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Free Markets are for Sissies

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Let's stipulate that free markets are the optimal economic arrangement and that taxation is theft and regulation oppression.

Still, it has always disturbed me how those who favor free markets have framed the issue.

If people were rational, they would choose a free market economy. They aren't so the choose socialism, in one form or another, instead.

Socialism is as natural as any other human vice. And while it may not have always been called "socialism", the essential elements of it stretch back throughout human history. I suppose you might quibble about the moral self-justification that socialists claim but when has anyone ever not justied their most horrible actions? One need only note the self-satisfaction of the Nazis to see that.

As much as I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged, as one critic of AS2 recently noted, it has a utopian thread running through it as if to believe that the right combination of events would cause people to finally see the light and truth and realize the errors of their ways.

Socialism is a diesase of the human soul, one to be endured like natural disease and natural disasters. There is no cure.

Death and taxes.

Discuss?

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As to "going Galt", the earlier point of seeing the valley being a resort, a place to withdraw from "getting one's hands dirty", I find this forum to be a place to one can go and interface with like-m

Establishing context, in other words? If so, I would put game theory in there, because its level of specificity may be too much for philosophical inquiry. The topic is specialized enough that while it

Where did I say "sit down and shut up?" But, yes, I am questioning the utility of talking. To whatever extent they do, yes, but my point is that the usual arguments for free markets

Let's stipulate that free markets are the optimal economic arrangement and that taxation is theft and regulation oppression.

Let's not stipulate it. Let's prove it, instead.

Still, it has always disturbed me how those who favor free markets have framed the issue.

What's your definition of "framing the issue"?

Edited by Nicky
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I can't help but wonder who the "sissy's" are; those who are willing to enter the market armed only with the principle of individual rights governing their economic actions and transactions be they in a producer or consumer sense; or those who think that they need a paternal figure to intervene and assure them that they will be "safe" from the "predatory producers" or "cut-throat competition" that "free markets" supposedly bring about.

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I can't help but wonder who the "sissy's" are; those who are willing to enter the market armed only with the principle of individual rights governing their economic actions and transactions be they in a producer or consumer sense; or those who think that they need a paternal figure to intervene and assure them that they will be "safe" from the "predatory producers" or "cut-throat competition" that "free markets" supposedly bring about.

Let's suppose you are right. (And, honestly, modern socialism is a metrosexual variant in contrast the the more masculine form that swept Russia and China in the early 20th century.)

But where does that get you? Presuming that we are among rationalists, I have to challenge the rational basis of an argument that is, essentially, "you too."

Where is the courage to enter a market where predatory politicians and bureaucrats lurk waiting to pounce on their prey?

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And then?

Then we'd be having a rational conversation, instead of just practicing our typing skills through random sentences that have no logical connection to reality.

The manner in which an issue or subject is presented to "the masses" (i.e those not so impressed with "proofs").

So you are troubled by the way someone presented the idea of a free market to people not interested in proof?

Who presented the idea of a free market to such people? I know Ayn Rand didn't. She made it a point not to. So who are you referring to, and why are you asking this question on an Objectivist forum?

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So your argument is, "It hasn't happened yet therefore it never will, so sit down and shut up,"? I found hilarious the comparison to physical diseases as an attempt to convince us there is no "cure," as if no physical disease has ever been cured, that you over looked that nobody ever expected or required everybody to agree with capitalism for it to be implemented, the evident equating of free will and the ability and history of people making mistakes with socialism and such things being part of human nature and therefore either immutable or beneficial, and throwing in an attempt to insult people into agreement under threat of being deemed a sissy. What did you expect to accomplish with this?

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So your argument is, "It hasn't happened yet therefore it never will, so sit down and shut up,"? I found hilarious the comparison to physical diseases as an attempt to convince us there is no "cure," as if no physical disease has ever been cured, that you over looked that nobody ever expected or required everybody to agree with capitalism for it to be implemented, the evident equating of free will and the ability and history of people making mistakes with socialism and such things being part of human nature and therefore either immutable or beneficial, and throwing in an attempt to insult people into agreement under threat of being deemed a sissy. What did you expect to accomplish with this?

Where did I say "sit down and shut up?" But, yes, I am questioning the utility of talking.

Where is the courage to enter a market where predatory politicians and bureaucrats lurk waiting to pounce on their prey?That is being demonstrated out there each and every day.

To whatever extent they do, yes, but my point is that the usual arguments for free markets imply the contrary, that we need free markets in order to do commerce.

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Obviously commerce continues in spite the degree of regulation imposed on the markets. There is even the "black market" that evolved within the Soviet Union.

Absolutely true.

The underlying question is: what is the rational choice under such circumstances? Resorting to black markets seems like a good example.

So what can we conclude from this narrow example? That regulation determines whether the market is open or black, not whether commerce occurs, even under the most opppressive circumstances.

Dare we generalize from that?

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Someone could have argued the same thing about fedualism. That ended, and that system was far better at maintaining itself than the variety of nation states that we have now. If mankind can escape feudalism then we can escape anything.

I wish it were so but I fear you are mistaking the specific for the general.

I would contend that feudalism, or nazism, or any other specific ideology, can indeed be ended but real question is whether the more general phenomenon, of which eash is a specific case, can be. If, for example, you end Wilsonian progressivism only to encounter Obamian progressivism what have you gained for your efforts?

I'm not suggesting that history is a uniform story of man's oppression of man. If we were to look only at free markets, for example, we could easily identify swings for and against. But my claim is that those swings would always be around a long-term mean that simply won't go away because, to put it plainly, if you leave a wallet on the sidewalk someone is going to take it.

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So what can we conclude from this narrow example? That regulation determines whether the market is open or black, not whether commerce occurs, even under the most opppressive
[sic]
circumstances.

Dare we generalize from that?

It would appear that you have exemplified your answer through the generalizations preceding your rhetorical question. If the price of the black market is not too high for you to pay, then by all means, battle for it - as for me, the inventive age (a.k.a. the "guilded age") has "case closed" stamped on a period of time where man's mind was more or less not impeded by government regulation, regulation encouraged by the desire, not for answers, but for the reassurance that there are no answers other than faith in authority or that mankind is innately depraved.

Edited by dream_weaver
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It would appear that you have exemplified your answer through the generalizations preceding your rhetorical question. If the price of the black market is not too high for you to pay, then by all means, battle for it - as for me, the inventive age (a.k.a. the "guilded age") has "case closed" stamped on a period of time where man's mind was more or less not impeded by government regulation, regulation encouraged by the desire, not for answers, but for the reassurance that there are no answers other than faith in authority or that mankind is innately depraved.

Setting aside what age (inventive, guilded, or whatever) might serve as a symbol of the high water mark of free markets, as notive above, I'm perfectly willing to conced that one can identify periods of relative economic freedom, however you might define it, and we may not even disagree on what you are here nominating.

The cold hard fact remains that it did not sustain itself. Or, more precisely, those who lived through it and after it could not or chose not to sustain it.

The mean of the human condition reasserted itself.

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Wow. I mean, wow. I’ve heard the terms “Dog eat dog” or even that free-markets favor the “Strong and greedy” but never “sissy”.

You really want to know on those terms? Okay…

“Sissy” is the opposite of being a “man”. But what is a “man”? A man is a rational animal that has to act to sustain its life. If he does not, he is a dead man. So to be a man you have to act to sustain your life. Capitalism is simply the term popularized by Marx to denounce liberty, or freedom including the free market. Freedom allows you to be a man so you can act to sustain your life and thrive.

In a non-free market, a non-free society you have your self-sustaining actions planned for you (I.E. Central Planning) or at minimum restricted in your ability to sustain your life while being forced to help others sustain their life. In this case the advocates and beneficiaries of that system are not “a man” since they have to have someone else sustain their life for them. Or, to be more exact, the real men will have to work twice as hard to support those who are too lazy to be a real man and live their life themselves.

But I wouldn’t call those who need collectivism or its variants sissies. Non-men would be more accurate since they are evading the requirements to be a man.

Edited by Spiral Architect
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A man is a rational animal that has to act to sustain its life. If he does not, he is a dead man. So to be a man you have to act to sustain your life. Capitalism is simply the term popularized by Marx to denounce liberty, or freedom including the free market. Freedom allows you to be a man so you can act to sustain your life and thrive.

In a non-free market, a non-free society you have your self-sustaining actions planned for you (I.E. Central Planning) or at minimum restricted in your ability to sustain your life while being forced to help others sustain their life.

This is precisely the argument that I am challenging here. Thanks for stating it so directly so that I may attack it. (I will dispense with your attack on the unmanly socialists since I have no desire to defend them.)

"Freedom allows you..." vs. "In a non-free market, a non-free society you have your self-sustaining actions planned for you..." suggests that someone has taken your manhood from you, has taken away your ability to reason, to make choices, etc. This is plainly wrong.

As we already saw from the example of black markets under communism, men can and do find ways to do commerce under the worst circumstances. And that's just scratching the surface.

To bring this back to the title of the thread which caused you (and perhaps others) some distress, you are saying, in effect, that your manhood depends on the freedoms granted to you by others. That's sissy talk!

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This is precisely the argument that I am challenging here. Thanks for stating it so directly so that I may attack it. (I will dispense with your attack on the unmanly socialists since I have no desire to defend them.)

"Freedom allows you..." vs. "In a non-free market, a non-free society you have your self-sustaining actions planned for you..." suggests that someone has taken your manhood from you, has taken away your ability to reason, to make choices, etc. This is plainly wrong.

As we already saw from the example of black markets under communism, men can and do find ways to do commerce under the worst circumstances. And that's just scratching the surface.

To bring this back to the title of the thread which caused you (and perhaps others) some distress, you are saying, in effect, that your manhood depends on the freedoms granted to you by others. That's sissy talk!

First of all, he wasn't saying that in non-free markets, man's faculty of reason is taken away, but his freedom to act as his reason tells him is, at least in part. And you're saying that because it is possible in part, one should be content with that? This is pragmatism at its finest: "forget about principles, just compromise, otherwise you're suchandsuch - sissy, loser, whatever". (And, of course, the fact that you can't come up with any rational argument against free markets but rather resort to petty insults further shows your complete disregard for reality.)

Edited by ppw
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First of all, he wasn't saying that in non-free markets, man's faculty of reason is taken away, but his freedom to act as his reason tells him is, at least in part. And you're saying that because it is possible in part, one should be content with that? This is pragmatism at its finest: "forget about principles, just compromise, otherwise you're suchandsuch - sissy, loser, whatever". (And, of course, the fact that you can't come up with any rational argument against free markets but rather resort to petty insults further shows your complete disregard for reality.)

I challenge you to show how his freedom to act is taken away in the least. I'm not saying that it is possible in part, but in whole. Now obviously when one person acts, another's choices are altered insofar as it is rational for the second to take the first's actions into account.

(I'm not trying to argue against free markets but against dependence upon them for one's manhood.)

And, yes, I am suggesting something more pragmatic than submission.

Edited by hernan
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Setting aside what age (inventive, guilded, or whatever) might serve as a symbol of the high water mark of free markets, as notive above, I'm perfectly willing to conced that one can identify periods of relative economic freedom, however you might define it, and we may not even disagree on what you are here nominating.

The cold hard fact remains that it did not sustain itself. Or, more precisely, those who lived through it and after it could not or chose not to sustain it.

The mean of the human condition reasserted itself.

The cold hard fact that remains is that it did occur. Even the discoveries of Aristotle were swept aside . . . for a span of time. Regarding human nature, Victor Hugo points out that an invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.
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The cold hard fact that remains is that it did occur. Even the discoveries of Aristotle were swept aside . . . for a span of time. Regarding human nature, Victor Hugo points out that an invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.

I'd say the socialists have a tad more evidence in their favor on that score.

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