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If America Was A Laissez-faire Country, How Different Would It Be From

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This is a very complex question with nearly unlimited answers.... The simple answer is if the U.S. was fully Capitalist nearly everything involving the government would be totally different then at present. Virtually EVERTHING would be privately owned and the government would exist only for the purpose of protecting the rights of its citizens and would have NO OTHER function. The only thing that would be the same is the Constitution (which would be enforced as is) and the sense of life of most Americans (which would be a fully explicit philosophy now).

Edited by EC
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What would the way of life be like? What things would be different? How much better would it be in a laissez-faire country?

If America was completely capitalist, and a significant portion of the population was Objectivist or Objectivist influenced, we would have an unimaginably high standard of living and wealth increasing at rates many times faster than now, technological advances would be much more frequent, our life spans would be longer, universities would be places where people would go to flourish, children would be taught how to think properly throughout grade school, there would be very low crime, beautiful symphonies would be created, as well as works of art and dramas, people would be benevolent toward eachother as potential traders, and many other wonderful things I could go on and on about. It would be very different from now.

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The only thing that would be the same is the Constitution (which would be enforced as is) and the sense of life of most Americans (which would be a fully explicit philosophy now).

I doubt that most Americans have the classical American sense of life left in them. In fact I doubt that even a majority have it left within them.

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Can you explain why these things would be so much better?

Education would then be based on a rational understanding of epistemology. Here is an example. Also, free market competition would result in improvements in teaching methods and materials.

There would be various factors effecting crime rate. The first thing to keep in mind is that a capitalist country would have a strong Objectivist cultural influence. People would recognize that initiating force is not in their interest. Other reinforcing factors from the political system include the legalization of drugs, which would no longer provide revenues and power for violent organized crime groups. Police would have more time and funding to devote to actual crimes.

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To reduce the question to a particular concrete: Several years ago I read an article that outlined the cost of government in the creation of a product, in this case, the ford taurus. At the time, it was a sedan that sold for around $20,000. After they went through and subtracted the costs of government...not just sales tax, but compliance with government mandated regulations of all kinds through each involved industy(iron mines, shiping,ect), it ended up costing a little over $7,000. So in other words, in a capitalist country, if you kept this car for 7 years it would cost you about $80/month to drive it as opposed to say $250/month in our current economic system. Now apply that percentage of saving to every other product you ever buy, subtract add 50% on to your wages and imagine financially what things you would have accessto that you don't now.

What I thought would be even more intereting would be, though tedious to investigate would be if you could research all products and services. The $7000 is probably high if you consider that by ford making cheaper vehicles, the cost of shipping their parts and wehicles would be cheaper as well. Prices would go down for everything, which would cause prices to go down for everything even more in the same way that prices go up and up for every thing the government does in the economy.

Another sobering thought to put the damage of bad philosophy into perspective is the dark ages of europe. For 800 years there was virtually no progress technilogically. Imagine if platonic christianity had not taken over for that time period. I would bet you could move everything forward by 800 years on a 1 to 1 basis. Imagine where we would be now if Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1269 AD.

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To reduce the question to a particular concrete: Several years ago I read an article that outlined the cost of government in the creation of a product, in this case, the ford taurus. At the time, it was a sedan that sold for around $20,000. After they went through and subtracted the costs of government...not just sales tax, but compliance with government mandated regulations of all kinds through each involved industy(iron mines, shiping,ect), it ended up costing a little over $7,000. So in other words, in a capitalist country, if you kept this car for 7 years it would cost you about $80/month to drive it as opposed to say $250/month in our current economic system. Now apply that percentage of saving to every other product you ever buy, subtract add 50% on to your wages and imagine financially what things you would have accessto that you don't now.

Is that really true? That much lower of prices?

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At the time, it was a sedan that sold for around $20,000. After they went through and subtracted the costs of government...not just sales tax, but compliance with government mandated regulations of all kinds through each involved industy(iron mines, shiping,ect), it ended up costing a little over $7,000. So in other words, in a capitalist country, if you kept this car for 7 years it would cost you about $80/month to drive it as opposed to say $250/month in our current economic system. Now apply that percentage of saving to every other product you ever buy, subtract add 50% on to your wages and imagine financially what things you would have accessto that you don't now.

I'm sure the price would drop, but possibly not that low. Keep in mind government issues regulations regarding safety and fuel consumption. Ford, and other automakers, would still make safe products without regulations, therefore we'd still have air bags, anti-lock brakes, etc. Likewise mines and shippers and steel mills and the rest would also keep reasonably safe working conditions.

Fuel efficiency is a chancier subject. A lot would depend on demand. There would be demand for small, fuel efficient cars, to be sure, but how big it would be depends on a lot of things. For instance, if cars were cheaper, a family of four might opt to have two small, efficient cars for city use, and one large, less efficient SUV for weekends, vacations and shoppping. This would be so even if oil got very expensive (which wouldn't when so much more areas would be open for exploitation, without the onerous restrictions now mandated by government).

So let's say the Taurus would cost $10,000. That's still much better what we have today.

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I doubt that most Americans have the classical American sense of life left in them. In fact I doubt that even a majority have it left within them.

Naw, your just being overly pessimistic I think. I see it every day. Even many on the left display it to a degree. How else could they get elected here?

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Is that really true? That much lower of prices?

Unfortunately I read that article in the mid 90's and don't remember the source. I think it was a time article but am not sure. The numbers were there's not mine and I am pretty sure they are close to correct. I apologize for not being able to refer you anywhere for confirmation.

And while I agree that there would be some cost associated with companies maintaining safety on their own it would be very little compared to the cost of government mandated safety. In construction for example, there is a little organization known as OSHA. They mandate things which if followed completely simultaneously reduce my efficiency and put me at greater risk of injury.

Using a general government mandate as an absolute for dealing with complex particualr situations can only lead to unnaturally higher costs, decreased worker efficiency, and greater danger to the workers. Whereas taking precautions yourself can be done efficiently and appropriately as the particualr situation requires. As an example, consider that safety harnesses that are used must have an OSHA approval. Rock climbing gear is illegal and if caught using them A contracter would face thousands of dollars in fines(and dont think $2000 think more $80,000...$160,000...usually high enough to put fair sized companies out of business) despite the fact that in a number circumstances they would be safer. So I could buy a rock climbing harness fo $25 that works well or an OSHA approved harness for $129.95 that is uncomfortable, cumbersome, in in many circumstances dangerous. What it comes down to is that I could probably cut the cost of building a roof by 30% without their existence, while maintaining a higher level of safety if allowed to make decisions myself. And thats just one small part of one government organization. And this 30% estimate of mine excludes the possibility of extortionate fines which can't be accounted for until you get nailed with one(which everyone does eventually) I think it really difficult to seperate out the exact cost of government in my own industry but I know it's big.

The problem I see with an accurate appraisal of the damage they do is that everything they do has impacts that can reach so far. How can you accurately calculate the extra cost of rents because of the higher cost of roofing because of roofers having to pay .20 for every dolllar of payroll for forced workmens comp insurance, on top of all of the other government mandated costs. Or what cost is there to society for some 6 year old hyper-genius, protegy mini-galt who gets put on riddlin because he doesn't fit in well in a public school system dedicated to the destruction of his mind? (A better question is what is the cost to that child?) I really don't believe there is an accurate way to really observe how different it would be because the not so invisble hand of the government reaches so deeply but I think it fair to believe based on my limited experience that roofing would be extraordinarily cheaper. A safe extrapolation is that other industries would to for their own reasons. Imagine the differences in a world with free market banking? Unregulated insurance? Or what if drug companies didn't have to spend $800,000,000 just to get a drug through the FDA approval process?

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Naw, your just being overly pessimistic I think. I see it every day. Even many on the left display it to a degree. How else could they get elected here?

Well, I dont live in America so I cant comment on day to day experiences. But from the statistics atleast, it looks like atleast a very sizeable minority (35-45%) is just waiting to be ruled.

I mean the massive amount of contradictions in their lives, moral relativism and multiculturalism permeating the culture, massive support for increasing the ever increasing big government, hatred of big business especially oil companies, high divorce rates, support for abortion restrictions (some restrictions, not elimination of abortion), the disintegrated minds of the youth, just disgusting.

And i disagree that the elected officials on the left display the American sense of life at all. Do you think Hillary Clinton or Ted Kennedy or the loony liberal politicians have an American sense of life?

Edited by tommyedison
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What I mean guess Tommy, is that even your average guy that leans to the left, is a union member, etc., still USUALLY loves this country and "freedom", they just usually lack critical thinking skills so they hold a bunch of silly contradictions.

The polititicians that you are speaking of...NO. But it doesn't neccasarily mean that all are like that. Although, I've never seen one that I would want to vote for. :)

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The "negative" is that it would be much more difficult to get the unearned.

Of course, that's not really a negative, but that's how it is perceived by those who would use the power of government to get a benefit for themselves, all the while wondering why it is that they themselves are fodder for others at the next step of the parasitic food chain.

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Nothing would be federal. Each city would control its own laws, statutes, police force, and contribution to the overall military. The government is an unnecessary middle man existant only to perpetuate its own existance; like a mafia ring squeezing its victims for protection money. I mean taxes.

To live. To work. To own property.

In an objectivist country as described, things would be corporate run, not federally run.

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Nothing would be federal. Each city would control its own laws, statutes, police force, and contribution to the overall military. The government is an unnecessary middle man existant only to perpetuate its own existance; like a mafia ring squeezing its victims for protection money. I mean taxes.

To live. To work. To own property.

In an objectivist country as described, things would be corporate run, not federally run.

Wait a minute! Are you extrapolating from something you've read? If so, you should read "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal". That essay-compilation is mainly about the "Politics" branch of philosophy.

For the record, Objectivism holds that government is essential, not an "unnecessary middle man".

As for letting city governments own property, but disallowing the Feds from owning it -- that's a question of implementation. There's no reason to assume it should be so. The Federal government, regional government, State government, and so on should be able to do whatever is practical in the pursuit of their proper role. There may be some restraints, which would guard against government corruption, undue use of power, etc. However, within those limits, government may own property that is required for its function.

Thanks Eric Clapton and Iluminaughty.
:P Clapton doesn't play here!
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Wait a minute! Are you extrapolating from something you've read? If so, you should read "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal". That essay-compilation is mainly about the "Politics" branch of philosophy.

For the record, Objectivism holds that government is essential, not an "unnecessary middle man".

As for letting city governments own property, but disallowing the Feds from owning it -- that's a question of implementation. There's no reason to assume it should be so. The Federal government, regional government, State government, and so on should be able to do whatever is practical in the pursuit of their proper role. There may be some restraints, which would guard against government corruption, undue use of power, etc. However, within those limits, government may own property that is required for its function.

:dough: Clapton doesn't play here!

That's why I'm not an objectivist. Because I'm an anarchist. Most all of my other beliefs go along with objectivism, however. Most, not all. In fact its on the border for me to say some, but not enough to change what I said.

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