Libertarian capitalists?

InfidelMatt
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Libertarian capitalists?

  I find this section interesting. The word "libertarian" here, of course, refers to the market anarchy/anarcho-capitalist views of people like Murray Rothbard and others. I consider myself a libertarian but I do not consider myself a capitalist though. I consider mself a "libertarian socialist" or an "anarchist". I am curious as to why capitalists who consider themselves advocates of the "free market" call themselves "libertarian"? My reading of the history of the word "libertarian" has convinced me that it was actually invented by socialists in the 19th century. I read that according to the anarchist historian Max Lettau, it was the anarchist Joseph Dejacque who first published Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social in New York between 1858 and 1861. The word phrase, "libertarian communism" dates back to November 1880, I read, when French anarchists used it to describe their views. Sebastien Faure and Louise Michel published the paper Le Libertaire in France in 1895. In the USA, the "Libertarian League" was founded in 1920 and was originally an anarchist organization in Los Angeles while the second Libertarian League was founded in New York City in 1965 by people such as the anarchist Murray Bookchin.

 My reading on the subject has convinced me that the word "libertarian" originated with socialists long before it became associated with market capitalism in the 1970s. So, I am curious- how is capitalism libertarian in nature? How can it be? I would like to discuss this with forum members here. I am looking more towards understanding the perspective of people who are capitalists calling themselves "libertarian" and I am trying to avoid an argument or debate.

 My own personal feeling on the subject is that authentic socialism worthy of the name can only be libertarian in nature, never of the Marxist/Leninist type that the Soviet Union tried to create. I am still studying the subject in much greater detail and currently, I really like the model of "Participatory Economics" put forth by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel. I am also in the process of reading books on self-managed "market socialism" proposed by people such as David Schweickart. I am also going to be reading John Bates Clark's book The Distribution of Wealth as well as Murray Rothbard's book For a New Liberty.

 In the meantime, I want to dialogue more on the subject with people here. If my reading of both capitalist and anarchist material only serves to reinforce my views about capitalism and socialism, then I would love to debate the subject in the future, once I feel that my views have sufficiently matured on these issues and feel informed enough to command a side in the debate. Until then, I am only looking to discuss the issues.

  Matthew


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Quote:Libertarian

Quote:
Libertarian capitalists?
 

Me. 

I am confused by why you think that is strange, but, I better not get ahead of myself. 

By definition:

- Libertarianism emphasizes personal liberty/individualism.

- A socialistic economy offers most control of property to some "government" or "collective" instead of to private entities. 

- Capitalism, idealistically, is the economic system where individual members and private corporations own and control most of the property. 

Do you agree with these?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Jormungander
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I consider myself a free

I consider myself a free market libertarian. I will need your definition for 'socialist,' since to me socialist means government control of economy. I'm afraid that different people have vastly different definitions for the word 'socialist.' If you give us yours I will use it for this discussion. When I think of a socialist country I think of the USSR. Some people would say that Norway is socialist since their government heavily regulates the economy. I suppose that people have misused this word until its meaning has been diluted or warped into many different things.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the definitions of words change. If socialists 90-120 years ago called themselves 'libertarians' that doesn't mean that the word hasn't changed in the past few decades to mean something completely different. I myself dislike the way that modern progressives have ruined the word 'liberal' by hitching it with their big-government anti-liberty ideology. I wish we used the 19th century definition of 'liberal.' If that were the case I would proudly call myself a 'liberal' and the socialists or anarchists could use the word 'libertarian' as they pleased.

I far as I can tell, free market proponents are capitalists. We think that the free market and capitalism are bound together. I know that some anarchists dislike the word 'capitalism' because they associate it with corporatism. I would agree with them that government-corporation partnerships are disastrous and harm the free market wherever they appear. Corporations love to get the government to sheild them from competition by placing regulations that prevent new companies from being able to compete. We really need to stop bullshit like that if we want to have an efficient economy.

I myself recently checked out 'Wealth of Nations.' I'm in the process of reading it, but the going is slow. And welcome to this site Matthew. The people here are pretty nice. Even the economic leftists who are against the things I advocate are freindly and civil in their disagreement. I hope to hope to have a healthy dialog on capitalism and socialism too.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:
Libertarianism emphasizes personal liberty/individualism.

Roderick T. Long wrote:
Libertarianism is any political philosophy that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals.

butterbattle wrote:
- A socialistic economy offers most control of property to some "government" or "collective" instead of to private entities.

Socialism can also be libertarian if it meets the above definition but rejects capitalist property relations.

Forms of libertarian socialism include anarcho-communism on the anti-market, anti-property side and mutualism (this is the philosophy I ascribe to) on the pro-market, pro-property side.

Individualist anarchists like Proudhon, Benjamin Tucker, etc where self-styled socialists.

See my sig for my favorite definition of socialism.

butterbattle wrote:
Capitalism, idealistically, is the economic system where individual members and private corporations own and control most of the property.

This is what anarcho-capitalists will tell you but that's overly general in my opinion. Capital-ism means a structure of production where the owners of capital can be the residual claimant (as opposed to labor-only). You can be pro-markets and property and not be a capitalist.

Instead of a Blog

Think this can't work? - Think again.

"...what we always meant by socialism wasn't something you forced on people, it was people organizing themselves as they pleased...And if socialism really is better...then it can bloody well compete with capitalism. So we decided, forget all the statist shit and the violence: the best place for socialism is the closest to a free market you can get!" - Ken MacLeod's The Star Fraction


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Socialism is just the belief

Socialism is just the belief that some things society (or as Americans call it government) can do better than the individual.

The entire concept of the nation state is 'socialist'. It's not the belief that society/government and every western nation is a mixed economy where the market is exists but is regulated


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mrjonno wrote:Socialism is

mrjonno wrote:
Socialism is just the belief that some things society (or as Americans call it government) can do better than the individual.

No, it's not. It's essentially an economic theory that endorses the idea that labor should receive its full product.

mrjonno wrote:
The entire concept of the nation state is 'socialist'.

There is noting socialist about any state. States represent rulership.

Instead of a Blog

Think this can't work? - Think again.

"...what we always meant by socialism wasn't something you forced on people, it was people organizing themselves as they pleased...And if socialism really is better...then it can bloody well compete with capitalism. So we decided, forget all the statist shit and the violence: the best place for socialism is the closest to a free market you can get!" - Ken MacLeod's The Star Fraction


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mrjonno wrote:The entire

mrjonno wrote:

The entire concept of the nation state is 'socialist'. It's not the belief that society/government and every western nation is a mixed economy where the market is exists but is regulated

This is what I was talking about. You are destroying the word 'socialist' by expanding its definition to cover everything from society's ability to to do things to the concept of having a government. We need a narrower definition of socialism. Under your definition I too am a socialist. Under that definition almost everyone who is not a recluse living in isolation is a socialist. If you expand its definition so far that almost everyone falls under it, you have ruined the word.

And for that matter I think that society can do things better than any lone individual. I also think that the free market (which is a part of our society) is far more effective as doing certain things than our government it. Don't conflate government (which is a part of society) with all of society.

Also, most of the time that I hear the word 'socialist,' it is used to mean mixed market or perhaps mixed market with a lot of government influence (Ex: 'Norway is socialist.'). Some people are certain that socialist means mixed market while others are certain that it does not mean that at all. For the purposes of this discussion we will need some common definition of that word to prevent us from all using it to mean very different things.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Socialism within

Socialism within libertarianism has two general connotations:

1. Anti-private property and anti-markets (communism)

2. A focus on labor and economic democracy, labor theories of property and/or value (Ricardo, Hodgskin, Tucker) as opposed to capitalist predominance. Not necessarily anti-market or property.

Kevin Carson wrote:
Early classical liberalism shares many of its historical roots in common with the early socialist movement. Not only did it have a significantly more left-wing flavor, compared to the libertarianism of the twentieth century, but many of its left-wing strands overlapped with market-oriented strands of libertarian socialism. Some of the most titanic figures of nineteenth century free market libertarianism occupied this zone: Thomas Hodgskin, Herbert Spencer, the American Individualists, and Henry George, for example. And the rhetoric coming out of the early, radical classical liberal movement, including lots and lots of stuff about class exploitation... Some of the Boston anarchists (the circle that included Tucker and the Liberty group) participated in the Second International and celebrated May Day, for crying out loud.

To the individualists and other left-wing free marketers, the socialist and worker's movements were not an abomination against which they defined themselves. They were a larger current to which both they and the state socialists belonged. And they regarded the state socialists, for the most part, as erring bretheren who rightly objected to class exploitation and other pathologies of existing capitalism, but drew the wrong conclusions about how to eliminate it.

But libertarianism was largely reformulated, in the early 20th century, as a right-wing ideology in reaction to the Left. And part of its modern-day cultural baggage, as a legacy of having largely redefined itself in opposition to the Left, is a visceral reaction to stuff that "sounds commie."

Kevin Carson wrote:
Socialism means economic and political power to the working class, not state ownership and control of the economy as such. State ownership and control aren't even necessary to socialism--taking it one further, I'd say that's the worst kind of socialism. The best kind of socialism is a free market where workers' wages equal the full product of their labor, because the state doesn't enforce artificial scarcity rents on land and capital. An unregulated market of self-employed people and workers' cooperatives would be my socialist ideal. State ownership and control of the economy, when capitalists are in control of the state, is called state capitalism. The capitalists act through *their* state to prop up big business and guarantee its profits.

Instead of a Blog

Think this can't work? - Think again.

"...what we always meant by socialism wasn't something you forced on people, it was people organizing themselves as they pleased...And if socialism really is better...then it can bloody well compete with capitalism. So we decided, forget all the statist shit and the violence: the best place for socialism is the closest to a free market you can get!" - Ken MacLeod's The Star Fraction


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Kevin Carson wrote:State

Kevin Carson wrote:

State ownership and control of the economy, when capitalists are in control of the state, is called state capitalism. The capitalists act through *their* state to prop up big business and guarantee its profits.

That sounds just like our current economic system. Business-government partnerships work together to harm the free market. I would much prefer a free market that does not have the government favoring certain businesses over others. I am just as much against the government propping up businesses (such as keeping GM's fetid corpse alive through taxpayer dollars) as I am against them 'helping' workers through union coddling laws and minimum wage laws.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Jormungander wrote: This is

Jormungander wrote:

 

This is what I was talking about. You are destroying the word 'socialist' by expanding its definition to cover everything from society's ability to to do things to the concept of having a government. We need a narrower definition of socialism. Under your definition I too am a socialist. Under that definition almost everyone who is not a recluse living in isolation is a socialist. If you expand its definition so far that almost everyone falls under it, you have ruined the word.

 

I would say anyone who isnt a total isolationist is a socialist even if they hate the word, its fundmanetally a believe that society exists and has a role.

There are a few on the extreme right who don't believe in this, Margaret Thatcher infamous 'there is no such society' speech is an example.

It's really a case of how far you take it, I believe capitalism has a role in our society (as a tool to fund it not as a religion) but I don't believe that makes me a 'conservative'


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Quote:Me. I am confused by

Quote:
Me. 

I am confused by why you think that is strange, but, I better not get ahead of myself. 

By definition:

- Libertarianism emphasizes personal liberty/individualism.

 I thought it strange not just because of the fact that socialists seemed to have thought of the word "libertarian" first but also because I am wondering how capitalism promotes individual liberty and freedom while at the same time resulting in class stratification and income inequality. I could grant that perhaps my understanding of capitalism is incomplete and perhaps I am simply mistaken on this part but this seems to me to be the case.

Quote:
- A socialistic economy offers most control of property to some "government" or "collective" instead of to private entities. 

- Capitalism, idealistically, is the economic system where individual members and private corporations own and control most of the property. 

Do you agree with these?

 This I disagree with a lot. I think this is a false dichotomy that almost all conservatives and too many "libertarian-capitalists" fall for. In fact, this dichotomy was put forth, to my surprise, by Milton Friedman in his book Capitalism and Freedom. I don't think a truly socialist economy can be run by any government, no matter how democratically elected or under the control of the people it is supposed to be. I feel that true socialism, even if it couldn't work and even if it was practically impossible, could only be libertarian in nature.

  Matthew


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Quote:I consider myself a

Quote:
I consider myself a free market libertarian. I will need your definition for 'socialist,' since to me socialist means government control of economy.

 Well, for me, socialism simply means a democratic ownership of productive utilities where decision making is self-managed. To me, a government control of the economy is a command economy that is state-managed and not self-managed. Capitalism is, well, obviously, a market economy that is privately-managed as opposed to self-managed. In neither a statist command economy nor a market capitalist economy are the productive utilities democratically owned. I am aware that anarchists are debating whether a socialist economy ought to incoporate markets or not. David Schweickart and Michael Howard both think, yes, a socialist economy, which is self-managed by nature, needs to have a market system. Other socialists like Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel argue, no, a socialist economy ought to have self-managed, democratic ownership of productive utilities and decision-making by consumer and worker councils that are cooperatively planned.

 

Quote:
I'm afraid that different people have vastly different definitions for the word 'socialist.' If you give us yours I will use it for this discussion. When I tnk of a socialist country I think of the USSR. Some people would say that Norway is socialist since their government heavily regulates the economy. I suppose that people have misused this word until its meaning has been diluted or warped into many different things.

 Let me try to be as precise as I can here. I would say that socialism probably ought to be defined as a municipal ownership of productive utilities, in which the decision of what to produce is done in a democratic, participatory fashion through consumer and worker councils if not a market system. I realize that many people think of "socialism" as a failed program that the USSR tried. But, given that I don't think any socialist economy can be a state-managed command economy, I don't believe for a second that the USSR, Cuba, Vietnam, or any other "Communist" country ever implemented authentic socialism.

Quote:
Another thing to keep in mind is that the definitions of words change. If socialists 90-120 years ago called themselves 'libertarians' that doesn't mean that the word hasn't changed in the past few decades to mean something completely different. I myself dislike the way that modern progressives have ruined the word 'liberal' by hitching it with their big-government anti-liberty ideology. I wish we used the 19th century definition of 'liberal.' If that were the case I would proudly call myself a 'liberal' and the socialists or anarchists could use the word 'libertarian' as they pleased.

 I agree with you completely here. I would say, give the word "liberal" back to the classical capitalists or at least the neoclassical capitalists who favor a "free market". Give the word "libertarian" back to the socialists/anarchists who first used it. Even now, many people on the political left, while not even being socialists, are abandoning the word "liberal" in favor of "progressive". This is no doubt the result of being criticized and even mocked by cocky and self-righteous political conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Quote:
I far as I can tell, free market proponents are capitalists. We think that the free market and capitalism are bound together. I know that some anarchists dislike the word 'capitalism' because they associate it with corporatism. I would agree with them that government-corporation partnerships are disastrous and harm the free market wherever they appear. Corporations love to get the government to sheild them from competition by placing regulations that prevent new companies from being able to compete. We really need to stop bullshit like that if we want to have an efficient economy.

 I am curious as to what capitalists have in mind calling the market "free", though. What is it free from? I take it that they consider it to be free from govenrment intrusion and regulation. But in this sense, it's only a negative freedom as far as I can tell. I am not sure that unfettered, unregulated markets can promote any positive freedom precisely because class stratification and income inequality tend to alienate people's rights to life, liberty, and freedom. A single mother in a low-income family who is working two jobs to make ends meet seems to me not to have as much freedom and liberty as the son of a millionaire who never has to work a day in his life because his father's successful company allows him to have all the freedom in the world and more money than he knows what to do with it. This difference between the single, hard-working mother and the wealthy son is what I have in mind as an example of class stratification that I think results from income inequality.

Quote:
I myself recently checked out 'Wealth of Nations.' I'm in the process of reading it, but the going is slow. And welcome to this site Matthew. The people here are pretty nice. Even the economic leftists who are against the things I advocate are freindly and civil in their disagreement. I hope to hope to have a healthy dialog on capitalism and socialism too.

  I appreciate you welcoming me here! I strive to be friendly and civil in my disagreements with everyone and I appreciate your courtesy as well. I remember one time I disagreed with one atheist who was a 'libertarian-capitalist' like yourself and he just mocked me the whole time and didn't care one bit that he was rude, arrogant, and disrespectful. His whole attitude was "well as long as I am right and I can prove it, I don't care about respecting other people and if you don't like it, piss off!" I was grieved that he chose to be that way considering that we're both atheists. I regret that kind of attitude from people who are strongly religious but I was taken aback that I would get it from someone secular. I am grateful that you are friendly and open to discussion!

 

 Matthew


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InfidelMatt wrote: I am

InfidelMatt wrote:

 I am curious as to what capitalists have in mind calling the market "free", though. What is it free from? I take it that they consider it to be free from govenrment intrusion and regulation. But in this sense, it's only a negative freedom as far as I can tell. I am not sure that unfettered, unregulated markets can promote any positive freedom precisely because class stratification and income inequality tend to alienate people's rights to life, liberty, and freedom.

When people say free market they do mean free from excessive government manipulations. I don't mind OSHA or the FDA (I don't want cancer from my job or shit in my beef), but trade tariffs meant to stifle certain forms of international trade or laws giving unions special privileges that individual workers lack are the kinds of government manipulations that I am against. There are other, more egregious forms of government market manipulations that free market proponents are also against. A lot of agriculture laws have the intended purpose of artificially raising the price of crops. In the EU they buy corn from farmers and burn it in order to artificially drive corn prices up. That kind of destructive governmental practice is a great example of what happens when some bureaucrat is allowed to determine economic policy.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

A single mother in a low-income family who is working two jobs to make ends meet seems to me not to have as much freedom and liberty as the son of a millionaire who never has to work a day in his life because his father's successful company allows him to have all the freedom in the world and more money than he knows what to do with it. This difference between the single, hard-working mother and the wealthy son is what I have in mind as an example of class stratification that I think results from income inequality.

I don't think that I support positive freedoms. If a single mother has a right to material goods that really mean that others are obligated to give her goods. If those people refuse to help her how could we get them to contribute to her needs without stealing from them? I consider most positive freedoms to actually be violations against other people's negative freedoms. I'm trying to think of a positive freedom that is an economic or goods related freedom that isn't really an obligation on others to give handouts.

I'm not against class stratification either. Perhaps that is just my selfishness speaking since my job prospects look very good (I'm still a college student). I think that class stratification is a natural byproduct of people selling their labor at different rates. Since labor is a commodity, some people sell their labor for much more than others. Those people are well to do and I have no problem with that. Unfortunately we do end up with Paris Hiltons who have no labor to sell but still get to live off of the richness of their parents' vast wealth. That is unfortunate, but I would not support any measures to try and prevent it.

Your description of a rude person reminds me of this Technocracy Inc. asshole we had on this site. Luckily we don't have to hear his blathering anymore. The good thing about internet assholes is that they tend to hit and run. They come here, make an account, post their BS and then leave in a few days. For an internet forum this is an oddly well behaved site.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Jormungander wrote:When

Jormungander wrote:
When people say free market they do mean free from excessive government manipulations. I don't mind OSHA or the FDA (I don't want cancer from my job or shit in my beef), but trade tariffs meant to stifle certain forms of international trade or laws giving unions special privileges that individual workers lack are the kinds of government manipulations that I am against. There are other, more egregious forms of government market manipulations that free market proponents are also against. A lot of agriculture laws have the intended purpose of artificially raising the price of crops. In the EU they buy corn from farmers and burn it in order to artificially drive corn prices up. That kind of destructive governmental practice is a great example of what happens when some bureaucrat is allowed to determine economic policy.

 I can agree here with you that some government regulation seems excessive. Perhaps a good question for discussion is where we ought we to draw the line between reasonable and unreasonable government regulations. It seems that we both agree that OSHA and the FDA are good, at least hypothetically, if they are run very efficiently with well-managed oversight. As for trade tariffs and union privileges- I have to decline comment here. My knowledge is woefully inadequate on these topics. So we would have to carefully draw lines to demarcate reasonable and even necessary government regulations from excessive and strangulating ones.

Quote:
InfidelMatt wrote:

A single mother in a low-income family who is working two jobs to make ends meet seems to me not to have as much freedom and liberty as the son of a millionaire who never has to work a day in his life because his father's successful company allows him to have all the freedom in the world and more money than he knows what to do with it. This difference between the single, hard-working mother and the wealthy son is what I have in mind as an example of class stratification that I think results from income inequality.

I don't think that I support positive freedoms. If a single mother has a right to material goods that really mean that others are obligated to give her goods. If those people refuse to help her how could we get them to contribute to her needs without stealing from them? I consider most positive freedoms to actually be violations against other people's negative freedoms. I'm trying to think of a positive freedom that is an economic or goods related freedom that isn't really an obligation on others to give handouts.

 I do support positive freedoms. The question for me is to what extent are we entitled to our rights to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom? I am guessing that we are both Humanists. I believe that the Humanist answer should be: to the fullest extent possible! Some people believe that if we have positive freedom and rights to, say, healthcare, education, decent housing, a decent job, then others are obligated to provide it and this is tantamount to slavery by forcing people against their will to provide for others. It's argued that since we cannot steal from them, we must tax them and to tax them is to force them into labor, some of which will pay for the rights of others. This is the argument that Richard Carrier advances in his book Sense and Goodness Without God.

  My problem with this argument, indeed, what I consider to be its fatal flaw is that it seems inconsistent if not outright incoherent. The right to not only own private capital but to invest it and employ labor for the purposes of making a profit is the chief economic right in a capitalist system. Capitalism is literally founded on this economic right to privately own capital for purposes of making a profit. But this is a right and not a privilege. If it is a right, then people who privately own capital are entitled to protection of their capital. To do so we must have law enforcement and legal protection to protect owners of capital against both physical piracy and intellectual piracy.

  Who pays for law enforcement or the legal system? Taxpayers do! Taxpayers pay for law enforcement which protects people who own productive capital against physical piracy and for the legal system which protects against intellectual piracy. The existence of rights to the private ownership of capital requires the means to protect it and therefore if people have a right to capital, being a right at all, they are entitled to have their rights secured and protected and law enforcement and the legal system ensure this. But no capitalist would argue that forcing people to pay for law enforcement and a legal system to protect the right of private capital against all forms of piracy, to enforce legal contracts, to protect against any kind of theft, to enforce property rights and so forth is a form of slavery. Then is why having people pay for the right to healthcare, the right to education, the right to a comfortable pension or a decent, livable wage regarded as tantamount to slavery?

 If capitalists have the economic right to privately own capital and if this right is necessary to make a profit so that they can pay for basic necessities as well as any material comforts because they have an unalienable right to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom, then I think that others should have the right to adequate healthcare, education, pension, and a living wage because these rights would allow them to enjoy the full extent of their unalienable rights to life, liberty, happiness and freedom. As I see it, income inequality alienates people's rights to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom. The single mother who works multiple jobs to make ends meet doesn't get to enjoy the full extent of her right to liberty and I don't imagine that she can be happy working multiple jobs while all the Paris Hiltons of this world don't contribute to the happiness of mankind other than being something for men to lust at.

 Income inequality, privatized healthcare, privatized education, a privatized pension, industrial waste and other forms of pollution tend to alienate people's rights to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom. Privatizing certain industries or institutions means that rather than people's rights be guaranteed, the fulfillment of peope's rigthts to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom is left to chance. Therefore, as I see it, negative freedom is simply not enough. To enjoy the full extent of our rights, we need more positive freedoms and more economic rights.

Quote:
I'm not against class stratification either. Perhaps that is just my selfishness speaking since my job prospects look very good (I'm still a college student). I think that class stratification is a natural byproduct of people selling their labor at different rates. Since labor is a commodity, some people sell their labor for much more than others. Those people are well to do and I have no problem with that. Unfortunately we do end up with Paris Hiltons who have no labor to sell but still get to live off of the richness of their parents' vast wealth. That is unfortunate, but I would not support any measures to try and prevent it.

I can and do respect a difference of opinion regarding the origins of class stratification. I think it results from the ownership of private capital and hierarchical divisons of labor in a society. You argue that labor is a commodity and therefore some people sell their labor for much more than others. My problem with this is that not everyone is able to sell their labor for much more than others because they simply lack the education, they lack the health to do so, they lack other advantages that would otherwise make for a more level and fairer playing field. This is why I believe that more rights are necessary; to give other people a fair chance at success and at least allow people to fully realize their opportunities that they wouldn't otherwise have.

  Matthew


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Neverfox's icon/avatar/picture/thingamabob reminds me of the album cover of B.O.C.'s Tyranny and Mutation. Not that this observation is relevant to the topic at hand. Just wanted to mention it.

It takes a village to raise an idiot.

Save a tree, eat a vegetarian.

Sometimes " The Majority " only means that all the fools are on the same side.


HisWillness
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InfidelMatt wrote: In the

InfidelMatt wrote:

 In the meantime, I want to dialogue more on the subject with people here.

The only problem I've ever had with the libertarian mindset is that it ignores the success of the mixed economy. In the case of Mr. Rothbard, I have a bit of difficulty taking seriously the idea that everyone left to their own devices would be the best policy. The US provides some good examples of why that sucks: you have tons of factory towns that can be set up and taken down within a couple of generations, the result of which is economic and emotional turmoil for everyone, except, of course, the few people who set up the factories. Those people may believe that they can operate without human capital, but they can't. it's in their best interest, certainly, to provide for those people, but the nature of the system is such that only the shareholders of a company are really the concern. The poorest citizens, then, are constantly vulnerable to a culture of parasitic gain. In the US, those citizens are part of a republic, and should be less vulnerable.

That's not to say the entrepreneurial spirit need be crushed. It will always exist anyway. There are always going to be people who want to play the game as close to the rules as possible to maximize their gain. Always. Even in a completely economically socialist system. Shit, I'm one of them! I trade commodities for a living. I love markets. But I also know what they can and cannot do: they can set a price; anything else is out of their league.

Yes, government is inefficient (economically speaking). But from an economic standpoint, the only real purpose of taxation is to smooth the business cycle. So it doesn't matter what the government does with the money. It's nice if it does something that makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy, but it really doesn't matter. Most of the time, the military (the largest group of government bureaucrats) are charged with looking after the capital interests of a country anyway.

The other problem is that the people who espouse libertarianism have never been poor. I mean explaining to your friends poor. I mean going insane with your money as soon as you get it and spending irresponsibly and then realizing you were crazy poor. I mean hoping that you can cover next month's rent poor. When you've been that poor, you know that it doesn't matter how hard you work, it's like everything's against you, and you'll never get out. When you've been that poor, and you remember that feeling, it's harder to make quick judgements and believe that economic efficiency is the most important thing.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


Jormungander
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InfidelMatt wrote:Perhaps a

InfidelMatt wrote:

Perhaps a good question for discussion is where we ought we to draw the line between reasonable and unreasonable government regulations.

That is the big question. We all want some degree of government influence or direct control. We all love the government commanding our employers not to expose us to high concentrations of carcinogens, but how much further than directly protecting us and our property from physical harm should the government go? I would say not too much further and others would say quite a bit further.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

A single mother in a low-income family who is working two jobs to make ends meet seems to me not to have as much freedom and liberty as the son of a millionaire who never has to work a day in his life because his father's successful company allows him to have all the freedom in the world and more money than he knows what to do with it. This difference between the single, hard-working mother and the wealthy son is what I have in mind as an example of class stratification that I think results from income inequality.

 

That does result from income inequality. I am all for income inequality. I would move out of this country if one day everyone was paid the same income regardless of their education and work experience. I'm not studying at a University so that I can make as little as a slacker who works at blockbuster. The way I see it incomes are just another commodity that the free market will effectively regulate. I don't like minimum wage laws, but so long as it is reasonably low I won't bother getting angry about it. What I could not stand would be true income equality with people who's work is worth much less than my own. What sort of income equality would you propose? Perhaps I am imagining that you want total equality and am ignoring your views on this issue. If you want only partial equality then you will still end up with some people selling their work for much more than others.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

 I do support positive freedoms. The question for me is to what extent are we entitled to our rights to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom? I am guessing that we are both Humanists. I believe that the Humanist answer should be: to the fullest extent possible! Some people believe that if we have positive freedom and rights to, say, healthcare, education, decent housing, a decent job, then others are obligated to provide it and this is tantamount to slavery by forcing people against their will to provide for others. It's argued that since we cannot steal from them, we must tax them and to tax them is to force them into labor, some of which will pay for the rights of others. This is the argument that Richard Carrier advances in his book Sense and Goodness Without God.

I think that the idea behind taxation is that the taxpayers directly benefit from their contributions. I am not against the concept of taxes, I just wish our country would spend our taxes wisely rather than blowing it on things such as a bloated military-industrial complex, the war on drugs and huge bureaucracies. If we got rid of the war on drugs and slashed funding to oversized bureaucracies then I wouldn't mind spending the money on healthcare or housing. Unfortunately if we did start new healthcare or housing programs we would keep wasting money on things like the war on drugs and would simply raise taxes or enter into even worse debt to pay for the new projects. Without first bringing government spending and debt under control I don't support new ways for them to spend more. In a perfect world in which our government was wise with money, I wouldn't mind a bit being spent on progressive projects.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

  My problem with this argument, indeed, what I consider to be its fatal flaw is that it seems inconsistent if not outright incoherent. The right to not only own private capital but to invest it and employ labor for the purposes of making a profit is the chief economic right in a capitalist system. Capitalism is literally founded on this economic right to privately own capital for purposes of making a profit. But this is a right and not a privilege. If it is a right, then people who privately own capital are entitled to protection of their capital. To do so we must have law enforcement and legal protection to protect owners of capital against both physical piracy and intellectual piracy.

  Who pays for law enforcement or the legal system? Taxpayers do! Taxpayers pay for law enforcement which protects people who own productive capital against physical piracy and for the legal system which protects against intellectual piracy. The existence of rights to the private ownership of capital requires the means to protect it and therefore if people have a right to capital, being a right at all, they are entitled to have their rights secured and protected and law enforcement and the legal system ensure this. But no capitalist would argue that forcing people to pay for law enforcement and a legal system to protect the right of private capital against all forms of piracy, to enforce legal contracts, to protect against any kind of theft, to enforce property rights and so forth is a form of slavery. Then is why having people pay for the right to healthcare, the right to education, the right to a comfortable pension or a decent, livable wage regarded as tantamount to slavery?

Taxpayers pay for their own property protection. A low-wage worker is protected by the police just as much as his manager is. The only difference is that his manager pays a lot more in taxes. Since I don't consider taxes to be a form of psuedo-slavery, I don't know how to answer the rest of the last paragraph.

The 'living wage' is a price floor on labor. Set a price floor high enough and demand will drop. Basically, if you want a lot of unemployed poor people set a high minimum wage and some of them won't be worth hiring. Think of it this way: if a price floor on milk was set at $8 a gallon few people would purchase milk. If a price floor on labor was set at $15/hour, fewer low income workers would be hired. That and there would be a brief period of rapid inflation as employers raised prices to cover the new income costs.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

 If capitalists have the economic right to privately own capital and if this right is necessary to make a profit so that they can pay for basic necessities as well as any material comforts because they have an unalienable right to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom, then I think that others should have the right to adequate healthcare, education, pension, and a living wage because these rights would allow them to enjoy the full extent of their unalienable rights to life, liberty, happiness and freedom. As I see it, income inequality alienates people's rights to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom. The single mother who works multiple jobs to make ends meet doesn't get to enjoy the full extent of her right to liberty and I don't imagine that she can be happy working multiple jobs while all the Paris Hiltons of this world don't contribute to the happiness of mankind other than being something for men to lust at.

And if you set that 'living wage' high enough that single mother will be fired because her employer doesn't think that her labor is worth that much. If she is only worth $8/hour as an employee and the 'living wage' is set significantly higher than that, then her employer should fire her and demand more from other employees in order for them to be able to keep their jobs. When the minimum wage was raised in California, my employer (Regal/Edwards Theators) cut everyones' hours in order to offset costs. They will never pay more for labor. They will simply cut hours across the board until their costs stay the same.  They would rather be understaffed and work their remaining employees harder rather than pay more in labor costs. This is only ancecdotal, but I suspect that other employers will do the same thing if a 'living wage' is ever mandated.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

 Therefore, as I see it, negative freedom is simply not enough. To enjoy the full extent of our rights, we need more positive freedoms and more economic rights.

But I see being able to sell my labor at any price that I and my employer agree on as being a fundamental economic right. I think that you actually want to take away that right from me and claim that it is increasing my rights as you do it. Your increasing other's rights sounds like it might actually decrease mine.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

I can and do respect a difference of opinion regarding the origins of class stratification. I think it results from the ownership of private capital and hierarchical divisons of labor in a society. You argue that labor is a commodity and therefore some people sell their labor for much more than others. My problem with this is that not everyone is able to sell their labor for much more than others because they simply lack the education, they lack the health to do so, they lack other advantages that would otherwise make for a more level and fairer playing field. This is why I believe that more rights are necessary; to give other people a fair chance at success and at least allow people to fully realize their opportunities that they wouldn't otherwise have.

  Matthew

I don't see this as being about how level or fair things are. This isn't a matter of fairness. I do not care if it really is unfair that one person gets paid a lot to sit in an office while another person gets paid little to clean that office. The fact of the matter is that the office worker's labor is worth more than the cleaner's labor. If that is fair, then good. If that is unfair, then it is still good. I know that people like fairness, but economics is not fair. The market does not care about how slighted you feel about your pay, it only cares about what employers estimate your labor is worth.

I think that matters like this are what make people not like libertarians. We come off as mean, callous and uncaring on economic matters. We don't mean to be this way, we just think that efforts to alleviate these economic inequalities (ex: living wage) would only make us all poorer.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


InfidelMatt
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Quote:That does result from

Quote:
That does result from income inequality. I am all for income inequality. I would move out of this country if one day everyone was paid the same income regardless of their education and work experience. I'm not studying at a University so that I can make as little as a slacker who works at blockbuster. The way I see it incomes are just another commodity that the free market will effectively regulate. I don't like minimum wage laws, but so long as it is reasonably low I won't bother getting angry about it. What I could not stand would be true income equality with people who's work is worth much less than my own. What sort of income equality would you propose? Perhaps I am imagining that you want total equality and am ignoring your views on this issue. If you want only partial equality then you will still end up with some people selling their work for much more than others.

 Don't get me wrong here- I am not suggesting complete income equality regardless of how much or hard one works. I think that greater education and work experience open up greater opportunities but I am thinking that it is one's work effort that should determine how one is paid. When people think of "socialism", people think guaranteed income regardless of any work, effort, sacrifice or anything of the sort. The complete slacker gets just as much income as the hardest working person on the planet. I agree- this is grossly unfair. But I don't think any authentic socialist economy should promote this kind of economic reward. I am thinking that perhaps the ideal socialist system would be one that rewards people according to their effort and sacrifice rather than according to the contribution of their capital or labor.

Quote:
InfidelMatt wrote:

 I do support positive freedoms. The question for me is to what extent are we entitled to our rights to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom? I am guessing that we are both Humanists. I believe that the Humanist answer should be: to the fullest extent possible! Some people believe that if we have positive freedom and rights to, say, healthcare, education, decent housing, a decent job, then others are obligated to provide it and this is tantamount to slavery by forcing people against their will to provide for others. It's argued that since we cannot steal from them, we must tax them and to tax them is to force them into labor, some of which will pay for the rights of others. This is the argument that Richard Carrier advances in his book Sense and Goodness Without God.

I think that the idea behind taxation is that the taxpayers directly benefit from their contributions. I am not against the concept of taxes, I just wish our country would spend our taxes wisely rather than blowing it on things such as a bloated military-industrial complex, the war on drugs and huge bureaucracies. If we got rid of the war on drugs and slashed funding to oversized bureaucracies then I wouldn't mind spending the money on healthcare or housing. Unfortunately if we did start new healthcare or housing programs we would keep wasting money on things like the war on drugs and would simply raise taxes or enter into even worse debt to pay for the new projects. Without first bringing government spending and debt under control I don't support new ways for them to spend more. In a perfect world in which our government was wise with money, I wouldn't mind a bit being spent on progressive projects.

 I am not sure with what I would disagree with here. I wholeheartedly agree and I tend to agree that government spending definitely has gotten out of control.

Quote:
Taxpayers pay for their own property protection. A low-wage worker is protected by the police just as much as his manager is. The only difference is that his manager pays a lot more in taxes. Since I don't consider taxes to be a form of psuedo-slavery, I don't know how to answer the rest of the last paragraph.

 Surely there is more than just property tax unless I misunderstand what you're getting at. But we as individual taxpayers, regardless of where we are economically or socially, pay for police protection, education, infrastructure, federal taxes in addition to state taxes, and so forth. I am sure that you would agree with this. From what I read, much of the middle and lower classes pay mostly through payroll taxes. But we all pay for not just the protection of property but for many more things, education, and infrastructure being among them.

 I don't regard taxation as any form of slavery. I just think that conservatives and others who object to funding healthcare and other government projects are being inconsistent. They seem to want to pay for the right to own capital and have it protected without realizing that if they were consistent, they'd have to argue that forcing others to provide for the protection of capital or property is slavery as well, whether directly through force, or indirectly through taxation.

Quote:
The 'living wage' is a price floor on labor. Set a price floor high enough and demand will drop. Basically, if you want a lot of unemployed poor people set a high minimum wage and some of them won't be worth hiring. Think of it this way: if a price floor on milk was set at $8 a gallon few people would purchase milk. If a price floor on labor was set at $15/hour, fewer low income workers would be hired. That and there would be a brief period of rapid inflation as employers raised prices to cover the new income costs.

 I agree with you that the minimum wage shouldn't be set too high. It shouldn't be too low nor too high. I do like the idea of having a living, minimum wage so that people can at the very minimum, afford the basic necessities of life.

Quote:
InfidelMatt wrote:

 If capitalists have the economic right to privately own capital and if this right is necessary to make a profit so that they can pay for basic necessities as well as any material comforts because they have an unalienable right to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom, then I think that others should have the right to adequate healthcare, education, pension, and a living wage because these rights would allow them to enjoy the full extent of their unalienable rights to life, liberty, happiness and freedom. As I see it, income inequality alienates people's rights to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom. The single mother who works multiple jobs to make ends meet doesn't get to enjoy the full extent of her right to liberty and I don't imagine that she can be happy working multiple jobs while all the Paris Hiltons of this world don't contribute to the happiness of mankind other than being something for men to lust at.

And if you set that 'living wage' high enough that single mother will be fired because her employer doesn't think that her labor is worth that much. If she is only worth $8/hour as an employee and the 'living wage' is set significantly higher than that, then her employer should fire her and demand more from other employees in order for them to be able to keep their jobs. When the minimum wage was raised in California, my employer (Regal/Edwards Theators) cut everyones' hours in order to offset costs. They will never pay more for labor. They will simply cut hours across the board until their costs stay the same.  They would rather be understaffed and work their remaining employees harder rather than pay more in labor costs. This is only ancecdotal, but I suspect that other employers will do the same thing if a 'living wage' is ever mandated.

 Let me be the first to state that it's quite possible that I don't understand the "living wage" concept as much as I thought I do. I am not completely sold on it and it may be the way it was originally phrased that I liked it and thought more favorably of it. Anyways, I am not a diehard advocate of it and I could go without it; it's not a "must" for me. My concern, though, is that if employers are allowed to set the wage at any way that they want to, they could set it so low that workers are being exploited. I personally would rather have the wage reflect the value of the person's contribution of labor, not too low as to exploit the person and not too high as to make employees not worth hiring.

 

Quote:
But I see being able to sell my labor at any price that I and my employer agree on as being a fundamental economic right. I think that you actually want to take away that right from me and claim that it is increasing my rights as you do it. Your increasing other's rights sounds like it might actually decrease mine.

You think I consciously and deliberately want to take away your economic rights? Where do you or others derive this economic right to set the price for your labor at any amount of your choice? This is the tricky thing about rights though. People can and do argue that the positive rights of others infringes on the negative rights of others. What if the right of you and  your employer want to settle the price of your labor at any amount that you two agree to and it's at such a price that leads to a negative externality elsewhere? What if your economic right to freely negotiate the price of your labor infringes on someone else's right to life, liberty, or happiness? What if your right to free wage negotiation (if we may call it that) is infringing on another person's right to life?

 As I see it, your argument can work both ways here. You might argue that a minimum or a living wage may take away your right to free wage negotiation but one can argue that to freely negotiate wages infringes on others' rights, particularly the right to life being that a minimum or living wage might allow people to better access to basic necessities of life. If all wages were freely negotiated as you desire, what's to prevent some employers from setting the wage so low that the person is literally being exploited? What if the wage is so low that a person cannot do anything with the money, cannot afford groceries, rent, clothing, or any kind of payment? Your fundamental right to free wage negotiation, then, would open the door to allow for employers to exploit their workers, hypothetically.

 To be perfectly fair, I can admit that perhaps I have misunderstood what you are getting at. That's possible and if I have I freely leave it to you to correct me if I have.

 I believe that economic rights ought to be those that increase the greatest amount of fairness to all people. My beliefs about economic justice are those which would provide the greatest fairness for the greatest number of people. I personally do not like the thought of people being rewarded according to the contribution of their capital or labor and like better the thought of people being rewarded according to their effort and sacrifice.

Quote:
I don't see this as being about how level or fair things are. This isn't a matter of fairness. I do not care if it really is unfair that one person gets paid a lot to sit in an office while another person gets paid little to clean that office. The fact of the matter is that the office worker's labor is worth more than the cleaner's labor. If that is fair, then good. If that is unfair, then it is still good. I know that people like fairness, but economics is not fair. The market does not care about how slighted you feel about your pay, it only cares about what employers estimate your labor is worth.

 This is my problem with capitalism; it's notion of economic justice seems unfair. You seem to me to concede this point but I do not like fairness; I never have. That's why I tend to like the economic maxim of reward according to effort and sacrifice and of necessity. Ever since having read Robin Hahnel's book Economic Justice and Democracy, I have come to like the notion of rewards according to effort and sacrifice. In Hahnel and Albert's model of "Participatory Economics", everyone would be rewarded according to effort and sacrifice. Capitalism seems inherently unfair and I like Hahnel's updated definition of "exploitation"; any social relationship that results in unfair economic outcomes.

Quote:
I think that matters like this are what make people not like libertarians. We come off as mean, callous and uncaring on economic matters. We don't mean to be this way, we just think that efforts to alleviate these economic inequalities (ex: living wage) would only make us all poorer.

 I don't think of libertarians as being mean, callous, and uncaring necessarily. Actually, I think of religious conservatives as being this way. I think that libetarian-capitalists are mostly concerned with freedom and value freedom. The problem is not with libertarian-capitalists like yourselves; I think the problem is with capitalism. You cannot reform it to make it fairer. What may improve my economic rights might infringe on yours. I see rights as paradoxal in capitalism. The right of the rich and wealthy to do as they please infringes on the rights of middle and lower classes to live a life of liberty and happiness.

  Capitalism is, I believe, a bad boy's economy where "nice guys finish last" as one baseball manager put it.The truth, I argue, is that it is horrendous condemnation of a society to say "nice guys finish last". I think a better description, one that I take from an author I like, is that "garbage rises". When you have an economy that rewards callousness and viciousness, where people are indifferent to the degradation and negativity caused by their actions in the name of profits, this is the garbage that rises.

  Lastly, I think that "libertarian-capitalism" is ultimately an oxymoron. This, I think, is reflected in the fact that liberty and rights are paradoxal in a capitalist system. My rights to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom infringes on your freedom. Your rights to life, liberty, happiness, and so forth will infringe on my economic freedom. I think that the best way to resolve the paradox is to go to the root of the problem with capital. Government attempts to amend the markets and make them more "humanitarian" or "consumer-worker friendly" is more of a band-aid solution than a solution that gets to and solves the core of the problem: the "economic right" of capital to exist.

  Matthew


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InfidelMatt wrote:My rights

InfidelMatt wrote:

My rights to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom infringes on your freedom. Your rights to life, liberty, happiness, and so forth will infringe on my economic freedom. I think that the best way to resolve the paradox is to go to the root of the problem with capital. Government attempts to amend the markets and make them more "humanitarian" or "consumer-worker friendly" is more of a band-aid solution than a solution that gets to and solves the core of the problem: the "economic right" of capital to exist.

This is by far the most interesting part of your post. I wonder how one would get rid of the 'problem' of capitalism. I'm afraid that might be a topic for a whole other thread though. I am very interested in your thoughts on this. One issue on semantics though: "capital" refers to things such as land and resources and heavy machinery. You obviously can never destroy capital without destroying a lot of resources. This is no big deal, but you mean to say 'capitalism' rather than 'capital.'

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

Don't get me wrong here- I am not suggesting complete income equality regardless of how much or hard one works.

Ok. I thought that might be the case.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

 I am not sure with what I would disagree with here. I wholeheartedly agree and I tend to agree that government spending definitely has gotten out of control.

There are some things that almost everyone agrees upon. The furthest left socialist and the furthest right neo-liberal both don't like the Iraq War or the War on Drugs or the half-trillion dollar per year defense budget. The thing is that the socialist and the neo-liberal have what seems to be nearly opposite proposals on how to reform the government to make it better.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

I just think that conservatives and others who object to funding healthcare and other government projects are being inconsistent. They seem to want to pay for the right to own capital and have it protected without realizing that if they were consistent, they'd have to argue that forcing others to provide for the protection of capital or property is slavery as well, whether directly through force, or indirectly through taxation.

Oh no, they want everyone's property protected, not just their own. I think there is a disconnect in this discussion. What do you mean by 'if they were consistent.' Why would they need to argue that taxes that are spent on law enforcement (to protect property rights) is a form of slavery? I have only once in my life met someone (I'm only counting real life, not nuts on the internet) so far on the fringe as to argue that all taxes are unjust. I believe that most people on the economic right like taxes. They just like low taxes that aren't spent supporting positive rights. I don't think that anyone here is arguing that taxes are slavery. That includes taxes spent on property protection or positive rights.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

 I agree with you that the minimum wage shouldn't be set too high. It shouldn't be too low nor too high. I do like the idea of having a living, minimum wage so that people can at the very minimum, afford the basic necessities of life.

Perhaps I have misunderstood the 'living wage.' I thought that 'living wage' meant a VERY high minimum wage. So high as to guarantee a lower-middle class standard of living for all workers. I think that the point of the living wage is to be so high that everyone lives pretty well. To come up with how high the living wage is, people think of some standard of living (lower-middle class is usually selected) and then set the living wage to be high enough to support that standard. The minimum wage is just there to put a limit on how far a worker can sink into destitution. Some people like to argue that a minimum wage does not really increase unemployment, but I can not imagine someone arguing against the fact that a living wage would result in high unemployment for low-skill workers. That kind of government imposed high unemployment is what I am against.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

What if the right of you and  your employer want to settle the price of your labor at any amount that you two agree to and it's at such a price that leads to a negative externality elsewhere?

Too bad (again I don't want to come off as callous, but really, too bad). That's the way negative rights work. Even if my negative right (lets us say for this discussion some sort of a right to set wages free from government control) detracts from someone else's wages, I have no problem with that. In fact I will go so far as to say that I am competing with others and that my gain in wage negotiations will result in someone else loosing money and that is a good thing.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

You think I consciously and deliberately want to take away your economic rights?

Yes, but you mean well as you do it. You seem to want to take away some economic rights. You think that doing so will improve the standard of living for most people. You want to help, but I still think that what you advocate will reduce negative rights. This is really a problem of negative rights vs positive rights. If you make a list of positive rights that should be upheld, I will likely just see a list of negative rights that you wish to violate. I know that you are not sinister in your intentions, I just don't like what I have heard of your economic policy.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

What if your economic right to freely negotiate the price of your labor infringes on someone else's right to life, liberty, or happiness? What if your right to free wage negotiation (if we may call it that) is infringing on another person's right to life?

I don't believe in a 'right to happiness.' I won't interfere with other people trying to pursue happiness, but I don't consider happiness to be a right. Unless I am using force to harm someone or imprisoning them, then I am not violating their rights to life or liberty. If me and a potential employer agree on some wage, that does not kill or imprison others.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

You might argue that a minimum or a living wage may take away your right to free wage negotiation but one can argue that to freely negotiate wages infringes on others' rights, particularly the right to life being that a minimum or living wage might allow people to better access to basic necessities of life. If all wages were freely negotiated as you desire, what's to prevent some employers from setting the wage so low that the person is literally being exploited? What if the wage is so low that a person cannot do anything with the money, cannot afford groceries, rent, clothing, or any kind of payment? Your fundamental right to free wage negotiation, then, would open the door to allow for employers to exploit their workers, hypothetically.

If an employer set wages so low that his employees are literally starving to death (and having their right to live violated), then I don't see how that employer could find employees. Unless we are talking about a third world hell hole in which the only choice is starvation wages or starvation without wages, I don't think that people really worry about their employer dropping wages beneath the cost of food and shelter. In the US the market price for virtually everyone's labor is above starvation wages (most people are payed above minimum wage anyways), so dying from having a stingy employer doesn't seem to be a  reasonable concern to me. If you are worried about avoiding starvation, then setting a minimum wage just above the starvation level (which I believe would drop it if anything) would fix that problem.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

I personally do not like the thought of people being rewarded according to the contribution of their capital or labor and like better the thought of people being rewarded according to their effort and sacrifice.

 This is my problem with capitalism; it's notion of economic justice seems unfair. You seem to me to concede this point but I do not like fairness; I never have. That's why I tend to like the economic maxim of reward according to effort and sacrifice and of necessity. Ever since having read Robin Hahnel's book Economic Justice and Democracy, I have come to like the notion of rewards according to effort and sacrifice. In Hahnel and Albert's model of "Participatory Economics", everyone would be rewarded according to effort and sacrifice. Capitalism seems inherently unfair and I like Hahnel's updated definition of "exploitation"; any social relationship that results in unfair economic outcomes.

Some people are worth more than others in terms of their labor. Someone who works hard for hours unloading boxes is payed less than the inventor of whatever is in those boxes because the engineer's labor is literally worth more than the factory worker's labor. If we rewarded people based off of effort the engineer would be payed little because he sits in front of a computer all day while the guy loading boxes onto a truck would be payed much because he strains himself everyday to do his job. I don't think that effort has much to do with this. If you exert little effort and are a valuable employee you get payed a lot, if you exert a lot of effort and have little value as an employee you get payed little. Is it fair? No. Is it a system that I endorse because it effectively sets wages based off of the value of the work performed and the amount of people able and willing to perform that work: yes.

Can you define 'unfair' for me? I have a feeling that people don't agree on what is economically unfair. I say it is unfair to regulate my wages since my wages are fairly set by the free market based off of how valuable I am as a worker and how many people are capable and willing to do my job. You say it is unfair to not regulate wages because then some people exert less effort in their jobs than others, yet get payed more just because they are more economically valuable workers.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

  Capitalism is, I believe, a bad boy's economy where "nice guys finish last" as one baseball manager put it.

I disagree. I think that markets are indifferent to how nice or mean you are. If you are capable and willing to provide a service that others will pay for (such as selling your labor), then the market favors you. If you are not capable of doing that, then the market does not favor you. This goes for institutions such as corporations also. If a company can provide valuable products or services, then the market rewards then regardless of how nice or mean the institution is. If it helps any, my engineering classes try and teach us to be the 'nice guys.' I doubt any bad people will really be turned good by learning about business ethics, but my university is trying to get us to be honest workers.

 

InfidelMatt wrote:

Lastly, I think that "libertarian-capitalism" is ultimately an oxymoron. This, I think, is reflected in the fact that liberty and rights are paradoxal in a capitalist system. My rights to life, liberty, happiness, and freedom infringes on your freedom. Your rights to life, liberty, happiness, and so forth will infringe on my economic freedom.

And I am confused when socialists call themselves 'libertarian.' They want to use the government to 'help' us by restricting some freedom in exchange for economic security. This is not libertarian. For that matter rights are not paradoxical under capitalism. A firm commitment to negative rights in economic matters practically forces someone to embrace the free market. There is a problem between supporting positive freedoms versus supporting negative freedoms, but this problem is not a fault of having capitalism. My economic freedoms do not infringe on your economic freedoms. You too are free to do as you please in economic matters. It won't be fair, and it won't lend support to positive rights, but it isn't a paradox and it is not a problem of the free market. This is a very general problem of negative versus positive rights that is not tied to any particular economic system.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


Zhwazi
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 I'm doing a bit of tl;dr

 I'm doing a bit of tl;dr here but I think I can help some.

To get it out of the way, I'm an ex-anarchocapitalist. Now I just call myself an anarchist (probably closest to Benjamin Tucker). Even by ancap reasoning, capitalism = free market, and market = freedom, and freedom = anarchism, making the idea of identifying as anything additional to "anarchist" purely redundant and pointlessly separatist. I'm just an advocate of freedom.

A big part of anarchism as was stated earlier is opposition to privilege. This is what makes an anarchist an anarchist. Even the ones who want to use privilege to destroy privilege are still anarchists, they're just a bit mixed up about consistency between means and ends. Some emphasize different forms of privilege; for example they will try to get into the state in order to destroy economic privilege, not seeing the state itself as a system of privilege that will inevitably create economic privilege.

Rewarding according to labor is how the more sensible versions of socialism have been trying to do it for ages. Wages are more important than profits and rent. Socialism has traditionally been against profit and rent as understood to be eating into the wages of the people who actually do productive work. Compensation according to effort and sacrifice would seem to promote doing things that take too much effort just to get more compensation, which is ultimately just wasteful.

Ultimately I think just getting rid of the factors which give employers unfair bargaining power over their employees will reduce the incidence of worker exploitation. I like the word "vulgar libertarian" to describe people who defend the economic products of the state because they are economic in context.

Libertarian-capitalism is either an oxymoron or is redundant, depending on the conception of capitalism being used.

The idea of anticapitalism as I understand it isn't opposition to capital understood as the tools of production, but an opposition to their being owned by people other than those doing the actual work. The idea isn't to destroy all those tools so much as it is to put those tools into the hands of the people that use them. Thus the "profit" that normally accrues to the owners of capital goes to the workers instead of to some other person profiting off the worker's work without actually doing any of that work. Because the worker becomes the capitalist. That's what anticapitalism is about, turning the workers into capitalists, the capitalists into workers, everyone into their own landlords, etc.

Things like taxation and minimum wage I am opposed to, if for no other reason, then on the basis of the fact that it's just not your decision to make, and in fact you couldn't possibly be making this decision without using the same kind of privilege that you're intending minimum wage to work in opposition to. Rather than creating justice, this approach can only lead to more injustice, privilege is antithetical to justice. By getting rid of the privileges (mostly state-caused) that shift bargaining power in favor of the employers, everyone can set their own minimum wage that they refuse to work for. You can't trust the judgement of any one individual of power as well as you can trust the judgement of the people who have a stake in the decision.

This wasn't aimed to be complete or at one specific person, just throwing stuff out there.