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Free Markets are for Sissies

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hernan
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To answer you in nearly every response, it seems to be understood, I need to reiterate my understanding of epistemology. You have stated that in some sense you are familiar with O'ist epistemology. I think either you are mistaken as to your understanding of the subject or you refute it, which is it?

Obviously a mistaken apprehension would go unnoticed, so is it you refute Rand's epistemology?

Edited by tadmjones
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To answer you in nearly every response, it seems to be understood, I need to reiterate my understanding of epistemology. You have stated that in some sense you are familiar with O'ist epistemology. I think either you are mistaken as to your understanding of the subject or you refute it, which is it?

I never said I agreed with everything Rand said. I argue based on what I know, not on what I know of Rand.

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ok so Rand notwithstanding You think an some level mankind acts accordingly:

Me. Him. Him like me two eyes ,penis. Him different. Him has uh things. Me take him things. No w me have him things, now me like. ?

I think that much of what we see in the world, both criminal and governmental, is not much more rational than that.

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Lions certainly envy another's harem.

Isn't this an example of anthropomorphising? A lion knows it must only mate with members of its own species? Lions understand biology, in order to perpetuate my species I must disseminate my semen( and then only to females)? Edited by tadmjones
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Isn't this an example of anthropomorphising? A lion knows it must only mate with members of its own species? Lions understand biology, in order to perpetuate my species I must disseminate my semen( and then only to females)?

Right, but the question we are confronting in this tangent is whether humans have the same understanding of biology as lions and, if so, whether they are thus capable of acting on motivations other than ideas. In a nutshell, we are comparing two competing theories. Rand's theory is that reason (motivation by ideas) superceded animal motivations. My claim is that it merely added a layer over them. We have a capacity that the lions lack but we still have the lion's motivations. Rand's man qua man is an ideal, at best. (And Branden had some strong words to say on that.)

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Isn't this an example of anthropomorphising? A lion knows it must only mate with members of its own species? Lions understand biology, in order to perpetuate my species I must disseminate my semen( and then only to females)?

This is way off topic, probably better to start a new thread for this bit.

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Have you determined if Objectivists are able to reason about this problem?

I would give a qualified "yes". Yes, in the formal sense that what I propose is not contradictory to Objectivist principles. But the qualification is that it's a radical departure from normal Objectivism insofar as it is about acting against socialism and not arguing and persuading socialists to change their mind.

A closely related problem is that the language that Objectivism utilizes reinforces this bias toward argument and persuasion over action.

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But the qualification is that it's a radical departure from normal Objectivism insofar as it is about acting against socialism and not arguing and persuading socialists to change their mind.

My targets are 'pre-socialists" or socialists willing to change their minds. The principle of retaliation of force against the initiation of force should always apply.

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Thinking further about this topic, I think the place to focus is the "underground economy".

The question I want to turn to now is very specifically: what is the Objectivist position on the underground economy?

Here is a list of books with a mix of observation and "how to":

http://www.amazon.com/Off-Books-Underground-Economy-Urban/dp/0674030710

http://www.amazon.com/Ragnars-Underground-Economy-Ragnar-Benson/dp/1581600119

http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Inside-Underground-Economy-Practising/dp/1893626490

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307279987

http://www.amazon.com/Guerrilla-Capitalism-Practice-Enterprise-Economy/dp/0915179164

This book sounds a bit over the top but it is interesting nonetheless:

http://www.amazon.com/Invisible-Resistance-Tyranny-Insurgency-Increasingly/dp/1581603088

Note that I have not read any of these books and offer them only to illustrate the issues of the discussion. It's worth nothing that generally underground economy is practiced at the lower end of the economic spectrum which has important implications.

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Thinking further about this topic, I think the place to focus is the "underground economy".

The question I want to turn to now is very specifically: what is the Objectivist position on the underground economy?

Here is a list of books with a mix of observation and "how to":

http://www.amazon.com/Off-Books-Underground-Economy-Urban/dp/0674030710

http://www.amazon.com/Ragnars-Underground-Economy-Ragnar-Benson/dp/1581600119

http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Inside-Underground-Economy-Practising/dp/1893626490

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307279987

http://www.amazon.com/Guerrilla-Capitalism-Practice-Enterprise-Economy/dp/0915179164

This book sounds a bit over the top but it is interesting nonetheless:

http://www.amazon.com/Invisible-Resistance-Tyranny-Insurgency-Increasingly/dp/1581603088

Note that I have not read any of these books and offer them only to illustrate the issues of the discussion. It's worth nothing that generally underground economy is practiced at the lower end of the economic spectrum which has important implications.

The underground economy (which I assume you mean business not reported to the government) is good because it avoids taxes. However, you have to be smart and make sure the risk of getting caught is very low. An example is babysitting, technically you can get arrested for participating in it if you don't report to the gov., but the risk of actually getting prosecuted is almost non existent.

Edited by thenelli01
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The underground economy (which I assume you mean business not reported to the government) is good because it avoids taxes. However, you have to be smart and make sure the risk of getting caught is very low. An example is baby sitting, technically you can get arrested for participating in it if you don't report to the gov., but the risks are almost non existent.

Yes, there are certianly many practical issues and that makes them, of course, moral issues as well. So one question to consider is how Objectivism balances the risk of getting caught against the value of avoiding regulations and taxes.

I have not thoroughly researched this topic, I have not read the books I listed. I only know vaguely about the "underground economy" (sometimes also called the "informal economy" by economists) mostly from what I read in the papers. It is a very significant chunk of the economy in the Mediterranean and Latin American countries, though. If you glance through the book descriptions you will get an idea how big this already is.

Now obviously there are many who regard the existence of the underground economy to be a travesty of justice (e.g. the Germans are quite upset with the Greeks and Italians over this because they are subsidizing the Greek government budget deficits). I gather from your response that this is not the case with Objectivists?

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Yes, there are certianly many practical issues and that makes them, of course, moral issues as well. So one question to consider is how Objectivism balances the risk of getting caught against the value of avoiding regulations and taxes.

I have not thoroughly researched this topic, I have not read the books I listed. I only know vaguely about the "underground economy" (sometimes also called the "informal economy" by economists) mostly from what I read in the papers. It is a very significant chunk of the economy in the Mediterranean and Latin American countries, though. If you glance through the book descriptions you will get an idea how big this already is.

Now obviously there are many who regard the existence of the underground economy to be a travesty of justice (e.g. the Germans are quite upset with the Greeks and Italians over this because they are subsidizing the Greek government budget deficits). I gather from your response that this is not the case with Objectivists?

If you advocate for or believe in taxes and government control over the marketplace, then it would be immoral to participate in the black market. That is a case of having your cake and eating it too.

However, objectivists object to government involvement, so in our case it is moral and perfectly okay to participate in it to avoid having wealth stolen from you.

But you also need to act in your rational self interest. So you need to evaluate the risks in each situation and if the risks are very low, I would recommend doing it. If the risks are very high, then it would be immoral in my opinion because you are committing suicide. It depends on the context.

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If you advocate for or believe in taxes and government control over the marketplace, then it would be immoral to participate in the black market. That is a case of having your cake and eating it too.

However, objectivists object to government involvement, so in our case it is moral and perfectly okay to participate in it to avoid having wealth stolen from you.

But you also need to act in your rational self interest. So you need to evaluate the risks in each situation and if the risks are very low, I would recommend doing it. If the risks are very high, then it would be immoral in my opinion because you are committing suicide. It depends on the context.

That's more or less the answer that I would have expected but it's hard then to understand some of the answers given earlier in this thread. Of course, given the practical constraints that you correctly cite, there is a difference between saying it's ok in theory and saying it's ok in a particular situation.

That is, I think, an important subject for discussion. What you left unaswered is how to go about balancing the risk/reward and making a good decision. The risk is pretty low for the poor, it's hardly worth the the tax collector's time and effort to chase them down. So, at a minimum, this seems like a good anti-poverty policy.

Now this does bring us back to the question I raised here and especially in the ethics thread Can there be honor among thieves?. Operating in an underground economy requires, at a minimum, being dishonest toward the government.

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That's more or less the answer that I would have expected but it's hard then to understand some of the answers given earlier in this thread. Of course, given the practical constraints that you correctly cite, there is a difference between saying it's ok in theory and saying it's ok in a particular situation.

That is, I think, an important subject for discussion. What you left unaswered is how to go about balancing the risk/reward and making a good decision. The risk is pretty low for the poor, it's hardly worth the the tax collector's time and effort to chase them down. So, at a minimum, this seems like a good anti-poverty policy.

Now this does bring us back to the question I raised here and especially in the ethics thread Can there be honor among thieves?. Operating in an underground economy requires, at a minimum, being dishonest toward the government.

How to balance risk/reward and making a good decision? It's like any other decision an objectivist makes. It involves a comprehensive analysis of the situation.

Which posts are you referring to? I don't remember posting in this thread before.

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How to balance risk/reward and making a good decision? It's like any other decision an objectivist makes. It involves a comprehensive analysis of the situation.

Well, sure, but that's a pretty vague and general answer, essentially "use your own judgement." But this is a difficult question not owing to circumstances but more to the differentness of the things being compared.

Which posts are you referring to? I don't remember posting in this thread before.

Not you, others. And not all others, only a couple posters.

I wish I'd thought of framing the quesiton initally as about the underground economy. That is the clearest way to present the question.

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How to balance risk/reward and making a good decision? It's like any other decision an objectivist makes. It involves a comprehensive analysis of the situation.

While risk/reward is part of many decisions, philosophic inquiry helps to illuminate relevant questions. You could say "use reason" and leave all questions at that. In my posts, I've been attempting to bring out crucial philosophical distinctions that should be addressed by anyone who wants to answer Hernan's question.

Hernan, despite the general reply Nelli gave you, I find that it's fine for a quick answer. What about that reply makes it hard to understand some of the answers given earlier? I don't see any incompatibilities.

Edited by Eiuol
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While risk/reward is part of many decisions, philosophic inquiry helps to illuminate relevant questions. You could say "use reason" and leave all questions at that. In my posts, I've been attempting to bring out crucial philosophical distinctions that should be addressed by anyone who wants to answer Hernan's question.

Hernan, despite the general reply Nelli gave you, I find that it's fine for a quick answer. What about that reply makes it hard to understand some of the answers given earlier? I don't see any incompatibilities.

Well, yes, I found his answer to be in the nature of "use reason".

Now granted, focusing on the "underground economy" gives a much clearer picture than my initial attempt (though the subject is more general, I had included legal evasion, e.g. papa johns limiting employees to less than 30 hours, about which there was no dispute, and violent resistence, which I then took off the table).

Nevertheless, focusing on the "underground economy" is very clarifying. It is ubiquitous and significant economically, though of course it is difficult to measure by its very nature. The underground economy stands nicely for the general subject. So rather than revisit all the prior posts, I would be curious to get everyone's take on the Objectivist view of underground economic activity. Although I doubt those who are primairly engaged in undergound economic activity would be posting here, I would not be surprised if everyone has participated in some small way. (Most cash tips go unreported so if you give tips in cash you are probably contributing to the underground economy.)

(I was hoping, though, to hear more from you in our previous discussion. My last response to you is here: #215)

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  • 1 year later...

So, looks like the thread creator may be getting that "guides on minimizing the impact of government on one's life" thing after all, and yes, by somebody from this place even.

 

This is from an e-mail from the person who created this forum:

"I am working full time on a major new initiative. It’s called Liberty.me and I’m personally managing every aspect of development. Whereas ObjectivismOnline is an adventure in philosophical discussion and intelectual activity, Liberty.me is a hands-on tool for living a free, rational life. We have assembled over 50 authors to create guides to help you minimize the impact and interference of government controls."

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