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Post Re: Force
There was never laissez-faire capitalism in the entire history of the world, as there has never been a market or economy that wasnt regulated in some way by political economic systems.


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Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:54 pm
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Post Re: Force
I'm beginning to think, Mr A, that your experience with the world of employment, labour, and civil rights has been limited to a favoured book, and you have thereby become invested in a laissez-fairy tale.

The writings of Charles Dickens probably provide a reasonable approximation of the capitalism on a long leash that you seem to advocate, and would provide a useful counterpoint to Ms Rand. One of the most prominent themes in human history, from the industrial revolution to the '50s, at the very least, has been the struggle of the powerless and unrepresented to survive and gain basic rights and security in the face of the greedy and unscrupulous. A companies wages or safety standards don't meet one's personal comfort level, so just move on, you say? Tell that to the factory workers in 19th century England- if they were able to find another job, it would be under the same conditions. Or the coal minor in '30s West Virginia- maybe the next mine up the road would be more altruistic, or else they could horn their way to the front of the unemployment line for another job (ahead of the 25% of the population then out of work and desperate). Or the Chinese garment worker today, labouring in a sweatshop for $80 a month- she could go back to the tiny family farm plot, and subsist on meager rations I suppose.

It is always easier to control things from the top down, rather than from the bottom up. Decisions made in a head office flow downwards through established lines of communication. Millions of workers seeking change must first somehow establish a complex web of communication, and then come to a consensus on how to proceed. Organization of very large numbers of people is always difficult, a factor well recognized by exploitive management in the past, and a reason for their ardent anti-unionism.

The idea of the perfect, self-regulating market has been exposed as myth by all reputable economists, from JM Keynes to Paul Krugman. It is promoted still as it handily serves the interests of a few ultra affluent and well connected, the "one percent" as it has recently been described.


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Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:26 am
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Post Re: Force
MrA, you should look to Libertarianism or something a bit closer to reality.


Objectivism violates many 'rights'. The right of a family not to have to submit their children to labor to make ends meet. The right for fair and equitable pay. The right to safe working conditions. The right not to be nickel and dimed by big banks. The right to expect a fair product from a chemical manufacturer that doesn't poison us. The right for a car to have certain minimum standards when it crashes. The right for a woman to be paid the same as a man if she is equally qualified. The right to employment without religious descrimination. The right to take out loans that aren't tricked up with volatile fine print.

Objectivism is tyranny. You protect the "rights" of the upper class, thereby shitting on the lower and middle classes. Every alteration has a consequence, yet objectivism believes it's changes would have zero negative consequences, and all positive consequences. It's a fairy tale.


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Post Re: Force
I have to admit I'm curious to read Atlas Shrugged and see if I can understand how Rand convinced so many readers that her ultra laizzez-faire could exist in our world. The economic activity of individuals has been regulated since day one of economies. To Randians, this means we haven't reached a state of perfection, but I think it just shows that such a thing is impossible.



Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:43 am
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Post Re: Force
Well, we haven't had such a system wholesale, but we have in pieces. Financial regulation for example. We took it away and the world exploded. If we switched in every way to full-scale LF, I doubt we could recover.


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Post Re: Force
Interbane wrote:
Well, we haven't had such a system wholesale, but we have in pieces. Financial regulation for example. We took it away and the world exploded. If we switched in every way to full-scale LF, I doubt we could recover.


You deregulate and phase things out overtime, not overnight.


Interbane wrote:
MrA, you should look to Libertarianism or something a bit closer to reality.


I have already looked at Libertarianism, libertarisnism. I do not need to again.

Interbane wrote:
Objectivism violates many 'rights'.


It does not violate individual rights, niether does laissez-faire capitalism.

Interbane wrote:
The right for fair and equitable pay.


That is not a right. When you do issue that, you violate potential employees that are willing to work fora certain amount, and employers for hiring at a certain amount. Any governmental interference in that, violates individual rights, in laissez-faire capitalism.

Interbane wrote:
The right not to be nickel and dimed by big banks.


The banks in laissez-faire capitalism are not controlled by governmetnal regulations, and no one is forced to deal with them.

Interbane wrote:
The right for a car to have certain minimum standards when it crashes.


That is not a right. Don't buy the car if it doesn't satisfy standards you have for when it crashes. Forcing a business to comply to such standards violates their rights.

Interbane wrote:
The right for a woman to be paid the same as a man if she is equally qualified.


All individuals, no matter race, gender, whatever, pay is determined by employer. That is theirs to do by right. If anyone has a problem with the amount of pay, don't work for them.

Interbane wrote:
The right to employment without religious descrimination.


You cannot use governmental force to make a business hire people they do not want to hire. It's against their right to deal with, and employ whoever they want to.

Interbane wrote:
The right to take out loans that aren't tricked up with volatile fine print.


They can draw up what they want to in the loan, if you do not want to agree to the terms, seek a loan elsewhere, otherwise, governmetnal intervention into such matters, would violate the rights of the lender.

So laissez-faire recognizes upholds and protects individual rights, it does not violate them, as your system surely does.

Interbane wrote:
Objectivism is tyranny.


You have failed to support that claim.

Interbane wrote:
You protect the "rights" of the upper class,


No, individual rights, as such.

Interbane wrote:
It's a fairy tale.


Perhaps, individual rights, as such, is a fairy tale to you, but not to me.

Again, I ask you, now for the fourth time, have you read Atlas Shrugged?

The use of force is banned in all human interactions in laissez-faire. If you want the governmetn to force regulations on cars, loans, employers... that violates individual rights. You think using such force does not.

We will remain in disagreement, still.

For people that have not read or would like to understand Rand's view on rights, government, please see the following:
http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer? ... d_writings
http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/iss ... rights.asp
Plenty here, too: http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/top ... ts-law.asp
And also look up topics on the Ayn Rand Leicon available for free use here:
http://aynrandlexicon.com/


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Last edited by Mr A on Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:36 pm
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Post Re: Force
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Again, I ask you, now for the fourth time, have you read Atlas Shrugged?

And I ask now, have you read Rand's views on Man's Rights, The Nature of Government, The Structure of Government?


Yes, MrA, I have. Why do you think that's such an important question? I've read it and I understand it as a fiction novel, since it does not represent the way the world works. The religious always ask if I've read the bible when I disagree with them. People seem to think that their book is infallible, because they can see no fault. That doesn't mean the faults aren't there.

All those "rights" that you point out are not rights.... the market does not correct these failures. Children would return to work, product quality and safety standards would decrease, people would be discriminated against, inequality would grow much faster, and life in general would be miserable for the majority of the country, with barely a middle class in sight. We know this because we've tried it piecemeal. The policy creep from the left is to correct many of these failures. Unfortunately, this dabbling doesn't take place in a vacuum, and further attempts result in the mutant regulation system we see today. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water.


Your devotion to Objectivism is as irrational as the fundamentalists devotion to a literal interpretation of the bible.


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Post Re: Force
Interbane wrote:
Your devotion to Objectivism is as irrational as the fundamentalists devotion to a literal interpretation of the bible.


I find that very insulting of my intelligence, and an ad hominem.

I think our discussion has just ended. Our disagreements continue on what are actual individual rights, and the role of government, so it's really futile to continue, especially when you have reseorted to that last sentence.

As long as people know what Rand's views are, on rights, government, and so forth, if they agree or disagree, that's fine, as long as they get her view right, which is of primary importance when discussing her views.


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Post Re: Force
Mr. A is technically correct that "there was never laissez-faire capitalism in the entire history of the world" (as stated in Rand's title "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal"). A single regulation or tax anywhere would negate it, so absolute perfection has never been attained and undoubtedly never will.

However, as indicated by Etudiant, America and England have long experience with economies extremely close to this "ideal". Although it took a long time, the populace eventually recoiled and acted against the abuses in these systems. In addition to the Dickensian conditions mentioned by Etudiant, you might check out the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of March 25, 1911 (which I mentioned before). You'll learn of the working conditions (locked/blocked exit doors = fire trap, 12 hrs 7 days per week work schedules), the rhythmic splat - splat - splat after the fire broke out as women jumped from 10 floors up and hit the pavement to the horror of onlookers, the deaths of 141 people, the charges brought against the owners, the punishment (none/not-guilty as befits laissez-faire), the owners' response to fire safety (none - they opened a similar business a block away with similar working conditions), the large fire insurance policies the owners profited from, and the subsequent outrage by the population of New York.

This shows a legitimate laissez-faire response to worker safety. It's difficult to imagine that such an economy was still too regulated to qualify as pure laissez-faire capitalism in the minds of Objectivists. (I suppose the fact that charges were even brought against the owners negates it.) The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire is just one illustration of why we will never return to the immoral economics of that time period.

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Post Re: Force
DWill wrote:
I have to admit I'm curious to read Atlas Shrugged and see if I can understand how Rand convinced so many readers that her ultra laizzez-faire could exist in our world. The economic activity of individuals has been regulated since day one of economies. To Randians, this means we haven't reached a state of perfection, but I think it just shows that such a thing is impossible.


That ultra picture is not what Atlas Shrugged is about, although you wouldn't know it if you just listened to some of Rand's madder acolytes. Rather, it is about what would happen if a neo-communist government took over in the USA, how the entrepreneurial spirit would be crushed, and the economy would collapse. It is not legitimate to take this legitimate dystopia based on Rand's traumatic experience in communist Russia, warning of the risks of excessive socialist demagogery, to argue for the other extreme, a complete absence of government regulation of the economy.

As I tried to point out to Mr A in this thread, Rand actually argues for rule of law. What that means is that government should provide predictability for the investment enabling environment through sensible regulation. It does not mean that government should totally allow open-slather for business.

Towards the end of the book, the hero John Galt summarises Rand's philosophy as "get out of my way". This is not a call for laissez-faire, but in context is a statement that the fictional Washington policy makers of AS are actively in the way of business, forcing them to buy and sell in ways that grossly distort the market in the interest of rent-seekers who use politics to corrupt the economy.

So in fact, AS presents a valid critique of how the Republican Party has been corrupted by money to buy lobbyists an inside track for rent seeking within the Beltway. There is nothing in AS that can reasonably taken to argue for the sort of open slather madness that Mr A is pushing here. While such arguments may have been advanced by Rand elsewhere (I'm not sure), they do not appear in Atlas Shrugged.

The heroes of Atlas Shrugged are models of ethics, intelligence, decisiveness and creativity. That is why the book is so influential, because it presents a story of how capitalism can be redeemed as a moral basis for the growth of wealth and freedom. It is about how to run a railroad, driven by the incentive of profit, while recognising that high standards are essential for confidence in future growth.

Nowhere, for example, do we see Rand going to a place like the Chicago meat market and advocating for the sort of thing criticised by Sinclair in The Jungle, such as grinding workers into sausages and allowing sexual exploitation by employers. Government should regulate against that sort of thing. I seem to recall that Mr A has called for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration, on the principle of 'buyer beware'. Such a law of the jungle approach is ridiculous, and would lead to the collapse of public trust in any standards, and a reduction in economic activity. Businesses deserve stronger punishment than market forces alone when they try to get away with supplying shonky products.


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Post Re: Force
Rand doesn't provide a complete view on the extent of government regulation in her book. She does say that the government should not abridge the freedoms of business. By saying that, you can't take her very motivational, morally enriching, and emotionally persuasive argument that ability should be rewarded and add on that 'she meant that ...' with regards to every law and Gov. agency not mentioned in the book. I just don't recall seeing in her book why the FDA or the EPA should not be abolished. Maybe you can list some specific passages that would change my view.

I will say, on some slippery footing, that she may have stood by laws that had foods named correctly so that people couldn't sell scallops that were really shark. I get this from her strong A is A stance.

I'm also tempted to think that she would regard the FDA as not necessary because market forces would win the day. People would magically be able to give their business to providers of food that did not get them sick.

Remember to vote in the Non-Fiction pole! Hopefully if the Federalist Papers don't win, Chris will open a secondary book discussion. I'd like you all to participate in that discussion!!!



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Post Re: Force
Robert Tulip said "
As I tried to point out to Mr A in this thread, Rand actually argues for rule of law."

I never ever said she did not, I have repeatedly said on this forum, rule of objective law, so make no mistake about that.

LanDriod said " A single regulation or tax anywhere would negate it, so absolute perfection has never been attained and undoubtedly never will."

When no individual rights have been violated by government, and the market is unregulated by government, the government constitutionally limited to recognize, uphold and protect the principle of individual rights, with the rule of objective law, then we wil have LFC. Right now we have a mixed economy, a regulatory-entitlement state, etc.

President: On the subject of the FDA, it would be abolished in laissez-faire.


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Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:56 pm
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Post Re: Force
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That is not a right. Don't buy the car if it doesn't satisfy standards you have for when it crashes. Forcing a business to comply to such standards violates their rights.


Do businesses have rights? I thought the conversation was about individual rights.

It seems to me that one of the difficulties in the current system is that it confuses individuals (i.e., natural persons) with legal persons (which can include corporations). Would Ayn Rand have thought that corporations have rights, or would she have limited the concept of rights to natural persons?

Another issue I see is that in a LF system, over time the most successful entrepreneurs tend to accumulate most of the wealth. Once that has happened, why should the person or corporation (or coalition of the top two or three) with the most wealth submit to any regulations or laws? Why wouldn't they just buy their own army and impose their will, becoming the government? Then they could extort protection money (er, I mean taxes) from everybody.

Wait-a-minit! How is that different from what we've got?!!! :shock:


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Post Re: Force
Individual rights apply to business. And they cannot violate individual rights, either. The government inLFC does not regulate the economy, so an individual or business, which is made up of individuals, the same rights apply. The government cant use force in making you pay someone a minimum amount of money for doing work for you, your business, etc. People violate individual rights when they steal from one person, or a business. Same rights apply and you cannot initiate the use of force against individuals, businesses, neither can the government. The are no special rights for a group, like say affirmative action. That would be abolished inLFC. You hire who you want to for whatever reason. Any governmental interference in that matter violates rights. There are no collective rights, only individual rights:

Rand:
Any group or “collective,” large or small, is only a number of individuals. A group can have no rights other than the rights of its individual members.


http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer? ... zed_rights


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Post Re: Force
Mr A wrote:
Individual rights apply to business.

Mr A wrote:
There are no collective rights, only individual rights:


So you're saying that a business only has the union of the rights of all its members? Would you abolish corporations? The US legal system treats a corporation as a "legal person", according it the rights that the legal system presumes a person to have. Even better, the corporate income tax rate is lower than the individual income tax rate, so corporations are even more of a person than you or I are.

Mr A wrote:
And they cannot violate individual rights, either.


Who's going to stop them? The government can't because your next statement says:

Mr A wrote:
The government in LFC does not regulate the economy, so an individual or business, which is made up of individuals, the same rights apply. The government cant use force in making you pay someone a minimum amount of money for doing work for you, your business, etc. People violate individual rights when they steal from one person, or a business. Same rights apply and you cannot initiate the use of force against individuals, businesses, neither can the government. The are no special rights for a group, like say affirmative action. That would be abolished in LFC. You hire who you want to for whatever reason. Any governmental interference in that matter violates rights. There are no collective rights, only individual rights:

Rand:
Any group or “collective,” large or small, is only a number of individuals. A group can have no rights other than the rights of its individual members.


http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer? ... zed_rights


On the one hand I hear you saying that in LFC, the government doesn't regulate or control business or personal behavior in any way. People are allowed to conduct themselves as they please.

On the other hand, I hear you saying that in LFC no one's rights are violated.

I don't see how this is going to work. In the world I live in, people DO steal from each other. Businesses DO treat their employees unfairly (remeber Enron?). Hell, businesses treat each other unfairly -- why do you think there are so many lawsuits between Apple and Google, and Apple and Samsung, and Microsoft and Google, and so forth?

So, under LFC, who or what is supposed to prevent people from violating each other's rights? Do we all get guns and shoot anyone who violates our rights? Do we then go on trial for murder? Or is murder okay now because the government doesn't regulate behavior anymore? What if I'm minding my own business and someone decides I've violated their rights somehow? Do we have a shootout and whoever is left standing must've been in the right?

I think Ms. Rand was describing an ideal, imaginary world. It would be nice if people really would behave in the honorable, moral way she describes (at least some of her characters behave honorably and morally; even in her stories there are some stinkers), but they don't. Passing laws doesn't change human behavior. People violate each other's "rights" all the time. People hold each other up at gunpoint. People cheat each other through scams and cons. Businesses and industries buy legislative influence to get the regulatory outcomes they want. Half the executives in the USDA have been high level executives in the industries the USDA is supposed to supervise. The same revolving door moves executives between the financial sector and the SEC, defense contractors and the military, the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry, and so forth and so on. I don't see LFC addressing any of that.

What I see when I look at the world I live in is that wealth accumulates and is then used to protect its power base by any means necessary. Have you heard of the golden rule? "Them that has the gold makes the rules."

If we instituted a truly LFC system (or communism, or any other system based on a political idea), my belief is that within a generation we'd be back where we are now because the skillful entrepreneurs would accumulate all the wealth, buy all the influence, and run the show -- exactly what I see going on.


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