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Comment Re:The real problem (Score 1) 209

The laws are unnecessary, and the effect of these laws are the direct cause of the very deaths you talk about. The deaths are not a necessary result of drug consumption, but of the laws.

Laws cannot change people's preferences and every time society's laws attempt to ignore the more fundamental laws of supply and demand we end up with bad outcomes. Either people starving or the creation of powerful drug cartels and all the other problems.

The drug market exceeds the IT market, and is second only to the war and oil markets. Pablo Escobar was once the wealthiest man on the planet. My personal consumption is no major concern in the overall scheme.

All drugs should be fully legalised. Regulated for purity, for correct labeling, where, when and to whom they can be sold, and taxed according to their intrinsic negative externalities. Just like every other commodity in existence, because the further you drift from a free market the more the social utility loss, which is another way to say unnecessary suffering and death.

Comment Re:The real problem (Score 2) 209

> Not quite. The medical problems are still based in chemistry. physically destructive drugs like Heroin and Krokodil are still going to destroy bodies even when decriminalised.

Heroin is actually one of the SAFEST drugs you can take in terms of physical destructiveness. If you can actually get pure heroin in constant supplies and known quantities.

Krokodil wouldn't even exist except for prohibition.

>. You're probably thinking largely of Marijuana and LSD (the least destructive of the illicit drugs) possibly up to MDMA, cocaine and amphetamines. Here I think your point remains valid. However it gets into a grey area when talking about things like Crystal Meth. I could agree with decriminalising the former drugs I mentioned, but ignoring things like Meth, Heroin and other drugs that are actually destructive is foolhardy.

No, it is precisely the more dangerous drugs like heroin and crystal meth where the marginal harm of prohibition is at its greatest.

No one I know of has ever died from variations in quality and purity of cannabis or LSD, prohibition is mostly killing my heroin and meth using friends.

Comment Re:The real problem (Score 4, Insightful) 209

Every single one of the problems you cite about drugs is due to their prohibition, or at the very least exacerbated by it.

Exactly the same things happened during alcohol prohibition, but for some reason you people are too stupid to see the correlation and instead continue to think that doing more and harder of the same will get you different results.

Comment Re:Medicate (Score 1) 177

Actually, UBI has been proposed many times by many high profile economists, you should be able to find these yourself. Yes, there are economists and economic thinkers from a long time back that advocate wealth taxes, or similar, or partial implementations of it. You should be able to find these too. I'm not going to help you because you come across as rude and ignorant.

No amount of income tax, no matter how progressive, or capital gains tax (also a tax on deltas), etc, can act as a wealth cap. Simple logic should prove this to you. A multi-billionaire dies, his son inherits 10 billion dollars, you apply 99% tax to anything over $1 income or capital gains made on everyone, and your guy is still a multi-billionaire for life. It just makes sure that the poorest, no matter how much skill or value they ever bring to society, can never make more than a small amount of savings. Is this your aim? If not, you haven't thought through the problem.

Estate taxes are somewhat similar to wealth taxes though, except they apply only once, when a rich person dies. So, the rich person will be rich forever, no matter how little he brings to society. His children will be rich too, but some tax goes to the state, to make up for their 'unearned' income.

A wealth tax is more like a continuous version of an estate tax, that happens throughout the person's life. However, an estate tax does not encourage behaviour of making wealth productive on the individual. Mostly it encourages the creation of trust funds and such to avoid the tax for the benefit of their offspring. A wealth tax means that a person must invest their wealth (on average) in a productive (and therefore beneficial, under the assumptions of a free market) manner, at all times. The idea is not to disallow, but to discourage, large amounts of wealth to only be a benefit to the holder of the wealth and not society in general. A wealth tax makes it a benefit to society in general.

Let's say you have a $2B luxury mansion property. You live very well on it, and make a tiny bit of money so you cover all your spending, but only the minimum. You die, and your child inherits it, but has to pay tax, we give half of it to the state, leaving the with a $1B luxury mansion property, and that person can make a tiny bit of money off of it to cover their spending, but only the minimum. Pretty much that $1B worth of WEALTH, is locked up by one person to the exclusion of everyone else for their entire lifetime. For that one person it is great, but for everyone else, it provides nothing.

In a 1% wealth tax scenario, that $2B mansion better be making at least $20M/year to cover it's taxes, which benefit society directly, or it is a losing proposition and should be sold to someone who can make productive use of it. Also, over the average lifetime of a human being, they will pay the equivalent of an estate tax for that wealth, but the difference being, wealth would have been (more likely) to be used productively, and more efficiently, over that time, rather than simply hoarded.

Now, you see if you can find the economists who have proposed these ideas before. Okay?

Comment Re:Stay off the slippery slope (Score 2) 177

I don't need an economist, because you prove you don't know what you are talking about.

That's not a wealth cap, it's an income tax. The high rate makes it an "effective" INCOME cap, but that has nothing to do with wealth.

Wealth is your total value (holdings minus debts), while income is a delta to wealth.

Income caps aren't fantastic ideas either, (note it was a high but progressive tax, and not an actual cap), but you shouldn't confuse income with wealth.

Comment Re:Stay off the slippery slope (Score 2) 177

(Ignoring your views on windows for a moment here). Let's say we capped Bill's net wealth at $1B, once he got that $1B, he could have dismantled MS and stopped development of Windows entirely. There's no incentive to continue with a wealth cap, so why not?

No, wealth is the incentive capitalism uses to provide value to society. Every trade provides a benefit to both the consumer and the producer, or otherwise, they would not participate in that trade.

However, there do exist economic rents, monopolies form, and wealth trickles up in reality. A wealth tax stops wealth from being hoarded in unproductive ways, and addresses these unfortunate facts of the real market. Productive wealth provides goods and services to the rest of the population.

Now, I'm sure you're a socialist or something who has never actually studied economics. I recommend you take an online course in the fundamentals of microeconomics. Once you can mathematically prove the first and second fundamental welfare theorems, then I will look forward to any arguments you have with my statements. Until then, I think you are following feels over facts, and as good as your intentions may be, that road leads to dark places, starvation, poverty and death.

A wealth tax, UBI and some adjustments to income and capital gains taxes can provide both the required incentives for those who chose to chase wealth, while making that pursuit a benefit to all, especially in a future where almost all jobs become redundant in world dominated by AI and robots.

Comment Re:Reminds me of a crazy, hot girlfriend (Score 3, Informative) 320

> still far safer, cleaner, more efficient and better than coal, gas, wind, solar etc etc.

This got voted -1, but statistically, nuclear actually does cause the lowest number of deaths per MWh energy produced.

http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2...

There really is nothing safer than nuclear, and the facts back this up. Still, when did /. moderation ever have anything to do with reality?

Comment Re:Stay off the slippery slope (Score 2) 177

Instead of a wealth cap, which removes the incentive to provide value to society, perhaps a wealth tax should be levied on wealth beyond a certain level.

A 1%/year tax on net wealth would encourage productive use of wealth, so that wealth then necessarily benefits society.

There are good justifications for this, because wealth is protected by the state and the people, and so those whose wealth we are protecting, should pay for that protection, and about 1% flat wealth tax beyond a reasonable amount (maybe $2M, or whatever puts you in the top 1%) makes sense.

Furthermore, a wealth tax, along with a small UBI, means that the a wealthy few can support a large population, providing for their desires in accordance with the free market, as the AGI revolution replaces almost all jobs with capital.

I propose that a wealth tax and a UBI are the closest practical implementation of lump sum transfers specified in the second fundamental theorem of welfare economics.

Comment Re:The targets aren't fixed points. (Score 1) 191

> it has philosophical incompatibilities between it and the concept of democracy because of the loss of free will due to addiction, which need to be resolved

I'll resolve this for you now, the best I can, which is that philosophical free will simply does not exist. There is nothing in physics that gives rise to free will, we are deterministic (though chaotic and unpredictable) bioelectrochemical machines. Free will is merely an illusion. We have no more free choice than a planet does to orbit the sun, or a rock dropped from height to fall to the ground.

In microeconomics, we study economic agents AS IF they were following an unknown utility function. Not that they have a utility function, but they behave as if they were always maximising a utility function. In this sense economic agents have a WILL, or a desire. The free market, maximises all agents ability to follow their WILL FREELY, in so much as they don't harm other agent's ability to follow their free will.

In this sense, a drug addict maximally follows their free will when they are allowed to consume the drug they are addicted to. That maximises their free will, completely independent of whether or not philisophical free will exists, which I propose it does not.

So, drug addiction then has no philosophical incompatibility with democracy or the free market and free will at all.

For further philosophical examination of this problem you can read Jon Stuart Mill's On Liberty, or study an online course in fundamentals of microeconomics.

Comment Re: Question (Score 1) 519

I'll take that as an admission that you haven't studied economics then.

You wouldn't be able to recognise a free market from slavery. Hint: If people can come to your door with guns and force you to work, you aren't operating in a free market, even if it is a capitalist market.

You probably believe in the labor theory of value, ie, that something is worth the amount of work put into it. Like I said, you are simply ignorant.

Comment Re: Question (Score 1) 519

> What you say would be true if any form of addiction were a choice. But it's not. Even addictive behavior is governed by brain chemistry so it is, in fact, chemically induced.

ALL behavior is governed by brain chemistry, NOTHING is a choice, in the philosophical sense, the brain is an bio-electrochemical computing device.

Yet none of that matters in the free market analysis of modern day microeconomics. Utility is utility, whether that is earning money, playing video games, or taking any drug.

'Addiction' does not alter the fundamental theorems of welfare economics in any way. A free market leads to an optimum where everyone is better off, and no one is worse off, and no one can be made better off without anyone being made worse off. Furthermore, any violation of the free market assumptions (such as criminalising drugs, which is a negative externality on drug users) means that people COULD be made better off without making anyone else worse off.

At best, 'addiction' should be a medical or health issue, not a criminal, and not an economic issue. Addiction, from an economics point of view, is simply the difference between a person's stated preferences, and their revealed preferences.

You should concern yourself only with your own drug taking, and not force your beliefs on others. Let people make choices that provide them with maximal utility, as long as they aren't impacting on you, it's none of your business.

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