Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Netafja

  1. I have been toying around with the idea of a way to make imprisonment a more practical punishment. Currently, prison costs millions of dollars and is more of a punishment for the state than the criminals. Many of whom recive modern comforts.

    I have borrowed several ideas from a warden in Arizona named Joe Arpaio. My proposed system would be like this.

    First of all, instead of buffing up and raping eachother, the prisoners will be working. This prison will be less like a hotel and more like a sweatshop. I'm not so concerned for the prisoners comfort, but we won't work them to death. In fact, working will be volitional. If you choose not to work, you don't get fed. Just like in the real world. I figure if we sell this labor to buisinesses we could pay for the prison system, we wouldn't need China for labor anymore. How much less would it cost to ship toys halfway overseas and pay meagre wages than to ship toys across town and pay no wages? And if anyone is concerned about the quality of the product, it will be inspected (with extra punishment for faulty work), and besides, it's probably not much safer than toxic baby food, and lead toys from China.

    Secondly, instead of punishing criminals to time, we sentence them to an amount of credit to earn. Have something similar to a factory and and apartment, intead of a prison. They can sign up to work as many hours as they choose, and if they work hard enough, they can get promoted to a higher quality job that earns more credit per hour. They can likewise be demoted, or punished with more credit to earn. Another idea is to allow them luxuries like non-crappy food, or better furniture for their cell, etc., in exchange for credit earned. They will stay longer but they have a more comfy time. All this means that the harder they work the sooner they can get out, giving them incentive to maybe put in a few extra hours. I say there is absolutly no better form of rehabilitation, because this is exactly how the world works. They would come out of prison ready to succeed, not strong enough beat people up.

    Thirdly, I push for much harsher punishment. If the prisoners work harder they still won't be able to get out for a long time. No more light sentencing. A year or two of manual labor should create some good deterance. And as for life imprisonment, I would not suggest infinite credit to earn, but an exorbantly high amount. One that they might just be able to reach in their last years. Having no chance of freedom would destroy any incentive to work harder.

    Now, as for those too old to work. We already have special care for them now anyway. And I doubt it makes much of a difference either way. If you are too old to assemble toys, you are probably too old to murder or steal. Prisoners that are sentenced for a large amount can build up credit and then just do minimal work for the remainder of their stay. (they will still be required to do some work to "pay" for meals)

    I have also thought about this system being used as something similar to a volitional debtors prison, to give a job opportunity to the poor, but I am unsure if that would give too much power to the government.

    I think this system is far superior to the one we have now. It is more efficient (maybe even profitable), more apt at creating deterrance, and it promotes proper rehabilitation to a capitalistic society.

    Are there any kinks with this system? Any problems with its funtionality? Any problems ethically? Any ideas for improvement?

    The Roman Empire called that Slavery. It was tried at Auchwitz later. The employers mostly ended up in jail themselves for their pains, if not dead.

    I wouldn't advise going that route. Officially slavery has been abolished.


  2. Why did they experience the drop in value? ... If a gold standard were adopted for the US, I don't see why there would still be trading of gold in the same way there is right now, which is as an inflationary hedge.

    If the dollar were backed 100% by gold, then all trading in dollars would also be trading in gold. The two would be interchangeable. Other currencies may have a lesser coverage by gold, or even none at all. They might support their currency on the basis of petroleum reserves, or some other real commodity. Variations in the value of the backing would create the revaluation and devaluation of the various currencies in circulation.


  3. I do wonder about one thing. A few years ago gold and other precious metals experienced a huge drop in value. Now suppose country X adopted the gold standard and then gold fell like that again in the world markets. Wouldn't that in effect devalue Country X's currency?

    Country X's currency would be gold, or at least its equivalent in paper form. The devaluation of gold in terms of other currencies would therefore also devalue country X's paper.

    The advantage and the disadvantage of using gold as a country's money lies in the comparative inelasticity of its supply. A constant quantity backing the paper limits the money supply and can thereby restrict the rate of economic growth. A new source of gold production on the other hand can suddenly increase the availability of money, encouraging inflation. I'd imagine that there would nevertheless be plenty of scope for banks and other corporations and individuals to issue bills of exchange (not backed by gold) which could be used as a substitute for money. The only legal tender would be money 100% backed by gold.

    Currently we use the bill of exchange system exclusively. Anyone can issue a bill of exchange. They do so when they write a check. What the payee does with that check does or does not turn it into money. The monopoly granted by the State to the Central banks is the problem to be eliminated first.


  4. • The Iraqi Intelligence Service in a 1993 memo to Saddam agreed on a plan to train commandos from Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the group that assassinated Anwar Sadat and was founded by Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

    In the same year, Saddam ordered his intelligence service to "form a group to start hunting Americans present on Arab soil; especially Somalia." At the time, Al Qaeda was working with warlords against American forces there.

    • Saddam's intelligence services maintained extensive support networks for a wide range of Palestinian Arab terrorist organizations, including but not limited to Hamas. Among the other Palestinian groups Saddam supported at the time was Force 17, the private army loyal to Yasser Arafat.

    • Beginning in 1999, Iraq's intelligence service began providing "financial and moral support" for a small radical Islamist Kurdish sect the report does not name. A Kurdish Islamist group called Ansar al Islam in 2002 would try to assassinate the regional prime minister in the eastern Kurdish region, Barham Salih.

    • In 2001, Saddam's intelligence service drafted a manual titled "Lessons in Secret Organization and Jihad Work—How to Organize and Overthrow the Saudi Royal Family." In the same year, his intelligence service submitted names of 10 volunteer "martyrs" for operations inside the Kingdom.

    • In 2000, Iraq sent a suicide bomber through Northern Iraq who intended to travel to London to assassinate Ahmad Chalabi, at the time an Iraqi opposition leader who would later go on to be an Iraqi deputy prime minister. The mission was aborted after the bomber could not obtain a visa to enter the United Kingdom.

    Source: The New York Sun

    These activities all sound like typical "intelligence service ramps" committed as much by MI6 and the CIA as by Pakistan or Iraq. They are hardly threats to the States of the USA or the UK.

  5. You just said it yourself: "You may have to work out a "right of way" agreement.

    An agreement presumes two parties agreeing. What if they don't agree???

    If you say an agreement must be made, then an agreement must be made.

    But what if one isnt? Do you have the right to force an agreement??

    Doesn't the property become virtually valueless if there is no access to it?

  6. To torture places one in the same moral status as the Royal Saudi regime, or even Saddam Hussein. We Anglos do not torture out of principle. We place people before a court of law and if found guilt of criminal activity they are formally punished. End of story. That's who we are.

    Let's not second guess the Justice System. We may need it for ourselves yet.


  7. In addition to the points made by JMeganSnow and Robert J. Kolker, I'd like to add that a rational society will need a military (or the means to form one), for the simple fact that other societies can act irrationally, and violate the rights of individuals in other societies.

    Also, extending the point about rationality not being automatic, circumstances can exist which can obliterate (temporarily or otherwise) a person's capacity to act rationally, such as psychological problems, unfortunate events, etc. which could lead to actions which we consider criminal (e.g. assault and battery). The government is tasked with protecting individual rights, and part of that would involve protecting its society from violations of rights originating domestically--which is the task of the police.

    Lastly, a society, no matter how rational, will always be able to detect when irrational individuals enter its borders (e.g. 9/11 hijackers), and it will need a domestic agency (the police) to protect citizens when and if such individuals decide to carry out their irrational plans.

    A government of a particular jurisdiction and territory will always be required, if for no other reason to counter criminal behavior within that jurisdiction. That government has no mandate or responsibility for reacting to activities of any person operating outside their jurisdiction unless that action presents itself as a real and immediate physical threat to the citizens of its jurisdiction, situated within that jurisdiction. The government has no justification in protecting its citizens' interests that they undertake in other jurisdictions. The citizen judges the risks of operating in any particular jurisdiction for him/herself. The interference by the government in foreign domestic disputes should never be permitted.


  8. We're not just suffering the "fruits" of pragmatism. The US way is now Pragmatism, fed with a Dogmatic ideology, whether that is Socialism or Christianity is merely the whim of the moment. The Constitutional ideas of Freedom of the individual have been eliminated by 100 years of the public educational system. (Probably a lot of the private system is as bad, but there I'm not so sure.) Peikoff's analysis in the "Ominous Parallels" explains your lady teachers who claim to be liberals. Their ideas do not surprise me in the least. Nor for that matter does the outrageous behavior of so called conservatives surprise me. The self-identification of large corporations with the government is just around the corner.


  9. When I was the CFO of a large European manufacturer and repairer of elevators, I was a " legal, government sanctioned thief". The contracts that we signed with our customers were based on the fact that our certificate was required for them to operate an elevator in their building, which would be used by the public. We made money from this business as you can imagine. The government safety regulations permitted us to obtain a better price than we would otherwise have done. This is undeniable.

    However, this being said, I'd like to pose a further question. To what extent can it be said to be government's obligation to ensure that transport facilities open to the public should be reasonably safe? I know the ideal is for every operator to see his/her best benefit in providing some level of competent safety, but what about the irresponsible ones? Do the unnecessary accidents matter? Should one prosecute the irresponsible only after an injury or death occurs?


  10. Do you remember what the difference in justifications there were in the confiscations of BP's interests in Iran and the US's interests in Aramco?


    That would depend on what the actual alternatives were, and that's beyond my historical grip. The crucial issue, as I understand it, was whether the Soviet Union would have absorbed Iran as a vassal state (as it tried with Afghanistan). Iran started to take a turn for the bad by stealing western property after the pro-Western PM was murdered by Islamists. That was essentially the end of any movement towards freedom and civilization in Iran, and the beginning of over a half century of "lesser of two evils" thinking. The fundamental question is what right the Iranian government had to confiscate BP's property -- none, of course.
  11. Yes, I agree. Let's go back to the Sherman Act. But I'd settle for the moment with a reversal of all the damage done under Clinton and Bush. There's plenty of work to be getting on with.

    Fifty years? How about seventy five years (at least). FDR was elected in 1932. And even before that the government was regulating business. During Woodrow Wilson's administration the railroads were nationalized for the duration of the Great War and were not returned to fully private operation until 1920. The Federal system was finally laid to rest with the seventeenth amendment which made the Senate directly elected by the people. Prior to that Senators were appointed by the governors of the several States. The last State hold over the Central Government was liquidated and the States become mere departs, similar to the system in France.

    Check this out. http://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1949/1942/1942_59/

    Congress has had the public by the short hairs by a perverse interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause

    Bob Kolker

  12. Yes, this was intended to be subsumed under "quasi-ideal." Transitioning from forced taxation to fund the legitimate function of government to voluntary financing is surely the final step in moving from a mixed economy to an ideal Capitalist society. In terms of trying to draw moral judgments applicable today, it definitely helps to recognize that defense is funded through involuntary taxation.

    A starting point might be to have each tax payer indicate (on his tax return) what percentage of his tax should be spent on which governmental activity. This would maintain the overall yield, but might greatly change the composition of government expenditure.


  13. You need to start thinking about the "values" of the manufacturer of arms. Most of us try to avoid doing conscious harm to others, particularly those who have in no way harmed us. If the manufacturer's values do not include any concern for how the product of his efforts will be used, then I'd have problems with his values.

    Most manufacturers have begun their operations through their scientific discoveries. The Krupps, Armitage, Colts, Lockheeds, etc all became operations independent of their native countries. They felt entitled to sell their goods to anyone with the money to pay for them. I suspect that this is more an amoral state of affairs than good or bad. It's business. This is a personal matter, when it comes down to one's personal assessment of the manufacturer.

    In these days, though, most of the arms sales are made through the government of the manufacturer's country. Any sales from the US or UK to a country in Africa are a government to government affair. This is a political statement of support and approval of the actions of the recipient of the arms. The selling government is doing this to gain an advantage, as is the recipient country's government. If the arms are not truly needed to counter an external threat, but rather to enslave the local population for the benefit of the ruling class of the recipient country, and ultimately for the benefit of their supporters in the wider world, then the level of coercion is such that it has to be morally condemned.

    The world is now awash with weapons. Anything which would stop the arms trade from continuing to expand would be a good start.


  14. Today is a magical age, and I imagine that in another 30 years, we will have power that we cannot fathom today, and a Honda Civic will cost $250,000 and a basic starter home, around $4,000,000. Better start saving those pennies.. :huh:

    I'm 70 years old. I love this imagery. When I first arrived in France in the early 60s a car would ballpark at 1 million old francs (iUSD = 500 old Francs) and a house in the near suburbs of Paris around 10 million. This is called inflation, which, please remember, is a tax on all the responsible members of society. The primary beneficiary of this tax is the political class, who no longer have to pay for their fiscal irresponsibility.

    Objectivism's vision of the greatest evil being coercion is a comfort to this old lady. We are all coerced by those in power continuously. At least I understand what is happening to me, even if there is little that I can do to avoid the majority of the government blackmail, whether the government is French, US or UK. A better world is possible, but it is only the young who have the energy to revolt against the socializing policies of all our Western governments at this time.

    All you young people on this site - please voice your beliefs in individual rights and fight against the worsening tribalism everywhere within our societies.


  15. I suspect that the food dumped at sea is the GM variety. This is an act of principle by the socializing governments, who believe that they know what's best for the people over whom they rule.

    Destruction of materials to affect price is never necessary. A simple planning of the delivery schedule to adequately meet all current needs of those with funds is the only precaution required. Where a significant oversupply arises, the investor will change products.

    You might start by questioning what they put out as fact:

    How many tons? Who did the dumping, and how? Considering that the the United States produced 283 million metric tons of corn in 2006 and that was only 42 percent of the world's corn production in that year, it is difficult to imagine how many million of tons of corn would have to be dumped to have even the slightest impact on price.

    What food?

  16. I'm rather inclined to think that I'm misreading your message. Are you seriously proposing to involve the US government in terrorist activity? Do you really want the Special Ops forces of the US Army to be branded terrorists?

    I learned from Ayn Rand that one only defends oneself, not initiates attacks on others. There is no evidence that Iran has actually attacked the US as a matter of State policy. Until they do, we should restrict ourselves to reasoning with them.


    If Iran directly attacks our country, then we should bomb them. What we do know is that they fund and support radical, violent islamic terrorist groups that are killing our troops in Iraq, and that they beleive in the complete destruction of Israel, which is one of our allies. Anyone who threatens one of our allies, is our enemy. I think we should send in a special ops team to take out some upper level officials, and any terrorit cell that exists in Iran, istead of an invasion or carpet bombing. I think our government acts like they are scared to admit that people are our enemies, due to the fact that politicians are mainly worried about what the public thinks about them, and not standing by their conviction and beleifs. We need to declare Iran a threat and admit they are our enemy.
  17. 9/11 was a bad blow against freedom. We all have to agree about that. However, it depends on whom we wish to free from. Personally, I'm always more frightened of my own government than any foreigner. It's the excessive use of domestic power that the Founding Fathers tried to protect us against. It would seem to me that the cumulative effect of the US and UK governments over the last 100 years has left us all with little basic freedoms.

    Ayn Rand would be disgusted by the way that American "Sense of Life" has failed to act as a functioning philosophy to protect our freedoms. 9/11 should have been outrage not an opportunity to reduce our freedom of movement.


    OK, maybe I'm heartless, but I don't count bodies, but FREE bodies. every free body that dies is a great loss while bodies of opressed people who had no life to begin with, I don't count as "horrible" so, yeah, in my opinion, 9/11 was more horrible because free, innocent hard-working, successful, people with a REAL life died that day. real lives ended. not just existing creatures.
  • Create New...