Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Curing Greed. (Score 1) 432

Thanks for asking. There are lots of different schools of thought on the matter, so I'm just giving my own thoughts on it here, not an overview of every possibility entertained. If you were to strictly-speaking enforce a process of diminishing returns on concentrating wealth, that wouldn't be a free market anymore; keeping wealth from concentrating in a free market requires you find some kind of loophole or process that is enabling that, and then you just stop enabling it.

I think that that loophole is rent, including rent on money otherwise known as interest. I'm cutting this really quick here and glossing over a lot (mostly rebuttals to anticipated objections), but basically rents happen when one person has more capital than they (in their own estimation) need for their own use, and someone else has less capital than they (in their own estimation) need for their own use, and the one with more exploits that difference by charging the one with less a permanent fee for the temporary use of the capital, so that when the whole transaction is over, the one with more now has even more, and the one with less now has even less, and (this is the key part) that process then loops over and over and over again, unless by some other means the one with not enough capital manages to get enough capital of their own (a process made all the harder by having to pay to borrow someone else's meanwhile).

In the absence of the ability to rent the capital (lend it at interest), the one with more capital would need, if they wanted to profit from it at all (since they're not using it themselves), to sell their excess capital, and the only buyers would be those without enough already, so the sale would have to be on terms (price and payment schedule) the latter can afford, to satisfy both of their own self-interests. This would still come at the cost of extra labor from the buying party (being all that they have to trade, lacking in capital), and consequently afford the selling party some leisure (lack of labor needed), but that would be a temporary condition until the sale is complete. Afterward, both parties have the amount of capital they (in their own estimation) need for their own use, and can continue about their usual amount of labor, keeping the whole product thereof for themselves.

For illustration consider a toy model economy where the only capital is land, the only labor is farming, and there are only two identical participants, with the same needs and labor capacity. If they both have enough land to farm to meet their own needs, then they can each farm their own land and they are equals. If one has more land than he needs and the other less, and rent is a thing, the first can rent some of his land to the other, which he pays by also farming some of the other guy's land (besides the part he's renting), meaning the other guy can kick back and work less... and this will continue like that indefinitely, one person perpetually indebted to the other, all because one of them started out with more than the other. Meanwhile without rent, the poorer farmer would still need to buy the excess land from the richer farmer, meaning he would still have to do some of the farming for the other farmer in trade for that land, but a finite amount thereof, after which time the price will have been paid, they will have equal amounts of land, and go about farming it with equal amounts of labor to meet their equal needs, neither indebted to the other.

Fortunately, we don't have to ban rent to get rid of it, because rent is not just a voluntary trade of one thing for another, that would be a sale; it's a special kind of contract. If we simply stop enforcing such contracts, consider them invalid the way we consider a contract selling yourself into slavery invalid, then rentals and interest-bearing loans would be, while strictly speaking allowed, economically untenable (inasmuch as I will not be punished for agreeing to be your slave, but as soon as I decide I'm tired of it, tough luck for you, that agreement is not binding). So you're not using any force, and all trades are still free, just certain kinds of contracts are not protected, and so won't be used, and in their absence, actual trades (still free) will have to be used instead, in the process circumventing the problems that arise from rent.

And Marx thought capitalism was an unavoidable byproduct of free markets just because he couldn't see what it was, in addition to the free trade of private property, was really causing it. The problem is not, as Marx thought, that the factory-owners pay the workers less than they in turn sell the product of those workers' labor for; the problem is what causes the workers to be in such a bind that their best option is to agree to such an arrangement instead of telling the factory-owners to go fuck themselves, and that is that the workers have debts to their landlords (and possibly other creditors) to pay. The only difference between capitalism and feudalism is that the lord whose land you live on and the lord whose land you labor on can be different people (and you can pick who they are); you're still laboring upon someone else's capital, and then giving a big chunk of the product of that labor to someone to borrow the capital you need to live and continue laboring. That the someones are different instead of the same doesn't make that much difference to the economics of it.

Comment Re:Curing Greed. (Score 1) 432

i think you're a moron with no knowledge of the history of economics who can't distinguish propertarianism (private property ownership) and voluntarism (freedom to conduct commerce voluntarily) from capitalism (the shaping of a market -- free or not -- by the prior distribution of capital, such that ownership flows to those who already have more of it; first coined by Marx as an unavoidably byproduct of free markets, though I and plenty of others think he's wrong).

Comment Re:As soon as we get a legitimate source like Netf (Score 1) 69

What you are saying and I am saying are not contradictory.

Netflix was $10 and included DVD's.

Netflix (from $7.99 per month) ...
Amazon Instant Video (from $8.99 per month) ...
Hulu (from $7.99 per month) ...
Showtime (from $10.99 per month) ...
HBO Now (from $14.99 per month) ...
Starz (from $8.99 per month) ...
CBS All Access (from $5.99 per month)
Warner Movie Service (From $10.00 a month)
Sling TV (for Disney) is $20+ a month

For people with less money (college students?) the difference between $10 a month and $50 a month is sufficient to spur piracy. It feels silly to pirate for $10 a month and take the legal risks. But $100 for the content now fenced off in the services above (and more- some things not streamed or even legally available for purchase) is more tempting for people of limited means.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 2) 432

Incidentally, Friedman also supported the most reasonable solution to the problem we'll be facing - a universal basic income.

And exactly where does this *magic* money come from to pay out all this Universal Basic Income?

If hardly anyone is working where does this magic money come from?

Are you going to take the few people making a LOT of money 3/4's or more of their income to give handouts to everyone else?

At some point, people get pissed they're working for something, and all their money and incentive to work is taken away.

Hell, if you took and confiscated EVERYTHING the top 1% currently owns...it would not pay the rest of us anything for even a full year. What do you do after that?

Comment Re:Surprised (Score 1) 501

I grew up as a kid in the 60's and 70's and 80's....

I saw the rise of the internet from nothing till now.

And honeslty, I"d seriously consider trading some of the tech we have today, to go back to have more closeness and civility we had back then.

I actually am starting to thinks that some of the all the time connected social media proliferation, has had somewhat of a detrimental effect on our society.

We're certainly MUCH more polarized as a nation now than then....I'd trade a few smart phones for that again.

I'm certainly glad I'm not growing up a kid today....

Comment Re:That can't be right (Score 1) 501

If Hillary got elected, it would have been business as usual and things would have continued on as they have under Obama.

You say that as almost if you think that was a good thing.....?!!?

Obama..worst president to date, just barely undercutting the previous Bush.

Again, I'm not a huge Trump supporter by a long shot. I don't think he's all that knowledgeable, but I do think he knows how to gather people around him that do.

I was actually this time around...and I hate to admit it...a single issue voter.

The Supreme Court.....and next nominees to it. That was what scared the piss out of me about Hillary even more than all the other stuff I didn't like about her and the potential for continuing Obama.

I think "O" led the US fully down the wrong road, and tried to fundamentally change what it meant to be the US and to be a US citizen. He was a globalist and often I wondered if he thought of the US first when it came to things, or if he was how will this affect the world all the time.

I'm not hiring my leaders and my government to think about how we can better the world to the detriment of the US, but I want them there to fight to compete the best we can with the rest of the world.

Certainly the rest of the world is thinking about themselves first too....and we need to do the same, or lose.

Comment Re:Surprised (Score 1) 501

Why people like to compare past households with present day households to suggest the economy was better in the 50's, 60's is incomprehensible. They're apples and oranges. The economy was not better, the standard of living was lower. At no time in the history of the United States has there been a time when the average citizen has been as materially wealthy as they are now. We don't build 1000sq. ft. mid-century modest homes, we build 2000+ sq. ft. McMansions. We don't drive those unreliable, antiquated tanks on wheels, nor is there just one per family. Today the average passenger car would be seen as fit for the 1/10th of the 1% back then. Today the average person owns vastly more cloths and of that those of materials that would have been exclusive to the elite. Imagine sitting down in the evening to a 15" manual-tune grayscale VHF tube TV the size of a significant chest of drawers today. People back then couldn't even comprehend the existence of the personal electronics the average person owns today let alone possessing them themselves. The quality and kinds of food readily available and affordable today would be seen as scandalously extravagant. The service industry of which everyone presently avails themselves was bit a tiny mote of what it is today. These comparisons can be made for nearly all facets of life with great similarity of result.

To suggest that people would be better off with the economy of the 50's and 60's is preposterous. If we lived now as we did then, then Walmart would absolutely be the employer of bourgeoisie.

Hmm...but they DID seem to be much less obese, had more intact families (children raised with both parents, this is especially true in the minority communities back then), more of a true middle class....and in general, the country seemed less stressed and happier in general.

Of course some exceptions...Vietnam war, etc...But in general, the US seemed a happier and MUCH LESS divided nation than we are today.

Comment Re:That can't be right (Score 1) 501

You're not paying attention to the right-wing echo chamber. Make America great again refers to the 1850's.

If common sense was so prevalent, Trump wouldn't have gotten elected.

I'm hoping you *really* don't believe all that.

I don't think the majority of folks that voted for Trump, and it is a lot of them...really believe that, and I've not heard anyone seriously advocating for such extreme measures, including the Trumpster himself....

I am no big fan of his, but so far, I've seen him mellow on some of the more harsh rhetoric in the campaign. And so far, many of the things he is indicating he wants to do seem quite sane and good for the US going forward.

No one knows the future, but seriously, just because he won over Hillary isn't the end of the world.

Not that much is going to change in the US...the president doesn't have quite that much power. In fact on the news the other day, I heard that congressmen talking with Trump were wanting to work to actually shift the Executive branch overreach and power grab of the last few administrations back to a more constitutionally advocated balance of powers and restore more of the checks and balances our Feds are supposed to operate within.

Slashdot Top Deals

Five is a sufficiently close approximation to infinity. -- Robert Firth "One, two, five." -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Working...