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Author Topic: Libertarianism and externalities  (Read 6493 times)
benjamindees
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June 25, 2011, 02:13:58 PM
 #21

And, as I asked in another thread, what prevents the people with money (which, will be the people polluting) from controlling the privatized legal system and making their polluting completely ok?  

Even if the privatized legal system remains perfectly neutral and immune to influence (nearly impossible), under what authority and with what force are the decisions enforced?

Large scale polluting enterprises are actually fairly fragile operations.  A coal mine or an oil refinery, for instance, can be completely shut down by just a few people rather easily.  Look at any oil pipeline in any disputed region for an example of locals shutting down industry when its costs outweigh its benefits.

There's a completely erroneous view in this thread that courts exist to enforce the will of the community.  It's actually the complete opposite.  Courts exist to prevent mob justice.  And even then their abilities are ultimately limited.

Where anyone gets the idea that more laws would be required I have no clue.

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AyeYo
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June 25, 2011, 02:35:33 PM
 #22

And, as I asked in another thread, what prevents the people with money (which, will be the people polluting) from controlling the privatized legal system and making their polluting completely ok? 

Even if the privatized legal system remains perfectly neutral and immune to influence (nearly impossible), under what authority and with what force are the decisions enforced?

Large scale polluting enterprises are actually fairly fragile operations.  A coal mine or an oil refinery, for instance, can be completely shut down by just a few people rather easily. 

Citation please.


The rest is not relevant to what I asked.

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benjamindees
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June 25, 2011, 03:04:39 PM
 #23

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-02-26/world/iraq.refinery.attack_1_oil-refinery-attacks-on-oil-pipelines-iraq?_s=PM:WORLD

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June 25, 2011, 03:13:00 PM
 #24



Dude, Iraq is a warzone, of course shit is getting attacked left and right.  Find me an example of a country not already up in flames in which natives have successfully ejected a corporation stealing their resources.

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benjamindees
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June 25, 2011, 03:28:03 PM
 #25

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/10/AR2007091000596_pf.html

Does Mexico count?

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June 25, 2011, 03:35:11 PM
 #26


Ok, so they attacked a pipeline and that did... nothing.  The oil companies aren't going anywhere.  I said find an example of natives OUTTING a resource robbing company or your argument holds no water.

Back in the real world, these companies do get attacked all the time by angry natives, but I have yet to see it make them pack up and leave.  What ends up happening is these natives get labeled terrorists and either the local government or the US government comes in and disposes of them, all while calling it "bringing freedom" to the people of the country.

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June 26, 2011, 01:16:26 AM
 #27

And, as I asked in another thread, what prevents the people with money (which, will be the people polluting) from controlling the privatized legal system and making their polluting completely ok? 
This is a good argument against Libertarians who claim that a Libertarian society would be a paradise. However, these criticisms apply equally well to every proposed system, perhaps with the exception of a monarchy where the monarch really hates pollution. A Republic has the same problem because the polluters have lobbyists.

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June 26, 2011, 01:00:59 PM
 #28

Well now this gets more complicated.  The issue here depends on whether that land next to the factory was previously unowned or not.  Provided that the factory owner was the first one to construct his factory on the unowned land, he may have gained rights to pollute the neighboring land assuming it was legitimately homesteaded.
Right, that's the problem. "The polluter pays for his damages" seems really simple and elegant (the Pigouvian system). You almost think, "oh, it's that easy!" Well, it's not, Coase rained on that parade. And the idea that someone who pollutes might acquire the right to pollute and then some guy can't use his property the way he always wanted to down the road is much less intuitively appealing.

Normally, you get rights to someone else's land through usage that is directly adverse to them. It has to be something a person would see, know about, and choose to ignore. But pollution can be invisible. And the idea that someone might gain free reign to pollute simply by nobody noticing is not very attractive.

Again, it's a hard problem. No system known (other than pure authoritarianism with a dictator who really hates externalities) handles it well.

Someone generally would have only acquired the "right to pollute" in one of two ways:

- the land being polluted was unowned (any government land is effectively unowned)
- the polluter made a contractual agreement with a landowner to be able to pollute

So how does that then become "some guy can't use his property the way he always wanted to down the road"? It either wasn't his property yet, he agreed to the pollution, or the pollution is a rights violation. (He owned the property before the pollution occurred, therefore no "right to pollute" actually exists.)

Pollution might be invisible but it isn't undetectable. Technically the new homeowner should be evaluating the land he is settling to establish a baseline level of pollution to compare with any future increase. This might be something handled at a larger scale of a property management company having this done at the same time sites are being checked for sinkholes or whatever. Also, what may be more practicable and how de facto pollution law is handled would be monitoring polluters at the source. What sort of arrangements would evolve from millions of people and firms I can't accurately predict, but I think we can get an idea.

Which security provider would you choose to pay for, one who forced industrial firms to comply with pollution monitoring and good manufacturing practice or one who let it slide? I'm not claiming the world will suddenly be paradise, but I think that when people have a choice, they would choose firms that do punish property rights violations like pollution (obviously other factors to consider as well).

Maybe a hypothetical benevolent dictator is going to have advantages at some point, but as a whole dictators tend to not be benevolent and even when they are locktight on one issue they fall down on many others. There are two main reasons why we say that a free market in law is better regarding pollution compared to state systems:

- Rights violations would tend to be compensated by payment to victims, not fines to some bureaucratic EPA. This is just part of the broader problem with authoritarian or centralized legal systems.

- The same incentive problem that occurs with temporary, democratically-elected rulers happens with government "ownership" of land. When land is rented to a logging or mining firm, rather than them having to buy it, forests are clear cut or mountains are stripped right off. Even when laws are made against these practices, they're ignored.

There's all sorts of evidence of state "solutions" failing and privatization suddenly curing environmental problems.

You're confusing what I am talking about with a "Pigovian system". Pigou suggests a tax. Necessarily a tax involves a government, and the socialist calculation problem is no less insurmountable in the case of environmental policy than in any other. A main point in Block's refutation of Coase (and Demsetz) is that psychic profit is ignored, a very common mistake for those with the mentality of central planners.

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June 26, 2011, 01:24:22 PM
 #29

Someone generally would have only acquired the "right to pollute" in one of two ways:

- the land being polluted was unowned (any government land is effectively unowned)
- the polluter made a contractual agreement with a landowner to be able to pollute

So how does that then become "some guy can't use his property the way he always wanted to down the road"? It either wasn't his property yet, he agreed to the pollution, or the pollution is a rights violation. (He owned the property before the pollution occurred, therefore no "right to pollute" actually exists.)
In that case, how do you solve the factory owner blackmail problem? I can buy land near a multi-million dollar factory and use my land in a way that creates arbitrarily high damages. Say, for example, the pollution is highly toxic to bees. I can bring in the world's most valuable and sensitive bees, wait for them to die, and then make him pay my full cost. I can keep doing this until he pays me millions to stop, or he shuts down his factory.

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You're confusing what I am talking about with a "Pigovian system". Pigou suggests a tax. Necessarily a tax involves a government, and the socialist calculation problem is no less insurmountable in the case of environmental policy than in any other. A main point in Block's refutation of Coase (and Demsetz) is that psychic profit is ignored, a very common mistake for those with the mentality of central planners.
My objection applies to any scheme were polluters pay for all the damages, whether the payments are imposed by taxes or otherwise. While the pollution is the fault of the polluter, the damage the pollution does is the fault of the relationship between the pollution and the thing damaged. That is not something entirely under the polluter's control.

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June 26, 2011, 02:45:42 PM
 #30

So assuming a free-market and the pollution problem.  You mention a multi-million dollar factory. . .which is going to need investors and some form of insurance.  The large-scale factory is only ideal/preferable within the confines of the capitalist/statist system (like our current one).

A read through "Organization Theory" and "New Home Brew" is recommended.  Without coercive government subsidizing, large plants are not feasible.  Their efficiency is not at the highest.

Hippy Anarchy
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June 26, 2011, 02:47:18 PM
 #31

So assuming a free-market and the pollution problem.  You mention a multi-million dollar factory. . .which is going to need investors and some form of insurance.  The large-scale factory is only ideal/preferable within the confines of the capitalist/statist system (like our current one).
So there are no computers in your ideal world?

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June 26, 2011, 03:13:55 PM
 #32

So assuming a free-market and the pollution problem.  You mention a multi-million dollar factory. . .which is going to need investors and some form of insurance.  The large-scale factory is only ideal/preferable within the confines of the capitalist/statist system (like our current one).

A read through "Organization Theory" and "New Home Brew" is recommended.  Without coercive government subsidizing, large plants are not feasible.  Their efficiency is not at the highest.

You guys are too funny!

So no computers (as mentioned above), no car, no ships, no mass production of ANYTHING, no food processing, etc.

Sign me up!  Sounds like a great place to live.

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June 26, 2011, 03:29:47 PM
 #33

So assuming a free-market and the pollution problem.  You mention a multi-million dollar factory. . .which is going to need investors and some form of insurance.  The large-scale factory is only ideal/preferable within the confines of the capitalist/statist system (like our current one).

A read through "Organization Theory" and "New Home Brew" is recommended.  Without coercive government subsidizing, large plants are not feasible.  Their efficiency is not at the highest.

You guys are too funny!

So no computers (as mentioned above), no car, no ships, no mass production of ANYTHING, no food processing, etc.

Sign me up!  Sounds like a great place to live.

Again, a read through Organization Theory is recommended.  Large plants are inefficient, and not necessary to produce the goods you list.

Hippy Anarchy
*shrug*
JoelKatz
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June 26, 2011, 03:35:19 PM
 #34

So assuming a free-market and the pollution problem.  You mention a multi-million dollar factory. . .which is going to need investors and some form of insurance.  The large-scale factory is only ideal/preferable within the confines of the capitalist/statist system (like our current one).

A read through "Organization Theory" and "New Home Brew" is recommended.  Without coercive government subsidizing, large plants are not feasible.  Their efficiency is not at the highest.

You guys are too funny!

So no computers (as mentioned above), no car, no ships, no mass production of ANYTHING, no food processing, etc.

Sign me up!  Sounds like a great place to live.

Again, a read through Organization Theory is recommended.  Large plants are inefficient, and not necessary to produce the goods you list.
Give me the short version. How do you make something like a GPU without a large plant?

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AyeYo
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June 26, 2011, 03:39:28 PM
 #35

So assuming a free-market and the pollution problem.  You mention a multi-million dollar factory. . .which is going to need investors and some form of insurance.  The large-scale factory is only ideal/preferable within the confines of the capitalist/statist system (like our current one).

A read through "Organization Theory" and "New Home Brew" is recommended.  Without coercive government subsidizing, large plants are not feasible.  Their efficiency is not at the highest.

You guys are too funny!

So no computers (as mentioned above), no car, no ships, no mass production of ANYTHING, no food processing, etc.

Sign me up!  Sounds like a great place to live.

Again, a read through Organization Theory is recommended.  Large plants are inefficient, and not necessary to produce the goods you list.


As always, you're oversimplifying.  I have a BS in business adminstration, I've done more than a read through of organizational theory.


Regardless, I will not entertain this completely irrelevant, distractionary strawman any longer.  Please go back and answer his question about pollution blackmail.

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June 26, 2011, 03:44:37 PM
 #36

And, as I asked in another thread, what prevents the people with money (which, will be the people polluting) from controlling the privatized legal system and making their polluting completely ok? 
This is a good argument against Libertarians who claim that a Libertarian society would be a paradise.

Still haven't met one

Hippy Anarchy
*shrug*
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June 26, 2011, 03:49:36 PM
 #37

So assuming a free-market and the pollution problem.  You mention a multi-million dollar factory. . .which is going to need investors and some form of insurance.  The large-scale factory is only ideal/preferable within the confines of the capitalist/statist system (like our current one).

A read through "Organization Theory" and "New Home Brew" is recommended.  Without coercive government subsidizing, large plants are not feasible.  Their efficiency is not at the highest.

You guys are too funny!

So no computers (as mentioned above), no car, no ships, no mass production of ANYTHING, no food processing, etc.

Sign me up!  Sounds like a great place to live.

Again, a read through Organization Theory is recommended.  Large plants are inefficient, and not necessary to produce the goods you list.


As always, you're oversimplifying.  I have a BS in business adminstration, I've done more than a read through of organizational theory.


Regardless, I will not entertain this completely irrelevant, distractionary strawman any longer.  Please go back and answer his question about pollution blackmail.

You claim I am oversimplifying, yet you bring no actual criticism of my claim
I answer posts as I will.  If someone wants to engage in an actual discussion with me, you can pm me for my public key.  Done more than a read-through of "Organizational Theory" have you?  You'd think someone with a BS-degree would have better reading comprehension

Hippy Anarchy
*shrug*
JoelKatz
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June 26, 2011, 03:57:45 PM
 #38

And, as I asked in another thread, what prevents the people with money (which, will be the people polluting) from controlling the privatized legal system and making their polluting completely ok? 
This is a good argument against Libertarians who claim that a Libertarian society would be a paradise.
Still haven't met one
It was a dry attempt at humor. My point was precisely that it refutes an argument that one is very unlikely to actually encounter.

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June 26, 2011, 04:03:34 PM
 #39

So assuming a free-market and the pollution problem.  You mention a multi-million dollar factory. . .which is going to need investors and some form of insurance.  The large-scale factory is only ideal/preferable within the confines of the capitalist/statist system (like our current one).

A read through "Organization Theory" and "New Home Brew" is recommended.  Without coercive government subsidizing, large plants are not feasible.  Their efficiency is not at the highest.

You guys are too funny!

So no computers (as mentioned above), no car, no ships, no mass production of ANYTHING, no food processing, etc.

Sign me up!  Sounds like a great place to live.

Again, a read through Organization Theory is recommended.  Large plants are inefficient, and not necessary to produce the goods you list.


As always, you're oversimplifying.  I have a BS in business adminstration, I've done more than a read through of organizational theory.


Regardless, I will not entertain this completely irrelevant, distractionary strawman any longer.  Please go back and answer his question about pollution blackmail.

You claim I am oversimplifying, yet you bring no actual criticism of my claim
I answer posts as I will.  If someone wants to engage in an actual discussion with me, you can pm me for my public key.  Done more than a read-through of "Organizational Theory" have you?  You'd think someone with a BS-degree would have better reading comprehension

I'm not going to disprove a claim that you've shown no proof of, not to mention the fact that it's COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to the question he asked you.

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June 26, 2011, 05:03:36 PM
 #40

you keep saying "he", but pronouns are notoriously fickle on forums. . .who asked what?  I did not see anyone asking me specifically anything

Hippy Anarchy
*shrug*
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