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Question: Would killing the minimum wage help?
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myrkul
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July 15, 2011, 07:32:21 PM
 #81

Secondly, One is born into a poor family (through no fault of their own). They have no option to grow/gather food on unimproved land, because there is none left their only option is to sell their labor to those who own land (or other means of production). That is, they are wage slaves. There are many places in the world, where a semi-skilled laborer could work their whole lives and never be able to save enough capital to buy the means of production that they are using, or the land it sits on.

I hear this all the time from you guys, and it's just plain not true. In a stable or deflationary currency market, savings is easier than you may think, and undeveloped land is relatively cheap.

At the end of the day, what all these arguments boil down to is a disagreement about the "stickiness" of property rights. You advocate for a highly-sticky perpetual property system, I am arguing for the least sticky property system whereby use alone gives one property rates that quickly degrade to common ownership(or non-ownership if you prefer) when not being used.

Indeed they do.

Here's the problem with use-based property systems: When does it degrade? you say 'quickly'. How quickly? Overnight? Over the weekend? What if I go on vacation for a month? Or my hunting cabin in the woods that I use every fall? The market already has fairly clear standards for when a property has been abandoned.

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July 15, 2011, 07:32:27 PM
 #82

Investing in and running a business is just as much work as digging a ditch with a shovel.

I'm born with a $10 million trust fund given to me by my parents who earned a bunch of wealth under an illegitimate corporate-state-capitalist system. I give it to a hedge fund manager who invests it, lops off a percentage of the profits every year, and I take a fixed income out of it that is greater than the median income of the whole country, which is the richest country on earth.

You can argue that allowing ones capital to be used by those making goods and services is valuable and deserves recompense, as without it the whole magic productivity engine of capitalism would fail, but don't insult our intelligence by saying it is "just as much work" as manual labor.
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July 15, 2011, 07:38:43 PM
 #83

don't insult our intelligence by saying it is "just as much work" as manual labor

It just as much qualifies as work as manual labor. If not, why not?
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July 15, 2011, 07:56:07 PM
 #84

Here's the problem with use-based property systems: When does it degrade? you say 'quickly'. How quickly? Overnight? Over the weekend? What if I go on vacation for a month? Or my hunting cabin in the woods that I use every fall? The market already has fairly clear standards for when a property has been abandoned.

It's not a unique problem. The same issue arises for perpetual-ownership claims. If I build a fence around 10,000 acres of unclaimed land and claim I'm using it as a nature preserve and charging others entrance to any of it, is it mine? There is no absolute standard of how much "labor-mixing" gives one ownership.

Rules for property ownership will always follow social consensus (true no matter how sticky or unsticky they are). If you go on vacation and a squatter moves into your house, it is highly unlikely the community will recognize his claim to your house.

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The enforcement of any property rights rules, whether Lockean, Ingalls-Tucker, or Georgist, depends on a local consensus on what constitutes a valid ownership claim. And the enforcement of any such set of rules by a local community will be perceived as legitimate self-defense by the adherents of that property rights regime, and as aggression by adherents of rival philosophies.
(Carson in  JOURNAL OF LIBERTARIAN STUDIES L VOLUME 20, NO. 1 (WINTER 2006): 97–136)
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July 18, 2011, 12:36:45 AM
 #85

It just as much qualifies as work as manual labor. If not, why not?
If you earn money from manual labour, you're getting money from providing your skills and labour in order to do work; what you have to offer comes from you. If you instead earn money from pre-existing wealth, you're using your control of assets external to yourself that are required to do productive work in order to skim some money off the top. What makes you a better person to decide how those assets should be used than anyone else, such that you should be able to profit from controlling that decision?

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myrkul
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July 18, 2011, 12:41:36 AM
 #86

It just as much qualifies as work as manual labor. If not, why not?
If you earn money from manual labour, you're getting money from providing your skills and labour in order to do work; what you have to offer comes from you. If you instead earn money from pre-existing wealth, you're using your control of assets external to yourself that are required to do productive work in order to skim some money off the top. What makes you a better person to decide how those assets should be used than anyone else, such that you should be able to profit from controlling that decision?

That money had to come from somewhere, yes? It isn't elephants all the way down.

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July 18, 2011, 12:43:10 AM
 #87

It just as much qualifies as work as manual labor. If not, why not?
If you earn money from manual labour, you're getting money from providing your skills and labour in order to do work; what you have to offer comes from you. If you instead earn money from pre-existing wealth, you're using your control of assets external to yourself that are required to do productive work in order to skim some money off the top. What makes you a better person to decide how those assets should be used than anyone else, such that you should be able to profit from controlling that decision?
That pre-existing wealth was earned by that person by providing value. It's that person's earned labor in the end.
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July 18, 2011, 01:07:08 AM
 #88

If you earn money from manual labour, you're getting money from providing your skills and labour in order to do work; what you have to offer comes from you.
Really? So how much is the labor of a ditch digger worth if there are no shovels? How much is the labor of a ditch digger worth if there are no irrigation systems that require ditches? Some of the value comes from the laborer, but some of the value comes from the circumstances that make that particular labor valuable, which is external to the laborer.

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If you instead earn money from pre-existing wealth, you're using your control of assets external to yourself that are required to do productive work in order to skim some money off the top.
Precisely what a ditch digger does. He controls a shovel that he did not make. He extends an irrigation system that brings water to farms he did not build.

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What makes you a better person to decide how those assets should be used than anyone else, such that you should be able to profit from controlling that decision?
It has nothing to do with who is the "better person". You don't have to be a good person to deserve to profit from the invention of the shovel, the construction of farms, and whatever other environment you are lucky enough to be born into. A computer programmer doesn't have to earn the right to benefit from the technology of his society that he is born into by pure luck. Otherwise, every single person alive today would start out in greater debt than they could ever repay. The universe we are born into provides us its bounty for free, not fairly, but none of us really deserve what we get -- we just do because that's how the world works.

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July 18, 2011, 01:22:43 AM
 #89

well see this is where we get into the sort of argument where all the beneficial outcomes of a "free market" are attributed to the market, and all the bad outcomes are attributed to "regulation". In any case, it still doesn't address the fact that myrkul claimed there was too much regulation is favor of unions/labor power. If that was the case, why would compensation be so skewed towards the ultra-elite?
Not quite. There will be problems with every system. The problems that cannot be fixed by the free market are unfixable without unintended consequences that are actually worse. It's the best of all available options, but far from problem free.

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myrkul
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July 18, 2011, 01:34:05 AM
 #90

Not quite. There will be problems with every system. The problems that cannot be fixed by the free market are unfixable without unintended consequences that are actually worse. It's the best of all available options, but far from problem free.

To borrow a quote, "It's the worst way to run things, except every other way ever tried."

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July 18, 2011, 01:34:35 AM
 #91


riiight. because in an economy where workers have too much power, the rumneration scale looks like this




Nice pic, is there an article associated with it?


Anarchy does not simply mean "absence of the State" (however you define it) but "without rulers" or "contrary to authority". This was true in the 18th Century and is especially true now as the post-structuralists and others have given us a far more sophisticated understanding of how discipline/authoritarianism have pervaded nearly every aspect of our existence.


+1


I think Sanarchists and Canarchists are completely opposite. This needs to be emphasized. Otherwise people, including myself mistakenly associate anarchy with Canarchy. If on the other hand they associated anarchy with Sanarchy, then the community opinion might be dramatically different. It seems historically Sanarchy has been hijacked by Canarchists. The only thing they have in common is the "absence of state". Otherwise they are ideologically opposite. IMO one is the left without government the other is the right without government.

I view Sanarchy as the adherence to Marxism economics, without infringements upon personal expression and interaction.



In any case, cutting wages may make sense for an individual firm but in aggregate, it would just reduce aggregate demand for products, putting us back into the same situation as before.

http://www.infoshop.org/page/AnarchistFAQSectionC9

Interesting assertion. I'm interested to know the basis of this. Cutting wages will result in less consumption of the wage-earners, yes? But what stops an increase in employer consumption to offset this?

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July 18, 2011, 03:53:03 AM
 #92

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Nice pic, is there an article associated with it?

2006 version of this report I believe
http://www.faireconomy.org/executive_excess_reports

Quote
I think Sanarchists and Canarchists are completely opposite. This needs to be emphasized. Otherwise people, including myself mistakenly associate anarchy with Canarchy. If on the other hand they associated anarchy with Sanarchy, then the community opinion might be dramatically different. It seems historically Sanarchy has been hijacked by Canarchists. The only thing they have in common is the "absence of state". Otherwise they are ideologically opposite. IMO one is the left without government the other is the right without government.

Nah, historically anarcho-socialists have been slaughtered by authoritarian socialists (spanish civil war, ukraine, etc). Anarcho-capitalism is relatively new and relative US invention (at least as a school of political philosophy) -- most of the world still views anarchy/anarchism/libertarianism as being socialist movements from the Left, since that's what they have historically been. I don't think anarcho-capitalists have hijacked much.

I don't think they are inherently incompatible views -- likely a broad "anarchy" could develop in many different directions and likely some of those we can't envision. I'm more concerned with the "how we get there" piece of the disagreement than "what thing will look like once we are there"

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I view Sanarchy as the adherence to Marxism economics, without infringements upon personal expression and interaction.


Well, Marx's vision of the final stage of Communism was essentially anarchist, when the State withers away. But the dictatorship of the proletariat has always been a bit of a sticking point (and was the reason anarchists broke from Marxism in the first place). Honestly, i think Marx was a much better critic of Industrial Capitalism (perhaps the best) than a political visionary.
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July 18, 2011, 04:37:03 AM
 #93


I don't think they are inherently incompatible views -- likely a broad "anarchy" could develop in many different directions and likely some of those we can't envision. I'm more concerned with the "how we get there" piece of the disagreement than "what thing will look like once we are there"


I think the incompatibility arises from how each ideology defines property. Canarchy advocates for extremely strong property rights. I'm not to sure about Sanarchy, it seems that they vary from weak property rights to no property rights. Nonetheless, this has the effect of completely changing how each society will function. One is where control is defined by 'capital' and the other is based somewhat on 'public opinion'. If I own all the capital then I can do whatever I want with it. Compared with; if I misuse my capital, others can take it from me despite having no prior 'right' to it.


Well, Marx's vision of the final stage of Communism was essentially anarchist, when the State withers away. But the dictatorship of the proletariat has always been a bit of a sticking point (and was the reason anarchists broke from Marxism in the first place). Honestly, i think Marx was a much better critic of Industrial Capitalism (perhaps the best) than a political visionary.


I largely agree. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Marx only proposed the Vanguard towards the later end of his life. He proposed it as a method to implement Communism. I view this a distinct idea separate from everything else Marx contributed. Further I view Marxism as two separate subjects, the economics and the 'worship of commune'. Its unfortunate that there is a lot of misinformation about Marxism.

I do think that he has contributed some good ideas to economics. Communal ownership of the "means of production" does put an interesting perspective upon property rights. But he didn't like markets ? I'm not to sure about this. I think "fair markets" are one of the best ways to exchange economic information.

I agree with his "Theory of labor value". But sometimes exploitation is apart of life. For example take a group of people. They all have a share in a communal resource. One comes up with an idea to do something productive with the resource. Consequently they receive a larger share of the profit, despite everyone putting in equal effort. That is fair to me, because if that idea didn't occur in the first place there would be no profit to argue over. Then again that might not be exploitation.

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July 18, 2011, 12:34:28 PM
 #94


I think the incompatibility arises from how each ideology defines property. Canarchy advocates for extremely strong property rights. I'm not to sure about Sanarchy, it seems that they vary from weak property rights to no property rights. Nonetheless, this has the effect of completely changing how each society will function. One is where control is defined by 'capital' and the other is based somewhat on 'public opinion'. If I own all the capital then I can do whatever I want with it. Compared with; if I misuse my capital, others can take it from me despite having no prior 'right' to it.

An interesting consequence in the various views of property rights (in Sanarchy) is that the end result of some versions of Sanarchy is very similer to what a Canarchist would want. All versions of Canarchy allow groups to from socialised communes if they buy the property first. Only a number of Sanarchists, I think a minority, would allow capitalists to do the same. That number would allow communes, if they democratically voted, to form a hirachal system with uneven division of resources, with money, investment, savings, hiring other people and so on.

A typical Ancap would expect the capitalist communes to outcompete and eventually become the majority anyway. Creating the same result which he originally wanted.

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July 19, 2011, 09:36:33 AM
 #95

That money had to come from somewhere, yes? It isn't elephants all the way down.
At some point some miniscule portion of it did, sometimes centuries ago. Remember that there's a lot of inherited wealth out there.

That pre-existing wealth was earned by that person by providing value. It's that person's earned labor in the end.
Possibly.

Really? So how much is the labor of a ditch digger worth if there are no shovels? How much is the labor of a ditch digger worth if there are no irrigation systems that require ditches? Some of the value comes from the laborer, but some of the value comes from the circumstances that make that particular labor valuable, which is external to the laborer.
If there's no shovels or no ditches that need digging then no-one can make money digging ditches. My point is that if someone makes money digging ditches, the reason they earn that money and someone else doesn't is because they're skilled at ditch-digging. However, if someone makes money from providing access to money or scarce resources they control, the reason they earn that money is not because they're particularly good at doing so but because they're the ones that own that money or those resources. (About the only saving grace of this system is that if someone's really, spectacularly incompetent they'll lose their wealth to someone that is.)

It has nothing to do with who is the "better person". You don't have to be a good person to deserve to profit from the invention of the shovel, the construction of farms, and whatever other environment you are lucky enough to be born into.
Again, these are things that whole societies receive the benefits from rather than one particular person.

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July 19, 2011, 05:35:09 PM
 #96

If there's no shovels or no ditches that need digging then no-one can make money digging ditches. My point is that if someone makes money digging ditches, the reason they earn that money and someone else doesn't is because they're skilled at ditch-digging. However, if someone makes money from providing access to money or scarce resources they control, the reason they earn that money is not because they're particularly good at doing so but because they're the ones that own that money or those resources. (About the only saving grace of this system is that if someone's really, spectacularly incompetent they'll lose their wealth to someone that is.)

It has nothing to do with who is the "better person". You don't have to be a good person to deserve to profit from the invention of the shovel, the construction of farms, and whatever other environment you are lucky enough to be born into.
Again, these are things that whole societies receive the benefits from rather than one particular person.
Exactly. So why are you obsessively focused on one small factor and ignoring the universe of other much more significant factors? The only explanation I can think of is that you think of progress as a zero sum game and therefore you focus on the cases where X gets something rather than Y. But you are missing the forest for the trees. The world is not a zero sum game, and the important factors are the ones that lift society as a whole. You are obsessed with helping the ditch digger at the expense of the CEO and missing the fact that fact that real progress lifts everyone and that is what you should be focusing on -- how can you lift all of society further and faster.

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July 19, 2011, 06:33:12 PM
 #97

really? the rising tide lifts all boats argument?

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July 19, 2011, 06:50:45 PM
 #98

really? the rising tide lifts all boats argument?
Not precisely. Essentially, I'm saying he's making the same mistake behind the "rising tide lifts all boats arguments" but in reverse.

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July 20, 2011, 04:17:30 PM
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Exactly. So why are you obsessively focused on one small factor and ignoring the universe of other much more significant factors? The only explanation I can think of is that you think of progress as a zero sum game and therefore you focus on the cases where X gets something rather than Y. But you are missing the forest for the trees. The world is not a zero sum game, and the important factors are the ones that lift society as a whole. You are obsessed with helping the ditch digger at the expense of the CEO and missing the fact that fact that real progress lifts everyone and that is what you should be focusing on -- how can you lift all of society further and faster.
Congratulations. You've missed the entire point of my argument whilst spotting why I wasn't complaining about the existence of wealth disparity in general. The issue here is not that the ditch digger has more money than the CEO, but that the poor have to justify their money in the eyes of the market in a way that the rich don't. If a ditch digger fails to dig efficiently they'd get the sack, but there's no way of sacking the wealthy if they enrich themselves at the expense of real progress - the only way they can lose their wealth is through gross incompetence. This doesn't really help "lift all of society further and faster". (Edit: Also, there's a lot more opportunity for someone who'd be better at digging ditches to replace someone who's worse at it than for someone who'd be better at investing large sums of money usefully to replace someone that's worse at it.)

CEOs are actually a good example. They can run company after company into the ground through bad management and still leave each job with lots of money, because the other board members that appoint them are also members of the CEO class and in on the take. You've got an entire group of people enriching themselves at the expenses of driving others down.

As an example of the other side of things, I actually have a lot of respect for Warren Buffett. He really does seem to have got where he is by investing money sensibly in a way that benefits society in the long run. Of course, he's not very popular on these forums...

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July 20, 2011, 07:14:51 PM
 #100

CEOs are actually a good example. They can run company after company into the ground through bad management and still leave each job with lots of money, because the other board members that appoint them are also members of the CEO class and in on the take. You've got an entire group of people enriching themselves at the expenses of driving others down.

Corporate law enables this, not simply cronyism. Just thought I'd mention that.

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