L.A. Liberty

A Libertarian in Leftywood

anticapitalist:

Two people land unconscious on an island  via a crashed boat or some shit.

One person wakes up 2 minutes before the other person, and claims all the land on the island as their (sic) own. Accord (sic) to rothbard, that is perfectly fine. The second person wakes up, and is informed that he must choose between being the slave of the first person, or being dead.

Libertarians, do you think this is okay because neither person initiated force?

For starters, the first person would have to transform the land with his labor, an important caveat you conveniently removed from your straw man (perhaps click the link again). I can’t imagine how much land could be transformed in two hours, much less two minutes, but it would not be much.

(As I noted a few days ago, merely claiming ownership is insufficient.)

Second, there’s the matter of the land that the second man is occupying. It would be difficult for the first man to displace the second man for this purpose without committing aggression. After all, the second man was on that land first and did not move freely.

Third, there is no situation in which a man can be made a slave. Even an unambiguous property owner cannot make that demand of an unambiguous trespasser.

(Source: anticapitalist)

anticapitalist:

Libertarians and conservatives often argue that the minimum wage causes unemployment. They cite their trusty supply and demand graph and say something along the lines of “look, if you draw a price floor above the equilibrium price, then there is a surplus of supply, aka unemployment”. However, this simple analysis is not accurate. I’m going to make an argument for the existence of a minimum wage within capitalism.

Short Version:

When you have a minimum wage, a company will probably fire some workers to maintain its current level of profit. However, the workers who still have jobs, will have an increase in income. These workers will spend almost all of their income because poor workers tend to spend almost all of their money to survive. (Marginal propensity to spend decreases with income). Thus, aggregate demand will increase.

Aggregate demand increasing means more sales in retail and similar companies, who will in turn hire more workers. This does not mean an infinitely high minimum wage is good, but there is an optimum minimum wage: the one whose increase in aggregate demand (via higher wages) is greater than or equal to the decrease in aggregate demand caused by the firing of workers in the short term. If you cause too many workers to be fired, then aggregate demand won’t increase.

Read More

There are two ways that demand can change. 1. Quantity demanded can shift along the demand curve or 2. The entire demand curve itself can shift. 

If there is a price floor above the equilibrium price, that definitionally means prices would rise. You seem to acknowledge this. When prices rise, demand itself does not change - only the quantity demanded. After all, that’s what a demand curve represents: a graphed schedule of quantity demanded at, theoretically, all prices in a snapshot in time (which can be constructed for one person or many).

For example, if there is a sale on something you value, your demand for it does not change, only the amount you are willing to purchase at that price. It also works in reverse, except unfulfilled demand presents itself more urgently. That’s why it’s considered a curve and not a straight line; people value goods based on their marginal utility. The first amounts of a given good typically have the highest utility, whereas utility diminishes with each unit increase (this is known as the Law of Diminishing Utility).

Take gasoline, for example. Without that first gallon of gas, your car is useless. Therefore, that first gallon has the highest utility (or relative satisfaction). That first gallon transforms your automobile from useless to useful. If you go to pump some gas into your car and the price seems oddly high, you may opt to only purchase a couple of gallons, just enough to get you by for a day or two in the hopes that the price will come down. You can make adjustments in your driving to extend its use, but those first gallons are of the highest use to you. If the price is not as high, you might put in a few more gallons to extend that window of when you hope the price may come back down. If the price is low enough, you’ll fill the tank. You have the same demand in all cases, only the quantity you are willing to purchase at a given price changes.

A shift in the demand curve itself does not occur because of a price change. Overall demand for a good may change if people find more or less usefulness in said good. For example, if it is discovered that a batch of tomatoes is poisonous the demand itself may be said to change. After all, there is no price in which most people would find the tomatoes of any utility. Conversely, demand may increase if a new discovery finds that tomatoes eaten before dinner increase life expectancy. Or your own personal demand may increase if you start dating someone who loves tomatoes. 

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s address your post.

First, there’s an inherent contradiction in your reasoning, see if you can spot it:

When you have a minimum wage, a company will probably fire some workers to maintain its current level of profit. However, the workers who still have jobs, will have an increase in income. These workers will spend almost all of their income because poor workers tend to spend almost all of their money to survive. (Marginal propensity to spend decreases with income). Thus, aggregate demand will increase.

For starters, a company cannot “fire some workers” and “maintain its current level of profit.” Those workers are employed because they provide the company a certain level of productivity. When the price for those workers exceeds the productivity they provide, then firing them simply prevents losses. “Current levels,” thus cannot be maintained. But that is not the primary contradiction I wish to address.

You say “poor workers tend to spend almost all of their money to survive” because “[m]arginal propensity to spend decreases with [increases in] income.” In my explanation above, I noted that indeed the first of any good is of the highest utility. But here’s where you’ve got it backwards: if “propensity to spend decreases with [increases in] income,” why would increasing income on some while dropping the income of others to zero increase aggregate demand? It would not. Especially when you dissuade yourself of the false Keynesian notion, if you so hold it, that savings is a negative economic activity. 

You very nonchalantly declare that “a few workers would be fired,” as if this was a necessary condition to improve society. I suppose when an ideology promotes the idea that the individual is subservient to the collective, then such an attitude must be adopted. Unfortunately, the “greater good” you seek to serve is not served at all, irrespective, even, of the elasticity of demand. Bryan Kaplan addressed this when Krugman made a similar argument:

Cutting wages increases the quantity of labor demanded.  If labor demand is elastic, total labor income rises as a result of wage cuts. 

Even if labor demand is inelastic, moreover, wage cuts reduce labor income by raising employers’ income. So unless employers are unusually likely to put cash under their matresses, wage cuts still boost aggregate demand.

An even simpler way to explain it: Imagine every firm divided its existing payroll between a larger number of workers.  How is that bad for aggregate demand - or anything but good for employment?

This is an argument that Murray Rothbard makes in America’s Great Depression. He also further explains that when wage rates are artificially prevented from clearing, gains of one group are at the expense of an another group.

It is true, however, that the wider the extent of the artificially high wage rates, the more likely will mass unemployment be. If, for example, only a few crafts manage, by union or government coercion to boost the wage rate in their fields above the free-market rate, displaced workers will move into a poorer line of work, and find employment there. In that case, the remaining union workers have gained their wage increase at the expense of lower wage rates elsewhere and of a general misallocation of productive factors. The wider the extent of the rigid wages, however, the less opportunity there will be to move and the greater will be the extent and duration of the unemployment.

How would such a shift, then, affect “aggregate demand” according to your argument? With your “[m]arginal propensity to spend,” some are more poor and thus have less to spend but spend more of it while there is a correlation of others who are less poor and thus have more to spend but spend less of it…

Additionally, there are other issues you ignore. For one, employers may compensate for greater labor expenses with a drop in workplace quality. Also, employers may alter their business practices in ways to reduce their overall demand for labor. When prices for a given good rise, not only is there a glut in supply but demand becomes unfulfilled. This unfulfilled demand drives consumers to alternatives. In the case of labor, producers may find it cheaper to invest in machinery to replace the lost productivity in labor since, after all, there’s no fixed fund for wages but instead a general “capital fund.” And once the initial investment has taken place, demand for labor will decrease in the long run.

In sum, unless the goal is greater unemployment and - at best - a stagnant economy, there is no credible economic argument for the minimum wage.

If you’d like, please take a few moments to peruse my posts on subject. 

(Source: anticapitalist)

freebroccoli:

anticapitalist:

You completely missed my point.

I’ll try a different approach. 

What if the state picks an apple from an unowned apple tree and claims that the apple belongs to it? If you are allowed to do so, why can’t the state?

Why are you allowed to own property, but if the state does it, it’s coercive?

Oh, that wouldn’t be a problem at all.

The main problems with the state owning property are that it is often taken from the just owners against their will through eminent domain and paid for with funds seized from taxpayers. If you could overcome those hurdles (perhaps a group of concerned citizens bought a nature reserve and donated it to the state), then there would be no problem.

The other problem with the state and property comes in when it claims control over the property as if its claim supersedes that of the just owner, which is pretty much the definition of the state.

Actually, I disagree: that would be a problem.

This hypothetical treats the state as an individual. While a government may, in theory, not only have consent of all its “governed” not only to exist, but to use the wealth of said individuals in order to make unilateral purchases of property - such a scenario is unlikely (see my post, On The Illegitimacy of Democracy). And, in fact, a state (as opposed to simply a government with absolute consent) is by definition the coercive entity that presumes a monopoly on force in a set region and over a set populace.

So with the question as to whether “the state” may pick an apple on “unowned land” and claim it as its property, there is no answer - because how can a “state" pick an apple or any other action? Only an individual or groups of individuals may act. So for such an acquisition of property to be legitimate, the state - or rather the individual agents of the state performing the action - must have the full and proper consent of the individuals it purportedly represents to not only exist but to perform that action on their behalf and distribute ownership accordingly.

Furthermore, as to anticapitalist’s later post:

The only problem an-caps should have is with the legitimacy of the claim the USA has on the land. Outside of this, there should be no complaints about the actions the US government takes on its own land. 

I’ve addressed the legitimacy, or lack thereof, of the state’s so-called “ownership” above. To add to that, note that not only must there be universal consent, but ownership is distributed among all parties. Even in a legitimate, fully consented “government,” every individual owns an actual, tangible portion of the government’s “property.” And, as such, not only may no individual be involuntarily divested of such ownership, but any individual should be able to sell or transfer ownership in a voluntary and mutually beneficial trade. It is the individuals who own things, not the state

But to the second assertion: ownership over land does not bestow carte blanche authority for tyranny over the individuals who may be “guests,” “customers,” or “renters” on the land. Unless the “guests,” “customers,” and “renters” explicitly agree to whatever action the owner takes, either by contractual reciprocity or agreed-upon penalty for non-compliance, then such an action is illegitimate. If I invite guests over to my house for a dinner party, I do not gain the authority to harm them once they are on my property. The revocation of their self-ownership was not part of the agreement. I cannot unilaterally change the expectations of their visit and charge them an exit fee or take their clothing or hit them with bats or anything of the sort. Unless they have initiated aggression against me or someone else, they cannot be harmed. 

(Source: anticapitalist)

Back in 2010, I posted:

Einstein had great insight into science and man, but was a socialist. Mikhail Bakunin was a great enemy of the oppressive state, but was wrong about economics. Alexander Hamilton understood that even democracy could be tyrannical, but he was a central banking, quasi-statist, proto-Keynesian.

I know the left specializes in the ad hominem, but I separate the message from the man - for wisdom can be gleaned even from the unwise.

This was in response to a rejoinder from a leftist blogger who found it quizzical that I would quote Emma Goldman. Her husband also took offense at a libertarian’s quoting of Nietzche because - as he put it - “nietzsche is on our side.”

But, you see, wisdom need not only be found in those with whom you always agree with. Despite everything else, Emma Goldman was an outspoken activist against war and found great value in the individual - in a way that is admirable to libertarians. Whatever Nietzche was, he was certainly an individualist. And in this arena, we can learn from his thoughts.

In neither case did I “claim” Goldman or Nietsche to “our side.”

In a back and forth earlier tonight with another blogger, I offered a link pondering whether Mohandas Gandhi fit in “the libertarian tradition,” which in context meant anti-statism, individualism, non-aggression.

Though my initial comment included a tongue-in-cheek knock against Reason and their recent streak of fairly un-libertarian commentary (which apparently was not read as such), there were ultimately no definitive declarations made. 

And I reiterated the initial point I made with this post: “If we all only valued those who were pure in ideology, we’d learn nothing.” In other words: if we insulate ourselves from the insights of those we’d otherwise disagree with, what kind of static and intellectually stunted “society” would result? 

His argument

[H]e’s not an individualist,

I defer to the original link that I offered:  In contrast to the supposedly Oriental view that the individual counts for nothing, Gandhi argued that “the individual is the one supreme consideration.” “No society,” Gandhi wrote, “can possibly be built upon a denial of individual freedom. It is contrary to the very nature of man. Just as a man will not grow horns or a tail, so will he not exist as man if he has no mind of his own. In reality even those who do not believe in the liberty of the individual believe in their own.”

His concern for the collective seems to have sprung from his concern for the individual, some argue. 

and he doesn’t follow the libertarian ‘non-aggression’ principle.

Again from the original link: It’s true that libertarianism is not pacifism — at least, not necessarily. On the other hand, pacifism is libertarianism. If you abjure all violence, you must abjure the state.

The non-aggression principle was never mentioned. Pacifism is simply a form of non-aggression, particularly his anti-statist pacifism.

He’s only an anti-statist. But you claim him because “If we all only valued those who were pure in ideology, we’d learn nothing.”

I never “claimed” him. For those who believe in communal property rights, leftists sure say “mine!” a lot. I thought sharing was principal to the ideology?

I therefore claim that Mises lived in socialist tradition, and that many people can follow these jagged guidelines and classify as living in ‘libertarian tradition’.

I’d be interested to hear this argument. I, for one, invite leftists to read Mises and Rothbard and Hoppe and Spooner and see if there are any points of agreement. I think that would make for some compelling discussions.

In fact, that’s part of the libertarian/anarcho-capitalist/voluntaryist argument: we believe our ideology is instinctual. Indeed, it would be uncontroversial to suggest that most people would be opposed to “theft, assault, battery, murder, slavery, rape, fraud, trespass, destruction of property, and the threats thereof” - which are all the basic violations of the non-aggression principle, and the “laws” that would naturally arise in a voluntary society. We believe most people can sympathize with at least some elements of the libertarian philosophy, and, since we also believe ours to be a logically consistent ideology, calling attention to points of agreement can bring better understanding to the points of disagreement.

If one only needs to follow one out of the three requirements, then every individualist (and thus most conservatives) is a libertarian. Anti-statist? Most progressives and anarchists. Non-aggression? Almost every buddhist/hindu/follower of eastern philosophy.

There you have it, a shit ton of people live in ‘libertarian tradition’.

Good thing most of them don’t support Ron Paul.

And here is where logic unsurprisingly fails. Perhaps it’s an incorrect interpretation to suggest Gandhi was an individualist, and perhaps you’d invalidate the common impulses of non-aggression because the philosophical origins are different… but that doesn’t mean that the original argument, which was about multiple points of correlation, can now be distilled to one singular point. That would, indeed, be meaningless - and an irrelevant conclusion

(And Ron Paul was never mentioned.) 

I have great admiration for Mohandas Gandhi. He expressed reservations with private property and capitalism, to be sure, though many of his criticisms of “capitalism” can be understood as critiques on colonial mercantilism (or what we’d consider corporatism, today - hardly a free market). In fact, I doubt Gandhi would be opposed to the free, consensual exchange of free individuals, which is what a free market is. So perhaps Gandhi can be seen as at leastmutualist?

(Update: whakatikatika makes his case that even Gandhi’s private property reservations are not as pronounced as generally understood and there may be more points of commonality with libertarians.) 

In any case, I need not “claim him” to value his wisdom, and to consider him an inspiration in fighting against the oppressive nature of the state. If we can put aside his domestic shortcomings to appreciate his life’s work, we can also find individual elements we value as separate from the whole.

Ron Paul Would Erase Billions in Research Spending →

Presidential hopeful Ron Paul’s new proposal to slash federal spending would wipe out large chunks of the government’s research portfolio. …

I would certainly hope so.

Personally, I don’t find it appropriate to put a gun to my neighbor’s head and rob him in the name of “science research” (even assuming it was properly spent, which would be tremendously generous to the lumbering and corrupt bureaucratic apparatus that is government). And I further don’t find it any more appropriate to employ others, namely agents of the state, to rob him on my behalf.

But Ron Paul wouldn’t stop free people from funding research themselves - and that tends to be more efficient and successful, and thus less funding would be required

He’d cut a lot more spending in many other areas if he had his way, too. But that funding will instead remain in the economy and circulate (through spending, investments, or savings) in a manner more representative of individual preferences, as opposed to being engineered by a cadre of plutocrats, politicians, bureaucrats, and their corporate cronies. Personally, I find it foolish to trust the distribution of research funds to some politician whose only expertise comes from the lobbyists padding his wallet and whichever corporate “researchers” within his district may employ his constituency.

(Source: anticapitalist)

anticapitalist:

laliberty:

Stay classy, lefties.

>implying leftists support Obama
>Implying Andrew Sullivan is a leftist
Obama has been and will always be right of center.
What you see here is a right of center editor critiquing the far right or the left for not liking Obama.
Stop blaming the left for the idiocy of the ‘moderates’.


First, the “lefties” snark was in regards to Newsweek, not Andrew Sullivan. I thought that would be obvious since “lefties” is plural and, last I checked, Andrew Sullivan was a single person. For the sake of clarity, though, I’ve since revised it to statists.
Second, I’m not surprised that those who object to libertarians using the term libertarian and wish to define anarchism as more than simply anti-statism (by also excluding recognition of private property and voluntary forms of hierarchy, as well as demanding certain forms of positive reciprocity, among other conditions) also have wild definitions of “left” and “right.” That chart is hilarious.
The left, as I see it, generally consists of those, mostly statists, who put an emphasis on personal liberty over economic liberty, and tend have a collectivist mindset. Also - and this is key - Democrats would, generally speaking, fall under the wide designation of “left.” Seeing, then, that Democrats are generally viewed as leftists, not recognizing that Obama’s support comes from the left requires a gracious sabbatical from reality.
In any case, I will agree that there isn’t much difference between the American right and American left. For the most part, they tend to simply be two wings in the same statist party. As Andrew Napolitano is fond of saying: “We have one party; called the Big Government Party. The Republican wing likes deficits, war, and assaults on civil liberties. The Democratic wing likes wealth transfer, taxes, and assaults on commercial liberties. Both parties like power; and neither is interested in your freedoms.”
And whether you see him as on the right or left, Obama deserves every bit of criticism he receives.

anticapitalist:

laliberty:

Stay classy, lefties.

>implying leftists support Obama

>Implying Andrew Sullivan is a leftist

Obama has been and will always be right of center.

What you see here is a right of center editor critiquing the far right or the left for not liking Obama.

Stop blaming the left for the idiocy of the ‘moderates’.

First, the “lefties” snark was in regards to Newsweek, not Andrew Sullivan. I thought that would be obvious since “lefties” is plural and, last I checked, Andrew Sullivan was a single person. For the sake of clarity, though, I’ve since revised it to statists.

Second, I’m not surprised that those who object to libertarians using the term libertarian and wish to define anarchism as more than simply anti-statism (by also excluding recognition of private property and voluntary forms of hierarchy, as well as demanding certain forms of positive reciprocity, among other conditions) also have wild definitions of “left” and “right.” That chart is hilarious.

The left, as I see it, generally consists of those, mostly statists, who put an emphasis on personal liberty over economic liberty, and tend have a collectivist mindset. Also - and this is key - Democrats would, generally speaking, fall under the wide designation of “left.” Seeing, then, that Democrats are generally viewed as leftists, not recognizing that Obama’s support comes from the left requires a gracious sabbatical from reality.

In any case, I will agree that there isn’t much difference between the American right and American left. For the most part, they tend to simply be two wings in the same statist party. As Andrew Napolitano is fond of saying: “We have one party; called the Big Government Party. The Republican wing likes deficits, war, and assaults on civil liberties. The Democratic wing likes wealth transfer, taxes, and assaults on commercial liberties. Both parties like power; and neither is interested in your freedoms.”

And whether you see him as on the right or left, Obama deserves every bit of criticism he receives.

(Source: laliberty, via anticapitalist)

anticapitalist asked: What is your opinion of mutualism?

http://laliberty.tumblr.com/tagged/mutualism

The posts additionally tagged with  denote my own thoughts.

Basically, in my opinion, they’ve got some appealing rhetoric and some of the right ideas on individual liberty and the market; but with support of the labor theory of value, belief in personal over private property, and aversion to all forms of hierarchy, they’ve probably got more in common with collectivism than individualism.

anticapitalist:

laliberty:

Obama recently claimed: “Nearly a decade of tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires led to little more than sluggish growth [and] a shrinking middle class. Your paychecks flatlined. Wages and incomes did not go up. Even when the economy was growing, it wasn’t growing for you.”
Reality illustrates otherwise:  ”In the seven years from 2001-2007 (inclusive), not only did the middle class get at least its fair share of overall income growth, the income gap between the rich and the middle class actually got smaller.”
The Myth of Middle-Class Stagnation

 This is complete and utter bullshit.
Firstly, measuring growth in terms of total income/FTE has been debunked. You are presenting the data in a misleading way. The reason this is a problem is because middle class families do not have access to overtime hours because of the recession. Businesses are not hiring people for as long periods/for the same length of work. This is a basic economic concept. You do not measure income in terms of total income/FTE. (for those who don’t know, FTE = full time equivalent, and is used to compare people who work different number of hours)
Also:

shows that income inequality is rising.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that your claim is true, and that the income inequality is shrinking. During that period, the government increased it’s involvement in economic matters (funding 2 wars greatly impacts the economy). Thus, according to your logic, big government isn’t too bad after all, because the income gap did decrease when the government impacted the economy. At least if I follow though on your logic, that is what you are saying.

First, because Obama was discussing a “decade of tax breaks” and “even when the economy was growing,” this is data from before the recession during the time of a growing economy, so your initial technical objection does not apply. Of course things are bad during a recession. This is not obvious? (Though, as more than one link below illustrates, it seems that the recession itself seemed to narrow income inequality.)
Now, your point about FTE may be a fair one since it is true that depending on which data you look at and how it is parsed, inequality may seem to be expanding. In fact, much of the rising inequality that is charted by macroeconomists comes from the distorting effects of changing demographics, namely the expanding number of divorces and singles have diluted what used to be a multiple-earner “household” income (which is the most common way inequality data is presented). And, indeed, the growth of the number of “households” has exceeded population growth. Also, a crucial factor to understand when looking at income brackets is the mobility between brackets - the actual individuals who compose a certain quintile rarely remain in that quintile. Further, Gini coefficients, an oft-used metric for noting gaps in income, overstates inequality by ignoring taxes, welfare, and other transfer payments in its calculations. Also, average or median income can be seen to stagnate or fall even if everyone’s income rises. But given your objection about misleading data, to then use a chart of real dollars and no labels or legends confuses things for the same reason that looking at, for example, tax cuts by income bracket using real dollars is misleading. 
Here are a few pieces on income inequality I believe are worth reading:
Income Inequality Data Has Flaws
Rising Incomes and Falling Income Statistics
The Real Economic Scorecard
Doesn’t Appear that Income “Inequality” is On the Rise
The Facts About Income Inequality
Income inequality can be explained by household demographics
On the CBO’s Income-Differences Report
The Growing Wealth Gap? ‘Fortune’ Makes up the Numbers
The Economic Condition of Poor Americans (and the rest of us) Continues to Improve
The Income Gap Obsession
Don’t Mind the Gap: What matters is income mobility, not income inequality
57.4 Percent of 1996′s Privileged 1% Are Now Among the Beleaguered 99%
The Economy Tanked but, Hey, Wealth Inequality Declined
There’s no their there: Today’s Top 1% are not Yesteryear’s Top 1%
Ending Income Inequality?
What is Wealth Inequality?
The Income Inequality Hoax
Muscle Inequality
Machan on Inequality
The Inequality of Wealth and Income (from Mises’ Liberalism)
I’m sure you’ll find ideological reasons to disagree, but I would hope you’d acknowledge they are still earnest, thoughtful assessments not so easily dismissed.
Of course, I see “income inequality” as, at most, a secondary concern. Affording all individuals their birthright of self-ownership - allowing all consensual interactions and being free from agressive force - should be the primary object. There is nothing just about engineering false equality of outcomes if individual autonomy (liberty) is compromised. Furthermore, the free and mutually beneficial exchange of individuals tends to lead to a much more fair and productive redistribution of wealth (also, here).
As to your final contention: if the only variable in contributing to economic growth was government, you’d have a point. That state impediments on economic activity can be somewhat mitigated does not prove anything. 

anticapitalist:

laliberty:

Obama recently claimed: “Nearly a decade of tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires led to little more than sluggish growth [and] a shrinking middle class. Your paychecks flatlined. Wages and incomes did not go up. Even when the economy was growing, it wasn’t growing for you.”

Reality illustrates otherwise:  ”In the seven years from 2001-2007 (inclusive), not only did the middle class get at least its fair share of overall income growth, the income gap between the rich and the middle class actually got smaller.”

The Myth of Middle-Class Stagnation

 This is complete and utter bullshit.

Firstly, measuring growth in terms of total income/FTE has been debunked. You are presenting the data in a misleading way. The reason this is a problem is because middle class families do not have access to overtime hours because of the recession. Businesses are not hiring people for as long periods/for the same length of work. This is a basic economic concept. You do not measure income in terms of total income/FTE. (for those who don’t know, FTE = full time equivalent, and is used to compare people who work different number of hours)

Also:

shows that income inequality is rising.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that your claim is true, and that the income inequality is shrinking. During that period, the government increased it’s involvement in economic matters (funding 2 wars greatly impacts the economy). Thus, according to your logic, big government isn’t too bad after all, because the income gap did decrease when the government impacted the economy. At least if I follow though on your logic, that is what you are saying.

First, because Obama was discussing a “decade of tax breaks” and “even when the economy was growing,” this is data from before the recession during the time of a growing economy, so your initial technical objection does not apply. Of course things are bad during a recession. This is not obvious? (Though, as more than one link below illustrates, it seems that the recession itself seemed to narrow income inequality.)

Now, your point about FTE may be a fair one since it is true that depending on which data you look at and how it is parsed, inequality may seem to be expanding. In fact, much of the rising inequality that is charted by macroeconomists comes from the distorting effects of changing demographics, namely the expanding number of divorces and singles have diluted what used to be a multiple-earner “household” income (which is the most common way inequality data is presented). And, indeed, the growth of the number of “households” has exceeded population growth. Also, a crucial factor to understand when looking at income brackets is the mobility between brackets - the actual individuals who compose a certain quintile rarely remain in that quintile. Further, Gini coefficients, an oft-used metric for noting gaps in income, overstates inequality by ignoring taxes, welfare, and other transfer payments in its calculations. Also, average or median income can be seen to stagnate or fall even if everyone’s income rises. But given your objection about misleading data, to then use a chart of real dollars and no labels or legends confuses things for the same reason that looking at, for example, tax cuts by income bracket using real dollars is misleading

Here are a few pieces on income inequality I believe are worth reading:

I’m sure you’ll find ideological reasons to disagree, but I would hope you’d acknowledge they are still earnest, thoughtful assessments not so easily dismissed.

Of course, I see “income inequality” as, at most, a secondary concern. Affording all individuals their birthright of self-ownership - allowing all consensual interactions and being free from agressive force - should be the primary object. There is nothing just about engineering false equality of outcomes if individual autonomy (liberty) is compromised. Furthermore, the free and mutually beneficial exchange of individuals tends to lead to a much more fair and productive redistribution of wealth (also, here).

As to your final contention: if the only variable in contributing to economic growth was government, you’d have a point. That state impediments on economic activity can be somewhat mitigated does not prove anything. 

(via anticapitalist)

anticapitalist:

“It’s wrong for someone to confiscate your money, give it to someone else, and call that ‘compassion.’”

Harry Browne (via laliberty)

It’s wrong for someone to confiscate your money, give it to someone else, and call that ‘profit’.

You’re right.

I’m glad you’ve acknowledged that confiscation of private property (“your money”) is wrong no matter what it’s called.

(Source: laliberty, via anticapitalist)

A Tale of Two Colonies →

anticapitalist:

laliberty:

anticapitalist:

Capitalism also lead to the occupation and seizure of Native American lands, which caused more deaths than the 400-800 who would have died at the colonies. So capitalism supported imperialism, and white nationalism. GO CAPITALISM FOR SAVIN’ ‘MURIKA!

The original quote was about free market capitalism. As much as your caricature understanding of it would have you think otherwise, the disrespect of another’s property is definitionally counter to the principles of free market capitalism. It was the various large- and small-scale states (and their cronies) that were directly responsible for the vast majority of native deaths. These were deplorable and unconscionable acts, and it’s important to identify the actual aggressor.

Nice of you to only take a portion of my post out of context and respond to that.

Actually, it is absolutely not out of context. I redacted the portion in which you claimed the argument was a cum hoc fallacy, gave an illustration of what cum hoc was (without actually explaining your position at all or even demonstrating how I had causality wrong), and then stated: “but let’s assume you are correct, and that capitalism saved Jamestown and Plymouth.” That’s it. That was what was redacted. It was not much of an argument since you literally provided no substantiation, so I simply felt no need to address it. Therefore, there is literally nothing of which I redacted that would provide any further context to what I quoted (I invite others to judge for themselves). So to begin, your objection here is - for the lack of a better word - silly.

Given that Native Americans had not claimed ownership of any private property in American and “squatted” off the land (according to their religious beliefs, they did not own the land, they simply used the land given by god), these americans were simply claiming not owned land.

Even accepting that much of the land was “unowned” in a traditional sense, the natives were dispossessed from land they lived and hunted on, which absolutely constitutes first stewardship in a classical Lockean sense. So as I stated, their property - even if they themselves did not recognize it as such - was not respected. Further, there is no greater private property than one’s ownership of one’s self - and the massacre of natives was also an act incompatible to the respect of private property.

As your lovely hero Ayn Rand said “[The Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using…. What was it they were fighting for, if they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their “right” to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or maybe a few caves above it. Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent.”

Ayn Rand is not my “hero.” As much as I respect and agree with some of her positions and ideas, I am not an objectivist. I do not recognize selfishness as a virtue. But I suppose that may be unrecognizable nuance to you. Further, as an individualist libertarian, I am not accountable for the words or actions of anyone else. Still, there was land that was not claimed by the natives nor had the natives any right to keep the new settlers from using. The new arrivals had every right to claim this unused land provided they did so while respecting those lands clearly used and occupied by natives. Unfortunately, they did not do so in this manner. 

Your claim that capitalism does not support imperialism is bullshit. Controlling new lands is in the interest of every corporation, including the corporation that you like to call the state.

Free market capitalism, with its intrinsic respect of the life, property, and free will of individual actors, is antithetical to imperialism. As I previously stated, your caricature understanding of it prevents you from accepting this.

Yes, the government is a corporation.

OK. You can call it that. But unlike all other corporations, it has the exclusive monopoly on force over a geographical region. Seeing as how that makes it decidedly different than other corporations, reducing it to such terminology only creates undue confusion. Though I suppose that was your goal.

Not only did you fail to address my whole post, (which you clipped part of it out), your response was full of crap.

Again, a trite objection.

(Source: laliberty, via anticapitalist)

A Tale of Two Colonies →

anticapitalist:

Capitalism also lead to the occupation and seizure of Native American lands, which caused more deaths than the 400-800 who would have died at the colonies. So capitalism supported imperialism, and white nationalism. GO CAPITALISM FOR SAVIN’ ‘MURIKA!

The original quote was about free market capitalism. As much as your caricature understanding of it would have you think otherwise, the disrespect of another’s property is definitionally counter to the principles of free market capitalism. It was the various large- and small-scale states (and their cronies) that were directly responsible for the vast majority of native deaths. These were deplorable and unconscionable acts, and it’s important to identify the actual aggressors.

(Source: laliberty, via anticapitalist)

anticapitalist:

Profit is theft.

No. Absent state aggression, profits are the rewards for social cooperation and the byproduct of alleviating another’s unease. The actualization of profit represents met human demand and desire, and profits provide a primary catalyst for human progress and conservation. 

As I’ve previously explained:

Rational economic decisions - that is, social exchange of limited resources - requires prices. Prices are merely information.  In basic terms, prices relay the demand of the consumer to the producer, and the supply of the producer (along with cost of production) to the consumer. An ounce of gold is worth more than an ounce of sand because sand is more abundant, easier to acquire, and generally less desired. 

And price is the result of chasing profit, that which is above the value of the costs and makes the good or service worth trading (subjectively, “an increase in the acting man’s happiness”). As I’ve mentioned before, the promise of profit is what incentivizes people to take risks. Conversely, the potential for loss (or failure) is what incentivizes people to be reasoned, efficient, and prudent in their risk-taking. Profit - either material gain or gains in aforementioned happiness - are what mostly drive human cooperation and innovation.

Therefore, prices - and profit and loss - are crucial for a productive, peaceful society; this information - price - cannot emerge without voluntary exchange. And voluntary, mutually beneficial exchange can only exist when private property rights are acknowledged and secured.

(Source: anticapitalist)

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