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Question: What is your opinion of the Maximum role of Government in society?
Absolute: Government should control all services and prices. - 4 (4.7%)
Moderate: the Government should control some services, and not others (explain) - 23 (26.7%)
Minimal: The Government should limit itself to courts and military. - 32 (37.2%)
None: All services and goods should be provided privately (or collectively). - 27 (31.4%)
Total Voters: 85

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July 13, 2011, 03:18:02 AM
 #401

Thus, even though the coal plant is kicking out sulfoxides into the atmosphere, it is not directly, or in most cases, even indirectly, effecting the lives of most people, just those in the path of its emissions.

Sure. But collectively, it's a different matter. Recall China?

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July 13, 2011, 03:41:09 AM
 #402

Thus, even though the coal plant is kicking out sulfoxides into the atmosphere, it is not directly, or in most cases, even indirectly, effecting the lives of most people, just those in the path of its emissions.

Sure. But collectively, it's a different matter. Recall China?

Collectively, a lot more people are effected. Thus, a lot more people have claims. We're getting close to that 'One mother of a class action'.

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July 13, 2011, 03:44:37 AM
 #403

Collectively, a lot more people are effected. Thus, a lot more people have claims. We're getting close to that 'One mother of a class action'.

But we're not talking about litigation yet. We're only discussing how to define public property.

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July 13, 2011, 03:46:28 AM
 #404

Collectively, a lot more people are effected. Thus, a lot more people have claims. We're getting close to that 'One mother of a class action'.

But we're not talking about litigation yet. We're only discussing how to define public property.

To borrow a quote from the nukes thread, "Don't crack the dome".

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July 13, 2011, 03:52:18 AM
 #405

To borrow a quote from the nukes thread, "Don't crack the dome".

I'm not familiar with the thread or the phrase as it relates to the conversation.

But anyway, if we are in agreement that we define the atmosphere, even local low altitude air, as public property because it circulates, then we can continue.

What about water? I will grant that some of it is relatively stationary, but not as much as you think. Springs are the result of underground hydraulics. Some water comes from the rain directly from above. And I'll admit that when water on the surface evaporates, it goes through a cleansing process. However, a good portion of water comes from aquifers, and drainages upstream.

What is your stance on water as public property?

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July 13, 2011, 04:07:30 AM
 #406

To borrow a quote from the nukes thread, "Don't crack the dome".
But anyway, if we are in agreement that we define the atmosphere, even local low altitude air, as public property because it circulates, then we can continue.

What about water? I will grant that some of it is relatively stationary, but not as much as you think. Springs are the result of underground hydraulics. Some water comes from the rain directly from above. And I'll admit that when water on the surface evaporates, it goes through a cleansing process. However, a good portion of water comes from aquifers, and drainages upstream.

What is your stance on water as public property?

We're not. You can say 'You ruined my air quality', but not 'You ruined my ozone'. Upper atmosphere only.

Water is water. dihydrogen monoxide. Like air, it too has local concentrations. The oil spill in the gulf, for instance, didn't affect Maine lobster fishing at all. Unless you can disrupt the water cycle or the ocean currents, there's no way you can affect everyone.

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July 13, 2011, 07:45:17 AM
 #407

We're not. You can say 'You ruined my air quality', but not 'You ruined my ozone'. Upper atmosphere only.

Water is water. dihydrogen monoxide. Like air, it too has local concentrations. The oil spill in the gulf, for instance, didn't affect Maine lobster fishing at all. Unless you can disrupt the water cycle or the ocean currents, there's no way you can affect everyone.

I think you're doing a disservice to your cause by not being willing to explore in greater depth what might be considered public property. Unless you're omniscient, it stands to reason that you don't have a complete set of facts about the physical nature of our planet.

Mostly, I think you vastly underestimate the accumulative global effects of aggregated local events.

I was going to discuss how the concept of circulation renders the notion that you own everything on your land suspect. Circulation can refer to atmospheric circulation, ocean currents, drainage networks, migratory paths of fauna, etc. Additionally, it could refer to light transport and in general, electromagnetic radiation.

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July 13, 2011, 07:52:58 AM
 #408

I was going to discuss how the concept of circulation renders the notion that you own everything on your land suspect. Circulation can refer to atmospheric circulation, ocean currents, drainage networks, migratory paths of fauna, etc. Additionally, it could refer to light transport and in general, electromagnetic radiation.

And I ruined it with that pesky "local" thing, huh? Sorry.

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July 13, 2011, 02:18:57 PM
 #409

I was going to discuss how the concept of circulation renders the notion that you own everything on your land suspect. Circulation can refer to atmospheric circulation, ocean currents, drainage networks, migratory paths of fauna, etc. Additionally, it could refer to light transport and in general, electromagnetic radiation.

And I ruined it with that pesky "local" thing, huh? Sorry.

No man, or piece of land, is an island unto itself.


Relevant quotes, so you can hear this stuff from other people too...


"Every society has a right to fix the fundamental principles of its association, and to say to all individuals, that if they contemplate pursuits beyond the limits of these principles and involving dangers which the society chooses to avoid, they must go somewhere else for their exercise; that we want no citizens, and still less ephemeral and pseudo-citizens, on such terms. We may exclude them from our territory, as we do persons infected with disease."
-Thomas Jefferson


"Anarcho-capitalists are against the State simply because they are capitalists first and foremost. Their critique of the State ultimately rests on a liberal interpretation of liberty as the inviolable rights to and of private property. They are not concerned with the social consequences of capitalism for the weak, powerless and ignorant. Their claim that all would benefit from a free exchange in the market is by no means certain; any unfettered market system would most likely sponsor a reversion to an unequal society with defense associations perpetuating exploitation and privilege. If anything, anarcho-capitalism is merely a free-for-all in which only the rich and cunning would benefit. It is tailor-made for 'rugged individualists' who do not care about the damage to others or to the environment which they leave in their wake. The forces of the market cannot provide genuine conditions for freedom any more than the powers of the State. The victims of both are equally enslaved, alienated and oppressed."
-Peter Marshall

"I think it must be conceded that it is possible to create a society in which the response to market failure is not a swing to socialism, but an exacerbation of individual efforts to stay ahead by making and spending yet more money. Does the public health service have long waiting lists and inadequate facilities? Buy private insurance. Has public transport broken down? Buy a car for each member of the family above driving age. Has the countryside been built over or the footpaths eradicated? Buy some elaborate exercise machinery and work out at home. Is air pollution intolerable? Buy an air-filtering unit and stay indoors. Is what comes out of the tap foul to the taste and chock-full of carcinogens? Buy bottled water. And so on. We know it can all happen because it has: I have been doing little more than describing Southern California.
Now it is worth noticing two things about the private substitutes that I have described. The first is that in the aggregate they are probably much more expensive than would be the implementation of the appropriate public policy. The second is that they are extremely poor replacements for the missing outcomes of good public policy. Nevertheless, it is plain that the members of a society can become so alienated from one another, so mistrustful of any form of collective action, that they prefer to go it alone."
-Brian Barry

"The term 'free market' is really a euphemism. What the far right actually means by this term is 'lawless market.' In a lawless market, entrepreneurs can get away with privatizing the benefits of the market (profits), while socializing its costs (like pollution). Uncomfortable with the concept of a lawless market? The far right will try to reassure you with claims that the market can produce its own laws, either as a commodity bought and sold on the market, or through natural market mechanisms like the "invisible hand" or the Coase theorem. But it is interesting to note that even if the entrepreneurs don't take the more likely shortcut of creating their own state, this type of law removes the creation of law from democratic legislatures and gives it to authoritarian business owners and landlords. And since you get what you pay for, "purchased law" will primarily benefit its purchasers. Society might as well return to aristocracy directly."
-Steve Kangas

"The argument for laissez-faire capitalism is built on a contradictory view of liberty. Right-wing libertarians understand that state control of all economic activity is tyrannical: that the power to determine if and how people make a living is the power to enforce conformity. But they don't see that the huge transnational corporations that own and control most of the world's wealth exercise a parallel tyranny: not only do these behemoths unilaterally determine qualifications, wages, hours, and working conditions for millions of workers, who (if they're lucky) may "choose" from a highly restricted menu of jobs or "choose" to stop eating; they make production, investment and lending decisions that profoundly affect the economic, social, and political landscape of communities and indeed entire countries -- decisions in which the great majority of people affected have little or no voice. Murray defines economic freedom as "the right to engage in voluntary and informed exchanges of goods and services without restriction." Fine -- but if an economic transaction is to be truly voluntary and informed, all parties must have equal power to accept, reject, or influence its terms, as well as equal access to information. Can anyone claim that corporate employers and employees have equal power to negotiate their exchange? Or that consumers have full access to information about the products they buy? And if we're really interested in freedom, the right to voluntary and informed engagement in economic transactions has to be extended beyond their principals to others affected -- whether by plants that reduce air quality or rent increases that chase out shoe repair shops in favor of coffee bars. The inconsistency of the belief that economic domination by the state destroys freedom, while economic domination by capital somehow enhances it, is often rationalized by attributing the self-interested decisions of the corporate elite to objective, immutable principles like "the invisible hand" or "supply and demand" -- just as state tyranny has claimed to embody the laws of God or History. But the real animating principle of a free society is democracy -- which should include a democratic economy based on enterprises owned and controlled by their workers."
-Ellen Willis


"Public goods, quasipublic goods, and externalities are fairly common in the real world. They are common enough that it is necessary to take proposals for government intervention in the economy on a case-by-case basis. Government action can never be ruled in or ruled out on principle. Only with attention to detail and prudent judgment based on the facts of the case can we hope to approach an optimal allocation of resources. That means the government will always have a full agenda for reform -- and in some cases, as in deregulation, that will mean undoing the actions of government in an earlier generation. This is not evidence of failure but of an alert, active government aware of changing circumstances."
-Paul Krugman

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July 13, 2011, 02:39:19 PM
 #410

I think that government should manage all resources and judicial issues... Anything else is for society.

State-managed resources is the worst possible outcome. Look at China.
I think the problem of China is the lack of civil rights and liberty; but not the resources managment. Of course, it can improve, but let's remember it is a undevelopment country yet.
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July 13, 2011, 04:53:05 PM
 #411

And I ruined it with that pesky "local" thing, huh? Sorry.

You ruined it by ignoring science.

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July 13, 2011, 05:07:29 PM
 #412

And I ruined it with that pesky "local" thing, huh? Sorry.

You ruined it by ignoring science.

That's where you're mistaken. Science uses measurements to judge the effect of things upon the world. Unless you're redefining science, now.

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July 13, 2011, 05:40:55 PM
 #413

No man, or piece of land, is an island unto itself.

I think you'd really find Herman Daly's work to be interesting. He says a lot of interesting things that just make sense. As an example, one of the things he says is the error economists commit when they add the cost of cleanup into the GNP (i.e. a firm engages in environmental cleanup by selling its services, and by virtue of the fact that those services are consumed, then they are a part of the GNP). Daly argues that these things should actually be subtracted from the GNP, as they do not represent growth at all.

He's got some really interesting viewpoints. They're worth reading - not just skimming.

Interview with Seed Magazine: http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/rethinking_growth/

Steady State Economics and the fallacies of growth: http://dieoff.org/page88.htm

The Irrationality of Homo Economicus: http://www.iisd.org/didigest/special/daly.htm

Essay on growth: http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/85/herman-daly.html

Opportunity cost of growth: http://steadystate.org/opportunity-cost-of-growth/

And a video (part 3 among several): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmkw2qSpHsc&feature=related

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July 13, 2011, 05:57:18 PM
 #414

Daly argues that these things should actually be subtracted from the GNP, as they do not represent growth at all.

Exactly. Broken Window fallacy.

But I want you to look up 'tragedy of the commons' to see how difficult it is to allocate resources held in common.

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July 13, 2011, 06:25:36 PM
 #415

But I want you to look up 'tragedy of the commons' to see how difficult it is to allocate resources held in common.

I have read at least half of the Wikipedia entry on the subject. Hardin's theories are very similar to Daly's. I think you should read what Daly is saying in full, and draw from it what you will. I did notice several entries in the Wikipedia article that said that Hardin's material is often misinterpreted as an argument for the privatization of everything. For example, the following quote:

Quote
Similarly, Hardin's use of "commons" has frequently been misunderstood, leading Hardin to later remark that he should have titled his work "The Tragedy of the Unregulated Commons".

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July 13, 2011, 06:44:00 PM
 #416

The Tragedy of the Commons by Hardin is an interesting paper. Thank you for sharing it. An excellent quote from the paper:

Quote
The tragedy of the commons as a food basket is averted by private property, or something formally like it. But the air and waters surrounding us cannot readily be fenced, and so the tragedy of the commons as a cesspool must be prevented by different means, by coercive laws or taxing devices that make it cheaper for the polluter to treat his pollutants than to discharge them untreated. We have not progressed as far with the solution of this problem as we have with the first. Indeed, our particular concept of private property, which deters us from exhausting the positive resources of the earth, favors pollution. The owner of a factory on the bank of a stream -- whose property extends to the middle of the stream -- often has difficulty seeing why it is not his natural right to muddy the waters flowing past his door. The law, always behind the times, requires elaborate stitching and fitting to adapt it to this newly perceived aspect of the commons.

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July 13, 2011, 06:52:11 PM
 #417

Excellent.  Can't wait to see how that one is explained away/brushed aside.

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July 13, 2011, 06:57:54 PM
 #418

Quote
Similarly, Hardin's use of "commons" has frequently been misunderstood, leading Hardin to later remark that he should have titled his work "The Tragedy of the Unregulated Commons".

But here we run into the problem: "regulated by whom?"

If you say 'A government', then you open yourself up to first, the fact that you will be forcing people to pay for a service which, while it is true is in their benefit (at least ideally), They neither desire, nor appreciate. Should they refuse, you will be forced to extort the money out of them. Second, you make a path for special interest groups to direct legislation in their favor. Who, do you think, will be better able to pay for lobbyists, the coal-burning power company, or the citizens?

Private, independent ratings and standards agencies would be much more effective at preventing wide-scale pollution, because if one gets corrupted or co-opted, its ratings will diverge from the rest, and it will quickly be discredited. Someone pays off an EPA inspector, and there's nobody to double-check.

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July 13, 2011, 07:00:47 PM
 #419

Excellent.  Can't wait to see how that one is explained away/brushed aside.

Another great quote from his paper:

Quote
To say that we mutually agree to coercion is not to say that we are required to enjoy it, or even to pretend we enjoy it. Who enjoys taxes? We all grumble about them. But we accept compulsory taxes because we recognize that voluntary taxes would favor the conscienceless. We institute and (grumblingly) support taxes and other coercive devices to escape the horror of the commons.

An alternative to the commons need not be perfectly just to be preferable. With real estate and other material goods, the alternative we have chosen is the institution of private property coupled with legal inheritance. Is this system perfectly just? As a genetically trained biologist I deny that it is. It seems to me that, if there are to be differences in individual inheritance, legal possession should be perfectly correlated with biological inheritance-that those who are biologically more fit to be the custodians of property and power should legally inherit more. But genetic recombination continually makes a mockery of the doctrine of "like father, like son" implicit in our laws of legal inheritance. An idiot can inherit millions, and a trust fund can keep his estate intact. We must admit that our legal system of private property plus inheritance is unjust -- but we put up with it because we are not convinced, at the moment, that anyone has invented a better system. The alternative of the commons is too horrifying to contemplate. Injustice is preferable to total ruin.

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July 13, 2011, 07:09:41 PM
 #420

Quote
we mutually agree to coercion

This is ridiculous. If it's mutual, it's not coercion. If it's coercion, it's not mutual.

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