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punk

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  1. You seem knowledgeable about mathematics, and I'm finishing an undergraduate degree in math. Perhaps we should exchange thoughts. If you're inclined, search Facebook for [email protected]

  2. Battlestar Gallactica

    The show is one giant "lifeboat scenario". Some degree of collectivism would be expected under the circumstances, even in an objectivist society.
  3. John Galt question

    If a person attained perfection, they'd have nothing to strive for. Who'd want that?
  4. Demand is desire. Economically my ability to act on that desire is based on my other desires and the amount of money I have. If the price of a commodity falls low enough demand is exactly desire - I will take as much as I desire. In fact, for plenty of us there are things that we consume exactly at the level of desire. For instance I probably drink as much coffee as I want to, as I don't have a budget that requires I consider not drinking coffee to save money. There are plenty of things I would start consuming if the price dropped a bit. That means I have the present desire to consume them, and would act on that as soon as prices enabled me to. In effect I'm demanding it, and the market hasn't reacted to push prices downward so I can act on that demand. I simply said "rationing" was a red herring, as all markets perform rationing. This would be like objecting to a new model of car because it releases carbon monoxide...silly since most all cars now release carbon monoxide. It is in fact context-dropping, since avoids the context that health care is presently rationed by means of market mechanisms. A sound argument has to show how market mechanisms ration something better than government mechanisms, not imply that rationing would be some new phenomenon. That is simply a non-market-based rationing scheme. The alternative is a market-based rationing scheme. The problem in your granny's day was that they had a shortage of things for civilian use due to diverting things for the war effort. The shortage would have existed regardless. The government chose to ration, the free market would have raised prices substantially. Those are both rationing. They both find a way to distribute scarce goods. Either way people aren't getting all the goods they would like to because there isn't enough to go around.
  5. Not at all. If I am in the village at the lake there is a supply of water. It is there and people can take. Nobody produced the water, but there is a supply. You can have a supply without any producer. The Earth has a supply of air, and we all breathe it, but no one made it.
  6. The point being we aren't talking about "shortages" and "rationing" any more. We are talking about something deeper about the nature of markets, supply, and demand. Recall, my point was that "shortages" and "rationing" already occur any free market, so simply pointing out that they will occur in a nationalized system is pointless. The only reasonable definition I can think of for "shortage" is that there exists someone that wants something and can't get it. Every time I read something like this, I always substitute the following: "I dogmatically think the contrary, but I don't really know why, and can't explain myself so I'm going to do some posturing". If you can't explain yourself, then you don't know what you are talking about. Again, all of this goes beyond "shortage" and "rationing". So why should a grounded thinker settle for setting up a simplistic "shortage" and "rationing" argument against nationalization? I generally guess that when people try to stay with superficial buzz-words that they have no idea why the hold the view they do.
  7. In practice supply never meets demand. There are always people who want something but cannot get it. What happens in a free market is that money is introduced and prices are set so that the demand for something given the price one has to pay for it meets supply. I have plenty of demand for things I cannot afford. I'd love to have my own private jet, it just so happens I don't have enough money. Thus the supply of jets and things like fuel don't meet demand, and prices are introduced to ration jets and aviation fuel.
  8. There is a shortage of everything that has a price. If there wasn't a shortage it wouldn't have a price. If I live in the only small village on a large fresh water lake, then there is no shortage of water (the resource is effectively infinite), so no one is going to pay anything for water and there will be no market in water. If I live in a village in the middle of a desert there is a shortage of water, and so water has a definite price, and there is a market for water. It is exactly the case that by having a price a commodity is effectively finite in amount (unlike the water in the first example) and thus is subject to shortage. A price always means there is more demand than supply (so people want more of the commodity than they can get). "Shortage" can only mean people want more of something than is available. If there isn't anyone around to say "I couldn't get all of the commodity that I wanted" then there wouldnt' be a shortage. "Shortage" means the same thing as there is a finite supply. You are trying to set up some sort of strawman and decide the argument by playing with words. But if you would like to come up with a rigorous and non-arbitrary definition of shortage different than what I said above, I'd like to see it.
  9. Shortages *do* happen in a free market. A "shortage" simply means someone not getting the health care they want. In a free market there is still a finite amount of "health care" to go around, it is distributed by how much one is willing to pay, and if you don't have enough money you don't get it (in fact even if you do have enough money you might not be able to get it if you are unlucky and all the other wealthy types have gotten to it first, say if you want an organ transplant). Stop talking like there is somehow an infinite supply of health care in a free market. There isn't an infinite supply of anything. There are already health care "shortages" by virtue of the simple fact that people want health care but cannot get it. Let's imagine (to make things simple) that health care can be ranked in coverage from 1 to 5 so it takes more money to get the higher ranked coverage. That means that if I can only afford health care of rank 2, then I am not getting health care of the higher ranks. Thus for me this care is effectively "rationed" because there is a "shortage". I can't get all the health care I want. Now suppose the national system is effectively saying everyone gets health care at rank 3. So it is rationed, and rich people no longer can get the level 4 or 5 health care, but for me, I'm happy because I'm getting more care than I got before. Effectively this is rerationing health care by getting rid of the investment in the really high end stuff for the few and giving more low end stuff to the many. Now don't miss the point here. If you want to advocate the free market and do it intellectually honestly you have to convince the person that is going to get better health care (me in the example) why they are better off in a free market system where they get less health care versus the national system where they are getting more. Surely you can use your powers of intellect to analyze that situation without setting up strawmen (such as "shortages" exist in the national system while ignoring "shortages" that exist in the free market - in fact if there were never shortages you wouldn't need a market in the first place, like I said, markets exist to handle shortages). ... So again, how do you explain to someone that the free market as a means of rationing in the face of shortages is better than a government regulated system as a means of rationing in the face of shortages?
  10. There is a certain dishonesty in the way the word "rationing" is tossed around in things like this. The fact is health care is already rationed. A free market is a way to ration things. Rationing is basically how you distribute a scarce resource. In a free market you distribute the scarce resource according to how much people are willing to pay (that is what all that economics of supply and demand is about). In any other system you choose a different method of rationing the resource than the amount people are willing to pay. So again health care is already rationed. To speak as if rationing only occurs in a non-market system is dishonest, and has a back-handed way of implying there is an unlimited health-care resource in the market system, which is obviously untrue. What free market advocates are saying is simply that a free market is the best way to ration things. Of course "best" is relative to how you measure how good something is. People opposed to national health care have to show that rationing health care via the free market is better than rationing it through government, and stop this nonsense about "rationing" versus "non-rationing".
  11. If freedom were the ultimate political value then we wouldn't have laws, or the people advocating freedom as the "ultimate political value" would all move to the jungle and live however they want to without worrying about anyone else. Anybody living in a civilized nation has sacrificed freedom for some other good. The fact is, by living in a community you have already acknowledged that benefits come from having freedom limited. The question is at what point further limitation of freedom does not come with a corresponding benefit.
  12. The Guns of Nihilism

    I prefered the sequel - "Force 10 From Nihilism".
  13. In normal legal parlance this is what is called a "trial". The main objection to Gitmo has been the lack of trials to determine guilt.
  14. The number of unique positions is greatly reduced when you account for the fact if you have two positions that are the same except for having colors swapped, or simply having to rotate the whole cube, then they are really the same position. I believe Rubik himself wrote a monograph on the mathematics of the cube.
  15. full reserve banking

    We already have it. It is called a "safety deposit box". You can get one at the post office. Take all your money, put it in the box, and lock it. A variation on this for the traditionally minded immigrant is called a "mattress".
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