Use access key #2 to skip to page content.

ChrisGraley (29.73)

Challenging Libertarians

Recs

23

January 06, 2011 – Comments (132) | RELATED TICKERS: AM.DL2 , CRIS

Sorry, I have to do this.

I'm having difficulty with 2 Libertarian concepts and I'm hoping someone can point out something that I am missing.

The first difficulty that I'm having is victimless crime. The problem that I have with not persecuting victimless crime is that some victimless crimes have a potential for victims later. I know that doesn't make sense, so I'll give an example...

A police officer pulls over a driver late at night because he is driving erratically. He has suspiscions that the driver is drunk, but since he hasn't hit anything and there aren't any victims, he lets him go on his way. A few blocks later the same driver kills a family of four. If the intent of the law is to protect the victims, isn't part of that intent to reasonably try to make sure that they aren't victims to begin with?

A second example is a guy boarding a plane with a stick of dynamite doesn't have any victims until the dynamite goes off. Do we wait for it to go off to act?

The next problem that I'm having is with specific property rights on real estate. The problem that I'm having is that the next generation should have the same property rights that we do. Because real estate is a finite resource and they deserve the same property rights that we do, our rights should not impede their rights. This brings me to the point of resources and pollution. If I own a property, do I have the right to clear-cut all the trees? Can I deny the next generation the right to have wood? Since trees are a renewable resource, the answer is easy in my opinion. If I can make my process sustainable, no harm is done. If I can't, I should pay for the harm. But pollution is a bigger problem. I understand that if my pollution leaches from my land onto my neighbors, I have harmed my neighbor and he deserves restitution, but what if I'm able to confine my pollution to my land only. If I've polluted to the point that my land is unlivable, I have effectively removed potential land from the system for the next generation. I have done them harm and all generations after that until the pollution disappates. If that pollution is radioactive, this could be hundreds of years. If I mandate that this property can't be sold by my desendents and therefore is taken out of circulation by other means, do I sidestep the harm? Can my desendents still be responsible for the damage that I created? Can there be any sustainable scenario where real estate diminishes while population grows?

Listen you guys have been better to me than most people. I'm sure you'll answer my concerns in the same well thought out way that led me to accept other principles, but I'm still a party of 1 and I need something that fits my mold of right and wrong. It's not really about me. It's about my kids and their kids, and their kids. I can't rally against the evil of the establishment, if my actions are making the establishment more evil. There has to be accountabilty. It's not politics with me. It's just right and wrong. I'm not gonna be a burden on another generation.

132 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 06, 2011 at 2:25 AM, Valyooo (99.44) wrote:

I know where you are coming from, I am interested as well.

Report this comment
#2) On January 06, 2011 at 3:18 AM, truthisntstupid (82.79) wrote:

Re: Property rights

    I grew up playing and swimming in the creeks here in SW Missouri.  40 years ago creeks ran deep with water pouring over the "slabs" that were there for vehicles to drive across them.  If it had rained hard recently, you took another route and went the long way to town.  These creeks are only a memory now, since most of them spend most of the year a foot or two deep now.  

The creeks of my youth had deep holes and pools more than chest-deep year-round.

Property rights.  Yeah, sure.  Nobody can tell you what you can do with your land.  We must respect people's rights to do what they wish with their land.

Where'd all the damn water go?  I read a lot.  I've read many of your posts and you seem very intelligent, Chris.  Maybe you've read this somewhere before, too.

At each end of this huge Mississippi there were wetlands.  And at each end there are now what used to be wetlands, because with modern technology and machinery it was possible to pump them dry for either farming or developing.

I've read that those wetlands acted somewhat like giant sponges in the North and the South, and helped to regulate the water level for the whole length of the system.

The people who owned that land have done considerable damage if this is true.  And "they," (whoever "they" are, I don't remember where I read this) are pretty sure this is what has happened to all the water in the last 40 years.

Of course, they couldn't have forseen the unintended consequences of their actions. 

But we know them now!!!

So - property rights vs the rights of everyone?  If they refuse to restore the land to its former condition because of the loss of income or other personal damage to themselves that they may suffer, should their "rights" be respected?

Doesn't the needs of the many (the whole damned country) outweigh the needs of the few?  Shouldn't their land be condemned, taken away, and allowed to revert to the wonderful role nature spent eons developing for it while it is hopefully not too late?

We are now, in many places here, having to drill 500...600...700 feet deep for water...in places where we once only had to drill fifty or a hundred feet.

Do the libertarians  argue and vigorously defend these property owners "rights" at the expense of others?  Should they have a "right" to do what they please with their land no matter how it affects people decades and hundreds of miles away?

What do you think?

Report this comment
#3) On January 06, 2011 at 3:37 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Hi Chris!

Let me start by saying that libertarianism is not a philosophy that promises to vanquish social ills and usher in utopianism.

When you state that victimless crimes may lead to victims down the road, this is true.  It's true under any form of social structure since victimless crimes have never been eradicated even under the most oppressive totalitarian regimes.

The focus of libertarianism, at least the Rothbardian variant that you are most likely to encounter among Internet geeks, is on property rights.

Let's look at your first two examples: the police officer pulling over the erratic driver and the possible airplane bomber.

In the first example, a Rothbardian libertarian would ask, who owns the roads?  His issue is not necessarily with the driver's privacy or political rights. These are secondary issues that come about because there are no clearly defined property rights. In a Rothbardian society, roads are privately owned, and enforcement of the rules belongs is the right of the owner. If he doesn't want erratic drivers on his road, if he doesn't want drunks on his road, if it's bad for business, then he or she is fully within his rights to ban those types of drivers from his road. 

But what if they violate his property rights and drive on the road drunk anyway?  Violating another person's property rights is an initiation of aggression. Hence now that the offender has chosen the level of aggression that is acceptable to him through his own actions, the road owner is within his rights to use force to remove the aggressor from his property.  This is no different than the right to repel a home invader.

In the second example, the issue is the same. The airline is a private company. They should be able to employ any security measure necessary to prevent this "maybe bomber" from boarding their plane.

From the flipside view. Any customer that uses a product or service accepts a level of risk. We know that driving is more dangerous than flying, yet we still drive long distances. We know that McDonald's is not very healthy yet we sometimes choose to eat there.

In any voluntary transaction a customer accepts a level of risk based on their own subjective judgments. It is impossible to know what that level of risk tolerance vs. satisfaction customers would accept unless your society is based on property rights and voluntary exchange of that property.  

For example, some road owners may be more lenient than others in dealing with drunk drivers. Their returns may or may not be more profitable. It's impossible to say (and there are many other factors that would determine profitability.)  However, unless you have freedom to exchange, you will never know.  

That was a long answer, so I'll take a break before addressing the second concern.  Plus this will give you an opportunity to address my response. 

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#4) On January 06, 2011 at 8:30 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Great answer David and it makes total sense. It opens up another question though. Does the property owner have the right to detain the drunk driver until he sobers up? If he can't detain him and simply removes him from his property and on to his neighbors property has he himself done harm to his neighbor? If the neighbor was unable to catch the drunk before he has done harm, is he partially responsible? Are you partially responsible for escorting the drunk onto his property?

 

Report this comment
#5) On January 06, 2011 at 8:45 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

truthisntstupid, I think that fits in with my notion of sustainability. We should be able to figure out the economic costs on others for draining the wetlands. Those costs should be charged to the landholder doing the draining and paid to the people along the river that are affected by the draining. My guess would be that this cost would be too high to make draining the land a viable idea.

Report this comment
#6) On January 06, 2011 at 10:02 AM, Valyooo (99.44) wrote:

But how would finding out cost really solve anything?  For example (I know it is extreme, but bear with me, because it can be scaled down) if somebody nuked the entire world, and paid 50 trillion dollars in costs, they paid for it...but now the world is destroyed.  Taxing polluters makes them polute slightly less, but theres not much you can do with that tax money to get rid of the pollution.

Report this comment
#7) On January 06, 2011 at 10:23 AM, Option1307 (29.69) wrote:

+1 for the discussion.

Report this comment
#8) On January 06, 2011 at 10:35 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Chris,

Does the property owner have the right to detain the drunk driver until he sobers up? 

I'm not sure I would consider that a right, or to reverse that I don't think you can require the owner to detain the drunk either. Although some businesses do have "in-house" security that would detain the drunk before turning him over to the police, most have contracted security that do the same function.

In a Rothbardian society, it's most likely that the road owner would hire security to perform these functions, and among their duties would be to detain a drunk until he sobers up. 

But for a libertarian legal question of this nature, I would probably have to ask an expert like Stephen Kinsella or Walter Block. I just don't have that level of expertise.

If he can't detain him and simply removes him from his property and on to his neighbors property has he himself done harm to his neighbor? 

That's a good question. The owner's safest choice is to turn the drunk over to a local security company. Since excessive drinking (and driving) as always an issue in society, it is likely there would be many private companies that would serve as "jails" or "way stations" for drunks. The owner simply pays a fee or these pseudo-jails could attempt to collect from the drunk trespasser when they sober up. That's a market question.

Valyooo,

But how would finding out cost really solve anything?

Because all actions have a cost. In fact, even the initiation of violence is based on cost. If the would-be attacker determines the cost in money, time, energy, pain, etc, is too high (based on subjective evaluation), he will turn his attention elsewhere.

Taxing polluters makes them polute slightly less, but theres not much you can do with that tax money to get rid of the pollution.

It makes them pollute less in comparison to what? In comparison to the current situation where property rights are not enforced, sure. In comparison to a situation where property rights are enforced, then definitely no. Pollution is also a property rights problem. It's not that hard to figure out that toxic waste from one place is causing damage to the water supply. The reason it is difficult to prosecute polluters in our society is because governments are crooked and incompetent and have very little reason to protect your property rights. They would rather tax the polluters, line their pockets, and give you lip service.

truth,

While I can't address claims about lower water levels, I don't see why this problem is inherent to private ownership. Governments around the world have large military bases where the land is destroyed beyond the point of recovery. Just because those aren't wetlands or areas that you feel a strong emotional attachment toward, the issue is still an ecological disaster. So while it is possible in a free society that people will do things with their land that you don't like, it's not as if that isn't happening right now on a fantastic scale by the very governments you ask to protect these lands. 

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#9) On January 06, 2011 at 10:50 AM, Valyooo (99.44) wrote:

I thought you were the one in favor of ruining the environment, so why are you saying the government is crooked for not helping environmentalism now, but you said they were crooked for promoting it in your last blog?

Report this comment
#10) On January 06, 2011 at 10:52 AM, Valyooo (99.44) wrote:

And if you asked me what dollar cost I would put on my life, I would say you can't match them. So if you killed me and gave my family billions, you would not have corrected anything.  Same goes for other assets of the Earth.

Report this comment
#11) On January 06, 2011 at 11:07 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Valyooo,

I'm not in favor of ruining the environment. The point of my last post was to call into question commonly held beliefs. In the case of environmental issues, many commonly held beliefs are held without question and do not stand up to scrutiny. Recycling, energy consumption, and climate change theories do not hold up to scrutiny. 

And if you asked me what dollar cost I would put on my life, I would say you can't match them. So if you killed me and gave my family billions, you would not have corrected anything.  Same goes for other assets of the Earth. 

I don't see what this has to do with our conversation or libertarianism in general.

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#12) On January 06, 2011 at 11:09 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Thanks David, that seems reasonable.

One last question on the first topic though. If I am able to apprehend someone on my property for being drunk and turn them over to a private security company for detainment which can charge them for it at their release, what is to stop me from apprehending anyone on my property, claiming that they are drunk and getting a kickback from the private security company?

It seems that some sort of recourse system would be needed for people that I falsely apprehend, but it's my property and my opinion of drunk may differ from someone else's. Sorry for being difficult, but I'm trying to think this through to a fair and just conclusion.

Report this comment
#13) On January 06, 2011 at 11:16 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Valyoo, killing you would not be the same as violating your property rights.

 

Report this comment
#14) On January 06, 2011 at 11:25 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Chris,

Your question is the famous "Who watches the watchmen?" that has plagued political theorists since the beginning of political theory.

In this scenario, the security company (watchman) is dirty and just like a dirty cop/agent, what recourse do you have? 

It is unreasonable to think that just because you have a market in protection and security services, rather than a government monopoly, that all these problems disappear.

However I think it is likely that these problems will be limited by competition. Not every drunk will have the means to hire someone to investigate these abuses and not every person will be caught. But before we brush this aside, have you ever asked an inner city cop how many on his force operate on the straight and narrow at all times? Unless a story gets national media attention, how many inner city poor people get justice for the atrocities they suffer at the hands of dirty cops?

So I would ask that you always keep in mind the comparison, because although libertarianism will not solve every problem we do conclude that in comparison to a monopoly on force, competition is far superior for the ultimate goal of protecting people's property (life, labor, and land).

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#15) On January 06, 2011 at 11:41 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Fair enough David.

Care to take on the second part on resources and pollution?

 

Report this comment
#16) On January 06, 2011 at 11:41 AM, FreeMarkets (93.41) wrote:

I'm a big fan of David (whereaminow), but I'm a Constitutional Libertarian, not a Rothbardian.

It is my philosophy that the States have the right to create roads through taxation.  The people living within those states have the rights to make up the "rules of the road".  

As for the plane example, I do agree with David, that the owner of the plane can make the rules of who flies.

As for the "water" issue by truthisntstupid, the argument is simple, the States have the right to make rules permitting use of the water.

The beauty of "States Rights" is that we have 50 states. Should California and New York become to burdensome in their regulations or lack the ability to stop a river from being drained, then you have the legal right to leave that state (as we see New Yorkers have been doing for about forty years now).

Once your river crosses a state border, the Constitutions commerce clause can come into play so the Federal gov't can tell Colorado you can't damn the river that Arizona needs for water.

What gets most Libertarians into trouble is something David said in his first response, and its worth repeating "libertarianism is not a philosophy that promises to vanquish social ills and usher in utopianism."  Unlike Communism, Socialism, your local politician, Libertarians are not promising the fix to everything.  Just the most efficient method of conducting your personal life while retaining the most freedom.  

So what do we do with the heroin addicted guy on the road.  We either help a charity that helps addicts or we don't.  If he dies, he dies.  I can spend MY MONEY to help him, but I refuse to use the threat of jail to force YOU to help him.

Report this comment
#17) On January 06, 2011 at 11:47 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Chris,

Care to take on the second part on resources and pollution? 

I will, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#18) On January 06, 2011 at 11:55 AM, truthisntstupid (82.79) wrote:

I don't believe there is a solution to the very real problem I presented.

If the damage to the water table, if it is a result of the actions of private citizens' use of their land over the last several decades, what is the fix?

Of course, how do you determine whether this was just educated conjecture that I read somewhere, or if there's something to it? 

Who decides which "experts"  we listen to?

 Can there be a fix, or are several million people across half-a-dozen or more states just screwed?

Report this comment
#19) On January 06, 2011 at 11:59 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Glad to see another take on this FreeMarkets, so where is the line drawn with the States? Do they have the right to create a waterway police force? Should they be able to force me to pay taxes to pay for it? How would the drunk driver be handled in your scenario?

 

Report this comment
#20) On January 06, 2011 at 12:00 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

I look forward to it David.

Report this comment
#21) On January 06, 2011 at 12:13 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Well I'm not really up on the Wetlands, but I would think that if water needed to be pumped out in the first place, it would need to be continually pumped out. Water normally takes the of least resistance. That should mean that it is reversible. In my view of the way things should work, I would go to the landholders and tell them if they want to continue to pump it out, they have to compensate the people burdened by this. If it is not cost effective for them, they would have to stop pumping and the wetlands would return to being, well, wet.

Report this comment
#22) On January 06, 2011 at 12:54 PM, FreeMarkets (93.41) wrote:

#19 [quote]Glad to see another take on this FreeMarkets, so where is the line drawn with the States? Do they have the right to create a waterway police force? Should they be able to force me to pay taxes to pay for it? How would the drunk driver be handled in your scenario?[end quote]

Simply put, the States are a 50 experiment project.  They have the Constitutional authority to tax their own citizens and make any laws they want as long as those laws do not infringe on our free speech, gun rights, privacy, etc.

Therefore the drunk driver would be dealt with the way that particular state said they should (obviously not death by hanging).

Report this comment
#23) On January 06, 2011 at 1:02 PM, Tomohawk52 (91.26) wrote:

What is the drunk driver killed someone? Why should the punishment be different in the case where a drunk driver is lucky to not kill someone versus one where he isn't so lucky?

Report this comment
#24) On January 06, 2011 at 1:11 PM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

David,

In your Rothbardian society, what is my recourse for being detained? If I am being detained by a private company, how do I get out if they wish to keep me there? Do I have the right not to be incarcerated and if so who enforces this right? At least with our current system I can appeal to different authorities. If the security company has enough clout locally, I don’t see what prevents them from kidnapping and detaining me at their leisure.

Report this comment
#25) On January 06, 2011 at 1:33 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

dargus,

I'm not David but I would think that you could appeal to the local government, and if not satisified with the State government, and if still not satisfied with the Federal government.

Now that I'm going down this chain of thought, those same channels could police the private companies as well. Watching the watchmen as David Says.

Report this comment
#26) On January 06, 2011 at 1:49 PM, alkusari (64.50) wrote:

Report this comment
#27) On January 06, 2011 at 1:50 PM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

Chris,

I doubt David will agree with you. I don't believe there is a government in his system. There are private police and courts. Once you make the government as the top watchdog, you lose all the supposed benifits in his vision.

Report this comment
#28) On January 06, 2011 at 2:29 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

LOL, well he is an anacrocapitalist, but the libertarian platform is broad in scope.

Even in his system I think he believes in some government. I may be wrong.

Report this comment
#29) On January 06, 2011 at 2:35 PM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

The issue of water use and wetlands is trickier than we are giving it for the simpel reason that water is a truely scarce resource yet the  most important resource.  There is an finite amount of water. Period.  All life is made up of ~75% of water, it is critical for a plethora of biochemical processes that occur in living organisms. Aquafers take hundreds if not thousand of years to form, maybe more. And ALL waterways( rivers, streams, aquafers, oceans, bays etc. etc.) are inter-connected through various circulation patterns, both via the oceans and atmosphere as shown by the water cycle.  Water is truly one of the most undervalued resources we have and requires as much attention, if not more,  than the tree anaolgy the Chris mentioned initially.

For one person to pull water from a well, that person is taking water from a finite resource that others will not be able to utilize.  Its math.  So how do you put a value on what is finite and essential to life?

Report this comment
#30) On January 06, 2011 at 2:46 PM, Valyooo (99.44) wrote:

Killing me is analagous to killing land lakes and animals though...I am not trying to be devils advocate, I am being real.

Also, David, I truly believe you know what you are talking about with theories not holding up to scrutiny, but do you have articles you can link me to?  As far as I know they are all sound theories, but I really am very open to the other side of the story.

Report this comment
#31) On January 06, 2011 at 2:53 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Great Question Jbay!

I would look at it as a supply and demand question. When you figure out the amount of water that you have, the amount of water that you need now and the amount of water that you will need in the future. You would be able to place a value on that resource. That value would increase as the supply got more scarce to the point that things like desalinization plants become viable.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in this case the Aquafer is already there and the water is being removed artificially. If that practice was stopped the water should return directly from the Mississippi River in short time. I'll admit that the question is a little out of my scope, but I would assume that an aquafer fed by a river would replenish quickly.

Report this comment
#32) On January 06, 2011 at 3:00 PM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

On climate change, I hate to say I disagree with David, whom I usually agree with and am totally a fan of.  My background is in marine science, so I have seen this grow from before they had a name to put to this topic.  Initially, scientists recognized a warming trend, and called it global warming.  What they discounted then, but recognize now, is that as the atmosphere warms, it melts the ice caps, which in turn dilute the oceans with excess amounts of cold freshwater.  This affects thermo-haline circulation, which affects the worlds ability to circulate hot and cold water, nutrients and oxygen from point A to piont B.  Excarbated by El Nino and La Nina events, you get warmer waters sitting in a location longer, triggering bigger storms when air of a different temp blows over it.  You also get an increase in sea levels that will be felt by island nations first and most intensely.  Having lived and worked in and around the  Pacific islands, this is a big deal that is impacting some island nations.  All this has become more and more apparent, and scientists have to change their terminology and belief with each new piece of evidence, which is a slow process.

The crux of the matter is that amny scientists (prominent or otherwise), much like politicians, are bought for through their funding agencies.  Grants = careers, and many scientists do not want to lose their career or ability to make one ( read: get tenure).  Also,  many scientists come to unintended conclusions that anger their funding agency and are not allowed to publish those results lest they lose funding and become an eyesore to their institutions.  This stuff happens more than it should, unfortunately.  So in the end, you have scientists saying things that ensure their financial and political future that will convolute good results.  Sound familiar.

Their is good science and good scientists focusing on this field, but like all other things, they are rare and you, we, have to do our DD to determine what is really going on.

I will admit that it does take more energy to recycle soda cans than it does to make them.  But the issue is not energy use as much as land space.  I am not sure how they handle landfill waste in Qatar, but for those in the US, go take a road trip to your local dump.  Space is a premium and dumps are not designed to make use of the methane that results from degradation.  Thats a shame becuase then you have energy production from decomposition.

 So the science of climate change is like any other study, politics, investing etc.  You have to read the report, look at the experimental design and analytical aspects employed (in the case of science), and do your DD.  Papers DO get published beucase of who the author knows or becuase of who the author is.  Ofcourse, paper get published becuase it is good science as well.

Lastly, since you keep mentioning who will watch the watchers...anyone read the book " The Watcher: The Rise of America's Surveillance State" by Shane Harris?

Report this comment
#33) On January 06, 2011 at 3:12 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Well land and lakes are not renewable. Doing some type of permanent damage to them should have a calculatable cost, but I don't think we are able to permanently damage land or lakes. We could do really, really long term damage, but a cost should be figured out easily there as well. As far as killing animals that should be the easiest to figure out. You do that every time you buy a hamburger. We already have a price for that (99 cents if you order from the value menu)

Report this comment
#34) On January 06, 2011 at 3:33 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

I haven't read it, but I just bought a Nook Color, and I'm shopping for books. I'll look it up.

Report this comment
#35) On January 06, 2011 at 4:32 PM, Valyooo (99.44) wrote:

Well for animals, I meant extinction, and the disruption of evolution, which can't be evaluated monetarily.

Report this comment
#36) On January 06, 2011 at 4:51 PM, truthisntstupid (82.79) wrote:

There is no question the water level has dropped and how deep a well must be drilled compared to thirty years ago is drastic - beyond drastic. 

The only question is as to the cause.  And there may be nothing to the (possible) cause I cited.  I just read it somewhere years ago and thought it made sense.  

As to cost, no amount of compensation can fix it.  The only "fix" would be that if it is determined that this theory has a real basis in fact, stepsneed to start being taken to undo what has been done, whether the developers and farmers pumping out the everglades and what used to be wetlands in the North like it or not.

You can't ruin the world and offer to pay for it.

And again, I have no idea whether this has any basis in fact.  It's just a topic for discussion.

Report this comment
#37) On January 06, 2011 at 5:14 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Valyoo extinction can be managed monetarily and it would be pretty darn expensive.

@truth

if it can be undone then this is the best way to pay for undoing it. Make the people that caused the mess pay for fixing it and have them compensate the people that they have harmed. Soon, what they are doing no longer becomes cost effective and they quit doing it.

The alternative is to have government fix it and have all of us pay for it. Which is better?

Since water is available in a finite amount and the population continues to grow, we are always facing a problem even if we undo what have already done. The solution is going to cost a lot of money. This is the way to get that money. As the scarcity of water grows the price gets higher and higher. Those funds can and should be diverted to a solution.

This is in my sustainability question posed to David. I'm looking forward to his answer.

Report this comment
#38) On January 06, 2011 at 5:36 PM, truthisntstupid (82.79) wrote:

I don't know the answer to your question, ie, "Which is better?"

What if the damage done or even ignoring that, the steps needed to rectify it are too expensive for any private individuals to be able to afford?  Meanwhile, this affects everyone.

You really can't and shouldn't punish anyone.  Nobody knew this would happen.

But the effects are also more far-reaching than people in the country having to drill deeper wells.

If those wetlands that have been and still are being drained, developed, farmed, etc,  acted as giant sponges at each end of the Mississippi  valley to help regulate the water level, this has probably also contributed to the amazing frequency of so-called "hundred year floods"  we've witnessed so many of in the last 15-20 years.

I actually think there really is no solution that would ever stand a chance of being acted upon, and we're just going to be stuck with the situation.  

But how bad will it get?

 

Report this comment
#39) On January 06, 2011 at 7:11 PM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

This may seem quaint, naive, and simplistic to some. God gave mankind dominion over the earth (a gift) and charged him with stewardship (a responsibility).

 

 

 

 

 

Report this comment
#40) On January 06, 2011 at 7:22 PM, devoish (98.44) wrote:

"Until I came to New Mexico, I never realized how much beauty water adds to a river." --  Mark Twain

Report this comment
#41) On January 06, 2011 at 7:26 PM, rfaramir (29.32) wrote:

@dargus,

If you want security, you pay for it. The road-owner who had you detained when he thought you were drunk has obviously paid for his. You pay for yours and you better get service from them, or you will drop them like a hot potato.

Now it's your security service dealing with his. Both have customers to please, not 'citizens' (slaves) to oppress, and future customers to impress. Both should treat you well, taking care of you in your impaired state. They probably have an agreement between them as to how much of the cost is borne by each. The host service knows from your service how much you've paid for, which will dictate whether you get nice treatment or adequate. Both services are for-profit, so unless you're rich, the accommodations aren't going to be lavish; besides, you're drunk, and wouldn't appreciate the quality of the carpets you're vomiting on.

Even if you have no current security service, you aren't totally out of luck. You are a potential customer of the host service detaining you, so you won't automatically be treated badly. If you have ability to pay, you might not like the charge (full cost now or "if you join now, it's only $X.99!") but the treatment shouldn't be bad. They still have a reputation to uphold to attract future customers.

Report this comment
#42) On January 06, 2011 at 8:35 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

alkusari, thanks for the video! They block Youtube at work so I couldn't see it until now. Very interesting.

I watched the entire series and would reccommend it to anyone. Especially to anyone that thinks that free market principles are at odds with environmentalism. 

Report this comment
#43) On January 06, 2011 at 9:28 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

truth, I was really hoping that JBay would come back with his thoughts on restoring the Aquafer.

Let's just ignore that part right now and assume that damage done can not be fixed. So the next step is to keep it from continuing.

So what do we do?

One option is to sell off the Mississippi river in sections to private individuals. Then enforce property rights strictly. Property rights come with a proportional amount of water rights. You pick a number of gallons of water to pump out of the Mississippi.The number is easy to ascertain. You can either pick a number that is enough to keep the system sustainable, or you can pick a number that replenishes the system.

Since the population is growing, what this does is make water a commodity that is more and more valuable and more and more expensive. In the free market, the water is always going to go to the most productive benefit for the consumer because a consumer is going to be willing to pay more for that benefit than any other benefit. More urgency is created because picking a number that is at least sustainable leads the consumer to realize the shortage sooner than if we keep pumping water at a faster and faster rate until we run out. As water becomes more valuable, polluting it becomes more expensive. Remember that the people down river from you have the same right to the water that you do.

This increased urgency leads to a solution before the water is gone and not after.

I hope all that makes sense, but I'm happy to answer questions if it doesn't.

I'm not saying that it is the right answer, it's the answer that I'm most certain of, and it, like the water, is sustainable which is better than most pie in the sky solutions that I've seen.

 

Report this comment
#44) On January 06, 2011 at 9:33 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

devoish, I mean this in good fun and I hope you don't take it the wrong way...

 A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds. Mark Twain

Report this comment
#45) On January 06, 2011 at 9:39 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

NOTvuffet that's a great quote but I'd like to add that it's better to insure that you yourself are responsible than to make it a mission to dictate someone else's responsibility. Just insure that the market is fair and the rest will work itself out.

Report this comment
#46) On January 06, 2011 at 9:52 PM, truthisntstupid (82.79) wrote:

I'm not sure I've been clear.  There are perhaps a thousand miles of river between the bogs & bayous in the far South and the wetlands thet I read used to also be in the North up around the headwaters of the ol' Mississippi.  

Years ago I read an article wherein it was speculated  (as far as I know this is unproven) that the reason for the falling water levels as well as the recent proliferation of so-called hundred-year floods we've witnessed in the last 20 years was possibly related to actions that had taken place at either end (North/South) of the system.

What the people in the middle are doing isn't really the problem.  They're the ones getting the hundred-year floods every year or two, and having to drill deeper for water if they live in the country.  The problem wasn't people in the middle pumping water out of the river.

Anyway, since I just brought this up as a point to ponder (I'm not a tree-hugging nut; I'm much too selfish to spend a whole lot of my time obsessing on the environment)  I'll quit bugging you with it.  I just found it mildly interesting years ago when I read about it...although I do miss the crystal-clear, deep, clean, sparkling water that used to run in these creeks year-round where most of the time it's only a foot or so deep now.

 

Report this comment
#47) On January 06, 2011 at 10:25 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

rfaramir, You opened up another question in my pea-sized brain.

Part of the reason of being detained when you commit a crime is supposed to be punishment. If I am well off enough, I can make the punishment not so punishing. I'm not so sure I buy the whole punishment thing anyway, but I do buy that the main purpose should be determent. So if someone that is better off can make things more comfortable for themselves during their incarceration they may be more likely to commit the same act again. The landowner or private security firm could make it more expensive if it happens a second time, but that only deters him in the specific locality. So, there would be a need for other people to access both your reputation and have a means of identifying you. This means that they have to infringe on your privacy. Infringing on my privacy is a big deal for me, but I don't see another answer. The question is how much should private individuals be able to infringe? I think it's reasonable of them to take a picture of you while in jail, but can they take DNA? What can they post about your detainment? Since your reputation can effect you in daily dealings with the public, what if they post something that is later found to be false? I understand that I may have recourse, but lets say someone posts something wrong that hurts my reputation and then dies. There needs to be some structure to the exchange of information and standards of reporting information which means that someone needs to police it. The market may be able to effectively police it in competition, but in my mind, black and white is fading into gray again. If anyone has clarifying input, please post.

Report this comment
#48) On January 06, 2011 at 11:31 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Chris,

Addressing the second part of your question.

I think I understand that you are asking is, does a person have the right to damage their own land so as to make it impossible for future people to use it?

The answer is yes. There can be multiple owners of capital (e.g. land), but that ownership must be voluntary on the part of all parties. A present-day owner cannot be compelled to share his ownership with a hypothetical future owner, as that violates hsi freedom to associate with whomever he pleases.

As I discussed above, we don't set out with the idea that we are going to change human nature. We simply attempt to understand human nature and deal with it.

What is the solution to a person that is intent on destroying their own property to such a degree? I think we can safely make the assumption that someone who makes such a horrible economic decision (making land unusable for any purpose would be a complete destruction of capital, and therefore a total economic disaster for the property owner) will not have the means to do this very often. In that case, the problem is a limited one and certainly less worrisome than modern day horrors like nuclear testing or any other accidents that befall our planet from human mischeviousness.

But what if the person is as wealthy as Bill Gates, and he suddenly goes mad and decides to buy millions of acres of land simply to destroy them?

There are still ways to deal with this extreme scenario without resorting to an initiation of aggression. Putting non-violent pressure on land owners to not sell to this person would be just one example. Encouraging other wealthy persons to buy "sacred" land might be another.

In other words, even in the most extreme scenario I can imagine, things turn out no worse than our standard situation today.

In summary, there is no panacea for a person that wishes to destroy property and natural resources. The libertarian solution is to limit the damage they can do by enforcing other people's legitimate property rights when they are violated by these cretins.

There are many other comments on here, some of which are addressed to me or issues I've covered. I'll try to get to those later today as well.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#49) On January 06, 2011 at 11:48 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

No! Don't give up on it yet truth!

You aren't bugging me. Your post doesn't seem to be politically motivated and is pertenant to the discussion.

I have heard a little about the draining of the wetlands in the South, so I had the assumption that was where the crisis was occuring.

As far as my last post, I think that still holds value for the people in the middle. They would need to keep drilling deeper for water because there is less of it. If we focus on sustainabilty in a private system, (or even replenishment), then we would at least stop them from having to drill even deeper from this point on. What we might make even worse though are the floods. This makes a bigger emphisis on the wetlands in the North. So allowing people in the North to continue to pump would seem to have drastic results for everyone else. Normally a government would just step in, take the land, and create a big program to make the North a big sponge again. My idea would just enforce the water rights of the people below them. Since what they are doing hurts people below them, the greater good dictates that they make the victims of their decisions whole. I don't think I'm punishing them. (Maybe I am) I am just trying to make them accountable for the results of their actions.

Do I have a right to drain the wetlands on my own property? Yes!

Do I have a right to drain them and hurt others without paying for the damage? No!

You aren't really punishing me after the fact if you charge me for the future damage that I will create.

I understand that there are many people on this land that didn't cause the problem. But they continue the problem if they stay. In this case, the number of people that are hurt by doing nothing are greater than the number of people that are hurt by doing something.

I'm not a tree hugger either, but I do respect the idea. Right and wrong should span a greater length of time than my lifetime. I don't really agree with global warming, but I do agree with a problem with pollution. I think that the free market can fix the problem of pollution quicker than government could. See video numbers 3 and 4 of alkusari's post for an explanation.

truth, I can relate so much to you!

You have taken an eagle eye view and thought about the eventual outcome. You feel trapped and ineffective for a solution.

A solution is out there and although most people are weak and just seem to conform to decisions made by people that they feel are stronger than they are, you have to resist that. When you are strong enough to step out of line, state that you don't agree with everything that is spoon-fed to you, and demonstrate a flaw in the popular beiefs, you are doing this country a service and are not the burden that you think you are. When you surrender, you become part of the problem. We need much more alternative thought in this country! We need that and we need people that can take care of themselves and resent a government that looks at us like children that can't succeed without their mandates.

Last but not least truth, if I had all the answers, I wouldn't be here. I was attracted to this site initally because of the wealth of information on investing. I quickly found out that there is a wealth of information about a lot of other stuff. My investments are doing ok, so the other stuff quickly became more important to me. I still get a ton of great, free, investment advice that really does effect my portfolio, but it's really nothing compared on the advice I get that effects my opinions on life, the universe, and everything.

Thanks for the fish.

 

 

Report this comment
#50) On January 06, 2011 at 11:56 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

@ #46, truthisntstupid,

That's an interesting issue. If they could determine what actions are causing their water problems and then show how those problems affected their livelihood, that would be a fascinating court case. Unfortunately, I can't really comment on it specifically. Waterways are public goods in the current system, and as such are always susceptible to the tragedy of the commons. There are political theories of ocean ownership that are interesting, but I don't spend very much time worrying about them. I do think that fisherman should be able to control certain fishing lanes as private property, but this is not my area of expertise. I would direct those questions to libertarians that spend alot of time on those issues. The Journal of Libertarian Studies, an online resource where libertarian scholars submit papers for peer review, probably has several essays on this topic so searching there would be a good start.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#51) On January 07, 2011 at 12:25 AM, truthisntstupid (82.79) wrote:

Chris,

In order for something to be politically motivated the person putting it forth has to care more about it than I do this issue.  

I believe, years ago now, when I first heard/read about it, it made me angry. 

It doesn't make me angry any more.  It's just an unchangeable process that was set in motion by people that couldn't have known any better long ago.  There's no telling what the world (this part of it)  will be like 50 years from now.  Maybe it will be a desert.

I won't be here.  And while I don't believe it possible to prove it one way or the other, I do believe it.  Wealthy people are pumping out and developing the Everglades.  And the theory about how these wetlands helped regulate our water level seems to make sense.

But there is no sense in getting worked up about it.  It's simply one of those things that just is, and there's nothing that can be done about it, because so many people think property rights should be sacred.  It would be interesting to see what this place is like in another 50 years, but I don't think I'd like it.   If the water level drops in the next 40 years as much as it has in the last 40, maybe tree roots won't be able to reach water any more, and the transition to whatever much of SW Missouri will next become will be well underway.

I won't be here to see it.  I'm glad.

 

Report this comment
#52) On January 07, 2011 at 1:19 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Thanks again David,

But this time I'm going to disagree. You do have the intents of my question right, but I just can't agree with the answer. If we don't take into account the rights of future generations, we insure that the actions of others limit those rights before they are even born. Freedom should not be limited because of an accident of birth. I do agree that a curent owner can not mandate who a future owner could be, but he can mandate that the property can't be sold by the people that inherit it.

I'm not really out to change human nature and I'm not out to create a Utopia either, but I am out to create something that is fair and sustainable. If it is not sustainable, it's doomed to begin with and if it's not fair it doesn't even deserve to be sustainable.

It is very hard for me to think of a situation where you could make land unusable forever, but easier for me to understand how you could make it unusable for a very long period of time.

As far as why someone would do that, my biggest worry would be to take advantage of a market inequality. When destroying the land brings more profit than the profit of maintaining it over it's lifetime could bring, you would be compelled to destroy it.

In the Bill Gates scenario, I'm not sure that trying to compel people to not sell him land is a free market solution.

I don't really think that you can compel people to buy sacred land, but I do believe that in a free market system, people will buy land voluntarily for altrustic purposes.Certain organizations buy it already despite all of the obstacles the government puts in front of them.

David, my biggest problem is that you can't (or maybe this should read you shouldn't be able to..) be able to deplete the system at a profit. I'm not against you making a profit, I'm against you you making a profit at the expense of people making a profit in the future.

I totally understand that you aren't out to create a utopia, but when I think about what my rights should be at birth,  it should be the same as the rights of a child born 500 years from now. There has to be some type of system that considers the results of our actions making an impact on future generations. I'm not out to be perfect, I'm out to be fair. I don't see fair on the right or the left. I can see a possibility of fairness in the middle.

Can I see an extreme measure where it's best for the country to take land out of the system? Yes! In that extreme situation, I would think that we would have to compensate the system for that infinate loss of land.

David I've looked I'm not expecting a miracle, but I'm hoping that you can show me a situation where the system is not certain of dimishing returns. 

Report this comment
#53) On January 07, 2011 at 2:13 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Chris,

I understand your objection, but I don't see how one can enforce property rights for people who do not exist. I don't think land destruction is an economically viable activity so I'm not too concerned with this. Many people object to land "conversion" from a less economically viable form to a more economically viable form. That objection is not based on sustainability, since the greater the economic returns from a land, the more the land owner is motivated to sustain. The objections to land conversion are usually emotional and based on yearnings for a mythical golden age of the past where land was untouched by the human hand and we lived in harmony with the Earth. It is by no means certain that land conversion causes the Earth to be less inhabitable for future generations.

Land conversion increases, rather than decreases, sustainability.

Land destruction does not appear to be anything more than a minor nuisance in a free market economy.

At least that's my take on it.

One more point, and this refers to our reincarnation of Bill Gates as an evil land destroyer. The situation here is similar to the theoretical possibility of free market monopoly. In this case, let's say Exxon Mobil comes to town and sells their gasoline at so low a price that it drives out every other competitor. With them out of business, Exxon jacks up the price and makes a killing.

Scenarios like these are often trotted out by statist economists who believe that the only solution is to use regulation of Exxon to protect me from their nefarious ways.

But this is all just silliness.

There are many objections I could raise, but the most important is that it treats all of us as if we are a bunch of idiots. Why can't I, as a rival business owner, buy Exxon's gasoline at the discounted Exxon price, then just wait for Exxon to run out of patience and sell it my price for a huge profit? Why can't several business owners, seeing Exxon's strategy raise customer awareness about the last time Exxon pulled this trick? Why would customers, who just two months ago were paying half-price for Exxon gas, just sit back and take it when Exxon triples the price after successfully driving out other businesses?

In other words, the market works best when left alone because human ingenuity overcomes these problems when people are free to explore economic alternatives. Just like the land destroying mega-rich Bill Gates in our example, Exxon's success is not nearly a sure thing, as statist economists would like us to believe. In fact, it's much more likely that they would fail, and that Bill Gates would fail to destroy all the land he could, than it is that they would succeed.

Final point of clarification, I didn't mean that we should use force to prevent people from selling their land to someone that is going to destory it. But using persuasion in a market society is perfectly within the rights of market participants.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#54) On January 07, 2011 at 2:34 AM, truthisntstupid (82.79) wrote:

Something is bugging me about my last post (#51 - 4th paragraph)

And while I don't believe it possible to prove one way or the other, I do believe it.

I just want to clarify what I meant.   Because of the paragraph immediately preceding it, it might be taken as if I believe that many areas will become a desert.

Well, while that eventual possibility may indeed exist, as I go on to point out, what I'm talking about in the passage I've italicized is that I believe in the theory that the wetlands in the North and the South  played a large part in regulating the water table for thousands of square miles.

I'm not some nut with a vision of doom.  Future generations will have their own opinion of what they think of people who thought they had the right to do whatever they wanted with "their" land.

That last line makes it sound like I care more than I do.

I don't.  It won't be my problem.  I'll be gone.

Report this comment
#55) On January 07, 2011 at 2:44 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Chris,

I need to clean up a point.

I said, "I don't see how one can enforce property rights for people who do not exist."

The meaning here is not totally clear. The unborn do not have a right to any property unless that property was gifted to them (and that right actually belongs with the person that is current owner and can be revoked at any time up until the transfer of ownership.)

We all enter the world naked and destitute. The only thing a child has is (hopefully) a parent to care for them until they can stake their own claim.

It's quite possible that we may have a world where the newly born have no shot because humans have so thoroughly destroyed the planet. However, there is no evidence that this is a free market problem. The only thing we know for certain is that states have put us on the brink of annihilation on several occasions without so much as batting an eye to the property rights of future generations.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#56) On January 07, 2011 at 9:21 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

The way I see it, David. In a Libertarian system, your property = your rights. Property is going to become more scarce as the population grows anyway, so destroying property would accelerate a decline in rights for more and more people.

When I own the land, I make the rules of what happens on that land. If I'm transient and own no land, I spend my life abiding someone else's rules.

I don't think it's reasonable to expect land ownership at birth, but I do think that it's reasonable to expect the ability to acquire land at birth.

Last, I do agree that such a situation would be rare, but I disagree that it would always be the result of a bad economic decision. Any time the potential profit would exceed the total amount of invested capital it would be a good economic decision and that is what scares me. We must insure that the costs of destroying the land are great enough to insure it's a bad economic decision.

Am I missing something here?

Report this comment
#57) On January 07, 2011 at 9:54 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

truth,

The fact is that as long as the waterways are owned by the public, they will be abused because they have no value. The minute that we allow private ownership, they will be protected because they have value.

I'm not so sure that we can't undo the damage, but I am sure that we can stop it from continuing.

There is always hope, but the minute that you become apathetic, you become contributory.

Don't stop ptotesting because you think no one is listening.

Report this comment
#58) On January 07, 2011 at 10:51 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Chris,

The way I see it, David. In a Libertarian system, your property = your rights. Property is going to become more scarce as the population grows anyway, so destroying property would accelerate a decline in rights for more and more people

Here you should make the distinction that you are speaking specifically about real estate. Property, in general, increases under a free market system, since it includes any good that you can hold and/or control, and the amount of goods in a free market system generally increases dramatically over time in quality and quantity.

But I know that you mean real estate.

Last, I do agree that such a situation would be rare, but I disagree that it would always be the result of a bad economic decision. Any time the potential profit would exceed the total amount of invested capital it would be a good economic decision and that is what scares me. We must insure that the costs of destroying the land are great enough to insure it's a bad economic decision. 

Simple question back to you, my friend. What happens to the price of real estate as it becomes more scarce, all other things being equal?

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#59) On January 07, 2011 at 11:02 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Well, the price would increase. but can we be sure that the price would increase at a rate that would make the above scenario improbable?

Report this comment
#60) On January 07, 2011 at 11:09 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Chris,

I have no idea. I can only think about how much value there is for land currently, which if you total it up would be a spectacular amount. Then I think what would happen if some crazy person came along and systematically destroyed these capital resources and I can't even comprehend how much an acre of land in New York would cost at that point.

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#61) On January 07, 2011 at 11:14 AM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

If you want security, you pay for it.

Yes, this was the only reasonable conclusion. So those with wealth have a great advantage over those without it. This is true in our current system, but there is what should be an impartial judiciary and you have several levels to appeal to. 

My cynical side has a serious problem with this. If we assume a security company's motive is to maximize profit, the surest way is to create a monopoly. As you said, security services will most likely have agreements, but they will be to the benefit of the security services first and customers second. If I am not a well off person, and I run afoul of the local security monopoly, what recourse do I have against them?

To use David's verbiage, I suspect private companies will strive for monopolies of force over certain areas. They could easily divide up territory and collectively prevent new competitors from entering the market. This is how mafias operate and it seems to be quite profitable. I think this situation would be very similar.

Report this comment
#62) On January 07, 2011 at 11:28 AM, truthisntstupid (82.79) wrote:

Chris,

Caring about an inevitable outcome is a fool's errand.  There is only one possible outcome here.   Environmentalists are silly people picking up nickels in front of steamrollers.

The only possible way to change the outcome would be for an impossibly large number of people to actually come to believe that something is bigger and more important than their personal rights are.

This train, like so many others, isn't stopping until it arrives at its destination.  

To care is to doom one's own existence to endlessly arguing with people who believe their rights are more important than the long-term effects of their actions.

All aboard!

 

Report this comment
#63) On January 07, 2011 at 11:30 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

That seems reasonable David, thanks for all your input.

dargus do you think the wealthy don't have an advantage over those without it today?

Where is this impartial Judiciary you are talking about? How would it work out for the drunk in my scenario with a judge who was bought and paid for by campaign donations from MADD?

Report this comment
#64) On January 07, 2011 at 11:37 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

dargus

To use David's verbiage, I suspect private companies will strive for monopolies of force over certain areas. They could easily divide up territory and collectively prevent new competitors from entering the market. This is how mafias operate and it seems to be quite profitable. 

So the worst case scenario is that we might end up with some company having a comparative advantage in violence in a given geographical area?

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#65) On January 07, 2011 at 11:37 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

truth, there is one other scenario, if you align someone's personal rights with your environmental goals.

Let people own it and they'll take care of it.

Report this comment
#66) On January 07, 2011 at 11:52 AM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

Hey folks, sorry to have issed so much fun.  Here's a little input with mroe to come...

 

First off, extinction can not be managed monetarily.  The reason being is that all species interact with each other and provide services for each other that another species does not do.  Lets look at bees, whose existence is currently under the threat of extinction.  These pesky insects that find their way into our gardens, sting us, scare our kids, etc while looking for nectar to take back to their hive.  We have an entire industry devoted to protecting ourselves from them and their cousins (hornets, yellow jackets etc) and to farming them for honey, which is a huge industry, unbeknownst to me until recently.  So, let say one day they are all extinct, gone, poof never to be seen again.  Now, lets also not consider the industries that developed to eradicate them as that’s not the argument focus I wish to follow.  These bees are gone!  What animal will now take over the role as the global pollinator?  While we can cross pollinate tomato plants and others, the majority of all cross pollination is because of these little black and yellow, fuzzy little guys whom Pixar made a movie of.  With tem gone, we’re screwed because the one vital and undervalued role they played will not be picked up y another animal for 100’s of years, if at all.  Evolution moves very, very slow.  But repercussions work fast.  Within 50 to 100 years, this world will see the extinction of thousand of plants and trees.  Not all at once, but in sections like dominoes lined up.  As more trees die off due to a lack of pollination, your atmosphere becomes loaded with gases, many of which find their way into the oceans which change that environment.  You think your lungs get a workout from walking downtown now, wait for the day when what’s listed above occurs.  So, how can you monetarily manage extinction? You can’t unless you fully appreciate all the consequences of that action, and we don’t know the full extent.  But we do know enough to know you’re in deep sh*t if it does happen.

Extinction can not be undone, it is a permanent status.  It can be slowed down, or even stopped through stock enhancement. But though we have tried, it doesn’t always work the way we wish.  The best thing to do is not get in that situation in the first place.

Aquafers develop over time, as do water ways.  And were you access water is not where it forms, or feeds into.  And all points are intrinsically related and dependant on each other.  Previously, this country thought the Army Corp of Engineers could modify natural waterways to promote development and allow access to this finite resource.  But, Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) have botched every project, which is why you have these major floods every year.  Granted they occurred historically, but the rivers and tributaries had been eroded to accommodate the flow that created them.  ACE just didn’t, couldn’t plan accordingly because we are very short-sighted.

So, in order to allow aquafers to develop, you need a lot of time, water and other process that allow the water to seep that far down.  Not to mention a lot of ice.  Ice melt is usually the source of aquafers and the rivers that rage beneath ground.  If we drain our aquafers, we would most likely need a little ice age to replenish them, especially those that are being discussed by truthisntstupid.  

 

Report this comment
#67) On January 07, 2011 at 12:11 PM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

One last commernt about water rights, becuase this one is very tricky.

Just becuase one lives within a particular stretch of a river, does that person really get to have the right to utilize that part as he or she wishes?  And how do put a value to that right?  The people near the piont where the river flows from the mountains, or from where the river enters into the country, would have the most impact on the remaining portions of the river.  Conversely, thsoe near the other end of the river have the least impact on the river but would be impacted the most.  Since water is essential to life, how do you regulate, value, monetize access to a river?

And desalinazation is not the cure that one may think it is.  For one, its friggin expensive.  When living in the carribean, it was cheaper to buy bottled 1 gallon water for 5$ in 2001 shipped in from the US than to use desal water.  But more importantly, the salt pulled out of desal water gets returned to the ocean.  SO, on a bigger scale than the small system of off USVI, you woudl incrementally larger removals of ocean water and the subsequent addition of more and more salt.  Decrease in ocean water + increase salt being introduced to ocean all as a result of desal = increase in salinity and a decrease in productivity in oceans.  Now, I'll admit that this is all theory based on principles that regulate oceanography, and so far we don't have global desal plants in action.  But I suspect tht once we do, if it ever comes down to that, the result I described will become a reality and fishing, ocean life will suffer it will be too late as evolution works very slow.

So its just best not to get to that point where we all need desal water.  I have similar resignations about wind generation but will leave that for a different time.

Report this comment
#68) On January 07, 2011 at 12:14 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Jbay you are assuming that you would be managing after extinction and not before.

Let's say we start noticing a decline in the bee population and we can trace it to the actions of one particular company. We figure out the economic impact is huge if the bees are gone we go down to that particular company and hand them a chart with list of damages based on decline of the bee population 3 months from now with the damages rising exponentially as the population declines. Now the company owner has a few choices. He can alter his process so he isn't killing bees, he can try breeding bees to increase the population enough to replenish the ones lost by his process or he can close up shop.

It doesn't matter to us what he does as long as the bee population stops declining.

Sorry for the simplistic scenario, but I didn't want to make it too confusing.

Report this comment
#69) On January 07, 2011 at 12:20 PM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

dargus do you think the wealthy don't have an advantage over those without it today?

Of course they do, but we are still a nation of laws. It would be very difficult for a rich man to pay someone to detain me indefinitely today, and I'd be wary to change the rules in such a way that would create the opportunity for them to do so.

Where is this impartial Judiciary you are talking about?

This is why I qualified it with the word should. At least I can appeal to multiple judges, varying distances from my local political environment.

So the worst case scenario is that we might end up with some company having a comparative advantage in violence in a given geographical area?

Sure. It is all about the risks you wish to take. I'd prefer a system where each citizen has equal sway in choosing those in charge of the monopoly. Today the rich can spend tons of money swaying opinions, but the people ultimately still choose the leaders with an equal say. In your world, all one needs is enough wealth to control the monopoly. There are plenty of reasons I dislike the way the government uses its power, but I don’t see how providing the wealthy direct control over the system makes things better.

Report this comment
#70) On January 07, 2011 at 12:28 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Jbay,

You let people own the river and the water rights. You set the same amount of water rights from the top to the bottom. The guy at the top can't infringe on the rights of the guy on the bottom without being sued for damages. Therefore the amount of water being pulled from the system is controlled and the free market determines it's price. As the population grows the water becomes more expensive and alternatives become cheaper in comparison. When that bottle of water costs $10 you might be better off with DeSal.

As far as salt being returned to the ocean, it doesn't have to be that way. First off, Sea Salt has value and can be sold. Heck Wendy's is even putting it on their French Fries now! Second, the person that owns the DeSal plant can also be sued for damages by the fisherman, ect...

Report this comment
#71) On January 07, 2011 at 12:36 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

dargus,

Sure. It is all about the risks you wish to take. 

I hope you realize that what you are saying is that the worst case scenario is our current scenario. A state, by definition, is a coercive monopoly that has a comparative advantage in violence in a given geographical territory.

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#72) On January 07, 2011 at 12:40 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

dargus, I think you would get more impartialty in this environment.

First off, assuming a wealthy person had some sort of warped motive to detain you for no reason, in a more competive environment like this, people would choose not to visit his locality for fear of the same thing. He would lose business and close shop.

Second, In my sceanrio at least, I didn't eliminate, local, state or federal government. They are still there.

We would still be a nation of laws. Albiet fewer laws.

Report this comment
#73) On January 07, 2011 at 12:41 PM, ajm101 (31.90) wrote:

Perhaps there is some wisdom in hundreds and thousands of years of accumulated jurisprudence and philosphical questioning of justic and law.  Or maybe we should just toss the whole thing out and replace it with an system that's never been tried anywhere and not everyone buys into.

Report this comment
#74) On January 07, 2011 at 12:47 PM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

I had to chuckle about Wendy's use of sea salt..and you're right about its use in cooking already an established industry. The bee thing is trickier. I didn't intentionally pick it becuase itis trickier, but your response makes me realize it now.  Many hypotheses are being formulated as to why they are dying off.  Some are true to a specific location, US for example, but may not hold up in others Turkey for example.

 In the US, pesticides are beign blamed for the deaths of bees.  One of the  arguments is that a lot of ag in the USA uses systemic pesticides, pesticides that become absorbed into the tissue of the plant and its fruit.  When the bees collect pollen from that plant, it also takes with it the systemic pesticide and takes it to the hive, which the newborns feed off and mutate and die off.  The systemic pesticide can be encoded in the genome of the plant, reducing the need for pesticide applications. Right now, Monsanto is the big player in all of this and they are a tough one to fight. 

Now the interesting thing is this, systemic pesticides do reside in all tissues of the plant that is sprayed with it,making it a great defense for tha plant.  But it is bad for consumption as you can't wash away something that is systemic.  These compounds are known endocrine disruptors, i.e. they screw with your hormones, which in turn screw with your bodies metabolism, ability to reproduce and even to physically be one gender vs another.  Think about this the next time you eat corn, corn products, soy or soy products.  Odds are they were either sprayed with atrazine or a systemic pesticide or maybe a new Monsanto version with the pesticide in the genome.....

 

So, how do you tackel on a giant like Monsanto, a giant that can stall the courts longer than anyone of us can live, a giant that has so much clout with government that it can control government?

Report this comment
#75) On January 07, 2011 at 12:50 PM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

In fact, these giant companies control the research conducted on their products, and the resulting publications such that a google search will show questionable science being conducted that results in questionable results that somehow make polices...talk about conflict of interest.

 

Good debate all the same 

Report this comment
#76) On January 07, 2011 at 12:53 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

ajm101,

Perhaps there is some wisdom in hundreds and thousands of years of accumulated jurisprudence and philosphical questioning of justic and law.  Or maybe we should just toss the whole thing out and replace it with an system that's never been tried anywhere and not everyone buys into. 

By hundreds and thousands of years, I think you mean 100 years. That's the epoch of human history that includes the dominance of nation-states across the globe. For the remainder of our history as homo sapiens (which I believe is around 200,000 years) the vast majority of humans lived free from states and governed themselves.

Statelessness is the NORM in human history.  Being controlled and subjugated by a minority is the EXCEPTION. 

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#77) On January 07, 2011 at 1:00 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"But what if they violate his property rights and drive on the road drunk anyway?  Violating another person's property rights is an initiation of aggression. Hence now that the offender has chosen the level of aggression that is acceptable to him through his own actions, the road owner is within his rights to use force to remove the aggressor from his property.  This is no different than the right to repel a home invader."

In other words, with no government, everyone who owns property is resonsible for defending it themselves.

That might work for a large corporation - but what if you are just one person who owns a small stretch of a road? Or maybe you just own a driveway and a house. You need to hire your own, private police force to defend your property? That isn't going to work very well if the aggressor is more rich and powerful than you are.

Now, I expect that people will say that you can sue for damages when someone infringes on your rights. Well, that doesn't work for a number of reasons.

One is that this allows murderers to get off scott-free: if you murder someone, they aren't around to sue you. So, in the case of murderers you need a public police force to arrest them.

Secondly, what about corporations that cause more damage than they can afford to pay for? For instance, in the case of the BP oil spill - what if, hypothetically, it was determined that the party responsible was not BP, but rather was a small company who had sold them a faulty piece of equipment. Sure, the suffering fisherman of the Gulf coast could sue that small company, but there is no possible way that they could be compensated for their losses.

Report this comment
#78) On January 07, 2011 at 1:06 PM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

I hope you realize that what you are saying is that the worst case scenario is our current scenario. A state, by definition, is a coercive monopoly that has a comparative advantage in violence in a given geographical territory.

This is true, except I get an equal say in my government. If I lived under a totalitarian system, I'd be much more interested in your completely free market solution. You are suggesting we forgo democratic government with plutocratic tendencies for an explicit plutocracy. At least I’m assuming that is what you are suggesting, based on things you’ve said previously about private security and courts.

I find sufficiently individualistic, defined rights with a judicial appeal process preferable to whatever the rich guy thinks is fair. In the former, while I may not like the laws, at least I know what actions will result in my detainment and there are defined limits on punishments. Private security forces can create contracts, but if they are the enforcers I see no mechanism to compel them to honor such contacts beyond making other customers upset. It would certainly be difficult to operate if you piss off too many people, but if you are worried that your government can become authoritarian, I don’t see why a private organization couldn’t do so even more easily. There is no explicit expectation of individual rights under the latter structure unless you can afford it.

 

Report this comment
#79) On January 07, 2011 at 1:07 PM, truthisntstupid (82.79) wrote:

Look through this comment thread.  See all the examples of how specific problems would be dealt with.  Realize you aren't about to even scratch the surface in a comment thread.  The people in this dreamworld are goiing to be spending a LOT of time in court.

And the roots of our modern civilization were sown more like 2300 years ago in ancient Greece.

Report this comment
#80) On January 07, 2011 at 1:07 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Jbay I see that you've figured out how the bigger a government gets, the more it gets corrupted.

As far as Monsanto goes...

They may be big, but if you look at the economic damages that they are causing, they are bigger.

All it would take would be one class action lawsuit and the problem is solved. If they want to drag it out, that's fine, but we'll put a restraining order on them until judgement.

The problem is we aren't enforcing property rights enough now. If we were, Monsanto would not exist right now.

Report this comment
#81) On January 07, 2011 at 1:09 PM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

To be fair, control and subjugation of mankind has occured for thousand of years, as far back as Egyptians, Sumarians etc. And as homo-sapiens, and our proto-typed selves, they had some sort of group-like structure with some sort of leader.  Even as hunters and gatherers, there had to have been some sort of order and chain of command in place otherwise violence among peers would have been exceesive to the point where one would have left hieroglyphics demonstrating as much.

If you doubt this, look at our great ape relatives and how they interact today.

As long as there have been a band/group/pack of animals living together, there has and will always be a way to enforce control from the dominant male/female to the rest.  The difference exists in when and to what extent the control is applied.  This is not philosophical, it is the way of nature, survival of the fittest etc.

Report this comment
#82) On January 07, 2011 at 1:13 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

dargus,

Do you really believe that you have an equal say in this system? That your vote is worth the same as David Rockefeller's vote?

An anarchist does not want a world with no rules. He only wishes to remove the coercive force in society. If a community wishes to have a government that is democratic or communist or whatever, as long as every party voluntarily agrees, then we have no objection. It's when the state uses coercion to compel people against their will, that is where the line in the sand is drawn.

The American government becomes more coercive and less representative with every passing day.  

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#83) On January 07, 2011 at 1:17 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Jbay76,

The coercive states like the Egyptians where a speck on the map and their populations were the equivalent of a rounding error of the world total. 

Self government is not the same as coercive states. Up until the 19th century, when nation-states started permeating every area of the globe, the majority of humans lived free from coercion. This is the natural human state of affairs. Living under a coercive authority is not.

I promise that if you take a wider view of human affairs throughout the ages, you will see that we are living in a great and brief experiment that makes up a tiny fraction of human history.

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#84) On January 07, 2011 at 1:23 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

ETF's rule,

I would think that you and your neighbors would group together to hire the same company to police your neighborhood.

I don't know why everyone is assuming that there is no government in my sceanrio, but I'll repeat it again. Local, State and Federal governments would still exist. Murder me and go to prison. Still the same.

Last, BP, would still be culpable in your scenario even if the smaller company was at fault, BP still dumped oil in the ocean.

Report this comment
#85) On January 07, 2011 at 1:28 PM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

Do you really believe that you have an equal say in this system? That your vote is worth the same as David Rockefeller's vote?

Yes, both are counted as one vote for a given candidate. Mr. Rockefeller is free to spend much more money than I have influencing other citizens to support his choice, but his vote is worth no more or less than mine.

as long as every party voluntarily agrees, then we have no objection. It's when the state uses coercion to compel people against their will, that is where the line in the sand is drawn.

Government by definition is coercive. I challenge you to find any system where every single of the governed agrees with every decision by the government. The system you speak of is seems far more utopian than the most leftist socialist’s dream. As long as one must interact with other individuals, there will be coercion.

The American government becomes more coercive and less representative with every passing day.  

Agreed. I find this trend to be very disturbing, but I don't think the solution is anarchistic plutocracy. The solution is to make the democratic government less coercive and more willing to tolerate individual freedoms.

Report this comment
#86) On January 07, 2011 at 1:35 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

dargus,

I don't believe my vote equals David Rockefeller's. I think it's safe to say he wields far more influence than I.

I challenge you to find any system where every single of the governed agrees with every decision by the government 

Those who disagree, simply did not follow those rules, and the elders or authority had no power to compel them. That is not my view. That's the historical study of self governing people since the beginning of time. Their societies were also more egalitarian than present day societies, due to the lack of a coercive monopoly that redirected wealth to special interest groups.

These societies still exist, even though they are in refuge from coercive states. 

Present day Zomia. In the past, the entire planet.

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#87) On January 07, 2011 at 1:41 PM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

David,

On the topic of Egypt and other nation-states, speck or not on the radar, they did exist as an example of early coercive states. I agree entirely with your last statement and think that this 200 + year experiment will end badly and will be an even smaller speck on the radar than Egypt.   

At what piont does self-government change?  I guess I was thinking that since one group will always be in control of others in a population, that the politics will eventually become coercive.  Any examples I could follow on to see your point? I knwo its cheating but it would help the research.

Somewhat nonsequitur, how do you get names bolded in blue and underliend like that? 

 

Report this comment
#88) On January 07, 2011 at 1:51 PM, truthisntstupid (82.79) wrote:

It's a link and I don't know how to do it that way either.  Wish I knew.

Report this comment
#89) On January 07, 2011 at 1:52 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"I don't know why everyone is assuming that there is no government in my sceanrio, but I'll repeat it again. Local, State and Federal governments would still exist. Murder me and go to prison. Still the same."

I was quoting David in my post, not you. And, I am not sure whether or not the two of you are in agreement on this point. From what I have heard, there are a lot of libertarians who want to have basically no government at all.

Now that you have clarified your position I have to ask, why is it ok to use the public police force to hunt down murderers, but not other offenders? Are you saying that for tresspassers and drunk drivers it is more appropriate to use a private security force? What if the offender is committing vandalism, burglary, or assault?

These are all violations of "private property", so I don't understand why you feel that a tax-supported police force should be used in some scenarios, but it is the property owner's responsibility to hire a private security force in other scenarios. How do you make the distinction?

Report this comment
#90) On January 07, 2011 at 1:54 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Jbay76,

Somewhat nonsequitur, how do you get names bolded in blue and underliend like that? 

Highlight the word you want clicked, select the ring looking thingy next to the Italic option, enter the URL in the pop up and you're all set.

I certainly would not deny the existence of many states, some that lasted and many that failed, over time. But the view we have of history is that they are the dominant place in human history. They are not. They are the dominant place in the state-making model of human history. But that doesn't encompass all of human history, merely a tiny percentage.

At what piont does self-government change? 

Almost always by outside forces that conquer them. Take the Arawak Indians for example. When they first saw Columbus they walked up to him and offered goods for trade. He, in turn, had them slaughtered. Would the Arawak have approached this situation differently if they understood the nature of states?  I think so.

We're a long ways away from winning any battles with states. Probably will not happen until my bones are dust. But that doesn't make me advocate the opposite, which is to further enslave my fellow man. If we can win some very small battles while I'm here, that would be terrific. If not, oh well. At least we gave it a shot.

Any examples I could follow on to see your point? 

Frontier America was largely self governed, especially California in its earliest days. Violence came to the frontier via the Republican Party (some things never change) in order to grant subsidies on railroad cronies. They couldn't get the American Indians to work for them, so they killed them.

Like I said, the largest and most populous area that has resisted state-making up to present day is Zomia. It has 40-80,000,000 inhabitants I believe, and is the size of half of Western Europe.  (NOTE: that's from memory, so it may not be correct)

But even that territory is under attack today and states have the technology to bring them under heel, or will very soon.

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#91) On January 07, 2011 at 2:11 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Btw, Zomia is no paradise and I'm not trying to portray it as one. It's largely been a refuge zone for the last 200 years. However, even under these circumstances, their societies have typically been wealthier than the neighboring statist communities, due to their eagerness to engage in trade.

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#92) On January 07, 2011 at 2:13 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Sorry guys, I've got to continue this later.

Report this comment
#93) On January 07, 2011 at 2:40 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"Btw, Zomia is no paradise and I'm not trying to portray it as one. It's largely been a refuge zone for the last 200 years. However, even under these circumstances, their societies have typically been wealthier than the neighboring statist communities, due to their eagerness to engage in trade."

Nonsense. Thailand is the only part of Zomia that is reasonably well-off, and they also have the strongest gov't in the region. The rest of Zomia is dirt-poor with a miserable quality of living, even compared to their neighbors. Burma, Afghanistan, and Western Pakistan are complete hellholes.

Report this comment
#94) On January 07, 2011 at 2:50 PM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

Those who disagree, simply did not follow those rules, and the elders or authority had no power to compel them.

Elders had no power to compel? If the elders had more wealth than I did, I'm sure they could compel others to act against me. If I could not defend my property, there were no property rights. At least with a government, there are defined consequences for actions such as this. If people are free to not follow rules, there are no contracts. How can you create any kind of reasonable economy based on this? Once again, those with wealth, or more accurately power, will rule those with less power. It is like that today to a degree, but we have a basic set of defined rules and an enforcement mechanism. With democracy, properly run, people have equal sway over their government. You still have the freedom to not follow the rules, but there are consequences, just as there would be if there were no rules and defined enforcer. The difference is you know ahead of time what the rules and consequences are, and disputes can be adjudicated by impartial third parties. In your scenario, those with the most power are free to do what they want to whomever they want. The only check is someone else becoming more powerful. At least a system of laws creates some risk, even to the powerful.

Your beef seems to be with the federal system. My local government is a pretty fair representation of its citizens. I could do with much weaker, or even no, federal or state governments, but to think it would be better for there to be no rules and enforcement on a local level is absurd to me. I see it only leading to an increase in violent conflicts, of which there are nearly none now.

Report this comment
#95) On January 07, 2011 at 3:11 PM, rfaramir (29.32) wrote:

Awesome statements by ChrisGraley:

"In a Libertarian system, your property = your rights."

I'd add that this is a good test for any proposed "Human Right": if it a property right, then it is valid, otherwise it is not. E.g., "Healthcare is a Right!" is only true in so far as it means I have the freedom to contract with any willing physician to provide the service to me; i.e., no one else should dictate to either of us limitations or terms: no 'mandates on coverage', no mandated licensing (they'll get certificates because very few will go to a doctor without, except the poorest, who could only afford the uncertified), no limits on payments, no mandated payments, etc. What "Healthcare is a Right!" usually means, though, is the 'right' to forcibly take someone else's wealth and direct to one's own health care service. This is a violation of liberty and property rights, and therefore not a true Human Right.

"Let people own it and they'll take care of it."

Exactly! This is the answer to the Tragedy of the Commons. Eliminate the Commons so everything has an owner who will take care of it. Those who don't care will sell their portion to someone who does. Those who care but don't want to deal with the hassle will contract out the management of the former common area to a private service which they will own a share in or have some other influence on.

Report this comment
#96) On January 07, 2011 at 3:12 PM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

David

Thanks for the tip!  I never would have figured it out on my own.  I guess its not too intuituve. 

Your example helps clarify my understanding of self-governing vs coercive, so thank you.

I too have to go for the day, but do want to point out that ETFsrule has a good point. Why should a tax-supported police force put more effort into murders than bulgaries and the like when they are all invasions of one's private property.  I realize man power may be an issue and am hoping for a different answer.

 

In any case, got to go...good weekend all...great discussion! 

 

 

Report this comment
#97) On January 07, 2011 at 8:21 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

OK, sorry for the delay but I'm back in action.

ETFs,  the locality may or may not have police. It depends of the wants and needs of the citizens, but if it does, it would be competing with private security firms. Kill a man and go to prison though. It might be a private prison. In fact, that is most likely. If the locality has police, they won't be tax supported, they'll be competing with private businesses.

dargus, if you don't like my rules, you have the option of not entering my property. I can't compel you to enter and I have no power over you if you don't, no matter how wealthy I am. Now once you or I infringe on either side's rights, then either of us can seek justice.

Thanks rfaramir, I appreciate it.

As a disclaimer, I am still working out "What government should be" in my head. My thoughts can and will change as I research more. Right now I'm down to very little government.

Sort of a Night Watchman State. (Not exactly like that though)

I very well may be down to absolutely no government by the time I'm done. Especially when David makes compelling arguments.

 

 

Report this comment
#98) On January 07, 2011 at 9:18 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

ETFsrule,

I don't know what it is that when the subjects of libertarianism, gold, or Peter Schiff are brought up you turn from a reasonable person into a condescending jerk. You missed my point completely because you were so busy trying to make yourself feel good.

The comparison I was referring to was neighboring communities (tribal vs. town, hills vs. valley), not neighboring states. If you didn't understand, you could ask me to clarify. I would, since I've been to both Thailand and Pakistan and could draw on personal experience as well as literature.

But since you turn into a total arse whenever these topics come up, I'd rather not even bother.

Obviously something about these subjects reflects an insecurity for you. You don't act like this on any other topic.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#99) On January 08, 2011 at 4:39 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Jbay76,

Why should a tax-supported police force put more effort into murders than bulgaries and the like when they are all invasions of one's private property.

That's a question for minarchists, since Rothbardian libertarians (also called anarcho-capitalists or voluntaryists) reject the coercive nature of taxation. However, if a community wished to raise funds voluntarily (even if they called it a "tax") to hire a specialized police force, we raise no objection.

The main objection I read here is that only the wealthy will be able to afford these services. That objection can easily be repudiated by viewing the behavior of companies in a market economy. Sell to the masses, live like the classes. Companies increase profit by reaching as large a market as possible. You can get a healthy meal for $5 (Subway is healthy right?) That's less than an hour of labor for a minimum wage worker. Compare that to how much labor had to be performed to eat 500 years ago.

That's what we expect to happen with private security services. At first, perhaps they would be out of the reach of all people (though already just about any home owner can afford home security service in America today.) But in short order, we expect these companies will drive to service everyone they can.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#100) On January 08, 2011 at 7:12 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

dargus,

I'd like to address your comment #94, not to change your mind, but just to offer an alternative view.

I don't agree with everything that Jefferson, Madison, et al. said, but I agree with their attitude regarding democracy. It is not a system of government that is consistent with freedom or liberty. It is simply the tyranny of the majority. Nothing more. Anything that we wish it to be is merely projecting our own ideals upon a system that is not inherently bestowed with them.

To take it further, the only positive aspect of democracy has nothing to do with the citizens at all (at least not directly). Democracies increases the lifespan of the state, by making revolution non-violent, by giving an avenue for competing power grabbers to take a share and lose a share of the bounty without having to resort to violence. Obviously this is appealing to all, and has positive effects on the citizenry as well since their lives are not uprooted as often.

Ludwig Von Mises had another interesting take on democracy. If it is truly what you crave, you will only get real democracy in the market place, where each person votes with their dollar on who provides them with the most useful goods and services.

You made it clear that you think the rich have more votes in a market economy. But so what? To buy what? To buy more fancy cars? In a state, the rich have the power to compel you by gunpoint to follow rules they have no intention of ever following.

When is Hank Paulson going to jail? How about Goldman Sachs? Monsanto? Timmy Boy Geithner? George Bush?

Etc.

These people rip us off every day, commit theft on the grandest scale, suck us dry of our productive earnings, sometimes even order the unathorized murder of other human beings without so much as an honest inquiry and oftentimes by intentionally lying (WMD, anyone?).

And yet, nothing happens. Why is that?

They have the power of the state behind them. The state has a comparative advantage in violence over the rest of us. Therefore, they can do what they want.

Libertarianism does not solve all problems. It only points you to an understanding of the nature of power and the natural and unnatural way that human beings interact. The market is a social phenomenon. The state is an antisocial institution used to dominate other human beings. One brings us closer together. The other drives us apart and makes us enemies.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#101) On January 08, 2011 at 8:00 AM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"ETFs,  the locality may or may not have police. It depends of the wants and needs of the citizens, but if it does, it would be competing with private security firms. Kill a man and go to prison though. It might be a private prison. In fact, that is most likely. If the locality has police, they won't be tax supported, they'll be competing with private businesses." 

In your scenario, what gives this private police force the right to put people in jail? Would you also have a private judicial system? Private courts?

This is going to be a very expensive undertaking, for private companies to pay for all this, including feeding the prisoners, maintaining the prison, etc. How are they going to show a profit?

Report this comment
#102) On January 08, 2011 at 9:45 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

On #99 first David's beliefs and my beliefs kind of overlap here. I think a private security force would do much better than a public one simply due to competition. I also believe that a local organization should be allowed to collect a tax for a public police force if they want. I believe that they too would probably eventually use those funds to hire a private force due to competition. If you don't want to be taxed, you can move to a locality that doesn't, and if you want public police you can move to one that does. For the judical system, I think that judges should be locally elected, but not tax supported. The cases tried before them should provide their salaries. I have no problem for a tax to buy land and build a courthouse, but the cases should pay the bills. Any judge being voted in, should be able to be voted out. The danger of this is the tryanny of the majority. But again there is local competition.

As far as private prisons go, you pay your own way. There will be work opportunities in prison. You don't pay your bill, you don't get out. Over-time will be available for those that want it.

Report this comment
#103) On January 09, 2011 at 10:32 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

I forgot to answer what gives the private police force the right to go after you.

The same reason that a public police force can go after you. You are suspected of committing a crime. They have to use the same rules and you can call your lawyer etc...

Report this comment
#104) On January 10, 2011 at 11:40 AM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

I think your idea is very impractical. For one thing, you are greatly overestimating the amount of revenue that would be generated by putting the inmates to work. They will not be as cooperative as you think. And for prisoners on death row or serving a life sentence, there is very little incentive for them to work for you.

I also think it is overly-optimistic to say that "the cases should pay the bills". Have you looked at the numbers to determine if this idea is realistic?

Also, what about trials where the defendant is found innocent? In these cases, who will pay the salaries of the judges, baliffs, and all of the other administrative costs associated with the trial?

This is the problem I find with many Libertarian ideas: they are based on ideologies, and as a result they generally do not result in practical solutions.

Report this comment
#105) On January 10, 2011 at 12:31 PM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

Chris,

I feel like you are setting up some very perverse incentives in your system. If judges are paid out of money from cases they preside over, what incentive do you suppose this creates? I realize you aren't suggesting a commission system, but what is a judge to do if crime rates are low for a lengthy period of time?

As far as private prisons go, you pay your own way. There will be work opportunities in prison. You don't pay your bill, you don't get out.

There is a reason we did away with debtor's prison in America. Will the prisons be required to provide me with necessities if I refuse to pay my debts? What if the prisoners unionize and all refuse to work/pay until the prison goes bankrupt?

The same reason that a public police force can go after you. You are suspected of committing a crime.

So you are saying there is a government, which writes laws, and private (or potentially public) security to enforce them? If a private company detains me, they have to put me in front of an elected judge and he determines my punishment? If I am given jail time, the private company detains me or contracts out my detention? How is it determined how much my incarceration will cost? Is the prison company free to decide on this number or will there be bureaucratic oversight?

Report this comment
#106) On January 10, 2011 at 12:50 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

I've actually looked into both of those things and will make a comment later tonight when I get off work.

Report this comment
#107) On January 10, 2011 at 1:15 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

"This is the problem I find with many Libertarian ideas: they are based on ideologies, and as a result they generally do not result in practical solutions."

Even though I'm going to make a more detailed post later, I do take exception to this comment. The fact is that all I do is to try and think the whole process all the way through and that was actually the point of this post to begin with.

I am more than happy to go back and forth with your objections, but there is something very telling about someone not putting forth any pratical solutions questioning the practically of my solutions. If you are looking for validation for being a follower or just want to shoot down someone with a different idea, then please look elsewhere.

Again I'll try to give a detailed answer to your post this evening.

Report this comment
#108) On January 10, 2011 at 3:37 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"I am more than happy to go back and forth with your objections, but there is something very telling about someone not putting forth any pratical solutions questioning the practically of my solutions. If you are looking for validation for being a follower or just want to shoot down someone with a different idea, then please look elsewhere."

I was just giving my opinion on your ideas.

I believe my statement about Libertarianism is generally true, and I will discuss it further if you would like to.

As for presenting practical solutions of my own, that's easy. I believe the police force, the judicial system, and the legislative system should all be paid for with tax dollars.

Report this comment
#109) On January 10, 2011 at 7:55 PM, rfaramir (29.32) wrote:

"I forgot to answer what gives the private police force the right to go after you.

The same reason that a public police force can go after you. You are suspected of committing a crime. They have to use the same rules and you can call your lawyer etc..."

By "the same rules" I hope you mean "the same rules you and I live under" and not "the same rules that current public police forces operate under." By the former I mean that a private police force would have no more right to detain a suspect than you personally have, so they would have to be circumspect and treat you well because they are liable if they imprison you unwarrantedly. Unlike that latter, where public police have virtual immunity and can get away with very bad mistreatment (until caught on video).

So, in addition to the profit motive, they have a self-protection motive not to mistreat you. They are serving their customer (whose roads you drove drunk on), a potential customer (you), and dealing with an EQUAL member of society; not a non-police officer peon. I always wondered what was really behind "professional courtesy" when police are not ticketed by police in other jurisdictions: it's an honor among thieves thing, only at the top end of the spectrum instead of the bottom.

Report this comment
#110) On January 10, 2011 at 8:53 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

ETFs, if they want out, they will work. If they do not want out they won't work. If they are on death row or on life sentences, after all of their assets have been emcumbered with liens, they will get their bills paid for by the other inmates. The private prisons will make their books balance. Their families may come forward to help with their bills. A charity may come forward to help with their bills. Someone may be willing to give them a loan to get them out. But if they want out, they will pay their bills.

As far as looking at the numbers, I don't think that you have looked at the numbers either.  Whatever the cost is, it will be paid by the cases because that is the cost. Which is much better than a tax supported system that spends first and figures out how much to increase taxes later.

If the person is found innocent, the Judge has the option to split the court costs between the accused and the accuser or to charge them all to the accuser depending on whether he thinks that the accusation has merit. The accused always has the right to try to claim his court costs back from the accuser in the first case if he doesn't like the judges decision.

dargus, That is the one reason that I went with an elected judge rather than a private judge. I felt that a judge would need to be held accountable by the population because he may have an economic incentive to make an improper decision. The judge and his appointees will have fixed salaries. If the courts produce more income than expenses, that money will go to funds set up to pay when they have shortages in later years.  If they have a build-up of excess funds, the locality may want to reduce costs paid by others in the future.

As far as not having enough crime, I would really hope we could get to that point some day, but I think that at least initially you would have a spike in crime as people would try to test the boundaries of a new system. I do think that when we actually make them responsible for their crimes though instead of sending them off to criminal unversity to improve their craft with 3 free square meals and a cot, the crime rate will actually drop.

Will the prison be required to give you the most basic of necessities if you refuse to work? Yes! Will you ever get out? No.

As far as a government that sets laws for the private or public police to enforce, the answer is yes, but at the local level there won't be a legislative branch, all laws will be a direct vote of the people. Will there be a someone in place to police the police? Yes, the lawyer for the accused. 

Will a private institution be able to set the price of your detainment prior to the judges ruling? Yes and No. During your detainment you'll be asked if you want your bill settled through the court process? If you say yes, you will get the most basic treatment and be billed at a price set by the locality. You will stay in jail until you see a judge and he will make sure that the jail gets paid. If you determine that you will pay your bill before you see the judge, you may have the option to watch television during your stay or have a nicer meal ect... , all at a price of course.

Last but not least this is directed back at ETFs. You're here in this thread just try to belittle whatever you can. There are plenty of other people that disagree, but debate openly and respectfully. You are just here to demean it by making general statements to debase the entire Libertarian movement. You are picking me incorrectly as the figurehead for that movement by the way, because I'm not exactly a Libertarian. I'm trying to come up with my own concept and I assure you that the legal, judicial, and prison systems that I have mentioned above aren't mentioned in any Libertarian texts that I know, because they are my own. They aren't even solidified yet. That is why I was looking for debate from Libertarians. I got debate from other sides as well, but I just got flak from you. You started off fine, asking questions that I thought you would use to debate with, but after that you just made big blanket disparaging statements meant not to spur debate, but to belittle the thread. I get it! You're a card carrying party member and the only chance you have of keeping your grip, is to try and dimiss any smaller movement before it starts.

So if the most practical thing that you have to offer is "I believe the police force, the judicial system, and the legislative system should all be paid for with tax dollars." ,then how about I buy you a 'I'll support the status quo until the system implodes and destroys us all!' t-shirt. You move on to troll another thread and we just agree to disagree.

That way you have time to post the "Libertarians want to let murderers go free!" stuff in more threads.

Sounds like a win/win to me.

 

 

 

Report this comment
#111) On January 10, 2011 at 9:12 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

rfarmir,

touche, I should bite my tounge for such a mistake. You are correct that private security would not have the same immunity from prosecution for mistreatment.

I was trying to look for a news item from Pennsylvania that I saw earlier today, but I can't find it. Police showed up at a moving site after someone reported that one of the movers had a gun. No gun was found, so the police decided that they would take everyone's picture. (I'm guessing to show a potential witness). 1 man refused and was arrested for obstruction. While in jail he continued to refuse to let them take his picture. His face was slammed to the floor in attempt to force him to have his picture taken.

Since when is not allowing your picture to be taken a crime?

Does anyone think that someone in private security would get away with this? 

 

Report this comment
#112) On January 10, 2011 at 9:12 PM, dshgfkchq (< 20) wrote:

Hi,Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,   (   http://www.supershops.org )
   Here are the most
popular, most stylish and avant-garde
shoes,handbags,Tshirts, jacket,Tracksuit w
ect...NIKE SHOX,JORDAN SHOES 1-24,AF,DUNK,SB,PUMA
,R4,NZ,OZ,T1-TL3) $35HANDBGAS(COACH,L V, DG, ED
HARDY) $35TSHIRTS (POLO ,ED HARDY, LACOSTE) $16(  http://www.supershops.org)

New to Hong Kong : Winter Dress
--- NHL Jersey Woman $ 30 ---**** NFL Jersey $20--- NBA Jersey $ 18 ---**** MLB Jersey $ 30--- Jordan Six Ring_m $30 ---**** Air Yeezy_m $ 45--- T-Shirt_m $ 15 ---**** Jacket_m $ 30--- Hoody_m $ 30 ---**** Manicure Set $ 20as long as the new and old customers to buy the corresponding product on this site, both a gift, so stay tuned! !commodity is credit guarantee, you can rest assured of purchase, allby will provide service for you all, welcome to1. sport shoes : Jordan ,Nike, adidas, Puma, Gucci, LV, UGG , etc. including women shoes and kids shoes.2. T-Shirts : BBC T-Shirts, Bape T-Shirts, Armani T-Shirts, Polo T-Shirts,etc.3. Hoodies : Bape hoody, hoody, AFF hoody, GGG hoody, ED hoody ,etc.4. Jeans : Levis jeans , Gucci jeans, jeans, Bape jeans , DG jeans ,ect...For details, please consult ( http://www.supershops.org


HOT SELL Product Brand is below:UGG BOOT ,nike shoes,air jordan shoes,nike shox shoes,gucci shoes ,true religion jeans, ed hardy jeans,coogi jeans,affliction jeans, Laguna Beach Jeans,ed hardy T-shirts,Coogi T-shirts,Christian Audigier T-shirts,Gucci T-shirts,Polo T-shirts,coach handbag,gucci handbag,prada handbag,chanel handbag .Air jordan(1-24)shoes $33UGG BOOT $50Nike shox $35Handbags(Coach lv fendi d&g) $35Tshirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $16Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $30Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini) $16New era cap $15Bikini (Ed hardy,polo) $20free shipping accept paypal
 http://www.supershops.org 
thanks... For details, please consult

Report this comment
#113) On January 11, 2011 at 12:35 AM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"You're a card carrying party member and the only chance you have of keeping your grip, is to try and dimiss any smaller movement before it starts."

Interesting theory. What political party do you think I belong to?

Anyway, I stuck to the issues, and I made a conclusion about Libertarianism based on the things in this thread and based on my past experiences.

"That way you have time to post the "Libertarians want to let murderers go free!" stuff in more threads."

Huh?

Anyway, your idea simply does not hold water, and by now I think it is obvious to anyone reading this that it is not practical to expect the defendants to pay for the entire justice system. I didn't even mention the prosecuting attorneys, but that is another cost (and a big one!). And you haven't discussed who would actually make the laws under your system. Who pays for the legislative system?

Lastly, your attempt to portray me as some disrespectful "attacker" is laughable. I have stuck to the issues here. And I don't buy your attempt to paint yourself as a victim, nor do I accept David's recent attempts to portray himself as some sort of "benevolent teacher" on TMF. On numerous occasions I have seen both of you drag discussions into the mud with your constant insults and belittlement of anyone who disagrees with you. So please give it a rest, I am not buying your act.

Report this comment
#114) On January 11, 2011 at 8:58 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

ETFs do you think you are desguising your liberalism?

chk999 was right, your charactorism of Libertarianism is about as accurate as using a book about the 3 bears as a physics textbook.

"Huh?"

see post #77 again. You came to that conclusion all by your self without anything to base it on. Pretty much like your conclusions on Libertarianism. You'll hear what you want to hear.

The fact that you are trying to come to a conclusion on Libertarism based on my thread is laughable because what your are arguing with is not a Libertarian platform. The fact that you see it as one means that you condemn Libertarianism without understanding it.

How can I paint myself as a victim when you aren't really attacking me? You may think you are, but you aren't.

I don't care if you disagree, but if you are going to say something is wrong, prove why something else is right. I know that you won't open yourself of to the same scrutiny that you give others so tell me your t-shirt size and we'll be done with it.

As far as my act goes, you bought your tickets but walked into the wrong theater, you are just too dumb to know it.

At least all your perceptions about life are self validated though.

Report this comment
#115) On January 11, 2011 at 11:55 AM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

If the person is found innocent, the Judge has the option to split the court costs between the accused and the accuser or to charge them all to the accuser depending on whether he thinks that the accusation has merit.

Under this system, I think the accuser should incur the costs if the accused is found innocent. Perhaps under extreme circumstances the judge could be given some leeway to put costs on the accused, but I think making the accuser liable decreases frivolous lawsuits. This is just my initial reaction.

Will the prison be required to give you the most basic of necessities if you refuse to work? Yes! Will you ever get out? No.

 

So how do we keep prisoners from refusing to pay as a group? How long can a prison operate if those who provide its income refuse to pay? You might be able to find people to donate to keep a prison open, but you are giving the inmate the power to unionize.

 

Anyway, I stuck to the issues, and I made a conclusion about Libertarianism based on the things in this thread and based on my past experiences.

 

It would be nice if you guys would find some common ground and get back to a civil discussion, but it may have gone too far for that. I do tend to agree with ETF on his point that Libertarians, at least serious ones, tend to lean towards ideological purity. However, a Libertarian loses all the benefits he seeks if he isn’t this way. I enjoy reading Libertarian thinkers, and enjoy these thought exercises, but tend to think the Libertarian purists want to go too far with it. The ideas are intriguing, but I always find myself thinking the current system isn’t that bad and simply needs some Libertarian adjustment, rather than becoming a truly Libertarian society.. If the government were less top heavy, I doubt the Libertarian up swell would be happening as vigorously right now. The purists, like David, want to rebuild the entire system, and I can understand why many people would scoff at that. As much as he says the world has functioned his way for most of civilization, and he has a point, I’m not ready to say I think tribalism is the best political system. With no resolution authority, I see violent conflicts as inevitable. Representative governments are supposed to provide a fair framework for peaceful resolution of disputes. I think this works better with local government being the driver, as opposed to federal, but I see local disputes becoming real problems if there are no governments and no rules. I realize people will be free to form government in his system, but people are also free to ignore those governments, which means their power to resolve disputes really only revolves around tradition and peer pressure.

 

I like Chris’ approach, but once you introduce elected judges and a judicial system, you lose the advantages of pure Libertarianism, and the individual is weakened. Once you introduce a legal framework, the question becomes how much power do you allow it to have over the individual. There are too many gray areas when it comes to individual freedoms, and governments tend to increase their influence over time. This is really what the purists are trying to prevent. It is a system for those who possess supreme confidence in themselves and their ability to protect their property. I believe David was a marine, and from my personal experience his position makes a lot of sense to me in that context. Marines are vigorously trained to be confident in themselves and their abilities. For the rest of us, I suspect our trepidation stems at some level from fear of being the first and last defender of our personal empire. I can’t avoid getting to that place if I’m honest with myself. Despite all my individualistic tendencies, I feel more comfortable with a resolution authority, as long as I believe the authority is reasonably fair and impartial.

Report this comment
#116) On January 11, 2011 at 12:36 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"ETFs do you think you are desguising your liberalism?"

No, and I'm not trying to. But your comment about the "party line" was off-base. I do not belong to any political party, and I believe there are serious problems with all of the major political parties in the US. Believe it or not there are reasons behind my beliefs, so stop trying to portray me as some mindless follower of the status quo.

"see post #77 again. You came to that conclusion all by your self without anything to base it on. "

Post #77 was not a response to "Libertarianism" in general. You are getting everything muddled together because you aren't listening to me. That post was a response to something very specific that you had said in this very discussion. I was pointing out a flaw in your proposed system. This could have been valuable for you, but you don't seem interested in listening to opposing viewpoints.

And for someone who isn't exactly a libertarian, you sure got defensive over a pretty innocous criticism of libertarianism.

"How can I paint myself as a victim when you aren't really attacking me? You may think you are, but you aren't."

I don't think that I'm attacking you at all, but you seemed to be implying that I was, and that is what I was responding to. I am just trying to have a rational discussion. And I believe this could have a lot of value for you, if you would just have an open mind and listen to what I am saying.

"I know that you won't open yourself of to the same scrutiny that you give others "

What is your basis for saying this? I am always open to honest criticism. I will keep posting in this discussion for as long as you would like to keep it going. You can criticize any of my beliefs and I will calmly discuss them with you for as long as you would like. I don't know why you had to get defensive, but I promise that I will not do the same.

Now, going back to my oil spill example, I believe this is a very important point because it illustrates one of the limitations of Libertarianism.

Libertarians frequently cite tort law as a key component of their justice system. However, I believe this is impractical because some things simply cannot be monetized. That is the point I was trying to get across. Please, think about this idea for a minute before you dismiss it.

What good does it do to sue a company, if their assets cannot cover the damages that they have caused? Particularly in today's high-tech world, it is very possible for a company to cause billions of dollars in damages, even if that company only has a few million dollars in tangible assets. That is just one example, but in my opinion it shows where tort law comes up short. A wrongful death suit is another example: suing the company doesn't do any good, because it won't bring the person back to life.

I believe that our more "conventional" system is better-suited to handle that issues, because it does a better job of preventing them from happening in the first place, through laws and regulations. Yes, sometimes this system fails, but it still has a much better track record than the free market. Look at the industrial revolution for examples. Companies abused their power by exploiting workers and polluting the environment at every opportunity.

Companies like GE dumped toxic chemicals into the Hudson River for decades. Pfizer recently tested some experimental drugs on unsuspecting African villagers, resulting in many deaths and illnesses. They got away with it because no one was there to stop them. And more recently we have seen Chinese companies putting melamine into food products, and lead paint onto kid's toys.

There are countless examples throughout history which show that the idea of "self-regulation" has failed time and time again. The only time that companies have ever stopped these kinds of abuses, is when they were forced to stop by the government.

And yes, I have first-hand experience because I am a chemical engineer and I work with hazardous chemicals and heavy equipment every day. I can promise you that OSHA regulations and things like the HAZWOPER system have made a huge difference.

It doesn't matter if these programs show a profit or not, because money has nothing to do with it. They have saved lives. And likewise, I don't think it matters if our justice system is profitable or not. It's just something that we need to have.

Report this comment
#117) On January 11, 2011 at 12:49 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Dargus, that was what I was originally thinking as well, but I think that giving the judge the option to split the costs when he thinks the accusation has merit and allowing him to give them all to the accuser when he thinks they don't, accomplishes the same thing. Especially when the accussed can still go after the accusser for his expenses if he doesn't agree with the judge.

"So how do we keep prisoners from refusing to pay as a group? How long can a prison operate if those who provide its income refuse to pay? You might be able to find people to donate to keep a prison open, but you are giving the inmate the power to unionize."

That is something that I literally did not think about, but not paying the bill would allow the prison to seize assets. For everyone to make an agreement, would mean that everyone would agree to not get out. Also a prison would only give you basic necessities if you are not paying, so you would lose privilages as well.

I believe that David's system would be perfect for someone like myself, and would be much less damaging to the masses than our current system, but I see flaws of our citizenship as a whole in being able to implement such a system.

Thanks for also recognizing that my ideas aren't exactly Libertarian. I did borrow a lot from their system, but my thoughts are my own and obviously a work in progress.

The problem is that if none of us even try to envision a btter system, we are always doomed to the system that we have.

ETFs may like it, but I don't.

Report this comment
#118) On January 11, 2011 at 1:21 PM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

ETF makes good points about the limitations of a Libertarian system. The question is always how much individuality is one willing to risk for the advantages of a collectivist society. You are always opening yourself up to regulations you don’t like or are unfair, the tyranny of the majority. One problem with the way I see things, is for it to work properly you need an organized world governmental authority, which is something I also see as being a serious danger. I could see a structure being put in place that would be acceptable to me, i.e. a very weak and limited system, but the tendencies of governments to increase their power would most likely lead to something I wouldn’t like. This has been the course of the U.S. federal government. In David’s system, the conflicts are moved to the local level and your potentially violent clashes will happen there. In the current system, the conflicts occur at the nation-state level, which are potentially orders of magnitude more destructive. This is why David’s system is appealing, to me at least. The major problem I see is human psychology. We probably still would have the tendency to form larger and larger groups for protection. Really, implementing this vision would be more of a reset button for government, in my opinion. It might not be a bad idea to do this from time to time.

 

That is something that I literally did not think about, but not paying the bill would allow the prison to seize assets. For everyone to make an agreement, would mean that everyone would agree to not get out.

 

Allowing assets to be seized would make this more difficult, as some prisoners would have enough assets to be vulnerable. However, the idea behind this would be that you’d bankrupt the prison company and then they be forced to let you out. It is improbable, but imagine a situation where all inmates in all prisons refuse to work. The prison shouldn’t be allowed to seize more assets than the debt owed, so those with enough assets would go free, and at that point the prison would have no source of income and the prisoners would only need to wait for the company to run out of funds.

 

Thanks for also recognizing that my ideas aren't exactly Libertarian. I did borrow a lot from their system, but my thoughts are my own and obviously a work in progress.

 

It is easy for me, since this is how I approach the problem as well. I like the government that discourages individuals from injuring others, but doesn’t try to regulate choices that are injurious only to the chooser. It is something one must constantly fight for because the government, and citizens passionate about particular issues, will try and increase the government’s sphere of influence when conflicts aren’t cut and dry. Honestly, how often are they?

Report this comment
#119) On January 11, 2011 at 8:23 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

ETFs I'm going to ignore the first half of your post and focus on the second half to try and steer this thread back on topic.

Yes, you not only can monetize everything, you should! If you don't it doesn't have any value. People will only take care of what they value. GE dumped chemicals in the Hudson because no one owned it. Let me own the Hudson and see if I would allow GE to do the same. Yes, the government can go after them, but they can also buy the government. The end of the story is usually that they get a small fine, a slap on the wrist and the government cleans up the mess with my tax dollars. What did we prevent? Nothing. They'll do it again when they think it's cost effective. On the other hand if the Hudson has a value of say $1 billion dollars and I own it, I can not only go after GE for the clean-up, but I can milk them for lost income. If 100 people own it, all 100 can go after them. They may think twice when they think of the costs involved. You have to realize that diminishing resources are going to have crazy valuations.

You tell me that suing a company won't do any good because it won't bring a person back to life. Can you tell me what will bring him back to life? I'll tell you what will keep a company from deciding that it's cost effective not to kill people on purpose. When it bankrupts the company and puts management in jail. When life doesn't have a value, killing becomes a cost effective decision.

I'm not sure where you see "self regulation". If I own the Hudson I certainly wouldn't count on GE regulating themselves.

And while we are talking about monetization. One thing that definately needs to be monetized is your party's spending. I don't care if any program is profitable, but it has to be sustainable and not an endless money pit that we will pay for with more borrowed money. It's obvious that you don't value my kids, and yours as well if you have any. They are the ones that will be slaves to our recklessness and debt. When they have no value, they are as easy to exploit as the ocean and the Hudson river.

Now lets talk about that BP scenario again. What's gonna happen to them? Is anyone going to go to jail? Are the really going to pay for all the damage? Or in our current system, did they just get a fine and a slap on the wrist? Did our current system prevent them from doing it again? Are you going to guarantee that they won't do it again?

In my system, if the ocean was valued at say $10 trillion, you'll have your answer of what happens to a company that doesn't have enough funds to pay for the damages. They be liquidated and management will go to jail. Someone else may be stupid enough to do it again, but I guarantee you that it wouldn't be BP, and I'm willing to bet that every other oil company would be having discussions the next day to let out plans to make sure that they aren't the next BP.

Now you tell me. Did I think about this for a few minutes, or did I dismiss an entire political platform because it didn't agree with my political beliefs?

 

Report this comment
#120) On January 11, 2011 at 9:09 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

dargus, that is about the same challenge I'm facing. There is a need for structure, but there needs to be a limitation of power. I'm sure the founding fathers had the same discussion. The problem is that we have to do something different than what we have now. What we are doing now is destroying the country. If I don't at least think about it, who will? Am I willing to trust the fate of my children to a new plan, if I don't understand it?

As far as all the prisons unionizing, they would first have to all communicate. Bankrupting one prison would just mean that the prisoners would be moved to another. Who would be the prisoners able to communicate with the outside world? The ones paying their bills. That would be the ones that are working and the ones with stuff to lose like communicating with the outside world. Even if somehow all the prisons did manage to communicate and organize a strike, I'm sure that their victims and the general public would organize as well to keep them in. When the strike is broken, the inmates will be even farther behind paying their bills. They will be even more motivated to work to get out on time. The cost of upkeep for those not working, should not be expensive because they will only be given the basic necessities. The cost of upkeep for those that are working could be expensive, but those things would be paid for by the convict and the prison would make a profit from those. One thing I did think about that may also help is the need for segregation. My thoughts were that prisoners that have privileges would be targets of the ones that do not. The death row, life without parole prisoners and prisoners that refused to work would be held in what amounts to maximum security with 23 hours in their cells and no contact with other inmates. That alone would make it hard for an entire prison to organise. Not impossible though. I do think the value of the perks that the prisoners that are working get, would be motivation enough to keep them working, given the alternative. I will think harder on what to do with those that won't work or have no incentive to work though.

dargus, You have been in a ton of my threads and seem to play the role of devil's advocate while providing thoughtful debate and little condemnation. There is something about your demeanor that I appreciate, while not quite being able to put my finger on. Your input is always appreciated.

 

 

 

Report this comment
#121) On January 12, 2011 at 5:02 PM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

Thanks. I enjoy these kind of thought excercises, and I do tend to be the devil's advocate. I've always tried to look at a varity of differing opinions and tend to pick a position where I can push back against others in a discussion. We all have our sacred cows, but I try not to let mine influence me too much. I usually take it as a compliment when right-wingers tell me what a left-wing nut I am and left-wingers call me out for being a right-wing stooge.

Report this comment
#122) On January 12, 2011 at 8:03 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

I could learn from you dargus. That left-wing/ right wing/ wing nut stuff, sets off my blood pressure to no end. It usually results in the dilution of a good thread.

The name callers aren't usually the guys that bring anything to the table. They just hit the right buttons to get me to go off.

Any feedback on that last response on about the prison strikes?

 

Report this comment
#123) On January 13, 2011 at 3:58 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Up until the 18th century, the majority of humans lived without a state court, state police, or state judges. Only with the land conquering technology that became available to coercive states were they able to expand across the globe.

How did free people survive without state courts, police, and judges? How were they governed? What rules did they follow? How were they compelled to act? How was punishment instituted?

Although stateless legal traditions share many features, they are each unique. They do not fit the one-size-fits-all state model that makes ruling over people easier. Stateless people's interest is not to rule over each other. It is to find solutions that work for their community.

Obviously they found those solutions. If stateless people had not found solutions, they would not have been around to be enslaved when states needed more manpower.

That's the sad truth. You can feel or believe that a state is necessary, but don't sugarcoat its reality. States came into existence to dominate other people for the profit of the few. Before states enveloped the globe, most people were trying to escape from states, not join them. The majority of state citizens were unfree. Outside the domain of the state was freedom. People risked their lives to escape to freedom (and often succeeded.)

The states, however, relied on human capital. They needed to constantly expand in order to bring as many free poeple under their control as possible.

Today, we are all enslaved by states, and there is no free land to look toward. There is nowhere to escape. It's an "operational reality" of course. So believe that states *today* work better than freedom if you want. But free men didn't choose to be ruled by the state. You are governed by a state today because your free ancestors were enslaved by state makers. Calling this a conscious choice on your part is hubris.

Now that I have explained the history of state making, what do you think the purpose of state courts, police, and judges really is? To provide you with justice? To make your life better?

Or are they institutions designed to protect the state?

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#124) On January 13, 2011 at 9:04 AM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

David, I'm not sure that structure means State.

I'm still trying to figure out a system that gives maximum freedom and minimum plutocracy, but I can't envision a system that has private judge. In any system, the judge can fall prey to self interest, but a private judge would not have accountability.

Maybe I'm missing something.

I agree that we survived without the State before and I also agree that in every State system that we have now, that the laws have been distorted to protect the interests of the State over the interests of the people.

I also think that stateless society tends to gravitate towards forming a State due to a lack of structure.

Is it possible to have the structure without having the exploitation? I don't know, but I'll keep working at it.

Report this comment
#125) On January 13, 2011 at 11:41 AM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

Any feedback on that last response on about the prison strikes?

I agree there are quite a few mechanisms which would make prisoner resistance more difficult. However, I don't think the prisoners would be as isolated as you think. We aren’t putting everyone in solitary, so clearly intra-prison communication between prisoners should be a simple matter. As for inter-prison interaction, there are many channels. If we allow prisoners visitation rights, which I assume we would, non-prisoners could easily communicate messages between prisons. I assume some prisoners would also have access to computers and the internet, and while this can be monitored, it could also be used to communicate.

As I thought about this, I did start to think maybe it isn’t such a bad thing. While we don’t want a bunch of murders to go free, this “flaw” could also protect against large-scale, unfair imprisonment. If one could run a social experiment, this system would be interesting to observe.

Report this comment
#126) On January 13, 2011 at 11:55 AM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

Obviously they found those solutions. If stateless people had not found solutions, they would not have been around to be enslaved when states needed more manpower.

 

How often was the solution wiping out or enslaving those with whom you disagree? The state was developed and advanced by free people who chose to enslave their neighbors instead of allowing them to be free. If we adopted your system, why shouldn’t we assume the process would simply begin again?

 

But free men didn't choose to be ruled by the state. You are governed by a state today because your free ancestors were enslaved by state makers. Calling this a conscious choice on your part is hubris.

 

The founders of the United States fought off one state and created another. People moved westward into “free” territory, yet they all willingly joined the United States government. Your comments seem quite hyperbolic to me.

Report this comment
#127) On January 13, 2011 at 12:46 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"Yes, you not only can monetize everything, you should! If you don't it doesn't have any value. People will only take care of what they value. GE dumped chemicals in the Hudson because no one owned it. Let me own the Hudson and see if I would allow GE to do the same."

The fundamental issue I have with this is one of practicality. At first glance, the idea of basing everything on private property sounds great and is very intuitive and easy to agree with. But a lot of problems arise when you get into the specifics of it.

For one thing, you are asking victims (AKA the property owners) to do a lot of work. In addition to having their own private security/police force, now you are also asking them to do a lot of detective work.

You said that the oceans should be privately owned. Well, the ocean recieves pollution from thousands of different sources. You are making it the responsibility of the property owner to identify all of these polluters, from all around the world, gather evidence, and file lawsuits against each one.

In the case of air pollution, it will be even harder to track down all of the offenders. Frankly, it's impossible.

That's why I like the idea of using regulation to prevent these problems from happening. Yes, in cases like the BP oil spill the regulators were far too lax, and frankly they didn't do their job. But that doesn't mean we need less regulation, it means we need more - and we need it to be done right. Regulation has been very effective for the most part. If you think things are bad now, just remember how bad it was before we had effective government regulations... when you had young children working in unventilated coal mines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Revolution#Child_labour

Historically, bankruptcy has not proven to be a very effective deterrent against excessive risk taking by the private sector. We saw examples of this recently during the financial crisis, and this has always been the case. One thing I agree with you on, is that we should start throwing more of these CEO's in jail... that might actually be an effective deterrent.

Report this comment
#128) On January 13, 2011 at 1:03 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Chris and dargus,

Both of you have very good criticisms.

Chris, I can tell you that the difference between a state and a government is coercion. Governing does not need coercion, but statehood does.

Many people confuse the terms persuasion and pressure with coercion. Stateless societies rely heavily on those two without resorting to compulsory behavior. When persuasion and pressure fail, people are shunned.  This action is perfectly consistent with the Freedom of Association that is inherently human. Compulsory behavior is an outright violation of that Freedom.

The structure is there. We simply have a hard time recognizing it and understanding it. The only structure that we know is the state structure. It is the only structure that our teachers know, that our politicians know, and that even many of our most learned scholars know.

Part of the problem arises from the concentration of academic inquiry into the historical behavior of states. When you consider what I have repeated here, that states make up a tiny speck of human history, then consider the amount of time spent studying those states versus stateless people.  It is a fantastic disproportion.

I will object to one statement:

I also think that stateless society tends to gravitate towards forming a State due to a lack of structure. 

That is simply not the way it happened. I strongly recommend this book. It is the only serious academic study of stateless people that I have come across (it was recommended to me and I started reading it over the holidays.) It is not written by a libertarian, but the author sounds like Murray Rothbard at times, whether he knows it or not. 

The real problem with stateless societies is there inability to defeat states. This is something that I have no answer to. State makers wish to rule over free people.  State makers have a comparative advantage in violence. Free people can either be killed in the fight, flee, or submit.  

I have no answer except to repeat the proverb, "When the mighty King passes, the wise peasant bows... and silently farts."

dargus,

It is not clear that stateless people resort to more or less violence that state makers. I certainly have not come to the conclusion either way. The only thing I know for sure is that state making requires "wiping out or enslaving those with whom you disagree" while statelessness does not.

There is also some truth in your statement about the founding of the United States. Men like Jefferson and Madison were well versed in the true nature of the state, and the Articles of Confederation are a testament to those beliefs.

Sadly, the Continental Congress' decision to print its way out of war debts gave state makers like Hamilton the opportunity they needed to turn an almost completely voluntary governing system into one that featured coercion. The Constitution was a compromise, but it was a compromise that increased the scope of the state from almost non-existent to small.  Each compromise since has moved us incrementally in the direction of complete state domination. They rarely result in the state becoming a smaller feature of our lives.

Thanks to both of you for your thoughtful responses.

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#129) On January 13, 2011 at 4:04 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

ETFs,

I think you are overestimating the work involved in taking care of our own property.

Lawyers will be lining up for class action lawsuits on air pollution alone. Given the potential fines, they can afford to hire many experts to investigate the culprits. And they will look for the polluters with the deepest pockets first and work their way down the ladder. I won't have to call anyone to protect my water or my right to breathe. They'll all be calling me.

Bankruptcy is a huge motivator and the financial crisis happened because not only did government create a platform where people that had no business getting loans, got loans. Government also backstopped the banks that took on too much risk. If banks did not have this "bankruptcy insurance" from the government, they would have never took the risk to begin with.

Report this comment
#130) On January 13, 2011 at 4:08 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

Thanks for the book idea David. i will definately read it.

I just bought a Nook so all book suggestions from everyone right now are appreciated.

Report this comment
#131) On January 13, 2011 at 4:50 PM, dargus (80.60) wrote:

If banks did not have this "bankruptcy insurance" from the government, they would have never took the risk to begin with.

I'm not so sure about this. Those at the top made their giant bonuses by taking big risks and skimming the cream in the good years. Honestly, do they really suffer if their companies go bankrupt? Maybe they lose some stock options, but I don't think the pain they endure would deter a repeat performance if they were given the chance.

Report this comment
#132) On January 13, 2011 at 6:36 PM, ChrisGraley (29.73) wrote:

dargus do you think that the banks would allow the same bonus structure if they didn't know they would be bailed out by government when and not if it failed? the brightest minds choose banking professions for a reason. It provides the most money and risk is backstopped by the government.

I do think the threat of jail time needs to be added to a lot of corporate crime as well. But hell, everyone is going to commit a crime if we are sponsoring it!

That's the thing about regulating money, a lot of that same money winds up in the pockets of the regulators and warps the regulations. The regulators themselves seem to only be selected for work after a stint at Goldman.

 

Report this comment

Featured Broker Partners


Advertisement