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Is this the Free market Ayn Rand was talking about?

So are you saying that if a company produces a bad product and they pull it off the market that is a bad thing? That was the majority of your examples. Also, I would appreciate it if you listed all of the good products that businesses are out there producing... oh wait, there's not enough bandwidth on the forum.

Bush Crime Family

Rhetoric gets you no where on this board.

And that long list of yours is supposed to prove what, exactly?

Exactly my question. He should list all the good products businesses are producing.

Edited by RationalBiker
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  • 2 months later...
I had to stop right there. The world has NEVER experienced laissez-faire capitalism. That's the problem. I suggest you read the essay "What is Capitalism?" by Ayn Rand in Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal. (Of course, if you've never read about or understand rational egoism, it will be hard for you to understand much of what we discuss on this forum or Objectivism in general.) America came as close as any nation has ever come to capitalism, but we keep moving farther and farther away with this damned mixed economy. As the years go by, we keep moving closer to the socialist side. As we do, things will continue to get worse. This most recent government intervention/bail out/regulation may solve things short term, but it never solves anything long term. The more socialist a government, the worse off its economy.

If you would also read Atlas Shrugged, you would clearly see that what Rand said was going to happen, is happening all around us, all over the world. Why take our word for it? Go see for yourself.

EDIT: The post I quoted has been moved. Mods, please move this to the debate forum post it belongs with. :P

"The world has NEVER experienced laissez-faire capitalism." The real answer is that it is based on principle, whether it actually works or not isn't important. I have issues with a philosophy that has no demonstrated track record unless of course you accept the previous proposition.

So are you saying that if a company produces a bad product and they pull it off the market that is a bad thing? That was the majority of your examples. Also, I would appreciate it if you listed all of the good products that businesses are out there producing... oh wait, there's not enough bandwidth on the forum.

Rhetoric gets you no where on this board.

Exactly my question. He should list all the good products businesses are producing.

There are a lot of good products out there as well. I think the point he is trying to make is that in the absence of any regulation the bad products would multiply enormously, sure people would eventually get caught but usually after it is too late. It can sometimes take decades to ferret out an issue.

I don't agree with forced regulations, it would be interesting to administer voluntary ones through private corporations. Say you had to chose between a fish from a manufacturer that had no oversight (like in China) and one who voluntarily submitted to it, would you be willing to pay more for the second? I would.

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In a society of laissez-faire capitalism people would generally be more rational and evaluative of what they buy. Currently we have a mass-consumption economy which sees an advertisement and buys with impulse. With active thinkers we would identify faulty products sooner and probably be okay for the most part.

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Oh and skimming through that list of product failures. A very large portion of the problems arise from Chinese manufacturing and production. The country with socialist and statist tendencies makes shoddy goods...go figure. Yet having killed our industry with government controls, unions and poor educational values we have little substitute.

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Stocks are all way up now, so the people here who thought that the stocks were previously going down because of government intervention alone, now need to explain why more government intervention (govt buying bank stock) has investors enthused.

That's post hoc analysis. Many investors knew that the market was oversold so they bought shares back. It's called a bear market rally and there's nothing unusual about it. If anything, it means that the stock market rose in spite of government intervention.

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"The world has NEVER experienced laissez-faire capitalism." The real answer is that it is based on principle, whether it actually works or not isn't important. I have issues with a philosophy that has no demonstrated track record unless of course you accept the previous proposition.

Since Capitalism is a system where all property is privately owned (competition is a side effect, not an essential - most social-political systems have competition within the system), I'm not sure how or why you would bring up the issue of whether it "works". If you turn all property into private hands, then you are strengthening property rights to its full. If you make roads privately owned for example, then you have made roads privately owned. It "works", which means you have done it. Once you sell off the Government's interest in all of the roadways systems, it has "worked".

Are you saying that there would be a problem making all property privately owned (thus it wouldn't "work")? Or are you suggesting there is an "is/ought" problem with private ownership?

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If you make roads privately owned for example, then you have made roads privately owned. It "works", which means you have done it. Once you sell off the Government's interest in all of the roadways systems, it has "worked".

I think it is reasonable to ask whether or not the system that is proposed to replace the current one is self-sustaining or not. If it collapses in on itself (high unemployment, economic gridlock, low consumer confidence, etc) then most people would say it hasn't "worked". So you have to make the case to people that their lives will be better under Capitalism rather than a mixed economy.

Perhaps it would be better to explain why, when arguing for pro-Capitalist principles, the median income in the USA has gone slightly down during the last 8 years, a time with relatively less government oversight of the economy than the previous 8 years with higher taxes and more government oversight. Because people look at this and say, You know, this is why I should support government involvement in regulating the economy.

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I think it is reasonable to ask whether or not the system that is proposed to replace the current one is self-sustaining or not. If it collapses in on itself (high unemployment, economic gridlock, low consumer confidence, etc) then most people would say it hasn't "worked". So you have to make the case to people that their lives will be better under Capitalism rather than a mixed economy.

I cannot make that case to all people, with certainty. The best I can do is say that people will not be allowed to rob anyone blind anymore, but in exchange for that they will have to live with the consequences of their ideas.

With liberty comes responsibility.

If the American people don't believe that liberty is good, and that with good comes prosperity, then we have to correct the source of the confusion: we have to teach them what good is, and why it is the good. That's what Objectivism is for. It's not for explaining Economics to people.

The essential question isn't how well we're going to be doing next year: milk and honey in twelve months is not what a rational man can promise.

The question is how do people intend to live their lives: as children or as rational men?

What Objectivism is saying is not that a few lesser regulations are going to make things better-that is Libertarianism. What Objectivism is saying is that using force to obtain a living is evil and sacrificing some people for the sake of others is evil, and that evil leads to destruction and suffering for everyone involved. And if you look at the latest unemployment figures, that statement is being proven right now, in the United States: the people suffering aren't just the big shots, who are being threatened by Obama and his thugs, the people suffering the most are the least productive, the ones Obama is vying to help. As the capitalists are frustrated or giving up, the opportunities they created are being destroyed, and all that's left is "hope" and "change"-empty slogans.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Perhaps it would be better to explain why, when arguing for pro-Capitalist principles, the median income in the USA has gone slightly down during the last 8 years, a time with relatively less government oversight of the economy than the previous 8 years with higher taxes and more government oversight. [emphasis added]

The emphasized part is not true. Bush expanded the government more than anyone since (and maybe including) FDR.

To add on to what Jake Ellison said: Capitalism is the system of social interaction in which individual rights are protected. It is supported by a rational philosophy so there is no rational or practical argument to made against it. Force is not the way people should deal with one another.

Sorry to state the conclusion before the evidence but the evidence is so abundant that it takes a tremendous amount of evasion not to see it. Look at history: whenever and wherever a culture of reason and freedom has been prominent, progress and happiness has been the result. Wherever a culture of anti-reason and oppression exists, ignorance and death have been the norm.

The examples are countless. You can look at how entire cultures change by comparing the culture of ancient Greece with the culture that followed it in the Medieval Age and then compare that culture to what followed it during the Renaissance. You can compare our culture today to that of the Middle Eastern muslims of today. You can compare China of 60 years ago to China of today. You can compare the Japanese empire of 1941 to Japan 1954. Compare North Korea to South Korea.

The conclusion is inescapable. To the degree a society respects individual rights it flourishes. To the degree a society doesn't respect rights it pursues its death and the death of its citizens.

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The emphasized part is not true. Bush expanded the government more than anyone since (and maybe including) FDR.

He did spend more, but the oversight of the economy and society at large by regulatory bodies was loosened for sure. I don't think this is controversial.

Capitalism is the system of social interaction in which individual rights are protected. It is supported by a rational philosophy so there is no rational or practical argument to made against it.

Maybe not a rational argument, but there is a practical argument. That is, one can argue that the continuity of a stable and prosperous society that is predominantly free is preferable to a completely free society riven by internal strife.

Earlier MichaelH made the point that money equals power in society. If this is true, and economic inequality results from Capitalism, then one can make a good case that society may start to fragment once it gets to a certain point.

Look at history: whenever and wherever a culture of reason and freedom has been prominent, progress and happiness has been the result. Wherever a culture of anti-reason and oppression exists, ignorance and death have been the norm.

I think there is a lot more going on in these societies you mentioned to determine whether they flourished or not. Many societies flourished for a long time under oppressive regimes, only to be usurped or crushed by other civilizations that often were even more oppressive. Mostly civilizations succeeded or failed based on the competence of their rulers, military might, access to trading partners, and plentiful resources within their borders. Modern China has brought millions of people out of poverty using the tools of capitalism but still is essentially a communist country. Individual rights is not driving their economic growth, nor is their any sign that their communist form of government is in danger of overthrow.

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Earlier MichaelH made the point that money equals power in society. If this is true, and economic inequality results from Capitalism, then one can make a good case that society may start to fragment once it gets to a certain point.

If MichaelH said that, he was wrong. Money doesn't equal power in society. Political power, coupled with guns, equals power in society. Money does not equal power over other people. Money equals the means to a personal goal. (you can offer it to other people, if you want their help in achieving whatever goal you have. However, you have no power over people, you can only trade with them.)

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He did spend more, but the oversight of the economy and society at large by regulatory bodies was loosened for sure. I don't think this is controversial.

I don't think whether or not something is controversial has anything to do with it being true or false.

Anyway, controversial or not, this particular statement is not true.

Not even if every member of the media voted on it, and the side that says it's true won by a landslide.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Money doesn't equal power in society. Political power, coupled with guns, equals power in society. Money does not equal power over other people. Money equals the means to a personal goal. (you can offer it to other people, if you want their help in achieving whatever goal you have. However, you have no power over people, you can only trade with them.)

I wouldn't have thought money=power concept would be controversial either. If CEO Johnson of corporation X worth $100 billion is vying with small business owner Miller over (fill in the blank), who do you think has the money to buy allies and influence people in order to get his way? There are billions of examples of money equating with power that have nothing to do with politics. That's just the reality that has to be accepted, losers get stomped. Survival of the fittest.

Maybe you have some evidence to show that the conventional wisdom is wrong and that the Bush Administration was actually more regulatory-minded than the Clinton Administration.

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I wouldn't have thought money=power concept would be controversial either. If CEO Johnson of corporation X worth $100 billion is vying with small business owner Miller over (fill in the blank), who do you think has the money to buy allies and influence people in order to get his way? There are billions of examples of money equating with power that have nothing to do with politics. That's just the reality that has to be accepted, losers get stomped. Survival of the fittest.
I think you are going to have to fill in that blank since, if you rule out political or regulatory figures, for what purpose would it be necessary for CEO Johnson to buy allies and influence? Are there advantages to being a $100 billion company over a guy working out of a storage unit? Of course. Wealth has its advantages. That is why people pursue it. You seem to want to change that, however. You want political power to weigh in on the side of Miller to make up for the disparity in wealth that he has with Johnson. It is that mentality that ultimately ruins it for Miller. Because once you open the door for political influence to enter the market, you make it possible for that influence to be influenced; usually by the party with the most cash. In other words, the very thing you decry in your post, you make possible.

Maybe you have some evidence to show that the conventional wisdom is wrong and that the Bush Administration was actually more regulatory-minded than the Clinton Administration.
Maybe you have some evidence as to which particular regulations Bush eased to cause the current economic problems. I will agree with you in one respect: deregulation is very dangerous. When you have a market already distorted by mountains of government regulation, removing certain regulations while leaving others in place can cause just as many negative and unforeseen consequences as enacting new regulations.
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I think it is reasonable to ask whether or not the system that is proposed to replace the current one is self-sustaining or not. If it collapses in on itself (high unemployment, economic gridlock, low consumer confidence, etc) then most people would say it hasn't "worked". So you have to make the case to people that their lives will be better under Capitalism rather than a mixed economy.

Perhaps it would be better to explain why, when arguing for pro-Capitalist principles, the median income in the USA has gone slightly down during the last 8 years, a time with relatively less government oversight of the economy than the previous 8 years with higher taxes and more government oversight. Because people look at this and say, You know, this is why I should support government involvement in regulating the economy.

Why do you think it's reasonable? Can anyone promise that the current system of Government owned anything will "work" in the sense you presented? No. The Government can talk a good game, but Government institutions have failed in the past and they are failing now - terribly. Immediate success or failure isn't the deciding factor of moral issues.

Trying to explain that privatization works - and that is the reason we should work towards a capitalistic system - is just defending Capitalism on the grounds of utilitarianism. But then what do you do when you run up against someone who doesn't care about practicality, like Obama? You don't have a moral justification for it under a utilitarian defense. In fact, you end up defending it with an argument of depravity, which is the same argument the liberals use for Socialism.

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He did spend more, but the oversight of the economy and society at large by regulatory bodies was loosened for sure. I don't think this is controversial.

How does cutting a couple of regulations, or failing to enforce them, equal "free market"? Answer: it doesn't, not when there remain in place 650,000 other regulations. It is not because a couple of regulations were cut or loosened that the whole thing collapsed anyway.

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Did I see correctly "The oversight of soiety[by regulators is a good thing]". The Swastika is starting to show. As it has to. Regulationism can go nowhere else.

Let's settle the matter. This was called CSI: The economy

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=15684

Any questions?

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Maybe not a rational argument, but there is a practical argument. That is, one can argue that the continuity of a stable and prosperous society that is predominantly free is preferable to a completely free society riven by internal strife.

Non sequitur: A completely free society does not necessitate internal strife. Prove it or take it back. :dough:

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  • 1 month later...

*** Merged into an earlier thread. - sN ***

I did i quick search on looked through the forum, but i could not find a Thread about this topic. If there is already one, then please excuse.

First of all: I'm not an objectivist. I agree with some things, but i also heavily disagree with others.

I do believe that the market and capitalism is the best or at least likely to be the best economic system for creating wealth and happiness that humanity has "invented" until now.

But i see one big flaw in the system of an absolute free market and a totally unregulated capitalism: Longterm negative effects on the environment that _could_ even lead to the conclusion that is the better choice to go with a "mixed system" in order to avoid these negative effects.

I do believe that the general response from objevctivism is, to allow ownership of everything, including formerly free goods.

The now owned free goods will be treated with more care, since the owner is not interested in the destruction of his property.

But i think, that does not really solve the problem:

The owner of those formerly free goods will most likely be interseted in using them to create profit of some kind.

Let's take the example of the rainforest. Right now most parts are either owned by the state and some parts are conservation areas.

If all the rainforest was privatly owned by somebody, the owners would try to use it to create profit and it is likely that by doing so, the rainforest would be destroyed (clearing for wood or for growing areas).

This could lead to negative effects for humanity in the (distant) future that might not be easily fixable.

Another problem for me is how to actually find a solution to make everything owned. Let's take the ocean. How can you find a working system to make it property? Who would sell or distribute it? What can you do about the fact that the water and the fish are constantly moving? How would that stop people from polluting it?

I simply doubt that a free market would protect the environment effectively in any way, especially when the consequences are very long-term. It seems the free market values short-term profit more than potential very long-term consequences (especially consequences that would affect future generations and would likely have no effect during the lifespan of the individuals who caused it).

You can also find historical evidence for this. Traditionally the industry has opposed any environmental restrictions. Just yesterday I saw french fishermen protesting against the EU's cap on how many fish they are allowed to catch, which they argue is too low, but this cap is too high according to biologists and could still cause the collaps of species that are important to feed millions of people.

I think it boils down to those questions:

Does a free market destroy the environment or major cause damage to it?

If so, does the damage exceed the damage that is caused to the economy by introducing envronmental regulations?

Edited by softwareNerd
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The environment is there to be used and profited from. It has no value other than what people give it. If you value the environment or fish or frogs, go buy a piece of forest or an aquarium and tell people they can't cut down any trees or fish from your aquarium. But watch out for property taxes on that land that you aren't putting to any use.

I'm fine with some dirty water or dirty air as payment for my current standard of living. Being in Canada, I'm especially fine with the earth being a few degrees warmer. If I want to burn wood or coal to stay warm, then that's what I'll do as long as I can afford it.

I'll quote Yaron Brook (who I think was quoting someone else) - "The only limited resource on Earth is man's rational mind".

But unproven damage to the environment is no reason for government regulations and limiting individual property rights and prosperity.

Edited by Chris.S
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*** Merged into an earlier thread. - sN ***

The owner of those formerly free goods will most likely be interseted in using them to create profit of some kind.

Let's take the example of the rainforest. Right now most parts are either owned by the state and some parts are conservation areas.

If all the rainforest was privatly owned by somebody, the owners would try to use it to create profit and it is likely that by doing so, the rainforest would be destroyed (clearing for wood or for growing areas).

This could lead to negative effects for humanity in the (distant) future that might not be easily fixable.

...and on a purely practical note, if I had to buy rainforest in order to use it, I would *not* attempt to farm it. The fact of the matter is because of the immense rainfalls, the soil holds very little in the way of nutrients--all nutrients are in the trees and animals already. Thus the land could only be farmed for one or two years, and would then be utterly worthless (except maybe as a shooting range). I would then have to go buy more rainforest and clear it. This is exceedingly expensive. Thus the rainforest would probably be mostly preserved (maybe logging for some exotic woods) if people had to pay for the land to use it. Based on that theory, I would be greatly surprised if Brazil is requiring the people who have been clearing the rainforest to actually *buy* the land.

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The environment is there to be used and profited from. It has no value other than what people give it. If you value the environment or fish or frogs, go buy a piece of forest or an aquarium and tell people they can't cut down any trees or fish from your aquarium. But watch out for property taxes on that land that you aren't putting to any use.

I'm fine with some dirty water or dirty air as payment for my current standard of living. Being in Canada, I'm especially fine with the earth being a few degrees warmer. If I want to burn wood or coal to stay warm, then that's what I'll do as long as I can afford it.

I'll quote Yaron Brook (who I think was quoting someone else) - "The only limited resource on Earth is man's rational mind".

But unproven damage to the environment is no reason for government regulations and limiting individual property rights and prosperity.

And what about the fact that (parts) of nature enable us to live or function properly? If the air get's too dirty, we get sick. If we cut down too much rainforest and pollute the oceans too badly the oxygen level in our atmosphere might drop and we get sick.

Who is going to pay for the losses you suffered because you had an illness resulting from polluted air? Doesn't clean air and water have a value in keeping people healthy?

In a total free market there is no punishment for doing long term environmental damage for short term profits, nor is there anything that would encourage one to do otherwise. In fact one is more or less forced to do the same thing, because your competitors will gain an advantage if you don't take advantage of these short term profits.

Let's take the fishing industry as an example. Right now, as i wrote earlier, there are a number of species that are on the brink of collpase due to overfishing.

52% of all fish stocks are fully exploited, 20% are moderately exploited, 17% are overexploited, 7% are depleted, 1% is recovering from depletion. (number are from 2006 see http://www.fao.org/fishery/sofia/en)

With a constant increase in world population, I highly doubt there would be any reason for fishing companies to catch less. Without any restrictions it is likely that the worlds fish stocks would fully collaps, causing permanent long-term damage. It is hard to regrow a species ones it is in very small numbers and we have no idea what other negative changes might result from changing the eco-system in such a way (possibly a large scale algae-epidemic; changing the system even further)

And if one company decides to use less effective eco-friendly nets it would be in a disadvantage.

Also keep in mind that there are quite a few restrictions in place right now.

Should companies be allowed to dump their oil, their nuclear waste and other toxic trash in the ocean without restrictions?

...and on a purely practical note, if I had to buy rainforest in order to use it, I would *not* attempt to farm it. The fact of the matter is because of the immense rainfalls, the soil holds very little in the way of nutrients--all nutrients are in the trees and animals already. Thus the land could only be farmed for one or two years, and would then be utterly worthless (except maybe as a shooting range). I would then have to go buy more rainforest and clear it. This is exceedingly expensive. Thus the rainforest would probably be mostly preserved (maybe logging for some exotic woods) if people had to pay for the land to use it. Based on that theory, I would be greatly surprised if Brazil is requiring the people who have been clearing the rainforest to actually *buy* the land.

That is true, but the only other choice you have to use the rainforest, is to sell the rare wood types. To reach these trees you need to heavy machinery inside the forest, which will destroy everything in it's way. So you don't burn the forst for farming areas, but you stamp it down.

And since those trees take hundreds of years to regrow it doesn't make any sense to keep the rest of the forest intact.

And there are a number of other environmental issues that basically follow the same patter. I don't see any solution to this except government enforced restrictions.

Edited by crizon
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In a total free market there is no punishment for doing long term environmental damage...
That's not true. Of course "damage" does not equate to "having an effect". Also, strictly, it is not damage to the environment but consequent damage to real people that ought to be actionable under law.
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