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Author Topic: 2013-02-09 On Wikileaks, Bitcoin...  (Read 3462 times)
Piper67
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February 10, 2013, 12:31:01 AM
 #1

http://monoskop.org/log/?p=7347
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February 10, 2013, 02:26:46 AM
Last edit: February 10, 2013, 03:03:46 AM by grondilu
 #2


It may be a criticism of bitcoin, but you gotta admit it is a great text.

The description on how bitcoin works is one of the best I've ever read, for instance.

And the part about money, credit-based money, capital and central-banking is also very good.


In other words, he makes lots of good points.
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February 10, 2013, 07:31:09 AM
 #3


It may be a criticism of bitcoin, but you gotta admit it is a great text.

The description on how bitcoin works is one of the best I've ever read, for instance.

And the part about money, credit-based money, capital and central-banking is also very good.


In other words, he makes lots of good points.

I disagree. It reads like a lefty rag posing as erudite commentary, of the type that has been effusing from the marble halls of intelligentsia since they developed their crush on Marx and his followers.

Not to mention that some of his assumptions/premises, many actually, are fundamentally incorrect, or at best misguided. Many of the same assumptions that have born rotten fruits and led directly and provably to the parlous state that govt. monies and state-backed financing finds itself in today.

Hint: "Buy cheep, sell dear."

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February 10, 2013, 01:26:12 PM
 #4

I couldn't be arsed reading all of it but the few bits I skimmed through were full of rubbish.

Near the start,

Quote
However, what allowed Bitcoin to break into the mainstream – if only for a short period of time – is the Craigslist-style website “Silk Road” which allows anyone to trade Bitcoin for prohibited drugs.

Bitcoin has never even been close to breaking into the mainstream yet.

And near the end,

Quote
There is no a priori technical reason for the hard limit of Bitcoin; neither for a limit in general nor the particular magnitude of 21 million. One could simply keep generating Bitcoin at the same rate, a rate that is based on recent economic activity in the Bitcoin network or the age of the lead developer or whatever. It is an arbitrary choice from a technical perspective.

It's impossible to define what economic activity is on the Bitcoin network.

I don't care how fancy his essay sounds, the guy is just a moron with a dictionary in one hand and a copy of Capital by Karl Marx in the other.
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February 10, 2013, 01:30:39 PM
Last edit: February 10, 2013, 03:04:52 PM by Roger_Murdock
 #5

Some choice quotes.

Quote
Exchange as the dominant medium of economic interaction and on a mass scale is only possible if parties in general are limited to the realm of exchange and cannot simply take what they need and want. The libertarians behind Bitcoin might detest state intervention, but a market economy presupposes it.
Yes, the only way to prevent people from "simply tak[ing] what they need and want" is to create a state and give it a monopoly on violence, thereby empowering it to simply take what it needs and wants.  
Quote
The fact that ‘unbreakable’ digital signatures—or law enforced by the police—are needed to secure such simple transactions as goods being transferred from the producer to the consumer implies a fundamental enmity of interest of the involved parties. If the libertarian picture of the free market as a harmonic cooperation for the mutual benefit of all was true, they would not need these signatures to secure it. The Bitcoin construction—their own construction—shows their theory to be wrong.
Huh? Exactly which theory would that be?  The one that says that all men are angels and engage in trade for the purpose of benefiting others? Because I'm not familiar with that one. But I am familiar with Adam Smith's "invisible hand." The entire point of that analogy is that people who engage in voluntary trade are generally acting "selfishly" (i.e. pursuing their own interests) and yet the net effect is to promote the interests of all.  So yes, some people will steal if given the chance.  (See, e.g., the government.) But the market will provide solutions. (See, e.g., Bitcoin.)  
Quote
The Bitcoin forum is—among other things—a remarkable source of ignorant and brutal statements about the free market, such as this: “If you want to live then you have to work. That’s nature’s fault (or God’s fault if you’re a Christian). Either way, you have to work to survive. Nobody is obligated to keep you alive. You have the right not to be murdered, you don’t have the right to live. So, if I offer you a job, that’s still a voluntary trade, my resources for your labor. If you don’t like the trade then you can reject it and go survive through your own means or simply lay down and die. It’s harsh but fair. Otherwise, I’d have to take care of myself and everyone else which is unfair. requiring me to provide you a living is actual slavery, much worse than nonexistent wage slavery.”
Weird. I find the opposite view to be "ignorant and brutal," i.e. the one that supports "positive rights" (and the violence that necessarily accompanies them).
Quote
Libertarian Bitcoin adherents and developers claim that by ‘printing money’ states—via their central banks—devalue currencies and hence deprive their subjects of their assets. They claim that the state’s (and sometimes the banks’) ability of creating money ‘out of thin air’ would violate the principles of free market because they are based on monopoly instead of competition. Inspired by natural resources such as gold, Satoshi Nakamoto chose to fix a ceiling for the total amount of Bitcoin to some fixed magnitude. From this fact most pundits quickly make the transition to the ‘deflationary spiral’ and whether it is going to happen or not; i.e., whether this choice means doom for the currency by exponentially fast deflation—the value of the currency rising compared to all commodities—or not. Indeed, for these pundits the question why modern currencies are credit money hardly deserves attention. They do not ask why modern currencies do not have a limit built in, how credit money came about, if and how it is adequate for the capitalist economy and why the gold standard was departed from in the first place. They are not interested in explaining why the world is set the way it is but instead to confront it with their ideal version. Consequently, they miss what would likely happen if Bitcoin or something like it were to become successful: a new credit system would develop.
Project much? I have seen a TREMENDOUS amount of interest in understanding these subjects within Bitcoin circles.  Hell, the Bitcoin forum was the first place I discovered ANY interest in them.
Quote
Now, the value of modern credit money is backed by its ability to bring about capitalist growth.
Oh, so that's what it's backed by?
Quote
Hence, all money in society comes into being not only with the purpose of stimulating growth but also with the explicit necessity: it is borrowed from the central bank which has to be paid back with interest. While clearly a state intervention, the central banks’ issuing of money is hardly a perversion of capitalism’s first purpose: growth. On the contrary, it is a contribution to it.
Wow.
Quote
Systematic enmity of interests, exclusion from social wealth, subjection of everything to capitalist growth—that is what an economy looks like where exchange, money and private property determine production and consumption. This also does not change if the substance
of money is gold or Bitcoin. This society produces poverty not because there is credit money but because this society is based on exchange, money and economic growth.
Yes, if we could only find a way to get rid of "exchange, money and economic growth," there would be no poverty.
Quote
The libertarians might not mind this poverty, but those on the left who discovered Bitcoin as a new alternative to the status quo perhaps should.
Thanks for not assuming bad faith on the part of people with whom you happen to disagree politically. But yes, we libertarians love poverty (really, all forms of human suffering).


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February 10, 2013, 05:39:37 PM
 #6

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Libertarian Bitcoin adherents and developers claim that by ‘printing money’ states—via their central banks—devalue currencies and hence deprive their subjects of their assets. They claim that the state’s (and sometimes the banks’) ability of creating money ‘out of thin air’ would violate the principles of free market because they are based on monopoly instead of competition.

Complete nonsensical statement.

Printing money is not a violation of free market principles. It's just stupid in a market in which currencies are allowed to compete with each other. Fiat currencies like the USD have an overwhelming advantage because it's the only form of money accepted by the government, which allows printing money on a whim to be more harmful than otherwise.

I only skim the other part of it, too lazy to read the rest of it. I am not impressed by the eassy, though.

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February 10, 2013, 05:53:37 PM
 #7

You know what I liked best about this "critique" of Bitcoin? Its irrelevance. You don't like Bitcoin? It doesn't pass your test for "social justice"? Seems a little too "libertarian"? Well, sorry.

But I'm still gonna use it.
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February 10, 2013, 06:03:34 PM
 #8

You know what I liked best about this "critique" of Bitcoin? Its irrelevance. You don't like Bitcoin? It doesn't pass your test for "social justice"? Seems a little too "libertarian"? Well, sorry.

But I'm still gonna use it.

Libertarianism? Who care about that? Bitcoin will succeed and fail on its own merit, not because of a couple of radical fringe of idealogue, although we were the early adopters.

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February 10, 2013, 06:36:08 PM
Last edit: February 10, 2013, 08:02:27 PM by 21after2
 #9

I'm still reading it at the moment, but it feels to me like the author just really does not like libertarians. I'm not a libertarian by any means, but it annoys me that he's linking the entire currency to one political ideology.  Undecided
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February 10, 2013, 06:42:52 PM
 #10

I'm still reading it at the moment, but it feels to me like the author just really does not like libertarians. I'm not a libertarian by any means, but it annoys me that he's linking the entire currency to one political party.  Undecided

An idealogy.

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February 10, 2013, 06:54:38 PM
 #11

I'm still reading it at the moment, but it feels to me like the author just really does not like libertarians. I'm not a libertarian by any means, but it annoys me that he's linking the entire currency to one political party.  Undecided
The author is a Marxist who is desperately trying to find some combination of mental contortions that can magically transform voluntary exchange into exploitation.

Quote
Yet, the question of who owns which Bitcoin in itself starts to problematise the idea of harmonic cooperation held by people about economy and Bitcoin. It indicates that in a Bitcoin transaction, or any act of exchange for that matter, it is not enough that Alice, who makes coffee, wants shoes made by Bob and vice versa. If things were as simple as that, they would discuss how many shoes and how much coffee was needed, produce it and hand it over. Everybody happy.

Instead, what Alice does is to exchange her stuff for Bob’s stuff. She uses her coffee as a lever to get access to Bob’s stuff. Bob, on the other hand, uses his shoes as a leverage against Alice. Their respective products are their means to get access to the products they actually want to consume. That is, they produce their products not to fulfil their own or somebody else’s need, but to sell their products such that they can buy what they need. When Alice buys shoes off Bob, she uses her money as a leverage to make Bob give her his shoes; in other words, she uses his dependency on money to get his shoes. Vice versa, Bob uses Alice’s dependence on shoes to make her give him money. Hence, it only makes sense for each to want more of the other’s for less of their own, which means deprive the other of her means: what I do not need immediately is still good for future trades. At the same time, the logic of exchange is that one wants to keep as much of one’s own means as possible: buy cheep, sell dear. In other words, they are not expressing this harmonious division of labour for the mutual benefit at all, but seeking to gain an advantage in exchange, because they have to. It is not that one seeks an advantage for oneself but that one party’s advantage is the other party’s disadvantage: a low price for shoes means less money for Bob and more product for her money for Alice. This conflict of interest is not suspended in exchange but only mediated: they come to an agreement because they want to but that does not mean it would not be preferable to just take what they need. This relation they have with each other produces an incentive to cheat, rob, steal. Under these conditions — a systematic reason to cross each other — answering the question who holds the tenner is very important.
Got it?

If you and I trade coffee for shoes we live in state of blissful utopia, with no incentive to disagree or to cheat, rob or steal from each other.

If on the other hand you and I decide to trade our coffee and shoes for currency, perhaps because we'd like a convenient solution to the double coincidence of wants problem, then gravity reverses itself, dogs and cats start sleeping together, and we suddenly transform into evil capitalists who will no doubt slit each other's throats and start raping kittens at the drop of a hat.
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February 10, 2013, 08:06:52 PM
 #12

I'm still reading it at the moment, but it feels to me like the author just really does not like libertarians. I'm not a libertarian by any means, but it annoys me that he's linking the entire currency to one political party.  Undecided

An idealogy.

Very fair point. I edited my original post for accuracy. Smiley

I'm still reading it at the moment, but it feels to me like the author just really does not like libertarians. I'm not a libertarian by any means, but it annoys me that he's linking the entire currency to one political party.  Undecided
The author is a Marxist who is desperately trying to find some combination of mental contortions that can magically transform voluntary exchange into exploitation.

Quote
Yet, the question of who owns which Bitcoin in itself starts to problematise the idea of harmonic cooperation held by people about economy and Bitcoin. It indicates that in a Bitcoin transaction, or any act of exchange for that matter, it is not enough that Alice, who makes coffee, wants shoes made by Bob and vice versa. If things were as simple as that, they would discuss how many shoes and how much coffee was needed, produce it and hand it over. Everybody happy.

Instead, what Alice does is to exchange her stuff for Bob’s stuff. She uses her coffee as a lever to get access to Bob’s stuff. Bob, on the other hand, uses his shoes as a leverage against Alice. Their respective products are their means to get access to the products they actually want to consume. That is, they produce their products not to fulfil their own or somebody else’s need, but to sell their products such that they can buy what they need. When Alice buys shoes off Bob, she uses her money as a leverage to make Bob give her his shoes; in other words, she uses his dependency on money to get his shoes. Vice versa, Bob uses Alice’s dependence on shoes to make her give him money. Hence, it only makes sense for each to want more of the other’s for less of their own, which means deprive the other of her means: what I do not need immediately is still good for future trades. At the same time, the logic of exchange is that one wants to keep as much of one’s own means as possible: buy cheep, sell dear. In other words, they are not expressing this harmonious division of labour for the mutual benefit at all, but seeking to gain an advantage in exchange, because they have to. It is not that one seeks an advantage for oneself but that one party’s advantage is the other party’s disadvantage: a low price for shoes means less money for Bob and more product for her money for Alice. This conflict of interest is not suspended in exchange but only mediated: they come to an agreement because they want to but that does not mean it would not be preferable to just take what they need. This relation they have with each other produces an incentive to cheat, rob, steal. Under these conditions — a systematic reason to cross each other — answering the question who holds the tenner is very important.
Got it?

If you and I trade coffee for shoes we live in state of blissful utopia, with no incentive to disagree or to cheat, rob or steal from each other.

If on the other hand you and I decide to trade our coffee and shoes for currency, perhaps because we'd like a convenient solution to the double coincidence of wants problem, then gravity reverses itself, dogs and cats start sleeping together, and we suddenly transform into evil capitalists who will no doubt slit each other's throats and start raping kittens at the drop of a hat.

Yeah, that was one of the most idiotic paragraphs I've read. I almost want to write my own essay in response to this one, lol.
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February 10, 2013, 08:21:09 PM
 #13

Oh man, nice catch justusranvier. I can't believe I missed that piece of idiocy.
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February 10, 2013, 08:47:39 PM
 #14

Quote
The libertarians behind Bitcoin might detest state intervention, but a market economy presupposes it. ... The fact that ‘unbreakable’ digital signatures—or law enforced by the police—are needed to secure such simple transactions as goods being transferred from the producer to the consumer implies a fundamental enmity of interest of the involved parties. If the libertarian picture of the free market as a harmonic cooperation for the mutual benefit of all was true, they would not need these signatures to secure it. The Bitcoin construction—their own construction—shows their theory to be wrong.

This section in particular really bugged me. To my understanding, libertarian ideology views the role of the state as protection of the rights of the people. Freedom for individuals to live as they choose as long as they do not bring harm to others. In the author's claim of exchange "[producing] an incentive to cheat, rob, and steal", a libertarian would want the intervention of the state in the manner of protecting the individuals who have been harmed, right?

I get the impression that libertarians see a difference between state intervention and state regulation: the state should intervene when the rights of the individual are in danger; the state should not regulate the behaviors of the individual (unless those behaviors harm others). In short, libertarianism is less about "no government" and more about "government fulfilling its proper role."

If I'm right, then there are two problems with the author's argument: the incorrect presupposition of the argument's foundation (libertarian ideology fueling Bitcoin), and the misrepresentation of that ideology. This is, to me, one of those arguments where the author's mind was made up before he started.
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February 10, 2013, 09:41:11 PM
Last edit: February 10, 2013, 10:10:12 PM by kiba
 #15


This section in particular really bugged me. To my understanding, libertarian ideology views the role of the state as protection of the rights of the people. Freedom for individuals to live as they choose as long as they do not bring harm to others. In the author's claim of exchange "[producing] an incentive to cheat, rob, and steal", a libertarian would want the intervention of the state in the manner of protecting the individuals who have been harmed, right?

I get the impression that libertarians see a difference between state intervention and state regulation: the state should intervene when the rights of the individual are in danger; the state should not regulate the behaviors of the individual (unless those behaviors harm others). In short, libertarianism is less about "no government" and more about "government fulfilling its proper role."

Some libertarians are anarchists who saw the state as completely illegitimate. This is the ideology of the Silk Road's operator.

Quote
If I'm right, then there are two problems with the author's argument: the incorrect presupposition of the argument's foundation (libertarian ideology fueling Bitcoin), and the misrepresentation of that ideology. This is, to me, one of those arguments where the author's mind was made up before he started.

Libertarianism may be the ideology that drives Satoshi to create bitcoin, but we don't know if satoshi is a libertarian. Bitcoin is very appealing to the libertarians though.

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February 10, 2013, 10:10:58 PM
 #16

Libertarianism may be the ideology that drives Satoshi to create bitcoin, but we don't know that. Bitcoin is very appealing to the libertarians though.

I agree. I believe that Satoshi had a libertarian background when he designed Bitcoin, but that doesn't make Bitcoin exclusive to libertarians. It's an idea that can connect with all beliefs: a currency that is free, transparent, and secure.
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February 10, 2013, 10:27:22 PM
 #17

Libertarianism may be the ideology that drives Satoshi to create bitcoin, but we don't know that. Bitcoin is very appealing to the libertarians though.

I agree. I believe that Satoshi had a libertarian background when he designed Bitcoin, but that doesn't make Bitcoin exclusive to libertarians. It's an idea that can connect with all beliefs: a currency that is free, transparent, and secure.

He wrote somewhere that the fixed amount could have some appeal for libertarians, something along this line.  The way he used the third person and the conditional to talk about them suggests he is not a libertarian, though he probably sympathizes with the ideology.
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February 10, 2013, 10:34:02 PM
 #18


I agree. I believe that Satoshi had a libertarian background when he designed Bitcoin, but that doesn't make Bitcoin exclusive to libertarians. It's an idea that can connect with all beliefs: a currency that is free, transparent, and secure.

And it allows congresscritters to hide their bribe stash.  Cheesy

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February 10, 2013, 11:47:16 PM
 #19

I'm not a libertarian by any means, but it annoys me that he's linking the entire currency to one political ideology.  Undecided

Don't let the silly Marxist get under you skin.  Transmute that annoyance into amusement; just laugh at him.  It's a fun and healthy use of willpower.

Small minds like his can't hope to say anything intelligent about, much less contribute to, the Bitcoin experiment.

So, as an ego defense mechanism, he needs to reduce Bitcoin down to and conflate it with something he has pre-made (supposedly withering) critiques of (IE Libertarianism).

The notion that a hot new technology like Bitcoin has anything to do with an old busted ideology like Marxism is sheer comedy!    Cheesy


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February 11, 2013, 12:22:50 AM
 #20

I also noticed the marxist phraseology, especially when he claimed that free trade was a mutual exploitation of the needs of each trader.  

But I didn't mind.  Being marxist is not a crime, and I do not completely object this idea of a mutual exploitation instead of a mutual cooperation.  If you exploit someone, you do it for your own good.  So if two people exploit one another, in the end they both do it for their own good.   It's more of a point of view than anything else.  It seems to me that Adam Smith was saying the same thing but differently when he talked about the invisible hand acting for the good everyone from the pursue of selfish individual interests.


Anyway, what I liked in his text was the description of how bitcoin works, and his thoughts about money and private property.  I especially liked his analysis of money, which he concludes as money being an expression of social conditions where
private property separates means and need
.
 
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February 11, 2013, 05:35:54 AM
 #21

There are a lot of different movements that share the idea that government power is inversely proportional to individual freedom, and they all disagree with each other at a fundamental level. As an example, a libertarian isn't an anarchist. It is true that an anarchist would agree on a lot of points with a libertarian when compared to a socialist, but anarchists and libertarians are still fundamentally opposed in that to first group wants no government whatsoever while the second wants to limit government power.

In that light, the author appears to be lumping several political movements together under the label "libertarian". It is in line with his overall lack of semantic rigor and I think it would be better for everyone to not give credit to this guy's definition of a "libertarian", but rather perceive it as his target scapegoat group around which this essay has been crafted. Essentially, this guy is not offering an honest analysis, rather he was presented with the concept of Bitcoin in association with libertarianism, chose his premise ("this is all evil") and proceeded to link one to the other in somewhat haphazardly fashion. The scary amount of contradictions will attest of that.

I don't think there's much of a need to go after this guy's contradiction to try and prove him wrong. This'll either be a case of preaching to the choir or into deaf ears. What's interesting though, is that in his essay he reveals his fundamental preconception about the economy and human behavior. Here are the 2 most interesting ones:

Quote
She uses her coffee as a lever to get access to Bob’s stuff. Bob, on the other hand, uses his shoes as a leverage against Alice.

Leverage implies negotiations. This person sees all trade as negotiation. The counterpart to negotiation is violence. People negotiate because the alternative is violence. Trade is a voluntary act of discussion for the purpose of profit. If both parties can't achieve profit, trade won't occur. If trade doesn't occur, it doesn't give place to violence. Only lack of profit. The question then is, does this person think profit is an act violence? Is this a shared pattern within Marxists? If profit is violence, is lack of profit a desirable alternative then?

There's another side to this. Negotiation can't occur without leverage indeed. If I want your land and you can't defend it, I'm gonna take it, period. Both parties need to have leverage. If trade was negotiation, then Alice and her coffee would never be able to buy a house from Pete, since Pete cannot possibly need enough coffee in his lifetime to be worth a house (using the author's premise: "we trade for what we need"). The implication is that even if you embrace the author's twisted premise you come to the conclusion that you'll need an intermediary item of barter to conclude any significant trade (whatever you can get straight up for coffee will lose significance in the face of what you can't get). Hence, money is needed.

Quote
she uses his dependency on money to get his shoes
This is a recurring theme I see with a lot of socialist friendly movements and people: "Dependency on money". As if money alone was desirable, disregarding its function in the economy. The idea that people trade for money simply for the money and not the value attached to it is to be oblivious to the organic function money fulfills. People don't have a dependency on money, as some sort of a disease. They simply prefer receiving money instead of another random object. This is where the fundamental discordance appears. This firm conviction that money is an imposed burden instead of a preferred choice. What's amusing about this stand point is that it is contradictory with the Marxist premise, where supposedly people mold reality instead of being molded by it.

Finally, a few quotes that made me go "what?"

Quote
[money is] a systematic reason to cross each other

This is outright dishonest. If all trade is negotiation as the author purports, then regardless of the nature of the trade and the items traded, violence is always the alternative. Money is evil, that's the author's premise, not his conclusion.

Quote
If the libertarian picture of the free market as a harmonic cooperation for the mutual benefit of all was true, they would not need these signatures to secure it. The Bitcoin construction—their own construction—shows their theory to be wrong.

Mutual benefit of all? Now he is bagging Marxist ideology with "Libertarianism". Indeed under Marxist premise, defending your property makes no sense as private property is a big no-no.

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February 11, 2013, 06:13:28 AM
 #22

The economic ideologies espoused in the chapter read like a public Bitcoin address, completely nonsensical. Roll Eyes
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February 11, 2013, 07:54:16 AM
 #23

There are a lot of different movements that share the idea that government power is inversely proportional to individual freedom, and they all disagree with each other at a fundamental level. As an example, a libertarian isn't an anarchist. It is true that an anarchist would agree on a lot of points with a libertarian when compared to a socialist, but anarchists and libertarians are still fundamentally opposed in that to first group wants no government whatsoever while the second wants to limit government power.

Anarcho-capitalists are under the libertarianism banner. Anarcho-socialists are definitely not.

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February 11, 2013, 09:37:59 AM
 #24

Anarcho-capitalists are under the libertarianism banner. Anarcho-socialists are definitely not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fveMHVufUN4

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February 11, 2013, 11:28:15 AM
 #25

If you and I trade coffee for shoes we live in state of blissful utopia, with no incentive to disagree or to cheat, rob or steal from each other.

If on the other hand you and I decide to trade our coffee and shoes for currency, perhaps because we'd like a convenient solution to the double coincidence of wants problem, then gravity reverses itself, dogs and cats start sleeping together, and we suddenly transform into evil capitalists who will no doubt slit each other's throats and start raping kittens at the drop of a hat.

That wasn't what the author said at all. They said, if everything was harmonious, Alice and Bob would simply produce what each of them needs and give it to the other, not in trade, just because they can and want to. The argument was that trading is inherently antagonistic, currency or not.

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February 11, 2013, 04:34:21 PM
 #26

There are a lot of different movements that share the idea that government power is inversely proportional to individual freedom, and they all disagree with each other at a fundamental level. As an example, a libertarian isn't an anarchist. It is true that an anarchist would agree on a lot of points with a libertarian when compared to a socialist, but anarchists and libertarians are still fundamentally opposed in that to first group wants no government whatsoever while the second wants to limit government power.

Anarcho-capitalists are under the libertarianism banner. Anarcho-socialists are definitely not.

As an anarchist I certainly don't feel I'm a libertarian. I know people who think like me on this topic. I also know of libertarians who are profoundly attached to the idea of government. Simple example: When libertarians would vote for Ron Paul, I would not vote at all. This is yet another strong difference within the loosely defined group that is publicly labeled as libertarians.

Anarcho-socialism is a disturbing yet clever example of such difference, even if the concept makes no sense.

Quote
That wasn't what the author said at all. They said, if everything was harmonious, Alice and Bob would simply produce what each of them needs and give it to the other, not in trade, just because they can and want to. The argument was that trading is inherently antagonistic, currency or not.

The point remains. If we all live in la-la land, trading is fine. As soon as we deviate from the author's settings, trading becomes evil and mankind crumbles.

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February 11, 2013, 04:46:33 PM
 #27


Anarcho-socialism is a disturbing yet clever example of such difference, even if the concept makes no sense.


That's typical US-American brainwash. Social libertarianism has more historical precedence than market libertarianism. Watch this docu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH43YHaUGyQ

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February 11, 2013, 05:02:05 PM
 #28

Wow... I hope the author of this article is not burdened with teaching the next generation, on any scale because this reeks of pompous celebrity liberal academia which live in my little pony ville instead of reality.

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February 11, 2013, 05:18:58 PM
 #29

Anarcho-socialism is a disturbing yet clever example of such difference, even if the concept makes no sense.

The first people called libertarians were French anarchists.

They didn't believe in a minimal "night watchman" state or even private property, in stark contrast to modern libertarians and anarcho-capitalists.

It's a confusing concept to Americans, born in the land of liberty, who breathe the sweet air of freedom and historically practice capitalism

However to the benighted French, given their culture's background of communitarian feudalism and tribalism, anarcho-socialism makes perfect sense.

Vive la différence!


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February 11, 2013, 06:39:26 PM
 #30

Anarcho-socialism is a disturbing yet clever example of such difference, even if the concept makes no sense.

The first people called libertarians were French anarchists.

They didn't believe in a minimal "night watchman" state or even private property, in stark contrast to modern libertarians and anarcho-capitalists.

It's a confusing concept to Americans, born in the land of liberty, who breathe the sweet air of freedom and historically practice capitalism

However to the benighted French, given their culture's background of communitarian feudalism and tribalism, anarcho-socialism makes perfect sense.

Vive la différence!

Im french...

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February 11, 2013, 07:49:12 PM
 #31

Im french...

That's great, but you're a modern French not one of the olde timey left-anarchist French.

I'm well aware France makes some very nice right-wing libertarians these days...



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February 11, 2013, 08:24:26 PM
 #32

/gigacrush énorme

^ qft

The issue with anarcho-socialism is that anarchism means no rules and socialism is a set of rules.

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February 11, 2013, 08:31:16 PM
 #33

The issue with anarcho-socialism is that anarchism means no rules and socialism is a set of rules.

But the issue with anarchism is that the rule is that there is no rule.  It's kind of an oxymoron.  Anarcho-socialism only makes it more obvious.
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February 11, 2013, 08:40:00 PM
 #34

The issue with anarcho-socialism is that anarchism means no rules and socialism is a set of rules.

But the issue with anarchism is that the rule is that there is no rule.  It's kind of an oxymoron.  Anarcho-socialism only makes it more obvious.

Actually anarchy means "no ruler". Anarchists can create and live by any set of rules they desire.

Would this include a rule such as "Ok guys, from now on and during four years, we will obey to XXX" ?
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February 11, 2013, 08:46:27 PM
 #35


Anarcho-socialism is a disturbing yet clever example of such difference, even if the concept makes no sense.


That's typical US-American brainwash. Social libertarianism has more historical precedence than market libertarianism. Watch this docu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH43YHaUGyQ

First I'm French. Second, historical precedence doesn't validate an action or ideal. For ages, religious fundamentalists have had women stoned to death for adultery. In the civilized world (read the last century), it's only considered a precedent for divorce. That stoning precedes divorce doesn't qualify stoning as the preferable alternative, nor does it make it more sensible.

But the issue with anarchism is that the rule is that there is no rule.  It's kind of an oxymoron.  Anarcho-socialism only makes it more obvious.

I don't agree. Anarchism is a set of ideas based on the premise that society can be functional without rules, and that rules are more detrimental than they are beneficial. In that sense it is a guideline, to which you abide voluntarily. Socialism can only exist through rules. By that fact it is purely coercive, so it doesn't support opting out. Under this light, socialism can't use anarchy as its model since anarchy isn't compulsory, yet that is a prerequisite for socialism.

Actually anarchy means "no ruler". Anarchists can create and live by any set of rules they desire. It's when you try to impose those rules on another (become a ruler) that you are no longer dealing with anarchy.

I disagree with this definition. A rule exists if it is enforced. To break the rule means to be forcefully exposed to the punishment. If anarchists were to live under rules, and happened to break one, then they would be presented with 2 alternatives: endure the punishment voluntarily or opt out of the rule. Those conditions are contradictory with the mechanics of rules.

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February 11, 2013, 08:55:27 PM
 #36

Bitcoin has rules, yet it is completely compatible with Anarchy. If you choose to use Bitcoin, you automatically abide by the rules. You can attempt to break the rules if you wish, but you will simply be ignored by the rest of the network.

You're talking about mechanics, not rules.

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February 11, 2013, 09:21:26 PM
 #37



nice work, Byron!

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February 11, 2013, 10:00:35 PM
 #38

You're talking about mechanics, not rules.

And parameters.  As a general rule, mechanics need parameters or it just gets ugly.   Cool



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February 11, 2013, 10:25:40 PM
 #39

/gigacrush énorme

^ qft

The issue with anarcho-socialism is that anarchism means no rules and socialism is a set of rules.

There are rules in anarchism, just no rulers. That's the real difference between anarcho-capitalism and practically everything else.

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February 11, 2013, 10:35:56 PM
 #40

First I'm French.

and von Mises was Austrian. Still he has his greatest following in the US. Which in turn could have had too much influence on someone in France.

Second, historical precedence doesn't validate an action or ideal.

I meant that in the context that most socio-economic theories, like the "anarcho"-"capitalistic", have never been tried in practice. In Spain some were, and worked well.

But the issue with anarchism is that the rule is that there is no rule.  It's kind of an oxymoron.  Anarcho-socialism only makes it more obvious.

your fallacy is an absolutistic interpretation of socialism.

First, when general assemblies were held, the results were recommendations, not coercive. There was no executive branch or the like.

Second, there were independent "individualists" who lived rather self-sufficiently on the land and essentially bartered with the collectives. They were a minority though, humans usually seem to voluntarily choose to be part of a larger collective.

Third, there were many different regions were people lived out many different flavors of anarchism and tried out different things. Lots of choices.

Fourth, what is a collective after all. A voluntary group that shares resources and risk, much like a cooperative or company if you will. In markets such principles of redistribution exist as well, in the form of insurances for example.

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February 11, 2013, 11:11:24 PM
 #41

Fourth, what is a collective after all. A voluntary group that shares resources and risk, much like a cooperative or company if you will. In markets such principles of redistribution exist as well, in the form of insurances for example.

Sure, but in socialism you don't have the right to sell your share or to buy some.  In liberalism, you can.  Shares are then conveniently called "shares" or "stocks".
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February 11, 2013, 11:33:18 PM
 #42

Ok, I think this turned into a politics. Maybe we can get some moderators to split off the thread?

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February 11, 2013, 11:39:38 PM
 #43

and von Mises was Austrian. Still he has his greatest following in the US. Which in turn could have had too much influence on someone in France.

He has a great following in the US because they are culturally predisposed to agree with his teachings. That was your implication when you used the word "brainwash", and my response was that I'm French, implying I'm not culturally formated to agree with Austrian economics, and yet I conclude that anarcho-socialism is senseless.

Quote
I meant that in the context that most socio-economic theories, like the "anarcho"-"capitalistic", have never been tried in practice. In Spain some were, and worked well.

My comment about anarcho-socialism was at a fundamental level. The concept is contradictory. You are moving the topic to a factual demonstration like here:

Quote
First, when general assemblies were held, the results were recommendations, not coercive. There was no executive branch or the like.

Second, there were independent "individualists" who lived rather self-sufficiently on the land and essentially bartered with the collectives. They were a minority though, humans usually seem to voluntarily choose to be part of a larger collective.

See, you may call this anarcho-socialism but it isn't. This is plain anarchism. It doesn't matter how the guidelines are emitted nor who emits them, individuals are at a liberty to apply them or not. As long as they don't apply it, then socialism isn't effective. The point is, for resources to be spread evenly, it implies those who produce more have to give to those who produce less. If they can choose to stop the hand outs, then socialism isn't effective, this is just an act of charity in an anarchy. If they can't opt out, then the hand outs are compulsory and socialism is indeed in place, because its guidelines being enforced are now functional as rules. Charity is voluntary, socialism is compulsory. Charity != socialism.

The "individualists" you are mentioning are proof of this. Socialism is fundamentally opposed to private property so it will either attempt to assimilate these individuals or wipe them out.

Quote
Fourth, what is a collective after all. A voluntary group that shares resources and risk

There are many definitions of collectives depending on how deep you're willing to delve into human interaction mechanics. The one you're giving is a rather high level definition that is the result of a lot of meaningful societal choices. I will settle with a lower level definition for now: A collective is a group of individuals who interact with each other according the same guidelines.

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February 12, 2013, 10:43:08 AM
 #44


The point remains. If we all live in la-la land, trading is fine. As soon as we deviate from the author's settings, trading becomes evil and mankind crumbles.

Not at all. The point argued, as I saw it, is that trading always pits people against each other. It can not be "harmonious". La-la land, as you put it, is where there is no expectation of compensation. The author doesn't say this is anything other than utopian, they simply make the claim that Libertarian ideology states that free trade between willing participants is harmonious, and concoct an argument to show that isn't so. You can disagree with that, but they're very explicitly not making an argument that direct trade of goods is harmonious and trade involving currency is not.

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February 12, 2013, 11:40:38 AM
 #45


The point remains. If we all live in la-la land, trading is fine. As soon as we deviate from the author's settings, trading becomes evil and mankind crumbles.

Not at all. The point argued, as I saw it, is that trading always pits people against each other. It can not be "harmonious". La-la land, as you put it, is where there is no expectation of compensation. The author doesn't say this is anything other than utopian, they simply make the claim that Libertarian ideology states that free trade between willing participants is harmonious, and concoct an argument to show that isn't so. You can disagree with that, but they're very explicitly not making an argument that direct trade of goods is harmonious and trade involving currency is not.

Yeah, I think that's right. But it's still an incredibly silly argument. The point that libertarians make is not that voluntary trade somehow magically transforms human nature in a way that eliminates selfishness. The point is that voluntary trade channels "selfishness" in a way that promotes the interests of both parties. The point is that voluntary trade is, almost by definition, MORE "harmonious" than coerced exchange. This is pretty basic stuff. But hey, he really did a nice job taking down that straw man he set up.
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