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Why do Ayn Rand's views on coersive monopolies not apply to her id

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Edit: The title got cut off. It was supposed to be:

 

"Why do Ayn Rands views on coersive monopolies not apply to her ideal government?"

 

Ayn Rand had this view of monopolies:

 

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/monopoly.html#order_2

 

A “coercive monopoly” is a business concern that can set its prices and production policies independent of the market, with immunity from competition, from the law of supply and demand. An economy dominated by such monopolies would be rigid and stagnant.

 

The necessary precondition of a coercive monopoly is closed entry—the barring of all competing producers from a given field. This can be accomplished only by an act of government intervention, in the form of special regulations, subsidies, or franchises. Without government assistance, it is impossible for a would-be monopolist to set and maintain his prices and production policies independent of the rest of the economy. For if he attempted to set his prices and production at a level that would yield profits to new entrants significantly above those available in other fields, competitors would be sure to invade his industry.

 

 

How would the Objectivist government, which is, according to Rand, a monopoly ("a government holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force".), avoid the problems that Rand illustrates ("[the ability to] set its prices and production policies independent of the market," "immunity from competition," "[immunity] from the law of supply and demand" "An economy dominated by such monopolies would be rigid and stagnant."

 

How would a monopoly government set the prices it charges for security, criminal courts, arbitration and wages for its employees?

Edited by JamesShrugged

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The "economy" surrounding the limited number of players making up the government and playing out the role of protecting individual rights would be very small, but as you point out implementing such a government may face those very same interesting problems.

 

I do not know if Rand addressed the practical concerns of running such a government but I believe she felt taxation was to be voluntary.  I do not know if Rand advocated a "pricing model" i.e. that individual transaction would be charged by the government, since that would not be government for all but instead government for the paying.  I think Rand envisioned a system where everyone (and yes some free riders) would have their individual rights protected and the rational/moral, would voluntarily pay for it but I am not certain.

 

As for employees, wages would be whatever the employee market requires in this sense:  Although no "criminal court justices" would be working for private companies, people who had the intelligence, desire, ability etc. to be either lawyers or doctors or whatever other profession working in the private sector who could also be judges working for the government could constitute one pool the people the government would be able to draw upon for judges... and the price demanded by these people would be dictated by the free market of opportunities for those people.

 

So in essence, government is funded voluntarily, everyone (free riders included) has their rights protected, administrators are chosen "somehow" (perhaps as CEOs are appointed by the board of directors, administrators are appointed by all the people), and tasked with using the money raised (maybe tasked with raising money as well) as efficiently as possible to provide the most efficiently delivered highest quality services possible.  It may be that a "contractor" model, or temporary employee model could be used.

 

Someone with vision and creativity could probably think up various solutions to the awful problems posed by the administration of the perfect moral government.

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How would the Objectivist government, which is, according to Rand, a monopoly ("a government holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force".), avoid the problems that Rand illustrates. . .

 

Well, a government can't really be compared to a company because the purpose of a company is to trade some thing for money; the purpose of a government is to prevent certain things from happening.  The closest thing you could compare it to would be a security firm, except that no security firm has a system for determining someone's guilt or innocence (and that's a hugely important part of any good government).

So I don't think that your specific formulation of that question is valid.

 

However, as to whether one government is better than many governments, as such, I think Rand was wrong.  Under a system of multiple, competing governments, one would at least have the option of not choosing any.

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Well, a government can't really be compared to a company because the purpose of a company is to trade some thing for money; the purpose of a government is to prevent certain things from happening.  The closest thing you could compare it to would be a security firm, except that no security firm has a system for determining someone's guilt or innocence (and that's a hugely important part of any good government).

So I don't think that your specific formulation of that question is valid.

 

However, as to whether one government is better than many governments, as such, I think Rand was wrong.  Under a system of multiple, competing governments, one would at least have the option of not choosing any.

 

 

What about arbitration? Those are essentially private courts. Police and Courts are the primary fixtures of Rands government (Military too, i know.)

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Her views on a coercive business monopoly do not apply to her views on government for the simple reason that production and force are not interchangeable. Yet this equivocation is always made by anarchists.

 

You talk about competition between governments. You are stealing that concept from economics, where it means competition in production- competition in the creation of value, and applying it to competition in the realm of force- competition in destruction.

 

Force and production are opposites. Production is about creating values. The best force can do is stop the destruction of values by destroying the destroyer. Destruction is the nature of force. Competition in production presupposes that force has been extracted from the interaction between people. This is why the idea of a market for force is a stolen concept. A market presupposes the extraction of force. Competition in force (anarchy) leads to exactly what it sounds like it would lead to: competing gangs and a spiral of escalating... force.

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How would the Objectivist government, which is, according to Rand, a monopoly ("a government holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force".), avoid the problems that Rand illustrates ("[the ability to] set its prices and production policies independent of the market," "immunity from competition," "[immunity] from the law of supply and demand" "An economy dominated by such monopolies would be rigid and stagnant."

By limiting this government to the protection of individual rights, and barring it from using force for any other purpose (in other words, barring it from initializing the use of force).

A government limited in that manner could not force anyone to pay it anything.

Edited by Nicky

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What about arbitration? Those are essentially private courts.

No, they are not. They are a private institution meant to prevent having to go to Court. Without the threat of actual Courts, arbitration couldn't settle any disputes.

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How would the Objectivist government, which is, according to Rand, a monopoly ("a government holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force".), avoid the problems that Rand illustrates ("[the ability to] set its prices and production policies independent of the market," "immunity from competition," "[immunity] from the law of supply and demand"

Because Rand doesn't see that there should be a market for rights protection. A government would not be coercing anyone as long as it is protecting rights. How would it pay its employees? Like any place else! I suppose if you mean competition is needed to properly determine how to set its prices, well, you're asking the wrong question. Either demonstrate that there should be a market in rights protection, or say why rights protection should be done in the same manner as in a market like trading crops. As an aside, if you don't like the government (assuming -this- kind of government), just sit there. You'll be left alone.

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Her views on a coercive business monopoly do not apply to her views on government for the simple reason that production and force are not interchangeable. Yet this equivocation is always made by anarchists.

Excuse me!

 

I'm opposed to having any government at all, because it's a waste of time.  I think it's a waste of time because any individual's need to be governed stands in direct proportion to their capacity to be governed properly (because the rational cannot force the irrational, at gunpoint, to be free).  However, despite my opposition to the very idea of a government, I'm quite confident in my own grasp of that distinction.

 

So while I realize that the vast majority of anarchists in the world do make that equivocation, I must object to the overgeneralization.

 

Without the threat of actual Courts, arbitration couldn't settle any disputes.

Exactly.  Arbitration alone is essentially anarchy.  :thumbsup:

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Excuse me!

 

lol alright, sorry, sorry. I'll limit my generalization to James.

 

 

 

I'm opposed to having any government at all, because it's a waste of time.  I think it's a waste of time because any individual's need to be governed stands in direct proportion to their capacity to be governed properly (because the rational cannot force the irrational, at gunpoint, to be free).

 

You don't think two honest people can have a disagreement that needs to be settled by an objective entity? I actually think you're very intellectually honest and rational, and obviously I think I'm honest and rational, yet we are disagreeing right now. Even honest, rational people can have disputes over property rights and all sorts of other things. Even honest rational people require an objective court system with a monopoly over an area of land to arbitrate, and ultimately enforce the results of the arbitration. Rand wasn't a utopian because she recognized that even rational people make errors and that there will always be criminals in a society. 

 

It's strange to regard freedom as coercive. It's a contradiction in terms. A proper government merely says, if you pull a gun, then we're going to pull one on you. You can't be coerced in to be uncoerced. <- that strips 'coercion' of all of its meaning.

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You don't think two honest people can have a disagreement that needs to be settled by an objective entity?

No, I agree that we can disagree ( B) ), but I think it's a package-deal to lump all disagreements into the category that require an external arbiter.

 

We are disagreeing right now.  But if we're rational, we know that only one of us can be right and consequently that every disagreement represents a learning experience for somebody.  Furthermore, since we know exactly how much depends on our mental adherence to reality, we know how silly it would be to fail to correct ourselves at every single opportunity.

 

So no, I absolutely believe that rational people can have honest disputes.

 

Even honest rational people require an objective court system with a monopoly over an area of land to arbitrate, and ultimately enforce the results of the arbitration.

But that's so much more than an honest dispute.  To require a court order against someone, enforced at gunpoint, in order to solve your disagreement- doesn't that require irrationality, somewhere along the line?

 

There's a long distance between our disagreement here and one which could land us in jail.

 

Rand wasn't a utopian because she recognized that even rational people make errors and that there will always be criminals in a society. 

Which society?  See, to say that there will always be criminals in any given group of individuals also seems a tad broad.

 

It's strange to regard freedom as coercive. It's a contradiction in terms.

Yes; that's exactly my point.

What do you do for a group of voluntary slaves?  You could kill their slave-driver, but they'll only find themselves a new one (just look at the Middle East).  You can't teach them; their desire for slavery, in the first place, stems from a fundamental fear of independent judgment.  You can't do anything for them.

Now, the best thing to do in that case is obviously to let them lie in their own beds, but what if they constitute the majority of your society?  What if these inevitable slaves are determined to take you with them?

You could try to install your own government anyway, but so long as it also governs them the whole thing is doomed- because you can't force people to be free.

 

Along with my belief in the peacefulness of rational people, this leads me to the conclusion that bad people cannot have a good government while good people do not need one.

 

Hence, while I don't think governments are necessarily evil (an O'ist one wouldn't be) they're just a waste of time.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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Her views on a coercive business monopoly do not apply to her views on government for the simple reason that production and force are not interchangeable. Yet this equivocation is always made by anarchists.

I don't make that equivocation at all. I asked

 

"How would a monopoly government set the prices it charges for security, criminal courts, arbitration and wages for its employees?"

 

 

You talk about competition between governments.

 

I actually advocate the abolition of monopolies, like the government. I talk about competition on a free market for the security and arbitration industries.

 

 

You are stealing that concept from economics, where it means competition in production- competition in the creation of value, and applying it to competition in the realm of force- competition in destruction.

 

I understand that you want this field (security and arbitration) to be exempt from economics, but it isn't. The establishment of a monopoly in a particular field (in this case security and arbitration) does not change the fact that it is an economy, that is, there is an exchange of goods and services, namely money in exchange for security and arbitration services, and that people have to be paid to perform those services. That's a market.

Edited by JamesShrugged

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I don't make that equivocation at all. I asked

 

"How would a monopoly government set the prices it charges for security, criminal courts, arbitration and wages for its employees?"

 

Well you obviously didn't come right out and say it. You implied it.

 

 

I understand that you want this field (security and arbitration) to be exempt from economics, but it isn't. The establishment of a monopoly in a particular field (in this case security and arbitration) does not change the fact that it is an economy, that is, there is an exchange of goods and services, namely money in exchange for security and arbitration services, and that people have to be paid to perform those services. That's a market.

 

This isn't a matter of what I want or don't want, as if I made some bald assertion based on subjective belief. I gave you reasons and justifications for why force is not an economic good. Economics deals with production and the voluntary exchange of values. Force can ONLY destroy. It is not exempt from economics, it is the antithesis of economics. You continue to compare 'security' (force) with goods and services (values). They are fundamentally different.

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No, I agree that we can disagree ( B) ), but I think it's a package-deal to lump all disagreements into the category that require an external arbiter.

 

We are disagreeing right now.  But if we're rational, we know that only one of us can be right and consequently that every disagreement represents a learning experience for somebody.  Furthermore, since we know exactly how much depends on our mental adherence to reality, we know how silly it would be to fail to correct ourselves at every single opportunity.

 

So no, I absolutely believe that rational people can have honest disputes.

 

But that's so much more than an honest dispute.  To require a court order against someone, enforced at gunpoint, in order to solve your disagreement- doesn't that require irrationality, somewhere along the line?

 

I would agree with you if I thought man was incapable of error. People have honest disputes regarding contracts, property lines, etc all the time.

 

 

What do you do for a group of voluntary slaves?  You could kill their slave-driver, but they'll only find themselves a new one (just look at the Middle East).  You can't teach them; their desire for slavery, in the first place, stems from a fundamental fear of independent judgment.  You can't do anything for them.

Now, the best thing to do in that case is obviously to let them lie in their own beds, but what if they constitute the majority of your society?  What if these inevitable slaves are determined to take you with them?

You could try to install your own government anyway, but so long as it also governs them the whole thing is doomed- because you can't force people to be free.

 

But all this means is that the constitution of a country must be unequivocally clear and that a majority of people agree with it. It doesn't require that every single person in the society understands individual rights. But that IS necessary (along with the constituents being infallible) for what you're arguing for.

 

 

Along with my belief in the peacefulness of rational people, this leads me to the conclusion that bad people cannot have a good government while good people do not need one.

 

But again, I posit the scenario of an honest dispute over a contract. The loser of the dispute, despite being honest and rational, may very well believe that he has had his property stolen. An entity with a monopoly on force is necessary to enforce the decision, lest he take action to recover 'his property'. The idea that rational people will never have an honest dispute over something important requires that they are infallible. It's utopian.

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CriticalThinker is making an important distinction between force+production / government+business, that Rand also emphasized, in Virtue of Selfishness:

"A recent variant of anarchistic theory, which is befuddling some of the younger advocates of freedom, is a weird absurdity called “competing governments.” Accepting the basic premise of the modern statists—who see no difference between the functions of government and the functions of industry, between force and production, and who advocate government ownership of business—the proponents of “competing governments” take the other side of the same coin and declare that since competition is so beneficial to business, it should also be applied to government. Instead of a single, monopolistic government, they declare, there should be a number of different governments in the same geographical area, competing for the allegiance of individual citizens, with every citizen free to “shop” and to patronize whatever government he chooses."

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"Why do Ayn Rands views on coersive monopolies not apply to her ideal government?"

 

Rand's views of coercive monopolies don't apply to her ideal government because limited government is a non-coercive monopoly.
 

From VOS: "The nature of the laws proper to a free society and the source of its government’s authority are both to be derived from the nature and purpose of a proper government. The basic principle of both is indicated in The Declaration of Independence: 'to secure these [individual] rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ...' The source of the government’s authority is 'the consent of the governed.' This means that the government is not the ruler, but the servant or agent of the citizens"

 

a legitimate government draws its only authority from the consent of the governed. it's existence is conditional and derivative, not primary. withdraw the consent, and it dies. so it's true that a government does have a territorial monopoly, but the monopoly is an always-true description, not a rigid first condition to be met or else.

you don't draw the territory first and force whoever is there into accepting that institution; the territory is made up of the property of whoever is currently choosing to subscribe to that particular government. at all times, as long as there is a government, it has a monopoly on the retaliatory use of physical force within an area. but the area can change.

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But all this means is that the constitution of a country must be unequivocally clear and that a majority of people agree with it. It doesn't require that every single person in the society understands individual rights.

 

Okay.  Most of the people in modern America want to be slaves, so does that make those of us who don't irrelevant?

 

People have honest disputes regarding contracts, property lines, etc all the time.

 

Yes, and most of those people are perfectly willing to settle such disputes in a civilized manner.

 

But again, I posit the scenario of an honest dispute over a contract. The loser of the dispute, despite being honest and rational, may very well believe that he has had his property stolen.

 

"Theft" means something deliberate.  If the loser of this dispute thought he had been robbed, that means that he thinks the other side is evading reality.

That means that he would be demanding infallibility, unless he had enough evidence to rationally conclude that he had truly been robbed.

 

I would agree with you if I thought man was incapable of error.

 

I have already explained why that isn't the case.  Furthermore, the thread titled "inherent irrationality" is devoted to just that contention; if you wish to elaborate on my alleged error then please do so there.

 

I will not respond to that assertion again.

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Okay.  Most of the people in modern America want to be slaves, so does that make those of us who don't irrelevant?

 

Yes, our ideas are not very popular in the culture so we continue to move towards statism. How does having no government make our ideas relevant?

 

 

Yes, and most of those people are perfectly willing to settle such disputes in a civilized manner.

 

Ok but what about the one guy who isn't willing?

 

 

"Theft" means something deliberate.  If the loser of this dispute thought he had been robbed, that means that he thinks the other side is evading reality.

That means that he would be demanding infallibility, unless he had enough evidence to rationally conclude that he had truly been robbed.

 

I don't really get what you're saying but suppose you're right, then he's made a mistake. The fact remains that there must be some way to enforce the arbitration.

 

 

I have already explained why that isn't the case.  Furthermore, the thread titled "inherent irrationality" is devoted to just that contention; if you wish to elaborate on my alleged error then please do so there.

 

I will not respond to that assertion again.

 

OK, I'll have to look up your arguments there.

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