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Author Topic: Critiques of Libertarianism  (Read 1633 times)
The Script
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August 17, 2011, 07:20:57 AM
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I realize there are valid critiques of libertarianism, but why do so many people result to outlandish and absurd examples when attempting to disprove libertarian theories?  For example:

What if your grandma is in a desert dying of thirst and a greedy rich business man comes along with a cup of water and refuses to sell the cup of water for anything less than a million dollars?  How will libertarianism deal with that?

Really?

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August 17, 2011, 07:29:50 AM
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Market theory would dictate that the business man would have no competitive advantage in the desert and would die a cruel agonizing death at the hand of the free market in a dark caldera. Meanwhile your grandma would have gone on to seek alternative and superior services after having rebuffed the uncompetitive business mans offer, and is met with open arms by the superior free market where upon she not only get's a drink to salve her thirst, but also find's an exoskeleton at a highly competitive rate that will assist her continue unhindered across the desert to the forest where she crushes her opponent the wolf!
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August 17, 2011, 07:31:07 AM
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Market theory would dictate that the business man would have no competitive advantage in the desert and would die a cruel agonizing death at the hand of the free market in a dark caldera. Meanwhile your grandma would have gone on to seek alternative and superior services after having rebuffed the uncompetitive business mans offer, and is met with open arms by the superior free market where upon she not only get's a drink to salve her thirst, but also find's an exoskeleton at a highly competitive rate that will assist her continue unhindered across the desert to the forest where she crushes her opponent the wolf!
To much weed.

To much  Cheesy.

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The Script
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August 17, 2011, 07:31:46 AM
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Market theory would dictate that the business man would have no competitive advantage in the desert and would die a cruel agonizing death at the hand of the free market in a dark caldera. Meanwhile your grandma would have gone on to seek alternative and superior services after having rebuffed the uncompetitive business mans offer, and is met with open arms by the superior free market where upon she not only get's a drink to salve her thirst, but also find's an exoskeleton at a highly competitive rate that will assist her continue unhindered across the desert to the forest where she crushes her opponent the wolf!

I rest my case.
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August 17, 2011, 08:05:53 AM
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What if your grandma is in a desert dying of thirst and a greedy rich business man comes along with a cup of water and refuses to sell the cup of water for anything less than a million dollars?  How will libertarianism deal with that?

Really?

I assume you're referring to me, since I made a post similar to that. It was just a simplistic example so that the conversation didn't get bogged down in externalities. I don't think anyone would use that as some kind of serious case study. I'll also remind you that the libertarian I was replying to used a similarly simple example (somebody trading a watch for a sandwich) to try and make his point. Are you going to start a thread about him, too?
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August 17, 2011, 08:10:05 AM
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What if your grandma is in a desert dying of thirst and a greedy rich business man comes along with a cup of water and refuses to sell the cup of water for anything less than a million dollars?  How will libertarianism deal with that?

Really?

I assume you're referring to me, since I made a post similar to that. It was just a simplistic example so that the conversation didn't get bogged down in externalities. I don't think anyone would use that as some kind of serious case study. I'll also remind you that the libertarian I was replying to used a similarly simple example (somebody trading a watch for a sandwich) to try and make his point. Are you going to start a thread about him, too?

I wasn't trying to specifically reference anyone.  I think I did read your post so it was at the top of my mind, but I hear examples like this all the time as "refutations" of libertarianism.  If the other individual you are referring to is Atlas, then no.  I think he gets more than his fair share of attention on this forum and I don't feel the need to give him more spotlight.  While I agree with some of his positions, I rarely, if ever, agree with his arguments and especially not with his debating style.
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August 17, 2011, 08:24:09 AM
 #7

Actually, it was bitcoin2cash. Not that it really matters or anything.

Also, and this is probably going to sound insulting, but I think part of the reason for what you're talking about is that most people with a well-rounded education in politics and history consider libertarianism to be an unworkable mess that would be infinitely worse for America than anything the Republicans or Democrats can dream up, so they think anyone who seriously believes in it is either really young and naive or, well, kinda slow. At least when it comes to social issues. I know a lot of them are really good at engineering and computer science and whatnot. And how do you convince a slow person of something? Use simplistic examples to counter their simplistic and not-very-well-thought-out ideology.

Somebody in another thread called libertarianism Political Aspbergers, since it never seems to consider the social elements of anything and is really a pretty self-centered ideology - or at least that's how its adherents sure present it. But I think that phrase actually makes a lot of sense, especially when so many of the people who believe it are those with the technical/mathematically-inclined brains that are generally the types who suffer from real Aspbergers.
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August 17, 2011, 08:44:46 AM
 #8

Actually, it was bitcoin2cash. Not that it really matters or anything.

Also, and this is probably going to sound insulting, but I think part of the reason for what you're talking about is that most people with a well-rounded education in politics and history consider libertarianism to be an unworkable mess that would be infinitely worse for America than anything the Republicans or Democrats can dream up, so they think anyone who seriously believes in it is either really young and naive or, well, kinda slow. At least when it comes to social issues. I know a lot of them are really good at engineering and computer science and whatnot. And how do you convince a slow person of something? Use simplistic examples to counter their simplistic and not-very-well-thought-out ideology.

Somebody in another thread called libertarianism Political Aspbergers, since it never seems to consider the social elements of anything and is really a pretty self-centered ideology - or at least that's how its adherents sure present it. But I think that phrase actually makes a lot of sense, especially when so many of the people who believe it are those with the technical/mathematically-inclined brains that are generally the types who suffer from real Aspbergers.

This is just you rationalizing why you are not a libertarian.

I was a social-democrat until 27 raised by social-democrat parents, and when I discover libertarianism I saw that it makes much more sense than any other ideology.

Anyone saying what you pointed above really has not read anything about libertarianism.
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August 17, 2011, 08:46:55 AM
 #9

Actually, it was bitcoin2cash. Not that it really matters or anything.

Also, and this is probably going to sound insulting, but I think part of the reason for what you're talking about is that most people with a well-rounded education in politics and history consider libertarianism to be an unworkable mess that would be infinitely worse for America than anything the Republicans or Democrats can dream up, so they think anyone who seriously believes in it is either really young and naive or, well, kinda slow. At least when it comes to social issues. I know a lot of them are really good at engineering and computer science and whatnot. And how do you convince a slow person of something? Use simplistic examples to counter their simplistic and not-very-well-thought-out ideology.

Somebody in another thread called libertarianism Political Aspbergers, since it never seems to consider the social elements of anything and is really a pretty self-centered ideology - or at least that's how its adherents sure present it. But I think that phrase actually makes a lot of sense, especially when so many of the people who believe it are those with the technical/mathematically-inclined brains that are generally the types who suffer from real Aspbergers.

I'm trying not to be insulted.  Smiley  I am young (I guess?, 24), I may be naive, but I don't think I'm "slow".  I think I have a pretty good grasp on my intelligence level and it's within a standard deviation of the peak of the bell.  I've never been autistically brilliant at mathematics or computer science either.  I tend to be more of a social being, good at interacting with people.  I don't view myself as an isolated individual, apart from society, and neither do any of the libertarians I know.  In fact, most of the libertarian author's I've read explain libertarianism precisely within its setting in a society.  

The libertarians I've met, know personally and who's works I read tend to be very well educated in politics and history, much more so than your average Democrat or Republican who barely know what they believe or why.  Perhaps all the autistic/Aspberger ones are on the internet?

Libertarianism is a very coherent ideology, one of which I've only read a few really good critiques.  Most of the time when I debate people regarding libertarianism they resort to false concepts such as the "social contract" or simple "might makes right" ideology.  As in, society as a whole has decided such and such, therefore who are you to oppose society?

It sounds like you have had some unfortunate experiences with libertarians online.  Too bad I can't invite you to meet me and my libertarian friends for beer at the pub.  You would probably enjoy yourself and might change your opinion, even slightly, of libertarians.
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August 17, 2011, 09:07:24 AM
 #10

It sounds like you have had some unfortunate experiences with libertarians online.  Too bad I can't invite you to meet me and my libertarian friends for beer at the pub.  You would probably enjoy yourself and might change your opinion, even slightly, of libertarians.

Its not that.

To understand the attitude towards libertarianism of some autoritarian left-wingers you just have to read their blogs and news sites. Since libertarianism started growing after the 2008 crisis, they have been on a crusade to attack libertarianism with the most absurd arguments. Since all this people are emotionally attached to those sites and have no previous experience with libertarianism, they believe them and adopt the same agresive and intolerant attitude. Its not about reason and understanding, its about attacking the "enemy". They adopt that emotion.

Thats why you see this knee jee reaction towards libertarianism of some sectors with the most absurd arguments. And its also why logic and reason does not work on them. They keep bringing absurd arguments and changing subject constantly because its not about understanding something, its about attacking the enemy. Even if they dont really understand why. Its a pure emotional reaction they got from the sites they visit.
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August 17, 2011, 09:37:43 AM
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It sounds like you have had some unfortunate experiences with libertarians online.  Too bad I can't invite you to meet me and my libertarian friends for beer at the pub.  You would probably enjoy yourself and might change your opinion, even slightly, of libertarians.

It's just really hard to take it all seriously. I mean, I read a huge 5,000+ word missive on Von Mises once about how traffic lights are the ultimate tool of government oppression. I'm not even exaggerating that one - it was almost exactly the quote the guy used.

They tend to focus on some nebulous idea of "freedom", but only as it applies to them, with little thought to the rest of society. For instance, having the government fund all college education would undoubtedly give the lower classes more freedom and opportunity, but all a libertarian will see is his taxes going up. "TAXES ARE THEFT" is always the rallying cry, but the actual effects of these policies on poor people are forever an afterthought, and questions about them usually tend to get brushed away with "the free market will provide!" as if it's some sort of magic genie. You tell them, "Hey, wait a minute. Charities are stretched to their limits now and have a hard time providing for people even with the social safety nets we have. How could things be better without welfare?" and again, you get "the free market will provide!", as if it's a foregone conclusion, despite the fact that it has a long record of plainly not working with absolutely no indication that it will in the future.

We consider them ignorant of history because several hundred years of capitalism have shown us over and over and over ad nauseum that when businesses aren't regulated, they WILL try to get away with every horrible thing they can, up to and including murder, at the expense of their workers, the environment, or anything else that stands in the way of higher profits. We only started to see this behavior mitigated a bit (though certainly not eliminated) once we started imposing regulations. To point to regulation itself as the problem would seem to demonstrate a tremendous gap in one's historical knowledge, not to mention a poor understanding of cause and effect. To say that the problems we're barely holding back even with our patchwork of regulations would go away if we just eliminated the regulations seems mind-bogglingly stupid no matter how you look at it. To imagine an entity whose sole reason for existing is profit will form some shred of morality if only he was free of pesky safety regulations is hopelessly naive.

There's a reason you'll find about a million more poli-sci professors who are Marxist or socialist than libertarian, even though the former are far more publically despised in the U.S.

And saying that a libertarian is more educated than a Democrat or Republican is sort of like being proud of the fact that you have a much better command of written grammar than a border collie. I've learned to be pretty skeptical of people's own assessments of how educated they are. Like the guy in the other thread on here who said he was way more educated than the people he knew and a voracious reader. Turned out his favorite authors were Tom Clancy and whatshisname who wrote that Ender's Game book that everyone read in middle school. So yeah...

Quote from: hugolp
To understand the attitude towards libertarianism of some autoritarian left-wingers you just have to read their blogs and news sites. Since libertarianism started growing after the 2008 crisis, they have been on a crusade to attack libertarianism with the most absurd arguments. Since all this people are emotionally attached to those sites and have no previous experience with libertarianism, they believe them and adopt the same agresive and intolerant attitude. Its not about reason and understanding, its about attacking the "enemy". They adopt that emotion

Yeah, what you'll find if you actually talk to them is that a whole lot of them went through a libertarian phase in high school years and years ago and are now embarrassed that they ever could have believed that stuff. Mine happened in about 1995, so a little bit before 2008, I'd say.

And I think I've been responding with logic and reason about these issues quite frequently around here. If you feel otherwise, feel free to point it out when it happens.
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August 17, 2011, 10:14:45 AM
 #12

For instance, having the government fund all college education would undoubtedly give the lower classes more freedom and opportunity, but all a libertarian will see is his taxes going up.

This is false. Government education hursts the lower classes, since its always lower quality and the taxes stop them from being able to look for better options, while the rich can afford those better options. This way society gets more divided and the poor have less oportunities of improving themselves.

Government education is just another way that socialdemocracy has to hurt the poor and mantain the status quo.

Quote
We consider them ignorant of history because several hundred years of capitalism have shown us over and over and over ad nauseum that when businesses aren't regulated, they WILL try to get away with every horrible thing they can, up to and including murder, at the expense of their workers, the environment, or anything else that stands in the way of higher profits. We only started to see this behavior mitigated a bit (though certainly not eliminated) once we started imposing regulations. To point to regulation itself as the problem would seem to demonstrate a tremendous gap in one's historical knowledge, not to mention a poor understanding of cause and effect. To say that the problems we're barely holding back even with our patchwork of regulations would go away if we just eliminated the regulations seems mind-bogglingly stupid no matter how you look at it. To imagine an entity whose sole reason for existing is profit will form some shred of morality if only he was free of pesky safety regulations is hopelessly naive.

I highly doubt you have really been exposed to libertarianism, otherwise you would know this makes no sense. This is not what libertarians say.

Libertarianism does not say that without regulations businessman will all become angels that care for their fellow citizens. What libertarianism say is that competition and self-organization by the citizens and workers do a much better job at avoiding abuses than the government and its burocrats. In fact, its quite obvious for anyone that can look to the present situation without being blinded by ideology that regulations is a way for business to avoid competition. Regulations benefit big business and hurt consumers.

And history proves the same. I find ironic that you mention that historic evidence prove that we need regulations when it proves the opposite.

Quote
Yeah, what you'll find if you actually talk to them is that a whole lot of them went through a libertarian phase in high school years and years ago and are now embarrassed that they ever could have believed that stuff. Mine happened in about 1995, so a little bit before 2008, I'd say.

And I think I've been responding with logic and reason about these issues quite frequently around here. If you feel otherwise, feel free to point it out when it happens.

Sorry, but I dont believe that you were a libertarian because you clearly dont understand libertarianism.
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August 17, 2011, 11:07:19 AM
 #13

I mean, I read a huge 5,000+ word missive on Von Mises once about how traffic lights are the ultimate tool of government oppression. I'm not even exaggerating that one - it was almost exactly the quote the guy used.

I think you are being too dismissive. This reminded me of a friend who thought Russell had nothing substantial to tell since he wrote a whole chapter about what you see when you look at a table.

To imagine an entity whose sole reason for existing is profit will form some shred of morality if only he was free of pesky safety regulations is hopelessly naive.

It depends on your view about what morality is, or what rationality is for that matter.

Political philosophy is normative, it not only tells you how to be moral but what is moral. The society you live in might not be successful without being herded, but that doesn't tell us that human societies can't organize freely. You can't measure utility without a value system, and no political philosophy is neutral in this aspect. To me, having to be herded makes the current system unappealing (less utility according to my metric, therefore less efficiency), so it's my moral obligation to work for a better world. This doesn't just mean abolishing the State, it means that I need to be a person that acts in such a way that a society with people like me in it will thrive without governance. That's the Kantian way. Wink

There's a reason you'll find about a million more poli-sci professors who are Marxist or socialist than libertarian

I've never been to the U.S. but it's probably the same anywhere. I couldn't find the paper about it now (the guy was Russian) but there are also psychological reasons why most academics (or indeed most professionals) tend to become Marxists. That isn't the case for the "prolateriat", so I guess Marxist theory failed there (though the theory itself is too vague to tell either way).
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August 17, 2011, 01:16:53 PM
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It sounds like you have had some unfortunate experiences with libertarians online.  Too bad I can't invite you to meet me and my libertarian friends for beer at the pub.  You would probably enjoy yourself and might change your opinion, even slightly, of libertarians.

It's just really hard to take it all seriously. I mean, I read a huge 5,000+ word missive on Von Mises once about how traffic lights are the ultimate tool of government oppression. I'm not even exaggerating that one - it was almost exactly the quote the guy used.

They tend to focus on some nebulous idea of "freedom", but only as it applies to them, with little thought to the rest of society. For instance, having the government fund all college education would undoubtedly give the lower classes more freedom and opportunity, but all a libertarian will see is his taxes going up. "TAXES ARE THEFT" is always the rallying cry, but the actual effects of these policies on poor people are forever an afterthought, and questions about them usually tend to get brushed away with "the free market will provide!" as if it's some sort of magic genie. You tell them, "Hey, wait a minute. Charities are stretched to their limits now and have a hard time providing for people even with the social safety nets we have. How could things be better without welfare?" and again, you get "the free market will provide!", as if it's a foregone conclusion, despite the fact that it has a long record of plainly not working with absolutely no indication that it will in the future.

We consider them ignorant of history because several hundred years of capitalism have shown us over and over and over ad nauseum that when businesses aren't regulated, they WILL try to get away with every horrible thing they can, up to and including murder, at the expense of their workers, the environment, or anything else that stands in the way of higher profits. We only started to see this behavior mitigated a bit (though certainly not eliminated) once we started imposing regulations. To point to regulation itself as the problem would seem to demonstrate a tremendous gap in one's historical knowledge, not to mention a poor understanding of cause and effect. To say that the problems we're barely holding back even with our patchwork of regulations would go away if we just eliminated the regulations seems mind-bogglingly stupid no matter how you look at it. To imagine an entity whose sole reason for existing is profit will form some shred of morality if only he was free of pesky safety regulations is hopelessly naive.

There's a reason you'll find about a million more poli-sci professors who are Marxist or socialist than libertarian, even though the former are far more publically despised in the U.S.

And saying that a libertarian is more educated than a Democrat or Republican is sort of like being proud of the fact that you have a much better command of written grammar than a border collie. I've learned to be pretty skeptical of people's own assessments of how educated they are. Like the guy in the other thread on here who said he was way more educated than the people he knew and a voracious reader. Turned out his favorite authors were Tom Clancy and whatshisname who wrote that Ender's Game book that everyone read in middle school. So yeah...

Quote from: hugolp
To understand the attitude towards libertarianism of some autoritarian left-wingers you just have to read their blogs and news sites. Since libertarianism started growing after the 2008 crisis, they have been on a crusade to attack libertarianism with the most absurd arguments. Since all this people are emotionally attached to those sites and have no previous experience with libertarianism, they believe them and adopt the same agresive and intolerant attitude. Its not about reason and understanding, its about attacking the "enemy". They adopt that emotion

Yeah, what you'll find if you actually talk to them is that a whole lot of them went through a libertarian phase in high school years and years ago and are now embarrassed that they ever could have believed that stuff. Mine happened in about 1995, so a little bit before 2008, I'd say.
And I think I've been responding with logic and reason about these issues quite frequently around here. If you feel otherwise, feel free to point it out when it happens.


Saved me the typing.

Enjoying the dose of reality or getting a laugh out of my posts? Feel free to toss me a penny or two, everyone else seems to be doing it! 1Kn8NqvbCC83zpvBsKMtu4sjso5PjrQEu1
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August 17, 2011, 03:47:49 PM
 #15

They tend to focus on some nebulous idea of "freedom", but only as it applies to them, with little thought to the rest of society. For instance, having the government fund all college education would undoubtedly give the lower classes more freedom and opportunity, but all a libertarian will see is his taxes going up. "TAXES ARE THEFT" is always the rallying cry, but the actual effects of these policies on poor people are forever an afterthought, and questions about them usually tend to get brushed away with "the free market will provide!" as if it's some sort of magic genie. You tell them, "Hey, wait a minute. Charities are stretched to their limits now and have a hard time providing for people even with the social safety nets we have. How could things be better without welfare?" and again, you get "the free market will provide!", as if it's a foregone conclusion, despite the fact that it has a long record of plainly not working with absolutely no indication that it will in the future.

First of all, the college education example is a terrible example to support your case. Why is college so expensive? Because of two reasons, one, intellectual property rights make it so that textbook publishers can gouge students or face fines for infringement. If it weren't for intellectual property, which is incompatible with libertarianism, textbooks would be dirt cheap. My calculus book costs $120! Think about that for a moment. Why the hell am I learning about a rule first published by a guy that died in 1704 yet still have to pay $120?! Get rid of government interference and that simply wouldn't happen. The other reason is that governments only recognize certain accreditation agencies if they conform to their criteria. This creates an artificial barrier for educators. If you want to help the poor, then stop interfering with the free market.

As for welfare, guess what, the world doesn't owe you anything. I'm generous though. If I see you in the street and you're hungry, I'll invite you to come grab a sandwich with me. I've done it before. However, I can't feed everyone and it's not my responsibility to. If voluntary charity can't solve the problem then that's just tough. Libertarianism isn't Utopia. I only claim that it can do a better job than governments at giving people what they want voluntarily. If nobody wants to help the poor, you have no right to hold a gun to their heads and force them to do it.

We consider them ignorant of history because several hundred years of capitalism have shown us over and over and over ad nauseum that when businesses aren't regulated, they WILL try to get away with every horrible thing they can, up to and including murder, at the expense of their workers, the environment, or anything else that stands in the way of higher profits.

Under libertarianism murder wouldn't be allowed so I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. You also wouldn't be able to sell rat meat labeled as beef. Allowing fraud isn't even open for discussion. Regulations would still exist but they would be voluntary and decided by the market. Businesses would brag about how their products are rated A+ by "Really Trustworthy Rating Agency". Brandnames would be hugely important and guarded like a hawk. It's kind of hard to take you seriously when you don't even understand that tiny fact.

There's a reason you'll find about a million more poli-sci professors who are Marxist or socialist than libertarian, even though the former are far more publically despised in the U.S.

The majority of Americans believe in God too. Does that prove anything at all? No, that's an ad populum fallacy aka bandwagon fallacy. Nothing you've said so far makes a case for rejecting libertarianism. You simply made a bunch of unsubstantiated claims and logical fallacies.
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August 17, 2011, 07:49:31 PM
 #16

Regulations would still exist but they would be voluntary and decided by the market. Businesses would brag about how their products are rated A+ by "Really Trustworthy Rating Agency". Brandnames would be hugely important and guarded like a hawk. It's kind of hard to take you seriously when you don't even understand that tiny fact.

Because independent rating agencies are so reliable.  Just look how reliable they were in rating CDO's accurately, thus avoiding a worldwide financial meltdown... oh wait...

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August 17, 2011, 07:53:11 PM
 #17

Regulations would still exist but they would be voluntary and decided by the market. Businesses would brag about how their products are rated A+ by "Really Trustworthy Rating Agency". Brandnames would be hugely important and guarded like a hawk. It's kind of hard to take you seriously when you don't even understand that tiny fact.

Because independent rating agencies are so reliable.  Just look how reliable they were in rating CDO's accurately, thus avoiding a worldwide financial meltdown... oh wait...
Actually, it's in reverse. The governments are bribing them to keep their ratings artificially high. There's no reason why US should be in the Bs. It's this reason why we are at risk for a meltdown in the first place. We've been holding-in the bad news for far too long.
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August 17, 2011, 08:04:10 PM
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Regulations would still exist but they would be voluntary and decided by the market. Businesses would brag about how their products are rated A+ by "Really Trustworthy Rating Agency". Brandnames would be hugely important and guarded like a hawk. It's kind of hard to take you seriously when you don't even understand that tiny fact.

Because independent rating agencies are so reliable.  Just look how reliable they were in rating CDO's accurately, thus avoiding a worldwide financial meltdown... oh wait...
Actually, it's in reverse. The governments are bribing them to keep their ratings artificially high.

Citation needed.


I said nothing about the US's debt rating.  I specifically mentioned CDO's and the financial meltdown.  Was the government bribing them to keep those ratings high too?

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August 17, 2011, 08:05:26 PM
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It would be in their best interest to do so and it only makes sense with the absurdly high ratings we have now when the markets have clearly deduced the genuine situation.
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August 17, 2011, 08:10:12 PM
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It would be in their best interest to do so and it only makes sense with the absurdly high ratings we have now when the markets have clearly deduced the genuine situation.


You still haven't provided a citation.  You need a citation for your baseless claim.


Your current statement isn't even coherent.  You need to repeat it in English or explain it in detail.

Enjoying the dose of reality or getting a laugh out of my posts? Feel free to toss me a penny or two, everyone else seems to be doing it! 1Kn8NqvbCC83zpvBsKMtu4sjso5PjrQEu1
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