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Comment: Preservation and incentives (Score 1) 712

In principle, ownership by environmental groups is a good way to preserve a resource. There have been multiple instances of environmental groups buying property they wanted to protect. One that comes to mind is Ducks Unlimited, which buys wetlands to preserve them.
But there are at least two issues with buying coal mines: (1) as they buy more mines, the value of the mines that are left goes up; (2) as the price of coal is driven up by lowered supply, mining becomes more profitable and new mines are likely to open.
So they could certainly buy the mines, but they cannot buy the coal industry.

Comment: Re:Can a bitcoin advocate explain.... (Score 1) 149

by dumky2 (#46207123) Attached to: Florida Arrests High-Dollar Bitcoin Exchangers For Money Laundering
Right, so you agree that the monetary exchange per se is not a crime. Only the crime should be illegal, not the monetary exchange. But anti-money laundering laws are targeting the monetary exchanges, not the crimes that are "disguised".
My point is simply that anti-money laundering laws break the presumption of innocence, as they assume that you have a certain type of monetary exchange, then you must be disguising a crime. It does not matter that there is no evidence of an actual crime.

Comment: Funny, but compared to what? (Score 1) 253

by dumky2 (#46206917) Attached to: A Corporate War Against a Scientist, and How He Fought Back
That'd be good anti-free-market humor if those types of problems weren't worse, way worse, with people who get in the way of governments, such as whisteblowers.

What can this company do to this guy who has some results the company doesn't like? Some things may not be pleasant, but overall, not that much.
What can the government do to whisteblowers who has evidence that the government (or that cronies of those in power) wants to hide? It turns out, quite a bit.
So, comparatively speaking, I will take the free-market smear, thank you very much.

Comment: Re:Can a bitcoin advocate explain.... (Score 1) 149

by dumky2 (#46199741) Attached to: Florida Arrests High-Dollar Bitcoin Exchangers For Money Laundering
Here's another question for you: why is "money laundering" illegal? Two people want to make an exchange, there is no victim.

Most of the money transfers which those laws are supposed to help catch are drug-related. If drugs are de-criminalized or legalized, can we get ride of the money laundering laws too and let innocent civilians do as they want with their property (until proven guilty of an actual crime)?

Comment: Selective enforcement (Score 1) 383

by dumky2 (#46091819) Attached to: Congressmen Say Clapper Lied To Congress, Ask Obama To Remove Him
While different branches of government can restrain each other, their incentives are still to protect each other at the expense of the public. Since the vast majority of "crimes" these days can legally only be litigated by district attorneys (and not civilians and victims in the general public), there is plenty of discretionary power as to what gets prosecuted.
Are the DAs going to lose their jobs if they fail to pursue such blatant perjuries?

Comment: Illogical reasoning (Score 1) 937

by dumky2 (#45914489) Attached to: Who Is Liable When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?
The driver being liable does not imply that he has to stay alert or in control of the vehicle.
At best it implies that the driver has incentives to picki a safe vehicle, negotiate terms of insurance and pick manufacturers who offer guarantees.
Consider for instance the autopilot on airplanes or on elevators. Does the owner of the elevator have to stay and watch the elevator while keeping his hand on the stop button?

My guess is that in some cases the insurance company would pay and in some cases they would turn around and go after the car manufacturer.
Of course, most drivers don't have the expertise to evaluate the quality and safety of vehicles they wish to buy. This evaluation can be delegated to specialists (reputable middlemen and expert reviewers). Also if some autonomous cars have better track record, insurance companies could charge lower premiums on those and thus guide consumers towards safer vehicles.

Comment: Secession and theories of government (Score 1) 489

by dumky2 (#45755609) Attached to: Goodbye, California? Tim Draper Proposes a 6-Way Split
Most people (libertarians excepted) think that government is a voluntary arrangement. That is how they justify taxation as not being theft and draft as not being slavery.
If so, what is wrong with voluntarily merging or splitting?

What is the optimal region of government? Why would the current boundaries be the best?
Truly voluntary organizations (clubs, associations, firms, groups of friends, marriages) merge and split all the time. That is part of experimentation to find better arrangements. If government is voluntary too, why should its boundaries remain static?

Comment: Re:Libertarianism (Score 1) 691

by dumky2 (#45740069) Attached to: Why Charles Stross Wants Bitcoin To Die In a Fire
Citation needed.
Being a libertarian (a voluntaryist or anarcho-capitalist to be precise), I recognize all those real problems and I see a lot of concerns from fellow libertarians as well. But we favor voluntary solutions.

That the case of each of the concerns you raise. See: private provision of and the market for security (Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Stefan Kinsella, David Friedman and other wrote tomes on this), free-market environmentalism (see Walter Block on this topic), free-market consumer protection (Milton Friedman and many others, that's an easy topic), economic development and lifting people out of poverty (from Adam Smith to Deidre McCloskey, this is a very important topic for helping countries develop, see China and India versus some other Asian or African countries), increasing productivity and innovation leading to improved quality and lower prices (that includes healthcare, see John Cochrane, Bob Murphy, Sheldon Richman). You'll find tons of content on all those important topics.
But, we do not see the usage of coercion as a valid solution, as "the ends justifies the means" (such as imposing ones will on others by use of politics and force) leads to the means being taken over by special interests.
Pointing out to a problem and assuming that government has legitimacy or can do a better job is a non sequitur. For every "market failure" argument, there is a government failure argument (see public choice theory) and an objection to the use of force.

Comment: Trade-offs (Score 1) 691

by dumky2 (#45739887) Attached to: Why Charles Stross Wants Bitcoin To Die In a Fire
Yes, BitCoin has some similarities with gold, but I don't think that is the core reason people, including libertarians, are interested in it.
Libertarians (and most people for that matter) recognize the benefit of competitive provision of goods and services in the voluntary framework of property rights. Establishing a monopoly is a bad recipe for providing a quality service. Money and banking are not exempt from such considerations, and we see the effects of bank cartelization around central banks.

I'm not going to argue the various advantages or disadvantages of BitCoin (energy consumption), but I do recognize that there are trade-offs. That's the point when people get to choose which money they want to rely on. BitCoins offer advantages in return (peer to peer transactions).


Aside from that, I want to address two incorrect claims from the author:
1) money that doesn't inflate is bad (presumably compared to money from central banks):
Both economic theory and historical evidence debunk this claim. See George Selgin on the track record of the Fed on its self-declared goals (price stability, anti-cyclical effect, employment).
Also, see Mises/Hayek on the negative effects of monetary inflation and credit expansion, namely bubbles and accretion of power to the early recipients of money and the well-connected (Cantillon effect).

2) lack of regulation opens up shady transactions:
This is logically incorrect. It's not the lack of regulation, but the relative anonymity of BitCoin which opens up such possibilities. Cash and other commodities can be used to the same effect despite being regulated.
Again, different systems of currencies offer different trade-offs for people to choose, that is the beauty of experimentation and innovation.

Comment: Method and confidence (Score 1) 534

by dumky2 (#45435343) Attached to: Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated By Half
"The most important part of our work was testing the skill of each of these approaches in reconstructing unobserved temperatures. To do this we took the observed data and further reduced the coverage by setting aside some of the observations."

Let's look at the method. You remove Sahara or some region where you actually have data, you build models to make guesses for that area and evaluate those model against those self-imposed test data sets.
How do you know if your model performs as good in Antarctica as it did in Sahara?

Without some actual measurements for the areas that lack measurement (South and North Poles), you don't know how confident you should be in that method.

Comment: Re:For those who want a $15 minimum wage in the US (Score 4, Informative) 702

by dumky2 (#45409335) Attached to: Venezuela: Cheap Television Sets For All!
Except Australia could be doing better, in particular the poor. Here's a quick recap of studies by Stossel on minimum wage in Australia. I also recommend you check out the Roy Morgan polls and studies regarding unemployment and under-employment in Australia.

Quote:
In a 2004 study published in the Australian Economic Review, economist Andrew Leigh looked at what happened after Western Australia increased its minimum wage compared to the rest of Australia.
He found: "Relative to the rest of Australia, the [percentage of people employed] in Western Australia fell following each of six [minimum wage] rises." (Study here [1], update here [2].)

Another Australian economist, John Humphrey, summarizes [3] the findings this way:
"[Leigh found] that for each 1 percent increase in the minimum wage we can expect... [to lose] 96,000 jobs" in Australia.

[1] http://andrewleigh.org/pdf/Minimum%20Wages%20(AER).pdf
[2] http://andrewleigh.org/pdf/Minimum_wages_reply.pdf
[3] http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4064106.html

Comment: 245 incidents reported, 8 fell short, in 12 years (Score 1) 99

by dumky2 (#45340319) Attached to: Robotic Surgery Complications Going Underreported
From the article, they looked at "nearly 12 years, scrubbing through several data bases to find troubled outcomes. Researchers found 245 incidents reported to the FDA, including 71 deaths and 174 nonfatal injuries. But they also found eight cases in which reporting fell short, including five cases in which no FDA report was filed at all."

I have no doubt that the reporting isn't perfect, but those numbers don't suggest a massive problem. Let's put things in perspective.

Comment: Protection vs special privilege (Score 0) 264

by dumky2 (#45251949) Attached to: France Moves To Protect Independent Booksellers From Amazon
The rhetoric of politics can get pretty confusing. Usually, protection means protection from force, trespass and other forms of violation of property rights.
In this case, Amazon did not use any such force against independent booksellers. It is actually those booksellers who are using force against Amazon through government.
So it is more accurate to say that the French government moves to grant French independent booksellers special privileges. Stopping your competitors from doing a better job than you isn't protection, it's aggression.

Comment: Intellectual Property (Score 1) 162

by dumky2 (#45231289) Attached to: Finally, a Bill To End Patent Trolling
If intellectual property (such as patents) are really property, why does it matter if you're using the invention or keeping it for later?
If you own a bike, it does not and should not matter whether you ride it, store it in your garage or use it for parts.
If ideas can also rightly be owned, then it does not matter whether the patent holder uses the idea to produce anything yourself or stores the patent in a drawer.
Patents are the problem, not non-practicing patent holders.

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