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Randomness thread, part two.

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  1. #18226
    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post
    Literally define theft: the action or crime of stealing.

    Literally define stealing: take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.

    "crime" "legal right"

    Yeah, taxes are theft.

    You guys are worse than SJWs with your twisting of terms.

    And any time you want to drive for them to be seen as the big bad gov't taking without any regard for you, the other side can drive for the common-collective and communal authority taking to maintain a workable society. It's just wordplay.
    It legally is not theft but philosophically is theft.

    You might wanna be wary of the logical path you just took. It's a path of superseding law over other considerations. This sort of thing is awash throughout history to make something that is morally wrong legally right and therefore "morally right".
  2. #18227
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    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post
    And any time you want to drive for them to be seen as the big bad gov't taking without any regard for you, the other side can drive for the common-collective and communal authority taking to maintain a workable society. It's just wordplay.
    I have even better wordplay. It's like how the body will draw water from some organs to feed others. Because we are social creatures and society has proven to be massively successful, we live in societies. These societies may, from time to time, need to draw water from you muscles to feed them to your liver, so that most of you can survive to drink water and thrive.

    Is the body stealing this water? Sure, why not, who cares? It's still managing to stay alive and position itself to once again thrive.
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  3. #18228
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    It legally is not theft but philosophically is theft.

    You might wanna be wary of the logical path you just took. It's a path of superseding law over other considerations. This sort of thing is awash throughout history to make something that is morally wrong legally right and therefore "morally right".
    My logical path is that you and spoon are up in some nonsense with your words.
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  4. #18229
    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post

    And any time you want to drive for them to be seen as the big bad gov't taking without any regard for you, the other side can drive for the common-collective and communal authority taking to maintain a workable society. It's just wordplay.
    It's no more wordplay than other things are. Indeed we all to try to frame things to our liking. I do it all the time. But a cat is a cat. Gotta call things what they are, and if they are not those things, call them something else.
  5. #18230
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    It's no more wordplay than other things are. Indeed we all to try to frame things to our liking. I do it all the time. But a cat is a cat. Gotta call things what they are, and if they are not those things, call them something else.
    “You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”


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  6. #18231
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    And to just make my actual point. It's not theft in the sense that some guy steals your TV, because it's the gov't collecting taxes. You only want people to associate what the gov't does in collecting taxes with what a man does when he steals from you because people do not like it when they're stolen from, but are sometimes alright with paying taxes.
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  7. #18232
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoonitnow View Post
    I don't think I've ever chimed in with my thoughts on the minimum wage thing.

    @bold, So many jobs have already been lost due to the minimum wage that further decreases (from increasing the minimum wage) are lost in the noise of all of the other factors that go into employment rates, so it's hard to make any real connections there.

    Generally speaking, it's a simple math problem that raising the minimum wage decreases jobs, not some kind of grand conspiracy. There's this idea that raising the minimum wage will force companies to just give more of their bazillions in profits to employees. The problem with that idea is that a unified increase in minimum wage prevents a ton of businesses from being profitable in the first place. Lots of other employment opportunities (particularly in government-funded jobs) get screwed over with this as well.

    Suppose I have a business where I hire high school students to mow yards at $10/hour as independent contractors so that I don't have to account for payroll taxes. I have 50 yards that we mow each week, and the average yard takes two hours to do. That's 100 hours of labor that I have to account for with a total cost of $1,000. If I'm getting paid $40 per yard, then I'm bringing in $2,000 each week. Take out another $500/week in gas, maintenance and other fixed costs, and I'm profiting $500/week before I get fucked by taxes, which probably brings me down to about $400/week if I'm lucky. If I spend an average of 30 minutes dealing with each yard per week, I'm doing about 25 hours/week, and that comes to about $20/hour that I'm paying myself before taxes.

    Along comes a minimum wage hike to $15/hour. That kicks up my labor costs by $500, so my pre-tax profit just dropped to $0. Now instead of $1,000 being distributed in labor each week, there's $0 being distributed, and I have a handful of high schoolers who are out of jobs.

    "Aha," someone might say. "But the high schoolers can come in and offer your clients to mow their yards at the same price of $40 per yard and make $20/hour for themselves since the average yard takes two hours." Even if they were able to maintain my $10 fixed cost/yard that I mentioned above, that would drop them to $15/hour right away. So far so good until you remember they have no equipment. That option just doesn't work out.

    Another alternative to deal with an increased minimum wage would be to raise my prices by $10 per yard (a 25 percent increase). In response to this, let's say that I lose 10 percent of my clients, and now we're down to 45 yards. I now have 90 hours to distribute each week at a rate of $15/hour for a total of $1,350. I'm bringing in $50/yard * 45 yards = $2,250 each week, and that leaves $900. Subtract the $450 in fixed costs (the same $10/yard rate we've been using), and now I'm bringing in $450 before taxes, and this translates to about $325-350/week after taxes. I'm still doing about 30 minutes/yard/week, so I end up doing 22.5 hours of work each week for 45 yards. Before taxes, that comes to about the same $20/hour.

    What we see here is that if I want to make the same amount that I was making before, then I'm going to have to increase the number of yards that I'm mowing. Everyone else who is mowing yards in the area will also be trying to expand their market share. This increased competition drives down prices. It's easy to see the problem here: Somebody is going out of business.

    And the end result is exactly what raising the minimum wage always does: Unemployment goes up, and the people who are still employed (not to be confused with the employers) make slightly more money than they did before.
    Well, this is pretty good. I remember hearing about San Francisco and its uber-style on-demand society. Where everyone sits at home programming all day while they 'rabbit' or some bullshit all of their daily tasks away.

    Maybe the min wage increase will force people to innovate you out of what would have been your old job. And innovate others into lucrative side jobs.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechc...eliver-profits

    Though, listening to CPGrey talk about how horses were put out of business by cars and how AIs are coming for us, we're screwed any which way.

    It's funny too because my company has wasted money in the past trying to automate certain aspects of my design job. All the old fogies say it'll never happen... I wonder about the day when Microsoft sells off the shelf AI that just needs to be fed all the old solutions.

    Interesting thought about a society without a minimum wage:
    https://andyxianwong.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/why-singapore-has-no-minimum-wage/

    This too, also interesting, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUPirnzH2Y4
    Last edited by a500lbgorilla; 06-16-2015 at 08:19 PM.
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  8. #18233
    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post
    And to just make my actual point. It's not theft in the sense that some guy steals your TV, because it's the gov't collecting taxes. You only want people to associate what the gov't does in collecting taxes with what a man does when he steals from you because people do not like it when they're stolen from, but are sometimes alright with paying taxes.
    I knew I was missing a piece for my previous response to MMM. You've reminded me what it is. It's the third installment of the hypothetical. The first two are in the response to MMM.

    The third part of the hypothetical is scaling up the man stealing TVs. Instead of coming into just your home and taking your TV, he comes into the homes of every person in a five mile radius and takes their TVs as well. You and everybody in the five mile radius still get the microwaves, scissors, and amazon gift cards. When this happens, you wake up and claim you were stolen from. Your neighbor does as well. Everybody on your block realizes they were stolen from. Everybody in a five mile radius realizes they were stolen from.

    At this point, it's still theft. It functions as taxation to a large community, and it is still theft.

    Let's imagine you and your neighbors have an epiphany, you're gonna hold a town meeting and take control of this TV thief and microwave distributor. Half the people in a five mile radius show up, and you guys create laws regarding the theft of the TV and redistribution of the microwaves, scissors, and amazon gift cards. You decide some people shouldn't have their TVs taken because you guys deem them too poor and not able to sacrifice. And a couple of the rich guys get to have their TVs taken as well as their couches. You expand the redistribution to include bed quilts and rollerblades. A quarter of you who attended the meeting do not agree to these terms and storm out.

    A month later, everybody in the five mile radius wakes up, and their TVs are gone. Some of the poor still have their TVs, the rich have lost their couches. Rollerblades, amazon gift cards, microwaves, and scissors abound. The 50% of people who did not attend the meeting are just as pissed that they have been stolen from as they were on the previous round of theft. The 12% who attended the meeting but disagreed to the terms are also pissed. The 38% who agreed to the terms pat themselves on the back and no longer call it theft.

    Over the years, the society perpetuates itself and eventually 90% of those in a five mile radius choose to not call it theft. Somebody on a random internet forum pipes up and calls it what it is. He says that just because a majority of people have chosen to provide a loophole for this theft doesn't mean it isn't still theft.
    Last edited by wufwugy; 06-16-2015 at 07:56 PM.
  9. #18234
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    We dont need to decide if taxes are theft or not, because the people of 200 years ago already did!
  10. #18235
    Quote Originally Posted by JKDS View Post
    We dont need to decide if taxes are theft or not, because the people of 200 years ago already did!
    I agree that we should go back to a time when taxes were widely considered theft.
  11. #18236
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    We talking about A'merica tho. And in Amurricah, it was 'no taxation without representation.'

    But, our forefathers felt pretty good about taxing in general. So much so that they straight up put it in that ther constitution! That paper thingy all our government officials and lawyers and people swear to uphold and protect.

    Ya'll be sounding mighty unamerican up in here.
  12. #18237
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    Next you'll be trying to take my guns! Not today, wuggy
  13. #18238
    I lol'd

    BTW I think you did a good job of illustrating the picture I tried to paint with how people justify taxation. Just like how my hypothetical town gathered to create laws around the theft of the TVs, the founders, who were being taxed already and some who believed taxation is a necessity, said "we need dat representation to make ourselves okay with it, yo!"

    Granted, they would fucking kill themselves if they saw our system today. Taxes were fucking tiny back then, and the only reason they did it was for security purposes. I suspect if the founders knew about the eventual path taxation would take, they would have tried to make it constitutionally illegal. Of course that's fucking hard to do. I think they would have done something like make the bill of rights include the freedom of commerce and that taxation can only be used for existential threats or something. I'm just expressing baseless opinion now though
  14. #18239
    Quote Originally Posted by JKDS View Post
    Next you'll be trying to take my guns! Not today, wuggy
    I'm probably the most pro-gun, pro-religion non-gun owning atheist on the planet.
  15. #18240
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    You seem to be saying that any imposition on your part to obey the laws of your society is a violation of your freedoms.

    I'm with rilla. This conversation is all too heavy with hyperbole and exaggerated metaphors.

    In your example, the TV taker is a vigilante at best. In the case of taxation, it is a social choice.

    You (my audience here, in this forum) have the means to choose your society. Find a government that is less persecutiony of you and your ideals and go there.
    Live free, my bros.
  16. #18241
    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    You seem to be saying that any imposition on your part to obey the laws of your society is a violation of your freedoms.
    I think we have to acknowledge that it is. I think we have to further acknowledge that the type of lawful society that coincides with our philosophy is one of choice.

    I try to not approach this deductively. It isn't that I'm upset about taxation and then rationalize why it's theft; it's that I evaluate taxation with the same logic that I do theft, and I find merely a superficial and rhetorical difference.

    In your example, the TV taker is a vigilante at best. In the case of taxation, it is a social choice.
    At first he can probably be called a vigilante, but by the time we scaled up the hypothetical, he was no longer. What changed as the scale increased was not the theft, but a majority of the peoples' rationalization of the theft.

    You (my audience here, in this forum) have the means to choose your society. Find a government that is less persecutiony of you and your ideals and go there.
    I'm happy to see that you agree that people should be free to choose. It should be noted that the philosophy and function of government contradicts your view.
  17. #18242
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    Laws are laws mate. It's not murder if it's war, it is rape if they're 9, and taxing is what it is.

    We can't abide by only the laws we subjectively think make sense, that'd be total chaos.

    Besides, there's cooler theft to talk about. Like civil forfeiture, and eminent domain.
  18. #18243
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKDS View Post
    We can't abide by only the laws we subjectively think make sense, that'd be total chaos.
    If by "total chaos" you mean "an ever-improving society", then I couldn't agree more!
  19. #18244
    Quote Originally Posted by JKDS View Post
    Laws are laws mate. It's not murder if it's war, it is rape if they're 9, and taxing is what it is.
    I'm not sure what you're getting at. It sounds like you're alluding to taxation being wrong yet acceptable.

    We can't abide by only the laws we subjectively think make sense, that'd be total chaos.
    We already do this in most things in life. They're not chaos.

    Besides, there's cooler theft to talk about. Like civil forfeiture, and eminent domain.
    So the guys who steal everybody's TVs once a month use the proceeds to fund stealing everybody's dishwashers and suddenly the dishwasher theft is the only one worth talking about?
  20. #18245
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    Oh please, I'm not making a slippery slope argument. Choosing your own laws is akin to following your own moral code. It'd be like playing fallout4 in real life. A society only works if we all follow the same rules.

    Let's not get into free market theories, they have no real world basis and have a 0% chance of ever actually becoming implemented in the US. As we are, if there were ever someone, or a class of someone's, who didn't have to follow the law, the protests we've recently seen would be completely eclipsed by what would come.
  21. #18246
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    I'm not sure what you're getting at. It sounds like you're alluding to taxation being wrong yet acceptable.



    We already do this in most things in life. They're not chaos.



    So the guys who steal everybody's TVs once a month use the proceeds to fund stealing everybody's dishwashers and suddenly the dishwasher theft is the only one worth talking about?
    Taxing isn't wrong. The other two I mentioned, civil forfeiture and eminent domain, I believe are. Police officers are routinely exceeding their authority by taking cash from citizens because it "may be related to a drug crime". Nah, that is theft, and the money should be returned, the officer prosecuted and fired.

    Eminent domain is less theft, but still seems like it. There are too many instances where people are forced out of their homes for reasons which seemingly exceed the scope of what ED is supposed to do.

    Taxing tho, it's perfectly alright. We agree to pay taxes to fund the government. I appreciate that you in particular don't want to pay, but nor do I want you freeloading off of taxes that I pay.

    Yeah, I know, free market and lack of government and whatever. It's a neat alternative, but it's a fantasy.
  22. #18247
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    I evaluate taxation with the same logic that I do theft, and I find merely a superficial and rhetorical difference

    You seriously claim you can't tell the difference between a robust legal system, with broad regulations for the ordering of a society based on a long and messed up history of poorly handled pressures, and someone acting out of their own personal interests with disregard to yours?


    Again. On the face of it, you may not agree with taxes, but you were almost definitely invited to the meetings when the people who represent you voted on the taxes. Do thieves afford you the same luxury? The difference is not even remotely semantic.

    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    It should be noted that the philosophy and function of government contradicts your view.
    A) I couldn't care less about the philosophy and function of any government. I care about understanding how you can honestly say that you can't tell the difference between being burgled and being a dues-paying member of an awesome group of people who have roads and schools and police and libraries and other helpful shizwaz.

    B) I doubt you could find two people in any government who completely agreed on the philosophy and function of said gov't.
  23. #18248
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    awesome group of people who have roads and schools and police and libraries and other helpful shizwaz.
    do you sincerely believe that this is what the state is?
  24. #18249
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    Hey guys. This is my fault for going into the minimum wage shit in this thread. My bad.
  25. #18250
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    Tax is so far from theft that the statement is ridiculous.

    We, as a group, decided things could be better if we all chipped in for them, defence, police, education, infrastructure etc. We get economies of scale and and all benefit from the common good.

    We then agree that this shit gets rather complicated so we should have a few people manager it for us. Over time the things we all chip in for change, but it's broadly agreed that lots of good comes from it although there's division about exactly what should he covered.

    You are lucky to be in this prosperous caring society.

    Fuck you man, I ain't paying for that shit.

    What?

    Gtfo!

    Freedom to leave is important, but as long as you have that there is no theft, no injustice, just a common ideal and an agreement to be part of it.
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  26. #18251
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    Maybe at age 18 you should have to make a choice. Sign an opt in for taxes form and be part of society. Or refuse to sign it be escorted off the premises.
    I'm the king of bongo, baby I'm the king of bongo bong.
  27. #18252
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    Taking 30-50% of the gdp for your budget is not everyone "chipping in."

    And the traditional public good type stuff provided by the government constitutes a pretty small percentage of the tax burden. I'm fine with being pro-government, just don't frame it like we're just tithing a small bit of our earnings to pay for the roads and fire trucks and stuff. It's dishonest.
  28. #18253
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    And the theft just like a burglar stealing your TV isn't?
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  29. #18254
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    No, of course it isn't. It is basic logic. The state expropriates you against your will. If you do not comply you will be jailed or killed. It's every bit the definition of theft, but racketeering is a more apt term. I'm pretty sure I thought taxation was theft even when I was a liberal, I just accepted it as a necessary evil.

    I don't understand why you would resist the definition. If you're truly pro-government, why bother with doublespeak? I ask the same question about social justice warriors who react to the SJW term like it's a pejorative. Obviously when I say SWJ I mean it pejoratively, but if I were truly for social justice, I'd just chuckle and embrace the term when someone called me by it.
  30. #18255
    Quote Originally Posted by JKDS View Post
    Oh please, I'm not making a slippery slope argument. Choosing your own laws is akin to following your own moral code. It'd be like playing fallout4 in real life. A society only works if we all follow the same rules.

    Let's not get into free market theories, they have no real world basis and have a 0% chance of ever actually becoming implemented in the US. As we are, if there were ever someone, or a class of someone's, who didn't have to follow the law, the protests we've recently seen would be completely eclipsed by what would come.
    Most of what we do is already free market oriented. They are already implemented and already demonstrated to be based in reality. Market proponents do not argue for an experiment. We argue for what is already true in most aspects of our lives to be implemented in the other analogous aspects of our lives.

    Also, nobody proposes that people shouldn't have to follow laws. We argue that our legal systems should be subject to the same rules of choice that we embrace for the multitudes of other equally important aspects of our lives. The pro-statist already agrees with this when he claims we do have that choice when we vote. The issue here though is that the vote, while being a tool for choice, is far beneath the level of effective than the other tools we embrace in most other aspects of our lives.

    We should embrace what everybody extolls about the vote. For the statist who supports democracy to be logically consistent in opposition against markets, he has to claim that while he gets his power from his ability to choose by using a meager tool, choice by using a much more powerful tool would be bad.

    Markets are super democracy because they take the philosophy of choice that democracies provide and inject it with steroids.

    Quote Originally Posted by JKDS
    Taxing tho, it's perfectly alright. We agree to pay taxes to fund the government.
    Quote Originally Posted by rong
    We, as a group, decided things could be better if we all chipped in for them, defence, police, education, infrastructure etc. We get economies of scale and and all benefit from the common good.

    We then agree that this shit gets rather complicated so we should have a few people manager it for us. Over time the things we all chip in for change, but it's broadly agreed that lots of good comes from it although there's division about exactly what should he covered.
    We did not agree. If the frame you guys use is correct, you would absolutely be right and I would be wrong. If it is true that people who are taxed agree to be taxed, it would absolutely not be theft anymore.

    I think it's worth going back over the hypothetical I constructed earlier, as it's a representation of this. Or to be simpler about it, we live in a situation where 51% of people agree on something and that something then applies to the 49% that did not agree to this. You cannot say "we agreed" to be taxed because it is technically incorrect. You can say that you agreed to it and that it is not theft for you, but it is still unambiguously theft for those who do not agree.
    Last edited by wufwugy; 06-17-2015 at 03:01 PM.
  31. #18256
    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post

    You seriously claim you can't tell the difference between a robust legal system, with broad regulations for the ordering of a society based on a long and messed up history of poorly handled pressures, and someone acting out of their own personal interests with disregard to yours?
    This is not the dichotomy we're using. A market oriented legal system would be substantially more robust in the exact same way that every example of market oriented food systems have been immeasurably more robust than monopolized ones.

    People already "act out of their own personal interests with disregard to yours" regularly. It would be no more or less in a market. The difference is that in a legal market, people could choose the policies they believe to be right by using very effective tools. In democracy, we already do that, but with very ineffective tools.


    Again. On the face of it, you may not agree with taxes, but you were almost definitely invited to the meetings when the people who represent you voted on the taxes. Do thieves afford you the same luxury? The difference is not even remotely semantic.
    What if I didn't want them to represent me? What if I had a different meeting and had different representatives and we agreed on something else entirely, yet we only made up 7% of the population and then your group showed up and wagged its finger and forced us to be a part of your group?

    I think it has become commonplace to conflate the majority with the all. It's even commonplace to conflate a minority that holds power with the all. "We" did not agree to most of what the groups that hold the power mandate for us. This includes you and me and everybody here.

    A) I couldn't care less about the philosophy and function of any government. I care about understanding how you can honestly say that you can't tell the difference between being burgled and being a dues-paying member of an awesome group of people who have roads and schools and police and libraries and other helpful shizwaz.
    This is like saying "I don't care about knowing how to drive a car, I just need to know how to drive a car".

    B) I doubt you could find two people in any government who completely agreed on the philosophy and function of said gov't.
    There is actually pretty wide agreement on it. Even President Obama, a man who holds the antithetical position to anti-statists, agrees with us on the philosophy of government. The divergence is that he thinks the monopoly on violence is a good thing.

    That said, as things get more detailed, people tend to go all over the place. It's more of a pet project type thing than any robust understanding of the system, though.
  32. #18257
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    By freemarket theories, I meant only to exclude the idea of a country without a government. That, in particular, will never be. As such, the theories about how the world would get on without it arent of use to a taxing debate.

    Some points
    1) I think they Tax too much, and that the Taxing clause wasnt meant to be so expansive. (tho, I dont know what program/agency I'd cut)
    2) But even if they dont tax too much, they certainly dont allocate it in a way I would like
    3) AND there is some amount of theft involved (when they use tax money on ridiculous things, for example)

    But, taxes generally are a public good and a necessity to support the nation. People threw a fit when Mitt Romney revealed he payed a smaller percentage in taxes than most other people (whether the claim is true or not is irrelevant); people would go crazy if some werent taxed at all.

    I mean, there are other ways taxes could work; like a larger tax on goods/services instead of the current tax on labor (was this Ron Paul? I dont remember anymore). But even these ideas rest on the backs of flying pigs.

    Anyway, I've always hated the "if you dont like America than you can get out" argument. Debate, speech, protest, etc are all central to what it means to be an American, and the "get out" argument feels like a limitation on that. But by living in this Country and inside one of its States, we consent to the laws of that Country and State. That includes taxes, the power to do so coming straight from the Constitution. The alternatives are a long and expensive effort to reform, while still paying taxes, or leaving.
  33. #18258
    Oh BTW I think I'm making a mistake by using the word "anti-statist". I am an anti-statist, but the vast majority of free market proponents are not. They're more along the lines of Milton Friedman. They believe the monopoly on violence is good when used for law, security, and safety. But they are very wary of overreach.

    I suspect that you guys agree with them far more than with me, but that because I'm such an extremist it makes the pro-market position look extreme.

    I saw this breakdown a while ago and quite liked it: the full pro-statist believes that government should be involved in 100% of things, the full anti-statist believes that government should be involved in 0% of things, the Democrat believes the government should be involved in 50-80% of things, and the Republican believes the government should be involved in 30-60% of things. Of course, any individual is somewhere on that spectrum.

    I think those numbers are a decent assessment of the US political environment.
  34. #18259
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    You brought up an interesting point though. I think many Americans are upset/frustrated with the way the current representation process works. It'll be impossible to change things like "2 people in the Senate, X in the House", but I think an effort at changing how we select those people and how badly we care about their decisions would be effective. Certainly more effective than a change on taxes given what we currently have.
  35. #18260
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    Oh BTW I think I'm making a mistake by using the word "anti-statist". I am an anti-statist, but the vast majority of free market proponents are not. They're more along the lines of Milton Friedman. They believe the monopoly on violence is good when used for law, security, and safety. But they are very wary of overreach.
    I am all about Singapore right now. Only heard a few bits but it's a super successful sort of Capitalism with overwhelming over-reach.
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  36. #18261
    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post
    I am all about Singapore right now. Only heard a few bits but it's a super successful sort of Capitalism with overwhelming over-reach.
    Where are you reading about Singapore?

    themoneyillusion.com will have a lot of unique varied stuff about Singapore, but I have yet to find any source that fully understands it.

    Singapore is more overreaching in some ways than the West, but vastly more free-market in other ways. It has this weird thing where the social cult is still communistic but with the understanding that communism does not work. So the single party state and the socially and ethnically uniform populace are all fixated on the goal of the capitalist juices.

    It's sorta like if the US was only Republican, and instead of Christian social conservatism, we had Japan-like traditional social conservatism.
  37. #18262
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renton View Post
    do you sincerely believe that this is what the state is?
    Well, yeah. I can dither over the word awesome, but we have a space program and particle accelerators and a massive world-class university system. We have interstate highways and satellite communication. We have severe weather alert systems ...
    I feel like the list of awesome things that I take for granted on a daily basis is just too long to keep brainstorming at it.

    The benefits I see from being born in America in this age are seemingly boundless. It's not all roses, but it's pretty nice.


    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    What if I didn't want them to represent me? What if I had a different meeting and had different representatives and we agreed on something else entirely, yet we only made up 7% of the population and then your group showed up and wagged its finger and forced us to be a part of your group?
    *yawn*
    The use your own political skills to secure your group's ideals, or take your group somewhere less oppressive to your ideals.

    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    I think it has become commonplace to conflate the majority with the all. It's even commonplace to conflate a minority that holds power with the all. "We" did not agree to most of what the groups that hold the power mandate for us. This includes you and me and everybody here.
    Nah. I think it's just wufwugy pretending he's speaking for some group of people when all I'm interested in is wufwugy. I don't care about any group you think you represent or how they align themselves. I'm talking to you about what you think and why.

    Personally, I wasn't there at the time, but I agree with the hard choices made by honest people who may have disagreed with me as much as you do, but whom were trying to make the world a better place in their own vision. I don't envy them their burden of leadership on such a scale. I believe there are villains in the world, but I don't think that villainy dominates the hearts of the countless people who have struggled to build the society I live in.

    Yes, "separate, but equal" was a terrible decision. The public mental health asylums were a bad idea. There have been lots of bad ideas. Bad ideas from mostly honest, if ignorant, people who were trying to help (in their misguided way). I concede that the current system has relics of past times which may not have been helpful in the first place. I concede that things which I think should happen could well be disastrous, and that things currently being implemented could be more bad choices.

    None of this is describing thievery to me. Just a history of processes that are driven by fallible humans who can sometimes cause more harm than good despite their best intentions.

    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    This is like saying "I don't care about knowing how to drive a car, I just need to know how to drive a car".
    It's really not remotely like that.

    I'm asking if you, in your wufwugy brain, can't tell the difference between filling out tax forms and being robbed.
    I am not interested in what anyone else thinks or why they think it, except as directly pertains to what YOU think.

    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    There is actually pretty wide agreement on it. Even President Obama, a man who holds the antithetical position to anti-statists, agrees with us on the philosophy of government. The divergence is that he thinks the monopoly on violence is a good thing.

    That said, as things get more detailed, people tend to go all over the place. It's more of a pet project type thing than any robust understanding of the system, though.
    I'm certain that I didn't ask you a single thing about what Obama thinks or who agrees with him.

    Are you telling me that your opinions, as you're expressing them to me now, were motivated or changed by something Obama said? If so... What is it that he said and how did it resonate with you?
  38. #18263
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    Where are you reading about Singapore?

    themoneyillusion.com will have a lot of unique varied stuff about Singapore, but I have yet to find any source that fully understands it.

    Singapore is more overreaching in some ways than the West, but vastly more free-market in other ways. It has this weird thing where the social cult is still communistic but with the understanding that communism does not work. So the single party state and the socially and ethnically uniform populace are all fixated on the goal of the capitalist juices.

    It's sorta like if the US was only Republican, and instead of Christian social conservatism, we had Japan-like traditional social conservatism.
    http://www.amazon.com/A-History-Mode.../dp/9971694301
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  39. #18264
    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    Well, yeah. I can dither over the word awesome, but we have a space program and particle accelerators and a massive world-class university system. We have interstate highways and satellite communication. We have severe weather alert systems ...
    I feel like the list of awesome things that I take for granted on a daily basis is just too long to keep brainstorming at it.

    The benefits I see from being born in America in this age are seemingly boundless. It's not all roses, but it's pretty nice.



    *yawn*
    The use your own political skills to secure your group's ideals, or take your group somewhere less oppressive to your ideals.


    Nah. I think it's just wufwugy pretending he's speaking for some group of people when all I'm interested in is wufwugy. I don't care about any group you think you represent or how they align themselves. I'm talking to you about what you think and why.

    Personally, I wasn't there at the time, but I agree with the hard choices made by honest people who may have disagreed with me as much as you do, but whom were trying to make the world a better place in their own vision. I don't envy them their burden of leadership on such a scale. I believe there are villains in the world, but I don't think that villainy dominates the hearts of the countless people who have struggled to build the society I live in.

    Yes, "separate, but equal" was a terrible decision. The public mental health asylums were a bad idea. There have been lots of bad ideas. Bad ideas from mostly honest, if ignorant, people who were trying to help (in their misguided way). I concede that the current system has relics of past times which may not have been helpful in the first place. I concede that things which I think should happen could well be disastrous, and that things currently being implemented could be more bad choices.

    None of this is describing thievery to me. Just a history of processes that are driven by fallible humans who can sometimes cause more harm than good despite their best intentions.


    It's really not remotely like that.

    I'm asking if you, in your wufwugy brain, can't tell the difference between filling out tax forms and being robbed.
    I am not interested in what anyone else thinks or why they think it, except as directly pertains to what YOU think.


    I'm certain that I didn't ask you a single thing about what Obama thinks or who agrees with him.

    Are you telling me that your opinions, as you're expressing them to me now, were motivated or changed by something Obama said? If so... What is it that he said and how did it resonate with you?
    It's almost like you didn't bother reading what I said.
  40. #18265
    Quote Originally Posted by JKDS View Post
    Anyway, I've always hated the "if you dont like America than you can get out" argument.
    You make some reasonable points in your post.

    About the quoted, the irony of the claim "if you don't like it, change it or go elsewhere" is that's exactly what we're trying to do. It's no different than saying "if you don't like your meager ability to choose, you should choose a better ability to choose". I'd love to do that, but in order to do that, enough people need to burn the cherished golden calf of the state god.
  41. #18266
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    The State god is gonna be a thing tho. Outside of another civil war or revolution, I dont see a way that they will ever go away. Even on a smaller State, City, or County level, I dont see a non-government even being attempted.

    (Though if people really wanted to try, Detroit may not be a bad place to experiment.)
  42. #18267
    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    Well, yeah. I can dither over the word awesome, but we have a space program and particle accelerators and a massive world-class university system. We have interstate highways and satellite communication. We have severe weather alert systems ...
    And what you have to thank for these things is.....wait for it......not the government.

    Do the analytics on how we got these things and you'll find that government played a tiny role. If it is true that we need government for these things, it would also be true that we need government for the food we buy, but there's no need for me to go into depth since you already stated you don't care about understanding how things work.
  43. #18268
    Quote Originally Posted by JKDS View Post
    The State god is gonna be a thing tho. Outside of another civil war or revolution, I dont see a way that they will ever go away. Even on a smaller State, City, or County level, I dont see a non-government even being attempted.

    (Though if people really wanted to try, Detroit may not be a bad place to experiment.)
    I think it will gradually disappear without people noticing, but that may be over the scope of a millenium. The reason is that technology brings swift innovation and government has a terrible time catching up. By the time they do, people already want them to stay out. Software is a great example of this. The internet is also a good example. Look at how the FCC controlled radio so heavily and controlled TV heavily but not as much, but since it has come time for the FCC to control the internet in the same way, the push back is tremendous and people mostly want the government out of it. In fact, the only thing people want from the government is to mandate access. While that's a misled idea (government regulations are what have created the ISP pseudo-monopolies we currently have), it's still leaps and bounds more free than we used to be.

    But yes, I agree that we will never go stateless in our lifetime. I hope that maybe we can get a few percentage points lower annual government spending, and maybe some strong movement in freer market zones.
  44. #18269
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    It's almost like you didn't bother reading what I said.
    On the contrary, this is a rare conversation in the Rando thread that has my attention. I have read everything you have said on this topic. Please do me the kindness of assuming I am honest and earnest in this conversation. If I have missed something, or misunderstood something, feel free to quote it or re-state it.

    I would never devote the time to this conversation if I wasn't engaged. You should know that my trolls are usually all of one post and end with a disclaimer to that effect.


    This whole thing comes from you saying that taxation is theft. You say that the only difference is semantics. (Stop me if I'm mis-stating things.)

    To me, the only similarities are semantic, so I'm interested in the difference. To me, there are clear procedural differences between taxation and theft. Whatever similarities between the two boil down to human points of view and a sense of inclusion and recognition. Whereas the differences between the two are stark and concrete.

    In taxation, there is a long and transparent paper trail of the process and reasoning behind the taxes. In theft, your stuff is just missing with no explanation. The difference is knowledge and transparency. To me, that's not merely semantic. It's not wordplay if you can point to a thing and say, "See that thing? It's not over there." In the case of taxation, the thing is the tax code that you are invited to be a part of creating and maintaining.


    In your 7% example, you might be better served to just cite piracy. It counters my argument that the difference is openness and transparency.
    What is the outcome of the 7% whom find that there is no settleable land left for them and have to find another way to acquire resources? Surely there are more options than piracy, but are any of them just?

    I'm not beyond accepting that there are cases in which taxation amounts to forcing someone to pay for a society in which they neither have a say nor receive what they perceive to be benefits. Fine.
    It's fuzzy enough to let it slide on the notion of theft. The lack of representation is huge here, from my POV.
    However, to say that all taxation is theft seems like either a misunderstanding of definitions or some wordplay trickery.

    At the moment I'm leaning on wordplay trickery. It seems you understand what taxation is, and what thievery is, and you can see some examples of overlap. You then conclude that they are the same.

    If so, I thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

    I don't see the benefit to you or anyone else of this kind of extrapolation and hyperbole when discussing serious things, but I'm not a paragon of proper thinking, so that's fine.
  45. #18270
    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    In taxation, there is a long and transparent paper trail of the process and reasoning behind the taxes. In theft, your stuff is just missing with no explanation. The difference is knowledge and transparency. To me, that's not merely semantic. It's not wordplay if you can point to a thing and say, "See that thing? It's not over there." In the case of taxation, the thing is the tax code that you are invited to be a part of creating and maintaining.
    Okay I'm sorry for being curt. It felt like you were being curt with me.

    I'll try to clarify the bolded.

    A reason I set up the hypothetical with the TVs and microwaves was to demonstrate that the paper trail does not mean it's not theft. It isn't a lack of explanation that makes something theft. It isn't not being gifted something in return that makes something theft. It is theft when something is taken from you without your permission. There is some complexity here in that somebody can accidentally take something without your permission and it isn't theft when it is deemed truly a misunderstanding and they return it.

    I see now how saying "taxation is theft" is misleading, because even by my own argument, if somebody agrees to being taxed, it is not theft to them. It should be modified to "taxation is theft to those who do not want to be taxed". By this point, it makes more sense to go with what Rilla and Renton wanted and start calling it something more specific, like extortion.
    Last edited by wufwugy; 06-17-2015 at 07:08 PM.
  46. #18271
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    Well, yeah. I can dither over the word awesome, but we have a space program and particle accelerators and a massive world-class university system. We have interstate highways and satellite communication. We have severe weather alert systems ...
    I feel like the list of awesome things that I take for granted on a daily basis is just too long to keep brainstorming at it.

    The benefits I see from being born in America in this age are seemingly boundless. It's not all roses, but it's pretty nice.
    Please don't feel like you have the state to thank for all of those things. You're lucky to be born in a rich country, that's it. All of those things would exist in any rich country regardless of what type of government. We can have a separate discussion as to whether the richness of the U.S. is owed to the way the state is set up, but I think winning the second millennial geopolitical power-ball lotto was probably the main factor.
  47. #18272
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renton View Post
    All of those things would exist in any rich country regardless of what type of government.
    I never said anything about what type of government provides these services, just that they are indeed provided (through taxes) in my country.

    In Saudi Arabia, I understand that they have similar public works, which are largely not paid for by direct taxation, but rather by its state-owned oil industry. But then... that's a different pressure than taxation, so it's kind of a moot point.
  48. #18273
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    I never said anything about what type of government provides these services, just that they are indeed provided (through taxes) in my country.

    In Saudi Arabia, I understand that they have similar public works, which are largely not paid for by direct taxation, but rather by its state-owned oil industry. But then... that's a different pressure than taxation, so it's kind of a moot point.
    Much of what the government provides, it does so by by decree. It is very mafia-like behavior to provide a service to a group of people while prohibiting them from seeking alternative providers. The highways are provided by tax dollars because that's the only way for them to exist with the way things are. It isn't as if the the U.S. has the land on which those highways are built placed on eBay for anyone to bid for. That land is off limits to the private sector, and it always will be, unless of course you have a powerful lobbying force and deep coffers to contribute to congressional campaigns. So in light of this its hard for me to be thankful for the roads.
  49. #18274
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    I take the stance that the public provision of infrastructure contributes to the freedoms I have and that without those freedoms it would be much more difficult to do pretty much anything. Making them private would be the addition of further barriers to success, mobility and opportunity.
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  50. #18275
    Quote Originally Posted by rong View Post
    I take the stance that the public provision of infrastructure contributes to the freedoms I have and that without those freedoms it would be much more difficult to do pretty much anything. Making them private would be the addition of further barriers to success, mobility and opportunity.
    Has the food industry being private created these barriers? Is the state-owned transport infrastructure system anywhere close to as robust as the food industry?
  51. #18276
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    Roads work pretty dam well imo.
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  52. #18277
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    Yeah only 1.25 million people dying a year in auto accidents.
  53. #18278
    Quote Originally Posted by rong View Post
    Roads work pretty dam well imo.
    Compared to food, they do not.

    If McDonald's wait times were anywhere close to as jammed as standard city traffic, most people would have stopped eating there and they would have gone bankrupt. Hell they probably would have gone bankrupt just based on low sales due to such low productivity in the first place. If McDonald's infrastructure caused the sort of damage to our vehicles that the standard pothole ridden city does, they would lose revenue because of it, such a revenue loss that they would gain revenue by spending money to keep the potholes from forming in the first place. Notice how ever large private complex is organized, streamlined, and optimized. Then go to the Midwest and you'll wanna shoot your brains out over the backwards, convoluted, redundant government road infrastructure.

    Question: do you think it would be bad for a wealthy mega-corporation to have a monopoly? If so, why then is it good for a much wealthier bureaucracy to have a monopoly?
  54. #18279
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renton View Post
    Much of what the government provides, it does so by by decree. It is very mafia-like behavior to provide a service to a group of people while prohibiting them from seeking alternative providers.
    I am unimpressed by this loose comparison. There are similarities between all bureaucracies. That's not anything to do with evaluating whether the entire organization is "good" or "bad."

    Quote Originally Posted by Renton View Post
    The highways are provided by tax dollars because that's the only way for them to exist with the way things are.
    Seems like a good use of those tax dollars to me, then.
    Every business benefits from a robust logistics network that they didn't have to build themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renton View Post
    It isn't as if the the U.S. has the land on which those highways are built placed on eBay for anyone to bid for.
    I wonder if that would work. Is there anywhere this has been tried?

    What are/were roads like in places/times when taxes weren't used for roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by Renton View Post
    That land is off limits to the private sector, and it always will be, unless of course you have a powerful lobbying force and deep coffers to contribute to congressional campaigns. So in light of this its hard for me to be thankful for the roads.
    What would you prefer? How would it play out?
  55. #18280
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renton View Post
    Yeah only 1.25 million people dying a year in auto accidents.
    Hyperbole, or just wrong. Its closer to 30,000, 10,000 of which are due to Alcohol, and most of the rest are due to driver error. Its a rare case where someone dies because the road itself was faulty. This is one of the main reasons self driving cars are trying to be a thing, to decrease this risk of driver-related fatalities.

    http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812160.pdf

    edit: I see you're talking about World Car Fatalities, but i'm not sure I see the point then. In the US at least, its almost entirely driver error, so road construction is almost irrelevant. I can see how this might matter more in places like India or under developed countries where the roads arent actually in a safe driving condition, but the US is evidence that the State can do a fine job.

    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    Compared to food, they do not.

    If McDonald's wait times were anywhere close to as jammed as standard city traffic, most people would have stopped eating there and they would have gone bankrupt. Hell they probably would have gone bankrupt just based on low sales due to such low productivity in the first place. If McDonald's infrastructure caused the sort of damage to our vehicles that the standard pothole ridden city does, they would lose revenue because of it, such a revenue loss that they would gain revenue by spending money to keep the potholes from forming in the first place. Notice how ever large private complex is organized, streamlined, and optimized. Then go to the Midwest and you'll wanna shoot your brains out over the backwards, convoluted, redundant government road infrastructure.
    Idk why you chose McDonalds here. McDonald's food DOES damage our health in at least a comparable way to how the roads damage our cars. (For that matter, why havent corporations adjusted the way they make cars to better survive bumpy roads?). There have been several highly viewed stories about the dangers of eating food like McDonalds, yet their revenue is still as high as ever. The 1,000 calorie bigmac is not going away, even though we know its bad, they know its bad, and they have viable alternatives available right now (as evidenced by McDonald's menues in other countries).

    In addition, the reason roads are congested is because populations have far exceeded the original designs of the road. Take Phoenix, our highways suck because we experienced MASSIVE growth and suddenly gained 5 million people. But regardless of design principles, there isnt anything a corporation could do to change it. If you want roads to expand, that means taking away people's homes (or a business's property) in order to clear away the land. If you want more roads, you have the same problem. There is no 'bidding war' that could take place and fix the issue with our road's congestion. New York, LA, Phoenix, even tiny towns in the middle of nowhere, there isnt the room.

    (Side note, there is an effort going on right now to clear up some problems in Phoenix. To do so, the state took the houses of hundreds of families in exchange for "fair" compensation. Houses that people grew up in, have built up memories in, have perhaps lived all their lives in, are now gone. But to make a new road, this was the only way to do it.)
    Last edited by JKDS; 06-18-2015 at 03:36 PM.
  56. #18281
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    And now for something completely different.



    ^Im fucking stoked.
  57. #18282
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    Compared to food, they do not.

    If McDonald's wait times were anywhere close to as jammed as standard city traffic, most people would have stopped eating there and they would have gone bankrupt. Hell they probably would have gone bankrupt just based on low sales due to such low productivity in the first place. If McDonald's infrastructure caused the sort of damage to our vehicles that the standard pothole ridden city does, they would lose revenue because of it, such a revenue loss that they would gain revenue by spending money to keep the potholes from forming in the first place. Notice how ever large private complex is organized, streamlined, and optimized. Then go to the Midwest and you'll wanna shoot your brains out over the backwards, convoluted, redundant government road infrastructure.

    Question: do you think it would be bad for a wealthy mega-corporation to have a monopoly? If so, why then is it good for a much wealthier bureaucracy to have a monopoly?
    Well this gets to the heart of where we disagree. As far as I'm concerned, as it stands, I own it and via a vote and if need be a placard and some walking shoes, I can ensure nobody is priced out of it.

    Private roads would typically price via demand, so probably peak times the rich pay more to use the road and at quieter times the poor can get in there a but cheaper because of it. But the thing is right now the rich pay more than the poor via the tax system anyway, so I fail to see the benefit but see a huge fuck you to any poor dude needing to drive home.

    I think that hospitals, infrastructure like roads and rail links, utility providers like gad and electricity, schools, policing and defence should all be essentially publicly run. The main reason being it kinda keeps an even playing field in terms of opportunity and ensures you can't fuck the people for every penny for the basic things they need.
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  58. #18283
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    And food is so abundant and could be grown by anyone anywhere that it doesn't need to be publicly provided.
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  59. #18284
    Quote Originally Posted by JKDS View Post
    Idk why you chose McDonalds here. McDonald's food DOES damage our health in at least a comparable way to how the roads damage our cars.
    It doesn't. McDonald's food is only particularly unhealthy when over-consumed. This is true of all food, even kale and salmon. This is different than damage caused by hazards like potholes. Merely hitting them is damaging. Merely eating McDonald's is not unhealthy.

    (For that matter, why havent corporations adjusted the way they make cars to better survive bumpy roads?).
    They have. Cars have gotten much more resilient over time. Even the materials roads are made out of have gotten more resilient. These have all come from private innovation.

    There have been several highly viewed stories about the dangers of eating food like McDonalds, yet their revenue is still as high as ever. The 1,000 calorie bigmac is not going away, even though we know its bad, they know its bad, and they have viable alternatives available right now (as evidenced by McDonald's menues in other countries).
    Just to be clear, none of these studies have shown McDonald's is unhealthy, but that over-consumption is. There are currently zero studies that show long term health effects of the food itself.

    In addition, the reason roads are congested is because populations have far exceeded the original designs of the road. Take Phoenix, our highways suck because we experienced MASSIVE growth and suddenly gained 5 million people. But regardless of design principles, there isnt anything a corporation could do to change it. If you want roads to expand, that means taking away people's homes (or a business's property) in order to clear away the land. If you want more roads, you have the same problem. There is no 'bidding war' that could take place and fix the issue with our road's congestion. New York, LA, Phoenix, even tiny towns in the middle of nowhere, there isnt the room.
    Private companies handle and solve these sorts of problems all the time. You are correct that Phoenix is worse than before because of population growth, but it needs to be noted that growth in activities are not hindrances to businesses. They actually thrive on greater activity and use their innovative capacity to manage them and streamline experiences. Government doesn't. It tries to, but bureaucracy is structured in a fundamental way that it cannot do so a fraction as well as a market of competing private entities.

    The ways private entities would solve the road problems in a city like Phoenix primarily include purchasing properties and rebuilding (not taking properties, like government would have to), and congestion pricing. Governments seldom attempt some small aspects of congestion pricing, but they're not politically feasible for bureaucracies to enact (but are very feasible for companies). Dabbling in congestion pricing wouldn't fix the problem, but fully embracing it would. Apparently London and Singapore have done some non-insignificant congestion pricing and the positive effects have been significant.

    (Side note, there is an effort going on right now to clear up some problems in Phoenix. To do so, the state took the houses of hundreds of families in exchange for "fair" compensation. Houses that people grew up in, have built up memories in, have perhaps lived all their lives in, are now gone. But to make a new road, this was the only way to do it.)
    This is what I want to avoid. The state does this because it is a monopoly. In a market, these people would have to choose to sell, there's no two ways about it. They would benefit greatly from the sales too since they would only agree to them if the price was good enough for them to feel they're benefiting from the transactions. The state gets away with its totalitarian policies because it labels them as "public good" and only does them to a small enough number of people at once so as to not get too much backlash.
  60. #18285
    Quote Originally Posted by rong View Post
    And food is so abundant and could be grown by anyone anywhere that it doesn't need to be publicly provided.
    So are all the other things you listed that you think should be state-owned goods.

    Scarcity in healthcare, infrastructure, and energy is a product of government policies. This is by design too. Various lobbying groups (that include companies, unions, and voters themselves) pressured the government into giving them special treatment. This is why it is illegal for most people to practice medicine. The only time it is legal to practice medicine comes after thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars spent for accreditation, regardless of skill or the desire of consumers. Healthcare is naturally one of the most abundant resources humankind has, but in our economies it has been restricted so greatly that it has become the most expensive and scare resource.


    A different way of looking at it is that if you were correct about those needing to be public goods, it would also mean that non-public goods would be better if they were made public. This would mean that not only should we be trying to make food a state-owned product, but that history of other countries where food is/was state-owned would show positive results. Well, the history, everywhere from France and Russia to the Far East, has shown that when food is treated as a "public good", it is disastrously bad. We have a paradise today in comparison.
  61. #18286
    Also the view that food is so abundant that people can grow it themselves isn't true. Yes, you can grow carrots or tomatoes. Maybe you have some property and wanna put up with chickens for their eggs. But individually, even in small communities, the abundance isn't there. You and your community cannot produce enough calories to feed yourselves, and if you could, it would all be one type of food.

    This is where economics and private enterprise has come in and saved the day. Each region has a handful of businesses that mass produce a food type for which they have comparative advantage. Distributors then disperse the products all across the globe. Because of this, what none of us individually could do by tilling our own soil, we can "do" without even thinking about it.

    Governments have tried to control this system many times, and without exception, mass starvation ensued. The price system requires the choice of consumers in order to survive. Government doesn't operate on choice of consumers, so it doesn't produce robustly.
  62. #18287
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKDS View Post
    Hyperbole, or just wrong. Its closer to 30,000, 10,000 of which are due to Alcohol, and most of the rest are due to driver error. Its a rare case where someone dies because the road itself was faulty. This is one of the main reasons self driving cars are trying to be a thing, to decrease this risk of driver-related fatalities.

    http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812160.pdf

    edit: I see you're talking about World Car Fatalities, but i'm not sure I see the point then. In the US at least, its almost entirely driver error, so road construction is almost irrelevant. I can see how this might matter more in places like India or under developed countries where the roads arent actually in a safe driving condition, but the US is evidence that the State can do a fine job.
    U.S. gets about 50% of the per capita traffic fatalities as China and India. Hardly an accomplishment, and it's still a leading cause of death. There is simply no way that there would be that much death on private property. The liability would be too great. Public roads are practically certain to be inadequate, and while being a treated as a public good, will be perpetually overcrowded.
  63. #18288
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMojoMonkey View Post
    What would you prefer? How would it play out?
    I would prefer that they auctioned off all the roads and privatized the entire transportation network. It makes sense on too many levels.
  64. #18289
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    Quote Originally Posted by rong View Post
    Roads work pretty dam well imo.
    I saw an amazing documentary on America's public road system. I'll try to dig it up.

    TL;DR, America had a private mass-transit system that was the envy of the world circa the 1940s or some such. Then the Ford Motor Company started buying up all the companies and weakening the service. Instead of a railcar every 5 minutes, it would be every 7, 9, 15... etc. This caused more people to buy cars and eventually a glut on the roadways. FMC sponsors a commercial that says, "Demand from Congress the Roads You Deserve." Wham bam, interstate roads.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genera...car_conspiracy

    Guess it was GM...
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  65. #18290
    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post
    I saw an amazing documentary on America's public road system. I'll try to dig it up.

    TL;DR, America had a private mass-transit system that was the envy of the world circa the 1940s or some such. Then the Ford Motor Company started buying up all the companies and weakening the service. Instead of a railcar every 5 minutes, it would be every 7, 9, 15... etc. This caused more people to buy cars and eventually a glut on the roadways. FMC sponsors a commercial that says, "Demand from Congress the Roads You Deserve." Wham bam, interstate roads.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genera...car_conspiracy

    Guess it was GM...
    Assuming this is true (with these sorts of things, often much is left out of the tale), this sort of thing happens all the time. Entities desire monopolies. Pretty much all enterprise seeks 100% market share if so feasible.

    But they don't ever get it (or keep it for long) because of the multitudes of other dynamics in play. Incumbent business models have inherent disadvantages to disruptive models (I've discussed this specifically before with Walmart vs Amazon), and the freedom of choice of consumers allows the price system to work and this maintains competitive space even when the optics might not be there.

    The one thing we do not want to do when a company looks like it is getting "too powerful" for our tastes is get the government involved. The reason is because in the process of this intervention's attempts to provide more "fair" access to a good, it creates an unintended consequence of stifling competitive space. Over the scope of a few decades, this makes the products available to consumers less advanced and more costly.

    Milton Friedman used to discuss this a lot.
  66. #18291
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    Quote Originally Posted by rong View Post
    And food is so abundant and could be grown by anyone anywhere that it doesn't need to be publicly provided.
    There are a whole, whole lot of places where this is not the case. It doesn't take much of a population density to create a situation where there isn't enough land to support the people living on that land.
  67. #18292
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    Assuming this is true (with these sorts of things, often much is left out of the tale), this sort of thing happens all the time. Entities desire monopolies. Pretty much all enterprise seeks 100% market share if so feasible.

    But they don't ever get it (or keep it for long) because of the multitudes of other dynamics in play. Incumbent business models have inherent disadvantages to disruptive models (I've discussed this specifically before with Walmart vs Amazon), and the freedom of choice of consumers allows the price system to work and this maintains competitive space even when the optics might not be there.

    The one thing we do not want to do when a company looks like it is getting "too powerful" for our tastes is get the government involved. The reason is because in the process of this intervention's attempts to provide more "fair" access to a good, it creates an unintended consequence of stifling competitive space. Over the scope of a few decades, this makes the products available to consumers less advanced and more costly.

    Milton Friedman used to discuss this a lot.
    Don't let Milton Friedman tell you what happened or what will happen.
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  68. #18293
    Quote Originally Posted by a500lbgorilla View Post
    Don't let Milton Friedman tell you what happened or what will happen.
    Listening to experts is one of my best tools for developing understanding of things.

    I'm not sure where I stand on the "question everything" maxim. It's important to question just about anything that doesn't make sense to you, but I think we've fallen into a cult of believing that just because a question can be asked, it's coming from a reasonable place.

    Maybe the maxim should be changed to "consider everything".
  69. #18294
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    I like both question and consider everything. You should be able to hold conflicting views in your mind and not settle, (though it's a slick argumentative trick to point out when someone is doing it and say something like, "You'll need to do a lot of mental gymnastics to sort that out.") and you should be able to refute every view that comes by.

    When you're not being lazy, that is.
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  70. #18295
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufwugy View Post
    So are all the other things you listed that you think should be state-owned goods.

    Scarcity in healthcare, infrastructure, and energy is a product of government policies. This is by design too. Various lobbying groups (that include companies, unions, and voters themselves) pressured the government into giving them special treatment. This is why it is illegal for most people to practice medicine. The only time it is legal to practice medicine comes after thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars spent for accreditation, regardless of skill or the desire of consumers. Healthcare is naturally one of the most abundant resources humankind has, but in our economies it has been restricted so greatly that it has become the most expensive and scare resource.


    A different way of looking at it is that if you were correct about those needing to be public goods, it would also mean that non-public goods would be better if they were made public. This would mean that not only should we be trying to make food a state-owned product, but that history of other countries where food is/was state-owned would show positive results. Well, the history, everywhere from France and Russia to the Far East, has shown that when food is treated as a "public good", it is disastrously bad. We have a paradise today in comparison.
    Food doesn't need to be a pub licence good until there isn't enough food. If we have serious supply problems then it makes sense for the government to step in.

    Space is scarce enough that if we allow corporations to gobble it all up then it will be controlled by a few large corporations who rent it out as the see fit, ie to the highest bidder.

    What kind of tech advancement is going it just give us more space?

    Health care needs to be regulated due to the asymmetry of knowledge. It doesn't need to be government run, but I want it to be government regulated. I don't want a for profit company solely responsible for regulating doctors.
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  71. #18296
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    Whoa, what, since when are state agencies good at rationing food? Have you heard of the holocaust-rivaling body count famines of the first half of the 20th century?
  72. #18297
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renton View Post
    Whoa, what, since when are state agencies good at rationing food? Have you heard of the holocaust-rivaling body count famines of the first half of the 20th century?
    Literally copied this from some random website of which I don't vouch for or know I'm any way but I thought it a worthy retort regardless.

    Laissez Faire And The Irish Great Famine

    Right wing libertarian politics have never really caught on in Ireland. Part of this is due to the memory of the Great Famine of 1845-8. The Famine, though caused by blight, was made worse by the prevailing conservative doctrine of laissez faire. This was the prime example of politicians believing the free market will solve everything, that it would be unethical for the government to intervene and that helping the poor would only make them lazy and dependent. This was an experiment of a world with only minimal government, of free market principles in practice, the result was so disastrous that a million people died.

    The normal market is governed by supply and demand. Goods are sold to whoever will pay the highest price. However while this works when times are good, it breaks down in times of trouble. The Famine was exacerbated by basic economics. For example say you could get a price of 3 by selling your good in Ireland but a price of 5 by selling your good in England. Obviously you will export it even if Ireland is starving and England isn’t. This was the case during the Famine because the starving peasants didn’t have money to buy food and therefore starved. As Amartya Sen described it, it is not lack of food that causes starvation but rather a lack of money to buy food.

    A common tactic during a Famine is to ban exports of food. This way food is kept within the country and the increase in supply will offset some of the decrease caused by the blight. Prices will drop which will help the poor but harm merchants. This was done in the last major famine in 1781-2. However the government refused to intervene in the economy this way. They believed that the free market was sacred and would solve all problems if left alone. The government put their rigid ideology above the lives of millions. They put the interests of the merchants above those of the starving poor.

    The most contentious issue in Anglo-Irish relations is the allegation that food was exported during the Famine. This was a source of hatred for generations of nationalists, who remembered English soldiers protecting food as it was brought to ships for export as the people starved. John Mitchell claimed that there was enough food in Ireland to feed its people. A common saying was that “God sent the blight, but the English sent the Famine.”
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  73. #18298
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    Quote Originally Posted by rong View Post
    Literally copied this from some random website of which I don't vouch for or know I'm any way but I thought it a worthy retort regardless.

    Laissez Faire And The Irish Great Famine

    Right wing libertarian politics have never really caught on in Ireland. Part of this is due to the memory of the Great Famine of 1845-8. The Famine, though caused by blight, was made worse by the prevailing conservative doctrine of laissez faire. This was the prime example of politicians believing the free market will solve everything, that it would be unethical for the government to intervene and that helping the poor would only make them lazy and dependent. This was an experiment of a world with only minimal government, of free market principles in practice, the result was so disastrous that a million people died.

    The normal market is governed by supply and demand. Goods are sold to whoever will pay the highest price. However while this works when times are good, it breaks down in times of trouble. The Famine was exacerbated by basic economics. For example say you could get a price of 3 by selling your good in Ireland but a price of 5 by selling your good in England. Obviously you will export it even if Ireland is starving and England isn’t. This was the case during the Famine because the starving peasants didn’t have money to buy food and therefore starved. As Amartya Sen described it, it is not lack of food that causes starvation but rather a lack of money to buy food.

    A common tactic during a Famine is to ban exports of food. This way food is kept within the country and the increase in supply will offset some of the decrease caused by the blight. Prices will drop which will help the poor but harm merchants. This was done in the last major famine in 1781-2. However the government refused to intervene in the economy this way. They believed that the free market was sacred and would solve all problems if left alone. The government put their rigid ideology above the lives of millions. They put the interests of the merchants above those of the starving poor.

    The most contentious issue in Anglo-Irish relations is the allegation that food was exported during the Famine. This was a source of hatred for generations of nationalists, who remembered English soldiers protecting food as it was brought to ships for export as the people starved. John Mitchell claimed that there was enough food in Ireland to feed its people. A common saying was that “God sent the blight, but the English sent the Famine.”
    https://mises.org/library/what-cause...-potato-famine

    There are always going to be multiple ideologically-bent explanations for every historical event. I haven't done my research on this specific case either so I wouldn't call this article a retort, it's just probably worth seeing both sides.

    I'm most confident in my position that prices are the best way to coordinate the distribution of scarce food because the basic arithmetic of it makes too much sense, and the heavy-handed rationing has always seemed to end in large scale tragedy.
  74. #18299
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    Do people really think that they would pay more for roads than they already do now if they were privately-owned?
  75. #18300
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    Private roads would pretty much revolutionize the economy IMO. Peak load pricing = no more rush hour. People actually would carpool. Mass transit would actually get invested in. Probably would make a huge dent in climate change as well.

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