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Author Topic: What should be the function of a Politico Economic System?  (Read 841 times)
niemivh
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July 12, 2011, 05:36:01 AM
 #1

Frequently, when economics are discussed people falsely believe that everyone has the same underpinning moral evaluations or the same ideals or objectives to what a economic system should do.  As economics is an interesting combination of mathematics, politics, history, morality and law it is no surprise that we come to such wildly different outcomes to what type of systems we propose in terms of the relation of the government in said system, in spite of the fact that we all probably have a very narrow idea of what type of society we would like to live in.

I propose the following experiment: to list in the order of preference what you think a economic system should provide in the order of importance; if you think that the system shouldn't provide at all for the specific line item then mark an N/A next to it. Or just group them in "Should be an area of government involvement", "shouldn't be an area of government involvement" and perhaps a "depends" category.    These are just examples, feel free to list these as part of your evaluation and/or create your own.  Explaining why you decided what you did will be enlightening for all.

I eagerly await your responses.

 Smiley

*) The system should provide encouragement for social mobility.  Merit should determine people's ability to rise in society, not birthright or arbitrary class.
*) The system should provide price stability and combat inflation.
*) The system should provide for the best possible degree of personal freedom in economic terms, freedom from regulation and taxation
*) The system should encourage and provide means for research and technological discovery
*) The system should levy taxes to promote the construction of worthwhile public assets (i.e. infrastructure)
*) The system should provide a 'safety net' against extreme poverty
*) The system should provide in protectionism of select industries
*) The system should subsidize, pay for or otherwise encourage education
*) The system should levy a progressive income tax
*) The system should levy a flat tax
*) The system should regulate the business in matters of public health or pollution
*) The system should seek to disrupt monopolies and cartels
*) The system should regulation licensed occupations
*) Trade should be unregulated/free between countries


I'll keep my politics out of your economics if you keep your economics out of my politics.

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LokeRundt
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July 12, 2011, 07:32:00 AM
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You lost me at "should"

All "shoulds" are imagined

Hippy Anarchy
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July 12, 2011, 09:02:23 AM
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Frequently, when economics are discussed people falsely believe that everyone has the same underpinning moral evaluations or the same ideals or objectives to what a economic system should do.  As economics is an interesting combination of mathematics, politics, history, morality and law it is no surprise that we come to such wildly different outcomes to what type of systems we propose in terms of the relation of the government in said system, in spite of the fact that we all probably have a very narrow idea of what type of society we would like to live in.


It is true that the ultimate aim of people applying economic means vary wildly, but that is no fault of economics.  Economics simply describes the best way to achieve an end, without any subjective valuation of those ends.  If you want to achieve low unemployment and high salaries for workers there are better and worse ways to do this, and economics can illuminate those means.  If you want to create a rich merchant class and keep the masses in poverty there are better and worse ways to achieve this as well, and economics similarly can describe how to do so.  When we argue economics we tend to generally assume that we are aiming at the same goals: the betterment of human society, but again economics does not care about subjective human valuations.

Economics is a subset of praxeology, the general science of human action and therefore is independent from politics, morality and law.  There are some mathematics in it to be sure, and there is economic history, and being the science of human action it undoubtedly affects politics, morality and law, but as a discipline it is separate and cannot be conflated with any of those other subjects. 

However, if you want to move this discussion elsewhere I would be willing as I don't want to derail your thread.  This response is probably not quite what you were looking for?
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July 12, 2011, 11:13:11 AM
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Frequently, when economics are discussed people falsely believe that everyone has the same underpinning moral evaluations or the same ideals or objectives to what a economic system should do.  As economics is an interesting combination of mathematics, politics, history, morality and law it is no surprise that we come to such wildly different outcomes to what type of systems we propose in terms of the relation of the government in said system, in spite of the fact that we all probably have a very narrow idea of what type of society we would like to live in.

Very interesting experiment, however your categories are not abstract enough. I think in the most abstract terms the society should be organized such that the most well-being of all present (and suitably discounted) future members of the society is maximized. From this your categories are more or less all in the depends category since they are just means to archive a goal.
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*) The system should provide encouragement for social mobility.  Merit should determine people's ability to rise in society, not birthright or arbitrary class.
As long as an equal society is not possible, social mobility is the next best thing.
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*) The system should provide price stability and combat inflation.
No, inflation reduces the risk of enterprising individuals. Therefore I think that some inflation is a good thing.
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*) The system should provide for the best possible degree of personal freedom in economic terms, freedom from regulation and taxation
The system should first of all provide for the essential political freedoms. If economic freedom is compatible with these, then they are desirable.
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*) The system should encourage and provide means for research and technological discovery
Yes.
Quote
*) The system should levy taxes to promote the construction of worthwhile public assets (i.e. infrastructure)
If a taxless system can be proposed in which infrastructure (etc.) is still build, then the system should not levy taxes Wink
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*) The system should provide a 'safety net' against extreme poverty
Yes.
Quote
*) The system should provide in protectionism of select industries
In general no. However there may be reasons for protectionism, for example the domestic food production should be assured.
Quote
*) The system should subsidize, pay for or otherwise encourage education
Yes.
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*) The system should levy a progressive income tax
From my other answers, this is a inevitable conclusion.
Quote
*) The system should levy a flat tax
Probably one can actually prove in utilitarianism that a flat tax is actually morally wrong.
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*) The system should regulate the business in matters of public health or pollution
Yes, since these are examples were the common interest and the individual interest diverge.
Quote
*) The system should seek to disrupt monopolies and cartels
Usually yes, however there are natural monopolies in certain markets. Disrupting these will just see the rise of the next one.
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*) The system should regulation licensed occupations
No, except when strictly necessary.
Quote
*) Trade should be unregulated/free between countries
Yes. The only exception I can think of at the moment would be food shortages during a famine.
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