Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by aequalsa

  1. Obviously I am aware that economics is not a science. But you are mistaken if you think it cannot make testable predictions. For example, nearly 100% of economists agree with the idea of “comparative advantage” (http://en.wikipedia....ative_advantage). If this theory is right then the gains of free trade for all countries both rich and poor are enormous. In reality, we do in fact see that countries who open their markets do better than protectionist countries. Economists can see this by conducting econometric analysis (basically statistical analysis) to tease out cause and effect. Now statistics have all the usual qualifications, but to say they can say nothing about reality is absurd. I leave you with a brilliant quote about comparative advantage.

    I'm familiar with comparative advantage. You've mostly just provided an example of what I said...

    At best you may draw conclusions from similar circumstances in similar countries
    That's not empirically testable except in the loosest sense of the term. One can also draw conclusions about free economies being more successful than dictatorships, oranges being cheaper near the equator, or the Pax Americana that occurred after and because of the industrial destruction of world war 2 and the inflationary crutch created byt Bretton-woods agreement. True or not, this derived knowledge does not constitute indisputable scientific fact, otherwise all of the conclusions I have come to about the harms of regulatory burdens or the the massive opportunity costs of all of the government intervention which you support, would be obvious to you in a way which would not require argument. The same holds for what you are advocating. That you find the evidence convincing that a debt based currency is preferable is all well and good, but it is not supportable enough to lend you the pretense of certainty or disdain of those with views less popular in the company of professional economists.

    For the record, I don't share moralists views on debt on a personal level, but having leveraged debt at different times, I can certainly empathize with the peace of not having a stress-ridden nut to crack. As far as the US being better off because of our debt, however, or having lower than expected inflation I certainly take a broader perspective to come to my unscientific opinion and include Bretton-woods, reserve currency status, foreign purchases, and alterations in inflation and monetary measurement.

    The moral part though is that goods and services are produced by individuals and, regardless of any perceived overall benefit, the fact is that real wealth(goods and services) are taken out of the economy and transferred to the government through a combination of systemic fraud and force. No increased rate of gdp expansion can justify it.

  2. That's what's important here; having a model that is empirically testable against reality.

    Your faith in this system as well as the difficulty you have in seeing any validity on the other side stem from this mistaken belief that any macroeconomic systems are "empirically testable." By their nature, a controlled, let alone a blind or double blind study is completely impossible. At best you may draw conclusions from similar circumstances in similar countries and at worst you may draw your conclusions from computer simulations, but neither of those imparts anything close to the scientific certainty you pretend at or even attempt to answer for the massive opportunity cost lost in each signature on a US presidents desk.

    You don't lack a 200 level economics class as much as a class on critical thinking or even a decent book. To make the claims about our current economic model(note the word model) as though it were facts that you are dealing out is to equate alchemy with chemistry and religion with philosophy. It's not in the same realm as science. At best it is an art that might one day lead to an actual scientific understanding of economics but it is certainly not that now. This is why Ayn Rand and Objectivists generally do not argue against your paradigm on empirical grounds but only on the moral terms.

  3. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/17/west-point-center-cites-dangers-far-right-us/

    A West Point think tank has issued a paper warning America about “far right” groups such as the “anti-federalist” movement, which supports “civil activism, individual freedoms and self-government.”

    I particularly enjoy that the description above could almost have been lifted word for word out of the Federalist Papers.

  4. I don't think I'm disagreeing with you or your example, per se, except that I don't believe a person should feel either guilty or inadequate for being "poor at digesting dairy" in the first place. Do you?


    About women and the Presidency -- just to pull a topic out of nowhere, and apropos of nothing -- do you think that a woman who thinks to herself, "yeah -- I might want to run for the Presidency someday" should feel either guilty or inadequate?
    No, of course not, but the reverse of that is what I was mainly trying to suggest. That if women generally shy away from or feel uncomfortable with particular types of leadership roles such as the didactic military ones and feel more comfortable in concensus building leadership roles they need not consider a failure in the first as anymore of an indictment than a bunch of short guys losing a basketball game.

    Well indeed.

    What may cause a person to feel guilt, perhaps, is if they attach moral significance to their individual "nature" conforming to, or contradicting what supposed "authorities" proclaim as being that which ought to be true of them, depending on their membership in some group.

    You can apply that notion to the whole of morality. Some humans enjoy the comfort of a "well managed penetentiary," possessing no inclination toward freedom of choice in their day to day actions. Some people are psychopaths that only like to hurt others. From this, do you believe we ought to reject the notion that individual negative liberty is a derived principle of man's(the whole set) nature?

    edit: sorry did something wrong with the quote button. Those comments belong to Donathos

  5. (just as a certain liquid might be "generally poisonous"),

    I doubt that we would benefit from reliving a past conversation much, but I do believe that considering the basic principle from outside of gender difference, which you allude to, is the correct approach.

    Something like lactose intolerance in Asians, as an aspect of character, for example, might illuminate the value of drawing personal knowledge from generalized statistics. If an Asian fellow lived in the west, accepted that 4 servings of dairy per day were necessary for his health since he is a human and human nature requires 4 servings of dairy per day then understanding that a group he is a part of shares certain characteristics might lead him to a more accurate view of his own individual nature. He would no longer have to feel guilty and inadequate for being so poor at digesting dairy and leave a more gastrointestinally enjoyable life.

    If he is 1/2 caucasion, or digests dairy well for any other ideosyncratic reason then he is in no way required to keep applying the principle to himself. He's only freed by the more accurate view of his capacities from an over-generalized view of human nature that cannot answer every question regarding his shoulds, coulds, and woulds.

  6. Off the cuff, from a social contract perspective, people have banded together in various formats agreeing not to murder one another in exchange for the safety of the group. From a self-interested perspective, the dis-value of being an enemy of this group which rules the area where you reside is pretty high. Additionally, the value of other living producers creating all of the goods which we enjoy access to would be diminished in most cases. That's to say nothing of the high risk of harm to oneself, during the occurrence, when the victim(s) attempts to defend themselves.

    I'm curious what turns the conversation was taken in?

  7. Give her a raise?

    If she were working for me, I would have fired her. For giving away free food. Wasting company time on irrational requests. I would deny her unemployment, too.

    I think she should have rejected him, immediately.

    It seems likely that you've never been to KrispyKrack. They always give you a free glazed doughnut as soon as you walk in the door. The company knows you'll want more and have incorporated it into their policy.

  8. No. As long as force is not initiated against you, you have a choice. Nobody will jail you if you refuse to pay a bribe. The opposite is true. According to your premises the hungry man allowed to steal and rob. He also acts under duress. As for your example, please pay $2500 as you pay taxes. And if you think that such a payment is unwarranted, contest it in the court of law.Besides, what difference it makes to you: to pay $2500 to the regulating authority or to pay the same or maybe bigger sum to some crooked bureaucrat who will blackmail from you further payments and eventually will sell you out?

    Ok...I disagree with you and i guess that stems from our different conception of choice. They won't(usually) jail you for not paying the bribe, as such, but they will destroy what you spent your life building using, you guessed it, government force. I think you should widen the context of force that you are using since their are so many lovely flavors of government coercion to choose from besides jail time. Fraud, threats, cooked books, blackmail, property theft, murder...just to name a few of the forms of force that can be used against you. In my opinion, the use of any of them invalidates any moral requirement of virtuous behavior towards them and makes them solely responsible for all future negative consequences. Anything else seems like an unjust transfer of moral judgement to the victims.

  9. No, taxes extracted from you by force as long as you work for living. To pay bribe is completely voluntary decision. The state in fact prohibit you to pay bribes.

    Maybe you're viewing the state as a floating abstraction, but you are incorrect. The state does usually prohibit it, if you define the state as the particular law makers in charge of setting its laws and regulations. It is still an act of force though, perpetrated by the official representing the state, even if it's against its own laws. Someone making a bribe is undeniably acting under duress if they are bribing an official in order to acquire a freedom that ought to have been free. And the state as defined initially is in no way exonerated since their neglectful enforcer and oversight, intentional or otherwise allows the bribe taking to continue.

    To reduce this to a concrete, say I own a business, and a regulatory agency's representative tells me he will need to close down my business (which I have invested 25 years in building) if I don't pay him $2500. You really think that I have a legitimate choice in a situation like that?(not a rhetorical question. I want to understand if you think that or not)

  10. To avoid payment of taxes in any possible legal way is not only moral, it's a moral obligation. But paying bribe is exactly like paying tax. The difference is that you do it voluntary, nobody forces you to support corrupt officials. You do it because you think that in this way you can sustain your business and this is clear self-deception.

    It is voluntary in exactly the same way that taxes are voluntary. After all, you can choose not to earn money and then you don't have to pay any taxes. A public official who will use the governments force of arms to not let you act in accordance with your own judgement without first being paid is very much using force against you.

  11. Writing Clarification:." If you are considering a question where social engineering is properly involved, such as "should bribery be illegal," then the answer is pretty obviously no." Should have read yes.

  12. But does it mean that from the ethical point of view two wrongs make right?

    I think that the moral ambiguity in bribes that you are speaking of stems from not holding the relevant virtue in context. I made a similar mistake some time ago in a thread on the rule of law. Honesty doesn't demand that you always tell the truth, or that you help with the social engineering of your society. All it requires is that you not try to get something for nothing. So if I were attempting to bribe an official to stay in business(something that I, of right, ought to have been able to do anyways) then I have received no dishonest advantage. If, on the other hand, I bribe an official to put my competitor out of business through the use of corrupt laws and arbitrary enforcement, then I have acting out of accordance with virtue.

    Requiring that someone forgo participation in something that they are passionate about because it would adversely affect society is a pretty altruistic request. If you are considering a question where social engineering is properly involved, such as "should bribery be illegal," then the answer is pretty obviously no. if you are asking a personal question about an individual's choice in a given circumstance, then the answer depends wholly on whether or not they received what the earned or should have had anyways. I'd also note that the official accepting the bribe is always immoral and responsible for the social effects of the system. not the unarmed victims living under their rule.

    Galting out to live in a yurt by the river or whatever, is a personal decision that depends on the individuals passion for their purpose, assessment of the reality of success, and conception of the length of time before collapse. I likely have 30 to 60 years left to live. The possibility that the US welfare state will substantially change during that time is pretty remote in my opinion so I would view neglecting something I am passionate about in order to be on an indefinite vacation void of purpose and values would be a sacrifice of the highest order regardless of how shitty things are or where we are heading.

  13. You're thrusting back and forth thinking about her curves and dumping jizz in her orifices.

    This reminds me of those descriptions of the human mind as "random squirts of hormones through lobes of pink fleshy meat," or whatever. Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

  14. I'd say it's exactly the same as using retaliatory force against the same sex, and the only reason people hesitate is because of cultural norms.

    I agree partially, that it is the same situation but not that it is only because of cultural norms. In choosing to defend yourself from any attacker it is necessary to scale the force used to the level of threat since at some point it will be necessary to provide evidence that you only defended yourself and did not become the attacker. (the trayvon martin case comes to mind) With a woman, particularly a small framed one, it would be exceedingly difficult as a 200# guy to convince a judge or jury that you were afraid of being hurt. If she came at you with a knife, on the other hand, knocking her out might be more easily justified as opposed to restraining her or something more mild. Likewise with a quadriplegic attacker. Even if he does legitimately attack yo, you are not suddenly legally or even ethically free to use any amount of force you would like to.

  15. What I'm getting at is how can you call a person happy if they are lacking a romantic relationship? I'm lacking concreteness here, but part of my reasoning here is observing that at least long-term, no happy person lacked a romantic relationship.

    I think that I'm on the same page as spiral architect and see relationships as secondary values. In other words I think a great relationship is an effect of living the good life and not the cause. The cause and self-fulfillment is a derivative of living according to proper virtues. Like money being a possible(though not necessary) effect of productivity, I see a romantic love as a reward for a virtuous life. You could probably make a chicken and egg argument about the happiness derived from a relationship as the fuel needed for living well, but if that does exist, I would guess that to be a short term effect linked more to infatuation than the whole relationship.

    I realize of course, that many unvirtuous sorts have relationships and many great people do not, but productivity is no guarantees of money and a relationship can as easily be a disvalue.

    I'm not really itching to get into another argument about psychological effects and all that so I'll just say that this causal directionality has been my experience. It's not something I see as a convincing argument.

  16. A study funded by the department of homeland security provides some helpful hints on how to identify terrorists...

    Extreme Right-Wing: groups that believe that one’s personal and/or national “way of life” is under

    attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent (for some the threat is from a specific

    ethnic, racial, or religious group), and believe in the need to be prepared for an attack either by

    participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism. Groups may also be fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of

    centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty, and believe in conspiracy theories that

    involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty.

    From the study, bolding mine.

    Guess it goes without saying that I'm on a list or two. In case I get disappeared I'd like you all to know that I have enjoyed my participation here at objectivismonline and encourage you to keep fighting the good fight while I'm in a gulag.

  • Create New...