confirmation bias, fooling one into believing that the economy has been "stimulated." If the economy gets better (i.e., the government doesn't do anything stupid to suppress it), the stimulus "worked" with a "multiplier effect." If the economy doesn't get better, well, then the government simply didn't spend enough money: after all, the theory couldn't be wrong, could it?

    The "real growth" only comes from creating capital, by which I certainly don't mean creating money, but rather assets that are used to improve productivity. To create a pound of steel, manually, with one person using the techniques of the ancient world, takes about a year (more or less - this is an order-of-magnitude argument, not a precise mathematical argument). In that same year, one person in a modern steel mill creates 1000 tons. Accumulation of capital is what allows that level of productivity. Most government spending doesn't result in accumulation of capital: the highway system allowed more effective transportation of goods cross country, the internet sprang up from DARPA, a government research agency, and new technologies sprang up from NASA and the space race, but these are the exception, not the rule.

    Government can make "good investments", but it is only one investor, and its entrance into any particular market tends to shove other private investors out. The market works precisely because it allows millions of ideas to be tried, and succeed or fail. A venture capitalist will invest in 10 new companies, knowing that 9 will fail, but the 10th, if it succeeds, will provide a 100-to-1 payoff, thus making up for the 9 failed investments. Government just doesn't think that way: it tends to spend good money after bad on whatever project is politically favored, because if it failed, that just means we didn't spend enough, right?

    Another problem is that focusing on stimulus causes the political focus to neglect those policies that dampen growth and would perhaps best be rescinded. If businesses are currently spending lots of money to comply with new regulations, and see even more regulations coming down the road with no way to predict costs, then stimulus doesn't even have a temporary effect. Entrepreneurs and investors will tend to save their money and wait until the costs and risks are better understood. (This is in aggregate, btw. Even in a bad economy, lots of investing and creation of capital is going on - it just isn't enough to meet goals such as reducing unemployment, and so on.) I believe this is what is going on in the current economy. We have two new major regulatory laws (Obamacare and Dodd-Frank) for which the real regulations haven't even been written yet. No one knows how much they'll cost, and investors need to know those costs. Even once those costs are known, they can be high enough to dissuade investment: IPOs have been way down ever since Sarbanes-Oxley was passed in the wake of the Enron fiasco.

  4. #84
    Senior Member Agent Jelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    the fact that our economy went to dogshit after Bush de-regulated big business, and now we're in a recession instead of a depression because of Obama....
    Our economy did go south when bush was in office... but do you really BELIEVE that Obama is the reason we aren't in a "depression"? That just seems so far fetched. The only thing Obama has done is got us into more debt like Bush, and hes also got us involved in another war. So I am really not seeing the difference between the two. And I wholeheartedly believe that we have not seen the full effects of our debt as of yet. This is the calm before the storm.

  5. #85
    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    You're right, Merc, I should listen to you instead. Are you going to start a cult? Are you actually an ENFJ?
    Sorry to ask a dumb question, Marm, but do you have some beef with Fe users? Between this and "you trust authority too much, you must be ESFJ"...

  6. #86
    Senior Member BAJ's Avatar
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    /going tangential (like other people)

    I was debating someone, so I looked up the white house spreadsheets of the deficit.

    In my mind I was clear that deficits increased during Republican administrations, and decreased during democratic ones. Yes, generally this appears to be true.

    However, bleeding heart liberal that I am, I see that Obama has taken things to a whole new level, like 9 or 10% of GDP. Also, I noticed that if you look at things in terms of GDP, productivity increase so the deficit stayed a similar percentage of GDP during Republican administrations even though it increased as a number. I should provide exact figures, but here's the link.

    I'm extremely liberal, and basically want to smash the radio with a hammer every time hear a conservative pundit or talker like Glenn Beck or Rush. But, if you just look at the unbiased figures, the deficit has been raised to a horrible level.

    And I've not seen things improve. It may just be the industry I'm in, but sales are bad and costs seem to be going up.

    Yet, even though I'm bleeding heart liberal, this spending must stop. It must be curtailed. If we increased revenue, it would remain the same. If there is increased productivity during Republican administrations, they kept the deficit the same on a percentage of GDP, instead of paying it down.

    ---

    I hate all the candidates now.

    ----

    But even though I said all this, I still think we can have medical care for all people.

    The representatives have full medical care even though many of them are millionaires.

    I want that type of medical care. I don't want to be afraid of going to the doctor.

    We need the business competition for cost saving and efficiency. However, the only people profiting off the current system are insurance companies. How do they make better profits? By denying people coverage any way they can.

    My co-worker's wife had insurance through her job, but she had to move and get new insurance. The new insurance refused to pay for the re-occurrence of her medical condition because it was "pre-existing"

    My aunt discovered her insurance was, "Not worth the paper it was printed on"

    Blue cross/ blue shield said my test was "elective", so they said they'd only pay half the bill. The bill was a surprise.

    Insurance companies look ways to deny you so they can make greater profits. They look for mistakes on forms, preexisting conditions, experimental procedures (new kinds of medicine), and other stuff. Then if your medical care costs too much, they just drop you. They are instructed to deny you at first. They don't really care about people, only money.

    So we need the cost savings from competition in terms of how much procedures cost. Whichever doctor charges the least, with the least mistakes...he should get the money.

    However, we need to have government controls so that everyone can have medical care who needs it. The preexisting condition denials need to stop, for example.

  7. #87
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Libertarianism is a not unlike a child's fantasy. It wants us to celebrate our individual humanity, all the while excluding compassion and empathy from the equation. It reminds me of a 3 year old I know who would always say "NO! I'll do it!" And you let him try, all the while knowing that he can't do it by himself. It's like cutting off all of your fingers in celebration of the opposable thumb.

  8. #88
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Just FTR in my experience it's NOT true that colleges only teach Keynesian economics. The exclusive strictly Keynesian concept is the monetary (fiscal) multiplier, which does make sense in a fiat money setting (but does not speak about proper allocation) and thus should be taught regardless of whoever publicized its existence. Other than that, the main approach is clearly neoclassical, especially because macroeconomics is rarely tackled in detail since we lack data to give a solid empirical backing to the vast array of proposed theories.

    The "real growth" only comes from creating capital, by which I certainly don't mean creating money, but rather assets that are used to improve productivity. To create a pound of steel, manually, with one person using the techniques of the ancient world, takes about a year (more or less - this is an order-of-magnitude argument, not a precise mathematical argument). In that same year, one person in a modern steel mill creates 1000 tons. Accumulation of capital is what allows that level of productivity. Most government spending doesn't result in accumulation of capital: the highway system allowed more effective transportation of goods cross country, the internet sprang up from DARPA, a government research agency, and new technologies sprang up from NASA and the space race, but these are the exception, not the rule.
    Mmhmh. Actually it's been shown that both capital and labor share a tendency towards decreasing marginal returns i.e. the productivity of capital and labor is inverse-U shaped. What does have a strictly positive (but exogenous) effect on growth is technological change, which - at the moment - hasn't been shown as being clearly connected to either capital or labor accumulation.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  9. #89
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    Libertarianism is a not unlike a child's fantasy. It wants us to celebrate our individual humanity, all the while excluding compassion and empathy from the equation. It reminds me of a 3 year old I know who would always say "NO! I'll do it!" And you let him try, all the while knowing that he can't do it by himself. It's like cutting off all of your fingers in celebration of the opposable thumb.
    Compelling compassion and empathy by force eliminates the ethical human volition. You don't get it.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  10. #90
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Compelling compassion and empathy by force eliminates the ethical human volition. You don't get it.
    Most people have no trouble expressing 'human volition'. It's the 'ethical' part that is problematic. That's why societies have laws.

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