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Author Topic: Defending Capitalism  (Read 50652 times)
NghtRppr
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April 10, 2011, 12:02:17 AM
 #1

Let me begin by explaining what capitalism is and isn't, first, what it isn't. Capitalism isn't big business getting favors from the government. That's facism. When Hitler came to power in a democratic election (so much for democracy), rather than put all the businesses such as BMW under government ownership, which would be socialism, he simply told businesses what to do. He controlled them through regulations even though they were still left in the hands of private ownership. I'm definitely against facism, unlike most US presidents.

So if it's not facism or socialism, what is capitalism? Well, first let me digress. Let's say that our dear friend Doood has a shiny new bicycle and I want it. There are two ways I can obtain it. One is, I can make him an offer. I could say, "I'll give you $500 for it." I could say, "I'll walk your dogs for the next 4 years." However, if Doood doesn't like any of my offers, he keeps the bicycle. That's the free market way. The other way I could obtain it is if I point a gun at him and say, "Give me your bicycle or I'll shoot you in the face." In the same manner, I could get a bunch of my friends together and we can all vote that I should have his bicycle because I need it more or I look better riding it or whatever and then we all point our guns at him and make the same threat, "Your bicycle or your life." That's not the free market way. That's theft.

So, what is capitalism? Capitalism is the free market and the free market is simply the aggregation of all voluntary trades. If I make you an offer and you accept it voluntarily, that's part of the free market. If I mug you at gun point, that's not part of the free market. If capitalism is the free market which is nothing but voluntary trading, why would anyone object to it? Well, there are still a few objections which I'd like to address.

Objection 1: Capitalism is exploitative.

If capitalism is simply the free market which is simply voluntarily trading then that means voluntarily trading has to be exploitative. How could that be? If we're both self-interested rational creatures and if I offer you my X for your Y and you accept the trade then, necessarily, I value your Y more than my X and you value my X more than your Y. By voluntarily trading we each come away with something we find more valuable, at that time, than what we originally had. We are both better off. That's not exploitative. That's cooperative.

Objection 2: But, but… wage slavery!

If you want to live then you have to work. That's nature's fault (or God's fault if you're a Christian). Either way, you have to work to survive. Nobody is obligated to keep you alive. You have the right not to be murdered, you don't have the right to live. So, if I offer you a job, that's still a voluntary trade, my resources for your labor. If you don't like the trade then you can reject it and go survive through your own means or simply lay down and die. It's harsh but fair. Otherwise, I'd have to take care of myself and everyone else which is unfair. Requiring me to provide you a living is actual slavery, much worse than nonexistent wage slavery.

Objection 3: The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Historically speaking, this is nonsense. For the last 800 or so years, there has been a steady increase in the quality of life for everyone, not just the rich. What's more, the rich get rich by making the poor better off. People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, etc, make their money by giving us awesome services and technology. My family has lived in Alabama for generations, not exactly a cultural nexus, and my ancestors were indentured servants. Yet, I've been able to fly first class all over the country, eat all kinds of exotic foods, been to concerts, plays and all kinds of shows. I have a wardrobe full of clothes, all kinds of electronic gadgets, two cars, etc. My parents and grandparents weren't able to do that. I'm better off not worse. If I were living 200 years ago I wouldn't have any of that. I'd probably have a single set of clothes and little else. The life expectancy at the dawn of man was 18 years at birth and by the dawn of the USA it was at around 45. Now in capitalistic countries it's closer to 70 and some of us can expect to live as long as 100 years. The rich get richer and the poor get richer. We are all better off. We live longer and healthier.

Objection 4: Free markets are oppressive, racist, sexist, etc.

Actually, free markets force those kinds of behaviors to come at a cost. If a black woman's labor is worth $8 an hour but because I'm a racist, sexist, pig I only pay her $6 an hour thereby making $2.00 profit for myself, I run the risk of some other greedy capitalist pig to offer the same black woman $6.01 an hour to undercut me and make $1.99 profit. This same kind of greedy profit-driven behavior will continue until the black woman's wages approach what the market value is, $8 an hour. There is no place in the market for anything other than profit seeking and that will require greedy capitalist pigs to ignore their personal feelings of racism or sexism unless they want to be put out of business.

Objection 5: Free markets don't care about the environment.

As long as humans value clean water, clean air, pristine land and so on and as long as said land is privately owned and doesn't become a victim of the tragedy of the commons, there will always be a cost to pollution and the market will punish it accordingly. If you dump toxic waste in my river, you owe me money, either in damages if it was without my permission or as payment to offset the value of the environment that you're destroying. Companies that find ways to avoid pollution won't have to pay these extra costs and therefore will make more profits. Companies that can't work around pollution while eventually be driven out of business by companies that can.

Objection 6: Free markets destroy art and culture by making people more materialistic.

Again, historically speaking, this simply isn't true. In the Baroque period of music, when most composers were employed by a king, church or some form of government, they were greatly censored and limited in the ways they could express themselves. It was only later when composers such as Mozart could work independently in a free market that they found greater freedom. The Romantic period owes a debt to the free market for making this happen. Also, capitalism has contributed to the emergence of entire new genres of art such as interactive video, video games, etc. I have an entire recording studio in a single machine that can sit on my desk. These days anyone can express themselves through art. Art and culture has expanded, not shrunken. Of course, some philistines might sneer at YouTube videos being considered a form of art but that's their problem not mine. Anyone that can watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuU00Q3RhDg and claim that it's not art, has no humanity. This video is a product of a free market composer being reinterpreted using commodity audio/video equipment, computers, editing software and a service making it available to millions. This is capitalism and art at work.

Objection 7: Monopolies!

Abusive monopolies don't arise in free markets. There is only one way to bar new entries into the market and that's by law. The abusive monopolies that exist are products of government interventionism. Even if there is only a single company providing a good or service the mere potentiality that someone could enter the market is enough to keep them in line. If they were to start charging absorbent prices it would provide incentive to new companies to enter the market and undercut them. Even if they started buying up companies they would have to do so at a loss and it would only provide even more incentive for new companies to enter the markets. All abusive monopolies are the result of laws, not markets. You can't corner the market in anything and charge whatever you want. All attempts to do so have failed.

Objection 8: Let's talk about the poor again! Nobody would feed them.

So the argument is that unless we have laws that enable us to point guns at people and force them to empty their pockets for the poor, nobody would ever help the poor. The question you need to ask is, if that were true, how could any such laws get established in the first place? Why would anyone vote to have a gun pointed at them if they weren't also willing to do it without the gun? The mere existence of laws designed to help the poor is direct evidence that people want to help the poor! Charity is part of the free market. It's simply a free trade where one party asks for nothing in return. It's moral, ethical and would still exist in pure capitalism. In fact, it would exist better in pure capitalism because people would be able to direct their funds to the poor better. They would have a choice of charities and if some charities did a terrible job, nobody would donate to them and they'd go out of business. In the end, the best charities would remain and that would in turn help the poor more efficiently.

Objection 9: Some things are too important to leave to the free market.

On the contrary, the free market punishes poor performance. As a business, if you sell pizza that kills thousands of people a year, you lose money and eventually go out of business. As a government agency, if you kill thousands of people, you lose nothing and you get to keep doing a terrible job. The free market punishes bad behavior and weeds out incompetence. Not so with the government. You might say that you can vote people out of office but it's really hard to vote on specific issues. If there are two candidates and you like half of one person's policies and half of the other person's policies, there's no way to vote for just the policies that you like. You have to take the good with the bad, whereas the free market allows for fine grained control. If you want only 10-speed bicycles then you only buy 10-speed bicycles and the market responds. If the government builds roads and manages them poorly, nothing happens. If free market companies build roads and manages them poorly, they go out of business and the businesses that remain are necessarily doing a better job than the ones that went out of business. The market again acts to weed out incompetence. Central planning, be it facism, socialism or communism, doesn't have this mechanism.

Objection 10: Capitalism promotes greed and all we'll end up with are greedy corporations.

This is scraping the bottom of the barrel. All humans are greedy. When you go to the grocery store or shop for a new TV do you pick the TV that is the cheapest for a specific quality level or are you generous enough to pay extra to the seller? Of course you try to get the best deal. That doesn't make you a greedy asshole. It just makes you intelligent. It's just plain stupid to pay more than you have to for anything and it cuts both ways, as a producer and a consumer. Greed is good, when it's done intelligently.

So, in summary, capitalism is the only moral system since it's based on voluntary actions rather than violent or coercive ones (yes even if everyone votes to rob one guy democratically that's still violent and coercive). Even if moral considerations aren't enough, for instance you're some kind of inhuman utilitarian, then the efficiency of free markets should convince you. Central planning simply can't respond to human desires the same way that free markets can. If the central planners decide to make 100 bicycles and 200 sneakers and it turns out that people wanted 200 bicycles and 100 sneakers, that's just too damn bad. There's no way to signal that to the planners that's as efficient. I say efficient to acknowledge that syndicalism (if it could work) could respond to human desires but only at the cost of massive inefficient bureaucracies. Capitalism, the free market, voluntary trade, is still the best option and the only moral one.
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April 10, 2011, 01:06:53 AM
 #2

"Give me your bike you earned thru your work or you die"
"Give me your work or you die"

Those two don't sound all that much different to me; you have the choice of not pulling the trigger just the same way you have the choice of feeding the hungry...

(I dont always get new reply notifications, pls send a pm when you think it has happened)

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NghtRppr
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April 10, 2011, 01:26:10 AM
 #3

It's more like...

"Give me your bike you earned through your work or I shoot you"

vs.

"Give me your work or I won't feed you"

Nobody has positive rights, only negative rights. In other words, I don't owe you any action but rather I owe you inaction i.e. not murdering you, not raping you, not robbing you. I don't owe you food in your stomach or clothes on your back. Why would I unless I'm your slave? Only a slave owes his master labor and the fruits thereof. I'm not your slave.
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April 10, 2011, 01:27:35 AM
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In general, I agree pretty much of what youré saying but but is it really that wise to start an argumentative text by using a logical fallacy and Godwin's law?
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April 10, 2011, 01:30:41 AM
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In general, I agree pretty much of what youré saying but but is it really that wise to start an argumentative text by using a logical fallacy and Godwin's law?

The mere mention of Hitler isn't a violation of Godwin's law since facism is directly related to the issue at hand. Godwin's law was meant to illustrate how silly it is to compare minor offenses to genocide which trivializes it. That's not the case here. As for the logical fallacy, I'm not saying I didn't make any. After all, I'm only human and I make mistakes but I can't correct those mistakes if you refuse to point them out. What logical fallacy do you think I'm committing?
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April 10, 2011, 02:54:08 AM
 #6

Most of this pertains to unregulated free markets which is only tangentially related to capitalism.

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April 10, 2011, 02:59:30 AM
 #7

Ok, replace a gun with a ticking timebomb for which you got the shutdown key; you have the choice of disarming the bomb the same way you have the choice of feeding the hungry.

(I dont always get new reply notifications, pls send a pm when you think it has happened)

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NghtRppr
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April 10, 2011, 02:59:41 AM
 #8

Most of this pertains to unregulated free markets which is only tangentially related to capitalism.

Well, "unregulated free market" is redundant and "regulated free market" is an oxymoron. If it's regulated then it's not free because regulations are limits on freedom.

Ok, replace a gun with a ticking timebomb for which you got the shutdown key; you have the choice of disarming the bomb the same way you have the choice of feeding the hungry.

Let's say that I don't have the key because I don't know who built the bomb but I do have the knowledge to disarm it. Am I somehow obligated to disarm it? If so, why?
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April 10, 2011, 03:01:49 AM
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Now I've to say you totally lack the sense of Capitalism! What you described is the free market feature as if it was the whole. Your definition is as valid to Capitalism, as it is to Mercantilism, as to basically any other economic system.
Capitalism is defined by the "strength of the Capital", it outdated Mercantilism as it can gather more Capital strength to carry on with ventures that would be limited otherwise.

The chain of unfairness, which Marx addressed with his invented "struggle of classes" (this is what I call the biggest fallacy still in practice, "classes" have different goals, people just fight for common goals... means that the real "struggle" is within each "class" with its pairs, not between "classes" - this would be subject to another issue), is how the wealth ended up distributed. Your "attenuators" are due Socialist, Distributist, Ecologist and other practices put into Capitalism, otherwise, for Capitalism as it is, is a bunch of baloney!
In fact the Capitalism makes the Capital the primary element, each venture must respond primarily upon the strength of the capital put to it (means be profitable to whoever put the money into it) and just then to other considerations, being labor one of the weakest link in Capitalism...
If up to here it sounds somewhat ok, Capitalism by taken stock holders as the primary element of the equation, wide-opens the door to speculation and everything that comes with it; like inflation, deflation, fractional reserve, debt, etc. To be "safe" Capitalism has to be always growing, if at some moment it recesses the capital vanishes and once such happens... you get yourself a crisis and need to be bailed out or get bankrupt. As nothing can grow to infinite, Capitalism suffers one thing called "cyclic crisis".
To deal with this issue it has been created the IMF, to bail out bankrupt states. Allowing States to bankrupt, depending on where or how strong it's its influence, may cause a domino effect creating economic havoc and crisis spread.
Still the issue with IMF is that it relies on some states to be wealthy in order to relief and loan to others. As this is also impossible the solution was to create Central Banks. Central Banks can generate wealth out of "nothing" and their scam can run for quite a long time (up to centuries) - still not forever.

Put to the very end, in Capitalism you don't need to look for scammers, Capitalism is a scam by itself.

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benjamindees
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April 10, 2011, 03:11:46 AM
 #10

Most of this pertains to unregulated free markets which is only tangentially related to capitalism.

Well, "unregulated free market" is redundant and "regulated free market" is an oxymoron. If it's regulated then it's not free because regulations are limits on freedom.

If I am not free to take your stuff, then there are obviously some regulations.

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NghtRppr
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April 10, 2011, 03:20:12 AM
 #11

Most of this pertains to unregulated free markets which is only tangentially related to capitalism.

Well, "unregulated free market" is redundant and "regulated free market" is an oxymoron. If it's regulated then it's not free because regulations are limits on freedom.

If I am not free to take your stuff, then there are obviously some regulations.

That's theft which has nothing to do with trading, free or otherwise. If you hold a gun to my head and force me to take one penny for my house that's at least an actual trade, though not a free one. That's still got nothing to do with regulations.
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April 10, 2011, 03:36:08 AM
 #12

So I'm guessing you would be against trading which tends to harm uninvolved, third parties?

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April 10, 2011, 03:39:04 AM
 #13

You seem to be idealizing capitalism in the same way some poor souls idealize communism. Communism can sound good until you realize real people abuse the system and in real life it is very unjust and inefficient.

Capitalism has a redeeming feature in that it creates a group that can stand up to the power of the state. These are the capitalist that hold large fractions of our wealth. Since the start of the industrial age they’ve had a vested interest in the rule of law and personal freedoms.

You can’t, however, ignore the non-ideal real world of capitalim. The big players start controlling the state in ways that distort laws in their favour. It can become very unjust and exploitative as well and it does no good denying this or saying that’s not true capitalism.

I’d still want to live in a capitalist world but I want a balance of power between the state and the capitalist.
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April 10, 2011, 03:43:35 AM
 #14

You seem to be idealizing capitalism in the same way some poor souls idealize communism. Communism can sound good until you realize real people abuse the system and in real life it is very unjust and inefficient.

What bitcoin2cash described as "capitalism" is flawed even in the ideal case, practicalities aside.

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April 10, 2011, 03:51:18 AM
 #15

So I'm guessing you would be against trading which tends to harm uninvolved, third parties?

Define harm. If I open a lemonade stand next to yours with lower prices then I'm harming your business but that's entirely ethical. Do you have any examples?

The big players start controlling the state in ways that distort laws in their favour.

Right and the problem is the state which is necessarily violent and coercive.

What bitcoin2cash described as "capitalism" is flawed even in the ideal case, practicalities aside.

Why? Do you have any kind of reasoning or argument to go along with your assertion or are we expected to take you on your word alone?
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April 10, 2011, 03:59:58 AM
 #16

Quote from: bitcoin2cash
Define harm. If I open a lemonade stand next to yours with lower prices then I'm harming your business but that's entirely ethical. Do you have any examples?

Well my best example involves trading DNA strands, but we'll get to that in a minute.  How about, I'd like to trade nuclear waste and transport it through your neighborhood, very slowly, for example.  Or my neighbor, he likes to trade for wood to burn in his stove, and I'm the unwitting beneficiary of this transaction in the form of lung cancer.  I'm just establishing that you do in fact recognize the concept of negative externality.

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April 10, 2011, 04:04:46 AM
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The big players start controlling the state in ways that distort laws in their favour.

Right and the problem is the state which is necessarily violent and coercive.


And without the state the big companies won't resort to force???
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April 10, 2011, 04:15:36 AM
 #18

Quote from: bitcoin2cash
Define harm. If I open a lemonade stand next to yours with lower prices then I'm harming your business but that's entirely ethical. Do you have any examples?

Well my best example involves trading DNA strands, but we'll get to that in a minute.  How about, I'd like to trade nuclear waste and transport it through your neighborhood, very slowly, for example.  Or my neighbor, he likes to trade for wood to burn in his stove, and I'm the unwitting beneficiary of this transaction in the form of lung cancer.  I'm just establishing that you do in fact recognize the concept of negative externality.

Harming me by radiation poisoning or smoke inhalation is no different from throwing a rock and hitting me in the head with it. So, obviously that's not legitimate unless I agree to let you do those things to me. Of course, if you do throw a rock at me, it's not the fault of the guy that gave you the rock.

The big players start controlling the state in ways that distort laws in their favour.

Right and the problem is the state which is necessarily violent and coercive.


And without the state the big companies won't resort to force???

There will always be people that want to use aggression to accomplish their goals. The only difference is that in a stateless society we can have our own private army to pay to defend us against aggressors. Remember, businesses have to make money, governments don't. Few people are going to patronize or invest in a business that engages in costly wars. Besides, do you really think Google or Microsoft is suddenly going to start buying tanks? There's a difference between grabbing a loaded gun that's already in play vs. having to build one, load it yourself, aim it and pull the trigger.
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April 10, 2011, 04:20:12 AM
 #19

Quote from: bitcoin2cash
Define harm. If I open a lemonade stand next to yours with lower prices then I'm harming your business but that's entirely ethical. Do you have any examples?

Well my best example involves trading DNA strands, but we'll get to that in a minute.  How about, I'd like to trade nuclear waste and transport it through your neighborhood, very slowly, for example.  Or my neighbor, he likes to trade for wood to burn in his stove, and I'm the unwitting beneficiary of this transaction in the form of lung cancer.  I'm just establishing that you do in fact recognize the concept of negative externality.

Harming me by radiation poisoning or smoke inhalation is no different from throwing a rock and hitting me in the head with it. So, obviously that's not legitimate unless I agree to let you do those things to me. Of course, if you do throw a rock at me, it's not the fault of the guy that gave you the rock.

The big players start controlling the state in ways that distort laws in their favour.

Right and the problem is the state which is necessarily violent and coercive.


And without the state the big companies won't resort to force???

There will always be people that want to use aggression to accomplish their goals. The only difference is that in a stateless society we can have our own private army to pay to defend us against aggressors. Remember, businesses have to make money, governments don't. Few people are going to patronize or invest in a business that engages in costly wars. Besides, do you really think Google or Microsoft is suddenly going to start buying tanks? There's a difference between grabbing a loaded gun that's already in play vs. having to build one, load it yourself, aim it and pull the trigger.

The only reason they don't have armies is because the state exists and serves their purpose. Without a state the most powerful would invent it even if that power is simply measured by wealth. Each group paying for their own armed men is anarchy and the really powerful (again measured by wealth or productive power if you like) will not tolerate that.
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April 10, 2011, 04:31:16 AM
 #20

The only reason they don't have armies is because the state exists and serves their purpose. Without a state the most powerful would invent it even if that power is simply measured by wealth. Each group paying for their own armed men is anarchy and the really powerful (again measured by wealth or productive power if you like) will not tolerate that.
That's not anarchy. It's just capitalism at work. Anarchism opposes capitalism.

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April 10, 2011, 04:32:42 AM
 #21

The only reason they don't have armies is because the state exists and serves their purpose. Without a state the most powerful would invent it even if that power is simply measured by wealth. Each group paying for their own armed men is anarchy and the really powerful (again measured by wealth or productive power if you like) will not tolerate that.

First of all, we have to acknowledge that most people don't want constant violence in their daily lives and that most people are basically decent. If that isn't the case then humanity is already fucked and no form of ideology is going to save us. Assuming there are no objections to that, let's say that 90% of humans just want to live in peace and the other 10% want to use aggression to accomplish their goals. So, the argument is that the 90% should concentrate all their force into the hands of a single group of people to protect us from the other 10%. The flaw in this is that, what's to stop the 10% from taking control of this concentration of power? It seems only natural that the bad 10% of people would seek to control it. You're only making things easier for them that way. At least in a stateless society we have a fighting chance and of course the 90% can overpower the other 10% and defend themselves. At some point it comes down to sheer numbers rather than who has the most gold.
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April 10, 2011, 04:41:10 AM
 #22

Harming me by radiation poisoning or smoke inhalation is no different from throwing a rock and hitting me in the head with it. So, obviously that's not legitimate unless I agree to let you do those things to me. Of course, if you do throw a rock at me, it's not the fault of the guy that gave you the rock.

Okay, I can see that subtlety is not getting us anywhere.  Let's use this example.  Let's say that I own a rather large cache of fossil fuels.  I also own a small plot of land.  And I'd really like to build a pyramid, one as large as humanly possible.  So I'm going to burn all of my fossil fuels in order to obtain the energy to build my pyramid.  In fact, let's just say that I own enough fossil fuels to completely consume all of the oxygen on Earth.  And I intend to use them.  Once my pyramid is complete, my plan is to crawl inside of it just as Earth's oxygen levels dip below the level required to maintain human consciousness, remove my oxygen mask and tank, and gloriously ascend into the afterlife.

Don't I have a right to build a giant pyramid?  Don't I have a right to use my property as I see fit?  Regulating this would just be unnecessary government intrusion on the free market, right?

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April 10, 2011, 04:48:40 AM
 #23

Okay, I can see that subtlety is not getting us anywhere.  Let's use this example.  Let's say that I own a rather large cache of fossil fuels.  I also own a small plot of land.  And I'd really like to build a pyramid, one as large as humanly possible.  So I'm going to burn all of my fossil fuels in order to obtain the energy to build my pyramid.  In fact, let's just say that I own enough fossil fuels to completely consume all of the oxygen on Earth.  And I intend to use them.  Once my pyramid is complete, my plan is to crawl inside of it just as Earth's oxygen levels dip below the level required to maintain human consciousness, remove my oxygen mask and tank, and gloriously ascend into the afterlife.

Don't I have a right to build a giant pyramid?  Don't I have a right to use my property as I see fit?  Regulating this would just be unnecessary government intrusion on the free market, right?

You have the right to use your property as you see fit but not if it involves damaging my property, which includes the air. If you can somehow keep all your pollution in your airspace why would I care? I only care when it starts to affect me and my property. There's little difference between polluting my air and dumping raw sewage on my property.

Also, don't you feel a bit silly engaging in these extreme cases? We don't base general principles on extreme cases and for good reason. They aren't reflective of typical situations.
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April 10, 2011, 04:49:12 AM
 #24

The only reason they don't have armies is because the state exists and serves their purpose. Without a state the most powerful would invent it even if that power is simply measured by wealth. Each group paying for their own armed men is anarchy and the really powerful (again measured by wealth or productive power if you like) will not tolerate that.

First of all, we have to acknowledge that most people don't want constant violence in their daily lives and that most people are basically decent. If that isn't the case then humanity is already fucked and no form of ideology is going to save us. Assuming there are no objections to that, let's say that 90% of humans just want to live in peace and the other 10% want to use aggression to accomplish their goals. So, the argument is that the 90% should concentrate all their force into the hands of a single group of people to protect us from the other 10%. The flaw in this is that, what's to stop the 10% from taking control of this concentration of power? It seems only natural that the bad 10% of people would seek to control it. You're only making things easier for them that way. At least in a stateless society we have a fighting chance and of course the 90% can overpower the other 10% and defend themselves. At some point it comes down to sheer numbers rather than who has the most gold.

You can't pretend the 10% that seek to control the rest is a static group. The moment the 90% overpower them another 10% will materialize out of the winners and they will want to control the rest. Revolutions for hundreds of years have proven this. (An outstanding exception was the American revolution. The miracle is they balanced state power against federal power in a stable configuration.)

What you're describing doesn't exist. It's just another utopia.
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April 10, 2011, 04:49:42 AM
 #25

I also like to build robots.  Self-replicating robots.  Tiny, self-replicating robots.  And they are powered by oxidizing common elements, such as iron, aluminum, carbon, and hydrogen.  Basically all they do is consume resources and reproduce.  I'd like to keep them in my back yard.  Actually, no, scratch that, I'd much rather let them go free to roam the Earth.  So I will program them to only consume resources that people aren't currently using.

Any objections to this plan?

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April 10, 2011, 04:53:16 AM
 #26

Also, don't you feel a bit silly engaging in these extreme cases?

Don't you feel silly being oblivious to how the world works and the flaws in your idealized system?

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not if it involves damaging my property, which includes the air.

You own the air?  Can I use some?  Can the rest of us have some to breathe?

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April 10, 2011, 05:00:04 AM
 #27

Wow.  This is the largest example of mental masterbation that I have seen in a long time, and I read a lot on the Internet.

This is an unresolvable disagreement, simply because both sides talk past each other because neither can really agree on the definition of critical words.

I have a question...

Whatever it may be called, and based on the given that, whatever it is called, basicly every "Western" society largely shares the majority of characteristics of the same whatever.  Do you believe that your lifestyle today is better, worse or about the same as your grandfather's?

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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April 10, 2011, 05:02:02 AM
 #28

What you're describing doesn't exist. It's just another utopia.

No, it's Utopian to think that you can have a monopoly on legitimate violence and that it won't lead to abuses.

I also like to build robots.  Self-replicating robots.  Tiny, self-replicating robots.  And they are powered by oxidizing common elements, such as iron, aluminum, carbon, and hydrogen.  Basically all they do is consume resources and reproduce.  I'd like to keep them in my back yard.  Actually, no, scratch that, I'd much rather let them go free to roam the Earth.  So I will program them to only consume resources that people aren't currently using.

Any objections to this plan?

You talk about me being oblivious to the real world when you're talking about replicators from Stargate SG-1? If your replicators only used unowned resources then why would I care? Until you damage me or my property, I have no concern. Of course, if I see your replicators running wild I'm not going to sit on my thumbs until everything is used up. I will start to claim more resources for myself so that I don't run out. I see no problems other than the absurdity of your question. By the way, if we can make Stargate SG-1 replicators then I want my Star Trek food computer that produces Earl Grey tea on voice command.

You own the air?  Can I use some?  Can the rest of us have some to breathe?

I didn't say I own all the air. Don't make straw man arguments. I own some air though. Do you have an issue with that? What's the argument that you can own land but not air? Land moves too. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_tectonics

Wow.  This is the largest example of mental masterbation that I have seen in a long time, and I read a lot on the Internet.

I'm under no delusions that I'll convert anyone here. I'm just trying to refine my views through trial-by-fire. You'll never know if you're wrong unless you put your views to the test.
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April 10, 2011, 05:10:45 AM
 #29

This conversation should rarely go further than both parties to the conversation ensuring the other one will not use violence to implement their ideas upon the other.

If neither believes a difference of opinion should end in violence, great!  You can put together whatever kind of economic or political scheme you wish, as long as you can convince others to work towards that system as well, and as long as you do not force anyone to join you.

If one of you is willing to use violence over a difference in opinion, don't engage with that person because:
  • That's not a conversation.
  • Engaging with the idea that violence is an appropriate means to resolving a difference in opinion only gives credence to that all-too-common world view.

The correct play is to walk away and just interact with those who don't whip out the implicit gun every time there's a disagreement.

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April 10, 2011, 05:20:56 AM
 #30

The correct play is to walk away and just interact with those who don't whip out the implicit gun every time there's a disagreement.

The problem is that unless people are forced to point the gun themselves they don't actually think they are using violence. They just get to vote for whatever laws they want and blue uniformed thugs do the actual dirty work. Also, I'm interested in getting my ideas tested rather than just proselytizing.

However, you're right and it's always funny when people try to argue their way towards legitimizing aggression since violence is the interruption of discussion not the conclusion thereof. If they really thought violence was the answer then they would just shoot me in head and be done with it instead of engaging me in discussion. By engaging me in discussion you are already presupposing that your view of aggression as legitimate is wrong and that discourse is the proper mode of settling disagreements.
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April 10, 2011, 05:29:54 AM
 #31

The correct play is to walk away and just interact with those who don't whip out the implicit gun every time there's a disagreement.

The problem is that unless people are forced to point the gun themselves they don't actually think they are using violence. They just get to vote for whatever laws they want and blue uniformed thugs do the actual dirty work. Also, I'm interested in getting my ideas tested rather than just proselytizing.

However, you're right and it's always funny when people to argue their way to legitimizing aggression since violence is the interruption of discussion not the conclusion thereof. If they really thought violence was the answer then they would just shoot me in head and be done with it instead of engaging me in discussion. By engaging me in discussion you are already presupposing that your view of aggression as legitimate is wrong and that discourse is the proper mode of settling disagreements.

You are right that it is important to test your ideas, however you need to ensure that anyone you are having a serious debate with is actually interested in the truth and not some game where they use debate to mentally bully others in order to deal with unresolved issues.  The vast majority of people use philosophy as ex-post-facto justification for past wrongdoing, and you will never advance ideas in that context.  You might learn something about scoring points in a conversation or dealing with excessive frustration; but life is too short in my opinion.

That's why my play is generally to bring the gun into the room.  Make it personal.  If the person is willing to literally pull the trigger if I'm not willing to contribute to their plan, then you have the end of the conversation.  If they're not, it then becomes useful to square their ideas with the newfound realization of what they actually entail philosophically.  Then you can have a productive conversation from there.

Otherwise, just find people who are interested in truth and are interested in working with you in a voluntary fashion.  Anything else tends to detract from your quality of life IMO.

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April 10, 2011, 05:36:15 AM
 #32

You might learn something about .... dealing with excessive frustration; but life is too short in my opinion.

Actually, that is one of my goals. I used to completely lose it when dealing with intellectually dishonest people or just plain idiots. Then I moved on to typing scathing replies, reading them and then backspacing over them without posting, out of guilt. Now, it's very rare that my temper flares up and when it does I am able to just take a few breaths and let it pass. By the time I'm in my 30's I hope to be some sort of zen master at dealing with fools. Recently, I've had people applaud my patience so I think I'm making progress. To each his own though. I've always been an argumentative person.
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April 10, 2011, 05:49:51 AM
 #33

You might learn something about .... dealing with excessive frustration; but life is too short in my opinion.

Actually, that is one of my goals. I used to completely lose it when dealing with intellectually dishonest people or just plain idiots. Then I moved on to typing scathing replies, reading them and then backspacing over them without posting, out of guilt. Now, it's very rare that my temper flares up and when it does I am able to just take a few breaths and let it pass. By the time I'm in my 30's I hope to be some sort of zen master at dealing with fools. Recently, I've had people applaud my patience so I think I'm making progress. To each his own though. I've always been an argumentative person.

I would argue the capacity for anger when dealing with someone who is intellectually dishonest is a good thing.  Otherwise you'll often ignore the emotional underpinnings of what that person is saying, and you'll be arguing versus and argument that he isn't really making (because he doesn't care about the argument, intellectually dishonest people are often just working out their own emotional issues), and that's another reason, in my mind at least, why I've stopped engaging those people.  They troll anyone who is trying to find a scrap of truth until they either get bored or until they get the desired reaction from the person they are engaging.  However, they never put any idea of their own forth, and the conversation is never furthered by their involvement.

We're probably somewhat talking past each other here, but my only real point is that I only think it's worth it to debate with someone who is seeking truth and isn't tied to their conclusions.  Otherwise, you're probably better off dissecting your point of view yourself.

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April 10, 2011, 05:51:46 AM
 #34

I also want to make it clear that I don't think you should get mad at people for being idiots or for not being able to see past the stories they've been told their whole lives.  I'm mostly talking about those who only enter a debate to win and to be nasty to their opponent.

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April 10, 2011, 06:27:13 AM
 #35

Quote from: bitcoin2cash
Objection 2: But, but… wage slavery!

Quote
If you want to live then you have to work.

This is completely, totally false.  It is economically false --  it is based on a misunderstanding of "work".  It is historically false -- historically humans have worked less than they do now, especially in highly free-market-oriented countries.  And it is scientifically false -- there is absolutely no physical reason for humans to be required to "work" in order to survive.

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That's nature's fault (or God's fault if you're a Christian).

It is someone's fault.  But not God's since God is just a fictional character.

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Nobody is obligated to keep you alive.

True.

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You have the right not to be murdered, you don't have the right to live.

You have a right to life.  But it is a negative right.

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Otherwise, I'd have to take care of myself and everyone else which is unfair.

False dichotomy.  You are only responsible for your own actions.  But that includes all of them.

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Requiring me to provide you a living is actual slavery, much worse than nonexistent wage slavery.

That depends.  Are parents slaves?

Quote from: Gluskab
a bunch of offtopic stuff

You sure post a lot for someone who isn't interested in engaging in conversation.

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April 10, 2011, 06:39:58 AM
 #36

I'm only going to respond to your sensible comments. If you want me to address something I've ignored don't just whine that I've ignored it, elaborate on it so that I understand that you actually have some sort of cogent point to make.

Quote
If you want to live then you have to work.

This is completely, totally false.  It is economically false --  it is based on a misunderstanding of "work".  It is historically false -- historically humans have worked less than they do now, especially in highly free-market-oriented countries.  And it is scientifically false -- there is absolutely no physical reason for humans to be required to "work" in order to survive.

So you don't consider hunting, farming, fishing or foraging to be work? Well, I do but instead of playing semantic games why don't we just say that you have to "take action" in order to survive because food isn't going to hop onto your plate?

You have a right to life.  But it is a negative right.

If you have a right to life then I would be obligated to save you if you were drowning. No, you have a right to not be murdered. All negative rights must contain some sort of negation if they are to be negative.

That depends.  Are parents slaves?

No but they also aren't required to provide me a living. They can drop me off at any hospital (well it's too late now since I'm college, but they had their chance to give me up for adoption).
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April 10, 2011, 07:18:02 AM
 #37

They can drop me off at any hospital (well it's too late now since I'm college, but they had their chance to give me up for adoption).

Good and what happens when they do that?  Is the hospital obliged to care for you?  Is the hospital staffed by volunteers?  Does this action constitute force or is this just more free market goodness?  Free kid?  Is it a donation?

Quote
Well, I do but instead of playing semantic games why don't we just say that you have to "take action" in order to survive because food isn't going to hop onto your plate?

Fiat Victus.  But yes, some minimal action.  Certainly not life-long wage labor.

Quote
You have a right to life.  But it is a negative right.

If you have a right to life then I would be obligated to save you if you were drowning. No, you have a right to not be murdered. All negative rights must contain some sort of negation if they are to be negative.

You're misunderstanding the concept of negative rights.  They are negative precisely because they require no positive obligation.  It is a moral distinguishment, not a semantic one.  And they must be negative because they would be inconsistent otherwise.


By the way, just in case you didn't know Craig Venter and others are building self-replicating robots.  It is not science fiction and the concept (Von Neumann machines) is quite old.

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April 10, 2011, 07:26:37 AM
 #38

Defending capitalism bores me.

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April 10, 2011, 07:29:01 AM
 #39

Good and what happens when they do that?  Is the hospital obliged to care for you?  Is the hospital staffed by volunteers?  Does this action constitute force or is this just more free market goodness?  Free kid?  Is it a donation?

There's no shortage of people that want to take in an abandoned baby.

But yes, some minimal action.  Certainly not life-long wage labor.

You do whatever it takes to survive. On your own you can hunt, farm, fish or forage. Nobody owes you anything. However, someone might offer you some food that they have in exchange for something. If you don't like their offer you don't have to take it. You then go back to the original state of affairs, doing what it takes to survive. Again, nobody owes you anything.

They are negative precisely because they require no positive obligation.

A right to life implies a positive obligation. Some socialists are saying they have a right to health care. That again implies a positive obligation. Nobody owes you that. They owe you negatives, inaction, not action; not murdering you, not raping you, not robbing you.
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April 10, 2011, 07:56:20 AM
 #40

There's no shortage of people that want to take in an abandoned baby.

If all humans are selfish, why do you suppose this is the case?  (Assuming this were true, which I don't believe it is.  I think there are far more un-cared-for children out there than potential adopters.)

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A right to life implies a positive obligation.

Of course not.  No right implies a positive obligation.  The entire concept is absurd.

Quote
Some socialists are saying they have a right to health care.

They are short-sighted and wrong and abusing people's stupidity for short-term political gain.

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April 10, 2011, 08:04:56 AM
 #41

If all humans are selfish, why do you suppose this is the case?

I didn't say they are purely selfish.
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April 10, 2011, 11:03:25 AM
 #42

That's not anarchy. It's just capitalism at work. Anarchism opposes capitalism.

Again, Anarchy can co-exist with any economic form, as it doesn't have one. Anarchy doesn't oppose anything there.

I second most of ffe, including that I'd still prefer capitalism to the known alternatives, thus the need for "parts" of others ideologies.

@bitcoin2cash,

You just talk about Capitalism as it looks to you personally and how you'd been affected by it so far. Capitalism at "personal level", forgetting that Capitalism is more a State and Global movement.
A trades a bike with B... A can trade a bike with B on every circumstance in any given economic model. You forget for an instance, by your initial post, "the value of the 500 bucks".

OK, say that I've the bike and accept those 500 bucks, because I'm up to buy a skate for 250 later on. Now... what are or how much worth 500 bucks? In the current status of capitalism, they're just printed paper issued by a private bank, the FED, not indexed to anything at all (In God we trust... and we better because on the notes you're wasting your time). Back on Mercantilism, trade was ruled by bullion; silver, gold...; now it's ruled by worthless paper.
Back on our business, I said I want to buy a skate for 250, but... my bad... I let it pass one month and now they sale for 550. As you see, by holding worthless paper the values float without much control as you can never redeem such paper for nothing.

To the end, in Anarchy, the Capitalism we've at the moment couldn't exist. Without a government to hold the currency value, and anyone able to print how much he pleases, it would be zeroed.

NOTE: Bitcoin is a form of electronic bullion, as it has its own way to control its issue, btw.

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April 10, 2011, 12:23:50 PM
 #43

Ahem, originally posted in the wrong thread. Let's try again.

I haven't read the thread. I haven't even read the first post. I'm just going to put a few thoughts down about capitalism and anarchism, and leave the thread again. I.e. don't expect a response.

Capitalism, where individuals can accumulate resources beyond (far beyond) what can be used by an individual requires a government like structure. I'll explain. A capitalist is one who owns resources beyond what can be used by the capitalist on their own. So, the capitalist either rents out the resources for others to use, or hires others to work these resources. (I would suggest these, and lending money at interest, are basically the same. The capitalist lets others use the resources, in exchange for taking a percentage of what is produced. The difference between renting and hiring is the structure, and how much the capitalist takes.) If the person to whom the capitalist is renting the resources to refuses to pay the capitalist, the capitalist will then use force to evict the person from the {factory; land; etc.}.

Anyway, I'll stop now, because Robert Nozick said it better in the first two parts of his book [rl=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchy_State_and_Utopia]Anarchy, State and Utopia[/url]. Basically, all those little private defence agencies that would spring up to defend the capitalist's interests, would merge by necessity and by reason of efficiency. Eventually you would be left with multiple rather large defence agencies that would be big enough to enforce their world-view on all the people in a particular geographical area. Oh wait, that's a state.

I fundamentally disagree with Nozick's conclusions in his book, but I can't fault his reasoning that in any "state of nature" (as he puts it) which is a state-less capitalism, a state will inevitably emerge.

---

Now, contrast this to a anarchism where resources do not accumulate beyond what can be personally used, and rent, interest and profit are all rejected. I would argue (and have done elsewhere) that a state would not emerge from such a society. Mainly because without capital, individuals and groups of individuals would not be able to accumulate enough power to form a state.

I prefer that utopia, thank you very much. (And I would argue, as I have done else where, that it is a utopia that permits more utopias than the so call "anarchist"-capitalism.)

Final words: Mafia run society.

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April 10, 2011, 08:45:54 PM
 #44

You just talk about Capitalism as it looks to you personally and how you'd been affected by it so far. Capitalism at "personal level", forgetting that Capitalism is more a State and Global movement.

That's just a story people tell.  There is no state, there are only individuals.  Arbitrarily lumping certain individuals together does not change their nature.

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April 10, 2011, 09:14:25 PM
 #45

You just talk about Capitalism as it looks to you personally and how you'd been affected by it so far. Capitalism at "personal level", forgetting that Capitalism is more a State and Global movement.

That's just a story people tell.  There is no state, there are only individuals.  Arbitrarily lumping certain individuals together does not change their nature.

Actually it does, an individual alone doesn't have the strength of a collective body. Other than that you've the group and mob mind. An individual may act one way when alone and the same individual may act in a totally different way within a group and yet another within a mob.

@左:

Mafia doesn't run societies, it's the other way around; Mafia is a private business resembling the Governments... the only reason why Governments don't like Mafia is because they don't get quite along with concurrence.

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April 10, 2011, 09:29:52 PM
 #46

You just talk about Capitalism as it looks to you personally and how you'd been affected by it so far. Capitalism at "personal level", forgetting that Capitalism is more a State and Global movement.

That's just a story people tell.  There is no state, there are only individuals.  Arbitrarily lumping certain individuals together does not change their nature.

Actually it does, an individual alone doesn't have the strength of a collective body. Other than that you've the group and mob mind. An individual may act one way when alone and the same individual may act in a totally different way within a group and yet another within a mob.

@左:

Mafia doesn't run societies, it's the other way around; Mafia is a private business resembling the Governments... the only reason why Governments don't like Mafia is because they don't get quite along with concurrence.

There is no such thing as a collective body.  There are a bunch of individuals.  If you turn into a mindless blob with no opinions outside what the group 'thinks' (seriously, how does a group think?  Does a new, collective brain appear?), that's not something I've ever experienced.  It's the existence of a collectivist mentality in the first place that allows people to shut their brains off while chanting things like, "USA! USA! USA!" or any other 'collective identity' people adopt because they have no self-esteem and choose to identify themselves through a geographic accident rather than anything they've ever done.

If you stick a bunch of trees together, it's called a forest, but the trees inside do not change their individual nature in anyway.  If you're saying two people will together have more physical strength than one person or two people (generally) have more brainpower working together than separately, well no kidding.  That still doesn't contradict anything I've said.

And the reason people who make up the government don't like the mafia, when they are just a legitimized mafia, is because they don't like competition.  If they did, they wouldn't back up their edicts with force.

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April 10, 2011, 09:32:33 PM
 #47

If every US citizen were to die, there would be no more USA. Therefore, the USA is nothing above and beyond the people that it is comprised of.
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April 10, 2011, 09:37:18 PM
 #48

I didn't say they are purely selfish.

A few years ago there was a science radio show about generosity and human nature. Can't provide a link unfortunatly but from what I recall the conclusion is quite the opposite what you claim. People are inherently generous, and give more than they "have to". The study was done on isolated tribes all over the world. Tribesmen who didn't manage to get enough food or shelter were aided by their peers, and in every single study the peers gave more than what was needed. The "cheapest" society gave about 20% surplus, the more generous societies gave well over 100% more.

Believe it or not, but there you have it.

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April 10, 2011, 09:45:29 PM
 #49

@Gluskab;

Being a social animal, humans want to fit in to something; a "society" and its spheres of identity. Starting with your family to your country, to your race, to your religion to whatever one can "hold in to" to grab his "identity". Depending on the group you choose or by accident decided to join for this purpose you get the "group mind", a set of rules you learn to not contest at the expense of be expelled of such group and therefore lose your group identity or be considered as an outcast by your group. This is what sets the group mind.
Depending on the group, the reasons can be various and either rational, accidental or plainly irrational, jersey colors on sports, place of birth on nationalism and patriotism... still and even if you don't contest, it doesn't mean you think about it an agreed, to many of them you just accept by a single reason; you don't even bother to think about it.

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April 10, 2011, 09:49:14 PM
 #50

@Gluskab;

Being a social animal, humans want to fit in to something; a "society" and its spheres of identity. Starting with your family to your country, to your race, to your religion to whatever one can "hold in to" to grab his "identity". Depending on the group you choose or by accident decided to join for this purpose you get the "group mind", a set of rules you learn to not contest at the expense of be expelled of such group and therefore lose your group identity or be considered as an outcast by your group. This is what sets the group mind.
Depending on the group, the reasons can be various and either rational, accidental or plainly irrational, jersey colors on sports, place of birth on nationalism and patriotism... still and even if you don't contest, it doesn't mean you think about it an agreed, to many of them you just accept by a single reason; you don't even bother to think about it.

So, when you pull that person out of the group, you no longer have a person?  Just a 1/n of a group?

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April 10, 2011, 10:18:47 PM
 #51

I didn't say they are purely selfish.

A few years ago there was a science radio show about generosity and human nature. Can't provide a link unfortunatly but from what I recall the conclusion is quite the opposite what you claim. People are inherently generous, and give more than they "have to". The study was done on isolated tribes all over the world. Tribesmen who didn't manage to get enough food or shelter were aided by their peers, and in every single study the peers gave more than what was needed. The "cheapest" society gave about 20% surplus, the more generous societies gave well over 100% more.

Believe it or not, but there you have it.

Selfish meaning they care about themselves first and others second. Who would deny that?
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April 10, 2011, 10:36:56 PM
 #52

So, when you pull that person out of the group, you no longer have a person?  Just a 1/n of a group?

It's the other way around... you don't "pull persons out of the group", instead they join themselves groups and, depending on the kind of the group, abide by its rules (strangely on some groups, as religious ones, they tend to not "abide by their rules" but instead acting dualistic being very intransigent for others to abide the god or gods given rules - even those outside the group - whereas themselves believe to have a sort of "god's chump discount").

You see, the "group mind" is way too complex to be a simply put in and pull out... and groups themselves can come in all flavors and colors. Humanity is weird... like you said, as when people switch off the brain to call out the name of the geographical accident where they, by totally random reasons, happened to born.

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April 10, 2011, 10:40:16 PM
 #53

So, when you pull that person out of the group, you no longer have a person?  Just a 1/n of a group?

It's the other way around... you don't "pull persons out of the group", instead they join themselves groups and, depending on the kind of the group, abide by its rules (strangely on some groups, as religious ones, they tend to not "abide by their rules" but instead acting dualistic being very intransigent for others to abide the god or gods given rules - even those outside the group - whereas themselves believe to have a sort of "god's chump discount").

You see, the "group mind" is way too complex to be a simply put in and pull out... and groups themselves can come in all flavors and colors. Humanity is weird... like you said, as when people switch off the brain to call out the name of the geographical accident where they, by totally random reasons, happened to born.

So, people's minds cannot be individually changed.  You should just join a group that sort of matches your philosophy and hope people accidentally join that group?

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April 10, 2011, 11:14:11 PM
 #54

So, people's minds cannot be individually changed.  You should just join a group that sort of matches your philosophy and hope people accidentally join that group?

...or a group whose philosophy matches your own... if we were talking about rational groups, which not all of them are.
I understand your point, yet you're putting it to black & white, be individual vs be in group... there's a gray-scale in between of those two extremes.
At some point you may find the individual unwilling to change, even if the change is reasonable, if it could put his place in a particular group at stake, or vice-versa. Not all groups are the same or aim for the same. Like the poster on X-Files said «I want to believe», pretty often people just «want to believe»... even if the belief is totally senseless.

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April 11, 2011, 01:37:05 AM
 #55

So, people's minds cannot be individually changed.  You should just join a group that sort of matches your philosophy and hope people accidentally join that group?

...or a group whose philosophy matches your own... if we were talking about rational groups, which not all of them are.
I understand your point, yet you're putting it to black & white, be individual vs be in group... there's a gray-scale in between of those two extremes.
At some point you may find the individual unwilling to change, even if the change is reasonable, if it could put his place in a particular group at stake, or vice-versa. Not all groups are the same or aim for the same. Like the poster on X-Files said «I want to believe», pretty often people just «want to believe»... even if the belief is totally senseless.

But that doesn't change the nature of the person.  Of course people are social creatures and tend to interact with other people, and people who have similar interests or beliefs.  I never claimed people had irrational beliefs, I just didn't take the view that you have to change a group to change the viewpoint of any of the people 'within' it.  From the start, the comment I replied to said:

Quote
You just talk about Capitalism as it looks to you personally and how you'd been affected by it so far. Capitalism at "personal level", forgetting that Capitalism is more a State and Global movement.

Which, maybe if you're talking about the 'capitalism' that is in the world today (read: corporatism), that might make a little more sense, but capitalism that means only voluntary interactions happens on a person by person basis, and that's the only real way to frame it philosophically.  You can extrapolate out from that how things might happen with larger groups of people, but that doesn't mean you can't talk about capitalism or any other economic/political system in the context of individuals interacting.  In fact, I think that's exactly how you should frame the discussion philosophically because you can't interact with a group, a group cannot interact with another group, only people can interact with other people; even if those people are also speaking on the behalf of a group or any number of individuals.

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April 11, 2011, 01:57:08 AM
 #56

Some groups are irrational, like team supporters. They just like the colors... probably... or the father was of that team, or the best friend. But there's no rational/philosophical grounds about that. I don't say is that irrational groups aren't ok...
OTH, yes, the group has to change for its members to change, at least if such change requires core modifications. If you don't manage to do the change in a group level individuals from such group will simply ignore you - no matter how right or wrong you may be.

As for Capitalism, it's not "just trade between two or more people", for that many other economic theories can apply, specially because all of them are designed exactly to conduct trade between people.
The differences are set on other grounds; i.e. Communism and Socialism decides you shouldn't keep what you don't need if some else needs it, Capitalism has a straight view on property, you "own" and it's "yours", regardless if you need it or not, Distributism sets limits to property, you can own with some surplus but not accumulate as in Capitalism, ancient American indigenous people totally lacked the sense of property, you belong to the land not the land to you. Who's wrong, who's right... hard to tell.
Anyway, Capitalism is more than just a "free market" or A trading with B, Capitalism per definition is an economy based on the strength of the capital. We can say however that free market is the major improvement from Capitalism's predecessor, Mercantilism, by causing the guilds to become extinct.

Groups DO interact with groups and individuals. Wars are exactly the proof of such, group leaders disagreed and their groups goes after them against each other. Reason why it turns easier when a group has a known leader, you just need to change the leader's view for change almost everybody within it - at this point you'll have dissidents; people for which one of the main reasons to be in the group was exactly the one that changed.

Never underestimate the power of groups... they're the reason we've a society in the first place.

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April 11, 2011, 05:21:44 AM
 #57

...

OK, say that I've the bike and accept those 500 bucks, because I'm up to buy a skate for 250 later on. Now... what are or how much worth 500 bucks? In the current status of capitalism, they're just printed paper issued by a private bank, the FED, not indexed to anything at all (In God we trust... and we better because on the notes you're wasting your time). Back on Mercantilism, trade was ruled by bullion; silver, gold...; now it's ruled by worthless paper.
Back on our business, I said I want to buy a skate for 250, but... my bad... I let it pass one month and now they sale for 550. As you see, by holding worthless paper the values float without much control as you can never redeem such paper for nothing.

...

Say you mowed our neighbour's lawn for the extra 50 bucks you needed and bought the skate, but the day after that some volcano chain started erupting and dipped the world in volcanic winter,  covering all the parks, ramps, sidewalks etc with snow so you can't use your skate in most places you would; now your skate isn't worth all that much for anyone. You mentioned backing by metals, tomorrow someone could find a vein of gold of continental proportions and and the price of the gram would drop so much you would make more money selling a gram of cancerigenous air out of the exhaust from a old poluting combustion engine.

It's pretty hard to find somthing that has an "inherent" value that can't be changed drasticly.

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April 11, 2011, 08:43:44 AM
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Anyone asking how things get their prices is pretty much asking a question with a known answer. It's not how much it costs to produce or obtain X. It's not how important X is to general human welfare. It's based on marginal utility. Let's say you have 3 loaves of bread and you have different goals you'd like to accomplish with that bread in order of importance to you. Maybe you want to eat the first one, give the second one to your family and sell the third. If you're forced to give up a loaf of bread, you're going to have to give up one of your goals. Which goal? The least important goal. The value you place on achieving that last goal is the value you place on a loaf of bread. As you have fewer loaves of bread, you can achieve fewer goals and the value increases on the remaining loaves. Nothing has intrinsic value. All values are subjective but are reflected in prices which are objective, we can observe prices, not values.
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April 11, 2011, 09:10:50 AM
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Selfish meaning they care about themselves first and others second. Who would deny that?

Selfish, as defined by Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/selfish
": concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others"

My emphasis. Clearly noone denies your definition, but what I was saying was that people aren't selfish according do Marriam-Websters definition. People DO care about others. More than they have to. And it's a good thing imho.

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April 11, 2011, 09:12:57 AM
 #60

The fact that price has nothing to do with value doesn't mean that there is no such thing as intrinsic value.

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April 11, 2011, 10:45:46 AM
 #61

Say you mowed our neighbour's lawn for the extra 50 bucks you needed and bought the skate, but the day after that some volcano chain started erupting and dipped the world in volcanic winter,  covering all the parks, ramps, sidewalks etc with snow so you can't use your skate in most places you would; now your skate isn't worth all that much for anyone. You mentioned backing by metals, tomorrow someone could find a vein of gold of continental proportions and and the price of the gram would drop so much you would make more money selling a gram of cancerigenous air out of the exhaust from a old poluting combustion engine.

It's pretty hard to find somthing that has an "inherent" value that can't be changed drasticly.

You're adding fatalism to the equation. By that point of view anything can happen on any economic system. However within Capitalism those values may float for no catastrophic events.

You see... people tend to look to the immediate; "I earn X"  / "It costs Y". Pretty often you listen politicians bullshit-loading people with arguments such as "I rather raise the taxes than lower the wages" or vice-versa. Well, that's baloney! Regardless what they do on such it renders the same; you end up with less money available for yourself.
Adding to the Capitalist monetary system and the politicians have yet another way to raise taxes and lower wages without people even notice it: Print more currency and generate inflation. Well... people will notice, when they figure out everything get more expensive and the money they wage is barely enough for a kg of rice or potatoes, but for their immediate view the politician has nothing to do with it, as he didn't either lowered the wages or raised the taxes.

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April 11, 2011, 11:31:05 AM
 #62

If I may, I'd like to suggest that everyone in this thread take the time to watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h36Dni1ZPX0

It explains the meaning of the terms 'value', 'utility' and 'price' as used by Austrian economics. I think it is very relevant to this thread, and should hopefully get everyone on the same baseline.

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April 11, 2011, 01:22:01 PM
 #63

That video is metaphysical hogwash.  Value is only subjective when it is arbitrarily bound up with separate concepts such as human work and action.  Intrinsic, objective value exists irrespective of humans altogether.  The fact that Austrian (or any other) economics has no connection to physical reality doesn't mean that everything is inherently subjective.

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April 11, 2011, 01:57:59 PM
 #64

Intrinsic, objective value exists irrespective of humans altogether.

Ok. Name two things with intrinsic value, and state their value in relation to each other, intrinsically.
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April 11, 2011, 02:08:43 PM
 #65

Two apple trees have more intrinsic value than one apple tree.

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April 11, 2011, 02:10:29 PM
 #66

Two apple trees have more intrinsic value than one apple tree.

That relative, if one gives out outstanding apples and the two together bring lesser quality/grade ones, then that single apple tree has more intrinsic value than the other two together.

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April 11, 2011, 02:13:51 PM
 #67

Yeah well obviously I was assuming identical apple trees.

Two ounces of gold have more intrinsic value than one ounce of gold.

A ton of carbon has more intrinsic value than a ton of carbon dioxide.

A ton of hydrogen has more intrinsic value than a ton of iron.

A ton of iron has more intrinsic value than a ton of iron oxide.

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April 11, 2011, 02:54:14 PM
 #68

Yeah well obviously I was assuming identical apple trees.

Two ounces of gold have more intrinsic value than one ounce of gold.

A ton of carbon has more intrinsic value than a ton of carbon dioxide.

A ton of hydrogen has more intrinsic value than a ton of iron.

A ton of iron has more intrinsic value than a ton of iron oxide.

If apple trees were a pest and destroying your solar array, then no.

See, everything in life is relative. Even in physics there is nothing 'intrinsic' (that we know of)... everything has to be measured by it's relationship to something else.

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April 11, 2011, 02:59:24 PM
 #69

Ultimately, nothing has a "value" other than relative because its value depends on how much we valuate it. This alone makes everything relative. You can't say gold is more valuable than silver, because both just have value "relative to humans" and our purposes, other animals don't eat metals or even know what to do with them.  Wink

If for what ever you produce you need carbon dioxide but not carbon, than carbon is worthless to you and its dioxide is more valuable.
And even on your statement about quantity,

Even for your given example, 1 apple tree has more value than 2 apple trees, but the 2 apple trees by piece would have less value than that apple tree alone. One would be a high valuable unique piece, whereas the other 2 weren't unique.

Also the value is relative to places, 1 liter of water in a rain forest worth nothing, the same liter of water in a desert worth whatever the seller wants to ask for it.

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April 11, 2011, 03:16:46 PM
 #70

If apple trees were a pest and destroying your solar array, then no.

"No" what?  Your assertion has nothing to do with the value of apple trees in relation to one another, but the value of apple trees relative to solar panels.

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If for what ever you produce you need carbon dioxide but not carbon, than carbon is worthless to you and its dioxide is more valuable.

It is possible to make carbon dioxide from carbon.  In fact, it is possible to make carbon dioxide from *only* carbon, and to do so profitably.  Regardless, I probably should have said instead that one ton of carbon and oxygen in 1:2 molar ratio has more intrinsic value than one ton of carbon dioxide.

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Also the value is relative to places, 1 liter of water in a rain forest worth nothing, the same liter of water in a desert worth whatever the seller wants to ask for it.

Subjective "value" to humans perhaps, but not intrinsic value.

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April 11, 2011, 03:18:45 PM
 #71

Yeah well obviously I was assuming identical apple trees.

Two ounces of gold have more intrinsic value than one ounce of gold.

A ton of carbon has more intrinsic value than a ton of carbon dioxide.

A ton of hydrogen has more intrinsic value than a ton of iron.

A ton of iron has more intrinsic value than a ton of iron oxide.

If you get free electricity and free water, but you live on a cruiseship, hydrogen is pretty much free, while you need to pay to get more iron  (you got only a limited amount of it avaiable for extracting from the ship itself).


If you're gonna live in space, i imagine you would value raw matterial that comes with oxygen more.

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April 11, 2011, 03:34:32 PM
 #72

I think you've both missed the point of the video. The point wasn't to tell people what this 'value' thing they've been taking about was, but rather to give a useful and consistent definition of value which can be used in logical reasoning. The reason I linked to it is because everyone seems to have different definitions of terms which lead to unnecessary arguments.

Value can mean, for example, the physical properties of an object which give it characteristics to be used for a certain purpose. For example, two logs on a fire can provide more heat when burned than one. There is clearly nothing subjective about this definition of value. Austrians economists choose, however, to use the word 'utility' to describe this phenomenon.

Value, as used in the video, essentially refers to how much a person values a particular means of achieving of a particular end. In this case, two logs on a fire may be less valuable than one, because I personally find the resulting temperature to be too high. However, for other uses, such as boiling water, two logs may be preferable.

No matter what definitions we use, we can see that there are two mutually exclusive concepts at play here. So saying 'value can both be subjective and objective' is nonsensical.

The term value is also commonly used as a synonym for price. Of course, people may use whatever definitions of terms they like, but in general it is best when having a debate to have consistent definitions for terms, and have different terms for different meanings.

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April 11, 2011, 03:38:35 PM
 #73

If you get free electricity and free water, but you live on a cruiseship, hydrogen is pretty much free, while you need to pay to get more iron  (you got only a limited amount of it avaiable for extracting from the ship itself).

If I live on a cruise ship and I get free electricity, I can extract iron from seawater for free.  Or, I can fuse my free hydrogen into iron.  I would have an infinite amount.

As to Austrian economists, "utility" is a loaded term that implies usefulness to humans.  So, if you've been brainwashed into believing that "value" has no meaning, fine.  But I prefer to use terms according to their colloquial meanings.

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April 11, 2011, 03:55:21 PM
 #74

So, if you've been brainwashed into believing that "value" has no meaning, fine.

I hardly see how you can come to that conclusion from his post.
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April 11, 2011, 03:59:08 PM
 #75

I prefer to use terms according to their colloquial meanings.

I'm just trying to say that there are many mutually exclusive things that the term 'value' can be used mean, and to use it without stating what definition you are using only leads to confusion - as demonstrated by this thread.

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April 11, 2011, 04:07:20 PM
 #76

I hardly see how you can come to that conclusion from his post.

Sorry if that sounded harsh but it was actually more of a hypothetical than an accusation.

But it does need to be pointed out that Austrians explicitly re-define and shift terms in order to justify the notion that all value exists solely in terms of immediate human preference.

On the other hand, I finally finished that video and he waits until the final two minutes to deliver the punchline:  "It (Mengerian analysis) is not about explaining long run prices... what prices will tend to be after all adjustments take place in the market."

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April 11, 2011, 04:12:28 PM
 #77

So, if you've been brainwashed into believing that "value" has no meaning, fine.

Calm down! The assortment that "value" has no meaning - at least alone and without stating relatively to who or what - doesn't mean "everything for free" or the "dead of economics". That one is a "base" of rational thinking, you always must START (and not end, this is important) from there to build a rational decision about the value of something.
Equivalent on lawmaking would be the statement that «there's no right or wrong, so everything is allowed, nothing is forbidden». It's a good start place (obviously an obnoxious end point if used as so).  Wink

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BitterTea
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April 11, 2011, 04:49:02 PM
 #78

It seems to me that the main difference between "anarcho-capitalism" (non-state capitalism, market anarchism) and "anarcho-socialism" (non-state socialism, anarchism) is that one system allows for the private ownership of capital (means of production) and the other does not. It seems all other differences can be derived from this one. The right to the product of ones labor derives from the idea that ownership of capital occurs by making use of such capital. The immorality of rent and wages derives from the idea that one owns the product of one's labor.

So, if you want to convince me that capitalism is immoral and that one should own the product of one's labor, put forth an argument against the private ownership of capital. Here are some questions to get you started.

How do you define capital?

Do your argument against private ownership of capital also apply to other private ownership? If so, do you also argue against all private ownership, or do you reconcile this somehow?
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April 11, 2011, 05:00:06 PM
 #79

Austrians explicitly re-define and shift terms in order to justify the notion that all value exists solely in terms of immediate human preference.

This is not the purpose of the Austrian definition of value. The purpose is to provide a definition which is internally consistent, and robust enough to build a theory of economics on. I cannot tell you whether "all value exists solely in terms of immediate human preference" because you still haven't given a consistent definition of the term as you are using it.

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April 11, 2011, 05:18:41 PM
 #80

It seems to me that the main difference between "anarcho-capitalism" (non-state capitalism, market anarchism) and "anarcho-socialism" (non-state socialism, anarchism) is that one system allows for the private ownership of capital (means of production) and the other does not. It seems all other differences can be derived from this one. The right to the product of ones labor derives from the idea that ownership of capital occurs by making use of such capital. The immorality of rent and wages derives from the idea that one owns the product of one's labor.
That may be correct for some varieties of collectivist anarchists, but I think it's an over-simplification. On the whole, it isn't that "anarcho-socialists" prohibit the private ownership of capital - at least on a small scale - but rather their economic focus is on collective work. I don't regard small-scale capitalism as incompatible with that.

Personally, I think the division into individualist and collectivist varieties of anarchist is an interesting academic exercise, but from a practical standpoint not hugely useful. I'd take anarchism slightly more seriously (I do take it seriously, just not seriously enough to identify as an anarchist myself) if the focus was on political action first, and then, once we're free to make decisions for ourselves, at that point deciding how to run our respective economies. Anarcho-communism, say, seems to me to be like saying "I want you to be free to decide how to run the economy. And the economy will be a communist economy". The same applies, obviously, to anarcho-capitalists. By all means have a preference, but the first step has to be ensuring that everyone is politically free.

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April 11, 2011, 05:27:09 PM
 #81

That may be correct for some varieties of collectivist anarchists, but I think it's an over-simplification. On the whole, it isn't that "anarcho-socialists" prohibit the private ownership of capital - at least on a small scale - but rather their economic focus is on collective work. I don't regard small-scale capitalism as incompatible with that.

In my experience, most people who call themselves anarchists (which seems preferred to, but interchangeable with,  anarcho-socialist) believe that private ownership of capital should be discouraged through social institutions, or responded to with theft or violence.

Personally, I think the division into individualist and collectivist varieties of anarchist is an interesting academic exercise, but from a practical standpoint not hugely useful. I'd take anarchism slightly more seriously (I do take it seriously, just not seriously enough to identify as an anarchist myself) if the focus was on political action first, and then, once we're free to make decisions for ourselves, at that point deciding how to run our respective economies.

I consider myself a market anarchist, or voluntaryist. I seek to erode support for States, as they are fundamentally at odds with what I consider moral behavior. I make no claims as to what society should look like post-statism, as long as it is as free from violence and coercion as possible.

Anarcho-communism, say, seems to me to be like saying "I want you to be free to decide how to run the economy. And the economy will be a communist economy". The same applies, obviously, to anarcho-capitalists. By all means have a preference, but the first step has to be ensuring that everyone is politically free.

I agree, but it seems to me that an anarcho-capitalist community would accept an anarcho-socialist one, while the reverse is not necessarily true.
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April 11, 2011, 05:40:44 PM
 #82

In my experience, most people who call themselves anarchists (which seems preferred to, but interchangeable with,  anarcho-socialist) believe that private ownership of capital should be discouraged through social institutions, or responded to with theft or violence.
Well, there's a big potential difference between "discourage" and "theft and violence". Certainly some (many?) collectivist anarchists would take the latter approach, but many wouldn't and believe that collective workplaces and distribution centres would naturally win out against market-orientated workplaces and shops, so resorting to theft and violence is pointless (as well as being incompatible with their beliefs).

I consider myself a market anarchist, or voluntaryist. I seek to erode support for States, as they are fundamentally at odds with what I consider moral behavior. I make no claims as to what society should look like post-statism, as long as it is as free from violence and coercion as possible.
That seems to me to be the generic definition of anarchism :-) i.e. you could remove "market" and it would still hold true. Beyond that, no argument from me.

I agree, but it seems to me that an anarcho-capitalist community would accept an anarcho-socialist one, while the reverse is not necessarily true.
Historically, that's not correct. Small-scale capitalism continued to exist in Anarchist Catalonia, for example (collectives even traded between themselves, as well as small landowners, shops, etc). I believe that may be true for Ukraine in the 1920s, despite the clear communist sympathies of the anarchists.

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April 11, 2011, 06:16:59 PM
 #83

In my experience, most people who call themselves anarchists (which seems preferred to, but interchangeable with,  anarcho-socialist) believe that private ownership of capital should be discouraged through social institutions, or responded to with theft or violence.
Well, there's a big potential difference between "discourage" and "theft and violence". Certainly some (many?) collectivist anarchists would take the latter approach, but many wouldn't and believe that collective workplaces and distribution centres would naturally win out against market-orientated workplaces and shops, so resorting to theft and violence is pointless (as well as being incompatible with their beliefs).

It only took 3% of the population to fight the Revolutionary War and defeat the British Army.  Anyone who believes that theft and violence is incompatible with their beliefs must also be willing to use violence in kind in order to prevent same.  Anyone who believes that violence have never solved anything isn't a student of history.

That said, my own experiences with anyone who is willing to self-identify as any form of anarchist is anti-this-state, not necessarily anti-state.  The vast majority of whom wouldn't know how to act in a real condition of anarchy, while the majority of the remainder of the population probably would.  The sudden absence of the state is only dangerous because of the kind of people that don't have the will or capacity to govern themselves.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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April 11, 2011, 07:02:51 PM
 #84

It seems to me that the main difference between "anarcho-capitalism" (non-state capitalism, market anarchism) and "anarcho-socialism" (non-state socialism, anarchism) is that one system allows for the private ownership of capital (means of production) and the other does not.

Within Anarcho-Socialism stealing is OK, scamming is not, within Anarcho-Capitalism scamming is OK, stealing is not.
Is what it sums up to be.

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April 11, 2011, 07:04:55 PM
 #85

It seems to me that the main difference between "anarcho-capitalism" (non-state capitalism, market anarchism) and "anarcho-socialism" (non-state socialism, anarchism) is that one system allows for the private ownership of capital (means of production) and the other does not.

Within Anarcho-Socialism stealing is OK, scamming is not, within Anarcho-Capitalism scamming is OK, stealing is not.
Is what it sums up to be.

No, fraud is still unacceptable.

People DO care about others. More than they have to. And it's a good thing imho.

I agree, that's a good thing. However, even if you want to help other people, you're still doing that based on your own value scale. You're still trying to achieve your highest goal, even if that goal is helping your neighbor. In that sense we are all selfish.
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April 11, 2011, 07:06:08 PM
 #86

It only took 3% of the population to fight the Revolutionary War and defeat the British Army.  Anyone who believes that theft and violence is incompatible with their beliefs must also be willing to use violence in kind in order to prevent same.  Anyone who believes that violence have never solved anything isn't a student of history.

The means must be compatible with the ends. If I seek a society where aggression is unacceptable, I cannot use aggression to bring change.

Quote
That said, my own experiences with anyone who is willing to self-identify as any form of anarchist is anti-this-state, not necessarily anti-state.  The vast majority of whom wouldn't know how to act in a real condition of anarchy, while the majority of the remainder of the population probably would.  The sudden absence of the state is only dangerous because of the kind of people that don't have the will or capacity to govern themselves.

For clarification, are you saying that in general, statists (those who support the institution of States) are better suited to adapting to life without a state than anti-statists (those who abhor the State on moral grounds)?
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April 11, 2011, 07:08:11 PM
 #87

No, fraud is still unacceptable.

And who will enforce that? I guess "enforce" is the key word here.

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April 11, 2011, 07:11:31 PM
 #88

No, fraud is still unacceptable.

And who will enforce that? I guess "enforce" is the key word here.

If you obtain my property by fraud, the contract is invalid so it's still my property and I can reobtain it, by force if necessary just as if you stole it outright. Who will use that force? Either me or my agents acting on my behalf.

Let me guess, you think that in order to crack skulls of the guilty we need the state to exist so it can crack skulls of the innocent as well?
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April 11, 2011, 07:17:09 PM
 #89

It only took 3% of the population to fight the Revolutionary War and defeat the British Army.  Anyone who believes that theft and violence is incompatible with their beliefs must also be willing to use violence in kind in order to prevent same.  Anyone who believes that violence have never solved anything isn't a student of history.

The means must be compatible with the ends. If I seek a society where aggression is unacceptable, I cannot use aggression to bring change.


And until there are no others who seek authority over others, or are otherwise willing to use violence to achieve a political end, the above society remains impossible.  And that, right there, is why I am not an anarchist.  Not because I don't believe that 99.9% of the human race can co-exist in an entirely peaceful manner sans Big Brother, but because the remaining 0.1% will refuse to comply.

Quote

Quote
That said, my own experiences with anyone who is willing to self-identify as any form of anarchist is anti-this-state, not necessarily anti-state.  The vast majority of whom wouldn't know how to act in a real condition of anarchy, while the majority of the remainder of the population probably would.  The sudden absence of the state is only dangerous because of the kind of people that don't have the will or capacity to govern themselves.

For clarification, are you saying that in general, statists (those who support the institution of States) are better suited to adapting to life without a state than anti-statists (those who abhor the State on moral grounds)?

Yes, exactly.  The reason for this is that the majority of the population are already functioning peacefully in society regardless of the nature of the state; and would, therefore, readily adapt to the absence of the state.  Their own political viewpoints concerning the utility of the state notwithstanding.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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April 11, 2011, 07:22:10 PM
 #90

And until there are no others who seek authority over others, or are otherwise willing to use violence to achieve a political end, the above society remains impossible.  And that, right there, is why I am not an anarchist.  Not because I don't believe that 99.9% of the human race can co-exist in an entirely peaceful manner sans Big Brother, but because the remaining 0.1% will refuse to comply.

You make the assumption that States (monopolies, in a given geographical area, on legitimate aggression) are necessary in order to protect the 99.9% against the 0.1%. I believe this to be an incorrect assumption. If I am correct, I don't need to wipe out the 0.1%, just prove to the 99.% that the assumption is wrong, and show them alternatives that don't require such a large price to be paid for security.

Quote
Yes, exactly.  The reason for this is that the majority of the population are already functioning peacefully in society regardless of the nature of the state; and would, therefore, readily adapt to the absence of the state.  Their own political viewpoints concerning the utility of the state notwithstanding.

If this were the case, normal people wouldn't have such a strong negative reaction to the idea of living without government.
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April 11, 2011, 07:24:58 PM
 #91

No, fraud is still unacceptable.

And who will enforce that? I guess "enforce" is the key word here.

If you obtain my property by fraud, the contract is invalid so it's still my property and I can reobtain it, by force if necessary just as if you stole it outright. Who will use that force? Either me or my agents acting on my behalf.

Let me guess, you think that in order to crack skulls of the guilty we need the state to exist so it can crack skulls of the innocent as well?

You bring your thugs (agents), I bring mine and who wins "is right", that's what such thing means. A gang-style society.
Sorry, it has to be, at the current state, an organized and responsible police force and laws to go along in determine who is or isn't right.

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April 11, 2011, 07:28:58 PM
 #92

And until there are no others who seek authority over others, or are otherwise willing to use violence to achieve a political end, the above society remains impossible.

Isn't that like saying we should allow rape because there will always be rapists and therefore a rape-free society is impossible?

Sorry, it has to be, at the current state, an organized and responsible police force and laws to go along in determine who is or isn't right.

All states employ taxation which is immoral. All states outlaw some form of drug use which is immoral. Therefore, your system of right and wrong is already broken.
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April 11, 2011, 07:33:20 PM
 #93

Sorry, it has to be, at the current state, an organized and responsible police force and laws to go along in determine who is or isn't right.

All states employ taxation which is immoral, all states outlaw some form of drug use which is immoral, therefore your system of right and wrong is already broken.

It's not "my system" on the first place, I didn't create it, was already around when I born.
But this is the place to move; set what's right or wrong; not come up with an idea of society nearly caveman-age that would result in thugs and gangs.

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NghtRppr
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April 11, 2011, 07:37:21 PM
 #94

Sorry, it has to be, at the current state, an organized and responsible police force and laws to go along in determine who is or isn't right.

All states employ taxation which is immoral, all states outlaw some form of drug use which is immoral, therefore your system of right and wrong is already broken.

It's not "my system" on the first place, I didn't create it, was already around when I born.
But this is the place to move; set what's right or wrong; not come up with an idea of society nearly caveman-age that would result in thugs and gangs.

Our society is already full of thugs and gangs, the police and politicians. Go ask some poor bastard sitting in prison being tortured, locked away from his family, his livelihood taken away from him because he refused to pay taxes or had the audacity to smoke a joint. The difference is that our current system necessarily promotes abuse and injustice. At least we have a fighting chance with anarchism.
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April 11, 2011, 07:40:41 PM
 #95

And until there are no others who seek authority over others, or are otherwise willing to use violence to achieve a political end, the above society remains impossible.  And that, right there, is why I am not an anarchist.  Not because I don't believe that 99.9% of the human race can co-exist in an entirely peaceful manner sans Big Brother, but because the remaining 0.1% will refuse to comply.

You make the assumption that States (monopolies, in a given geographical area, on legitimate aggression) are necessary in order to protect the 99.9% against the 0.1%. I believe this to be an incorrect assumption. If I am correct, I don't need to wipe out the 0.1%, just prove to the 99.% that the assumption is wrong, and show them alternatives that don't require such a large price to be paid for security.


Well, I use the term "state" a bit more generally than that, but would be open to the evidence that such a non-state society could actually exist, and that a path of change to that end could exist.  I've read much, and seen much, that supporters of such a society have presented; and have yet to see an argument that I couldn't undermine.  And if I can undermine the theory, a sociopath could undermine the reality for fun and profit.

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Yes, exactly.  The reason for this is that the majority of the population are already functioning peacefully in society regardless of the nature of the state; and would, therefore, readily adapt to the absence of the state.  Their own political viewpoints concerning the utility of the state notwithstanding.

If this were the case, normal people wouldn't have such a strong negative reaction to the idea of living without government.

This is the case, it's just that very few people realize that it's the case.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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April 11, 2011, 07:45:56 PM
 #96

And until there are no others who seek authority over others, or are otherwise willing to use violence to achieve a political end, the above society remains impossible.

Isn't that like saying we should allow rape because there will always be rapists and therefore a rape-free society is impossible?


Only if the pro-rapists in the argument were the pacifistic anarchists.

Which, BTW, is pretty much the Brady Campaign's argument against the licensing of firearms for young women; that since rapists exist, the presence of a firearm only increases the odds of death.

To which I would respond, damn right it does.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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April 11, 2011, 07:46:28 PM
 #97

Well, I use the term "state" a bit more generally than that, but would be open to the evidence that such a non-state society could actually exist, and that a path of change to that end could exist.  I've read much, and seen much, that supporters of such a society have presented; and have yet to see an argument that I couldn't undermine.  And if I can undermine the theory, a sociopath could undermine the reality for fun and profit.

Would you mind giving a definition of what you consider a state to be, and why you believe it is necessary in order to (in plain language) protect the good people from the bad people? This seems more fruitful than me guessing which arguments against the state with which you are familiar.

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This is the case, it's just that very few people realize that it's the case.

I really don't get what you're saying here. Why do you think that "sheep" (those who think they need the state, but don't) would more readily adapt to life without a state than those who oppose the state?
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April 11, 2011, 07:54:04 PM
 #98

And until there are no others who seek authority over others, or are otherwise willing to use violence to achieve a political end, the above society remains impossible.

Isn't that like saying we should allow rape because there will always be rapists and therefore a rape-free society is impossible?


Only if the pro-rapists in the argument were the pacifistic anarchists.

Which, BTW, is pretty much the Brady Campaign's argument against the licensing of firearms for young women; that since rapists exist, the presence of a firearm only increases the odds of death.

To which I would respond, damn right it does.

Then your argument is reduced to absurdity. It doesn't matter if there will always be rapists, we should still strive towards a maximally rape-free society, just like we should strive towards a maximally aggression-free society. The fact that neither will ever exist completely is absolutely irrelevant.

By the way, where do you get the idea that anarchists are pacifists? That would imply that we don't see self-defense as legitimate and I haven't met one yet that believes that. We're against aggression, not violence.
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April 11, 2011, 07:58:34 PM
 #99

Our society is already full of thugs and gangs, the police and politicians. Go ask some poor bastard sitting in prison being tortured, locked away from his family, his livelihood taken away from him because he refused to pay taxes or had the audacity to smoke a joint. The difference is that our current system necessarily promotes abuse and injustice. At least we have a fighting chance with anarchism.

Yeah, "fighting chance" is about right. Have you seen anarchistic societies?
Afghanistan, where the state doesn't have control, which is just about everywhere. Not a good place, but quite close to anarchy.
Iraq, same thing, although a semi-functional state is about to get some control in certain areas.
Somalia, quite a "shitty place" (creightos words form another thread) for a long time, and no state to speak of.
Mexico, in the cartel areas. Not good places to be if you plan for a long and happy life.

Please explain to me how anarchism will prevent such things.
I think I'd rather have a state, governed by rule of law. That said, I don't live in the US so I can't really relate. Where I live you don't go to jail for smoking a joint. Tax evasion will get you to jail, if you don't come up with the money somehow. But atleast there will be no broken bones or similar things as could be expected from other "debt collectors".

Oh and the "I agree, that's a good thing. However, even if you want to help other people, you're still doing that based on your own value scale. You're still trying to achieve your highest goal, even if that goal is helping your neighbor. In that sense we are all selfish." from a comment above. That's just mental masturbation and is probably fun if you're around 20 years old. Not anymore. Not for me. It's the equivalent of "Can you prove you're just not a brain in a jar" argument.

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April 11, 2011, 08:02:44 PM
 #100

Well, I use the term "state" a bit more generally than that, but would be open to the evidence that such a non-state society could actually exist, and that a path of change to that end could exist.  I've read much, and seen much, that supporters of such a society have presented; and have yet to see an argument that I couldn't undermine.  And if I can undermine the theory, a sociopath could undermine the reality for fun and profit.

Would you mind giving a definition of what you consider a state to be, and why you believe it is necessary in order to (in plain language) protect the good people from the bad people? This seems more fruitful than me guessing which arguments against the state with which you are familiar.


By "state" I mean any collection of people that form a collective form of security for themselves, and either offer or force others to contribute resources to that security.  It may, or may not, be based upon geography; and may or may not be coerced.  So I would consider a phyle to be a state, even if citizenship is voluntary and services are not dependent upon a citizen's geographical location.

As for considering it necessary, I don't consider it necessary.  I believe that others will consider it necessary, for protection against threats both real and imagined.

I addressed that comment directly towards the prior post that suggested that an anarchist society consisting of members who were all morally opposed to the use of force could exist.  Basicly, I believe that this is a contradiction, for no other fact than that sociopaths willing to use violence exist; and therefore such a society could never arise in the first place.
Quote
Quote
This is the case, it's just that very few people realize that it's the case.

I really don't get what you're saying here. Why do you think that "sheep" (those who think they need the state, but don't) would more readily adapt to life without a state than those who oppose the state?

I'm saying that most people are actually indifferent to the state, and very few people are actually dependent upon the state as a matter of practicality.  These people would adapt to the disappearance of the state better than the average statist primarily because the average anarchist is not a threat to a dying state, and therefore will be much better able to stay out of the mad arm of the state.  Also, in part, because most anarchists that I know believe in forming a stateless society rather than simply allow one to evolve naturally, and so (by my own definition above) are really intent upon co-opting the state, not abolishing it.

EDIT:  I ment tht the average statist is not a threat to a dying state

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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April 11, 2011, 08:03:15 PM
 #101

Sorry, it has to be, at the current state, an organized and responsible police force and laws to go along in determine who is or isn't right.

All states employ taxation which is immoral, all states outlaw some form of drug use which is immoral, therefore your system of right and wrong is already broken.

It's not "my system" on the first place, I didn't create it, was already around when I born.
But this is the place to move; set what's right or wrong; not come up with an idea of society nearly caveman-age that would result in thugs and gangs.

Our society is already full of thugs and gangs, the police and politicians. Go ask some poor bastard sitting in prison being tortured, locked away from his family, his livelihood taken away from him because he refused to pay taxes or had the audacity to smoke a joint. The difference is that our current system necessarily promotes abuse and injustice. At least we have a fighting chance with anarchism.

Sorry, drugs have to be illegal otherwise drug dealers would run out of business with a kg of coke to roundabout the price of a kg of sugar.
But that's the realm of corruption, democracy gives you weapons to deal with it by not keep voting in cycles in the same bunch of corrupts.
And by democracy you already get the legitimacy of the majority... which you don't on anarchy, so you would want to impose anarchy on your own over others. Like I said, there's no anarchy and pretty often the anarchists sounds like a group of pure autocratic fascists. Think about it!

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BitterTea
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April 11, 2011, 08:05:12 PM
 #102

Yeah, "fighting chance" is about right. Have you seen anarchistic societies?
Afghanistan, where the state doesn't have control, which is just about everywhere. Not a good place, but quite close to anarchy.
Iraq, same thing, although a semi-functional state is about to get some control in certain areas.
Somalia, quite a "shitty place" (creightos words form another thread) for a long time, and no state to speak of.
Mexico, in the cartel areas. Not good places to be if you plan for a long and happy life.

All of your examples fail to prove your point. They are all states, some failed, and all have been the site of heavy manipulation by outside powers. A failed state is not an anarchy, nor is chaos anarchy.
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April 11, 2011, 08:07:51 PM
 #103

Tax evasion will get you to jail, if you don't come up with the money somehow. But at least there will be no broken bones or similar things as could be expected from other "debt collectors".

No, they just shoot you in the head or lock you in a rape dungeon. That's much better!

By the way, when you go to a loan shark they are up front with you. They say, "We'll loan you this money but if you don't pay up then we'll break your thumbs." If you don't like that deal, don't take it! Are you seriously expecting me to feel sorry for someone that voluntarily enters into an agreement and then is surprised when the other party keeps their word?

Again, at least with a loan shark you can agree to their terms or walk away. With the government there is no option. Pay up or we'll take your stuff. If you try to defend yourself, we'll kill you or beat you into submission and lock you in a rape dungeon. That's somehow better?

Sorry, drugs have to be illegal otherwise drug dealers would run out of business with a kg of coke to roundabout the price of a kg of sugar.

I can't tell if you're serious or not. If drugs were legal, they'd be cheap and nobody would be killing each other over them. Do you see people shooting each other in the streets over alcohol? Not anymore but during prohibition they were. Of course, let's not do anything intelligent like drawing a lesson from that.
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April 11, 2011, 08:12:46 PM
 #104

You got some points btc2cash, like the state to be a "Protection Racket" business... and banks to be sort of loan sharks either.
It's hard to say which came first anyway, if the "state" or the protection rackets, if banks or loan sharks... anyway, one, state, is a civilized (or an attempt to) way of the other 2.
Plus smuggling, assaulting... gosh! Does Rockstar have plans for a GTA White House?

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April 11, 2011, 08:12:47 PM
 #105

In my experience, most people who call themselves anarchists (which seems preferred to, but interchangeable with,  anarcho-socialist) believe that private ownership of capital should be discouraged through social institutions, or responded to with theft or violence.
Well, there's a big potential difference between "discourage" and "theft and violence". Certainly some (many?) collectivist anarchists would take the latter approach, but many wouldn't and believe that collective workplaces and distribution centres would naturally win out against market-orientated workplaces and shops, so resorting to theft and violence is pointless (as well as being incompatible with their beliefs).
Quote
By the way, where do you get the idea that anarchists are pacifists? That would imply that we don't see self-defense as legitimate and I haven't met one yet that believes that. We're against aggression, not violence.

See the quote above yours.  That is what I was responding to.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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April 11, 2011, 08:16:43 PM
 #106

All of your examples fail to prove your point. They are all states, some failed, and all have been the site of heavy manipulation by outside powers. A failed state is not an anarchy, nor is chaos anarchy.

Yeah, they're all examples of what happens when a state fails. Special interest groups take over, the most violent ones.
I am however intrigued by the comment "nor is chaos anarchy". Could you please elaborate?

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April 11, 2011, 08:23:33 PM
 #107

Tax evasion will get you to jail, if you don't come up with the money somehow. But at least there will be no broken bones or similar things as could be expected from other "debt collectors".

Thought experiment:

A man shows up at your home with a gun and demands money. He says that if you don't give him money, he will kidnap you and lock you in a cell for as long as he wishes. You hold your ground, refusing to comply with his demands. Can he legitimately use violence against you to get his way?

He can if he is an agent of the state.

What happens if you refuse to be kidnapped by the state? They will escalate the use of force until you are dead.
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April 11, 2011, 08:26:16 PM
 #108

All of your examples fail to prove your point. They are all states, some failed, and all have been the site of heavy manipulation by outside powers. A failed state is not an anarchy, nor is chaos anarchy.

Yeah, they're all examples of what happens when a state fails. Special interest groups take over, the most violent ones.
I am however intrigued by the comment "nor is chaos anarchy". Could you please elaborate?

Chaos is a lack of order. Anarchy is a lack of rulers. There can be order without rulers. Bitcoin is example of order, and rules, without rulers.

I don't want states to fail, I want people to realize that states are not necessary.

Quote
Voluntaryism is at once an end, a means, and an insight. It signifies the goal of an all voluntary society, one in which all interaction between individuals is based on voluntary exchange, and thus calls for the abolition of the State. Voluntaryism represents a way of achieving significant social change without resort to politics or violent revolution. Since voluntaryists recognize that government rests on mass acquiescence (the voluntaryist insight), they conclude that the only way to abolish government power is for the people at large to withdraw their cooperation. As a means, voluntaryism calls for peaceful persuasion, education, individual civil disobedience, and group nonviolent resistance to the State. Since voluntaryists see a direct connection between the means they use and the end they seek, they realize that only voluntary means can be used to attain the truly voluntary society. People cannot be coerced into being free. The very goal of an all voluntary society suggests its own means. The voluntaryist insight provides the only logical and consistent way of achieving liberty and abolishing the State.

edit... That's from here
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April 11, 2011, 08:32:32 PM
 #109


No, they just shoot you in the head or lock you in a rape dungeon. That's much better!

By the way, when you go to a loan shark they are up front with you. They say, "We'll loan you this money but if you don't pay up then we'll break your thumbs." If you don't like that deal, don't take it! Are you seriously expecting me to feel sorry for someone that voluntarily enters into an agreement and then is surprised when the other party keeps their word?

Again, at least with a loan shark you can agree to their terms or walk away. With the government there is no option. Pay up or we'll take your stuff. If you try to defend yourself, we'll kill you or beat you into submission and lock you in a rape dungeon. That's somehow better?


I'm not expecting you to feel sorry for someone in the scenario above. I'm expecting you to be human enough to understand that a contract of that kind isn't valid. Or would you prefer that the state said "Pay your taxes or we'll break your legs"? Where I'm at jail is always the last resort and mainly used to protect society from dangerous people. Tax evaders will have plenty of opportunities to be honorable.

With the government you have the chance of walking away. It's called moving to a different country that better suit your preference. And you have a very romantic view of criminals. Many, if not most, of the debts that they collect are not real debts. They'll approach you, tell you that you somehow owe them this much money and that you have 7 days to pay, or else. Try walking away from that. Atleast when you move from a country they won't tax you in the new country. Hells Angels aren't that picky. They'll collect anywhere.
Oh, and if your country beats you, or puts you in a rape dungeon I suggest you move. We don't have that here. Even our prisons are quite nice, except from the "you are now in jail" bit.

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April 11, 2011, 08:41:03 PM
 #110

I'm expecting you to be human enough to understand that a contract of that kind isn't valid.

Of course it's valid. All voluntary agreements are valid.

With the government you have the chance of walking away. It's called moving to a different country that better suit your preference.

Here's what David Hume thinks of such an assertion:

Quote
Can we seriously say, that a poor peasant or artizan has a free choice to leave his country, when he knows no foreign language or manners, and lives from day to day, by the small wages which he acquires? We may as well assert, that a man, by remaining in a vessel, freely consents to the dominion of the master; though he was carried on board while asleep, and must leap into the ocean, and perish, the moment he leaves her.

Many, if not most, of the debts that they collect are not real debts.

Then that's extortion and society will defend itself from that. You're saying that we need to let the government extort from us money or else the "real" criminals will. That's absurd.
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April 11, 2011, 08:48:30 PM
 #111

Then that's extortion and society will defend itself from that. You're saying that we need to let the government extort from us money or else the "real" criminals will. That's absurd.

Nope... that's just reality. Maybe reality is absurd, but that's another issue.

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BitterTea
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April 11, 2011, 08:55:07 PM
 #112

Then that's extortion and society will defend itself from that. You're saying that we need to let the government extort from us money or else the "real" criminals will. That's absurd.

Nope... that's just reality. Maybe reality is absurd, but that's another issue.

Do you feel comfortable claiming that it is not possible to protect against extortion without the use extortion?

If no, then you are open to methods of doing so other than using the state.
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April 11, 2011, 09:23:47 PM
 #113

Thought experiment:
A man shows up at your home with a gun and demands money. He says that if you don't give him money, he will kidnap you and lock you in a cell for as long as he wishes. You hold your ground, refusing to comply with his demands. Can he legitimately use violence against you to get his way?
He can if he is an agent of the state.
What happens if you refuse to be kidnapped by the state? They will escalate the use of force until you are dead.


Chaos is a lack of order. Anarchy is a lack of rulers. There can be order without rulers. Bitcoin is example of order, and rules, without rulers.

I don't want states to fail, I want people to realize that states are not necessary.

Quote
Voluntaryism is at once an end, a means, and an insight. It signifies the goal of an all voluntary society, one in which all interaction between individuals is based on voluntary exchange, and thus calls for the abolition of the State. Voluntaryism represents a way of achieving significant social change without resort to politics or violent revolution. Since voluntaryists recognize that government rests on mass acquiescence (the voluntaryist insight), they conclude that the only way to abolish government power is for the people at large to withdraw their cooperation. As a means, voluntaryism calls for peaceful persuasion, education, individual civil disobedience, and group nonviolent resistance to the State. Since voluntaryists see a direct connection between the means they use and the end they seek, they realize that only voluntary means can be used to attain the truly voluntary society. People cannot be coerced into being free. The very goal of an all voluntary society suggests its own means. The voluntaryist insight provides the only logical and consistent way of achieving liberty and abolishing the State.

edit... That's from here
Your thought experiment implies that there is no real debt to be settled. If so, then no, he can't, not even if he's an agent of the state.
If there is a debt, meaning that you have used any of the state provided commodities, such as roads, money, police protection, fire protection, education... the list goes on, then yes, he can, if you by violence means that he'll drag you through the legal system where you will have several opportunities to explain yourself and then subject yourself to the ruling, whatever that might be. You don't get that chance with criminals, and they change the rules mid game.

Thanks for the explaination about chaos and anarchy. And I agree that there can be order/rules without rulers, in very small and well defined areas, such as bitcoin. Computers are very good at enforcing rules. So, how does that work in a society? Who'll do the enforcing there?

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

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April 11, 2011, 09:33:18 PM
 #114


Of course it's valid. All voluntary agreements are valid.

Here's what David Hume thinks of such an assertion:

Quote
Can we seriously say, that a poor peasant or artizan has a free choice to leave his country, when he knows no foreign language or manners, and lives from day to day, by the small wages which he acquires? We may as well assert, that a man, by remaining in a vessel, freely consents to the dominion of the master; though he was carried on board while asleep, and must leap into the ocean, and perish, the moment he leaves her.

Then that's extortion and society will defend itself from that. You're saying that we need to let the government extort from us money or else the "real" criminals will. That's absurd.

So first you say that all voluntary agreements are valid.  Then you move on to say that some people don't have a choice in certain matters, such as where they live. So let's use the poor peasant in the example by David Hume. He lives day by day, and then there's a daught and his family starves. I then approach him and offer to provide for his family until his children are old enough to farm, in exchange I want to murder him. So, his "voluntary" choice is now to either die or let his family die. Do you honestly think that such a contract should be honored?

No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that there's a difference between real debt and made up debt. If you live in a specific area (country) where there are services set up that you may or may not use, you pay for them. That's a real debt. An extortionist has not done anything for you but still wants to take your money.
And while we're at it. We're talking about money. The thing that has value just because the state is allowed to tax us.

Ponzi me: http://fxnet.bitlex.org/?ref=588
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April 11, 2011, 09:42:09 PM
 #115

So first you say that all voluntary agreements are valid.  Then you move on to say that some people don't have a choice in certain matters, such as where they live. So let's use the poor peasant in the example by David Hume. He lives day by day, and then there's a daught and his family starves. I then approach him and offer to provide for his family until his children are old enough to farm, in exchange I want to murder him. So, his "voluntary" choice is now to either die or let his family die. Do you honestly think that such a contract should be honored?

Yes, I think it should be honored. There's a difference between going on board a ship voluntarily and being kidnapped and carried on board, just like there is a difference between voluntarily immigrating to a country and being born there. The former implies consent to the laws of the land while the latter does not, even if you remain there instead of moving. That's the extent to which that analogy is relevant. Don't read more into it than that.

If I don't offer the guy the deal, his family starves anyways. Somehow by giving him the means to save them I'm harming him?

No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that there's a difference between real debt and made up debt. If you live in a specific area (country) where there are services set up that you may or may not use, you pay for them. That's a real debt. An extortionist has not done anything for you but still wants to take your money.
And while we're at it. We're talking about money. The thing that has value just because the state is allowed to tax us.

So, if the cable company starts sending you a bill even though you didn't request their services and don't intend to use them, you're going to pay it? Also, money can exist privately without government. Gold has been used as a medium of exchange and stored value longer than fiat currency. I feel sorry for people that can't even conceive of a system not based on aggression and coercion. The fact we're on the Bitcoin forums where you make the claim that money only has value because of the government is very ironic.
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April 11, 2011, 09:51:25 PM
 #116

So first you say that all voluntary agreements are valid.  Then you move on to say that some people don't have a choice in certain matters, such as where they live. So let's use the poor peasant in the example by David Hume. He lives day by day, and then there's a daught and his family starves. I then approach him and offer to provide for his family until his children are old enough to farm, in exchange I want to murder him. So, his "voluntary" choice is now to either die or let his family die. Do you honestly think that such a contract should be honored?

Yes. Here are his options...

Accept Deal: Peasant dies, family lives
Reject deal: Peasant dies, family dies

What's the problem? Nobody if forcing the peasant to accept your deal, but it's the only option that makes sense.

I feel like you're appealing to emotion because you can't make a logical argument against voluntary contracts.

Quote
No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that there's a difference between real debt and made up debt. If you live in a specific area (country) where there are services set up that you may or may not use, you pay for them. That's a real debt. An extortionist has not done anything for you but still wants to take your money.
And while we're at it. We're talking about money. The thing that has value just because the state is allowed to tax us.

Are you arguing than an individual can accrue debts for the provision of services of which they never consented?
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April 11, 2011, 09:58:08 PM
 #117

Are you arguing than an individual can accrue debts for the provision of services of which they never consented?

If he is then I'll be sending him my bill for "B2C's house waving service" whereby I drive by his house, wave at it and he owes me a million dollars.
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April 11, 2011, 09:58:52 PM
 #118

There is a principle that piling on debt to a debtor, it will become the lenders fault not the debtors. Due diligence, mitigate damages, etc...

You must not lend more than you are willing to forgive. If the loan and/or contract is written correctly it will hurt the debtor as much as the creditor.

Credit Card companies don't get any sympathy from me, because they use a trick of math to keep people in debt. They use statistical behavior models to determine payment schedules.  They go into the contract fully aware that they don't expect people to pay their bills in whole at the end of the month. They even punish those who do, by adding a surcharge for paperwork processing.


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April 11, 2011, 10:38:06 PM
 #119


Yes, I think it should be honored. There's a difference between going on board a ship voluntarily and being kidnapped and carried on board, just like there is a difference between voluntarily immigrating to a country and being born there. The former implies consent to the laws of the land while the latter does not, even if you remain there instead of moving. That's the extent to which that analogy is relevant. Don't read more into it than that.

If I don't offer the guy the deal, his family starves anyways. Somehow by giving him the means to save them I'm harming him?

So, if the cable company starts sending you a bill even though you didn't request their services and don't intend to use them, you're going to pay it? Also, money can exist privately without government. Gold has been used as a medium of exchange and stored value longer than fiat currency. I feel sorry for people that can't even conceive of a system not based on aggression and coercion. The fact we're on the Bitcoin forums where you make the claim that money only has value because of the government is very ironic.

You're exploiting the situatioin and his misfortune. There's only one option he can take and you know it too. It's not a free choice, it's coersion.

If I live in a house that had cable before I moved in, and I knew that when I moved in, I can't really refuse to pay, can I? Regardless if I use it or not.
Yes, money can exist without government, I agree to that. I'm saying that the money that you claim as yours (fiat money) has value because of the government and the taxes that they take. That money is guaranteed to have some value by the government. Where I'm at the inflation target is about 2%, so I have reason to assume that the value won't drop by much more than that. And that inflation gives me incentive to invest my money in business that pays more.
I like the technical merits of bitcoin although I'm not quite sure what it's useful for, and I also recognize that it is VERY high risk. There is nothing backing bitcoin.

Ponzi me: http://fxnet.bitlex.org/?ref=588
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April 11, 2011, 10:43:06 PM
 #120

You're exploiting the situatioin and his misfortune. There's only one option he can take and you know it too. It's not a free choice, it's coersion.

So, you're saying that it's alright if I let him and his family starve but it's not alright to make him an offer whereby he is able to save his family? That really makes no sense to me.

If I live in a house that had cable before I moved in, and I knew that when I moved in, I can't really refuse to pay, can I? Regardless if I use it or not.

I don't see how this is analogous to my situation. Are you saying that before I exited my mother's birth canal I knew that I was going to be subject to taxes and therefore I shouldn't have been born if I didn't agree to it? That's plainly false. I'm not some guy moving into a house. I'm a guy kidnapped and taken on board a ship while asleep.
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April 11, 2011, 10:53:13 PM
 #121


So, you're saying that it's alright if I let him and his family starve but it's not alright to make him an offer whereby he is able to save his family? That really makes no sense to me.

I don't see how this is analogous to my situation. Are you saying that before I exited my mother's birth canal I knew that I was going to be subject to taxes and therefore I shouldn't have been born if I didn't agree to it? That's plainly false. I'm not some guy moving into a house. I'm a guy kidnapped and taken on board a ship while asleep.

No, I'm not saying that it's alright to let him starve. Far from it, if you have the means to prevent it. But exploiting is something else than indifference.

Again, I don't live where you live, but where I'm at you don't start paying taxes until you start earning money over a certain threshold. That usually doesn't happen until you get a full time job, which is after mandatory school. So you're at least 16 when you get your first chance of paying taxes.
You've been living in the "house" for at least 16 years. If you don't like the bills that will come you know what to do.

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April 11, 2011, 11:00:46 PM
 #122

No, I'm not saying that it's alright to let him starve. Far from it, if you have the means to prevent it. But exploiting is something else than indifference.

If I refuse to help him, is it acceptable if he or someone else holds a gun to my head until I agree to help him?

Quote
Again, I don't live where you live, but where I'm at you don't start paying taxes until you start earning money over a certain threshold. That usually doesn't happen until you get a full time job, which is after mandatory school. So you're at least 16 when you get your first chance of paying taxes.
You've been living in the "house" for at least 16 years. If you don't like the bills that will come you know what to do.

Ah, except my parents were forced to send me to state run education, where I was told over and over again that government was good. It wasn't until much later that I was able to come to the realization on my own, that it is not.
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April 11, 2011, 11:10:49 PM
 #123

No, I'm not saying that it's alright to let him starve. Far from it, if you have the means to prevent it.

Then why would anybody bother to work when people like you will clothe and feed them? I'm sorry but I don't owe anyone anything like that. If you want to survive, do it yourself.

You've been living in the "house" for at least 16 years. If you don't like the bills that will come you know what to do.

Ignore them? Jump in the ocean and drown? By the way, my bill to you is in the mail. If you keep living in your house then I'll assume you agree that it's legitimate.
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April 11, 2011, 11:27:00 PM
 #124

Wait so your house had cable hooked up when you moved in so you just kept paying the bill?

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April 11, 2011, 11:29:26 PM
 #125

This is somewhat funny to discuss anarchy rules.  Grin

Well... I'm on the safe side anyway, almost 2 mts tall, military training... just tip me of before you go on that "lack of state model" so I can gather the guys to run a protection racket (you don't want nothing bad to happen to you, do you?).  Grin

«I'm calling 911»... go for it... you dismissed the police, so what good will that do?  Grin

Then you can talk about not paying taxes to the government... as long as you pay them for me, be my guests... and if you don't I'll send Toni. Toni is a bit... retarded and slow, but has quite a good aim and can break bones with his bare hands. Handy guy!  Grin

And it could even be the first protection racket running on bitcoins Grin

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April 11, 2011, 11:36:25 PM
 #126

Based on your English and the fact that you know a man named Toni, I'm guessing your military training was something like this.

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April 11, 2011, 11:40:30 PM
 #127

Based on your English and the fact that you know a man named Toni, I'm guessing your military training was something like this.

Sergei! Quite a Tovarichtch!  Tongue

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April 11, 2011, 11:59:44 PM
 #128

you dismissed the police, so what good will that do?

Where would you rather spend the night, in a public park or Disney World? In a public park you are protected by the police but at Disney World you are protected by security guards. Somehow, I think I would feel safer at Disney World, especially once it gets dark.
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April 12, 2011, 12:07:29 AM
 #129

you dismissed the police, so what good will that do?

Where would you rather spend the night, in a public park or Disney World? In a public park you are protected by the police but at Disney World you are protected by security guards. Somehow, I think I would feel safer at Disney World, especially once it gets dark.

I do believe however that's due to DW security to has to do its job to get paid, whereas police force will paid anyway; if they actually do the dirty job or just pass parking tickets.

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NghtRppr
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April 12, 2011, 12:16:53 AM
 #130

you dismissed the police, so what good will that do?

Where would you rather spend the night, in a public park or Disney World? In a public park you are protected by the police but at Disney World you are protected by security guards. Somehow, I think I would feel safer at Disney World, especially once it gets dark.

I do believe however that's due to DW security to has to do its job to get paid, whereas police force will paid anyway; if they actually do the dirty job or just pass parking tickets.

Ding, ding. We have a winner.

Competition good! Monopolies bad!

That's just my unfrozen caveman lawyer interpretation of it though.
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April 12, 2011, 12:29:01 AM
 #131

Not quite.
Without regulation you can get cartels. And taken you're talking about those who bears the force in the society it could be a very good business and outcome. In fact police acts as concurrence on those grounds too, it works to say to private muscles if they get too pushy there's always an alternative to deal with them.

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wb3
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April 12, 2011, 12:53:06 PM
 #132

Wait so your house had cable hooked up when you moved in so you just kept paying the bill?

I guess he really believes in the idea. Pay other peoples bills. I would be surprise if the old tenant is getting free cable from the generosity of the bill payer.

Can I send you my bills? Cable=$106, Power=$400, Phone=$50 ?  I will take BitCoin.

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April 12, 2011, 05:41:54 PM
 #133

If I refuse to help him, is it acceptable if he or someone else holds a gun to my head until I agree to help him?

Ah, except my parents were forced to send me to state run education, where I was told over and over again that government was good. It wasn't until much later that I was able to come to the realization on my own, that it is not.

I don't understand the fetish for guns, but as a general rule no. If however the village you live in and enjoys the benefits from together decides in a democratic fashion to collectivly help the unfortunate person, and you refuse, then yes, I do believe that they have the right to use certain means to make you pay.

Perhaps your parents believed that it was a good deal and wanted you to share their values. That's what parents do.

Ponzi me: http://fxnet.bitlex.org/?ref=588
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JA37
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April 12, 2011, 06:10:12 PM
 #134

Wait so your house had cable hooked up when you moved in so you just kept paying the bill?

No, I'm saying that if you move to a house where cable is a part of the rent, and you knew this moving in, you can't really complain.

Ponzi me: http://fxnet.bitlex.org/?ref=588
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April 12, 2011, 06:13:53 PM
 #135

If I refuse to help him, is it acceptable if he or someone else holds a gun to my head until I agree to help him?

Ah, except my parents were forced to send me to state run education, where I was told over and over again that government was good. It wasn't until much later that I was able to come to the realization on my own, that it is not.

I don't understand the fetish for guns, but as a general rule no. If however the village you live in and enjoys the benefits from together decides in a democratic fashion to collectivly help the unfortunate person, and you refuse, then yes, I do believe that they have the right to use certain means to make you pay.

Perhaps your parents believed that it was a good deal and wanted you to share their values. That's what parents do.

Okay, let's say I live in a democratic village full of sinners, whores and other freaks of nature and we all have to decide what we are going to do tonight. I want to watch Republican Party Reservation. They want to fuck me with switchblades and sexual organs I never knew existed. So I vote for television, and everyone else, as far as the eye can see, votes to fuck me with switchblades. People have the right to do this?
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April 12, 2011, 06:15:44 PM
 #136

Wait so your house had cable hooked up when you moved in so you just kept paying the bill?

No, I'm saying that if you move to a house where cable is a part of the rent, and you knew this moving in, you can't really complain.
You mean "move" as in "forced out of your mother's womb" into a reality with rules you never agreed to?
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April 12, 2011, 06:18:58 PM
 #137

You mean "move" as in "forced out of your mother's womb" into a reality with rules you never agreed to?

Technically, you can't disagree or agree with anything when you're born.

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April 12, 2011, 06:19:51 PM
 #138

Okay, let's say I live in a democratic village full of sinners, whores and other freaks of nature and we all have to decide what we are going to do tonight. I want to watch Republican Party Reservation. They want to fuck me with switchblades and sexual organs I never knew existed. So I vote for television, and everyone else, as far as the eye can see, votes to fuck me with switchblades. People have the right to do this?

No. You can't put a rape to a vote. Don't be silly.

Ponzi me: http://fxnet.bitlex.org/?ref=588
Thanks to the anonymous person who doubled my BTC wealth by sending 0.02 BTC to: 1BSGbFq4G8r3uckpdeQMhP55ScCJwbvNnG
JA37
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April 12, 2011, 06:22:05 PM
 #139

You mean "move" as in "forced out of your mother's womb" into a reality with rules you never agreed to?

Like I stated above. You had at least 16 years to figure out the rules, probably more. Counted from the time you were "forced out of your mothers womb".

Ponzi me: http://fxnet.bitlex.org/?ref=588
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April 12, 2011, 06:22:16 PM
 #140

...but my property/money can be put up for vote?
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April 12, 2011, 06:27:41 PM
 #141

Wait so your house had cable hooked up when you moved in so you just kept paying the bill?

No, I'm saying that if you move to a house where cable is a part of the rent, and you knew this moving in, you can't really complain.

Oh, I see. That make more sense. As part of the rent.  But that cuts both ways, some leases include heating, electricity, etc... If you have a six month or year lease and power rates go up, the landlord is stuck with the difference. You have a lease, but it will go up on the next signing.

My niece, living up north had a good deal. She was paying $450/month. But her apartment was above a pizza parlor. She pain next to nothing in heating, and going for a pizza was a snap.

Net Worth = 0.10    Hah, "Net" worth Smiley