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Thread: I suspect that I don't understand the economy

  1. #21
    He pronks, too! Array Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Is it? Barter and voluntary exchange predate the monetary economy, and one could argue that they even predate fixed property rights. If I help you build a bigger hut in exchange for shelter and food, I have "purchased" (or rented, at least) those amenities.
    Okay then... to chart out your definition of purchasing, when do you believing purchasing started in the history of the whole, wide, world?
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  2. #22


    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    To go further down the rabbit hole, Ygolo, we must consider the fact that even the concept of "purchasing" is itself built on abstractions like monetary wealth.
    Indeed. But that is why I think "trading" (barter) is more fundamental still. Money just makes trading much more efficient. Now you can essentially negotiate trades of money for something else. Imagine if you had to wait specifically for someone who had rice and wanted to trade it for fixing a computer (for example). This money abstraction was created ages ago. It happened quite naturally, and in a lot of different places. Over the years, the intrinsic use-value of money (you can burn the paper for heat, for instance) has become less and less. Now, a good deal of money is in the form of bits in databases somewhere.

    I guess we can go more fundamentaly, to the idea of ownership. When did we decide someone owned something, and others owned something else? (These notions are needed for trading).

    This seems to me, so fundamental, that we cannot really talk about the allocation of resources at all without there being some form of "ownership." The allocation scheme, whatever it may be, creates the ownership of the resources.

    This is not just a matter of semantics, but psychology. Let's say the official allocation scheme is that everyone get an equal amount of all the resources (untenable since the resources are being consumed at different rates, but will use it for illustration purposes). Now lets say some guy, say Forest, schemed a way to get more than his official share during allocation, and consequently someone down the line, say Sharon, got less than the official share. Then it would certainly be possible that if Sharon figured out that Forest got "extra," that she could claim he stole "her" share.

    Ownership seems fundamental to the human psyche.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    It is obviously true the human beings will never come to one solid agreement on what the economy is or what it is for (at least, it is extremely unlikely that this will happen), and while that makes it more difficult to use as a tool, it certainly does not legitimize its existence as a force outside of our usage. If it is hard to use, then it is unfortunately hard to use, but it is still for our use. If it is not for our usage, then it is simply nothing at all.

    Economics exists in the same way that politics or religion exists.
    I think it is similar to the distinction between political science and politics, or religous studies and religous practice. There is economics and economic policy. Closely related endevours, with different attitudes.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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  3. #23
    Senior Member Array reason's Avatar
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    The owner is usually the person who has the legal right to make decisions with regard to whatever resource is owned. Everyone has different plans about what they would like to do with different resources, but not all those plans can be satisfied at once. The decisions and plans of the designated owner trump every other, thus preventing the inevitable chaos and conflict which would ensue otherwise. There needs to be some form of ownership, simply because decisions need to be made somehow.

    Buying and selling involves the voluntary transfer of those decision-making rights, transferring the ability to trump every other plan, so to speak. The framework of property acquisition and transfer rules arose to solve problems of peaceable coexistence, resolving conflicting claims and interests. The current rules may not be perfect, and perhaps better rules can be discovered, but care should be taken before pursuing such an experiment, or else old problems may return.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Array htb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by booyalab View Post
    It's a straw man. You won't find it in any economics textbook and 99% of the time it's used with derogatory connotations.
    Good, someone addressed it.

    "Trickle-down" is a negative mischaracterization of supply-side economics, which is generalized as low rates of taxation to stimulate risk, investment, and the creation of wealth and jobs. Simply using the term "trickle-down" indicates a somewhat antiquated view of upward mobility and accessibility of both capital and wealth. It's not zero-sum. As PJ O'Rourke put it, "Wealth is not a pizza, where if I have too many slices you have to eat the Domino's box."

    One look at the yearly rates of GDP expansion for Hong Kong and Singapore (twice that of the United States) against the countries' tax rates for income and corporate earnings (each is, respectively, roughly half of the United States') should provide some demonstration of the forces at work.

    Eileen, I recommend you compare this correlation of economic liberty with prosperity. You'll find a remarkable pattern, and some surprising policy exceptions.

  5. #25
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    Trickle down economics--aka give the rich tax breaks and give those that need the breaks little. I say this: look, if you make so much money that you can fly around in private jets, buy whatever the hell it is you want, live like a king, etc..., then you DON'T need the tax breaks. IMO all of this tax break stuff to stimulate risky investments isn't going anywhere. If you're a good firm, you're not going anywhere either, no matter what the tax rate. Goldman Sachs is not going to shut down because of more taxes. Nor is google, JPMorgan, Lockheed, Boeing, yadda yadda yadda.

    Donald Trump also will not be in front of his own tower with a cup in his hand.

    Furthermore, just because you're rich doesn't necessarily mean you're SMART. Think about it. Think about all of those people who got some token degree from an Ivy League college and just managed managed managed their way to the top. In fact, the rich hire poor smart and hungry kids to actually do the work FOR them. It's those people that want that good life for themselves that are the ones producing--NOT the rich people who just shake hands and smile and act as talking heads.

    This is why I will never be in favor of "supply side" economics. If you have enough money to buy a private jet and live in a penthouse flowing with gold etc. etc. etc..., you have more than enough cash to pay some more taxes. You're not working till your eyes bleed or your joints creak or your head nods from sleep deprivation to make ends meet unless you want to. It's those that HAVE TO that need it.

    Look, I'm no Robin Hood. I hate welfare. I believe that those "shooting hoops" or "fucking bitches and hos" or buying "bling and threadz" and otherwise burning whatever money they can come up with to impress the Joneses should receive nothing. But as an immigrant that came into this country with $15 and 2 suitcases between himself and two parents, I'd be damned if I supported the fact that the ultra-wealthy get more money to themselves at the expense of those people that actually CREATE the wealth in this country.

    That said, poor is poor. You can be poor for any number of reasons. Sadly, we cannot differentiate between poor because of lack of opportunity, and poor because of stupidity, be it on buying useless trinkets, or flouting a backwards religion created by a pedophile warlord. (Hint: if I ever have a hiring decision, and I probably will, anyone that can't think for themselves and question something made up by some guy more than a thousand years ago probably can't think independently enough to solve current problems)
    I am an ENTJ. I hate political correctness but love smart people ^_^

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