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  1. #171
    Happy Dancer uumlau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    That being said, I still want to keep digging into this subjective value, thing. You talk about something "clearly bad", so what is that? How do we decided that something is clearly bad, and it's not subjective anymore?
    Your points are well taken, and you're kind of making my point for me.

    Let's have an example case. How about minimum wage? The point isn't to ARGUE about the minimum wage, but to point out how different people can regard it as clearly good or clearly bad or somewhere in between.

    A minimum wage is a price floor on the hourly rate you're allowed to pay someone to work. It doesn't apply in all cases (not in the case of a salary, or jury pay, or hiring a kid to mow your lawn), but it applies in most.

    Obviously, some people will be inclined to regard the minimum wage as "good": those who earn at or just above the minimum wage will be inclined to be thankful that it is "impossible" for them to earn less than that amount, and might even desire for the minimum wage to be higher, so they can earn more per hour. Some will obviously be inclined to regard it as bad: employers now have to pay more per worker, so it becomes more problematic to just hire more people to get things done faster/better, and employers would be inclined to want the minimum wage to be lower.

    But what about non-obvious cases? How about the unemployment rates among younger workers, especially minority workers? The Youth Unemployment Crisis Hits African-Americans Hardest : Code Switch : NPR

    Is the minimum wage "good" for them? Is it better that they go without a job than get paid less than $7.25/hr? These aren't easy questions to answer, especially to answer them on a group level.

    BUT, they can be answered on an individual level. Without a minimum wage, each worker would be able to decide for him/herself whether what their employer is paying is worth it. If you're just a 16-19 year old, still living with family, with no rent to pay or food to buy, would $5/hr be OK? Or $3? Each individual would have their own answer to that, with which they would be nominally satisfied.

    But no, we have a minimum wage. No one, neither employers nor employees has the right to work for less than that amount.

    Note here that I'm not asserting "good" or "bad" or other values. I'm asking questions. I'm posing how one might go about ascertaining what is good or bad for people. In this specific case, I -am- suggesting that the individuals involved are perhaps in a better position to decide what "minimum wage" is good enough for them.
    An argument is two people sharing their ignorance.

    A discussion is two people sharing their understanding, even when they disagree.

  2. #172
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    As long as your effort includes context, I'm good with that.

    So, please specify how registering child minders prevents bad and evil people from minding your child. Is there a blank on the registration form where they attest that they're bad and evil?

    Oh, and how in the world did BABYSITTING ever work before the government got involved in child care? It must have been so very difficult without the government to tell you whether it was OK for Annie next door to baby sit your kid.

    IOW, trust is social capital, not a government specialty.
    It doesn't. Neither does a number plate protect your car from being stolen or having a social security number stop people from assuming your identity.

    How did we cope before these things?
    How did we cope before phone numbers were put in place? Oh yeah, we spent more time in it. Why don't we just keep doing that? Cause we're too obsessed with money and performance.

    Btw, I'd appreciate a cease in the school yard debating techniques if you don't mind. Either that or talk to someone else.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  3. #173
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    Your points are well taken, and you're kind of making my point for me.

    Let's have an example case. How about minimum wage? The point isn't to ARGUE about the minimum wage, but to point out how different people can regard it as clearly good or clearly bad or somewhere in between.

    A minimum wage is a price floor on the hourly rate you're allowed to pay someone to work. It doesn't apply in all cases (not in the case of a salary, or jury pay, or hiring a kid to mow your lawn), but it applies in most.

    Obviously, some people will be inclined to regard the minimum wage as "good": those who earn at or just above the minimum wage will be inclined to be thankful that it is "impossible" for them to earn less than that amount, and might even desire for the minimum wage to be higher, so they can earn more per hour. Some will obviously be inclined to regard it as bad: employers now have to pay more per worker, so it becomes more problematic to just hire more people to get things done faster/better, and employers would be inclined to want the minimum wage to be lower.

    But what about non-obvious cases? How about the unemployment rates among younger workers, especially minority workers? The Youth Unemployment Crisis Hits African-Americans Hardest : Code Switch : NPR

    Is the minimum wage "good" for them? Is it better that they go without a job than get paid less than $7.25/hr? These aren't easy questions to answer, especially to answer them on a group level.

    BUT, they can be answered on an individual level. Without a minimum wage, each worker would be able to decide for him/herself whether what their employer is paying is worth it. If you're just a 16-19 year old, still living with family, with no rent to pay or food to buy, would $5/hr be OK? Or $3? Each individual would have their own answer to that, with which they would be nominally satisfied.

    But no, we have a minimum wage. No one, neither employers nor employees has the right to work for less than that amount.

    Note here that I'm not asserting "good" or "bad" or other values. I'm asking questions. I'm posing how one might go about ascertaining what is good or bad for people. In this specific case, I -am- suggesting that the individuals involved are perhaps in a better position to decide what "minimum wage" is good enough for them.
    Probably the biggest problem with leaving things to individuals is assuming they are competent. It wouldn't be a stretch to say there are many people in the world much better equipped to assess the implications of a minimum wage for some individual than that individual is for themselves.

    Of course there's also rationality. Do I count on people being rational? First of all, probably not everyone is equally rational. If someone is much more rational than someone else, they may be in a better position to make those decisions. Now I have no system for sorting people by rationality, which seems like a rather idealistic concept. But the point stands that if this is true, then there is going to be some person A out there who can make better decisions for some person B. But what's probably more important is that regardless of relatively, comparative rationality, I would say that on the whole, people are very irrational, disappointingly irrational. It's enough to ask whether or not one would be wise to invest any system in the rationality of the people.

    Still, all of that was a question about whether or not it would be preferable to put decisions in the hand of the individual, as though it were a choice. It's really only a limited choice. We don't live in a world of complete agency. Individuals are not free to do anything, no matter how much of a choice we think we give them. And any decision anyone makes is going to effect other people. So, if we just look at things in terms of individuals, we'll have a very distorted picture.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  4. #174
    Happy Dancer uumlau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    Btw, I'd appreciate a cease in the school yard debating techniques if you don't mind. Either that or talk to someone else.
    But without me as your faithful foil, how else could you take the high ground and be superior and everything? No worries. We can discontinue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Probably the biggest problem with leaving things to individuals is assuming they are competent. It wouldn't be a stretch to say there are many people in the world much better equipped to assess the implications of a minimum wage for some individual than that individual is for themselves.
    I'm sure they're better off with $0.00/hr, and that YOU are better qualified than they are to decide that.

    Of course there's also rationality. Do I count on people being rational? First of all, probably not everyone is equally rational. If someone is much more rational than someone else, they may be in a better position to make those decisions. Now I have no system for sorting people by rationality, which seems like a rather idealistic concept. But the point stands that if this is true, then there is going to be some person A out there who can make better decisions for some person B. But what's probably more important is that regardless of relatively, comparative rationality, I would say that on the whole, people are very irrational, disappointingly irrational. It's enough to ask whether or not one would be wise to invest any system in the rationality of the people.
    People don't have to be rational in your terms. Why are your methods of making decisions so much better than someone else making their own?

    Still, all of that was a question about whether or not it would be preferable to put decisions in the hand of the individual, as thought it were a choice. It's really only a limited choice. We don't live in a world of complete agency. Individuals are not free to do anything, no matter how much of a choice we think we give them. And any decision anyone makes is going to effect other people. So, if we just look at things in terms of individuals, we'll have a very distorted picture.
    The free market has always been about individuals making choices. Millions upon millions of choices every day, with no input from you. It even happens with lots of regulations in place, right now, at this very moment as you read this. All the regulations do is take away the choices that YOU think are bad. Because of course, your rationality is superior to that of those incompetent people out there ... oh, and the competent people, too, as your choice is one-size-fits-all.

    To be clear, I regard the market ("free" or not) as self-organizing, in terms of chaos theory: Self-organization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It achieves this primarily by individual choice, not regulations or mandates. If all choices have to be reviewed by a singular authority, then it is no longer chaotic or self-organizing, and remarkably slow and inefficient, as if your conscious mind suddenly had to keep track of every heartbeat, every breath, every churning of your stomach, every contraction of your bowels. There is an overall system that has behaviors entirely independent of whatever regulations you might like to place upon it.

    This is how ALL complex systems work, qualitatively speaking. You can't control them or nudge them in directions you'd like unless you understand them. In general, if you let them function as is, the minor tweaks needed to make them work better gradually evolve. If you work with the system, you can nudge it to make it better in your terms, which in the case of the market usually means in everyone's terms. If you instead insist upon making the system work differently, what happens is that the system will evolve around whatever obstruction you place upon it. A simple example of such in terms of markets is a "black market", where the things that people want to buy and sell are readily available, but outside of the government's purview.

    The free market exists with or without regulation. You can work with it, or against it. That's the point behind my rhetorical questions to Xander, wondering however we managed babysitting without government-accredited child care workers. Babysitting still exists, in spite of such regulations, as it is exempted by the law. As does hiring a kid to mow your lawn. The reason we have such exemptions is precisely because once push comes to shove, we know that one-size-fits-all doesn't work that well. Such common sense is becoming more rare, however, as cops accost kids' lemonade stands Police Shutdown 11-Year-Old’s Lemonade Stand in California – May 19 2014 | Voluntary Exchange Is Not A Crime or threaten kids who would shovel snow without a permit Cops Threaten Kids For Shoveling Snow Without A Permit | Voluntary Exchange Is Not A Crime

    Because we must have rules, and the rules must be obeyed, even and especially when they don't make sense, because without rules, how would we know what to do? We're so incompetent, you see, that we need wise people like you to tell us.
    An argument is two people sharing their ignorance.

    A discussion is two people sharing their understanding, even when they disagree.

  5. #175
    deplorable basketcase Tellenbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam
    That you aren't distressed by this is a surprise which I can only ascribe to you drinking from the same bowl as him. You seem to have a relatively keen sense of source criticism when the source in question is in opposition to your stance, yet you don't point this inwards when you gather support for your beliefs.
    But is his logic sound? Is it not true that sick people aren't allowed to opt out of Social Security and perhaps it'd be more ethical to let them opt out? Is it also not true that Social Security favors people who live long lives and perhaps, some people might be better off with a different system? I do think there are easy ways to address Peter Schiff's complaints (means testing and special waivers for the sick), but there are other complaints such as demographic shifts (when Soc Sec. was first passed, there were far more workers supporting a retiree [I think it was originally 30:1), whereas today that ratio is about 3:1.

    Another complaint is the rate of return from Social Security. It's around 1.2% (if I remember correctly). You'd get far more money from buying gold or putting your savings in a CD.
    Senator Rand Paul is alive because of modern medicine and because his attacker punches like a girl.

  6. #176
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    I'm sure they're better off with $0.00/hr, and that YOU are better qualified than they are to decide that.
    That was not in any way a counter to my point. Pending on your actual answer, I'll just keep working on the assumption that my point was correct. After all, it would be a pretty interesting position to take that my point was not correct. I through it out there as a kind of obvious foundation to work with, not something I'd expect somebody to actually attempt refuting.

    I mean, do you not believe in a difference in competent? I suppose you take yourself to be better suited to assess your own medical issues than a physician?

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    People don't have to be rational in your terms. Why are your methods of making decisions so much better than someone else making their own?
    Don't you see where this is going? So far, you've put forward an idea of completely subjective value, and you've put forward now this idea of rationality on different terms. We have nothing left to work with.

    Whether you admit it or not, you are promoting an idea, just like anyone else. You have an idea of what you think works, what you think is good policy. Even proposing total non-intervention is a proposal, and choosing to do nothing is a choice, etc... But by your own reasoning here, why should anyone listen to this? If we make our own values, and we use rationality on our terms, there's no basis for taking any system to be better than any other, which means we could do things your way, but it would be just as reasonable to do things to way of the Soviets or the Nazis. To someone, the Nazi system is subjectively good and works within the terms of their rationality.

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    The free market has always been about individuals making choices. Millions upon millions of choices every day, with no input from you. It even happens with lots of regulations in place, right now, at this very moment as you read this. All the regulations do is take away the choices that YOU think are bad. Because of course, your rationality is superior to that of those incompetent people out there ... oh, and the competent people, too, as your choice is one-size-fits-all.
    First of all, the main point I'm making is that individual choices are always compromised. They are always limited. You don't need a government to do that. It's because there is agency and structure. Structure will exist in any social environment, even if you had no explicit government. Every thing from what choices a person even has an option to make all the way down to what choices they think they want to make are molded from the outside.

    Secondly, do think it's possible for a government regulation to give people choices they didn't have before?

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    To be clear, I regard the market ("free" or not) as self-organizing, in terms of chaos theory: Self-organization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It achieves this primarily by individual choice, not regulations or mandates. If all choices have to be reviewed by a singular authority, then it is no longer chaotic or self-organizing, and remarkably slow and inefficient, as if your conscious mind suddenly had to keep track of every heartbeat, every breath, every churning of your stomach, every contraction of your bowels. There is an overall system that has behaviors entirely independent of whatever regulations you might like to place upon it.
    It seems to me totally arbitrary that you should consider the market to work this way but not other human endeavors. Why not just include the government and its regulations in all of this?

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    This is how ALL complex systems work, qualitatively speaking. You can't control them or nudge them in directions you'd like unless you understand them. In general, if you let them function as is, the minor tweaks needed to make them work better gradually evolve. If you work with the system, you can nudge it to make it better in your terms, which in the case of the market usually means in everyone's terms. If you instead insist upon making the system work differently, what happens is that the system will evolve around whatever obstruction you place upon it. A simple example of such in terms of markets is a "black market", where the things that people want to buy and sell are readily available, but outside of the government's purview.
    It would be absurd to say you can't influence the system to move in a direction you want. Completely controlling it is just an unreasonable expectation, but influencing it is not. But again, it's also weird to me that you talk about this system as if it were some sort of thing that's not quite the same as just society itself. You know there's no such thing as a market beyond the aggregation of what individuals do and how it influences on another. Because of that, it's very difficult for me to see how you know when a behavior of a person or organization of people is somehow with or against the system. How do you know that, exactly?

    I mean, if you want an example of something that just seems to emerge, I'd point to the government. And I'd point out that it seems to inexorably expand.

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    The free market exists with or without regulation. You can work with it, or against it. That's the point behind my rhetorical questions to Xander, wondering however we managed babysitting without government-accredited child care workers. Babysitting still exists, in spite of such regulations, as it is exempted by the law. As does hiring a kid to mow your lawn. The reason we have such exemptions is precisely because once push comes to shove, we know that one-size-fits-all doesn't work that well. Such common sense is becoming more rare, however, as cops accost kids' lemonade stands Police Shutdown 11-Year-Old’s Lemonade Stand in California – May 19 2014 | Voluntary Exchange Is Not A Crime or threaten kids who would shovel snow without a permit Cops Threaten Kids For Shoveling Snow Without A Permit | Voluntary Exchange Is Not A Crime
    The point behind government intervention is often that something will exist without it, but intervention can make it exist as something more desirable than it otherwise.

    However, if we talk about collecting and spending money, not just regulations, there are also just things that only the government can reasonably be expected to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    Because we must have rules, and the rules must be obeyed, even and especially when they don't make sense, because without rules, how would we know what to do? We're so incompetent, you see, that we need wise people like you to tell us.
    I don't know why you're venting all of this on me. This exchange could have certainly gone in a much more reasonable direction. But you really aren't characterizing my way of seeing things accurately at all.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  7. #177
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    But without me as your faithful foil, how else could you take the high ground and be superior and everything? No worries. We can discontinue.
    Primary mistake made by most who like to bring competition to a discussion;I am not here to win your favour and I care not who ends up making a point. I do care about principles and I do care (irritatingly) about definition and it's misuse.

    On the point of being a "foil", you seem to think that involves combating everything with quips. I'm sure you're a very smart person but here is not really a good format for you to prove or disprove it.


    On the subject at hand I'm presuming that few exponents of a free market are engaged in HR, people management or unions. They must be just annoying things that get in the way of a business doing what it should to fulfil it's potential, like workers.

    Put workers in an uncertain market and they will job hunt more. Staff turnover goes up and profitability decreases. How do you try to shore up people's confidence? By putting limits in place. Just like the government does.

    Is it just because it's "the man" who's doing it that makes you object so much or is it that people just aren't as clever and insightful as you are and so should not be given any power to affect your meteoric success in life? I'm struggling to see the rationale for your view point.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  8. #178
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    Primary mistake made by most who like to bring competition to a discussion;I am not here to win your favour and I care not who ends up making a point. I do care about principles and I do care (irritatingly) about definition and it's misuse.

    On the point of being a "foil", you seem to think that involves combating everything with quips. I'm sure you're a very smart person but here is not really a good format for you to prove or disprove it.


    On the subject at hand I'm presuming that few exponents of a free market are engaged in HR, people management or unions. They must be just annoying things that get in the way of a business doing what it should to fulfil it's potential, like workers.

    Put workers in an uncertain market and they will job hunt more. Staff turnover goes up and profitability decreases. How do you try to shore up people's confidence? By putting limits in place. Just like the government does.

    Is it just because it's "the man" who's doing it that makes you object so much or is it that people just aren't as clever and insightful as you are and so should not be given any power to affect your meteoric success in life? I'm struggling to see the rationale for your view point.
    This post actually gave me some hope for this place as a discussion forum, even for discussion online per se as I'd largely begun to think that forums are places were punk kids or their older equivalents go to try and engaged in ego driven quip struggle escalating in defensiveness and then bitter trolling.

    Free market populism is the sole reason I can see for constantly wanting a capitalism without rules or limitations, logically if there's a limit to the sphere of government, and I think there is and classical liberalism has done well do demonstrate so and the why and wherefore of that, there should also be limits to the sphere of the marketplace and its operation, largely for the same reasons.

    I personally support reforms like basic incomes, stakeholder grants etc. to change the pattern of distribution when it comes to wealth, I'm a socialist but not necessarily a fan of the tax and spend, institutional welfare state and robust publically owned and managed tax funded "free" services which are the paradigm of places like Sweden or Scandinavian countries.

    With those reforms in place to provide people with security and freedom to work as they choose, within reason set up businesses and invest as they choose too, I think that different sorts of firms and business practices, such as co-management or labour controlled firms competiting in an economy for market share, could emerge which presently there isnt a hope of really developing in either public or privately owned and managed sectors presently.

    I think there's a chance then that firms could be managed and operate differently to present and afford chances for a less mixed and publically, ie politically, managed system than there is presently.

    The free market doesnt have a chance at the moment with so much power in the hands of private capital to control it, steer it, manipulate it, exploit its natural limits, failings or faults and behave like a bunch of crooks or the claimants which conservatives love to hate. Even if magically the power of finance capital was corrected without political intervention its not going to inhibit or halt class struggles which go largely unmentioned in the classical economic lexicon.

  9. #179
    deplorable basketcase Tellenbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark
    I personally support reforms like basic incomes, stakeholder grants etc. to change the pattern of distribution when it comes to wealth, I'm a socialist but not necessarily a fan of the tax and spend, institutional welfare state and robust publically owned and managed tax funded "free" services which are the paradigm of places like Sweden or Scandinavian countries.
    How would you propose to redistribute wealth? Increase the capital gains tax or maybe the personal income tax? Increase the estate or inheritance tax? Also, is there a socialist state that doesn't tax excessively and spend wildly?
    Senator Rand Paul is alive because of modern medicine and because his attacker punches like a girl.

  10. #180
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I personally support reforms like basic incomes, stakeholder grants etc. to change the pattern of distribution when it comes to wealth, I'm a socialist but not necessarily a fan of the tax and spend, institutional welfare state and robust publically owned and managed tax funded "free" services which are the paradigm of places like Sweden or Scandinavian countries.
    Isn't Sweden kind of the example for a good economy? They have the infrastructure to provide good public sector services as well as having sensible but not overly restrictive market rules. Aren't they also listed in the top countries for happiness and productivity?

    If I remember. Correctly I think they're also high up for suicide rate but I'd hope that's not linked.

    Perhaps it's a country that we could drill down for information on to see how it works and what bits could be held up for other countries as an ideal. All theory of course but it'd be nice to get some degree of satisfaction from all this typing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Even if magically the power of finance capital was corrected without political intervention its not going to inhibit or halt class struggles which go largely unmentioned in the classical economic lexicon.
    I believe a comedian put it best
    "class is a way of being racist against people who look like you ".
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

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