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Ron Paul wins in Maine, Nevada and NOW Minnesota
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visitorq



Joined: 11 Jan 2008

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leon,

Yeah, the Road to Serfdom was an early work, written in the '40s. Basically Hayek's main objective was just to refute the notion that fascism was some sort of a capitalist reaction to communism, and show that fascism and socialism are really just slightly different versions of the same thing.

Anyway, you're right that he is more moderate than other libertarian thinkers, and made more compromises (as evidenced by the quotes you provided above). In his later writings he is more critical of the welfare state, but still maintained that certain things could be done by the state to benefit the public using non-coercive means. I don't really agree him on that front (since it all still has to come from taxation), and I'm a lot more sympathetic to thinkers like Rothbard when it comes to social welfare. But Hayek's writings on free banking etc. are still very important and interesting.

Here's another blurb from a later book (Constitution of Liberty), where he discusses the change from old socialism to the more incremental socialism of the welfare state, if you're interested:

http://lamar.colostate.edu/~grjan/hayekwelfarestate.html
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visitorq



Joined: 11 Jan 2008

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

northway wrote:
Visitorq, I have a question, and I'm actually curious as to your answer: how would you solve the tragedy of the commons? It's quite clear that our fisheries are collapsing on a global scale; how would you address this? Personally, I think we need a lot more government intervention in that area if there's going to be any chance of fish being a food option in our old age. Do you really think that the problem would resolve itself without government intervention? I focus specifically on fisheries here, but the question could extend to the environment at large. Is there a libertarian solution, or would the approach be to just say that our fisheries are doomed anyway?

Tragedy of the commons is an interesting issue. Here's what Mises wrote about it back in the '40s:

Quote:
If land is not owned by anybody, although legal formalism may call it public property, it is utilized without any regard to the disadvantages resulting. Those who are in a position to appropriate to themselves the returns lumber and game of the forests, fish of the water areas, and mineral deposits of the subsoil do not bother about the later effects of their mode of exploitation. For them the erosion of the soil, the depletion of the exhaustible resources and other impairments of the future utilization are external costs not entering into their calculation of input and output. They cut down the trees without any regard for fresh shoots or reforestation. In hunting and fishing they do not shrink from methods preventing the repopulation of the hunting and fishing grounds.

http://mises.org/daily/4653

So presumably the libertarian solution would be to privatize the ocean. Whether you think that would be more effective than the currently ineffective system that we have at present (or a theoretical system more heavily enforced by government) is up to you. I'm certainly no expert on this topic, but a more detailed discussion can be found here.

Here's a sample:

Quote:
Privatizing the Ocean

The same general logic applies to aquatic resources, including fish. In principle, the problem of overfishing could be easily solved if "chunks" of ocean were transferred into private property. Rather than having a meeting of 48 governments to determine "the" quota, the owner(s) of each chunk of ocean could set an individual policy for that chunk.

To be sure, there would be logistical difficulties in privatizing the oceans. For example, if it turned out to be too costly to sink large nets deep enough into the water at the property lines, then the fish could easily swim from one owner's property into another's. The situation would be analogous to one on land before ranchers developed barbed-wire fencing.

In such a scenario, one solution might be for entrepreneurs to buy many adjacent chunks in order to own an enormous volume of ocean water, so that the owner(s) of any consolidated property could expect to reap most of the benefits from limiting the amount of fishing that could take place on its surface.

Alternatively, it might make more sense to establish property rights in the sea creatures themselves, analogous to branding of cattle. To track their swimming property, the owners might use radio collars (for whales and large fish) or coat the schools of smaller fish with a harmless radioactive substance.

For someone who has never heard such proposals, these suggestions sound farfetched. But there is quite a voluminous literature on the topic, for example here and here.
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Property Rights and Fishery Conservation

Quote:
[F]ishery economists had diagnosed the problem and explained how property rights in fisheries could solve the problem. Specifically by recognizing property rights in a percentage of the catch for a given species (or, in some cases, by recognizing rights in fishing territories), the "race to catch" could be eliminated and fishing crews could be given an incentive to husband the resource. The creation of property rights in the underlying resource aligns the incentives of those who work in the fishery with the health of the fishery. As owners of a share in the catch year-after-year, the fishers have a stake in ensuring there are more fish tomorrow than there are today.

The benefits of such a system are not merely theoretical. They have now been confirmed through extensive empirical research.
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northway



Joined: 05 Jul 2010

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, so I think we're all on the same page that private stewardship works best. The problem I see is that many people would still argue that this spanks of government intrusion. I recently read a story about federal funding being cut for fisheries management that essentially did just what we're talking about (allotting quotas to individual commercial fishermen). The GOP justification for cutting the funding was spearheaded in large part by pressure from recreational fishermen complaining about government restrictions. I guess what I'm getting at is that in this regard (fishery management specifically), I think we need more government involvement of one kind or another; this government involvement is probably best in the form of stressing stewardship and helping to facilitate that stewardship, but regardless, there will need to be more government intervention in order to make it happen (which I'm pretty much 100% sure it won't). Are you willing to accept greater government intrusion in the short-term if it means a long-term, largely private solution to the problem?
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Nowhere Man



Joined: 08 Feb 2004

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 9:28 am    Post subject: ... Reply with quote

Right, so we allow any conglomerate to buy the ocean.

WalMart now owns the ocean...

You and I as free market capitalists are free to compete with WalMart for the...ohh...ownership of the ocean? :/

So I can buy up another conglomerate that will then... buy WalMart out of the ocean?

But wait...who is WalMart buying the ocean from in the first place?

The retardedry here comes pretty close to an apex.

Now, if we want to do this, all we have to do is get rid of government.

Oh nononononono, it's much more nuanced.

The States get rid of government, see?
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northway



Joined: 05 Jul 2010

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 9:34 am    Post subject: Re: ... Reply with quote

Nowhere Man wrote:
Right, so we allow any conglomerate to buy the ocean.

WalMart now owns the ocean...

You and I as free market capitalists are free to compete with WalMart for the...ohh...ownership of the ocean? :/

So I can buy up another conglomerate that will then... buy WalMart out of the ocean?

But wait...who is WalMart buying the ocean from in the first place?

The retardedry here comes pretty close to an apex.

Now, if we want to do this, all we have to do is get rid of government.

Oh nononononono, it's much more nuanced.

The States get rid of government, see?


Thanks for contributing to the conversation. Iceland, hotbed of conservatism that it is, actually has a system like the one we're talking about and it functions extremely well. Knee-jerk opposition to thoughtful policy proposals does nothing to solve problems.
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visitorq



Joined: 11 Jan 2008

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

northway wrote:
Okay, so I think we're all on the same page that private stewardship works best. The problem I see is that many people would still argue that this spanks of government intrusion. I recently read a story about federal funding being cut for fisheries management that essentially did just what we're talking about (allotting quotas to individual commercial fishermen). The GOP justification for cutting the funding was spearheaded in large part by pressure from recreational fishermen complaining about government restrictions. I guess what I'm getting at is that in this regard (fishery management specifically), I think we need more government involvement of one kind or another; this government involvement is probably best in the form of stressing stewardship and helping to facilitate that stewardship, but regardless, there will need to be more government intervention in order to make it happen (which I'm pretty much 100% sure it won't). Are you willing to accept greater government intrusion in the short-term if it means a long-term, largely private solution to the problem?

I'm not sure I follow. By government intrusion and stressing stewardship, do you just mean enforcing property right? Because if that's the case, then that is actually the correct role of government.

Anyway, the main issue I think is territorial, ie. getting other nations' governments to recognize private ownership. I especially see this issue flaring up between Asian countries like China and Japan. Private organizations with members from each country would probably have to be formed, and recognized by governments, for such a thing to work. No easy task.
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northway



Joined: 05 Jul 2010

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

visitorq wrote:
northway wrote:
Okay, so I think we're all on the same page that private stewardship works best. The problem I see is that many people would still argue that this spanks of government intrusion. I recently read a story about federal funding being cut for fisheries management that essentially did just what we're talking about (allotting quotas to individual commercial fishermen). The GOP justification for cutting the funding was spearheaded in large part by pressure from recreational fishermen complaining about government restrictions. I guess what I'm getting at is that in this regard (fishery management specifically), I think we need more government involvement of one kind or another; this government involvement is probably best in the form of stressing stewardship and helping to facilitate that stewardship, but regardless, there will need to be more government intervention in order to make it happen (which I'm pretty much 100% sure it won't). Are you willing to accept greater government intrusion in the short-term if it means a long-term, largely private solution to the problem?

I'm not sure I follow. By government intrusion and stressing stewardship, do you just mean enforcing property right? Because if that's the case, then that is actually the correct role of government.

Anyway, the main issue I think is territorial, ie. getting other nations' governments to recognize private ownership. I especially see this issue flaring up between Asian countries like China and Japan. Private organizations with members from each country would probably have to be formed, and recognized by governments, for such a thing to work. No easy task.


Let's focus on the domestic level, first off, for the purpose of simplification. If you are to allot given plots or quotas to fishermen (which don't currently exist), it requires government intrusion to, in essence, create property rights to begin with. For example, my native New England's fishermen don't currently "own" any share of any kind. In order to create a system wherein they held title to something, it would require that the government, in effect, create property where property did not exist previously, as there are no property rights to guarantee in the system as it currently stands. Is that more clear?
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visitorq



Joined: 11 Jan 2008

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

northway wrote:
Let's focus on the domestic level, first off, for the purpose of simplification. If you are to allot given plots or quotas to fishermen (which don't currently exist), it requires government intrusion to, in essence, create property rights to begin with. For example, my native New England's fishermen don't currently "own" any share of any kind. In order to create a system wherein they held title to something, it would require that the government, in effect, create property where property did not exist previously, as there are no property rights to guarantee in the system as it currently stands. Is that more clear?

Yeah, it is an interesting circumstance. I'm not sure the government would really have to create a system and dole out property (in fact, this would likely lead to corruption), but rather allow the fishermen who are using it already to claim or offer to buy the property. Similar to the homestead principle with land. Corruption and favoritism could be an issue at first (while the property were initially up for grabs), but I'm not really sure that could be avoided.
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northway



Joined: 05 Jul 2010

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

visitorq wrote:
northway wrote:
Let's focus on the domestic level, first off, for the purpose of simplification. If you are to allot given plots or quotas to fishermen (which don't currently exist), it requires government intrusion to, in essence, create property rights to begin with. For example, my native New England's fishermen don't currently "own" any share of any kind. In order to create a system wherein they held title to something, it would require that the government, in effect, create property where property did not exist previously, as there are no property rights to guarantee in the system as it currently stands. Is that more clear?

Yeah, it is an interesting circumstance. I'm not sure the government would really have to create a system and dole out property (in fact, this would likely lead to corruption), but rather allow the fishermen who are using it already to claim or offer to buy the property. Similar to the homestead principle with land. Corruption and favoritism could be an issue at first (while the property were initially up for grabs), but I'm not really sure that could be avoided.


I know I keep bringing up Iceland, and though I'm not super familiar with how they first organized the system, my understanding is that they essentially guaranteed the rights of existing fishermen to a given allotment of fish, which those fishermen could in turn sell or lease to other fishermen. Basically, the best, hardest working fishermen were the ones who ultimately ended up buying or leasing the allotments of their less capable peers.

As for the bolded, that was essentially what I was asking: would greater short-term involvement by the government be worth it, for you, if it meant a long-term, more market-based solution to something that is a very real problem?

There are a few problems I foresee:

1) Recreational fishermen complaining that new laws interfere with their ability to go out and catch fish. Personally, I think this is kind of a BS argument, considering we already have restrictions on land hunting, and have made real progress with certain species recovering through utilizing such restrictions.

2) You are creating real barriers in a market once you start allotting quotas or plots, and basically freezing the market in perpetuity. This can fly in a small country like Iceland, but once all the fish are allotted, no longer can someone buy a fishing boat and enter into the fishing business (unless they have the funds to purchase an allotment). While this is less than ideal, I think it's something of a necessary evil.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to stear the conversation back to the topic I broached the other day - that fractual banking is one of actually many examples of how we can't extricate the U.S. government from the U.S. economy.

To me, this is just another example of how on a practical level, the U.S. either is not ready or cannot become a free market economy. Personally, I don't think any economy can be a "free market" economy without the force of a government to enforce people to abide by free market principles, but I will leave that to an aside, though no doubt there will be people who will be up in arms and want to discuss that (go back to my point about the eventual outcome of a laisse fare system either being dictatorship or government interference).

Anyway, the U.S. economy is a mixed economy, though for the most part, it is one of the freer mxed economies in the world. Still, the U.S. government does interfer with the U.S. economy, especially benefitting banks, some large industries (automobile and oil come to mind) and financial companies.

It also provides or facilitates social welfare programs, such as welfare for dependent mothers, guaranteeing loans for university education, social security, some educational subsidy, subisidies and outright management of roads and some national infrastructure, U.S. militiary benefits...it is a long list.

The current direction of government has been to try to limit these social welfare expenditures while expanding benefits to certain industries and businesses.

This is the beginning of Visitorq's point about unintended consequences.

This direction in policy has lead to a whole assortment of problems, including but not limited to increasing the economic divide, increasing incidence of poverty a whole array of social ills.

Now, there are a number of directions we can go:

1) Stay the course
2) Adopt a truly free market economy
3) Stop cuts in social welfare spending and try to gradually phase out business subsidies followed by social welfare spending or allow limited social welfare spending.

In my opinion, all have advantages and disadvantages. There are no perfect solutions. And, in my opinion again, the more perfect the solution the more I distrust it.

Stay the course means the businesses favored by government will continue to have huge advantages and even if we eventually reached a free market system, such industries in theory could use their cumulitive advantages in the previous system to dominate (and even prevent a true free market system from occuring).

The second will be a terrible shock that will significantly reduce the world's wealth and could very well bring down our very limited ability of law and order (as imperfect as it is - it could be worse!) Think the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Of course, there was a Renaisance (sp?) afterwards, and no doubt, the free market economy that emerges (if it is stable, which I doubt) will be a boon but it will be at a great price.

The third is about making government work better, educate people for a 21st century economy and making investments that improve everyone's quality of life. The key is to do it with an eye on increasing freedom and decreasing debt over time (scale back but prioritize this scaling back so that the shocks, especially to the less strong, are minimized)

Of course, Visitorq is right. There will be unintended consequences. There always are! Even if we do nothing - it has an effect! But, that should not paralyze us into doing nothing. We just have to manage the problems better. We need to be braver and we need to have more faith in human capability at the same time we fear our lack of ethical fortitude.

Anyway, I am sure there will be dissent (sp?). There always is. Welcome to the messiness of democracy. But, I hope people widen their horizons and see that there are more than one way of doing things. I would argue that we need to be more practical and think about the more vulnerable people in our society as well.
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atwood



Joined: 26 Dec 2009

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
I'd like to stear the conversation back to the topic I broached the other day - that fractual banking is one of actually many examples of how we can't extricate the U.S. government from the U.S. economy.

To me, this is just another example of how on a practical level, the U.S. either is not ready or cannot become a free market economy. Personally, I don't think any economy can be a "free market" economy without the force of a government to enforce people to abide by free market principles, but I will leave that to an aside, though no doubt there will be people who will be up in arms and want to discuss that (go back to my point about the eventual outcome of a laisse fare system either being dictatorship or government interference).

Anyway, the U.S. economy is a mixed economy, though for the most part, it is one of the freer mxed economies in the world. Still, the U.S. government does interfer with the U.S. economy, especially benefitting banks, some large industries (automobile and oil come to mind) and financial companies.

It also provides or facilitates social welfare programs, such as welfare for dependent mothers, guaranteeing loans for university education, social security, some educational subsidy, subisidies and outright management of roads and some national infrastructure, U.S. militiary benefits...it is a long list.

The current direction of government has been to try to limit these social welfare expenditures while expanding benefits to certain industries and businesses.

This is the beginning of Visitorq's point about unintended consequences.

This direction in policy has lead to a whole assortment of problems, including but not limited to increasing the economic divide, increasing incidence of poverty a whole array of social ills.

Now, there are a number of directions we can go:

1) Stay the course
2) Adopt a truly free market economy
3) Stop cuts in social welfare spending and try to gradually phase out business subsidies followed by social welfare spending or allow limited social welfare spending.

In my opinion, all have advantages and disadvantages. There are no perfect solutions. And, in my opinion again, the more perfect the solution the more I distrust it.

Stay the course means the businesses favored by government will continue to have huge advantages and even if we eventually reached a free market system, such industries in theory could use their cumulitive advantages in the previous system to dominate (and even prevent a true free market system from occuring).

The second will be a terrible shock that will significantly reduce the world's wealth and could very well bring down our very limited ability of law and order (as imperfect as it is - it could be worse!) Think the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Of course, there was a Renaisance (sp?) afterwards, and no doubt, the free market economy that emerges (if it is stable, which I doubt) will be a boon but it will be at a great price.

The third is about making government work better, educate people for a 21st century economy and making investments that improve everyone's quality of life. The key is to do it with an eye on increasing freedom and decreasing debt over time (scale back but prioritize this scaling back so that the shocks, especially to the less strong, are minimized)

Of course, Visitorq is right. There will be unintended consequences. There always are! Even if we do nothing - it has an effect! But, that should not paralyze us into doing nothing. We just have to manage the problems better. We need to be braver and we need to have more faith in human capability at the same time we fear our lack of ethical fortitude.

Anyway, I am sure there will be dissent (sp?). There always is. Welcome to the messiness of democracy. But, I hope people widen their horizons and see that there are more than one way of doing things. I would argue that we need to be more practical and think about the more vulnerable people in our society as well.

Excellent post that looks at the world as it is and proposes working from there. Kudos!
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comm



Joined: 22 Jun 2010

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
The third is about making government work better, educate people for a 21st century economy and making investments that improve everyone's quality of life. The key is to do it with an eye on increasing freedom and decreasing debt over time (scale back but prioritize this scaling back so that the shocks, especially to the less strong, are minimized)

If there were a socialist running for office who I trusted to reduce the national debt, I'd vote for him over Romney or Obama. On the other hand, I have yet to see an attempt to "make government work better" succeed in the United States in my lifetime (though I do see Obamacare as slightly positive). So I see that broad idea as being pretty dubious.
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northway



Joined: 05 Jul 2010

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

comm wrote:
Unposter wrote:
The third is about making government work better, educate people for a 21st century economy and making investments that improve everyone's quality of life. The key is to do it with an eye on increasing freedom and decreasing debt over time (scale back but prioritize this scaling back so that the shocks, especially to the less strong, are minimized)

If there were a socialist running for office who I trusted to reduce the national debt, I'd vote for him over Romney or Obama. On the other hand, I have yet to see an attempt to "make government work better" succeed in the United States in my lifetime (though I do see Obamacare as slightly positive). So I see that broad idea as being pretty dubious.


I'm not crazy about Obamacare, but I think it could have been a much, much better program had GOP politicians shown any willingness to cooperate on negotiating a bill. I found the death panel stuff pretty offensive, as my grandparents have consulted with end of life care people, and their consultations were extremely helpful when my grandfather's dementia progressed past the point of being manageable.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Comm,

For what it is worth, Clinton changed welfare as we knew it, expanded free trade, reduced the deficit and didn't forget about the vulnerable.

And, one of my favorite lines from the Clinton/Dole debates was when Dole turned to Clinton and said you are weak on drugs and Clinton turned to him and said well you are weak on tobacco. Dole suddently went weak and stuttered. Clinton was impressive.

I think Obama could have been Clinton or Clinton light if he had a more favorable economic and political environment. Of course, hindsight is 20/20.

Anyway, just something to think about.
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