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View Diary: Another war that we are losing (27 comments)

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  •  As uninsightful as usual. (5+ / 0-)

    Libertarianism isn't an economic theory, it's an ideology. Because it is an ideology, it invariably fails when it is applied to thinking about the real world.

    In this case, what you've said about expanding economies and competition for dwindling resources may be true in its own context, but it is the exact opposite of the problem being discussed in the diary. The "everyone" trying to make their nation's products more competitive are the plutocrats who run the show, and they aren't competing for resources, they're competing for sales. Unfortunately, in a global economy currency debasement is a self-defeating tactic: if they devalue their currency, they cannot afford to acquire the raw materials needed to create the stuff they're supposed to be selling.

    It all comes back to the same insanity -- one whose roots and complexities you refuse to acknowledge, preferring to perceive the world through the fantasy lens of libertarian monochromicity. Said insanity has to do with the inevitable upward concentration of wealth, regardless of contribution or production. In a world without fiat currency, economies stagnate as soon as all the gold ends up in a handful of pockets. In a world with fiat currency, we keep creating new currency to take the place for the currency the plutocracy keeps for itself -- and of course, to make up the exponentially-increasing vigorish on that plutocratic concentration; but the fix is always temporary, always racing to outrun the system's plutocratic addiction to return on capital.

    This reality moots all of your Libertarian nostrums, prescriptions, and even conceptions, because they all refuse to accommodate this simple fact. They refuse to accommodate this simple fact, because the fact is incompatible with their ideology -- specifically, with the ideology that property and money are universal natural phenomena, when in fact property and money are human artifices, created to serve human ends. They are endlessly plastic, and we are absolutely free to make any rules we want about what can or cannot be done with them. For example, we are absolutely free to make the simple rule that private entities cannot lend money at interest. Sure, there'll be a black market. There already is -- it's called loansharking. Nothing is perfect -- but the Libertarian response to every suggested ameliorative law is that it won't be perfect, as if somehow that's a reasonable justification for doing nothing. But whatevs. Don't want to make private lending illegal? Fine -- just tax the bejesus out of the interest. Etc etc. There are lots of things we could do to address the essential problem, but we choose not to, generally out of fealty to tired, unsophisticated, toddlerish, libertarian absolute notions about what money is, where it comes from, and to whom it belongs.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 01:24:59 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Might be better (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, Lujane

      to tax the accumulation itself rather than the process of accumulation; i.e., some kind of "wealth tax".  Inheritance taxes are designed to do this, of course.  Ours worked perfectly well until the Reaganites started to meddle with it and create loopholes you could drive a Dreamliner through.  We also used to limit Usury.  Loaning money on interest was legal up to a certain point, but there were LIMITS!  That helped currency to flow from Use A to Use B, without allowing for excessive accumulation.

      While I object to interest on religious grounds, as a practical perspective, I think it might be more politically feasible, to re-institute limitations on usury rather than outlaw it altogether.  Nevertheless I must agree.  All this handwringing by the unimaginative is quite tiresome.  There are plenty of things that can be done.  They're just too scared to do them and too dishonest to admit them.

    •  Re (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hmi
      Libertarianism isn't an economic theory, it's an ideology. Because it is an ideology, it invariably fails when it is applied to thinking about the real world.
      Great. Now that we've gotten that non-sequitur out of the way, let's talk about your actual points.
      In this case, what you've said about expanding economies and competition for dwindling resources may be true in its own context, but it is the exact opposite of the problem being discussed in the diary. The "everyone" trying to make their nation's products more competitive are the plutocrats who run the show, and they aren't competing for resources, they're competing for sales. Unfortunately, in a global economy currency debasement is a self-defeating tactic: if they devalue their currency, they cannot afford to acquire the raw materials needed to create the stuff they're supposed to be selling.
      I cannot even tell what you are talking about here, so it's hard to form a response. 'Sales' and 'resources' are the same thing. If you want to consume, you have to produce. In today's world, you have to produce as cost-effectively as possible.

      You can devalue your currency, or you can just charge less of a non-devalued currency. That's all anyone really cares about: how cost-effectively can you do the work?

      It all comes back to the same insanity -- one whose roots and complexities you refuse to acknowledge, preferring to perceive the world through the fantasy lens of libertarian monochromicity. Said insanity has to do with the inevitable upward concentration of wealth, regardless of contribution or production. In a world without fiat currency, economies stagnate as soon as all the gold ends up in a handful of pockets. In a world with fiat currency, we keep creating new currency to take the place for the currency the plutocracy keeps for itself -- and of course, to make up the exponentially-increasing vigorish on that plutocratic concentration; but the fix is always temporary, always racing to outrun the system's plutocratic addiction to return on capital.
      Hilarious. In the real world, it's worthless to be the one with all the gold (or money, or what have you. "Plutocratic addiction to return on capital"? That's everyone. California pension funds expect a 7.5% return on capital. If that doesn't happen, public workers' pensions get cut off. The math is the math.

      You are assuming that 'the problem' is over-concentration of wealth. What if the problem is natural resource consumption and overpopulation? And how do you handle the increasing number of people with no real skill set that' are relevant to the 2013 economy?

      For example, we are absolutely free to make the simple rule that private entities cannot lend money at interest
      What right do you have to tell two private citizens or entities what kind of contracts are appropriate between them?

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 02:51:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That isn't a non sequitur. (0+ / 0-)

        Everything you say is nonsense, always for the same reason. You throw out dumbass crap like this ...

        What right do you have to tell two private citizens or entities what kind of contracts are appropriate between them?
        ... because you simply cannot conceive that your understanding of money, property, and pretty much everything else having to do with the interaction of human beings is epistemologically null. I could as easily ask this question:
        What right do you have to tell a person that he has to keep his promises to another, just because he scratched some ink on a piece of paper?
        Both questions are equally stupid.

        You are empty. You imagine yourself sophisticated, but your entire outlook is grounded on a set of fundamental assumptions that are about as sophisticated as the assumptions that the world is flat, that things in motion tend to slow down and come to rest, that the 5th postulate must NOT be an axiom, etc etc etc etc etc. The unsurprising result is that almost everything you write on this blog is balderdash.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 08:21:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hmi
          ... because you simply cannot conceive that your understanding of money, property, and pretty much everything else having to do with the interaction of human beings is epistemologically null. I could as easily ask this question:
          A common answer to people with no response. "It's too complicated for you to understand!"
          You imagine yourself sophisticated, but your entire outlook is grounded on a set of fundamental assumptions that are about as sophisticated as the assumptions that the world is flat, that things in motion tend to slow down and come to rest, that the 5th postulate must NOT be an axiom, etc etc etc etc etc. The unsurprising result is that almost everything you write on this blog is balderdash.
          Clearly.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 09:31:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It isn't too complicated to understand. (0+ / 0-)

            At least, I don't think so.

            I think you simply refuse to reconsider your first principles, which have not apparently evolved beyond those of the typical 3rd-grader. You are running on instinct, but think you are a philosopher.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:27:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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