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  1. #11
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    I don't think they're all evil either BUT the level of greed in just a few individuals can have catastropic affects on surrounding markets and entire macro economies. I'll cite Enron for energy, Worldcomm for telecom, Pfizer for medical, Bear Sterns for mortgage lending, Arthur Andersen for accounting. I'd add MorganStanley for petroleum but there seem to be enough distractions to continue to leverage more futures w/out the assests to back them up that it doesn't seem like fingers will point to until the bubble bursts before this can prolly go on the list.

    I think fear and greed are THE two most prevailing factors driving our economy and way of life, far out weighing supply and demand. It effects us as individuals in how much we consume, hoard and waste. We use it to justify any questionable, unethical or even illegal practice in business.

    I don't think it's so much corruption and back stabbing as it is ass covering and self interest.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by spartan26 View Post
    I don't think they're all evil either BUT the level of greed in just a few individuals can have catastropic affects on surrounding markets and entire macro economies. I'll cite Enron for energy, Worldcomm for telecom, Pfizer for medical, Bear Sterns for mortgage lending, Arthur Andersen for accounting. I'd add MorganStanley for petroleum but there seem to be enough distractions to continue to leverage more futures w/out the assests to back them up that it doesn't seem like fingers will point to until the bubble bursts before this can prolly go on the list.

    I think fear and greed are THE two most prevailing factors driving our economy and way of life, far out weighing supply and demand. It effects us as individuals in how much we consume, hoard and waste. We use it to justify any questionable, unethical or even illegal practice in business.

    I don't think it's so much corruption and back stabbing as it is ass covering and self interest.
    With great wealth and power come great temptation and opportunity for malice. There should be correspondingly great punishment for misbehavior. It should come only AFTER the misbehavior has been committed, though.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  3. #13
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Do you believe that individuals own themselves and their labor? If you do, then there isn't a tenable way to believe that "certain proportions of wealth do not belong to anyone." Either you own it or you do not own it, but merely get to use a government-mandated portion of it. I believe that the money I earn is mine. The money you earn is yours. The money Warren Buffett earns is his. It doesn't matter if he can buy and sell me 1,000,000 times over (for now; I plan on being in that upper 1% of income earners, hopefully upper 0.1%). He is entitled to the fruits of his labors, just as a custodian or teacher or lawyer is.
    I believe in the concept of getting what you deserve. I don't personally think extremely rich people have done anything to deserve such an enormous share of value for themselves. The argument that he simply "earned" it by playing the system doesn't make me feel like he really deserves the amount he has. He couldn't possibly need, or probably even know what to do with all the money he has. As such, a certain amount money in one person's hand becomes waste, and that excess earning is like no money at all.
    It's like the nature of a glutton. Let's suppose there is a man who has farmed for himself an orchard. The man also lives near to some starving stragglers. Let's say the man's orchard yield turned out to be a shocking success this particular season. Such high yield that he has well over the amount he could need, or even healthily eat.
    The orchard may belong to this man, but if he eats every single one of those apples and doesn't give a single one to the starving people near by, I'm still going to call him wasteful and inconsiderate. I don't think it's crazy that I believe there to be a moral imperative in participating in society.

    I absolutely believe that people own themselves and should represent themselves. It is actually my belief in this that makes me fear unbridled capitalism. A every person's identity will become their calculated wealth, and the fate of their lives will be determined by those at the top of the latter.
    If you give everyone endless opportunity, but give no one social assistance (I understand these to be two recurrent themes of Libertarianism/Classical Liberalism) you wind up with a "finders keepers", "every man for himself" situation. Someone can use all this wonderful opportunity to climb to a position of such power that they can then deprive the opportunity from everyone else. You see, the reason I fear inequality so much, is because once a certain degree of it is acheived, the people who are left at the bottom will become so disavdantaged that they will never have a fair chance again, especially if those that reached the top don't want them to.
    And lorg knows that people at the top of the hill heavy plenty of reason to keep anyone else from getting there.

    Your expectation they people can simply gain a fortune by their raw labors is kind of like those post-bellum social commentators that said blacks should rise up by "bettering themselves", and in doing so, basically implied that blacks who weren't succeeding weren't bettering themselves. The reality was that black people, though no longer slaves, were so terrorized that they had no real chance of succeeding by playing by the rules. They had no legitimate way of winning, and expecting them to do so was a travesty.

    The fact that you personally plan to make it to the top is the key to how this system maintains support. You are like a lottery player. You want the system to stick around because you've become convinced that you, out of tons and tons of unfortunate people, will somehow have the fortune to make it all the way. I can tell you that a vast portion of those people who never get out of the hole also convinced themselves that they'd make it. Those who didn't convince themselves have been bitter, disenfranchised, and hated the system most of their lives, because they have felt that there was no hope for them. But this system keeps going because the hopefuls still comprise the majority, and if the system were removed, they would all feel like they lost their personal chance to hit it big. It's irrational, though, because at least 75% these suckers aren't going anywhere, and by believing that they are, they forfeit the chance to build a system that actually brings good will to all.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  4. #14
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I believe in the concept of getting what you deserve.
    This is entirely subjective. Who decides who deserves what?

    I don't personally think extremely rich people have done anything to deserve such an enormous share of value for themselves. The argument that he simply "earned" it by playing the system doesn't make me feel like he really deserves the amount he has. He couldn't possibly need, or probably even know what to do with all the money he has. As such, a certain amount money in one person's hand becomes waste, and that excess earning is like no money at all.
    Are you kidding me? It's a lot of work to manage enormous sums of money. And if it's not properly invested, it'll gradually disappear. The rich don't stay rich without proper investment. And that investment creates employment opportunities for others. Your concept of 'excess' is so ridiculous, I really don't know what else to say.

    It's like the nature of a glutton. Let's suppose there is a man who has farmed for himself an orchard. The man also lives near to some starving stragglers. Let's say the man's orchard yield turned out to be a shocking success this particular season. Such high yield that he has well over the amount he could need, or even healthily eat.
    The orchard may belong to this man, but if he eats every single one of those apples and doesn't give a single one to the starving people near by, I'm still going to call him wasteful and inconsiderate. I don't think it's crazy that I believe there to be a moral imperative in participating in society.
    And what if he sells those apples, uses his profits to plant more apple trees, then sells even more apples? Is he still a bad person? That's what the rich do, they don't sit there and 'eat all the apples'. Your analogy is flawed.

    As for the rest of your post, it sounds like you don't think much of 'motivation'.

  5. #15
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    I've bothered to un-ignore you for this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    This is entirely subjective. Who decides who deserves what?
    This path of the discussion leads to a dead end.
    You tell me who decides who earns what. That seems equally subjective to me, especially when it comes to something as abstract as monetary value.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Are you kidding me? It's a lot of work to manage enormous sums of money. And if it's not properly invested, it'll gradually disappear. The rich don't stay rich without proper investment. And that investment creates employment opportunities for others. Your concept of 'excess' is so ridiculous, I really don't know what else to say.
    Okay. Even humoring the idea that CEOs really are hard workers, how does the fact that they do hard work imply that their work actually does anything positive for anyone? A person can work very hard in their selfishness.

    Investment doesn't always create wonderful opportunities. Huge projects may require people to work, but those workers don't have to be paid much.
    You might have seen statistics showing that the proportionate size of CEOs income has been inflating over the years. Further more, the vast majority of all new wealth developed in the USA since the 70s has gone to the upper-class. The poor have been stagnating for decades in an increasingly rich and expensive world. So you can invest a lot into a new project, without it actually doing much for worker salary. The value of employment is heavily influenced by the salary it has. To cite an example outside of the USA, take a look at the United Arab Emirates. They've got some really rich people out there, and a whole ton of used and abused workers. Most people that are laboring on the Burj Dubai aren't leaping for joy over it.

    And people don't have to do much productive investment at all. Business owners can and have been hoarding more an more money for themselves. You might say that this would help lead to an economic crash eventually. Well, you'd be right! I'm very confident that is crash around the corner. A lot of these people are either too selfish to give a damn about your economic woes, to short-sighted to see it coming, or too much in denial to accept it. I can only pray that there really are enough decent people with wealth to repair some of the damage after the crash, because it's already too late to avert it. If that's not the case, then there had better be people in the government who are willing to get things right and take appropriate action, but that doesn't look like the case either. Bush and Cheney are exactly the kind of people that make this happen, so I suppose the government is out, unless Barack Obama is some kind of freaking super hero (not likely).


    Do you believe that a person can maintain high wealth in a criminal and unconstructive way? I'd really like you answer to this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    And what if he sells those apples, uses his profits to plant more apple trees, then sells even more apples? Is he still a bad person? That's what the rich do, they don't sit there and 'eat all the apples'. Your analogy is flawed.
    Well, in my analogy, the apples represented the money itself, not a product to be sold. So, taken literally, he can't sell the money for money to make more money. Haha. Well, he can... but that kind of things is questionable.

    Maybe, just maybe, some of the rich do that. In my observations, though, I don't recall ever seeing someone in top 10% being as constructive with their money as I woud like. Living in a middle-class home isn't really hell. I don't know why they need to own three summer homes... In general, I don't think human nature gives these people much reason to live any other way.

    I do find it interesting that you made a point based on how someone is using money, rather than whether or not they "earned" it. That's focusing on the kind of thing that matters to me. I have another question for you, though.
    You seem to be attributing a lot of power to these people. The kind of power that would allow them to really influence society in a positive way.
    But that also means being able to influence society in a bad way. For someone who seems so oppsed to putting a lot of governmental power in the hands of one politician, I'm surprised that you're willing to put some much economic power into the hands of individual businessmen, You say that economic freedom is needed to ensure all other freedoms. If that's true, then wouldn't allowing a few people to have so much influence over the market economy seem like entrusting too much of your freedom to a few elites?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    As for the rest of your post, it sounds like you don't think much of 'motivation'.
    That's odd, a great deal of what I was talking about had to do with importance of motivation. If you put people in a despairing situation and make them feel like ants in comparison to the top class, in won't necessarily spark a drive in them to succeed. It might just make them feel hopeless, or even more likey, that they have to go around the system via crime.
    If they actually try to progress conventionally and find that they are intensely disadvantaged, that's going to kill their motivation even more, and they would find it easier to undermine the system than to participate.
    That's people for you. I'm just telling it like it is.


    (Generally, I firmly believe that a country attempting to follow Libertarian ideals would have a phenomenal crime rate, especially nurtured by organized crime)
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    (Generally, I firmly believe that a country attempting to follow Libertarian ideals would have a phenomenal crime rate, especially nurtured by organized crime)
    That is a very strange assertion to me, especially considering that ending the Drug War would lower the violent crime right significantly in urban areas (along with eliminating nonviolent drug offenses from the books, and, hence, the crime statistics). Would you care to elaborate?
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I believe in the concept of getting what you deserve. I don't personally think extremely rich people have done anything to deserve such an enormous share of value for themselves. The argument that he simply "earned" it by playing the system doesn't make me feel like he really deserves the amount he has. He couldn't possibly need, or probably even know what to do with all the money he has. As such, a certain amount money in one person's hand becomes waste, and that excess earning is like no money at all.
    I would just have to disagree here. It's not about "needing" a vast sum of money. It's about whether or not the money is yours. Do you think that Bill Gates' money is wasted? He is the biggest charitable donor in the world? How about Warren Buffett's? Berkshire Hathaway owns interests that make furniture, school and work uniforms, encyclopedias, and vacuum cleaners. Tens of thousands of people are employed because of him. Plus, he only takes a salary of $100,000 a year to run it. He is worth over $60 billion because of shrewd investments that are worth FAR more to society than that.


    It's like the nature of a glutton. Let's suppose there is a man who has farmed for himself an orchard. The man also lives near to some starving stragglers. Let's say the man's orchard yield turned out to be a shocking success this particular season. Such high yield that he has well over the amount he could need, or even healthily eat.
    The orchard may belong to this man, but if he eats every single one of those apples and doesn't give a single one to the starving people near by, I'm still going to call him wasteful and inconsiderate. I don't think it's crazy that I believe there to be a moral imperative in participating in society.
    Lateralus covered this. Money on its own doesn't do anything. But "apples" used to create more apples are worth a hell of a lot. You seem to think that the economy is a zero-sum game, i.e., that one person making money means that someone else loses it. That couldn't be farther from the truth. Wealth is created every day.

    I absolutely believe that people own themselves and should represent themselves. It is actually my belief in this that makes me fear unbridled capitalism. A every person's identity will become their calculated wealth, and the fate of their lives will be determined by those at the top of the latter.
    If you give everyone endless opportunity, but give no one social assistance (I understand these to be two recurrent themes of Libertarianism/Classical Liberalism) you wind up with a "finders keepers", "every man for himself" situation. Someone can use all this wonderful opportunity to climb to a position of such power that they can then deprive the opportunity from everyone else. You see, the reason I fear inequality so much, is because once a certain degree of it is acheived, the people who are left at the bottom will become so disavdantaged that they will never have a fair chance again, especially if those that reached the top don't want them to.
    And lorg knows that people at the top of the hill heavy plenty of reason to keep anyone else from getting there.
    Calling libertarianism a "finders keepers" or "every man for himself" philosophy is a gross mischaracterization. This is why I feel that you do not understand libertarianism, and that you have not read the classic texts within it. You seem to be talking about a Randian "Great men rise; weak men are run over" nightmare. You simply misunderstand the basics. It's like you believe free markets turn people in Scrooge McDucks diving into their Money Bins, or homeless people living in cardboard boxes. That's silly.


    Your expectation they people can simply gain a fortune by their raw labors is kind of like those post-bellum social commentators that said blacks should rise up by "bettering themselves", and in doing so, basically implied that blacks who weren't succeeding weren't bettering themselves. The reality was that black people, though no longer slaves, were so terrorized that they had no real chance of succeeding by playing by the rules. They had no legitimate way of winning, and expecting them to do so was a travesty.
    Well, this is a red herring argument. Besides the offensive terminology of "winning," which reduces complex and harmonious market action into a contest (see zero-sum above), it doesn't hold up. The "rules" were gamed (by a corrupt government and a racist electorate) to keep blacks down after the Civil War. They weren't "losing" at a game. They were horribly and harshly kept down with the power of federal, state, and local governments that prevented them from having access to economic opportunities. It was a campaign to keep people poor and powerless. The cruel irony is that Jim Crow helped keep white people poor, too, since the ensuing exodus of cheap labor (blacks) to the North helped to feed the late Industrial Revolution boom there, while the South continued to languish into the 20th Century. Bigotry and irrationality in a market economy have serious consequences. Also, crappy government education and the War on Drugs are major factors amongst black poverty to this day.

    The fact that you personally plan to make it to the top is the key to how this system maintains support. You are like a lottery player. You want the system to stick around because you've become convinced that you, out of tons and tons of unfortunate people, will somehow have the fortune to make it all the way. I can tell you that a vast portion of those people who never get out of the hole also convinced themselves that they'd make it. Those who didn't convince themselves have been bitter, disenfranchised, and hated the system most of their lives, because they have felt that there was no hope for them. But this system keeps going because the hopefuls still comprise the majority, and if the system were removed, they would all feel like they lost their personal chance to hit it big. It's irrational, though, because at least 75% these suckers aren't going anywhere, and by believing that they are, they forfeit the chance to build a system that actually brings good will to all.
    If you HONESTLY believe that a market economy functions like a lottery, then you need to go to Econ 101. That is such a childish, ludicrous idea that I don't know where to start. Are you seriously claiming that I have no agency regarding my wealth or position in life? I decided to go to college, I decided to study film, I decided to do intern for no money the past two summers rather than take time off. I don't have much money, and my parents do OK, but we're not wealthy people. But I have my brain and my education and the personal contacts I have built up the last few years. I will be able to make a good, perhaps even fabulously good living. Moreover, what is WRONG with believing that you'll better yourself, even if it doesn't work out? Desperate hope brought immigrants to this country in disgusting, teeming boats for a shot at something better. The country was built by people who took a chance at hitting it big. Most didn't make it, but their children and grandchildren (and great-grandchildren, like myself) got to live a lifestyle that they never would have imagined. That's the point. Free markets encourage and work and innovation that pay off for everybody. The government is there to make sure we all have access and to punish people who try to game the system. That's not a cruel, selfish way of life. That's beautiful, really.

    I want you to do me a favor. Will you read an essay that I will link here? It's called "I, Pencil." It was written by Leonard Read om 1958, and it explains how complex market forces totally unseen by most people create what seems to be a very simple object.

    Read, I, Pencil: Library of Economics and Liberty
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  8. #18
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    That is a very strange assertion to me, especially considering that ending the Drug War would lower the violent crime right significantly in urban areas (along with eliminating nonviolent drug offenses from the books, and, hence, the crime statistics). Would you care to elaborate?
    Here's my train of thought.

    One of the reasons is because Libertarians generally advocate minimalistic government and very simplified, basic right protection. This largely concerns business related crime and white-collar crime. The system that Libertarians often suggest establishing means that the government will do very little to effectively monitor and punish corporate crime. They would be unwilling to give the government the powers necessary to succesfully dismantle corrupt operations.

    Additionally, corporate crime would be given a good running start due to
    the dominate philosophy. I imagine that in a very Libertarian world, actually discussing whether or not a business practice is unfair would be a very uncomfortable subject. People would be hesistant to say yes, because they would be opening the door to a whole lot of very unlibertarian suggestions.

    People who practice corrupt business, especially the mafia, are very good at hiding themselves as something legitimate, and playing with minutia regarding rights to stall the government. Well, if a government as willing to get involved in business, and as willing to press charges over so many things as this government has a hard time stopping the Mafia, just imagine a Libertarian one. To summarize this: The refusal to meddle with private business plus the highly simplified legal system means that the mob could play the government like a violen. Who knows, some government officials might just openly side with the mobsters and say nothing they're doing is even a crime!

    But that was just high level business stuff. The more important part is the increase in blue-collar crime. I believe that this Libertarian society is going to have massive problems with class inequality. Inequality usually breeds criminal behavaior, because it breeds a sense of abandonment, hopelessness, and disenfranchisement. You're going to have a lot of people, probably the plurality, at the bottom tier of a country with... let's just say a GINI of 65 (worse than Brazil). To make matters worse, there probably won't a single damn welfare or social program in the country, because Libertarians seem to hate those. So, these people are going to be so unequally low that they'll feel sub-citizen, getting such a miniscule share of the GDP that they'll probably be in terrible poverty, have no fair chance of climbing the latter, won't even get a single bread crumb's worth of support from government programs, and all the while the elite at the top will be telling them that it's a land of opportunity where people get what they "earn". People at the bottom won't put-up with this. A lot of them are going to turn to selfish, anarchic crime. You know, indicental stealing, raping, killing, and probably tons of vandalism. The people at the bottom will no longer feel a point obeying the law at all. They will have no faith in the system and no respect for the principles the country was founded on, and their level of desperation will drive them to selfish behavior. A lot chaotic type crime.

    The mob enters into the picture again. There is nothing the underworld loves more than a disenfranchised class. I mean, seriously... A despairing majority and an unassertive government? Mana from fucking heaven! Crime lords will tell the people everything they want to hear. They will pull out all the stops in doing (or at least appearing to do) the things that the people desperately wish the government would do. The mob will become enormous, It has more willing recruits than it could dream of, and competes with a lilly-livered government that will wait far too long to do something about it. It will be like government until itself, and might start rivaling or even surpassing the official one in size. Kind of like Sicily.
    It's sad to say that the mafia will probably have a system more comperable to a government than the orginial Libertarian rule. But that's one of the reasons people will sign on.

    I know most of you Libertarians have a lot of faith in your philosophy, and I think you tend to overlook the fact that the average joe is definitely not a Libertarian. He wants a government that governs. People like social programs. Americans have been trained to wince at anything labeled Socialist, but they actually like a lot of Socialist ideas. Bush's privatized Social Security initiative fell flat on its face because nobody wanted to handle that. People felt more comfortable letting the government work it out.
    Did you know that the majority of Americans want universal healthcare?
    And don't even think about taking away subsidies.

    Now, you might feel that people are misguided, or uneducated, or irrational. You can say what you want, but people are what they are. They won't put up with a government that doesn't provide. They want more than just knowing that you'll keep them from getting murdered. They want to know that you will help them deal with life.
    Do think about the fact that Communism and Socialism are among the most rebelion insighting political beliefs in history. Nobody likes feeling left out, or left behind. A world that so apathetically handles inequality and fraud is going to make people feel that way.


    Now that I'm over with all of that, I'd like to address your comment about the war on drugs. I had to chuckle a little because that is the go to argument for Libertarians and anarchists when they want to talk about lowering crime.
    I really think that the war on drugs is the exception rather than the rule. Criminalizing something usually makes it happen less. Duh. If that weren't the case, people would have figured it out, and we wouldn't have criminalization being used as the main way to fight crime in every nation for thousands of years. I can tell you that if the government openly said it would stop doing anything about burglary and traffic violations, both crimes would go way up.

    So obviously a lot of question has been given to why fighting drugs seems to have increased crime, arguably even drug use itself. I admittedly don't have very good answers for this. I don't really believe that attempting to remove drugs is a failed concepty from the start. I can say that the government has screwede every aspect of this "war" every step of the way. Because of all the blunders the country has made, I feel like there's no way for me to get a good idea of what the situation might be like if it were being done intelligently.
    I can say that attempting to ban drugs actually creates a shadow market that wouldn't exist otherwise, and that ties drug dealing in with other crimes.
    I can say that extra violence probably also comes from very violent cops.

    Your point about drug use being taken from the books is something of a cheap trick. If I said that assault was no longer officially a crime, the crime rate would drop, but assault cases would not. If you want to talk about what is and isn't a crime, that's a whole different issue.

    Anyway. I return to my point that most criminal situations are not like the problem with drugs, that the war on drugs is eccentric for many reasons, and I don't think it can be used to accurately represent crime and law in general.


    [I've just seen that you have written another post]
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  9. #19
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Woah, woah... I'm putting the breaks on this because of two things.

    One is this:

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Lateralus covered this. Money on its own doesn't do anything. But "apples" used to create more apples are worth a hell of a lot. You seem to think that the economy is a zero-sum game, i.e., that one person making money means that someone else loses it. That couldn't be farther from the truth. Wealth is created every day.
    Nobody is creating wealth. That's an illusion. I do actually believe that monetary economics is a zero-sum game. The value of money is abstract and imaginery, it always will be. A dollar is a piece of paper-like cloth, with some patterns on it, of little particular practical value. All the value it has, it has only because people believe it has that value.
    A dollar doesn't actually do anything. I give a man a dollar, and there is almost nothing he can do with it that he couldn't do without it. If people listen to a man with a million dollars, they are only doing something they could have just as easily done if the man didn't have any money at all.

    You cannot make finnite additions to subjective value. It does not happen.
    For every dollar that is added to the world. every dollar that is already here gets a little, tiny bit less valuable. It will all inflate. The more there is of something, especially something with mere token value, the less people care about it. A dollar isn't any different. Proportional wealth is actually the only wealth that really matters. The proportion of your wealth is your power. Shares are power.

    And don't tell me about capital. No matter how much you say a dollar represents, the most important thing is that it is still only representing.
    Even Milton Friedman consceded that using money totals as an objective has a failed.

    In case you were wondering... The realm by which these proportions are determined is not just one country, but the whole world. You could say that Africans are the biggest losers of this zero-sum game.



    This is the second thing that stopped me:

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I want you to do me a favor. Will you read an essay that I will link here? It's called "I, Pencil." It was written by Leonard Read om 1958, and it explains how complex market forces totally unseen by most people create what seems to be a very simple object.

    Read, I, Pencil: Library of Economics and Liberty
    I am weary of the invisible hand.
    I'm not going to elaborate on that myself, I would you to read something too.
    The unfortunate thing is, it is a whole book, to which I can provide no link, but I would like it if you sought it out.

    Look for Power and Prosperity by Mancur Olson.
    In fact, read lots of Mancur Olson books. The Logic of Collective Action is his most famous. I assure you that you won't hate everything he says. I think you will understand people like me a little better if you read this work.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


    _________________________________
    INTP. Type 1>6>5. sx/sp.
    Live and let live will just amount to might makes right

  10. #20
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Nobody is creating wealth. That's an illusion. I do actually believe that monetary economics is a zero-sum game. The value of money is abstract and imaginery, it always will be. A dollar is a piece of paper-like cloth, with some patterns on it, of little particular practical value. All the value it has, it has only because people believe it has that value.
    A dollar doesn't actually do anything. I give a man a dollar, and there is almost nothing he can do with it that he couldn't do without it. If people listen to a man with a million dollars, they are only doing something they could have just as easily done if the man didn't have any money at all.

    You cannot make finnite additions to subjective value. It does not happen.
    For every dollar that is added to the world. every dollar that is already here gets a little, tiny bit less valuable. It will all inflate. The more there is of something, especially something with mere token value, the less people care about it. A dollar isn't any different. Proportional wealth is actually the only wealth that really matters. The proportion of your wealth is your power. Shares are power.

    And don't tell me about capital. No matter how much you say a dollar represents, the most important thing is that it is still only representing.
    Even Milton Friedman consceded that using money totals as an objective has a failed.

    In case you were wondering... The realm by which these proportions are determined is not just one country, but the whole world. You could say that Africans are the biggest losers of this zero-sum game.
    You have, again, completely misunderstood me. Of course a dollar bill is just a piece of fiber that has value because we believe it does. That doesn't make wealth illusory! If you honestly believe that, I don't know how you function in a modern marketplace. Answer me this question: if wealth is an illusion, and monetary economics is a zero-sum game, how has the proportion of people in the world living in absolute poverty fallen from approximately 50% in 1950 to approximately 22% today?

    And "proportional wealth is the only wealth that matters?" That is laughable. If I leave college with $10,000 saved up, and I have $100,000 (real dollars) at age 30, but the average person leaves college with $10,000 and has $200,000 at age 30, am I poorer than I was when I started? Of course not. But that is what you are telling me. It makes absolutely no sense at all.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

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