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Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management 
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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
Interbane wrote:
Mr A wrote:
Why do you say that there MUST be. By what standard? Do you think such sacrificing is moral?
By the standard of fairness I say there must be policing of an economic standard. So, it's not a MUST unless you want the system to be fair.
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Do you think such sacrificing is moral?
What are you labeling a sacrifice? Compulsory taxation with the intent of redistribution? You'll have to connect the dots between what you're saying and the definition of the word. It's not a sacrifice.
We are mixing the environmental questions with broader issues for Rand, but that is fine by me. The climate issues provide an interesting window into What Would Ayn Do?

The relation between morality and sacrifice is a core theme of Atlas Shrugged. Rand argues that conventional religion is based on the idea that giving is the key to goodness, but that this sacrificial approach has pernicious effects. If people become used to relying on charity, they lose initiative and skills, and become dependent on the giver.

As well, excessive taxation destroys people’s work ethic, especially where progressive tax scales lead to a high effective marginal tax rate, because a shrinking proportion of any extra income is retained. Libertarians such as Rand argue that allowing individuals to decide how to spend their money is better than the tax and spend state model, except for clearly defined public goods. This all raises the problem of how we define public goods, and how we assess the counterfactual. The USA has much lower taxes than the social democratic countries of Europe, and libertarians argue this low tax approach is key to freedom, and to incentive for economic growth.

Religion has always been focussed on sacrifice, with the idea that giving up something important to us enables atonement. So Jesus is presented as the ‘once for all’ sacrificial offering, making peace by the blood of his cross. Christianity encourages self-abnegation, with the idea that salvation involves losing your own life. This argument has emotional appeal, based on the intuitive premise of ‘no pain no gain’, but it is far from clear if it makes rational sense.

On climate change, the sacrificial argument is that we should use less energy as a matter of moral principle, that people should sacrifice their affluent lifestyles for the good of the planet. This environmentalist view leads to opposition to economic growth, and to the somewhat contradictory green ideology that we should both live more simply and reduce world poverty, as though economics is a zero sum game.

A result of this moral view is that climate management methods such as geoengineering, which hold out the possibility of stabilizing the climate in a way that is not based on incentives for lower energy use, are condemned as incompatible with the principle of moral sacrifice. Rand's argument, especially in the speech by John Galt which presents the core philosophical argument of Atlas Shrugged, is that material creativity is the basis of human advancement, so moral sacrifice stands condemned as incoherent and wrong, as based on emotion rather than reason.

Rand’s views on sacrifice make sense, because constraining the most productive individuals conflicts with the principle of leadership, that pioneers and innovators should be celebrated as people who make life better for everyone. Hank Reardon, the steel magnate hero of Atlas Shrugged, is her prime example, a man who creates abundance for all by focussing purely on his own self interest.

Rand's capitalist philosophy accords with the observation by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations that businesses do not provide goods and services for charity, but for their personal advancement, and yet the invisible hand of the free market is the most efficient, effective and ethical source of wealth for all, with leading entrepreneurs providing a rising tide that lifts all boats. A dynamic capitalist economy requires a government that minimises its role, allowing free enterprise to provide jobs, goods, services, customers and models. Every dollar of our own that we sacrifice in tax reduces the dynamism of the economy, except when it is spent well by government on services that are needed to enable the market to operate better. Sacrifice is sand in the gears of freedom.

Again on climate, my own view is that capitalist incentives for profit have to be enlisted to provide scalable sustainable solutions to global warming. New technology has to be commercially competitive against fossil fuels in order to mobilise global change. The best candidate, in my view, is large scale ocean based algae biofuel. Combining the energy of the sun, wave, wind, tide and current through industrial algae production holds open the prospect of global economic transformation to a new economy that will combine ecological sustainability with abundant wealth.
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Do you think it is right for someone to take what another has earned, and give some of it to someone that has not earned it?
No. Do you think your question embodies my position? Do you think financial CEO's "earned" the king's ransom they received after their role in the meltdown of 2008? How about the ones who received such bonuses after firing many employees for the sake of 'keeping the company afloat'? No, MrA, they did not earn that money. If you think they did, please explain what you mean by "earn".

The role of Wall Street in enabling the global financial crisis shows the dilemmas in objectivism, which can’t be simply reduced to a class war argument that Rand is a shill for the rich. Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty makes the case very clearly that a libertarian state would be based purely on rule of law, with strong contestable processes for regulation based on precedent and predictability. This is what the US is missing in allowing business to corrupt government.

You can’t blame Rand for the misuse of her ideas. The Geckos of Wall Street are more like James Taggart, the weak corrupt fool who relies on buying politicians for his prosperity, than Hank Reardon, the moral businessman who seeks to profit from his own productivity.
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The benefit of giving to someone who hasn't earned it is that they will SPEND it. If you want to stimulate the economy, don't give tax breaks to the rich. Give it to the bottom feeders who will spend every penny of it. If you give it to the top, history has indicated that the economy will suffer. This makes sense, as the extra money will be banked, rather than spent.

That is a very confused economic analysis. Giving money to someone who hasn’t earned it makes them dependent on the giver, destroys their incentive and initiative to work, degrades their skills and employability, and in the worst case produces economic stagnation and intergenerational poverty. Welfare is poison.

Saving is better for the economy than spending, because saving provides resources for investment, with funds retained and grown. The best strategy for economic growth, for a bigger pie that everyone can be part of, is to encourage investment rather than consumption. Stimulating the economy through a sugar hit is based on Keynes’ argument, which Rand implicitly mocks several times as corrupt and stupid, that big government can produce wealth and that we should not worry about long run consequences of current policies.

At one point, one of the corrupt Washington neo-comm fools uses Keynes line 'in the long run we are all dead.' Continued Keynesian short-termism is popular because it serves political electoral interests, at the cost of the millstone of debt that sucks life out of the economy.
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Demand precedes supply. Supply has value according to demand. When you redistribute downwards, you feed directly into increasing demand. History has shown that the economy does better. This raises all boats. Tax breaks to the rich do not stimulate the economy.

You are misusing Jack Kennedy’s celebrated observation that economic growth is good for everyone. That is the meaning of his statement that a rising tide lifts all boats. Prosperity provides jobs, and that is good for the poor. Living by stimulating demand amounts to ‘eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die’. It is an ideology of consumption without production. Profit drives poverty reduction.
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Fortunately, most people in poverty are seeking to rise above it, rather than content on bottom-feeding, so the counterargument of too large a moral hazard doesn't work.

The only way to escape poverty is through jobs provided by profitable employers. If you kill the goose that lays the golden egg – business – you condemn the poor to a trap with no opportunity for escape. Overall efficiency through economies of scale maximises growth, producing wealth that trickles down to all.
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By what right does anyone have to do such a thing?
There's another side to redistribution. Much of what the wealthiest people make, they did not "earn" as we understand the word. They are not producing anything of value, but instead are using loopholes and gimmicks. What this amounts to is that people's efforts in some cases aren't towards the production of goods or services, but are instead attempts to redirect existing wealth in their direction. This is known as rent-seeking.

Rent-seeking is defined in Atlas Shrugged as ‘the power of pull’. It is about using politics to distort markets to enable those with connections to overpower others. Rand argues for a merit based approach, which she defines as justice. In this approach, government limits its role to providing fair and transparent rules for all, and allows the free market to compete on the basis of ability.

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Regardless of who is to blame for the rent-seeking opportunities, it answers your question. When people acquire wealth through ways that do not benefit society or the free market, it is fair to redistribute that wealth.
Again, it is wrong to simply treat Rand as some sort of icon for Wall Street. She opposes rent-seeking. That is one of the main themes of Atlas Shrugged. But where I think there is a weakness in her argument is in the problem of externalities, that she imagines America as some sort of endless frontier, unconstrained by material limits, with unowned assets just there for the taking.

That mentality of the inexhaustible frontier has proved very destructive, but what is needed now is a synthesis between freedom and responsibility, a recognition that costs have to be properly built into the price paid by the user, and can’t be simply palmed off on to the broader public. This especially applies to climate, where business-as-usual is based on pretending we can ignore the shit in our own nest. CO2 emissions are like fat in the arteries of the planet, a slow unseen build up from an affluent lifestyle that is eventually deadly.
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In many cases, it's the government that is responsible for such rent-seeking opportunities. This has been increasingly the case since the 1970s, when started the rightward policy drift that are the cause of recent economic volatility. This drift is self-reinforcing, as lobbying produces wealth based off rent-seeking, more lobbying is then funded. Lobbying works, it's very effective. Our government is a misshapen hydra because of it, allowing the richest of us to pay less in effective taxes than many of the middle class, and giving out subsidies to industries that certainly don't need them.

Government is always responsible for rent-seeking opportunities. The gross corruption of money in US politics has totally distorted the policy process, making politicians blind to the need to create a level playing field and govern for the long term and the public good.

The complete absence of climate change from the Presidential election campaign in 2012 is testament to this ‘snouts at the trough’ attitude in Washington. Only when Gaia intruded into the campaign in the form of Hurricane Sandy did any sense of the bigger realities behind the constructed fantasy start to make a presence known.

What I like about Ayn Rand is her unrelenting focus on integrity, her view that the individual must stand for what they know is true. Incidentally, this makes me think of Paul Ryan’s attempt to combine respect for Rand with his Roman Catholicism, which somehow reminds me of Chinese Premier Jiang Zemin, who said his favourite two authors were Mao Tse Tung and Milton Friedman. Despite the utter contradiction, Jiang’s point was that he wanted to use Friedman’s analysis of reality while respecting the political base provided by the dominant ideology of Chairman Mao. Ryan is similar, in combining a contradiction, using Rand for ideas and the Pope for power.
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Regulation is also so terrible in some areas that I think we ought to start over from scratch. The differential selection of eliminating or altering regulation through lobbying leaves us with a regulation system that does more harm in some cases than good. It's a neutered system, staffed in many cases by people loyal to those they regulate. Some people see a single link in the chain of cause and effect, not understanding the concept of a chain. The problems of bad, under-enforced, or corrupted regulation are in turn caused by something else, which should be obvious. Yet some nutjobs claim we should throw out the baby with the bath water, rather than focusing our mental efforts on solving the CAUSE of the problem, rather than one of the myriad symptoms.

And Atlas Shrugged is all about the causes of the corruption of lobbying.
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In this way, right wing politicians have increasingly become like drug salesmen. They sell you a drug that only cures the symptom, so that they can continue to sell the drug. If the cure the disease that causes the symptom, they lose profit. A symptom of policy drift and lobbying is ineffective and corrupt regulation. Blaming the symptom rather than the disease means you're an ideal customer for their wares.

Thanks Interbane, I always enjoy reading your comments, which provide very robust food for thought and debate. What this all illustrates is that a simplistic mapping of Rand’s ideas on to the political realities of the left-right spectrum fails to engage with the nuance of her analysis.

But of course that doesn't stop her followers from trying: http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer? ... nmentalism


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
Mr A wrote:
etudiant, you said,

"When the Fed raises or lowers interest rates, do they "create wealth", by the resultant economic activity?"

What they do is violate rights when they do that. In Rands laissez faire capitalism, there would be no governmental control over interest rates in the first place, the government would also have no control over the money supply either. This means no inflation, manipulation of currency. Rand is also for the gold standard.


Fundamentally Mr A, the rights and freedoms one has are almost always a trade off between individual and community. Your compulsion to stop at a red light may curtail your individual rights, but that law vastly benefits society. Allowing anyone and everyone to own a gun may increase individual rights, but it also then becomes problematic for the larger society. Some may benefit from no government control over the economy, but the weight of history indicates a different story, IMO.

Control of interest rates is a major tool societies have to even out the boom and bust of capitalism that has caused so much havoc in the past. Abandoning that tool would push us back into the nineteenth century. The "producers" you seem to admire were only too happy to have government set low interest rates, and redistribute tax income in their direction after the financial meltdown of '08.

If government had no control over the money supply, then who would you propose did? Goldman Sachs? Just typing that made the short hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The Miami People's Trust and Pizza Delivery Co Inc? There would be myriad players, all jockying for their own personal advantage. Some would lack complete information about the national and international economy, some would have it, but not care particularly. Long term strategy would be sacrificed for short term gain, and the strong would ride roughshod over the weak. Does this sound familiar?

Relating the value of money to gold would simply detach it from real world conditions. Money is ultimately just a measure of societies assets, activities, and goals for the future. It has no inherent value, and so its value is a political question, not something based on some particular resource, or fundamental economic law. The gold standard has been tried, and in fact the world's economy suffered inflation, deflation, financial panics, bank runs, and the largest depression ever in the '30s during that time. The gold standard is a panacea only to novelists like Ayn Rand, and country club philosophers like Ron Paul.


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
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That is a very confused economic analysis. Giving money to someone who hasn’t earned it makes them dependent on the giver, destroys their incentive and initiative to work, degrades their skills and employability, and in the worst case produces economic stagnation and intergenerational poverty. Welfare is poison.


My analysis wasn't confused though Robert. There is a moral hazard to redistribution that takes the form of an entitlement philosophy. However, you need to live in poverty before you make an assessment of it. Handouts may definitely destroy the incentives of some people, but they are not the majority, which I mentioned in my disclaimer. The benefits outweigh the moral hazards. The benefit isn't merely supplying the demand side of the economy, but is also helpful in maintaining an inequality equilibrium.

I've known many people in poverty. Friends and family. The entitlement philosophy does NOT apply to all people. The majority wish to rise above poverty. For the leech-like minority, they are the bath water. It is understood as a negative consequence of redistribution. But redistribution is a requirement for a healthy society. The pros of increased sustainability outweigh the cons of moral hazard.

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As well, excessive taxation destroys people’s work ethic, especially where progressive tax scales lead to a high effective marginal tax rate, because a shrinking proportion of any extra income is retained.


Show me examples of work ethics that were destroyed when America's top tax rate was 91% for many decades. History has shown that you are wrong Robert. What matters isn't the percentage of income. What matters is percentage of income relative to everyone else. If every one of your peers pays the same rate, there is a sense of fairness that allows for strong work ethics. History has shown that this is the case.

When the rich pay a lesser effective rate than some middle class, that destroys our social contract. The work ethic of the middle class is dependent on the fairness of the tax system. Fairness matters more to work ethic than the percentage paid. If we have historically found 91% to be a fair percentage, then why would it now be considered unfair? Where originates this zeitgeist? Who's motive are you defending here?

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You can’t blame Rand for the misuse of her ideas. The Geckos of Wall Street are more like James Taggart, the weak corrupt fool who relies on buying politicians for his prosperity, than Hank Reardon, the moral businessman who seeks to profit from his own productivity.


Blaming Rand is justified. Her ideas cognitively capture people into unwittingly support one of the greatest dangers to our economy. An idealized human being in a fiction novel such as Hank Reardon should not be used to assess reality. We have reality itself that we can assess.

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Saving is better for the economy than spending, because saving provides resources for investment, with funds retained and grown.


What would you invest in? If everyone saves, there would be no economy. No possible investment exists that would make a difference in an economy where people spend too little. Spending is required. The more that is spent in the economy, the stronger it is. The stronger the economy is, the more income each person makes, which in turn allows them to save. You're putting the cart before the horse. Both spending and saving are important, but everyone must spend a little in order for the economy to work. The more we collectively(and RESPONSIBLY) spend, the more we're all able to save.

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Government is always responsible for rent-seeking opportunities. The gross corruption of money in US politics has totally distorted the policy process, making politicians blind to the need to create a level playing field and govern for the long term and the public good.


I agree. But a fiction novel should not be the sole basis of deciding how to solve our issues. Removing money from politics can be done without resorting to Randian philosophies that would increase inequality. For example, Joseph Stiglitz suggested that a certain small portion of advertising time be allocated for elections, free of cost. That single change(with the nuances not mentioned here) would greatly reduce private influence on politicians.

Lobbyists have relentlessly slaughtered our regulatory system with the intent of creating rent-seeking opportunities. The causal nexus here is the influence of private into public. Influence cannot be eliminated, but it can be minimized. Discarding our regulatory system is solving a symptom, not a cause. Regulation is necessary. The rent-seeking can be minimized without having to expose ourselves to the problems of a non-regulated economy. Informational asymmetries are unavoidable, as well as market failures, and some instances of rent-seeking that are not caused by government.

Quote:
You are misusing Jack Kennedy’s celebrated observation that economic growth is good for everyone. That is the meaning of his statement that a rising tide lifts all boats. Prosperity provides jobs, and that is good for the poor. Living by stimulating demand amounts to ‘eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die’. It is an ideology of consumption without production. Profit drives poverty reduction.


I'm not aware of Jack Kennedy's statement, or where you're going with it. Downward redistribution does not ignore production. When you feed demand, what you are feeding are intelligent people who will purchase novel products, choosing an expensive cellphone over a cheap one, thereby supporting innovation with their increased spending. Is your claim that everyone who gets social support would only spend it on food and alcohol?

For your last sentence, whose profit drives poverty reduction? The profit of those who are in poverty? How are they going to find jobs that pay enough, if they and their peers barely have enough money to live, let alone spent on a diversity of goods and services that supports the employers of said peers? If you want to create jobs, give these people in poverty a stimulus check of 1k each. Every penny of it will be spent. The economy will jump massively, and jobs will be created. Some higher paying jobs. Some of those in poverty will be able to get these new jobs and rise above it.



You can't have profit in a vacuum. Where do you propose it would come from? Trickle down economics does not work. It is proven ineffective and even harmful. Removing regulation would decrease rent-seeking and increase market-failures, and inequality/poverty would continue to increase as a result.


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
Money should not be tied to any resource.

Something to think about is that money does not really represent any physical asset. It is permission.

You hand somebody some money and it indicates that you have been granted permission by our culture to do such and such things and this is the voucher for it. I contribute to society on a daily basis through my job and in turn earn what amounts to permission credit to procure the goods and services i need to survive.


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Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
Robert Tulip wrote:
Libertarians such as Rand


Rand is not a Libertarian or libertarian.

etudiant wrote:
If government had no control over the money supply, then who would you propose did?


What traders use to buy goods with, pay employees with, and so forth, in laissez-faire capitalism (LFC), the government has no control over it, like with our money supply. The government in LFC is only there to protect man's rights. By doing so, people are free to use whatever they want, or free to accept whatever in payment for their goods.

Don Watkins, from the Ayn Rand Institute writes:

"Under laissez-faire capitalism, individuals are free to use whatever they want for money, assuming they can get other people to accept it. Historically, when people have been free to choose their medium of exchange, they have gravitated toward gold."
capitalism.aynrand.org/gold-restrains-g ... overnment/


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
Mr A wrote:
Rand is not a Libertarian or libertarian.

Rand fell out with some libertarians who thought objectivism was a cult, but there is an underlying philosophical commonality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertaria ... bjectivism says Ayn Rand Institute board member John Allison spoke at the Cato Club 200 Retreat in September 2012. On June 25, 2012, the Cato Institute announced that John Allison would become its next president. In Cato's public announcement, Allison was described as a "revered libertarian." In communication to Cato employees, he wrote, "I believe almost all the name calling between libertarians and objectivists is irrational. I have come to appreciate that all objectivists are libertarians, but not all libertarians are objectivists."


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
Mr A wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
Libertarians such as Rand


Rand is not a Libertarian or libertarian.

etudiant wrote:
If government had no control over the money supply, then who would you propose did?


What traders use to buy goods with, pay employees with, and so forth, in laissez-faire capitalism (LFC), the government has no control over it, like with our money supply. The government in LFC is only there to protect man's rights. By doing so, people are free to use whatever they want, or free to accept whatever in payment for their goods.


I'm not quite clear on your meaning here. Are you proposing a barter system- you give me three bushels of wheat, I give you my dog? If so, then we are moving even further back beyond the 19th century.

Are you suggesting a system where any sort of enterprise may issue currency? If Miami Trust and Pizza Delivery gives out vouchers they claim have x value, would you be confident? Would the department store take them, or the airline? The man at MTPD swore they are backed by gold. Good enough?

Again, I feel moved to state that real freedom isn't merely individuals being able to do anything they want, but the balance between individual and community that allows for a better life. We have done barter, and private currency in the past and it hasn't provided the degree of "freedom" possible today.

Mr A wrote:
Don Watkins, from the Ayn Rand Institute writes:

"Under laissez-faire capitalism, individuals are free to use whatever they want for money, assuming they can get other people to accept it. Historically, when people have been free to choose their medium of exchange, they have gravitated toward gold."
capitalism.aynrand.org/gold-restrains-g ... overnment/
[/quote][/quote]

I'll concede one thing about your link- it does cut to the chase. The title says it: Gold Restrains Government. And that's what this is all about, a fear of "government" that borders on pathology. The article fails to make a case for a gold standard, but does reveal an ideological desire to do away with regulation as much as possible. It is philosophy trumping pragmatism.

A gold standard would indeed restrain government, to the detriment of all of us. 2008 didn't turn into 1929 in large measure because of the ability of government to cut interest rates, and increase the money supply. The Great Depression of the '30s lingered on and on because of the ideological insistence that government should stay out of the economy. It ended when the realization was made that people (through their government) actually have the power to claim the society they want to have. We have learned from history, except a few like Ron Paul , who perhaps was too busy studying medicine to read history books.

The claim that inflation is an overarching problem is a limited view of things, to say the least. In fact, a small amount of inflation is healthy. It encourages spending, and discourages hoarding money for the future, in the belief that prices will be lower. Most central banks aim for about a 2% rate of inflation. What is important is to have money in circulation, and to have societies resources directed towards constructive and redeeming purpose. A common thread in successful economies is a large and healthy middle class. A moderate income tends to mean that people will spend freely, but for the most part on pragmatic things that generate economic activity in the community. Large gobs of wealth that have no immediate need to to float around the financial system in search of the next nirvana, thereby creating bubbles- in the stock market, real estate, etc. We have had recent evidence of the negative effects here. It is the very items that so annoy Ayn Rand aficionados that have promoted a healthier economy in recent years- monetary controls, progressive tax policy, bank regulation, deposit insurance, etc. Devolving this authority to thousands, or tens of thousands, of Goldman Sachs wannabes would be a recipe for disaster.


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
Mr A wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
Libertarians such as Rand


Rand is not a Libertarian or libertarian.

etudiant wrote:
If government had no control over the money supply, then who would you propose did?


What traders use to buy goods with, pay employees with, and so forth, in laissez-faire capitalism (LFC), the government has no control over it, like with our money supply. The government in LFC is only there to protect man's rights. By doing so, people are free to use whatever they want, or free to accept whatever in payment for their goods.


I'm not quite clear on your meaning here. Are you proposing a barter system- you give me three bushels of wheat, I give you my dog? If so, then we are moving even further back beyond the 19th century.

Are you suggesting a system where any sort of enterprise may issue currency? If Miami Trust and Pizza Delivery gives out vouchers they claim have x value, would you be confident? Would the department store take them, or the airline? The man at MTPD swore they are backed by gold. Good enough?

Again, I feel moved to state that real freedom isn't merely individuals being able to do anything they want, but the balance between individual and community that allows for a better life. We have done barter, and private currency in the past and it hasn't provided the degree of "freedom" possible today.

Mr A wrote:
Don Watkins, from the Ayn Rand Institute writes:

"Under laissez-faire capitalism, individuals are free to use whatever they want for money, assuming they can get other people to accept it. Historically, when people have been free to choose their medium of exchange, they have gravitated toward gold."
capitalism.aynrand.org/gold-restrains-g ... overnment/
[/quote][/quote]

I'll concede one thing about your link- it does cut to the chase. The title says it: Gold Restrains Government. And that's what this is all about, a fear of "government" that borders on pathology. The article fails to make a case for a gold standard, but does reveal an ideological desire to do away with regulation as much as possible. It is philosophy trumping pragmatism.

A gold standard would indeed restrain government, to the detriment of all of us. 2008 didn't turn into 1929 in large measure because of the ability of government to cut interest rates, and increase the money supply. The Great Depression of the '30s lingered on and on because of the ideological insistence that government should stay out of the economy. It ended when the realization was made that people (through their government) actually have the power to claim the society they want to have. We have learned from history, except a few like Ron Paul , who perhaps was too busy studying medicine to read history books.

The claim that inflation is an overarching problem is a limited view of things, to say the least. In fact, a small amount of inflation is healthy. It encourages spending, and discourages hoarding money for the future, in the belief that prices will be lower. Most central banks aim for about a 2% rate of inflation. What is important is to have money in circulation, and to have societies resources directed towards constructive and redeeming purpose. A common thread in successful economies is a large and healthy middle class. A moderate income tends to mean that people will spend freely, but for the most part on pragmatic things that generate economic activity in the community. Large gobs of wealth that have no immediate need to to float around the financial system in search of the next nirvana, thereby creating bubbles- in the stock market, real estate, etc. We have had recent evidence of the negative effects here. It is the very items that so annoy Ayn Rand aficionados that have promoted a healthier economy in recent years- monetary controls, progressive tax policy, bank regulation, deposit insurance, etc. Devolving this authority to thousands, or tens of thousands, of Goldman Sachs wannabes would be a recipe for disaster.


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
Robert Tulip wrote:
Mr A wrote:
Rand is not a Libertarian or libertarian.

Rand fell out with some libertarians who thought objectivism was a cult, but there is an underlying philosophical commonality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertaria ... bjectivism says Ayn Rand Institute board member John Allison spoke at the Cato Club 200 Retreat in September 2012. On June 25, 2012, the Cato Institute announced that John Allison would become its next president. In Cato's public announcement, Allison was described as a "revered libertarian." In communication to Cato employees, he wrote, "I believe almost all the name calling between libertarians and objectivists is irrational. I have come to appreciate that all objectivists are libertarians, but not all libertarians are objectivists."


Regardless of what Allison "believes", this does not change the fact that Rand was not a Libertarian, libertarian. Have you ever read anything that she has said about Libertarians, libertarians?


etudiant wrote:
I'm not quite clear on your meaning here. Are you proposing a barter system- you give me three bushels of wheat, I give you my dog?


That is a voluntary trade that Rand would have no problems with, or if you bought the wheat in exchange for paper money currency, or bought it with gold, or it was given to you in payment for helping out on the farm, etc. The point is, people are free to decide what they trade, what they exchange, the form of currency, etc. No rights are violated when a person trades wheat for a dog, as it was done voluntarily. If someone wants to trade this baseball card for another persons baseball card and both agree to it, then they can trade card for card. Is that clearer?


etudiant wrote:
Are you suggesting a system where any sort of enterprise may issue currency?


Sure, I think that they have a right to, and businesses have a right to accept that currency or not. Private issuance of money. The Federal Reserve would be abolished in laissez-faire capitalism.


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Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:35 am
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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
Mr A wrote:
etudiant wrote:
I'm not quite clear on your meaning here. Are you proposing a barter system- you give me three bushels of wheat, I give you my dog?


That is a voluntary trade that Rand would have no problems with, or if you bought the wheat in exchange for paper money currency, or bought it with gold, or it was given to you in payment for helping out on the farm, etc. The point is, people are free to decide what they trade, what they exchange, the form of currency, etc. No rights are violated when a person trades wheat for a dog, as it was done voluntarily. If someone wants to trade this baseball card for another persons baseball card and both agree to it, then they can trade card for card. Is that clearer?


etudiant wrote:
Are you suggesting a system where any sort of enterprise may issue currency?


Sure, I think that they have a right to, and businesses have a right to accept that currency or not. Private issuance of money. The Federal Reserve would be abolished in laissez-faire capitalism.


I hear you re-stating your position Mr A, but not addressing all the myriad problems that would flow from it. No reputable economist today would claim that the market is perfect, and not needing any sort of intervention for the social good. Economic decisions will be made, and if one's ideology insists elected governments should not do this, then it will fall to other shoulders. We have had ample evidence in the last five years of what happens when the "producers" are given free reign, in the belief that some sort of magic guiding hand will direct their actions towards the good of all, sci-fi style. What does in fact happen, not too surprisingly, is individual players work for their own good, and larger social goals get lost in the shuffle. The more chaotic and unorganized things appear, the more the human tendency to circle the wagons, and look out for one's own interests, even if this means a loss for all.

A lot of our world-especially the financial world- works largely on trust. When you deposit your money in a bank, the assumption is that the teller is not going to pocket your money as soon as you are out the door. It's not that this isn't possible, just that long standing convention, and the rule of law make it unlikely. Once this trust is lost however, the whole system could take a tumble. And it did, over and over, and boom and bust and bank runs occurred, up to the biggest of them all, the '30s depression. The reason they don't today is........government. The '30s was one captialist staw too many, and after that federal involvement in the market place gave the assurance that we just assume today when doing financial transactions. You system of bartering and monopoly money would erode this system in no time at all.


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
etudiant wrote:

I hear you re-stating your position Mr A, but not addressing all the myriad problems that would flow from it.


And I hear you continuing to support your position that ultimately violates the rights that Ayn Rand is in full support of - man's individual rights, and the only moral political economic social system that recognizes, upholds, and protects man's individual rights - laissez-faire capitalism.

So then that's that for discussion, if you would like to continue to think it's right to violate individuals rights, then our positions will not change.


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
Mr A wrote:
etudiant wrote:

I hear you re-stating your position Mr A, but not addressing all the myriad problems that would flow from it.


And I hear you continuing to support your position that ultimately violates the rights that Ayn Rand is in full support of - man's individual rights, and the only moral political economic social system that recognizes, upholds, and protects man's individual rights - laissez-faire capitalism.

So then that's that for discussion, if you would like to continue to think it's right to violate individuals rights, then our positions will not change.


A little hypothetical question for you Mr A: You are driving down the street, in a bit of a hurry (you have a job interview at Goldman Sachs). You're a little concerned because you might be late- not a good impression at a job interview. The light ahead of you turns red. Anxiety builds. You look left and right, and not a car in sight. Go through the light, and improve your own personal immediate prospects, or sit there and submit to bureaucracy for the common (traffic safety) good?

I'm sure you don't consider yourself above or better than anyone else, so you'll have to admit that if it's OK for you to ignore red lights if the situation seems to merit it, then it is OK for everyone else. No doubt, if this became the convention, many would only us this ability wisely. However, statistically, how many addtional fatalities and injuries do you think would occur globally if red lights became, in the subjective opinion of a vast diversity of drivers, optional?

In a crowded world, we can only have that sense of freedom a car can give by acknowledging not only individual rights, but also those of the larger community. So too in our economic world. Considering only the individual means the law of the jungle. True freedom means balance, not simply no rules.


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
Robert, what do you think of the Libertarian approach to solving pollution externalities? The ideas sounded reasonable to me for a span of time. But there seems to be no way around the complexity of our world. There are issues that pop up when we start looking at the nuances of the concepts and how they would apply.

Here is a primer. Notice lower in this blog where it speaks of individuals' preference for curbing different types of pollution. Coupled with all the various sources of pollution, it's a confabulated situation. Simply putting into place non-government incentives for these externalities would be as much work as the regulation.


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
I would have left early enough to not be late. Like I do for work. If somehow something happens and I might be late, then I might be late.


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Post Re: Ayn Rand and Global Climate Management
Mr A wrote:
I would have left early enough to not be late. Like I do for work. If somehow something happens and I might be late, then I might be late.


Excellent Mr A- I think we may be making progress. So you would stop if "something happened", like a red light. In other words, you would conform to group norms, for the good of all, forgoing your personal benefit for what is clearly an important social goal.

If this seems clear in an obvious example, then why not in the broader picture? By forgoing the presumed benefits of issuing our own etudiant or Mr A currencies (although I do think my image on a bill would be more striking than a number of presidents/prime ministers), we can then tap into the greater gains of having a single currency, one that has acceptance, the confidence of the masses, and is not tied into some hoaky scheme like the price of gold, and presumably the efforts of miners in Russia and South Africa, rather than real economic imperatives-ie: grounded in reality.

By accepting that, at certain times, individual freedoms must be rationalized with group rights, we in fact end up with greater freedoms overall. Confidence in a world wide financial system means we can travel and do business to a degree only hoped for in the past. If Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, and BA Oil were calling the shots, how much confidence do you think there would be in the system? Indeed, you wouldn't even be able to travel, unless individual notions were squelched by a world wide system of air travel, namely the univeral use of English in air traffic control, and standardized, agreed upon air traffic techniques.

It's a case of bending local tendencies to a greater cause. Your method of allowing individual authority would actually lead to greater parochialism, and decreased trade and travel. Some might rise to the occasion of spontaneous mass organization (Germany and Japan come to mind), but realistically, we would have less than we do today.


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Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:31 pm
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