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Author Topic: Libertarians/Anarchists Answer Me This  (Read 5404 times)
genjix
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December 02, 2010, 07:16:09 AM
 #1

Hey,

I have no feelings against any type of politics (except mild+ authoritarianist governments). In principle I really like the idea of personal freedom- everyone can do whatever they want as long as it doesn't affect me. However everyone is not a separate island and we do all affect each other. I'm going to illustrate with 3 examples:

In the UK seatbelts are mandatory otherwise you get a fine. All cars come equipped with seatbelts. I love seatbelts since they significantly reduce the risk to my life by many orders of magnitude. In Iran not many people wear seatbelts. Often many cars just don't have them. So if I want to take a taxi then I can only have the choice to risk the taxi or not take it. Add to this that road laws are virtually non-existant and
cars just swamp the roads (meaning road accidents are super high). My life is endangered by someone else having their freedom.

In the UK it is illegal to smoke indoors. Otherwise I would be the single person in a group that boycotts places which allow indoor smoking. Either my life is endangered through risk to my health by someone else having their freedom, or I am a lonely person. As someone with bad asthma, it's killing when in other poorer countries people smoke everywhere and I can hardly breathe.

Immunisation only works once a majority of the population has been vaccinated. Vaccination does not prevent you getting an illness- only makes it less likely. In this way the disease is less likely to transfer across to another person and it's more difficult to spread. So difficult that it disappears. However for the individual, it's not worth the cost. And for immunisation to be effective, it needs mass mobilisation. Who would organise a state-wide immunisation campaign for a net loss?

Thanks. Looking forward to feedback.
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December 02, 2010, 07:42:31 AM
 #2

Hey,

I have no feelings against any type of politics (except mild+ authoritarianist governments). In principle I really like the idea of personal freedom- everyone can do whatever they want as long as it doesn't affect me. However everyone is not a separate island and we do all affect each other. I'm going to illustrate with 3 examples:
From my idea of an anarchocommunist
In the UK seatbelts are mandatory otherwise you get a fine. All cars come equipped with seatbelts. I love seatbelts since they significantly reduce the risk to my life by many orders of magnitude. In Iran not many people wear seatbelts. Often many cars just don't have them. So if I want to take a taxi then I can only have the choice to risk the taxi or not take it. Add to this that road laws are virtually non-existant and
cars just swamp the roads (meaning road accidents are super high). My life is endangered by someone else having their freedom.
Some one has to pay for the roads the people that pay should create local rules. Its this road feels like then need seatbelts due to the amouth of cars they will have them. Also taxi with seatbelts will have more customers so they will want to have seatbelts.
In the UK it is illegal to smoke indoors. Otherwise I would be the single person in a group that boycotts places which allow indoor smoking. Either my life is endangered through risk to my health by someone else having their freedom, or I am a lonely person. As someone with bad asthma, it's killing when in other poorer countries people smoke everywhere and I can hardly breathe.
People arent evil, they will respect you and maybe have smoking room.
Immunisation only works once a majority of the population has been vaccinated. Vaccination does not prevent you getting an illness- only makes it less likely. In this way the disease is less likely to transfer across to another person and it's more difficult to spread. So difficult that it disappears. However for the individual, it's not worth the cost. And for immunisation to be effective, it needs mass mobilisation. Who would organise a state-wide immunisation campaign for a net loss?
If its an communistic anarchy there is no cash or class so whoever discovers the vaccine will give it out for free. Also people that dont partake in the communist areas will not get vaccination areas can trade goods to get it for themselves if they want it.
Thanks. Looking forward to feedback.
Hope this shows a point. Once again this is how i would solve them it maybe THAT STUPID not everyone is that nice. People are born evil. BUT I HOPE THOSE people answer his question and not my answers.

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caveden
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December 02, 2010, 09:46:00 AM
 #3

One thing that is important to make clear: free markets push to the best optimization in resource usage, balancing people demands and the scarcity of resources.

Nobody knows in advance what is the best optimization. That's the knowledge problem, better described by Hayek.

That said, let's try to answer you...

In the UK seatbelts are mandatory otherwise you get a fine. All cars come equipped with seatbelts. I love seatbelts since they significantly reduce the risk to my life by many orders of magnitude. In Iran not many people wear seatbelts. Often many cars just don't have them.

Until here it's just a matter of personal choice. It's simply absurd to punish somebody for taking risks, or force manufactures to put more safety devices on their cars.
I always wear the seatbelt and I find stupid not to. But I know people who simply detest the seatbelt and always avoid using them...

So if I want to take a taxi then I can only have the choice to risk the taxi or not take it. Add to this that road laws are virtually non-existant and cars just swamp the roads (meaning road accidents are super high). My life is endangered by someone else having their freedom.

In the UK it is illegal to smoke indoors. Otherwise I would be the single person in a group that boycotts places which allow indoor smoking. Either my life is endangered through risk to my health by someone else having their freedom, or I am a lonely person. As someone with bad asthma, it's killing when in other poorer countries people smoke everywhere and I can hardly breathe.

The lack of seatbelts in taxis and lack of smoke-free environments are a similar "issue".
You would like to have them, as I would. But these things come with a cost. Do you know if the cost for a bar owner for ex. to make his environment smoke-free are smaller than the benefits he would get of it? If they aren't, forcing them by law would be destroying wealth. If they are, then you don't need to force, he would do out of his self interest. In the Brazilian state I come from, as well in France where I live, such laws were approved in recent years. Many business owners reported losses due to such limits. In France, many people go out to smoke, making noise that pisses off the neighbors... that's a negative externality of the law, a cost payed either by the neighbors or by the business owner if he has to deal with the police... you see, there are several implications.

Remember: profit = wealth creation. That's because when someone has profit, s/he consumes X and produces Y where Y is more valuable for the society than X. The same way, losses means wealth destruction.

Regarding seatbelts, it's true that it's quite cheap to have them on the taxis, but maybe if taxists don't do it, it's because most of their customers prefer to pay a bit less than to have safety. I don't know how is Iran economy situation, maybe they're missing a bit more capitalism so they can produce things cheaper. Don't the sanctions they suffer make cars particular expensive for the population?

If you have free-markets for a while, society gets so rich that you can have stronger and more specialized competition. You'd eventually have the possibility to satisfy the most strict "tastes". Smoke-free environments would eventually come up, and safer taxis would probably come faster I guess.


Now, about traffic laws, that's lack of property rights. Every road and street should have owners, which should be free to set the traffic laws on their property. This way things would converge for an optimal solution for the culture/region in question.
By the way, you say lack of rules causes more accidents, but that's questionable... in Holland they've done some interesting experiments showing quite the opposite: http://www.examiner.com/civil-liberties-in-national/at-least-with-traffic-fewer-rules-make-for-better-behavior

Immunisation only works once a majority of the population has been vaccinated. Vaccination does not prevent you getting an illness- only makes it less likely. In this way the disease is less likely to transfer across to another person and it's more difficult to spread. So difficult that it disappears. However for the individual, it's not worth the cost. And for immunisation to be effective, it needs mass mobilisation. Who would organise a state-wide immunisation campaign for a net loss?

This is a non-issue. People self-interest will make them look for immunization. Private health insurances could require them as well. People wouldn't do it only when the immunization benefits don't outcome the costs (say, a very expensive vaccine for a disease not that dangerous..)

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December 02, 2010, 01:42:33 PM
 #4

>Hope this shows a point. Once again this is how i would solve them it maybe THAT STUPID not everyone is that nice. People are born evil. BUT I HOPE THOSE people answer his question and not my answers.

what do you mean by this? People aren't born evil, people are naturally good.

Try spending the day with a one-year old.  That might change your mind. Grin

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kiba
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December 02, 2010, 01:45:59 PM
 #5

I will say this again and again ad nauseam.

Incentives matter.

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December 02, 2010, 01:46:16 PM
 #6

One thing that is important to make clear: free markets push to the best optimization in resource usage, balancing people demands and the scarcity of resources.

Free markets do not push to the most optimal resource allocation possible (aka "global optimum").

They simply push to a point in resource allocation space where no further optimisation by incremental change is possible (aka "local optimum").

In the real world the nature of resources and demand is changing all the time, so the market jumps from one local optimum to the next.


This property of free markets can be illustrated in a very simple economy:

Two identical ice cream vendors on a 1km long beach with a uniform density of customers.

There are only two variables in resource optimisation space: The position (x) of each ice cream vendor. The further away a customer is lying from a vendor, the less likely she is to make the trip to buy the ice cream.

The most optimal resource allocation would be if the ice cream vendors were evenly spread out (something like x1 = 250m and x2 =750m). In this configuration nobody ever has to walk further than 250m to buy an ice cream.

But in a free market, where the ice cream vendors compete against each other, this configuration is unstable. They would gradually migrate towards the middle of the beach (slowly grabbing each other's customers) until the free market equilibrium is reached where x1 = 500m and x2= 500m.  This equilibrium is globally suboptimal.


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December 02, 2010, 01:46:28 PM
 #7

The answers go:

Your body, your decision.

The restauranteur's property, their decision.

Your body, your decision.

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genjix
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December 02, 2010, 01:46:50 PM
 #8

Good ideas so far- thanks.

Quote
This is a non-issue. People self-interest will make them look for immunization. Private health insurances could require them as well. People wouldn't do it only when the immunization benefits don't outcome the costs (say, a very expensive vaccine for a disease not that dangerous..)

Immunisation is a loss for the individual. For the group it is a gain. This is not a hard concept.

Example:
Voting is -EV (negative expected value). I have to waste time, effort, energy... And my vote has nearly 0 effect.
However the cumulative effect of a whole population voting is a gain for everyone together (from the viewpoint of getting people to vote).

In that same way, immunisation for an individual is useless unless a critical mass of the population also immunises themselves at the same time. For me it's a slightly -EV choice. For everyone together, it's massively +EV.
kiba
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December 02, 2010, 01:50:42 PM
 #9

In that same way, immunisation for an individual is useless unless a critical mass of the population also immunises themselves at the same time. For me it's a slightly -EV choice. For everyone together, it's massively +EV.

It's called The Insurance Company.

Insurance want to reduce chance of insuree getting into hospital. Perform a cost analysis, decides that it's cheaper to have everyone be immunized. Offer discount for immunization, moreso if x clients sign up....

Well, you get the idea.

genjix
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December 02, 2010, 01:50:47 PM
 #10

One thing that is important to make clear: free markets push to the best optimization in resource usage, balancing people demands and the scarcity of resources.

Free markets do not push to the most optimal resource allocation possible (aka "global optimum").

They simply push to a point in resource allocation space where no further opimisation by incremental change is possible (aka "local optimum").

In the real world the nature of resources and demand is changing all the time, so the market jumps from one local optimum to the next.


This property of free markets can be illustrated in a very simple economy:

Two identical ice cream vendors on a 1km long beach with a uniform density of customers.

There are only two variables in resource optimisation space: The position (x) of each ice cream vendor. The further away a customer is lying from a vendor, the less likely she is to make the trip to buy the ice cream.

The most optimal resource allocation would be if the ice cream vendors were evenly spread out (something like x1 = 333m and x2 =666m).

But in a free market, where the ice cream vendors compete against each other, this configuration is unstable. They would gradually migrate towards the middle of the beach (grabbing each other's customers) until the free market equilibrium is reached where x1 = 500m and x2= 500m.  This equilibrium is globally suboptimal.



This makes sense- that markets move towards peaks. This suggests that valleys pose a serious problem to the evolution of markets. Especially since evolution in nature doesn't only change incrementally (there's other selection processes which produce many forms very rapidly).

Can you explain why the vendors shift from a uniform to a normal distribution? What strategy causes this?

Would like to chat more with you and discuss ideas if you're on IRC or email.
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December 02, 2010, 01:54:35 PM
 #11

I'm mostly libertarian, although I'm sure the more pure libertarians here would call me a fuzzy-headed socialist.

Anyway, for seatbelts:

Be careful comparing rich, Western countries to poorer countries.  As we get richer we value personal safety more, so we demand things like seat belts and air bags in our cars.

I believe that our politicians see that demand, then jump on the bandwagon and pass laws that basically everybody thinks are a Good Idea, and then take credit for making us safer.

I'm not 100% certain that is true for seatbelts; I haven't actually looked at the graph of traffic fatalities over time, to see if there is a bend in the curve when seatbelt legislation is passed.

For smoking:  we shouldn't be allowed to do things that hurt, or have a "reasonable" chance to hurt, other people.  Personally, I waffle back and forth over whether second-hand smoke imposes an unreasonable chance of harm on others.

I've looked at the evidence, and it seems that only people exposed to repeated, long-term secondhand smoke have an increased risk of death.  Like spouses or children of smokers.  And the smoking bans NEVER apply to private residences.  So again, I think politicians may just be jumping on the bandwagon and passing feel-good laws that do no good (although in the last couple of days I read that it looks like grotesque images on cigarette packs ARE measurably effective at reducing smoking).

For vaccinations:  "herd immunity" from vaccinations is a true "public good,"  in the strict economic definition of "public good."  I think it is fine and dandy for the government to provide true public goods, either directly or (usually better) by supporting/subsidizing private industry.  Follow this link for a reasonable, very-smart, mostly-libertarian perspective on public goods.

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December 02, 2010, 02:08:58 PM
 #12

@Gavin:

Seatbelt law: Fail to wear a seatbelt, you're fined. Fail to pay: http://www.nostate.com/116/the-penalty-is-always-death/

Smoking: You run a restaurant in a district that bans indoor smoking in "public" places. You're fined. Fail to pay: http://www.nostate.com/116/the-penalty-is-always-death/

Vaccination: You refuse to have your child vaccinated. Vaccination is required for school. School is compulsory. You fail to deliver your child to school. You are cited. Fail to comply: http://www.nostate.com/116/the-penalty-is-always-death/

Sure, we all want good outcomes. But the paths we take to get to them is of overriding importance.

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December 02, 2010, 02:15:58 PM
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AIDS comes from a polio vaccine.

I know most scientists think it is not true, but I'm still waiting for a better explanation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OPV_AIDS_hypothesis

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December 02, 2010, 02:43:28 PM
 #14

@Gavin:
Seatbelt law: Fail to wear a seatbelt, you're fined. Fail to pay: http://www.nostate.com/116/the-penalty-is-always-death/

Would that be any different in an anarchy though? If you violate a contract the other party will demand compensation, if you fail to compensate they will attempt taking the compensation by force by hiring a PDA, if you resist that force by threatening to retaliate with violence, the PDA will also retaliate with violence, etc....

Eventually, if you refuse to negotiate and keep resisting, the outcome is likely to be death too, even in an anarchy.

The only difference is that under a state you enter certain contracts automatically (the act of getting a driving license and getting inside a car means an implicit contract between you and the state).

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December 02, 2010, 03:25:31 PM
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@forever:

Part of the background idea is that, absent a state, any kind of enforcement of forcible sanctions against victimless "crimes" would be prohibitively expensive.

To blow up your example, would you voluntarily contract with an entity that demanded compliance-or-death as part of their contractual terms? I wouldn't.

In any case, the whole seatbelt thing goes out the window in a voluntary society. The professed reason for seatbelt laws is to protect people. The real reason for them is to defend the privilege of the medical establishment/insurance against having to provide care under overbroad conceptions of insurance, coupled with state must-treat mandates (which themselves are a feeble attempt to balance the aforementioned privilege). If you're an operator of a roadway network in a free society, what possible motivation do you have to compel your customers to wear seatbelts? Okay, maybe some of your client base dies as a result of stupidity, and you lose revenue, but I doubt those costs come anywhere near the audit and enforcement costs.

Mind you, in a real free market you'd probably have a hell of a time getting medical insurance as a driver who habitually didn't use the seatbelt. But that's a matter in which your insurance carrier simply drops you as too risky or penalizes you via your premium. Again, no motivation to shoot you.

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December 02, 2010, 05:56:38 PM
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Secondhand smoke has been shown time and again to be harmful, and other people who are regularly exposed to it include waitstaff at bars/restaurants, for example.

You can argue that it's not the government's place to regulate that, and I'd pretty much agree with you, but if you think you shouldn't do things that harm others, or allow people to do so in your establishment, for example, then you shouldn't be smoking indoors around non-smokers or allowing smoking in your (owned) place of business.

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kiba
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December 02, 2010, 06:05:53 PM
 #17



The most optimal resource allocation would be if the ice cream vendors were evenly spread out (something like x1 = 250m and x2 =750m). In this configuration nobody ever has to walk further than 250m to buy an ice cream.


Why would this be the most optimal resource allocation?

If your goal is to make ice cream available to the masses, then it make sense to allocate to places where people actually will buy ice creams?

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December 02, 2010, 09:06:27 PM
 #18

There is something wrong on your quoting, kiba. I didn't say that. That was a response to me, actually...

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December 02, 2010, 09:24:38 PM
 #19

One thing that is important to make clear: free markets push to the best optimization in resource usage, balancing people demands and the scarcity of resources.

Free markets do not push to the most optimal resource allocation possible (aka "global optimum").

They simply push to a point in resource allocation space where no further optimisation by incremental change is possible (aka "local optimum").

Aren't you confusing free markets with gradient vectors? Cheesy


Seriously now, what you may be calling global optimum (the "perfect" situation) is humanly unreacheable. My statement would have been better if I had said "free markets push to the best possible optimization in resource usage".

The "global optimum" is humanly unreacheable because it's humanly impossible to know all the information necessary to reach it, since we are dealing with people's opinion here, which are subjective. That is what I meant by my bold phrase above. It's impossible to know in advance what would be the best optimization.
Your own example is flawed, as kiba already noticed:


The most optimal resource allocation would be if the ice cream vendors were evenly spread out (something like x1 = 250m and x2 =750m). In this configuration nobody ever has to walk further than 250m to buy an ice cream.

How do you know?
What if there are lots of ice cream lovers on an area of the beach, and a lot of women on permanent diet on another area?
What if some custumers won't take their lazy asses out of their chairs for an ice cream, but may eventually buy one when the seller passes by?
And by the way, your condition of "uniform density of custumers" is by itself impractical too.

What you did was a small attempt of central planning for a small economy example, and as you can see, you could already have done lots of mistakes. Now imagine how many mistakes will be done when you try to central plan a true economy. Nobody has the necessary information. If you let the free market process act, it will create the best set of incentives so that the individual actions benefit the entire society. Every time you initiate force though, you will be creating a bad incentive, either by distorcing prices, externalizing costs etc.

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December 02, 2010, 09:33:51 PM
 #20

Quote
This is a non-issue. People self-interest will make them look for immunization. Private health insurances could require them as well. People wouldn't do it only when the immunization benefits don't outcome the costs (say, a very expensive vaccine for a disease not that dangerous..)

Immunisation is a loss for the individual. For the group it is a gain. This is not a hard concept.

Why?
I've been taking vitamin C every morning since the wheather started getting cold... how effective that is compared to vaccines? People do like to protect themselves.

And even if it's true what you say, and immunization is a loss for the individual (I can't see it this way...), it's still interesting for insurance companies to come up with incentives for people to take vaccines.
Actually, some authors predict that many of the rules today imposed by governments would be demanded by insurance companies. You may want to read "The Chaos Theory", from Robert Murphy. It is a short book where he tries to predict how many things could work in a free society. He talks a lot about insurances.

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