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Old 12-29-2017, 05:17 PM
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Libertarian solutions to poverty: do they make sense?


I've read this in more than one place and still don't see how it could work very well.

http://libertarianviewpoint.com/blog...y-and-welfare/

http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/Lib..._+_Poverty.htm

The gist of it seems to be that Libertarians favor getting rid of food stamps, welfare, social security, and related programs, instead encouraging those in need to get help from family, friends, community, churches, and charities.

Maybe I'm being cynical, but I have to ask.... What if someone in need does not have supportive family members or friends? Or perhaps the fam/friends don't have room to take in needy ones, or are struggling themselves, or simply don't want to help, for whatever reason? Or they live pretty far away from the needy folks?

Well, then, perhaps those with needs could turn to the three Cs: community, church, charity. Butould those places have enough for everyone--food, clothing, and more? Housing included?

What about health care?

What becomes of Medicare under the Libertarian plan? If you really need, say, a knee replacement or some other surgery that is going to costs tens of thousands of dollars, how do you raise the money otherwise?

Perhaps this is not a debate, but I wasn't sure which forum it fit.
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:34 PM
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It's simple. You eliminate poverty by killing off as many poor as possible.

The basic problem with private charity is that it requires that one person/one family support another person/family whereas current safety nets get an entire society to support a small portion of that society. The "pain" (such as it is) is reduced to a small annoyance.
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:39 PM
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It's simple. You eliminate poverty by killing off as many poor as possible.
Of course once the poor realize that's the plan they counter it by killing off as many rich as possible.

A basic level of social welfare programs benefits everyone. It keeps the poor from starving and it keeps the rich from getting guillotined.
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:41 PM
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Almost makes you wonder why they don't get elected ..
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by vivalostwages View Post

The gist of it seems to be that Libertarians favor getting rid of food stamps, welfare, social security, and related programs, instead encouraging those in need to get help from family, friends, community, churches, and charities. t.
The historical record say this is as much the ideological wishful thinking as the Communists social forecasts for their system.

Von Bismarck helped bring the modern social democratic state for the clear and cold eyed understanding of the limits of the voluntary action versus the need to secure the social stability for the capital development.

the american libertarians, they are nothing but the photo negative of the old bolsheviks.

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Of course once the poor realize that's the plan they counter it by killing off as many rich as possible.

A basic level of social welfare programs benefits everyone. It keeps the poor from starving and it keeps the rich from getting guillotined.
It is not a full joke.

It is indeed the rationale of the continental conservative politics of the late 19th century to the early 20th century, in the face of the rising radicalism like the Communists and the various radical socialist movements.

Last edited by Ramira; 12-29-2017 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:45 PM
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Almost makes you wonder why they don't get elected ..
Too busy doing worthwhile work. There is such a thing as working poor.
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:54 PM
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To be rich? It makes sense to be rich if you're a libertarian.
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:08 PM
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[The following is an explanation from a libertarian perspective, not the poster himself]

To really see how a libertarian government helps the poor, you have to go back to the causes of poverty:

1. Someone is able, but unwilling to work, who we will call the Lazy.
2. Someone is willing, but unable to work, who we will call the Unfortunate.
3. Someone is will and able to work, but unable to find employment, who we will call the Repressed.

So how does the modern welfare state support these? Well, they give money to them all and so they stay fed, clothed, and housed, but not much more than that - they are shackled by the meager rations handed out. But how to fix this?

Well, the Lazy have always been around, but when starvation is around the corner and work is available, it's amazing how someone will become willing to work if the alternative is death. So remove welfare and some amount of the poor will find employment, because there is no alternative.

The Repressed on the other hand, can't find work because there isn't enough capital (due to theft from taxes) or enough return on investment (due to onerous regulations) for employers to start or expand a business to provide work for the available labor. Stripping the theft of taxes that go to welfare from the system, and stripping the unnecessary regulations, will mean a booming economy that will allowed the Repressed to find work.

The Unfortunate seem to be a kink in this plan at first glance, but it is not so. With the extra money flowing through the economy and fewer people in need of assistance (both due to the Lazy and the Repressed rejoining the workforce), support from the community will be able to handle caring for the Unfortunate, done at a local level as it always should have been.

[The above is an explanation from a libertarian perspective, not the poster himself]

The real problem with the liberation plan though, is threefold:

1. Unless you do this slowly and carefully, the transition in the economy to no social safety net and no regulation will leave a lot of people out in the cold even if the economic gains are actually realized. (although with the advent of automation, this might happen anyway).

2. The boost in economic activity is probably not as large as libertarians hope.

3. The proportions of the poor that Libertarians believe is probably like 70-10-20, but it's actually probably more like 10-40-50, which could not be absorbed by the new system.
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:54 PM
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What is this community of which you speak, what are its parameters, its limits? Once upon a time, it was pretty much everyone that you knew and strangers were fair game. That is so impractical now that it only sounds good if you keep "friends, church, community" vaguely defined
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Old 12-29-2017, 11:07 PM
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The goal is not the elimination of poverty. The goal is to remake the world to match ideology.

There is a difference between saying 'I think doing XYZ would be a good policy idea to solve this particular problem' and saying 'I want to remake the world to match my beliefs, whether that solves problems or makes them worse means nothing. However I'm going to pretend it makes things better to improve my ideologies PR, but I don't really care about policy or problem solving'. Libertarians do the latter.
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Old 12-29-2017, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post

A basic level of social welfare programs benefits everyone. It keeps the poor from starving and it keeps the rich from getting guillotined.
Supposedly that is one of the criticisms communists have against social democrats. They feel social democrats offer enough benefits to the poor to prevent them from uprising against the rich.

But sadly, there are lots and lots of nations where people are dirt poor but they don't rise up. As long as the police, military and media keep the public oppressed and divided you can exploit the hell out of them.
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Old 12-30-2017, 12:14 AM
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The federal government, bogged down in so much bureaucratic nonsense, is a lousy charitable organization. Their dismal failure is readily apparent to anyone who wants to look at the records. Private efforts are always much more efficient and successful.
Yes, because when making a fairly substantial claim, "It's just obvious" is the best cite one can provide. Scott Alexander addressed this argument (and many, many more - seriously, this thing is pretty much a comprehensive tour-de-force rebuttal to libertarianism as a whole) in his Non-Libertarian FAQ - this is point 13.7. Also, relevant quote:

Quote:
So, we’re in the unhappy situation of needing people to almost triple the amount they give to charity even though they have only 12.5% more money. The real situation is much worse than this, because if the government stopped all programs except military and police, people would need to pay for education, road maintenance, and so on out of their own pocket.

My calculations are full of assumptions, of course. But the important thing is, I’ve never seen libertarians even try to do calculations. They just assume that private citizens would make up the shortfall. This is the difference between millions of people leading decent lives or starving to death, and people just figure it will work out without checking, because the free market is always a Good Thing.

That’s not reason, even if you read it on www.reason.com. That’s faith.
And then I look up at the quote from the article above, and... oh, it's just obvious. Almost everything on that "Libertarian Viewpoint" blog is an irrational and wrong mess of bullshit with no consideration of the tradeoffs and issues involved. If you're looking for someone to make a rational case for this argument, they clearly aren't going to (try to find a blog that doesn't cite demotivational memes and obnoxiously terrible political cartoons). That said, I don't know that anyone else could, because it's a phenomenally bad argument to begin with.

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Old 12-30-2017, 02:51 AM
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The historical record say this is as much the ideological wishful thinking as the Communists social forecasts for their system.

Von Bismarck helped bring the modern social democratic state for the clear and cold eyed understanding of the limits of the voluntary action versus the need to secure the social stability for the capital development.

the american libertarians, they are nothing but the photo negative of the old bolsheviks.
This, especially the last sentence, encapsulate ideas I've come to on my own.

I think I can expand on them to some extent. I view political ideologies as being, among many other things, either teleological or pragmatic, where "teleological" means "aimed at a specific, foreseen end goal" and "pragmatic" means "attempting immediate reforms to solve specific problems, but largely not attempting to control major social change"; a pragmatic system allows major social change, but doesn't try to stand in its way or force it down a specific channel.

The most obviously teleological systems are Christianity and Marxism, both aimed at a Millennium of complete equality and justice, arrived at by implementation of a text which will, if followed, perfect mankind out of a current fallen state into one which is capable of accepting the Millennium and living in the paradisaical end-state, either the Saved or some variant of the New Soviet Man.

Their mortal enemies are the people who pick and choose good ideas, without buying into the whole philosophy. They are the Cafeteria Christians and the Liberals, respectively, which is why Internet Marxists are so fucking enraged when you call them Liberals. No! To them, the Liberals are the ones postponing paradise, the ones who are making this world, this flawed system, palatable, to the point of preventing people from being starved into Socialism.

There are other examples of teleological political philosophies, including, yes, Anarcho-Capitalism* and Libertarianism. They both want to create a society populated by Homo economicus, the mathematical/theoretical model of a human used in over-simplified first-year economics models before people learn about cognitive biases and prejudices which affect economics.

*(To anyone who wants to 'correct' me: Engaging me in a slap-fight over who gets to use the Hallowed Term "Anarchism" isn't going to make Anarchism look better to anyone who hasn't already bought into it.)

The worst part of teleological philosophies is that the perfect becomes the enemy of the good, and they destroy any margin of error for people who fall short of being perfect. For example, in the Christian teleological philosophy, it is morally wrong to have sex before marriage. Therefore, the perfect solution is to not only never have sex before marriage, but to demand that nobody does, and to make no allowances for anyone who does and gets into trouble thereby. Because making allowances for the behavior is encouraging it, and that isn't acceptable if you believe that all humans must be perfected or destroyed. Being a counter-revolutionary or class traitor was punished harshly as well, once the Communists got into power. Women have nothing on a political philosophy scorned.
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:32 AM
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There is no perfect system. So what do you do about the unforseen consequences when it becomes clear that the system has some big flaws? Blame it on foreign saboteurs, recidivists, criminals, a minority an underclass? The more firmly held the dogma, the more severe the solution. Jails, camps, exile and worse.

I shall stick to my cafeteria, pick out the best ideas.
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:59 AM
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Of course once the poor realize that's the plan they counter it by killing off as many rich as possible.

A basic level of social welfare programs benefits everyone. It keeps the poor from starving and it keeps the rich from getting guillotined.

I've always thought of welfare as a type of insurance that pays the poor not to burn down nice neighborhoods.
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Old 12-30-2017, 06:15 AM
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But sadly, there are lots and lots of nations where people are dirt poor but they don't rise up. As long as the police, military and media keep the public oppressed and divided you can exploit the hell out of them.
You have to have a larger perspective. Generally speaking, oppressed people do rise up, even if takes a few decades. Most regimes that try to keep them down are living on borrowed time.

And it wouldn't be a lot of time in Libertopia, where they want to treat the poor like dirt and also want to save money by not paying for the government forces that repress the poor.
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Old 12-30-2017, 06:15 AM
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One new bit we can inject into the argument.

Implicitly, this Conservative/Libertarian argument says that there's an immense amount of labor that needs to be done, and we can't have any humans being lazy freeloaders. Even if those freeloaders really only need a room in a housing project building and a modest supply of food and basic consumer goods like large, cheap tvs. This feels bad...I mean they sit on their cheap couch watching TV! They have enough money for beer on special occasions! They have power and a fridge, maybe even a phone! We can't afford to just "give" people all that.

With the rapid rise of automation, this isn't true. It cost very little labor from other people to provide all that, and the better automation becomes and the higher productivity per worker gets, the less labor it will require. So it won't matter if 30% of the population just sit around. So long as their effective income remains modest, such that those who do work get greater rewards, this would be just fine.

It also means that with greater automation, if those who are less talented than the best of us don't work, it won't mean any loss in national GDP.
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Old 12-30-2017, 06:29 AM
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It also means that with greater automation, if those who are less talented than the best of us don't work, it won't mean any loss in national GDP.
There's a big hole in the idea of a universal basic income, though, and that is, how you define the limits of entitlement. You might no longer have a complicated means test to access the benefit, but where do you draw the line so as to command the optimum level of support/acquiescence from the community at large - citizenship? defined period of prior residence? evidence of some form of contribution to society?

Whether you approach the question from a libertarian, conservative, liberal or socialist viewpoint, it can't be "universal" in the sense of giving it to just anybody who walks in and asks for it. All social benefit/welfare programmes need to achieve some degree of buy-in from rich people, middle class people and the working poor alike - they will all need to feel they're not being taken for a ride.
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Old 12-30-2017, 06:45 AM
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There's a big hole in the idea of a universal basic income, though, and that is, how you define the limits of entitlement. You might no longer have a complicated means test to access the benefit, but where do you draw the line so as to command the optimum level of support/acquiescence from the community at large - citizenship? defined period of prior residence? evidence of some form of contribution to society?

Whether you approach the question from a libertarian, conservative, liberal or socialist viewpoint, it can't be "universal" in the sense of giving it to just anybody who walks in and asks for it. All social benefit/welfare programmes need to achieve some degree of buy-in from rich people, middle class people and the working poor alike - they will all need to feel they're not being taken for a ride.
I don't know how to do UBI, either, nor am I convinced it is the optimal way forwards.

However, the simper proposals I have seen are just that :

a. It's citizenship
b. Kids don't count. (this is to economically disincentive large families with no other means of support but UBI)
c. It's Federal in the USA, meaning that prior residence does not matter. You had to be a resident in the USA for a long time to get citizenship if you weren't native-born.
d. The whole reason UBI is touted as better as it's just a simple set of bank transfers every month. It would have less than 1% overhead. Everyone gets it, it's the same amount for everyone, regardless of need or income.

The distribution part is as simple as you can imagine. There's a list of living adult citizens, and a government bank account that has all the money. A computer program just iterates through the list and queues transfers to all citizens that have a recorded account.

Actually funding it is far more complex. The reason is where the money would actually be sourced. Because of wealth and income inequality, you actually have to get nearly all the money for this...or any government program...from mostly the wealthy. Simply because that's where the money is at.

And the problem is the wealthy hide their money where it's hard to even determine how much they have. They also are currently allowed to bribe the government, so the Congress would not pass laws giving the government the power to actually implement UBI.

Last edited by SamuelA; 12-30-2017 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:00 AM
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The historical record say this is as much the ideological wishful thinking as the Communists social forecasts for their system.

Von Bismarck helped bring the modern social democratic state for the clear and cold eyed understanding of the limits of the voluntary action versus the need to secure the social stability for the capital development.

the american libertarians, they are nothing but the photo negative of the old bolsheviks.



It is not a full joke.

It is indeed the rationale of the continental conservative politics of the late 19th century to the early 20th century, in the face of the rising radicalism like the Communists and the various radical socialist movements.
That is indeed what is on the dark side of the modern American fascist's moon. If the current regime succeeds in eliminating the safety net and creating the kind of plutonomy that it desires, there's going to be a massive backlash, and what the conservatives haven't considered is that a lot of the so-called middle class or even the upper middle-class bordering on rich will join them -- because they too will either be poor or in perpetual fear of becoming poor. When governments remove stability and security, you have fear. Markets don't work well on fear. And we don't get political stability either.
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:06 AM
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Charities in large cities tend to provide more money (per person) to the extremely poor than charities in small cities and rural areas because ... there's more rich people available to donate. The government can spread the wealth to where it's needed. There's lots of rural poverty.

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Originally Posted by vivalostwages View Post
I've read this in more than one place and still don't see how it could work very well.

http://libertarianviewpoint.com/blog...y-and-welfare/

http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/Lib..._+_Poverty.htm

The gist of it seems to be that Libertarians favor getting rid of food stamps, welfare, social security, and related programs, instead encouraging those in need to get help from family, friends, community, churches, and charities.

Maybe I'm being cynical, but I have to ask.... What if someone in need does not have supportive family members or friends? Or perhaps the fam/friends don't have room to take in needy ones, or are struggling themselves, or simply don't want to help, for whatever reason? Or they live pretty far away from the needy folks?

Well, then, perhaps those with needs could turn to the three Cs: community, church, charity. Butould those places have enough for everyone--food, clothing, and more? Housing included?

What about health care?

What becomes of Medicare under the Libertarian plan? If you really need, say, a knee replacement or some other surgery that is going to costs tens of thousands of dollars, how do you raise the money otherwise?

Perhaps this is not a debate, but I wasn't sure which forum it fit.
Way back in the Middle Ages, there was an office called the "almoner" (for alms), who would pay alms to the extremely poor. The lord ruled because he had an army, and he still had to use tax money to help the poor (and not just throw them away). Well, I think it was tax money. Perhaps it was private donations from his wealthiest citizens, but ... is it really a donation when you have an army and can bring social pressure on your wealthiest citizens?



I wonder if these "solutions" are proposed due to frustration with the "welfare lifestyle" rather than an actual desire to completely eliminate government welfare. I don't like the idea of simply eliminating welfare. Some people really need it. They have multiple barriers to working. And even in some cases, where the parents are abusing the system, their children still need some resources. On the other hand, there are people on it "for life". Some states don't force the five year cut-off rule.

To my way of thinking, the system instead needs more restrictions. For instance, the province of Quebec passed a rule cutting welfare rates for those who do not participate in work activities (without completely cutting them off). I presume this does not apply to parents of young children, the disabled, etc. There was some furious chatter, some nonsensical (like an article complaining that people who cannot work are treated better than people who do not work... I think that's the way it should be) but it's a bit difficult for me to get all the necessary info because hardly anyone writes about this in English.

Every study I look into talks about the horrible skill level of a lot of people on welfare too, basically high school graduates who really shouldn't have graduated form high school or even junior high. School boards rely on local property taxes, which bring in more money in wealthier areas. Can this be fixed? Perhaps pool an entire state's fund and basically pay the same $X per student?
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Old 12-30-2017, 01:20 PM
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I wonder if these "solutions" are proposed due to frustration with the "welfare lifestyle" rather than an actual desire to completely eliminate government welfare. I don't like the idea of simply eliminating welfare. Some people really need it. They have multiple barriers to working. And even in some cases, where the parents are abusing the system, their children still need some resources. On the other hand, there are people on it "for life". Some states don't force the five year cut-off rule.

To my way of thinking, the system instead needs more restrictions. For instance, the province of Quebec passed a rule cutting welfare rates for those who do not participate in work activities (without completely cutting them off).
Your starting assumptions are that :

a. People on welfare are actually a significant cost to the government today
b. Our society would have noticeably larger GDP if these poorly educated people were working
c. Some other non-economic benefit would accrue to our society if these people could be pushed into productive employment

All I'm saying is that you should recheck your assumptions. How much is (a) and (b)?

There was a massive welfare reform during the Clinton administration. Most sources I have seen suggest there's not nearly enough welfare now, and there hasn't been for 20 years. So are you sure the problem you are concerned about is even a problem?
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:33 PM
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With today’s technology, there is only a very small minority of people that could not integrate themselves into productive society. By not hampering market processes with disincentives for production, production will increase. Out of this increased production, the truly needy will be cared for.

Far from a thoughtless dystopian diatribe, a world of free capitalism is a world of cooperation. Capitalism has done more for human cooperation than any religion or ideology could because it involves win-win exchanges.
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:46 PM
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With today’s technology, there is only a very small minority of people that could not integrate themselves into productive society. By not hampering market processes with disincentives for production, production will increase. Out of this increased production, the truly needy will be cared for.

Far from a thoughtless dystopian diatribe, a world of free capitalism is a world of cooperation. Capitalism has done more for human cooperation than any religion or ideology could because it involves win-win exchanges.
For the entire last week, my thought process has been, "Should I go to work or should I kill myself?" and it has been a legitimate question as to which one I should go for. Clearly, something has gone wrong with this fantasy world you advocate for.
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:47 PM
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The Libertarian solution to anything will not work. Period. End of story.
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:49 PM
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With today’s technology, there is only a very small minority of people that could not integrate themselves into productive society. By not hampering market processes with disincentives for production, production will increase. Out of this increased production, the truly needy will be cared for.

Far from a thoughtless dystopian diatribe, a world of free capitalism is a world of cooperation. Capitalism has done more for human cooperation than any religion or ideology could because it involves win-win exchanges.
I don't disagree that capitalism has done some good.

However, consider power imbalances. What if all you can offer is 1 unit of semi-skilled labor. Also, you need a job right now, or you'll starve.

The company needs your 1 unit of semi-skilled labor. With it, they can make more money. But they don't need it right now. If they wait 6 months for you to come back and ask for lower wages, all it does is lower their quarterly profits very slightly.

So the company has the incentive and the ability to bargain you down. Only in cases where an individual has rare skills that there is a shortage of does an individual have any real bargaining power - but you needed a job in the first place to develop those rare skills, generally, and also a graduate degree typically....

And you need money in the first place to even get that graduate degree, unless your parents paid for it...

This is why in reality unregulated capitalism doesn't lead to necessarily great outcomes for workers. Things like a minimum wage and collective bargaining are ways for workers to band together and get paid closer to what they are actually worth.

And we haven't even gotten to the subject of monopolies, or the sale of services where if you decline the service, you die. Capitalism has a lot of special case failures.

Last edited by SamuelA; 12-30-2017 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 12-30-2017, 06:18 PM
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by yellowjacketcoder View Post
…Stripping the theft of taxes that go to welfare from the system, and stripping the unnecessary regulations, will mean a booming economy that will allowed the Repressed to find work.…
The inherent flaw in this, which I have frequently heard from libertarian types, is “boom”, which is a word that means explosion or loud noise that fades pretty quickly. A “booming economy”, as history shows over and over and over again, will inevitably, always collapse. It is just nature, and when you add the stripping of “unnecessary regulation”, the decay side of the boom gets that much worse.

Have you ever heard a libertarian advocate for a thriving/sustainable economy? It does not seem to fit their narrative. Because “cut taxes and watch the economy boom!” sounds so excellent. Theirs is a superficial outlook that ignores long-term effects and many of the variables for which we have that regulation in the first place.
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:39 PM
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The Libertarian solution to anything will not work. Period. End of story.
I agree with Libertarians on the idea of decriminalizing most victimless crimes.
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:12 PM
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Well no, the real problem with Libertarian Philosophy are the twin follies of "Taxation is Theft" and "Regulations are destructive".

Because we have actual proof from history of how badly it ends for the workers when people, oh, from the other side, let's call them "Robber Barons" are able to pay people a nickle a day with good chance of maiming or death without legal recourse.

If you want to know why we have a modern welfare system, consider how bad that situation was working out and how pretty much every western country had labor riots, internal strife and even revolution, with several falling to violent revolution. We have what we have because a> we can vote, and b> Our leaders don't tend to want to end up gunned down against a wall as the country burns. It isn't good for the economy or the rich people who run everything.

Libertarianism is just another Rich People Philosophy that says "Just let me do what I want to do and I promise, everything will work out just fine."

We know that doesn't work out.
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:31 PM
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Many Libertarians support a social safety net and/or programs such as universal basic income. Every political philosophy has ideals and then pragmatic ideas. Personally I would support eliminating all welfare programs if replaced with one universal payment.

I am a former LP member. I like how it's labeled as politics for the rich but almost everyone I knew in the party was marginally employed (and not a trust fund beneficiary) and/or begging for money to travel to the conventions, etc. Maybe it's similar to all the poor Republicans who support tax policy for the rich. I don't know.

Last edited by actualliberalnotoneofthose; 12-30-2017 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:10 PM
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I like how it's labeled as politics for the rich but almost everyone I knew in the party was marginally employed (and not a trust fund beneficiary) and/or begging for money to travel to the conventions, etc.
A lot of Libertarians buy into the idea that the government is holding them back.
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:52 PM
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For the entire last week, my thought process has been, "Should I go to work or should I kill myself?" and it has been a legitimate question as to which one I should go for. Clearly, something has gone wrong with this fantasy world you advocate for.
Either it is a fantasy or you are having trouble coping with it.
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Old 12-30-2017, 11:02 PM
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I don't disagree that capitalism has done some good.

However, consider power imbalances. What if all you can offer is 1 unit of semi-skilled labor. Also, you need a job right now, or you'll starve.

The company needs your 1 unit of semi-skilled labor. With it, they can make more money. But they don't need it right now. If they wait 6 months for you to come back and ask for lower wages, all it does is lower their quarterly profits very slightly.

So the company has the incentive and the ability to bargain you down. Only in cases where an individual has rare skills that there is a shortage of does an individual have any real bargaining power - but you needed a job in the first place to develop those rare skills, generally, and also a graduate degree typically....

And you need money in the first place to even get that graduate degree, unless your parents paid for it...

This is why in reality unregulated capitalism doesn't lead to necessarily great outcomes for workers. Things like a minimum wage and collective bargaining are ways for workers to band together and get paid closer to what they are actually worth.

And we haven't even gotten to the subject of monopolies, or the sale of services where if you decline the service, you die. Capitalism has a lot of special case failures.
We can talk about monopolies. The government maintains a monopoly on the use of force and is the ultimate arbiter of disputes, including disputes to which it is a party.


You keep talking about how only rare skills prevent a wage from dropping to subsistence levels, yet the vast majority of workers make double or triple subsistence wages with common, baseline skills such as typing, picking up boxes, or holding stop signs at construction sites. What causes poverty in the US is individual problems like drug abuse, child abuse, poor diet, and poor hygiene. There are huge numbers of people that have jobs that are supposedly terrible when speaking to an elitist statist, but the people lead lives that are actually quite fulfilling if they have a decent head on their shoulders.
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Old 12-30-2017, 11:07 PM
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A lot of Libertarians buy into the idea that the government is holding them back.
As opposed to the statists who are known for taking individual responsibility seriously in their politics.
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Old 12-30-2017, 11:46 PM
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We can talk about monopolies. The government maintains a monopoly on the use of force and is the ultimate arbiter of disputes, including disputes to which it is a party.
Are you aware of even the concept of a 'natural monopoly'? That's a situation where the laws of nature mean that there are not realistically going to be more than 1-2 service providers in a given area.

Examples :

roads, power, sewage, internet, railroads, and to an extent, hospital care.

In these cases, if the government didn't regulate or provide the services themselves, capitalism would fail to provide service at a fair price.
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Old 12-31-2017, 12:01 AM
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Phone lines and rural electrification were heavily subsidized and pushed by government programs and initiatives. If it were purely capitalistic, many areas would still have neither.

Only a government entity is going to be able to build a city wide sewer and water service.

And seriously, injecting a profit motive into everything isn't a magical cure-all for efficiency. "Profit" builds in its own inefficiencies.
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Old 12-31-2017, 12:19 AM
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Are you aware of even the concept of a 'natural monopoly'? That's a situation where the laws of nature mean that there are not realistically going to be more than 1-2 service providers in a given area.

Examples :

roads, power, sewage, internet, railroads, and to an extent, hospital care.

In these cases, if the government didn't regulate or provide the services themselves, capitalism would fail to provide service at a fair price.
I disagree about internet, unless you are talking about the cable wiring. Even then, there are already competing types of cable that could provide better service if the local government didn't favor a monopoly for reasons I don't really understand.

It is pretty much a given that those who have amassed a lot of money will do their best to jigger whatever system they find themselves in to keep that money and make lots more, at the expense of everyone else. If they find themselves in a social democracy, they will lobby and bribe (same thing) and get obscure laws passed that give them advantages, or persuade folks that their monopoly is best for everyone. If they find themselves in a country like Russia (however you would describe that economy) they make sure they are best friends with the big cheese, and never, ever challenge him about anything. If they find themselves in a wild west free-for-all, they hire more goons than the other guys and smash up their would-be competitors. I don't think there has ever been a country or government that really tried to protect an open free market for more than 5 minutes.

Also, and by the way, the folks who call themselves libertarians these days are either lying or deluding themselves. They are not interested in protecting open and free markets, they are interested in doing any or all of the things in the previous paragraph, as long as it redounds to their own advantage. "Free" markets are fine as long as they are free to do what they want and no-one else is able to do anything about it. Example: a real libertarian would say that the air does not belong to you, Mr. Industrialist, so you can't dump your filthy smoke into it. Do I hear anyone saying that, ever? ::crickets::
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:08 AM
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From his A Letter to a Young Gentleman, lately enter'd into Holy Orders
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Originally Posted by the Reverend Dr. Jonathan Swift

Others of them in the country, oppressing their tenants, tyrannizing over the neighbourhood, cheating the vicar, talking nonsense, and getting drunk at the sessions. It is from such seminaries as these, that the world is provided with the several tribes and denominations of freethinkers, who, in my judgment, are not to be reformed by arguments offered to prove the truth of the Christian religion, because reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired: ...
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:38 AM
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Far from a thoughtless dystopian diatribe, a world of free capitalism is a world of cooperation. Capitalism has done more for human cooperation than any religion or ideology could because it involves win-win exchanges.
Provided all parties are starting from (perceived to be reasonably) level ground in terms of capital (broadly defined, not just finance, but information, skills/capabilities and confidence in themselves and each other). And that takes some form of mechanism of government/governance to agree, establish and enforce the relevant standards.
  #41  
Old 12-31-2017, 02:26 AM
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I disagree about internet, unless you are talking about the cable wiring. Even then, there are already competing types of cable that could provide better service if the local government didn't favor a monopoly for reasons I don't really understand.
I have a choice of two Internet providers - Comcast through their cable lines and AT&T through phone/fiber lines. I'm not aware of any others who would not be piggybacking on already existing infrastructure. Running fiber when one house per block is going to be paying you - if you are lucky - is not a winning proposition.
There is satellite, which is too expensive and too slow, I think, or universal Wifi which has not caught on despite government support for anyone who has proposed doing it.
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Old 12-31-2017, 02:30 AM
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You keep talking about how only rare skills prevent a wage from dropping to subsistence levels, yet the vast majority of workers make double or triple subsistence wages with common, baseline skills such as typing, picking up boxes, or holding stop signs at construction sites. What causes poverty in the US is individual problems like drug abuse, child abuse, poor diet, and poor hygiene. There are huge numbers of people that have jobs that are supposedly terrible when speaking to an elitist statist, but the people lead lives that are actually quite fulfilling if they have a decent head on their shoulders.
Poor diet causes poverty? The decrease in malnutrition thanks to that horrible government food stamp program didn't happen?

And of course during the recession jobs were plentiful, right? The unemployed were just lazy, right?

Libertarians shouldn't disparage anyone's views as fantasy. Your economics make a fairy tale look like hard sf.
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Old 12-31-2017, 03:30 AM
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You keep talking about how only rare skills prevent a wage from dropping to subsistence levels, yet the vast majority of workers make double or triple subsistence wages with common, baseline skills such as typing, picking up boxes, or holding stop signs at construction sites.
Can McDonalds afford to pay every single person they employ "double or triple subsistence wages"? And yet, those jobs exist, need to be filled, and typically are filled. There are a lot of jobs like that, and while it's easy to say "these are jobs you start with and move on from", the reality is very different.

Quote:
What causes poverty in the US is individual problems like drug abuse, child abuse, poor diet, and poor hygiene.
Then I'm sure you can provide a citation for this. You're making a massive broad-brush argument without even statistics to back it up.
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:58 AM
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Note the phrasing.

Subsidence wages literally means the absolute minimum needed to survive. That is not a living wage, nor anything that would allow saving, and few people have the resources or know-how to squeeze every last penny until Lincoln's eye pops out.
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Last edited by DrFidelius; 12-31-2017 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:06 AM
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Example: a real libertarian would say that the air does not belong to you, Mr. Industrialist, so you can't dump your filthy smoke into it. Do I hear anyone saying that, ever? ::crickets::
I've seen libertarians say that, but their solution would be individual lawsuits after the fact against the polluting companies, not government regulations. Which doesn't help you if your child died or the court system is set up so damages are impossible to prove.

Last edited by Ludovic; 12-31-2017 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:33 AM
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I've read this in more than one place and still don't see how it could work very well.

http://libertarianviewpoint.com/blog...y-and-welfare/

http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/Lib..._+_Poverty.htm

The gist of it seems to be that Libertarians favor getting rid of food stamps, welfare, social security, and related programs, instead encouraging those in need to get help from family, friends, community, churches, and charities.
IOW, go back to the way things were before governments got into the healthcare and safety-networks business. The word that comes to mind is "Dickensian".
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Old 12-31-2017, 09:48 AM
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I've seen libertarians say that, but their solution would be individual lawsuits after the fact against the polluting companies, not government regulations. Which doesn't help you if your child died or the court system is set up so damages are impossible to prove.
Every problem is a nail, and money is their hammer.
  #48  
Old 12-31-2017, 10:41 AM
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What causes poverty in the US is individual problems like drug abuse, child abuse, poor diet, and poor hygiene. There are huge numbers of people that have jobs that are supposedly terrible when speaking to an elitist statist, but the people lead lives that are actually quite fulfilling if they have a decent head on their shoulders.
Personal responsibility plays a huge role.

If everyone would simply follow these 7 simple steps, odds are they will be stable and successful. I'm not saying super rich (the 11%) but solidly middle class.


1. value education, do your work/homework, and graduate from high school

2. avoid criminal behavior and those who are involved in criminal behavior

3. avoid sex until you have a real job after high school

4. get a job in high school. this isn't for money as much as it is to give you experience in work and a history for future employers

5. get a bank account when you get a job, and before you're on your own and keep it as full as you can. do not overdraw the bank account. do not use credit.

6. act like a professional in all non-private settings

7. don't do non-prescribed drugs (alcohol, cigarettes, illegal drugs)
  #49  
Old 12-31-2017, 10:42 AM
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Are you aware of even the concept of a 'natural monopoly'? That's a situation where the laws of nature mean that there are not realistically going to be more than 1-2 service providers in a given area.

Examples :

roads, power, sewage, internet, railroads, and to an extent, hospital care.

In these cases, if the government didn't regulate or provide the services themselves, capitalism would fail to provide service at a fair price.
Quote:
Most so-called public utilities have been granted governmental franchise monopolies because they are thought to be "natural monopolies." Put simply, a natural monopoly is said to occur when production technology, such as relatively high fixed costs, causes long-run average total costs to decline as output expands. In such industries, the theory goes, a single producer will eventually be able to produce at a lower cost than any two other producers, thereby creating a "natural" monopoly. Higher prices will result if more than one producer supplies the market.

Furthermore, competition is said to cause consumer inconvenience because of the construction of duplicative facilities, e.g., digging up the streets to put in dual gas or water lines. Avoiding such inconveniences is another reason offered for government franchise monopolies for industries with declining long-run average total costs.

It is a myth that natural-monopoly theory was developed first by economists, and then used by legislators to "justify" franchise monopolies. The truth is that the monopolies were created decades before the theory was formalized by intervention-minded economists, who then used the theory as an ex post rationale for government intervention. At the time when the first government franchise monopolies were being granted, the large majority of economists understood that large-scale, capital-intensive production did not lead to monopoly, but was an absolutely desirable aspect of the competitive process.
https://mises.org/library/myth-natural-monopoly-0
  #50  
Old 12-31-2017, 10:54 AM
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Can McDonalds afford to pay every single person they employ "double or triple subsistence wages"? And yet, those jobs exist, need to be filled, and typically are filled. There are a lot of jobs like that, and while it's easy to say "these are jobs you start with and move on from", the reality is very different.



Then I'm sure you can provide a citation for this. You're making a massive broad-brush argument without even statistics to back it up.
The minimum wage is already much higher than the subsistence wage. The poster claimed that unequal power between employers and workers, except in few cases, causes wages to be driven down. If that was true, more than 2%, or whatever, of workers would be making minimum wage. It is a theory that is necessary for statists to be anti-capitalist, therefore they trot it out all the time with no evidence.

I know many folks who are able to live a comfortable life, and still afford luxuries like internet access, cable, daily moderate drug habits, plenty of time off, etc. Low income only means persistent poverty in the US if you still hold on to many individual behavioral problems.

The truly needy suffer even more under a statist regime because production is hampered by government and the excesses are soaked up by taxation. In a statist system, resources are allocated according to political power. The truly needy have none.
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