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Hey, I'm new to the forums. I've noticed that quite a few Objectivists have come out in favor of the War on Terror and even possibly waging war on Iran. Wouldn't these be extremely expensive operations though? Since an Objectivist government would be limited to voluntary contributions and user fees (i.e. Rand's proposal for a fee on contracts), how would an Objectivist government collect enough revenues for expensive foreign policy? Could Objectivist governments buy large stakes in successful companies, mutual funds, stock market indices, etc. to enhance revenue, or is this considered immoral?

Thanks,

krazy

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No. Any involvement in the stock market or the economy, by the government, is immoral. It's like having the referee also act as the coach for one of the teams.

Wars would be funded through voluntary contributions.

Why would a war against Iran be "extremely" expensive? Compared to the US, Iran has a weak military. It would be a very short war.

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No. Any involvement in the stock market or the economy, by the government, is immoral. It's like having the referee also act as the coach for one of the teams.

That's not what I would consider a sufficient explanation. Why exactly is it immoral from the Objectivist, ethical egoist point of view? I understand that such involvement might lead to bad investments due to political considerations, but any profits could greatly enhance government revenues.

Wars would be funded through voluntary contributions.

Why would a war against Iran be "extremely" expensive? Compared to the US, Iran has a weak military. It would be a very short war.

Deploying your military half way across the world to end a tyrannical regime would be quite expensive, especially if you plan on preventing another tyrannical regime from arising.

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That's not what I would consider a sufficient explanation. Why exactly is it immoral from the Objectivist, ethical egoist point of view? I understand that such involvement might lead to bad investments due to political considerations, but any profits could greatly enhance government revenues.

Profits are the consequence of production. Governments have a bad track record in that regard. It simply doesn't work. The only thing government investments would lead to are losses.

People are rational animals, and they need to be independent individuals in order to act on their rational minds and achieve those values that lead to their survival and happiness. Only motivated by selfishness will people seek profits, which are a consequence of producing those values people want.

Where would those government profits come from? Who in their right and competent mind would, instead of working for themselves, go to work and produce profits for the government?

Deploying your military half way across the world to end a tyrannical regime would be quite expensive, especially if you plan on preventing another tyrannical regime from arising.

Quite expensive is not the same as extremely expensive, especially since Objectivists are not advocating any nation building, but rather the destruction of the current Iranian regime.

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An Objectivist government would engage in war only when necessary to defend our nation. The concern of such a government would be exclusively the defense of our nation, and not the preservation of the enemy. The defeated aggressor nation would be held responsible for all costs, which means that in all probability a nation that was rich enough to attack us would have assets that we could seize to pay for their destruction. In any event, contributions would be sufficient.

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An Objectivist government would engage in war only when necessary to defend our nation. The concern of such a government would be exclusively the defense of our nation, and not the preservation of the enemy. The defeated aggressor nation would be held responsible for all costs, which means that in all probability a nation that was rich enough to attack us would have assets that we could seize to pay for their destruction. In any event, contributions would be sufficient.

I totally agree with DavidOdden and if it's expensive; like he said - seize assets however because of such a limited m.o. it wouldn't be that expensive just bomb the hell out of 4 - 5 facilities and fly out. No free food, converting to democracy, etc.

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Profits are the consequence of production. Governments have a bad track record in that regard. It simply doesn't work. The only thing government investments would lead to are losses.

Are you sure about that statement? Many state and local governments invest in the market for the pensions of their workers. These workers have an incentive to protect those investments that are made by their employers. Many businesses follow a similar model. Wouldn't it be possible for an Objectivist government to do something similar with its military, in order to cover costs?

Moreover, are you saying that governments don't produce anything? You don't believe that governments don't provide vital services like arbitration and protection? Do you think these too should be handed to the private sector?

Where would those government profits come from?

From investing in the stock market. Are you ready to call professional investors, hedge fund managers, mutual fund managers, etc. immoral? They provide vital services by increasing the amount of loanable funds in the market.

Who in their right and competent mind would, instead of working for themselves, go to work and produce profits for the government?

Are you saying that nobody should go to work for government? After all, if an Objectivist government were to exist, it would presumably gather revenue via various user fees, like the contract fees Rand mentioned. But that is producing a profit for government, is it not?

Quite expensive is not the same as extremely expensive, especially since Objectivists are not advocating any nation building, but rather the destruction of the current Iranian regime.

Well you would want to establish another regime that wouldn't be just as dangerous or more dangerous than the previous one, wouldn't you?

I object to the charactarization "Objectivist War Hawks." I maintain that such an entity, within the context of Objectivism, does not exist.

Dunno, it seems that some people, like Peikoff, are quite hawkish.

An Objectivist government would engage in war only when necessary to defend our nation. The concern of such a government would be exclusively the defense of our nation, and not the preservation of the enemy. The defeated aggressor nation would be held responsible for all costs, which means that in all probability a nation that was rich enough to attack us would have assets that we could seize to pay for their destruction. In any event, contributions would be sufficient.

This is a good idea. Do you think an Objectivist government could make extra money by stationing troops in places like South Korea if that country decides to pay for the protection?

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Do you think an Objectivist government could make extra money by stationing troops in places like South Korea if that country decides to pay for the protection?
The purpose of government is not to "make extra money" -- government is not a profit-making enterprise. In the context of actual South Korea vs. North Korea (namely, the nutter monarchy is still in place), it is in the interest of the US to prevent an invasion from the north. I have not done an analysis of Korean politics and economy so I can't determine whether we have been altruistically underwriting the Korean economy at out own expense, by providing free policing. It's possible that South Korea ought to shoulder more of the financial burden, but I'm not inclined to think that they are being slackers and free-riders.
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My point isn't that government should be trying to make a profit, but that it could charge nations like South Korea and Japan which have US military bases for military protection and use the money to pay for the expenses. Any extra money could be redirected towards other foreign policy objectives.

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Moreover, are you saying that governments don't produce anything? You don't believe that governments don't provide vital services like arbitration and protection? Do you think these too should be handed to the private sector?

Are you saying that my congressman are in charge of literally building the tanks, ships, artillery needed ect. to "produce" a defense for us? Government is not a productive engine. Only the market can build unless the government nationalizes which still requires the worker to work and the innovator to innovate under the condition of coercion.

From investing in the stock market. Are you ready to call professional investors, hedge fund managers, mutual fund managers, etc. immoral? They provide vital services by increasing the amount of loanable funds in the market.

Here's an idea, how about we allow citizens to purchase stock within their own government? You could literally be a shareholder to your own congressional seat. As far as governments obtaining revenue from investments goes I think that would be a much more beneficial idea.

Edited by Miles White
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Here's an idea, how about we allow citizens to purchase stock within their own government? You could literally be a shareholder to your own congressional seat. As far as governments obtaining revenue from investments goes I think that would be a much more beneficial idea.

A corporate model for government... could it, would it work?

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My point is that fees should be "for actual costs", so there would not be extra money.

Why should fees be for actual costs?

Are you saying that my congressman are in charge of literally building the tanks, ships, artillery needed ect. to "produce" a defense for us? Government is not a productive engine. Only the market can build unless the government nationalizes which still requires the worker to work and the innovator to innovate under the condition of coercion.

Judges are a part of the government. They provide arbitration services. Ergo, government produce vital services to the market place.

Here's an idea, how about we allow citizens to purchase stock within their own government? You could literally be a shareholder to your own congressional seat. As far as governments obtaining revenue from investments goes I think that would be a much more beneficial idea.

That would be a great idea as long as there would be an independent common law judiciary willing to restrain unconstitutional behavior.

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Are you sure about that statement?...

Yes. There's plety of empirical evidence to suggest that what you propose next in your post wouldn't work, but the main reason is my statement on the source of profits and values, which I am indeed sure of.

Are you saying that nobody should go to work for government? After all, if an Objectivist government were to exist, it would presumably gather revenue via various user fees, like the contract fees Rand mentioned. But that is producing a profit for government, is it not?

Providing protection and contract-enforcement are the two proper functions of government, and in that area they should compete for the available work-force. (meaning that people should and would work for government, in those areas, if payed properly)

But no, contract fees should not bring a profit to the government, that would be immoral. They should only cover the costs of enforcing the contracts in question Ayn never mentioned profits, only covering related costs). There's an active thread on the subject, I agree with DavidOdden's latest posts in it:here, and there's a couple of other ones, later in the thread.

Well you would want to establish another regime that wouldn't be just as dangerous or more dangerous than the previous one, wouldn't you?

No. I have no ambition of telling other people who their political leaders should be. They can decide on it themselves, based on past experience and a solid promise on our part to continue to defend ourselves when threatened.

As for a regime that's as or more dangerous than the previous one, that couldn't bepossible for many years. They may be just as hostile or vicious (even that's unlikely), but they would not have the means to be just as dangerous. Their means to threaten us would be the first targets of our bombs.

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