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Taxation, Theft and Justice

YYW
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4/1/2013 1:48:09 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I entertained an easter discussion with relatives about the following:

Taxation
Theft
Coercion
Rights
Labor
Merit
Property
The Role of Government

And ultimately, the big question: "For what purposes may government justifiably use tax money?"

My agenda for this thread is the following:

(1) I want to hear from those who believe that taxation is theft and try to assemble their shared reasons for that position.
(2) I want to hear from those who believe that taxation is something other than theft, and likewise, try to assemble their reasons.
(3) I would like to address some of the basic notions of why taxation cannot be theft in a democracy and, therefore, why even where it is the case that those who object to particular uses of tax money, if they accept the justice of the political mechanism by which their taxes are determined, must reconcile the fact that even if their particular taxation is inherently coercive, that such coercion is still more broadly justified.

We'll call this the forum discussion of Rawls v. Nozick... or something to that effect.

I want to encourage everyone to participate, even if they don't fully understand what's going on.

I also would invite the discussion of sources beyond Rawls and Nozick, whether you are familiar with the aforementioned or not.

This should be a shared learning forum, ideally.
Tsar of DDO
Greyparrot
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4/1/2013 2:10:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Taxes are the mechanism that gives government the power to enforce the will of the people.

What is the point of having democracy if there is no enforcement of the things you choose through democracy?

Basically, the wages of sin be death, and the wages of democracy are taxes.
Korashk
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4/1/2013 2:15:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/1/2013 2:10:35 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
What is the point of having democracy if there is no enforcement of the things you choose through democracy?

Well, in general the people who are opposed to taxes are also opposed to democracy.
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
Greyparrot
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4/1/2013 2:18:12 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/1/2013 2:15:34 AM, Korashk wrote:
At 4/1/2013 2:10:35 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
What is the point of having democracy if there is no enforcement of the things you choose through democracy?

Well, in general the people who are opposed to taxes are also opposed to democracy.

Fair enough.
bossyburrito
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4/1/2013 2:24:26 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Taxation is theft because you cannot refuse to pay.

I reject democracy in which the majority can impose their will on the minority.
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

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Korashk
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4/1/2013 2:24:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/1/2013 1:48:09 AM, YYW wrote:
And ultimately, the big question: "For what purposes may government justifiably use tax money?"

Opponents of taxation will say that there is no purpose for which the government may justifiably use tax money because there is no way for the government to justifiably obtain money via anything that resembles a tax.

(1) I want to hear from those who believe that taxation is theft and try to assemble their shared reasons for that position.

I like to whip out this short video when people ask me why I oppose taxation. I think it does a great job outlining the fundamental position.
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
YYW
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4/1/2013 2:27:25 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
For the purposes of this discussion, let's assume that "democracy" as I said to it above, refers not to any form of absolute democracy, but a form of limited republican democracy as would be practiced in the United States.
Tsar of DDO
Logic_on_rails
Posts: 2,445
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4/1/2013 4:35:55 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
A very interesting thread. Let us hope it achieves it's goals. I'll offer a brief starter, and may return later for further discussion; my apologies if my poignancy is lacking.

We live in a shared world - there's a degree to which we can't, at present, divide up the entire world into various bits of property. Mind you, we wouldn't want to do so anyway - imagine how many people's permission you'd have to ask in order to travel along a street if there were no footpaths! And what if some company claimed to own the air and refused you permission to breath it's air? The very notion strikes us as utterly preposterous. There is a need for certain resources to be publicly owned by an entity - government. Public goods are non-excludable and non-rival.

Obviously the extent to which public goods exist is a significant question. Nevertheless, there's some degree to which they undeniably exist. Let's work from there.

Now, many people will now be asking whether taxation is justified if people are using public goods. Should you be forced to provide funds for such goods? You certainly should if you're using the good. Something like decent air quality, which once provided is for the benefit of all, ought to be paid for by all. Or, to use another example, if your actions damage a good (pretend erosion is very significant here) then you ought to be forced to pay to cover the damages. Of course, it's very hard to assess whether every last person uses a public good, but the injustice to those few who don't benefit from some near essential, beneficial provision is significantly outweighed by the public benefit. Plus, situations without these benefits are necessarily worse.

So, one conclusion here is that not all government taxation is theft as people inevitably damage the 'common property' , and taxation is redress for damage caused. Of course, I also said a great deal of other things. I want to focus on benefits to society as a whole, and justifiable taxes.

A prime example of market failure is negative externalities. Externalities are not considered in the price mechanism, by definition, and so what society optimally wants is not reflected in this mechanism. The true cost of a good (with flow on effects to society) is found by placing a tax on the externalities, and is the most effective manner of changing market behaviour. We want to accurately cost goods when we can. Taxation benefits society very clearly in the case of negative externalities.

In a similar manner, we go about finding instances where government intervention benefits society more than the injustice served to those who don't want to pay the required taxes. This is a very difficult and lengthy question. How severe is the injustice of theft? How accurately can we quantify benefits to society? How do we deal with misinformation in decision making? We can go on and on. While I could expand upon merit goods, public goods and how governments can be useful for economies of scale, how governments can act like a localised hegemony, that's a very long post.

I'll post back at a later stage. Sorry if this is somewhat... lacking.
"Tis not in mortals to command success
But we"ll do more, Sempronius, we"ll deserve it
Ragnar_Rahl
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4/1/2013 10:56:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
A government may legitimately use money for purposes under which it was given money without aggression, so long as the purposes themselves are not aggressive. That is, the justificiation possibilities exclude taxation.

I don't see how one can call taxation not theft. Theft (robbery specificially, not burglary) is part and parcel of the definition of taxation. The government taking money by threat of force. If you support taxes, then just support theft openly, don't try to trick me Dolan.

the will of the people.
There is no such thing.

What is the point of having democracy?
A good question all on its own with no need for the additional words that were added to it.

We live in a shared world - there's a degree to which we can't, at present, divide up the entire world into various bits of property
Nonsense. Even the things like the atmosphere can easily be legally protected by reducing the matter to damages to the lungs of individuals.

Mind you, we wouldn't want to do so anyway - imagine how many people's permission you'd have to ask in order to travel along a street if there were no footpaths!
I think you're confusing "piece of property" with "fortress." One can own a street, but that doesn't mean one gets to exclude the people whose property interests already inhered the need to walk where you put the street long before you put it there. One's ownership clam is enforceable against the users of vehicles that need the street to travel there, not against pedestrians. The principle is that the earlier user must be preserved against later interfering uses.

And what if some company claimed to own the air and refused you permission to breath it's air?
You don't acquire property by simply declaring "this is my property." That's something reserved for governments, and aggressive ones at that. Now if you bottle the air... you own the bottle and the air in the bottle, until you abandon the air by opening the bottle again. People already breathe the atmosphere and use a continued stream of it to maintain their bodies (their property), that's billions of prior legitimate claims you'd be interfering with with your claim to the atmosphere that isn't legitimate even if it WERE first because there's no substance to the claim.

Public goods are non-excludable and non-rival.
This definition excludes us from being able to exclude them or rival another's use, and therefore means that whatever they are, they aren't things for a government to be conserned with because there's nothing you can do to stop them from being used. At least if this was intended to be a continuation of your argument.

I've never met a public good though.

there's some degree to which they undeniably exist. Let's work from there.
No no, work back, gimme the first degree.

Now, many people will now be asking whether taxation is justified if people are using public goods. Should you be forced to provide funds for such goods? You certainly should if you're using the good. Something like decent air quality, which once provided is for the benefit of all
Air quality is not provided by humans. Unless you buy an air filter, which is something you pay for anyway, and somthing you stick in a home and exclude and rival blahblahblah.

Or, to use another example, if your actions damage a good (pretend erosion is very significant here) then you ought to be forced to pay to cover the damages
If that good is something actual individuals use and had a claim to before your actions.

but the injustice to those few who don't benefit from some near essential, beneficial provision is significantly outweighed by the public benefit
The second clause isn't even relevant to the first. You can't "outweigh an injustice to someone," especially by a benefit to someone "else", even assuming this fellow named " the public" exists (he doesn't.)

situations without these benefits are necessarily worse.
Only for the users of those benefits.

benefits to society as a whole
Can't exist. Society is not evaluative.

So, one conclusion here is that not all government taxation is theft as people inevitably damage the 'common property' , and taxation is redress for damage caused.
Theft, when justified, is still theft. Killing a murderer is perfectly justified, but you're still stealing a life from him. He just doesn't have a legit claim not to be stolen from. Also, I don't know this "common" fellow or what claim he has to whatever the f*** property you haven't named.

In a similar manner, we go about finding instances where government intervention benefits society more than the injustice served to those who don't want to pay the required taxes. This is a very difficult and lengthy question.
If by difficult you mean completely impossible because it's not even meaningful because it requires interpersonal comparison of utility.

How severe is the injustice of theft?
That's not even meaningful in this context, justice is binary. The closes legit thing to "severity" of injustice is the likelihood of it continuing. And we know how your attempt to make us look away from taxes looks on that scale.

How do we deal with misinformation in decision making?
We don't. I do, you do, but we don't. Information is individual.

how governments can be useful for economies of scale
The record of the Progressive era is governments DELIBERATELY destroying economies of scale (antitrust laws), and then being surprised in about two decades when the economy went to ****. Sorry if I don't see government as buddy buddy with economies of scale.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
drhead
Posts: 1,475
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4/1/2013 11:08:50 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
how governments can be useful for economies of scale
The record of the Progressive era is governments DELIBERATELY destroying economies of scale (antitrust laws), and then being surprised in about two decades when the economy went to ****. Sorry if I don't see government as buddy buddy with economies of scale.

Really, now? Last time I checked, the Great Depression only happened once we got rid of all of our Progressive-era laws and returned to laissez-faire. There weren't many lower and middle class jobs for anyone to earn enough for any decent standard of living, therefore consumers spent less because they had no money, leading to the businesses overproducing stuff that they couldn't sell because nobody had the money to buy. Laissez-faire causes people to be surprised when the economy goes down the crapper.
Wall of Fail

"You reject religion... calling it a sickness, to what ends??? Are you a Homosexual??" - Dogknox
"For me, Evolution is a zombie theory. I mean imaginary cartoons and wishful thinking support it?" - Dragonfang
"There are no mental health benefits of atheism. It is devoid of rational thinking and mental protection." - Gabrian
Ragnar_Rahl
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4/1/2013 11:19:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/1/2013 11:08:50 AM, drhead wrote:
how governments can be useful for economies of scale
The record of the Progressive era is governments DELIBERATELY destroying economies of scale (antitrust laws), and then being surprised in about two decades when the economy went to ****. Sorry if I don't see government as buddy buddy with economies of scale.

Really, now? Last time I checked, the Great Depression only happened once we got rid of all of our Progressive-era laws
We did WHAT when?

Last I checked antitrust laws are still on the books.

and returned to laissez-faire.
Umm, no, we never did that. (we never were laissez faire in the first place btw). The closest thing to that was when Warren G. Harding simply DIDNT INCREASE regulation in the Depression of 1920 (which was a lot shorter than the depression a decade later where we DID increase regulation).

There weren't many lower and middle class jobs for anyone to earn enough for any decent standard of living
And how does this relate to your point?

therefore consumers spent less because they had no money, leading to the businesses overproducing stuff that they couldn't sell because nobody had the money to buy.
The businessmen still want goods right? why not just produce the stuff the other businessmen want and barter it?

Oh, perhaps they were relying on a monetary system that they didn't have any choice about? I wonder who runs that? Is it a business?

Laissez-faire causes people to be surprised when the economy goes down the crapper.
When has laissez faire ever existed for you to say this? That would be surprising.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Greyparrot
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4/1/2013 11:27:59 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/1/2013 11:08:50 AM, drhead wrote:
how governments can be useful for economies of scale
The record of the Progressive era is governments DELIBERATELY destroying economies of scale (antitrust laws), and then being surprised in about two decades when the economy went to ****. Sorry if I don't see government as buddy buddy with economies of scale.

Really, now? Last time I checked, the Great Depression only happened once we got rid of all of our Progressive-era laws and returned to laissez-faire. There weren't many lower and middle class jobs for anyone to earn enough for any decent standard of living, therefore consumers spent less because they had no money, leading to the businesses overproducing stuff that they couldn't sell because nobody had the money to buy. Laissez-faire causes people to be surprised when the economy goes down the crapper.

Deregulation...the great scapegoat.
Lordknukle
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4/1/2013 11:34:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'll play Devil's advocate.

Whenever any individuals assemble themselves into any society, they abide by the social contract illustrated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Essentially, they forfeit all of their natural liberties and nobody can anymore claim any of their natural rights. In exchange, they all gain the same amount of civil liberties and freedoms. However, the contract supposedly stipulates that individuals must follow the General Will of the populace. Thus, if it's the General Will of the populace that a government be established and taxation be used to pay for it, then it is the inherent duty of every citizen to follow this General Will.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
drhead
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4/1/2013 11:53:55 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/1/2013 11:19:53 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 4/1/2013 11:08:50 AM, drhead wrote:
how governments can be useful for economies of scale
The record of the Progressive era is governments DELIBERATELY destroying economies of scale (antitrust laws), and then being surprised in about two decades when the economy went to ****. Sorry if I don't see government as buddy buddy with economies of scale.

Really, now? Last time I checked, the Great Depression only happened once we got rid of all of our Progressive-era laws
We did WHAT when?
Last I checked antitrust laws are still on the books.
and returned to laissez-faire.
Umm, no, we never did that. (we never were laissez faire in the first place btw). The closest thing to that was when Warren G. Harding simply DIDNT INCREASE regulation in the Depression of 1920 (which was a lot shorter than the depression a decade later where we DID increase regulation).
Calvin Coolidge, too, you forgot about him. We were already having early symptoms by the time Hoover got in office. Coolidge didn't do enough against things like child labor during his presidential terms.
There weren't many lower and middle class jobs for anyone to earn enough for any decent standard of living
And how does this relate to your point?
Keynesian economics.
therefore consumers spent less because they had no money, leading to the businesses overproducing stuff that they couldn't sell because nobody had the money to buy.
The businessmen still want goods right? why not just produce the stuff the other businessmen want and barter it?
This is more about essential goods. Food, for example. No matter how wealthy you are, you only ever consume a certain amount of food. After this, where does the money go? Into the (at this point unregulated) stock market, where things were lost completely when it crashed. It is more useful, for this reason, to have money in the hands of the lower class, since when it is distributed among more people, more goes towards basic necessities. Which, ideally, we'd all be getting, so we want supply to meet demand here, right?
Oh, perhaps they were relying on a monetary system that they didn't have any choice about? I wonder who runs that? Is it a business?
It is because of business owners' collective lack of foresight when deciding to underpay workers. They don't realize that the workers are not only the ones who they pay, but the ones who pay them. There's a reason why so many people support a guaranteed minimum income, or even increasing the minimum wage and tying it to the cost of living.
Laissez-faire causes people to be surprised when the economy goes down the crapper.
When has laissez faire ever existed for you to say this? That would be surprising.
A lot of the policies were laissez-faire, though laissez-faire by itself isn't a policy, but a lack of policies.
Wall of Fail

"You reject religion... calling it a sickness, to what ends??? Are you a Homosexual??" - Dogknox
"For me, Evolution is a zombie theory. I mean imaginary cartoons and wishful thinking support it?" - Dragonfang
"There are no mental health benefits of atheism. It is devoid of rational thinking and mental protection." - Gabrian
BigRat
Posts: 465
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4/1/2013 2:41:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Taxation is enforced by point of gun. It is theft.

However, I am not an anarchist or even a radical. So, basically, theft is justified at some level. However, theft is not justified when it reduces net welfare of society however you define that. A state beyond a certain size reduces welfare (the modern state is well beyond that size).
Ragnar_Rahl
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4/1/2013 3:38:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/1/2013 11:53:55 AM, drhead wrote:
At 4/1/2013 11:19:53 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 4/1/2013 11:08:50 AM, drhead wrote:
how governments can be useful for economies of scale
The record of the Progressive era is governments DELIBERATELY destroying economies of scale (antitrust laws), and then being surprised in about two decades when the economy went to ****. Sorry if I don't see government as buddy buddy with economies of scale.

Really, now? Last time I checked, the Great Depression only happened once we got rid of all of our Progressive-era laws
We did WHAT when?
Last I checked antitrust laws are still on the books.
and returned to laissez-faire.
Umm, no, we never did that. (we never were laissez faire in the first place btw). The closest thing to that was when Warren G. Harding simply DIDNT INCREASE regulation in the Depression of 1920 (which was a lot shorter than the depression a decade later where we DID increase regulation).
Calvin Coolidge, too, you forgot about him.
Again, simply didn't increase regulation.

We were already having early symptoms by the time Hoover got in office.
"Early symptoms?"

Coolidge didn't do enough against things like child labor during his presidential terms.
That doesn't sound like a symptom of depression. It just sounds like he's not a leftist.

There weren't many lower and middle class jobs for anyone to earn enough for any decent standard of living
And how does this relate to your point?
Keynesian economics.
What about it?

therefore consumers spent less because they had no money, leading to the businesses overproducing stuff that they couldn't sell because nobody had the money to buy.
The businessmen still want goods right? why not just produce the stuff the other businessmen want and barter it?
This is more about essential goods.
No, don't be stupid, produce WHAT'S DESIRED, or you don't deserve to be in business.

Oh, perhaps they were relying on a monetary system that they didn't have any choice about? I wonder who runs that? Is it a business?
It is because of business owners' collective lack of foresight when deciding to underpay workers.
Again, don't be stupid, if you have low labor costs (you don't just "decide," conditions have to be right for people to accept jobs at such wages) you have more money on your hands and can go buy stuff. If they're going to be stupid and not produce what the money wants, they don't deserve to be in business and it's only government keeping them there.

There's a reason why so many people support a guaranteed minimum income, or even increasing the minimum wage and tying it to the cost of living.
Reason being they've never understood the concept that if you set the minimum wage high enough to matter some people just don't get hired.

Laissez-faire causes people to be surprised when the economy goes down the crapper.
When has laissez faire ever existed for you to say this? That would be surprising.
A lot of the policies were laissez-faire, though laissez-faire by itself isn't a policy, but a lack of policies.

You just refuted yourself in one sentence.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
drhead
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4/1/2013 4:59:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/1/2013 3:38:32 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 4/1/2013 11:53:55 AM, drhead wrote:
At 4/1/2013 11:19:53 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 4/1/2013 11:08:50 AM, drhead wrote:
how governments can be useful for economies of scale
The record of the Progressive era is governments DELIBERATELY destroying economies of scale (antitrust laws), and then being surprised in about two decades when the economy went to ****. Sorry if I don't see government as buddy buddy with economies of scale.

Really, now? Last time I checked, the Great Depression only happened once we got rid of all of our Progressive-era laws
We did WHAT when?
Last I checked antitrust laws are still on the books.
and returned to laissez-faire.
Umm, no, we never did that. (we never were laissez faire in the first place btw). The closest thing to that was when Warren G. Harding simply DIDNT INCREASE regulation in the Depression of 1920 (which was a lot shorter than the depression a decade later where we DID increase regulation).
Calvin Coolidge, too, you forgot about him.
Again, simply didn't increase regulation.
And how did that work out for him?
We were already having early symptoms by the time Hoover got in office.
"Early symptoms?"
Maybe the fact that community banks were failing before the stock market crash?
Coolidge didn't do enough against things like child labor during his presidential terms.
That doesn't sound like a symptom of depression. It just sounds like he's not a leftist.
However, it means people were forced to resort back to that again. Women and children got a lower minimum wage.
There weren't many lower and middle class jobs for anyone to earn enough for any decent standard of living
And how does this relate to your point?
Keynesian economics.
What about it?
Businesses were producing too much, and wages weren't increasing at the same rate. It fits right in with Keynesian economics.
therefore consumers spent less because they had no money, leading to the businesses overproducing stuff that they couldn't sell because nobody had the money to buy.
The businessmen still want goods right? why not just produce the stuff the other businessmen want and barter it?
This is more about essential goods.
No, don't be stupid, produce WHAT'S DESIRED, or you don't deserve to be in business.
The wealthy businessmen spent their excess funds on either specialized goods (which don't create as many jobs) or buying investments on the margin (which didn't work out too well). What is NEEDED and what people NEED AND CAN AFFORD are two different things.
Oh, perhaps they were relying on a monetary system that they didn't have any choice about? I wonder who runs that? Is it a business?
It is because of business owners' collective lack of foresight when deciding to underpay workers.
Again, don't be stupid, if you have low labor costs (you don't just "decide," conditions have to be right for people to accept jobs at such wages) you have more money on your hands and can go buy stuff. If they're going to be stupid and not produce what the money wants, they don't deserve to be in business and it's only government keeping them there.
Like I said, if not enough money is in the hands of the consumers, there is no demand for anything.
There's a reason why so many people support a guaranteed minimum income, or even increasing the minimum wage and tying it to the cost of living.
Reason being they've never understood the concept that if you set the minimum wage high enough to matter some people just don't get hired.
Not having a minimum wage makes it so people are FORCED to fail. Consider this: You have a single, unmarried worker, and a job position open at your company that generates about $1.50 of revenue for you per hour. You'd pay the worker about $1.25. Now, working 40 hours a week, that's about $50 per week, which is nowhere near enough for anyone to live on. Obviously you need someone doing something there, because if you didn't, you'd just either do it yourself or get one of your other workers to do it. Now, since your worker is working 40 hours there, what exactly are you expecting your worker to do so that he can actually have a place to sleep and food on his table?
In addition, guaranteed minimum income isn't always done exclusively through minimum wage. It's always better to subsidize part or all of it so that all full-time employed people making income below a certain level get enough money so that they have a bare minimum standard of living.
Laissez-faire causes people to be surprised when the economy goes down the crapper.
When has laissez faire ever existed for you to say this? That would be surprising.
A lot of the policies were laissez-faire, though laissez-faire by itself isn't a policy, but a lack of policies.
You just refuted yourself in one sentence.
By saying that their lack of policies was laissez-faire? Hardly.

At least when mass unemployment happens with minimum wage, it actually happens so we can actually fix it instead of everyone's wages being gradually reduced to an infinitesimal amount.
Wall of Fail

"You reject religion... calling it a sickness, to what ends??? Are you a Homosexual??" - Dogknox
"For me, Evolution is a zombie theory. I mean imaginary cartoons and wishful thinking support it?" - Dragonfang
"There are no mental health benefits of atheism. It is devoid of rational thinking and mental protection." - Gabrian
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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4/2/2013 2:45:26 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/1/2013 4:59:28 PM, drhead wrote:
At 4/1/2013 3:38:32 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 4/1/2013 11:53:55 AM, drhead wrote:
At 4/1/2013 11:19:53 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 4/1/2013 11:08:50 AM, drhead wrote:
how governments can be useful for economies of scale
The record of the Progressive era is governments DELIBERATELY destroying economies of scale (antitrust laws), and then being surprised in about two decades when the economy went to ****. Sorry if I don't see government as buddy buddy with economies of scale.

Really, now? Last time I checked, the Great Depression only happened once we got rid of all of our Progressive-era laws
We did WHAT when?
Last I checked antitrust laws are still on the books.
and returned to laissez-faire.
Umm, no, we never did that. (we never were laissez faire in the first place btw). The closest thing to that was when Warren G. Harding simply DIDNT INCREASE regulation in the Depression of 1920 (which was a lot shorter than the depression a decade later where we DID increase regulation).
Calvin Coolidge, too, you forgot about him.
Again, simply didn't increase regulation.
And how did that work out for him?
As opposed to increasing regulation like those after him? Well, he didn't govern a depression. As opposed to eliminating regulation? We'll never know I guess.

We were already having early symptoms by the time Hoover got in office.
"Early symptoms?"
Maybe the fact that community banks were failing before the stock market crash?
That's a symptom of the state-sponsored model of fractional reserve banking dominance starting to crash.

Coolidge didn't do enough against things like child labor during his presidential terms.
That doesn't sound like a symptom of depression. It just sounds like he's not a leftist.
However, it means people were forced to resort back to that again.
I'm sorry, how is "It is not illegal for you to do this" equivalent to "You are forced to do this?"

Businesses were producing too much
Meaningless. Businesses just weren't producing where the demand was. Why might that be?

No, don't be stupid, produce WHAT'S DESIRED, or you don't deserve to be in business.
The wealthy businessmen spent their excess funds
How did they acquire "excess funds?" Do they regard them as excess? If it's excess how can it possibly be spent?

on either specialized goods (which don't create as many jobs)
Unsubstantiated voodoo and irrelevant. "Job creation" is irrelevant to the purpose of economics-- you want to fulfill demand.

or buying investments on the margin (which didn't work out too well).
Why was there nothing to invest in that might work?

What is NEEDED and what people NEED AND CAN AFFORD are two different things.
Which is why there can be no such thing as "producing too much." To produce something desired is to afford something else desired. To produce something undesired-- well, you're not really producing in an economic sense.

Again, don't be stupid, if you have low labor costs (you don't just "decide," conditions have to be right for people to accept jobs at such wages) you have more money on your hands and can go buy stuff. If they're going to be stupid and not produce what the money wants, they don't deserve to be in business and it's only government keeping them there.
Like I said, if not enough money is in the hands of the consumers
All money is always in the hands of consumers, present or delayed. No hand has ever yet been sated.

Not having a minimum wage makes it so people are FORCED to fail.
I don't think you know what force is.

Consider this: You have a single, unmarried worker, and a job position open at your company that generates about $1.50 of revenue for you per hour. You'd pay the worker about $1.25. Now, working 40 hours a week, that's about $50 per week, which is nowhere near enough for anyone to live on. Obviously you need someone doing something there, because if you didn't, you'd just either do it yourself or get one of your other workers to do it.
Or you'd just go without the 1.50 of revenue. Because seriously if hiring someone for that only generates 1.50 of revenue and the minimum wage is 7.00 who the f*** is going to hire someone for that.

Now, since your worker is working 40 hours there, what exactly are you expecting your worker to do so that he can actually have a place to sleep and food on his table?
More than he'll do when he has no work at all. I'm sorry, in a minimum wage situation like today, that man is unemployed.

In addition, guaranteed minimum income isn't always done exclusively through minimum wage. It's always better to subsidize part or all of it so that all full-time employed people making income below a certain level get enough money so that they have a bare minimum standard of living.
Better why? How is it better for the chump paying for all that crap?

Laissez-faire causes people to be surprised when the economy goes down the crapper.
When has laissez faire ever existed for you to say this? That would be surprising.
A lot of the policies were laissez-faire, though laissez-faire by itself isn't a policy, but a lack of policies.
You just refuted yourself in one sentence.
By saying that their lack of policies was laissez-faire? Hardly.
They had plenty of policies, those policies were not laissez faire (according to your statement no policy can be) therefore no laissez faire.


At least when mass unemployment happens with minimum wage, it actually happens so we can actually fix it instead of everyone's wages being gradually reduced to an infinitesimal amount.
How are you magically capable of "fixing" the former with your guns and not the latter? How do you intend to fix it, and how is that better for the one whose hide you take it from?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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4/2/2013 8:13:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/1/2013 2:41:06 PM, BigRat wrote:
Taxation is enforced by point of gun. It is theft.

However, I am not an anarchist or even a radical. So, basically, theft is justified at some level. However, theft is not justified when it reduces net welfare of society however you define that. A state beyond a certain size reduces welfare (the modern state is well beyond that size).

I never understood how "small-government" conservatives or libertarian minarchists define wherein taxation isn't "justified" since at the very outset they've conceded its necessity. "reduces net welfare"? How ambiguous could you make that?
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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4/2/2013 5:54:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/2/2013 8:13:06 AM, Noumena wrote:
At 4/1/2013 2:41:06 PM, BigRat wrote:
Taxation is enforced by point of gun. It is theft.

However, I am not an anarchist or even a radical. So, basically, theft is justified at some level. However, theft is not justified when it reduces net welfare of society however you define that. A state beyond a certain size reduces welfare (the modern state is well beyond that size).

I never understood how "small-government" conservatives or libertarian minarchists define wherein taxation isn't "justified" since at the very outset they've conceded its necessity.
Minarchy negates taxation, not concedes it, at least the only brand of minarchy that is genuine, and the only brand you'll find round these parts of the interwebs.

BigRat ain't no minarchist.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,286
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4/2/2013 5:58:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Here are my thoughts:

Government will eventually use any power given to it for corrupt reasons, benefiting those who are in the position to return the favor to the detriment of those who are not. This is because unprincipled people will both act corruptly and protect others who act corruptly. When a politically blessed, self-anointed class cements their power in this manner both government and private enterprise are corrupted, and social mobility stagnates.

I think that this corruption is inevitable. One cannot create a perfect government in the same way and for the same reasons that one cannot grow a perfect garden: change is inevitable. Governments are not gleaming, intransigent paragons. They are organic, and they are completely dependent upon mercurial conditions both external and internal. They have life cycles which, while being distinct in each individual case, still follow recognizable templates.

Giving them the power to initiate violent force against people who have not violated the rights of others surrenders an enormous amount of power from the getgo. If one is setting out to found a new government, it is not a good precedent to set. And if it is set, it ought to be burdened with an intensive system of checks and balances in order to prevent abuse.

As to what happens after that, I hold to a sort of political fatalism. While the system is being formed or seriously reformed (on a revolutionary level) individuals can have a great impact. But once a nation is on its feet and running smoothly, only mass movements have any real impact, and they are by nature impervious to individuality and reason, and instead serve as vessels for various ideas which have been watered down by compromise after compromise to the point of negligibility. The point is to design the system at the outset in a way which slows the steady progression of rot which is every government's destiny. After that the people have no duty or power, save to kill the monster that they created when it becomes too oppressive to bear.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Citrakayah
Posts: 1,500
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4/2/2013 9:26:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hey, socialist here!

Anyway, I've got no problem with the idea of theft if the lack of theft leads to a greater suffering. For instance, if I must steal something to treat a rare for of a disease, I am ethically mandated to perform that theft. Preferably, I would later make some form of restitution, but even if I can't saving a life trumps mere property.
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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4/2/2013 9:28:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/2/2013 9:26:06 PM, Citrakayah wrote:
Hey, socialist here!

Anyway, I've got no problem with the idea of theft if the lack of theft leads to a greater suffering. For instance, if I must steal something to treat a rare for of a disease, I am ethically mandated to perform that theft. Preferably, I would later make some form of restitution, but even if I can't saving a life trumps mere property.

That seems like a very slippery slope that would (eventually) lead to tyranny and dictatorship if fully applied in a political system.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Citrakayah
Posts: 1,500
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4/3/2013 8:08:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/2/2013 9:28:07 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
That seems like a very slippery slope that would (eventually) lead to tyranny and dictatorship if fully applied in a political system.

Not really. I mean, if the dictator was a perfect being with no chance of becoming corrupt from the power and couldn't die, yes to dictatorship, but that doesn't happen. There are no immortal perfectly ethical god-kings around.

As far as tyranny... not tyranny as it is usually thought of in political circles. It's supposed to mean the rule of a cruel and oppressive individual not bound by laws. My sort of philosophy takes a stance against that, because while in a given situation a tyrannical action might result in net benefit, the sort of people who are tyrants are rarely tyrants for altruistic motives (it's something of an oxymoron), and who's to decide if the tyrannical action is necessary or not? The tyrant? Not exactly a good idea to put the entire fate of a people in the hands of a single fallible person with a vested interest in maintaining dominance. And any tyrant would, most likely, not exactly allow dissent, which is how we as a society usually figure out we've screwed up.
Lordknukle
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4/3/2013 11:45:18 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/3/2013 8:08:13 AM, Citrakayah wrote:
At 4/2/2013 9:28:07 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
That seems like a very slippery slope that would (eventually) lead to tyranny and dictatorship if fully applied in a political system.

Not really. I mean, if the dictator was a perfect being with no chance of becoming corrupt from the power and couldn't die, yes to dictatorship, but that doesn't happen. There are no immortal perfectly ethical god-kings around.

As far as tyranny... not tyranny as it is usually thought of in political circles. It's supposed to mean the rule of a cruel and oppressive individual not bound by laws. My sort of philosophy takes a stance against that, because while in a given situation a tyrannical action might result in net benefit, the sort of people who are tyrants are rarely tyrants for altruistic motives (it's something of an oxymoron), and who's to decide if the tyrannical action is necessary or not? The tyrant? Not exactly a good idea to put the entire fate of a people in the hands of a single fallible person with a vested interest in maintaining dominance. And any tyrant would, most likely, not exactly allow dissent, which is how we as a society usually figure out we've screwed up.

Ok...., so you're against tyranny. However, your position, which is that theft is justified if used for the "greater good," is highly conducive to a tyrannical form of government. There is no objective definition for the "greater good," and the impossibility of measuring it (see my arguments in my utilitarian debate) mean that it's ultimately a "feel-good" subjective phrase that people use to justify atrocities. Every single tyrannical government in history, especially that of the 20th century, has extensively preached the concept of the "greater good" as something to strive for within the paradigm of society.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Citrakayah
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4/3/2013 5:30:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/3/2013 11:45:18 AM, Lordknukle wrote:
Ok...., so you're against tyranny. However, your position, which is that theft is justified if used for the "greater good," is highly conducive to a tyrannical form of government. There is no objective definition for the "greater good," and the impossibility of measuring it (see my arguments in my utilitarian debate) mean that it's ultimately a "feel-good" subjective phrase that people use to justify atrocities. Every single tyrannical government in history, especially that of the 20th century, has extensively preached the concept of the "greater good" as something to strive for within the paradigm of society.

Correct, there is no objective definition. However, I (of course) believe that my definition is a decent one; it is 'the overall welfare of sapient and/or sentient individuals'. In reality, there is no remotely likely instance where atrocities would be justified, especially due to the cascade effects of justifying throwing the lives of many people under the bus, so to speak.

I suppose one could argue that utilitarianism would justify atrocities in science fiction-like scenarios where you have an always chaotic evil planet and blow it up to prevent them from enacting genocide later, but realistically that isn't going to happen.

Of course there's some chance I am desperately wrong. But there's that risk in any government structure, even anarchy--what if my idea of the greater good is good, and people end up suffering under anarchy?