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  1. #71
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by htb View Post
    Not in the least. I very much wish to see agricultural exports to Third World countries where imported food wouldn't simply be shunt to the government, but sold at local retail.

    Dead serious. Very Canadian of you; sarcastic of me!
    They've done that, though. Had volunteer organizations sell food at low cost. And it tears apart their world!

    Seriously: I had a discussion with a bunch of live-in-a-hut africans who can't afford education and need farming to sustain their economy. Shipping them food only kills them off and they know it. It slaughters their farming.

    This is a picture I took in Mozambique; the closest nearby city was Xai-Xai.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  2. #72
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    Yes, what a great pity it must seem to the corporations of today that they cannot rely on indentured servants to make the economy go as they did in those days.
    Again, that is beside the point. I provide a textbook example for Kiddo. There is no getting around slavery from that period. Also, signing a contract that provides for food, shelter, and travel across the ocean in exchange for a certain number of years of work is not even close to slavery. I don't see what you're getting at here.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  3. #73
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Not at all irrelevant. You are ignoring the reality that freedom is a commodity. Often for someone to have the freedom they want, it has to come at the cost of someone else's freedom. Ultimately, freedom is as limited as our resources, whether they be land, gold, oil, or even water. As long as that aspect of reality is true do you think a true free market can exist? Or is this free market suppose to be limited to only white men who own land?



    I'm not denying that freer markets could have benefits, only the practice of assuming that freer markets will have benefits. The real world functions very differently than the kind of world where a "free market" could be successful. Freer markets only work better in principle and only if people don't exploit and coerce others. Otherwise the result is inequalities and oppression. Hence why anarchists take up the non aggression principle, but ignore the reality that human greed motivates others not to do the same. It's the same kind of greed that keeps some from doing their fair share of work while taking handouts and its the same kind of greed that motivates corporate CEOs to steal from their investors. That greed is what makes a true "free market" impossible and what makes deregulation a gamble.
    Freedom is not a commodity. That makes no sense, again. Freedom is the right to do what you want (or not do something). The limits of your rights come at the outer limits of someone else's right to do the same. I also wholeheartedly disagree when you say "(f)ree markets only work better in principle and only if people don't exploit and coerce others." In fact, I will go one further and say that greed isn't a bad thing for the system. Self-interest is a great thing. Duplicity, fraud, and gaming the system are wrong, and we punish that type of behavior through the criminal and civil justice systems, and, let us not forget, through the market itself. When a corporation engages in skullduggery and get found out, stock prices plummet, consumers stop buying, and other businesses want nothing to do with them. The possibility (or even reality) of underhanded behavior does not negate the relative freeness of the market, unless the actors are behaving completely irrationally. If you want to argue for greater corporate transparency, I would agree with you. That doesn't make the market less free. In fact, more knowledge is a hallmark of mature capitalistic economies; this is why the United States or the UK have more stable stock markets (with correspondingly mediocre returns), but places like Brazil or India are subject to big fluctuations (with the possibility of huge returns). The people with the money have less knowledge of what is going on within the developing economies.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  4. #74
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    They've done that, though. Had volunteer organizations sell food at low cost. And it tears apart their world!

    Seriously: I had a discussion with a bunch of live-in-a-hut africans who can't afford education and need farming to sustain their economy. Shipping them food only kills them off and they know it. It slaughters their farming.

    This is a picture I took in Mozambique; the closest nearby city was Xai-Xai.
    Really, the best thing the West can do is to eliminate our agricultural subsidies. They are simply favors to politically connected constituents, and they help to keep poor countries poor. Have you ever seen the statistic that the job in the United States with the most millionaires by percentage is farmer? The price of their land by acre is outrageously high. If we made Americans, Frenchmen, Spaniards, etc. compete against sub-Saharan Africans and Asians, we'd have lower food prices, and more money flowing into poorer countries. The other problem is the governments in those poorer countries, but that has proven to be fairly intractable. Hopefully, as people in those countries become richer, they will demand better government. Usually, that's how things work (I wish it were so in modern America).
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  5. #75
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    So when somebody argues that if the market was allowed to be "more free" they are showing their idealism, not logic, because they are ignoring the fact that "more free" in no way equates to "free" and by doing so they demonstrate that they don't understand that how a "more free market" works in no way equates to how a "free market" would work.
    What the fuck are you talking about?

    Yes the 'free market' can be an ambiguous term.
    But most people understand that when someone describes a 'more free' market, they mean a market where the distribution of resources is less controlled by a centralized government authority.
    Of course one may argue that since property rights are not universally agreed on, that some kind of authority is necessary to enforce some sort of system of property laws. Which tends to contradict the various forms of anarchism (including 'anarcho-capitalism'). But it does not discredit the possibility of a minarchist state, especially one that does not have a fixed constitution.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Our farm policy in North America, Western Europe, and Australia is, frankly, shameful.
    Have you examined Australian agricultural policy recently? I'll give you a hint - Australia has led the way in agricultural trade liberalization, at least in terms of subsidy and tariffs. Some may argue that the 'science based' quarantine system is a form of protectionism (The USA used this to justify their tariffs/subsidies in the FTA negotiations), although it does not stop significant quantities of food imports.
    Last edited by Octarine; 04-12-2008 at 02:37 PM. Reason: spelling. its so late, its early....

  6. #76
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Ok guys, play nicely :1377:

  7. #77
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Freedom is not a commodity. That makes no sense, again. Freedom is the right to do what you want (or not do something). The limits of your rights come at the outer limits of someone else's right to do the same. I also wholeheartedly disagree when you say "(f)ree markets only work better in principle and only if people don't exploit and coerce others."
    I guess we will have to agree to disagree. To be honest, since I know I'm arguing against your fundamental values I never expected you would be able to see the issue from my point of view. Freedom is only a power and as long as we have limited resources, the power of one individual will come at the cost of another individual's power. That is the nature of the world and if you can't see that then I can't help you. That aspect of nature makes a free market impossible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    What the fuck are you talking about?

    Yes the 'free market' can be an ambiguous term.
    But most people understand that when someone describes a 'more free' market, they mean a market where the distribution of resources is less controlled by a centralized government authority.
    Of course one may argue that since property rights are not universally agreed on, that some kind of authority is necessary to enforce some sort of system of property laws. Which tends to contradict the various forms of anarchism (including 'anarcho-capitalism'). But it does not discredit the possibility of a minarchist state, especially one that does not have a fixed constitution.
    Read back a few posts. For one, property rights are not a universally agreed on concept. The concept of owning land was considered silly by Native Americans. So how did the white settlers come to own the communal lands? They forced the natives off it and built fences around it. The Settler's freedom to own property came at the cost of the Native American's freedom to access to their communal lands. Anyways a minarchist state is just a dream in our modern world. But hey, pursue your utopia. Ignore the aspect of reality that people value things other than freedom, such as equality and justice. Pretend that those values don't contradict each other. Pretend everyone accepts your interpretation of the concept of "property" and that no individual will exploit another individual because of those varying perceptions. Delusion is good company.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

  8. #78
    Senior Member Dark Razor's Avatar
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    One thing I'd like to have adressed by the free marketeers is the issue of concentration of wealth in the context of freedom.

    Basically, if we had a system in which all property is privatized, with no inheritance tax, then the people who are rich at the beginning will be able to amass more and more wealth and therefor control over resources and the means of production. Those resources will be available only to those that are willing to agree to the owner's conditions.

    This is particularly bothersome in the case of vital resources such as water and food. Other aspects are troublesome as well however, if more and more property is concentrated in fewer hands, less property will be availabe to the general population, which means that more and more people will be forced to sell their workforce in exchange for the means of daily living.

    And while these people may enter say themselves to the owners "voluntarily", they are still forced into it by the circumstances of their situation, which come about because of the features of the system in general.

    Most people would have to, in effect, sell themselves as slaves to aquire the means for survival, is that freedom? No it is not of course, in a system where the free market reigns, people are not born free, they may only become free if they aquire enough property so they no longer have to sell themselves to others. However without inheritance tax for example, the hands in which wealth is concentrated never change, and since their is only a fixed amount of property available, it will likely be mostly divided up amongst those rich families , and there will be little to nothing left for poorer people to aquire. This will mostly eliminate social mobility and create a class of Feudal Lords who can command the rest of the people at will, for they can choose to either comply or starve.

    Another issue that furthers this is the fact that after your wealth passes a certain threshold you become richer and richer just off the return of your investments, while poor people cannot invest enough to offset the cost inflation inflicts on them, which means that over time they will become poorer. The system therefor furthers the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer, which helps to reduce social mobility even further.

    Actually working and living conditions in 19th century Britain are a good example of what conditions under the "free market" look like.


    To return to the issue of water resources, around the world prices have gone way up everywhere where water has been privatized, sometimes it has quadrupled, which has outpriced many people who previously had access to water. You can research this on the Internet if you want there are many articles about it.

    Another general problem is that a privatized commodity that is limited in supply goes to those who can pay the highest price, and not to those who need it the most. This creates waste, for example, if someone has the ability to pay for 5% of a city's water supply and uses it to water his park or a golf course or whatever, then that water is not available as drinking water and therefor wasted in that regard. Generally the free market generates conditions under which resources are allocated to where the most money is, not to where their use would be most sensible or necessary. Allocation of resources under free market conditions does therefor create enormous amounts of waste, and is the exact opposite of efficient.

    Concentration of vital living resources such as food and water in private hands also clears the way for various forms of coercion, population control and the imposition of the will of the few on the many. This is also the main reason why I am against any patents on any food crops whatsoever. I believe that the vital means of living must always be collectively owned public and shared property that is distributed according to needs and not according to wants.

  9. #79
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Kiddo, you seem to be making presumptions about my beliefs, for which you have no basis as I have not stated them.

    I am quite capable of arguing multiple points of view. Particularly as an attempt to encourage people to re-question their assumptions (especially if they don't make much sense).

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Razor View Post
    One thing I'd like to have adressed by the free marketeers is the issue of concentration of wealth in the context of freedom.
    How does that work exactly?
    In a competitive environment, it is actually quite hard to maintain market capitalization. In the United States for example, many those corporations that were successful in the early 20th century are no longer, or have had to change dramatically to survive.
    The fact is that the more money you have to invest, the harder it is to achieve high ROI - hence why large investment funds typically receive lower ROI than smaller, more agile funds. It is actually easier for the middle class to maintain their level of wealth than the upper class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Razor View Post
    Actually working and living conditions in 19th century Britain are a good example of what conditions under the "free market" look like.
    Last time I checked, living standards for the average working man dramatically improved through the 19th century, combined with dramatic political reform.
    However it was in fact the rich landowners who asked for strong protectionism from the government not to mention restricting other civil liberties such as joining a union.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Razor View Post
    I believe that the vital means of living must always be collectively owned public and shared property that is distributed according to needs and not according to wants.
    Perhaps you should move to Australia? You might enjoy our artificially low priced water (which creates excessive wastage) and strict water rationing laws (an attempt to lower said wastage).

  10. #80
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    Kiddo, you seem to be making presumptions about my beliefs, for which you have no basis as I have not stated them.

    I am quite capable of arguing multiple points of view. Particularly as an attempt to encourage people to re-question their assumptions (especially if they don't make much sense).
    Ah, I see, so that would mean the histrionic, "What the fuck are you talking about?" that you used would be an example of your intellectual skill.

    You stated that you believe a minarchist state is possible, that demonstrates quite a few beliefs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
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