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Politics Discussion

Discussion in 'Politics, Etc.' started by Waterd, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    I know that US government do not allow you to do that, and it sucks, and it affects negativly the human society as a whole

    This is different, and that is because you are starting to affect parts that you do not own, directly. Is like throwing a nuke in the air and when it lands it destroys a city. you own the nuke, and you are responsible for any direct damage or effect on other people ownership.
    Waste in air or water is the same, and is even noise.
     
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  2. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    I am curious, and I haven't thought about this very much. In what specific ways do those anti-competitive government intervention practices negatively affect human society as a whole?
     
  3. deluks917

    deluks917 Well-Known Member

    The main effect on "society as a whole" is that regulations always impose costs. Much of these costs are paid by society. Either in the form of higher taxes (regulators aren't free) and more importantly because the costs of doing business get passed onto consumers. In many industry a shocking percentage of worker's time is spent on "regulatory compliance." Since worker salaries are the main expense of most companies there is alot of costs getting passed down to consumers.

    Perhaps even more importantly is that "anti-competitive" business regulatory bodies have been thoroughly captured by industry in the USA. Cooperative regulators are almost garrunteed highly paid jobs upon leaving government. And in fact many regulators were originally executives. So anti-competive measures, in practice, are mostly used to shut down threats to the established group of companies. The current situation makes starting a new business without the good favor of the existing business/regulatory power structure very, very hard (though of course not impossible).

    In theory maybe business regulations could work ok. And I (but not waterd) think several of the simple and non-discretionary regulations do help things. For example the minimum wage (up to a limit) and some social engineering programs like maternity/paternity leave. But giving authority to business regulatory agencies is almost garrunteed to make things worse. The incentives faced by regulators are beyond terrible. Business regulation basically functions to:

    -Raise costs (paid by consumers in the end)
    -Reduce competition (despite the stated goal of the opposite)
    -"Do Something" during crisis. Which basically means gain even more power (which to misuse) and throw some random company under the bus if needed, while helpign to enrich most companies (see the bailouts and such)
    -Help the US government bludgeon uncooperative companies. Regulations can be ignored if the government wants and enforced if they don't like the company in question. See how Google and other companies that are friendly with the US government can blatantly ignore all sorts of regulations (fixing prices, essentially tax evasion, google getting to call itself a "tech" not "search" company despite almost all their revensue being from search in order to dodge an anti-trust suit). Those companies that don't play along can be made unable to conduct business at a reasonable cost.

    So yeah badtimes. Even if the stuff in the OP needed to be stopped the current doesn't work well to stop the abuses. The laws are VERY selectively enforced.

    Interesting the EPA is significantly better in the USA and the above dynamic is much weaker there. I am not sure why. Though of course the dynamic is still in effect to some extant and all authority will be abused to some extent. However the US EPA and related agencies actually function ok. The air and water quality is doing very well (big improvement from the 70s). Most endangered species in the US are recovering. The damage to the economy and individual freedom has been non-trivial but its pretty bearable. For example the USA has managed to keep legal fracking and not made the regulatory burden on fracking companies too crazy. Especially admirable are the organizations managing hunting in the US. They have really done an A+ job.

    So I think business regulation is on net a disaster. While (in the USA, not France or something) environmental regulation has gone pretty well recently. The costs are worth the benefit in the later case.

    *These are probably not Waterd's reasons imo,
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
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  4. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    Actually, Not exactly but yes, mostly. Basically increase cost of business, more costs of operaions and abuse of the ¨laws¨ are reasons how anti-trust law harm the society.
    But also very important is descentivize improvement of business by trying to maximize profit.
    I think freedom of contract is a one of the most important rights, if not the most important right we should defend for a more productive society.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_contract
     
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  5. Dasick

    Dasick Well-Known Member

    Its interesting that despite my political stance being mostly opposite to waterd/deluks' (you guys are anarcho-capitalist right?), I agree so much with your reasoning. These kinds of policies are a waste of everyone's time and money and they only serve to obfuscate issues.
     
  6. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    I´m anarcho capitalist, Deluks is libertarian (I think). So I think any form of government is bad than the alternative. Deluks think that Government is something good, but it would be ideally be a lot less intrusive than it´s now. So we both, walk towards the same side, I just do several steps more into that direction.
    A lot of libertarians are anarcho capitalists that tend to not be open about his more ¨extreme¨ position.
    Here is a political party in argentina that they call themselves libertarians, but are actually all anarcho capitalists in disguise. Because anarcho capitalists are seen as total whackos, while libertarians are just seen as mildly crazy, so they are more likely to be listened.
    However For my talks with Deluks, that is not his case, he seems to be truly a libertarian.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
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  7. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    I will also say that I´m not that sure about my position. I know for certain that I want less intrusive and abusive governments than now. I´m pretty sure about that.
    However I don´t know if I really want to go to the total extreme of anarchocapitalism.
    For now the evidence seems to say that, Yes, ideally , we would walk all the way there. But I´m not so sure. I do not spend more time to know the answer because it´s irrelevant, I would be happy enough if we walked into that direction several steps. Then, if we are there, we could talk if we should keep walking.
    In fact that is why I just let libertarians rests I think they are probably wrong, but if there is a society that reach a libertarian level of government in my lifetime I would be happy enough to move there.
     
  8. Lemon

    Lemon Well-Known Member

    @deluks917
    The root problem with regulation in America is that you are near-totally unregulated in the worst possible place: lobbying. America's laws are effectively up for sale to the highest bidder, and this flows down to cause all sorts of inefficiency and corruption problems in your regulating agencies. Here in the UK, lobbying is far more restricted and out pro-consumer regulation works very well on the whole. Competition law in general is very pro-consumer here.

    @Waterd
    Anarcho-captitalism is quite possibly the single worst economic system ever proposed. It's also a very vague term, so I'll assume you mean entirely removing all functions of the state, leaving everything to private interests.

    Wealth tends to accumulate, because wealth makes it easier to acquire wealth (this is the idea behind capital). This means that in a totally unregulated market wealth naturally concentrates at the very top, over the long-term. If there are no regulations, there is often nothing to limit this accumulation. Additionally, a stateless society is a lawless society, since there is no organization able to enforce the laws. This means disputes have to be settled by private agencies, and if they can't be resolved the only recourse you have is violence. So large companies are going to hire mercenary police forces to protect themselves.

    These conditions will be a breeding ground for feudal systems. Once a firm (or group of colluding firms) become large enough to have a monopoly in private law-enforcement, they will be able to outright steal from any small competitors without fear of repercussion. More frighteningly, they will be able to seize control of the entire economy and instate themselves as barons, forcing taxes out of people at the threat of violence. There are actually some modern countries in sub-saraharn Africa that are effectively state-free, and they are run by gangs of armed thugs . When states were first instituted, the aim was to take power away from this ruling class and return it to the people.

    A truly 'free' market is actually in a delicate equilibrium between being regulated enough to stop anti-competitve practices, and unregulated enough to allow entry to new firms. This is all not even to mention the fact that we definitely need regulation that protects the environment, the air, and other such public resources.
     
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  9. vivafringe

    vivafringe Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Deluks, what is your opinion on the claim that deregulation caused the economic collapse last decade? This is the main thesis of the documentary Inside Job, and the belief is fairly common (I'm not sure myself, since economic policy is hard).
     
  10. deluks917

    deluks917 Well-Known Member

    @vivafringe

    You mean 2008-2009? If so imo its a very long story and not really well understood what happened. There a number of competing views.
     
  11. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    And the problem is....

    I don´t know know how you got that that only possible organization able to enforce laws is a state.

    You mean, exactly like in a society with a state?

    And the problem is....

    It´s amazing how you basically described a State there. Except states succeed because the largest part of population want them to do so. It would be really hard otherwise.

    Are you refering to Somalia? I would say so, but since you said ¨Countries¨ I think you mean others? can you list them?
     
  12. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    I talked to Waterd about this the other day and he basically wants feudalism. Or rather, the logical extension of what he wants is feudalism.

    Can you describe another such entity without it basically becoming a state under another name?
     
  13. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    we are not talking about we want now though, we are talking about what favors a particular society. So what I want is irrelevant to this conversation. I will answer the longer question later
     
  14. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    In a society with a state, it's also possible to resolve disputes through a state court. I view this as one of the three main functions of a government.
     
  15. vivafringe

    vivafringe Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yeah I meant 2008-2009. Inside Job was super convincing when I watched it; I mostly believed that it was low regulation that caused the collapse, and that the answer was to prevent companies from dumping money into subprime mortgages.

    But then I realized that I barely understand what subprime mortgage trading even is (although Inside Job did an admirable job trying to explain it to a layman like me), and I didn't want to be That Guy who had all the answers to solve our economic woes even though he actually had no idea what he was talking about. So, I reverted to basically having no opinion. But... I'd really like to have a confident opinion on economic policy. I'm so clueless right now that I don't even know whether I want "more regulation" or "less regulation." It's just easier to, you know, vote for the guy that supports gay marriage or legalizing pot.
     
  16. Kdansky

    Kdansky Well-Known Member

    As far as I know, the kinds of trades that Lehman Brothers did would not have been legal anywhere but the US. Unless I'm mistaken on that, this is pretty much perfect proof that the lack of regulation is indirectly responsible.
     
  17. Lemon

    Lemon Well-Known Member

    @vivafringe
    This is a complicated issue, so I may not be totally accurate here. It's been a few years since I studied economics.

    It used to be the case that banks could only loan out money that was backed by the gold in their vault. This meant that the banks could always give back the money people are storing in their bank accounts. However, gold is pretty scarce and so this was holding back the growth of the economy. A new practice called 'fractional reserve banking' was invented, where the banks can actually loan out more money than they have stored (several times more). This is overall a good idea, because it drastically increased the availability of credit and therefore drives up investment in the economy. However, it has a fatal flaw in that they can only pay out to a fraction of their customers at any time. If something causes a mass panic, then people may be unable to access their money. The money effectively disappears, from the perspective of the customer, since it was never backed by real resources.

    In 2006-2008 the bankers were growing increasingly confident since we had gone so long without much recession. A large amount of bank trading was actually happening between the banks, because all the banks had an incentive to trade as much as possible and profit from the interest. Bizarrely, this meant that the banks were profiting off of the billions worth of fractional reserve debts held between them. Then, some bright young banker invented 'sub-prime mortgages'. The idea is that these mortgages could be sold off to less-trustworthy homeowners, to increase the amount of money they had loaned out. They are higher risk, but were bundled with better mortgages to try and mitigate this. When people started defaulting on these mortgages, the banks panicked because they were suddenly sitting on a glut of repossessed houses that nobody wanted. It became a game of hot-potato where the banks were trying to push these mortgages onto the other banks. This collapse in confidence made some banks try to cash in their debts from the other banks, which caused the panic to spread, and suddenly all the wealth they had been creating vanished.

    This meant that the banks were largely unable to loan money to common people, causing the 'credit crunch' and triggering the start of the recession.

    We don't need 'more regulation' or 'less regulation'. We need smarter regulation, that is targeted carefully and enforced properly. More vs less, left vs right, is not a helpful discussion. Politics is the mind killer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  18. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    Negligence and fraud were also major factors. Loan agents were mass-signing sub-prime mortgages without confirming that they could actually pay, or getting an accurate appraisal for the house. Then these loans were getting bundled and sold with the representation that they'd been properly underwritten.
     
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  19. ratxt1

    ratxt1 Well-Known Member

    No comments on the crash. But in my experience the only documentary I have seen or read about that wasn't just blatant propaganda is Jiro Dreams of Sushi. So I am pretty wary to trust Inside Job's account of things.
     
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  20. vivafringe

    vivafringe Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Watch Kings of Pastry IMO
     
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