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Anarchism with Sieben and Caramel

Caramel
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9/29/2010 7:58:02 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Sieben wrote a particularly interesting post that I would like to explore further in this forum. He would like to see anarchism implemented with a sort of soft capitalism - I believe he is hailing as an anarcho-capitalist. I am skeptical that capitalism has any function outside of a governmental scheme, as there is too much about capitalism that demands government intervention.

One factor about capitalism I am particularly troubled by is the negative externalities of pollution and resource degradation. Under normal market conditions, there is little to stop firms from over-using resources until they are destroyed, and there is little incentive not to pollute, particularly when the effects of said pollution are non-point source (small contributions by many individuals that add up, as opposed to a big pipe of spewing toxic waste, for example). One common way I am assured that I am wrong is that users of said resources do not want their own "property" to be degraded and therefore have some incentive not to overfish, overharvest, overpump, etc. But I am not consoled by this reasoning, at least not in the frameworks that I have been presented. It is too easy for firms to simply take short-term profits from over-using these resources and then re-invest in a different business venture. After all, as long as a profit is made then the business is successful. As far as I have been able to tell, whenever profit is elevated to be the main goal of our economic scheme, it will displace all other values and goals. And the kicker is that profit, a psuedo goal at best, is totally at odds with real goals - conservation of resources, efficiency, equity, sustainability... Yet I am supposed to just have blind faith that profit is going to somehow turn around the damage that we have already incurred and actually start moving us onto the right path? I just don't see how tweaking the definition of property rights is going to accomplish this, and I don't see how capitalism can function without a government, police in particular, enforcing people's "rights" to profits at the expense of their neighbors. Without gov't regulations monopolies will form, businesses will wage war over power, the proletariat will be uncontrollable, pollution cannot be abated, resources will be managed in err, public resources will be nearly impossible to imagine, the tragedy of the commons will continue, and the notion of greed will continue to resonate throughout our culture, fueled by oppression and an economic system that does not give the individual the right to humility.
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Sieben
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9/29/2010 9:28:45 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/29/2010 7:58:02 AM, Caramel wrote:

One factor about capitalism I am particularly troubled by is the negative externalities of pollution and resource degradation. Under normal market conditions,
Normal market conditions? I'll assume this means respect for self ownership and homesteading use. So for example, each person has homesteaded the right to breath clean air.

and there is little incentive not to pollute, particularly when the effects of said pollution are non-point source (small contributions by many individuals that add up, as opposed to a big pipe of spewing toxic waste, for example).

There's an old chinese story about some farmers and a tax collector. They got mad and decided to kill him one day, but no one wanted to be tried for murder. So they got him, and they all took a bite out of him. Literally. It was impossible to tell who had killed him, and no one was found guilty.

The judiciary made a mistake here. First, biting people is still a violation of rights even if each individual bite has a small effect. Second, any crime could be committed under this scheme, so on utilitarian grounds, you not only have to outlaw certain actions, but also sequences of incremental actions.

The conclusion and relevance to the environment is that it is a violation of property rights for you to burn coal in your back yard if doing so poses a hazard to anyone else. In other words, negative externalities are illegal if there are well defined property rights.

One common way I am assured that I am wrong is that users of said resources do not want their own "property" to be degraded and therefore have some incentive not to overfish, overharvest, overpump, etc. But I am not consoled by this reasoning, at least not in the frameworks that I have been presented. It is too easy for firms to simply take short-term profits from over-using these resources and then re-invest in a different business venture. After all, as long as a profit is made then the business is successful.
Firms don't win if they make a profit. They have to make MORE profit than other firms in order to attract capital to them. Microsoft could fire all its employees, turn all its factories into scrap metal, and post record one day profits. Despite this, microsoft stock would plummet to zero. These companies are trying to maximize long term profits. This anti-capitalist notion that everything is short term is completely unfounded.

And even if entrepreneurs were short sighted, whats to say that an alternative system would be an improvement? The masses typically have shorter time horizons than investors who defer present consumption in order to invest and have more future consumption. I view the market as constantly fighting the short time preferences of the masses, trying to exert entrepreneurial preference for long term gain while providing daily cheeseburgers and beer to people too stupid or too glutinous to defer consumption and invest in technology.

As far as I have been able to tell, whenever profit is elevated to be the main goal of our economic scheme, it will displace all other values and goals. And the kicker is that profit, a psuedo goal at best, is totally at odds with real goals - conservation of resources, efficiency, equity, sustainability... Yet I am supposed to just have blind faith that profit is going to somehow turn around the damage that we have already incurred and actually start moving us onto the right path? I just don't see how tweaking the definition of property rights is going to accomplish this,

Well, my definition of property rights basically makes all significant pollution illegal. It also opens up land to be homesteaded and used. Take the case of clear-cutting forests. When the government opens a piece of forest for lumber companies, the government doesn't really care what happens 30 years down the road because they'll be out of office. So they don't impose any restrictions on lumber companies, the lumber companies take their 1 year lease and cut down as many trees as possible. The result is environmental degradation.

What about when lumber companies actually own the forest they're cutting down? Well, if they clear-cut, the value of that land is basically destroyed forever. There won't be any trees in 30 years. However, if they spend the money to reseed the forest, 30 years from now, they'll be able to go again. But it doesn't just pay off 30 years later, it pays off NOW. Because they can turn around and sell that forest to someone who's willing to wait 30 years for the income.

and I don't see how capitalism can function without a government, police in particular, enforcing people's "rights" to profits at the expense of their neighbors.
So, this is a point against anarcho-capitalism. Why don't we just argue about whether capitalist rights are a good thing, and worry later about whether anarchism or minarchism (nightwatchmanstate) is the best means of securing this? Its a large topic.

Without gov't regulations monopolies will form, businesses will wage war over power, the proletariat will be uncontrollable, pollution cannot be abated, resources will be managed in err, public resources will be nearly impossible to imagine, the tragedy of the commons will continue, and the notion of greed will continue to resonate throughout our culture, fueled by oppression and an economic system that does not give the individual the right to humility.

This is a lot of rhetoric. How does self ownership and homesteading rights lead to monopoly and abuse? Why and in what way do you need to abridge these rights in order to improve things?

What's your counterplan? Like I said previously, utopia is not an option. It is not enough to complain about environmental degradation by greedy capitalists. You need a plan. And the plan can't be "environmental support". The plan has to be an actual system: a power structure or something. You have to show that THIS alternative will lead to better environmental conservation than self ownership and homesteading rights. Your main argument against capitalism seems to be greed. Well, good luck. Because as Milton Friedman points out, every system runs on greed.
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Caramel
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9/29/2010 10:37:56 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
One factor about capitalism I am particularly troubled by is the negative externalities of pollution and resource degradation. Under normal market conditions,
Normal market conditions? I'll assume this means respect for self ownership and homesteading use. So for example, each person has homesteaded the right to breath clean air.

and there is little incentive not to pollute, particularly when the effects of said pollution are non-point source (small contributions by many individuals that add up, as opposed to a big pipe of spewing toxic waste, for example).

There's an old chinese story about some farmers and a tax collector. They got mad and decided to kill him one day, but no one wanted to be tried for murder. So they got him, and they all took a bite out of him. Literally. It was impossible to tell who had killed him, and no one was found guilty.

The judiciary made a mistake here. First, biting people is still a violation of rights even if each individual bite has a small effect. Second, any crime could be committed under this scheme, so on utilitarian grounds, you not only have to outlaw certain actions, but also sequences of incremental actions.

The conclusion and relevance to the environment is that it is a violation of property rights for you to burn coal in your back yard if doing so poses a hazard to anyone else. In other words, negative externalities are illegal if there are well defined property rights.

I like this in theory, but there are practical limits to this idea. There are scientific limits as to how well we can establish causes and effects. I can't say with any certainty whether the coal-fired power plant that burns coal laced with sulfur had anything to do with my marble statue that is dissolving under acid rain, but I can say with certainty that burning dirty coal causes sulfur dioxide to build up in storm clouds. There are many examples of things that we know to be wrong, but that it is nearly impossible to discern one person's actions in the aggregate and tie it to damages to someone else. In other cases, there may not be actual anthromorphic values involved. How does capitalism account for the military's radar exercises beaching whales off the pacific coast?

One common way I am assured that I am wrong is that users of said resources do not want their own "property" to be degraded and therefore have some incentive not to overfish, overharvest, overpump, etc. But I am not consoled by this reasoning, at least not in the frameworks that I have been presented. It is too easy for firms to simply take short-term profits from over-using these resources and then re-invest in a different business venture. After all, as long as a profit is made then the business is successful.
Firms don't win if they make a profit. They have to make MORE profit than other firms in order to attract capital to them. Microsoft could fire all its employees, turn all its factories into scrap metal, and post record one day profits. Despite this, microsoft stock would plummet to zero. These companies are trying to maximize long term profits. This anti-capitalist notion that everything is short term is completely unfounded.

OK, I can accept that. But how long term are they? If a firm builds a toxic-waste dump that fails in 200 years and causes the water supply to be contaminated, I don't see how capitalism can assist here. Yucca Mountain's Nuclear waste suppository requires a 10,000+ year risk analysis. How could capitalism possibly help? Capitalism has a fundamental disconnect between psuedo-value (profit) and real value (fish, water, clean air). It is nifty the way capitalism actually does cover a lot of things through self-interest, but it simply does not complete the job. If I walk by Wal-Mart and it is on fire, I might stop and watch, and even hope that it spreads to the nearby businesses so I get a good show. If the firemen put it out I might have wished they didn't get there as fast because it looked cool. I have no interest in the workers that lost jobs, the goods that were destroyed, Wal-Mart's shares, or even my community's well-being. I do have a minute interest in a very indirect way, but that can be shrugged off very easily. I propose a system in which I would care about the burning wal-mart. The philisophical implications of this are far-reaching, if you can see that.

And even if entrepreneurs were short sighted, whats to say that an alternative system would be an improvement? The masses typically have shorter time horizons than investors who defer present consumption in order to invest and have more future consumption. I view the market as constantly fighting the short time preferences of the masses, trying to exert entrepreneurial preference for long term gain while providing daily cheeseburgers and beer to people too stupid or too glutinous to defer consumption and invest in technology.

Hmm. I see capitalism as allowing and even promoting the glutony. By letting the consumers decide, through whim (I'm too lazy to make a sandwich so I'll stop at Mickey D's). I see the short-term preferences shaping the market and controlling it, while profiteers seek to capture these short-term intentions for gain whenever they can. If they can build another sandwich shop closer to my house, I'll even stop buying meat and bread altogether and just keep eating out.

As far as I have been able to tell, whenever profit is elevated to be the main goal of our economic scheme, it will displace all other values and goals. And the kicker is that profit, a psuedo goal at best, is totally at odds with real goals - conservation of resources, efficiency, equity, sustainability... Yet I am supposed to just have blind faith that profit is going to somehow turn around the damage that we have already incurred and actually start moving us onto the right path? I just don't see how tweaking the definition of property rights is going to accomplish this,

Well, my definition of property rights basically makes all significant pollution illegal. It also opens up land to be homesteaded and used. Take the case of clear-cutting forests. When the government opens a piece of forest for lumber companies, the government doesn't really care what happens 30 years down the road because they'll be out of office. So they don't impose any restrictions on lumber companies, the lumber companies take their 1 year lease and cut down as many trees as possible. The result is environmental degradation.

What about when lumber companies actually own the forest they're cutting down? Well, if they clear-cut, the value of that land is basically destroyed forever. There won't be any trees in 30 years. However, if they spend the money to reseed the forest, 30 years from now, they'll be able to go again. But it doesn't just pay off 30 years later, it pays off NOW. Because they can turn around and sell that forest to someone who's willing to wait 30 years for the income.

OK... But the problem here is that the lumber company is now planting only the trees that draw them the most profit. Who cares about the wildlife and underbrush? You can even make the argument that they will be this super green company that actually can understand that the wildlife and underbrush are essential to the health of the forest. But we still have a forest that is "owned," which is being manipulated only to make profit off of a narrow interest. The forest has many resources, however this one company owns it and is only concerned with a specific one. We could start letting all the companies own the forest to manage it in many different aspects to produce all the goods that we use, but now we are leaving the capitalistic arena and moving towards government or socialism. We could let the businesses just own the actual resources they are using and not the land and such, but what happens when interests conflict?
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Caramel
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9/29/2010 10:49:35 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
and I don't see how capitalism can function without a government, police in particular, enforcing people's "rights" to profits at the expense of their neighbors.
So, this is a point against anarcho-capitalism. Why don't we just argue about whether capitalist rights are a good thing, and worry later about whether anarchism or minarchism (nightwatchmanstate) is the best means of securing this? Its a large topic.

Sure.

Without gov't regulations monopolies will form, businesses will wage war over power, the proletariat will be uncontrollable, pollution cannot be abated, resources will be managed in err, public resources will be nearly impossible to imagine, the tragedy of the commons will continue, and the notion of greed will continue to resonate throughout our culture, fueled by oppression and an economic system that does not give the individual the right to humility.

This is a lot of rhetoric.

Of course!

How does self ownership and homesteading rights lead to monopoly and abuse? Why and in what way do you need to abridge these rights in order to improve things?

Well, there is only enough people in Green Bay to justify one power plant. How are we supposed to use capitalism to create competition? What happens when one profiteer conquers the market and is able to buy out everyone else? We need government in these cases, if you ask me.

What's your counterplan? Like I said previously, utopia is not an option. It is not enough to complain about environmental degradation by greedy capitalists. You need a plan. And the plan can't be "environmental support". The plan has to be an actual system: a power structure or something. You have to show that THIS alternative will lead to better environmental conservation than self ownership and homesteading rights. Your main argument against capitalism seems to be greed. Well, good luck. Because as Milton Friedman points out, every system runs on greed.

I propose that we dissolve the public and private sectors completely. For resilience, we will need to produce everything we use on a daily basis locally. For sustainability, we let the community depend on one another for the things they need to survive. We cannot afford to be producing all these cheap, single-use goods and hope to succeed. I would suggest we just let people produce what they want to produce. They can use their own judgments and take into account public suggestions as to what is needed. The public will exercise power in determining what is produced by helping out in the process themselves, instead of simply taking a job and following orders. People should be working many jobs, not just one, unless they want to only work one.

I'll let you question me further from here.
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Sieben
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9/29/2010 1:26:04 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/29/2010 10:37:56 AM, Caramel wrote:

I like this in theory, but there are practical limits to this idea. There are scientific limits as to how well we can establish causes and effects. I can't say with any certainty whether the coal-fired power plant that burns coal laced with sulfur had anything to do with my marble statue that is dissolving under acid rain, but I can say with certainty that burning dirty coal causes sulfur dioxide to build up in storm clouds.

So, first of all, there's a lot of creative things you can do while respecting libertarian rights. People can choose to pool resources, rights, and obligations into one "owner". A good example is an apartment complex, where people live, have a set of obligations, and in turn are represented by their apartment complex on a variety of issues.

So instead of individually bargaining for water supplies, the apartment owners just choose for them. I.e. they solve collective action/public goods/free rider problems within their sphere. There are lots of other ways to solve these problems too.

My point here is that you don't have to be afraid of individual sovereignty bogging things down, because people quickly find it economic and practical to outsource their rights-management to specialists who can find the best providers of electricity, water, roof construction, etc.

At any rate, you ask how people deal with negative externalities that are not necessarily or not clearly rights violations? The Coase theorem provides one answer. http://en.wikipedia.org....

Although I will have to be a hard a$$ and say that, in the same way that a thousand chinese farmers biting someone ought to be illegal if not murder, a thousand rednecks burning coal is also a rights violation.

Firms don't win if they make a profit. They have to make MORE profit than other firms in order to attract capital to them. Microsoft could fire all its employees, turn all its factories into scrap metal, and post record one day profits. Despite this, microsoft stock would plummet to zero. These companies are trying to maximize long term profits. This anti-capitalist notion that everything is short term is completely unfounded.

But how long term are they? If a firm builds a toxic-waste dump that fails in 200 years and causes the water supply to be contaminated, I don't see how capitalism can assist here. Yucca Mountain's Nuclear waste suppository requires a 10,000+ year risk analysis. How could capitalism possibly help?

So, people always make mistakes okay duh that's out of the way. Second, the 10,000 year risk analysis is probably waay too far in the future. The reason a water supply doesn't have enough value in 10,000 years to preserve it for that long is that the opportunity cost is too great. Maybe it would be cheaper to only guarantee it for 100 years, and then distill the water from the ocean. I haven't run the economics so I don't know. But if you run the economics and find out that this is wrong, then, on the free market, you could make money by preserving this resource.

But so that is if a corporation owns and manages the water supply. If individuals own it, and it gets polluted, the corporation is 100% liable. No quarter.

Capitalism has a fundamental disconnect between psuedo-value (profit) and real value (fish, water, clean air). It is nifty the way capitalism actually does cover a lot of things through self-interest, but it simply does not complete the job. If I walk by Wal-Mart and it is on fire, I might stop and watch, and even hope that it spreads to the nearby businesses so I get a good show. If the firemen put it out I might have wished they didn't get there as fast because it looked cool.

You're simply observing division of labor at work. You don't have to be concerned with the burning building because its not your responsibility. It is someone else's (and they are VERY concerned). It would be very cumbersome to have every individual always on the watch for the next fire. Instead, we can just specialize, have fire-fighters, and let them worry about it. Enjoy the blaze if it suits you :)


Hmm. I see capitalism as allowing and even promoting the glutony. By letting the consumers decide, through whim (I'm too lazy to make a sandwich so I'll stop at Mickey D's). I see the short-term preferences shaping the market and controlling it, while profiteers seek to capture these short-term intentions for gain whenever they can. If they can build another sandwich shop closer to my house, I'll even stop buying meat and bread altogether and just keep eating out.
I don't see how you can have a system that serves the masses, and also keeps them out of power. If the majority really did determine policy, they probably would have door to door mcdonalds and eat it all the time :P

I don't like what all people do with their freedom, but just because it makes me uncomfortable or holds society back because they're not trying to be super-scientists doesn't make me think that free markets fail. It means that I can make big bucks if I figure out a way to motivate these people to not be so sh*tty. That's what technical colleges do when they advertise - they're trying to get people off their asses to go do something.

OK... But the problem here is that the lumber company is now planting only the trees that draw them the most profit. Who cares about the wildlife and underbrush? You can even make the argument that they will be this super green company that actually can understand that the wildlife and underbrush are essential to the health of the forest. But we still have a forest that is "owned," which is being manipulated only to make profit off of a narrow interest. The forest has many resources, however this one company owns it and is only concerned with a specific one. We could start letting all the companies own the forest to manage it in many different aspects to produce all the goods that we use, but now we are leaving the capitalistic arena and moving towards government or socialism. We could let the businesses just own the actual resources they are using and not the land and such, but what ha

Ah, well this is why I don't think people own actual land molecules or cardinal space. People own USE. So the company has the right to chop down trees, and plant them back, and do whatever security to protect their investment, but nothing else.

You also should realize that you can not only use forests for choppin, you can use them as wildlife preserves. Most homesteaders would agree that if an environmental agency puts up a fence around a forest, they have legitimately homesteaded it for environmental protection. Indeed, many environmental groups have managed to buy whole forests, preserving them indefinitely. Its much easier than trying to gain control of the whole d*mn political apparatus ><

I have to go right now. I'll get to your second post later. Take it easy!
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Sieben
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9/29/2010 4:10:34 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/29/2010 10:49:35 AM, Caramel wrote:

Well, there is only enough people in Green Bay to justify one power plant. How are we supposed to use capitalism to create competition? What happens when one profiteer conquers the market and is able to buy out everyone else? We need government in these cases, if you ask me.

Kinder Morgan is a service company for the oil and gas biz. They have massive interstate pipelines. http://www.fepipeline.com... http://www.kindermorgan.com... etc

It is most efficient for there to be only one pipeline going from A to B (kind of like a road). It would not be efficient for many companies to build competing pipelines all alongside each other. It would be a useless duplication of efforts.

So does KM have a monopoly? Sort of. Before the pipeline was built, there were many service companies looking at the prospect. There were many consumers, small and large throughout the region they wanted to build the pipeline over. KM and others went around signing "Assurance" contracts, securing transportation rates if they built the pipeline. Once KM had secured enough patronage, they built the pipeline. Consumers paid the contracted rates, made under competitive conditions.

If 20 years from now, KM jacks up the price because it has a monopoly in these regions, it will create a profit opportunity for someone else to go around with assurance contracts, secure patronage from all of KM's old consumers, destroy KM's presence in the region, and either build their own pipeline alongside KMs, or, more likely, simply buy up KMs since they can no longer use it since they lost all their customers :)

http://en.wikipedia.org...

So this same sort of logic applies to electricity, roads, etc. Although there are other ways to provide these things, assurance contracts provide one means that is successful on large scales as illustrated.

I propose that we dissolve the public and private sectors completely. For resilience, we will need to produce everything we use on a daily basis locally. For sustainability, we let the community depend on one another for the things they need to survive.
This destroys division of labor. Without interdependence we can't produce nearly as much as we do now. If we ever make it into post-humanism where we're all a bunch of immortal cyborgs, it will be because most of the world has banded together to support this.

We cannot afford to be producing all these cheap, single-use goods and hope to succeed. I would suggest we just let people produce what they want to produce. They can use their own judgments and take into account public suggestions as to what is needed.
How will they know what to produce? People will ask for shoes and ask for bread? Well people ask for everything. And stuff is scarce. How do you allocate scarce resources between competing uses?

Why would they produce things if they cannot reap the benefits from them since you've dissolved the "private" sector?

The public will exercise power in determining what is produced by helping out in the process themselves, instead of simply taking a job and following orders. People should be working many jobs, not just one, unless they want to only work one.
Again, specialization. Surgeons are good at what they do because they don't also try and become tailors or insurance statisticians.

The plan of letting the public decide what to do also assumes that they are good at planning. They haven't specialized in it. Its the same fatal flaw as a democracy, where each individual must possess expert knowledge of the system in order to vote effectively.

It's also a prisoner's dilemma problem in that there's no incentive to become educated in the first place. If the chances that an individual contribution will affect the system are low, no one will take participation seriously. Everyone reasons like this, and the system fails. See Caplan http://en.wikipedia.org...

I believe you also criticized the unwashed masses for being really short sighted...
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Caramel
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10/14/2010 12:10:07 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I like this in theory, but there are practical limits to this idea. There are scientific limits as to how well we can establish causes and effects. I can't say with any certainty whether the coal-fired power plant that burns coal laced with sulfur had anything to do with my marble statue that is dissolving under acid rain, but I can say with certainty that burning dirty coal causes sulfur dioxide to build up in storm clouds.

So, first of all, there's a lot of creative things you can do while respecting libertarian rights.

I just hope "creative" doesn't turn into "complicated."

People can choose to pool resources, rights, and obligations into one "owner". A good example is an apartment complex, where people live, have a set of obligations, and in turn are represented by their apartment complex on a variety of issues.

So instead of individually bargaining for water supplies, the apartment owners just choose for them. I.e. they solve collective action/public goods/free rider problems within their sphere. There are lots of other ways to solve these problems too.

My point here is that you don't have to be afraid of individual sovereignty bogging things down, because people quickly find it economic and practical to outsource their rights-management to specialists who can find the best providers of electricity, water, roof construction, etc.

A fair concept, if this leads to a more equitable distribution of purchasing power.

At any rate, you ask how people deal with negative externalities that are not necessarily or not clearly rights violations? The Coase theorem provides one answer. http://en.wikipedia.org....

Yeah we just went over that concept in one of my classes; it's simple but it resembles other capitalistic ideals in that it assumes these perfect situation to operate under and unfortunately capitalism destroys these situations inherently. Perfect information, perfect transactional ease, perfect competition... If I'm not mistaken the perfect information was the one that really stuck out because the Coase Theorem depends on both sides having all the facts. In competition, each side is constantly digging holes like dogs and dumping info in them for no one to know. Anything that would make the firm look undesirable is quickly buried, and anything that is valuable and helpful to others is guarded and hoarded. This basic concept is why you don't currently have access to every piece of intellectual property in the world.

In a country without excessive private motivators, one could theoretically take advantage of every nonrival good. Television and radio signals for all (why just radio?), unbridled access to all computer software, primary source and peer-reviewed wikipedia/online libraries (DDO would be a hell of a lot more interesting if everyone here had this type of access. Instead of sourcing slanted websites, we could have easier access to the actual studies and research [not what "thedrugereport" has to say about those studies, for example]).

Although I will have to be a hard a$$ and say that, in the same way that a thousand chinese farmers biting someone ought to be illegal if not murder, a thousand rednecks burning coal is also a rights violation.

The problem with some environmental externalities is that contributions towards them are so diffused and negligible (at least individually) that this still isn't feasible. If global warming costs us $100B in 20 years, suing rednecks isn't going to be what we need to fix the problem. When our water supplies degrade even further, suing people isn't going to bring them back.

Your system also implies that someone is going to need to be empowered to administer this system of justice.

Firms don't win if they make a profit. They have to make MORE profit than other firms in order to attract capital to them. Microsoft could fire all its employees, turn all its factories into scrap metal, and post record one day profits. Despite this, microsoft stock would plummet to zero. These companies are trying to maximize long term profits. This anti-capitalist notion that everything is short term is completely unfounded.

But how long term are they? If a firm builds a toxic-waste dump that fails in 200 years and causes the water supply to be contaminated, I don't see how capitalism can assist here. Yucca Mountain's Nuclear waste suppository requires a 10,000+ year risk analysis. How could capitalism possibly help?

So, people always make mistakes okay duh that's out of the way. Second, the 10,000 year risk analysis is probably waay too far in the future. The reason a water supply doesn't have enough value in 10,000 years to preserve it for that long is that the opportunity cost is too great. Maybe it would be cheaper to only guarantee it for 100 years, and then distill the water from the ocean. I haven't run the economics so I don't know. But if you run the economics and find out that this is wrong, then, on the free market, you could make money by preserving this resource.

We're not talking about water rights we are talking about a giant nuclear waste suppository that is supposed to stand the tests of time and not start leaching radioactives into the ground water supply.

But water is another good example nonetheless. First off, I take issue with just depending on us to be able to distill it from the ocean in the future. We are, even as we speak, introducing new kinds of microfilters and the like to facilitate this but until they are battle-tested we should not bank on them working as good as we thought nuclear energy would work, for example. Secondly, even if they work perfectly, that doesn't mean we destroy all our lakes and rivers and start drinking the ocean.

But so that is if a corporation owns and manages the water supply. If individuals own it, and it gets polluted, the corporation is 100% liable. No quarter.

Who is handling the implementation of suing and collecting these fees? Henchmen?

Again, there are major difficulties in many aspects of this, which only are possible now because we have a huge government to oversee it all. The EPA is by far the biggest and most expensive agency in the federal government and it is absolutely impotent to do a huge amount of tasks because there just isn't enough money. We would have to double the EPA's budget just to consider actually bringing this type of ability to investigate and prosecute.

Gotta jet.
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Sieben
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10/14/2010 12:29:50 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/14/2010 12:10:07 PM, Caramel wrote:
I like this in theory, but there are practical limits to this idea. There are scientific limits as to how well we can establish causes and effects. I can't say with any certainty whether the coal-fired power plant that burns coal laced with sulfur had anything to do with my marble statue that is dissolving under acid rain, but I can say with certainty that burning dirty coal causes sulfur dioxide to build up in storm clouds.

So, first of all, there's a lot of creative things you can do while respecting libertarian rights.

I just hope "creative" doesn't turn into "complicated."

It can. I try to use simple examples, but in practice I can't predict anything.

People can choose to pool resources, rights, and obligations into one "owner". A good example is an apartment complex, where people live, have a set of obligations, and in turn are represented by their apartment complex on a variety of issues.

So instead of individually bargaining for water supplies, the apartment owners just choose for them. I.e. they solve collective action/public goods/free rider problems within their sphere. There are lots of other ways to solve these problems too.

My point here is that you don't have to be afraid of individual sovereignty bogging things down, because people quickly find it economic and practical to outsource their rights-management to specialists who can find the best providers of electricity, water, roof construction, etc.

A fair concept, if this leads to a more equitable distribution of purchasing power.

It doesn't intrinsically lead to more equity. Its just a more efficient and pragmatic way to organize things. I'm really confused as to why you keep harping on equality. I'd rather live in a world where everyone is rich and unequal, than a world where we are equally poor.

At any rate, you ask how people deal with negative externalities that are not necessarily or not clearly rights violations? The Coase theorem provides one answer. http://en.wikipedia.org....

If I'm not mistaken the perfect information was the one that really stuck out because the Coase Theorem depends on both sides having all the facts.
No it doesn't. You shouldn't take the requirements for the Coase theorem too seriously. It states that A PRIORI we can come to a resolution if those requirements are met. In practice, it these "imperfections" can be trivial. For example, communication isn't free, but everyone has a phone. To figure out if this will cause a problem, you have to compare communication costs to whatever the benefits are.

If someone runs by me and farts, well I don't even have their number so I can't pay them to never do it again. But for like, actual serious issues, the costs will be negligible.

In competition, each side is constantly digging holes like dogs and dumping info in them for no one to know. Anything that would make the firm look undesirable is quickly buried, and anything that is valuable and helpful to others is guarded and hoarded. This basic concept is why you don't currently have access to every piece of intellectual property in the world.
First, if firms aren't open about their business, they can't get capital. Second, the only information you need is whatever is pertinent to the problem. So I don't need to know the CEO's birthday. All I need to know is that we're in conflict, and that we should investigate mutually beneficial solutions to this conflict. We don't even have to disclose information to each other because we can just hit proposals back and forth to each other. See what works and what doesn't...

In a country without excessive private motivators, one could theoretically take advantage of every nonrival good. Television and radio signals for all (why just radio?), unbridled access to all computer software, primary source and peer-reviewed wikipedia/online libraries (DDO would be a hell of a lot more interesting if everyone here had this type of access. Instead of sourcing slanted websites, we could have easier access to the actual studies and research [not what "thedrugereport" has to say about those studies, for example]).
Opportunity cost obviously outweighs this.

The problem with some environmental externalities is that contributions towards them are so diffused and negligible (at least individually) that this still isn't feasible. If global warming costs us $100B in 20 years, suing rednecks isn't going to be what we need to fix the problem. When our water supplies degrade even further, suing people isn't going to bring them back.
Why isn't it feasible? How else are you going to stop 1000 chinese farmers from going around and killing people?

Your system also implies that someone is going to need to be empowered to administer this system of justice.
We said we'd discuss law enforcement in anarchy later.

So, people always make mistakes okay duh that's out of the way. Second, the 10,000 year risk analysis is probably waay too far in the future. The reason a water supply doesn't have enough value in 10,000 years to preserve it for that long is that the opportunity cost is too great. Maybe it would be cheaper to only guarantee it for 100 years, and then distill the water from the ocean. I haven't run the economics so I don't know. But if you run the economics and find out that this is wrong, then, on the free market, you could make money by preserving this resource.

We're not talking about water rights we are talking about a giant nuclear waste suppository that is supposed to stand the tests of time and not start leaching radioactives into the ground water supply.

But water is another good example nonetheless. First off, I take issue with just depending on us to be able to distill it from the ocean in the future. We are, even as we speak, introducing new kinds of microfilters and the like to facilitate this but until they are battle-tested we should not bank on them working as good as we thought nuclear energy would work, for example. Secondly, even if they work perfectly, that doesn't mean we destroy all our lakes and rivers and start drinking the ocean.

First, the time frame for the nuclear waste example is 10,000 years in the future, at which point we'll probably all be living in cyberspace with no physical bodies. The point is that the regulation is ridiculous.

Second, "we" don't own lakes/rivers. Whoever homesteads them does. If you want to homestead a piece of land for environmental preservation, go for it. And yes there is an opportunity cost to preserving land. It means you can't use it for other things... So you might soon find that companies are willing to pay you a large amount of money to give up the environmental preserve. Its up to you, but they're demonstrating the opportunity cost.

But so that is if a corporation owns and manages the water supply. If individuals own it, and it gets polluted, the corporation is 100% liable. No quarter.

Who is handling the implementation of suing and collecting these fees? Henchmen?
Again, anarchic/libertarian law handled later.
Again, there are major difficulties in many aspects of this, which only are possible now because we have a huge government to oversee it all. The EPA is by far the biggest and most expensive agency in the federal government and it is absolutely impotent to do a huge amount of tasks because there just isn't enough money. We would have to double the EPA's budget just to consider actually bringing this type of ability to investigate and prosecute.
I hear ink costs a lot :(

No but seriously. The government is beyond a laughing stock in terms of efficiency and organization. The "more money" mantra is chanted by people who don't realize that we have a finite stock of capital. "More money for everyone! Free internet and health care!" Its appealing to the masses, but i
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Caramel
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10/23/2010 12:32:04 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I believe the problem of information is significant when competition is involved. People Compete by holding back Useful information do they not?
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Sieben
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10/23/2010 5:30:59 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
So, Company A has all its secret plans and financial data for the next 5 years, and they're trying to make a deal with Company B who does the same thing.

Rather than disclose all the company secrets to one another, they can just hit proposals back and forth.

"We'll sell you the right to use 50 drilling rigs next year for 6 months, $10bn"
"How about 60 for 5.5 months for $9.5bn"

etc...

Its kind of like how I don't have to know what your schedule, favorite food, etc is to successfully invite you out to lunch. I just have to have a rough knowledge of the fact that you get hungry.
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