Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:The fact is, US is just as bad as China (Score 1) 536

Exactly! but you could attempt to negotiate, in your example. The argument of "if you don't like it, move elsewhere" is incomplete.

The necessary relationship of government and society is that society implicitly supports its government even in the case of deep tyranny. If you "decline" the "offer" in the case of government, you will be incarcerated, have your property taken away or possibly killed (in sharp contrast to negotiating to buy something -- which is based on mutual consent). But the action taken is reflective of the society -- law means nothing if it is not carried out by someone.

Comment Re:The fact is, US is just as bad as China (Score 1) 536

If it were as easy as "go somewhere else" then government wouldn't matter and it would be like a subscription you can pay; it's easy enough to move to another community, but to move elsewhere in the world? Where is there a place not ruled by arbitrary law punishable by arbitrary levels of coercion?

To an extent tyranny certainly does mean being forced to do anything you don't want to do -- this is a key difference between society and government. In fact, that's why the federal government of the US was originally set up to be both voluntary and restricted to fundamental rights.

Comment Re:So? (Score 1) 435

Really though? A felony requires at least 1 year in prison, while a misdemeanor requires anything less -- a steep fine would certainly keep people away. This has nothing to do with causing damage, rushing a boat or anything except proximity -- if you are within 65 feet of the restricted areas, you are now a felon.

I understand the desire for safety, but this is pretty extreme.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 514

Alternative energy like solar is definitely an up and coming trend and I was wrong about the solar panels not being worth it at this moment. Hell, if I had a house I would probably buy them at this point.

I was focused specifically on the tens of millions of public dollars Google used in building theirs (and those dollars will be lost). I don't appreciate using public funds to encourage the building of things for private use.

Considering the eminent domain issues, I'm not so sure it would be bad; besides, alternative energy would be more advanced and widespread if oil/coal were more expensive (so long as it is more expensive due to actual production costs).

Comment Re:Can somebody say (Score 1, Troll) 514

What incentive? Sustainable income -- oil is both risky and a limited resource (right now much of the risk is socialized by the public, so of course they won't stop anytime soon). In fact, there has been a lot of research put into alternative energy by existing energy bigwigs. What incentive will remain after the 2 billion runs out? People are just going to jump on the solar energy bandwagon now that there's immediate cash being thrown at it.

It reminds me of my visit to the main Google campus, where every single building has solar panels on top. They did it not just because it sounds awesome, but because the government subsidized the cost with tens of millions of dollars. In the 30 year lifespan of the solar panels, they will come nowhere near paying back the cost of their production. This illustrates the fallacy of supporting alternative energy for its efficiency -- it's more inefficient and as such is currently a wasteful thing to put into production (what kind of energy was used in the production anyway?). The technology isn't there yet, which is why subsidization like this 2 billion is such an easy sell on the surface.

My point is that the money is going to be squandered by people who will put this public money to work for them. It's not even money being put toward independent research; it's money being put toward creating solar plants! The same solar plants that cost more to make than they return.

This 2 billion is corporate welfare -- the 2 billion goes toward building plants, and the owners of the plants will now be making themselves money at the expense of the public. Take into account the collusion of government and corporation; the same crowd sits at the head of both, and the same crowd is always helping itself.

Comment Re:Can somebody say (Score 1, Troll) 514

I would be more inclined to call neo-Keynesian welfare economic wisdom folksy in the sense that everyone is taught FDR took us out of the Great Depression with the New Deal and WW2 (which is just wrong - check out the depression that never was: 1920).

Regardless of the existence of jobs, any variation from what people actually want can be considered wasteful; private or public. You're right that jobs are important and in demand; but to just create them is to treat the symptoms rather than cure the cause.

Keynes himself said that all government spending turns into inflation and that any public spending, to be at all effective, *must* be unexpected.

Comment Re:Does the U.S. really want to be like China or I (Score 3, Insightful) 433

Nobody? Actually -- the current administration's Cass Sunstein does want to manage what is said. For example, there has been a push for "fairness" to make it so that every opinion article has to have a link to opposing views. What if you don't want to? Well, it's "voluntary" but they will make mandates if you don't comply. (video: http://trippstake.squarespace.com/journal/2010/5/17/is-this-america.html )

Anyway, this kill switch is also controlling what can be said. Silence is a total ban; why would you permit anyone to cut off all communication, large amounts of business, and god knows what else requires the internet?

Comment Re:Does the U.S. really want to be like China or I (Score 1) 433

You are just talking about American corporatism; there cannot be a true monopoly without basis in government (provocative but true if you hunt the source of action; some kinds of monopoly are considered good -- patents, copyright etc). Otherwise, there would be the possibility of an alternative (assuming property rights are actually treated as valid and a municipality can't just claim eminent domain when it gets interventionist).

Comment Re:Oh god.. (Score 1) 659

You keep confusing companies and government -- companies make things, government doesn't. Government is the one that oppresses through violence -- just look at all of human history (capitalism offered freedom as opposed to feudalism, and now we are turning it back into feudalism). Companies are the scapegoats in most situations, as they are nothing but people joining together to create or sell things. When there is no judicial/policing agent (does not have to be State-sanctioned), then companies use violence -- see the drug war + its domination by gangs.

A huge difference between a government and a company is that a government cannot go insolvent without epic losses (because of its central bank), and you cannot opt out of a government (even renouncing citizenship is limited by the US). In the case of a government, there is no accountability and there is no measure of success (it always spends at least up to its budget, you can only complain to/vote out some figurehead). There really are police quotas, and things like speed limits are actually optimized for revenue rather than safety (many studies have demonstrated that gimmicks like red light cameras actually create more accidents -- rear end collisions from not wanting to get a traffic ticket).

Heck, a part of Europe tried out an experiment semi-recently: they removed all road signs and signals to see what would happen. In fact, there was a dramatic drop in accidents. Why? Because driving is dangerous, and it needs to be experienced as such.

The broken window fallacy was a simple example meant to illustrate that actions are difficult to measure. Todays reliance on econometrics does not and cannot take into account the unforseen, because the density of human action is not mechanical and we are not omniscient. A slightly different example: when a state increases taxes, it may be stopping people from moving there in addition to making some people leave (California). When the government does something, it removes incentive to do that thing. When it says to do something, it creates an incentive where there otherwise is not yet one (and as soon as it stops creating that incentive, it will collapse the bubble it just made).

When society lends government some power, it will not be given back (money is only one kind of power). Obviously, society must have had some power which it delegated away (and so no longer has that power, at the threat of force).

Again, if 80% of society is fine working together, that's how the basic structure is to be formed. The first priority is for the normal cases, then you deal with all the end cases. The other way around is sloppy, and a surefire way to make the structure itself convoluted (a logical design paradigm). Your argument for dealing with the assholes first suggests that they are the majority.

If you want government to work structurally, it must have some built in accountability. One way, which I know you'll hate, is voluntary taxes. They would ensure government it does its job and certain standard taxes could be set as the default (so it takes some effort to say no).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be advocating for a centrally planned economy -- which cannot work on even a basic level, precisely because of the economic calculation problem (and price signals). It's interesting, but when the Soviet Union had to set prices, its only way of setting them was seeing how much it could trade items for. Price itself has a very useful utility which cannot be solved otherwise -- it makes distribution and coordination of production possible. And these are merely the reasons it is technically infeasible, there are obviously political issues.

I would ask that you not wonder "how can society prevent poverty?" but "how can society create wealth?" because it doesn't take any work to be in poverty -- it is the natural state of man. It was the establishment of capitalism which allowed people to save money, and do things they want to do in life (modern day example: the average Chinese factory worker can save 6x as much of their income as Americans, in some bizarre fashion they have an economically freer market these days). It wasn't a coincidence that slavery disappeared as capitalism appeared (first in Britain). As for America... Lincoln did not care about slaves, said equality between white and black would never work and specifically announced he thought white men were superior and need to be the rulers. He initially offered the South the option to keep its slaves and wanted his own generals to keep slaves. The Civil War was about states' rights, but it has become propaganda about slavery.

Similarly, the civil rights issues of the 60s were because of government-mandated segregation. Even if a white man wanted to serve a black man, it was illegal (and vice versa). This goes back to my point about government mandates being absolutist and arbitrary. Once an unjust law is passed, you are screwed. If you are in a minority, you have no recourse whatsoever.

Finally, I would ask that you consider the moralistic duality of ethics, going back many centuries. All subjects are expected to be just, to follow the law and to not be liars or use force, but rulers are given exemptions -- it's practically expected that they will have to lie. This duality goes back to even way before the theoretical construction of the Nation State. I see it as a fallacy, the same way that I see the Nation State as a manifestation of this fallacy.

Comment Re:Oh god.. (Score 1) 659

In the case of something like Somalia, it's better off than it was with government and conditions have been improving. The government is implicitly supported by its people, no matter what the government is. The trouble is that in creating a coercive rather than voluntary government, you are also creating a political class with its own intentions and an absolutely arbitrary power (arbitrary because it is not founded in merit, but rather in some human manipulation).

All the government can do is pass laws to either artificially manipulate prices or make things illegal and then try to enforce them.

For example, the drug war was meant to stop the use of drugs, and it can be said to have done so to some degree since more people would use drugs if they were legal, but does the enormous funding and destruction of people's lives justify this? The illegality only made a profitable black market (many established weed growers in CA actually oppose legalization, because it would create competition for them) and instituted a brutal police force for the black market -- the mafia and gangs.

Any government law is ultimately arbitrary, because it is the instant creation of a new absolutist rule. You cannot make greed illegal, but you can try to figure out actions greedy people sometimes take and try to make those illegal. There are *always* long run unintended consequences. Bastiat answered the "broken window" fallacy (broken windows help the economy because they give glassiers work) by highlighting that there are seen and unseen consequences of any action. When you give money to the glassier for a broken window, you are reducing the money you have to buy something else and are not better off after the broken window. Today's politics are almost completely about the seen effect, because foresight is considered some crazy thing that doesn't relate to reality.

When I talk about "freedom" I'm talking about empowering society. There are many different systems that we can undertake other than coercive Statism -- I've been mulling over "covenant communities" and certain ideas of property rights where if you don't actually use something, you cannot own it (a libertarian train of thought). Why should a select political class have the monopoly over force? This is what I mean by government. Government in the sense of management is completely necessary, but can be voluntary and community-oriented.

You just assume that I use "freedom" as a slogan, but I use it primarily as a realization that life need not be limited by arbitrary and restrictive rules. That people can act in mutually beneficial ways -- I think 80%+ of people want to get along and I think the rules ought to be primarily structured for these kinds of people rather than the sociopathic fringe (because it would create an environment supportive of individual differences). Politics has no place in economy, because economy is a neutral representation of how society decides to live. Moving forward, social consciousness is an enormous issue, and perhaps the real issue regarding governance.

I don't appreciate you branding me as some sociopathic fundamentalist who is the enemy of humankind, simply because I believe people can form cooperative societies, and do not require a parasitic ruling class. In America, the line between corporations, banks and government is very very blurry and it takes a LOT of state-imposed wealth transfer to keep it that way. If you are working off of a static&absolutist system which can be gamed (government in the traditional sense) you will see it gamed.

Comment Re:Oh god.. (Score 1) 659

I will focus on corporations, since you think my argument doesn't stand.

A corporation would not exist without government, period. What you would have is individuals creating and trading -- they would be fully liable for their actions. What's this government-instituted bullshit about maximum penalties and such? Why are corporations considered legal individuals? They have protections under government which do not exist otherwise, because they are complete special-interest fabrications.

It is known that most large corporations are extremely inefficient -- they get by through lobbying. Did you know that the biggest of health care insurance companies actually welcomed the health care "reform"? The bill made it harder for any kind of competition to arise. I can guarantee you that prices will continue to rise because we are continuing to politically give favor to the richest of companies.

A "free market" is simply reducing all trade to supply/demand, as well as allowing people to trade in any way they want to. You are probably used to seeing the central-bank-driven, mercantilist, protectionist, corporatist market system we have in America, so you naturally hate markets. This is understandable, but it has nothing to do with markets themselves.

When government takes an action, it monopolizes it; taking that power from its citizens (who may or may not have been exercising or been aware of that power). If you haven't noticed, politicians are corrupt practically by requirement and we have a pretty clear political class of rich assholes telling everyone else how to live. What do you suggest?

"Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right to do what we ought." -Lord Acton

Comment Re:Oh god.. (Score 1) 659

A corporation exists solely because of government regulation (a corporation is a legislated entity which exists to remove accountability from owners&employees). True monopoly can only exist through government intervention. You are showing your ignorance of the situation -- without the massive subsidization and government special interest pandering, we would not have corporations sweeping the floor with us (unhealthy foods in America can be traced largely to the subsidization of corn -- a farmer sells for 1.50 what it costs him 2.50 to make).

Government is a legal and standardized monopoly on violence. Say what you will, but it is founded on poor principles which are unsustainable in the long run.

Seriously, read your post -- what is this fluff "because their corporate overlords have the only freedom that matters for them -- a freedom to oppress the rest of society." bullshit? You are speaking hatefully. A business exists solely because of society in a free market (what else could it be?), in an interventionist market it can exist because of government coercion in the name of special contracts or through subsidies.

No one with fair economic knowledge will dispute that everyone is better off in a society that is growing in wealth (full employment, constantly rising quality of living). That should be our goal, in addition to personal liberty for its importance in innovation and enjoyment of life.

Slashdot Top Deals

Biology grows on you.

Working...