So, what's wrong with Libertarianism?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Tahuti, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    Well that's a bizarre way of going about making your point. First of all, workers had plenty of choice, and moved around frequently. Secondly, it wasn't the lack of choice, but the fact that those choices were universally bad, that made labour unions necessary. Thirdly, there is arguably less labour mobility now than there was in the 19th Century, so if it was a matter of less choice = more unionisation then you would expect labour unions to thrive nowadays.

    You've gone this circuitous route of shoe-horning "labour mobility" or "options" or "little choice" into your narrative, when in fact you can leave all those things out and just say that poor working conditions in the 19th Century made labour unions necessary, whereas massively improved working conditions today makes them much, much less important. This is something that I would broadly agree with, and that most people would agree with, barring Traitorfish and a lot of the other communists. Shoe-horning anything to do with labour mobility or lack of choice or competition into it does nothing to help your argument and only opens you up to accusations that you are fetishising and idealising "competition" (as you libertarians are wont to do) and allows the history nerds on this forum (who get a hard-on for historical inaccuracies) to play this game of historywang.
     
  2. Ziggy Stardust

    Ziggy Stardust New Englander

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    1873!
     
  3. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Better working conditions today don't make unions less necessary. As witnessed by the fact that the death of unions in the US has been a substantial part of the reason why most Americans haven't had a raise in 40 years now. Despite vast increases in the productivity of that labor.




    The thing that you need to understand is that we do not have a free market in labor. We have a coercive market, and so we have a market which fails. What we have is a situation where the actual outcome of the labor market resembles that of a Monopsony That is, it does not resemble a free market outcome at all. So whatever you think is going on, the actual real world outcomes tell you that labor markets are coercive. Otherwise labor would be making a whole lot more money. 60 or 70% more money.

    Now since the actual market has failed to provide an outcome that resembles a free market outcome, if there is not some intervention in the economy to correct that, then the economy will not function as well as it could. There will be less wealth creation, there will be, over time, a weaker and poorer population.

    The costs of market failures can be very high. And the cost of market failure in the labor markets is among the highest. Unions, if they are strong enough, and have enough government backing, can go a long ways to correcting the market failure that we are witnessing.

    With unions, there is more wealth for everyone, without them, there is less wealth for everyone, and so more of a fight about how that wealth has to be divided up.
     
  4. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    I think unions are much, much less necessary now than in the 19th century and I don't think that this is at all controversial; irrespective of how great the need for unions is now, the need was much greater during times when working conditions were much worse. That's practically tautological.
     
  5. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    I disagree, and I work in places where I can see this first-hand. Unions are required not merely to obtain workplace safety, worker benefits, and decent wages, but also to protect them. Capital desires to roll back every gain made by unions, including their very existence, because unions are the single strongest social force of their antagonist class. Unions work directly against capitalist interest.

    In addition, unions in any given industry benefit workers across the industry, not just the unionized workers, by pushing wages up and creating arrangements which other firms must now offer in order to remain competitive in the labor market.

    I mean, to say that they're unnecessary now, or even less necessary now, is to say that you think workers either have it as good as they could ever deserve it, or too good, and this statement is of little social use to anyone not of the ruling class.
     
  6. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Unions will be unnecessary when there are no wage-workers left to participate in them, and not a day earlier.
     
  7. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Bolding mine, because it's the bit Mise is actually saying. I don't see him using the word 'unnecessary'. Which of course is an important difference because he's not saying that workers don't have anything to fight for, but that what they now have to fight for is far from the more life & death stuff of the 19th century. If it's given that there are a finite number of things a union can achieve, and that they have achieved some of them, this means they now have less things to achieve than they used to. So unless either working conditions/rights can be infinitely or endlessly improved, or unions have achieved nothing, then there is less for unions to do now than in the past. I think you're taking this as some sort of attack on the idea of unions, which is a strange interpretation.
     
  8. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    The wage-system isn't any more abolished today than it was a century ago, which for me rules out the claim of lessened necessity. Was my characteristically opaque point.
     
  9. Part_Time_Civer

    Part_Time_Civer Warlord

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    If there's 1000 restaurants in town, and they're all equally bad, do eaters have a lot of choice or little choice? I think the difference between you and me here is just a matter of semantics. By the way, I've yet to see any proof so far that labour mobility was higher in the 19th century. My grandfather was a cop, and did this all his life. His dad was a self-employed sailor (he owned a small vessel) and did this all his life. Maybe they were exceptions.


    Seriously? Not even during the 90s internet boom?



    Now you're mixing up the terms "free" and "competitive". A monopsony can be free, but is certainly not competitive. Where did you get the 60-70%?


    Here we go, the class nonsense again :( Don't you realize workers and stockholders can actually be the same people.
     
  10. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    The situation is bad because the restaurants are bad. End of story. There's no need to bring anything else to the discussion -- the situation is bad because the restaurants are bad. Why talk about choice when the reason that the situation is bad is because the restaurants are bad? All it does is make you, well, wrong.

    I will accept that the statement "workers had little choice in the 19th century" is true if what you mean by "little choice" is "poor working conditions". However, owing to the fact that the English language has completely different words and phrases for "little choice" and "poor working conditions", each with completely different meanings, I can't accept that your statement is actually written in English. If you want to dismiss the difference between our positions as "a matter of semantics", then fine; I am sure that what you mean by "semantics" is actually "basic English".

    Lots of people have given reasons for that. Ask the history nerds.
     
  11. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Wages for most Americans have been flat since the 70s.
    Workers do not have the market power to improve their wages.






    No, I am not. You just don't know what the word "free" means. A free market is one in which people are, you know, free, to make their own choices. What you want is a coercive market, where people are compelled to take bad choices, because the people in power have the power to take away all the good choices and force others to make either a bad choice, or a worse choice.
     
  12. NBAfan

    NBAfan boss

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  13. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Stockholder =/= capitalist. (Not sure where you got that impression?)

    Unionisation rates are generally higher among corporate workforces than among small businesses.
     
  14. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    In some industries. In other industries corporations are big on preventing unions.
     
  15. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    True, but in small businesses, that is true across the board. Posing this as a problem of The Corporate Menace, and not of employers generally, is silly.
     
  16. strijder20

    strijder20 Wallowing in irony

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    I have a friend who's a libertarian and who also simultaneously supported 'good' dictatorships. I didn't realise it back then, but aren't those two completely incompatible?
     
  17. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    You'd think so, wouldn't you?
     
  18. strijder20

    strijder20 Wallowing in irony

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    Yes. I told him a libertarian world would have several opportunists grasping power and thus destroying the liberalist utopia with no states to stand against them anymore, and that was his response. So he's an authoritarian libertarian. I guess they should completely revise the political compass test :huh:
     
  19. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    That's like the guy I was just arguing with on reddit who's a libertarian, but also a Confederate apologist. The incompatibility of their views doesn't register on them.
     
  20. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    The two are actually a natural fit. The libertarian Utopia looks a lot like a full implementation of The Leviathan as the state.
     

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