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Comment: Re:Good boyyy!!!! You're going to get a treat, UK! (Score 2, Insightful) 212

by Afecks (#40989897) Attached to: 'Pirate' Website Owner Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison

With a government the corporations may not exist, but the large companies and rich owners would still be in charge and writing the laws that make us all victims to their whims.

You clearly don't understand anarcho-capitalism. There would be only one law: Keep your hands off other people and their property without their permission.

Obviously, a definition of what counts as "people", "property" and "permission" need to go along with that single law but it's fairly intuitive. Anything capable of asserting itself as a person is one. You can claim unowned property by marking it as yours and taking an interest in it. No you can't claim the moon when you've never been there. No you can't claim an entire continent by planting a flag on a beach. Permission requires non-fraudulent consent. Knowing all that, how on earth do you get the idea that following these ideas can end up with the "rich" stuffing poor people into meat grinders for their amusement?

The only way anyone could get rich is by serving wants of the masses with lower priced higher quality goods and services than the competition. In a free market, if we all want Nike shoes and McDonald's hamburgers, Adidas and Wendy's are going broke and there's nothing they can do about it. The "poor" decide who becomes "rich". Consumers have the ultimate power, not producers. With services like Urbanspoon, Yelp, etc, you can't even claim much of an asymmetry of information. If your product sucks, a few people might experience it firsthand but word will spread quickly and you'll be out of business in no time. With government intervention, Wendy's could claim that McDonald's has a monopoly and get subsidized, etc, etc. Even though everyone wants McDonald's, Wendy's can play political favors to waste time and money giving us what we don't want.

If you want to then argue that popular taste sucks, you're just being a snob. We each are the judge of what we like best. If you think that because your opinion is a minority that you'll be left out in the cold, you're wrong again. It's the government that necessarily reduces variety with regulations and market intervention. In a free market, if you want something bad enough and willing to pay for it, you'll get it, even if it's raw milk or fish pedicures.

For more insight, I recommend that you read "The Machinery of Freedom" by David Friedman.

Comment: Re:Visual walkthrough and commentary of the mayhem (Score 0) 377

by Afecks (#40863921) Attached to: Algorithmic Trading Glitch Costs Firm $440 Million

But regardless of how they got rich, the rich aren't (generally) making their income honestly.

If they aren't committing fraud (illegal) or using the government (artificial monopolies) then they are engaging in voluntary exchanges i.e. free trade. If I trade your pen for my watch and you agree, then it must be the case that I value your pen more than my watch and you value my watch more than your pen. After the exchange, we both end up with something we find more valuable. We both are better off. That's what I advocate. The alternative is one of us using violence to force the other to commit to an involuntary exchange. That's uncivilized barbarism as far as I'm concerned.

Monopolies

Artificial monopolies can only exist through violent enforcement (typically government). Otherwise, monopolies aren't necessarily a bad thing. It just means that there's only a single seller.

If everyone buys Nike shoes because nobody else can provide the same quality at a competitive price and all other shoemakers go out of business, how is that bad? Even once the other shoemakers go out of business, Nike isn't going to be able to start charging $10,000 a pair. Whenever the price gets high enough, other firms will be tempted to enter the market. The higher the price goes, the more tempting it is. Nike wants to make profits. It's likely that they're going to keep their prices low enough to avoid losing market share. The mere possibility of competition will keep their prices in check.

You'll probably claim that they will just lower their prices to the point of losing money long enough to drive others out of business but historically that's highly unlikely and has never resulted in a stable abusive monopoly. The reason being that there are several strategies to combat it. You could start stockpiling Nike's shoes, wait until they are tired of hemorrhaging cash and then sell them at just above what they cost you to make a profit (but still at or below what Nike needs to make a profit). You could also point out to their customers that Nike is only selling low so they can jack up prices later. Look at the widespread outrage at Chick-Fil-A in the US, just from the actions of one executive. You don't think they'd boycott a business that's trying to systematically fuck them over monetarily? There are many other possible defenses that I won't go into. Which is why, as I said, it's virtually unheard of.

oligarchies, back room deals

The same problems apply as previously mentioned and then some. These same cartels are trying to fuck each other over just as fast and hard as they are trying to fuck over everyone else. Let's ignore the previous issues (though they still apply and therefore this is somewhat irrelevant) and pretend that somehow Nike and Adidas have run everyone else out of town. They still have to deal with each other. They have artificially high profits but each one can make more money by secretly lowering prices thereby grabbing more market share through those very same "back room deals". The same hunger for profits that builds cartels makes them unstable and causes their inevitable destruction. The only long-term stable collusion that gets to outrageous levels is between governments and businesses.

"take-backs" on stock exchanges

I'm not familiar with that term. However, I will say that if you agree to some terms and conditions then you must follow through with them. Otherwise, it's breach of contract (tortious) or fraud (illegal). If you'll elaborate more then I'll address that too but I don't have hope that it will stand up to scrutiny.

If you really care about challenging your beliefs then I suggest you watch Walter Block's Introduction to Libertarianism on YouTube, read David Friedman's Machinery of Freedom and if still hungry for more, read The Market for Liberty by Linda and Morris Tannehill. Everything you've said so far has been refuted a thousand times over. In itself that is no big deal. After all, I don't blame you for being ignorant (not an insult, we are all ignorant of things, including me) but I do think it's irresponsible to have such a vociferous opinion while choosing to remain in such a state.

Comment: Re:There's a rumor going around (Score 1) 266

by Afecks (#40727509) Attached to: Analyzing Tweets To Identify Psychopaths

Which in turn makes you a thief.

No, it doesn't. Theft is taking property from the rightful owner. A thief isn't a rightful owner. You should, of course, return the money to the rightful owner if they can be identified, minus a fee for your time and effort. I'm glad you agree that taxation is theft, though. That's a start.

Comment: Re:There's a rumor going around (Score 2) 266

by Afecks (#40724811) Attached to: Analyzing Tweets To Identify Psychopaths

people that bitch and complain about "freeloaders" and "people living on the government teat" that I know for a fact are collecting government services themselves or have benefited from them in the past

The more money you take from a thief, the better libertarian you are. The fact that libertarians even realize that taxation is theft puts them miles ahead of anyone on the left or the right. The only way they would actually be hypocrites is if they had an opportunity to abolish the state and refused to do so. I recommend that libertarians put as much burden on the state as legally possible in order to speed things up. Take every dime you can from a thief.

Comment: Re:Willing to bet.. (Score 1) 1706

If the attacker believes/knows that the victims are armed, it's reasonable to believe that the attacker will choose not to attack due to the fact that the attack could be answered by his/her own death. Most attackers know that most populations are unarmed, therefore an attack can be executed with relative impunity.

Exactly. He used a gun and a smoke bomb at a movie theater. The guy didn't show up with a banana and start making "pew pew" noises with his mouth. He didn't try an assault on a police station. Clearly, he was rational enough to make decisions on what kinds of things would succeed or fail. I highly doubt he'd show up and try the same thing if the odds of failure were a lot higher. The claim that every gunman is batshit insane and that nothing could deter any of them doesn't hold water.

Comment: Re:Who are the real "Drug Cartel" ? (Score 3, Insightful) 253

by Afecks (#40680531) Attached to: Google Joining Fight Against Drug Cartels

2) Drugs cost money to develop, show efficacy in clinical trials, etc. Most drugs going through the pipeline are duds. For the ones that do work we have patents. And once those 20 years are up, those drugs become generic and cheaper. The generics work, and most people should be opting for them. If they aren't they're just being sheltered from the true cost of the name-brand drugs. Or do you think drugs like atorvastatin just came out of nowhere?

For starters, healthcare would be cheaper because there would be no patents on drugs, there would be no mandatory medical licensing and there would be no need for the currently absurd amounts of malpractice insurance.

1. Drug patents - Intellectual property is incompatible with libertarianism. Instead of recovering R&D costs through artificial government enforced monopolies, R&D would be paid for by private investors and charity. Americans donate something like 300 billion dollars to charity each year. Much of the cost for new drugs is spent jumping through FDA hoops. Historically, the first to market with new drugs retain something like 80% market share even when competitors make generic versions. The FDA has the incentive to keep new drugs off the market because if the FDA makes a mistake, it gets bad press. Whereas the millions that die each year because they are denied safe and effective drugs by the FDA go unnoticed (kind of like how jobs that are lost make the papers but the jobs that are never created go unnoticed).

2. Licensing - While it seems wise to let doctors regulate doctors (who else would be a better expert than existing experts), putting existing firms in charge of regulating the competition is a terrible idea. Because new regulations typically apply only to new licensees, the current firms can make unreasonable rules to prevent new competition. There's no incentive to improve the standards and every incentive to make them stricter than necessary. Current absurd standards involve language requirements for doctors in a bid to keep out foreign competition. Being able to speak English has no bearing on medical expertise. Translators are a lot cheaper than English speaking doctors.

3. Malpractice Insurance - Removing an infected splinter recently cost a close relative around $800, a procedure that should have cost closer to $80. Why? Because if anything were to go wrong, the doctor could be sued and therefore has to charge more to cover insurance premiums. Allowing individuals to sign waivers allowing minimal or no insurance coverage would put the choice where it belongs, with the risk taker. You can pay $800 if you want that kind of security or you can pay $80 if you are willing to take the risk that removing a splinter could turn into a life-threatening catastrophe.

This is merely scratching the surface of the reasons that the American medical system is a joke. For deeper analysis of the FDA, check out Mary Ruwart's interviews and website. She was a pharmaceutical research scientist for Upjohn Pharmaceuticals for 19 years. Robert Murphy has a concise article called "Flower Power" on how occupational licensing hurts us all. Finally, a good read is Richard Epstein's article "Medical Malpractice: The Case for Contract" for obvious reasons.

Comment: Re:when these genius people are 100% (Score 3, Insightful) 226

by Afecks (#40520761) Attached to: CERN Announcing New LHC Results July 4th

You're just adding yet another possibility. It's trivial to reword it. What is the probability that a coin will land heads, tails or on its edge? The probability is 1. It has to do one of those if those are all the possibilities. What is the probability that it will do none of those things? The probability is 0. Whatever other possibilities you want to add, exploding into marshmallows, being nuked while inside a fridge, getting a top 10 single on the UK pop charts, etc, doesn't matter. If you list all the possibilities, the probability that it will be one of those is 1 and the probability that it will be none of those is 0. Basic. Fucking. Logic.

Also, a perfect coin is a definition. It's not some value judgement.

Comment: Re:Good question (Score 2) 2416

by Afecks (#40480463) Attached to: Supreme Court: Affordable Care Act Is Constitutional

The individual mandate was designed (by Republican think tanks) to avoid freeloaders, who we've all been paying for when they show up in the emergency room.

Funny that. The state is given the power to force ER's to treat people, regardless of ability to pay, and this creates problems, which of course are solved by giving the state even more power, which of course causes more as yet to be seen problems... To make a long story short, by 2032 all restaurants are Taco Bell and salt is illegal.

Comment: slavery promotes cotton (Score 3, Insightful) 126

by Afecks (#40429617) Attached to: Biotech Report Says IP Spurs Innovation

There are two separate questions:

1. Is intellectual property justified?

2. Does intellectual property promote creative works?

Regardless of the answer to the second question, the answer to the first question is "no". Threatening to imprison or kill individuals, which is what all laws ultimately are, is unjustified. No, we don't deserve everything for free. Yes, it's immoral to derive value from someone's hard work without compensation. But immoral does not equal illegal. The government should, at most, be using its monopoly on violence to protect people and their property. Using violence, locking people in cages, destroying their lives, killing them, just to promote something that would exist anyways, is asinine and barbaric.

Comment: Re:People should pay for their choices (Score 1) 842

by Afecks (#40259031) Attached to: California City May Tax Sugary Drinks Like Cigarettes

Just to be sure we're clear -- are you saying you want to live somewhere the emergency rooms turn people away?

No, I want to live somewhere that makes it legal for ER's to turn people away. On top of that, I hope that ER's figure out some way to accept people without money, perhaps through some kind of charity or through charging paying customers slightly more, think one laptop per child pricing. You buy one kidney transplant for yourself and cover part of the costs for someone needy. There's all kinds of answers to be found when you aren't too busy trying to shoot them down in order to defend the status quo. However it gets done, it should be voluntary. That much I know. If you want something, pay for it. If you can't afford it, do without or rely on the kindness of others. Whatever you do, don't act like you are owed something and then proceed to extract it through government violence.

Round Numbers are always false. -- Samuel Johnson

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