So, what's wrong with Libertarianism?

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

  1. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Productivity rises gradually. It doesn't happen all at once. If wages rise with productivity, then AD also rises. And that means that businesses expand to sell to that higher AD. That expanding of business makes jobs for those people who are displaced by capital. It is a dynamic process. There are always some people being displaced, but the overall numbers (or percentage of the workforce) that is displaced at any one time doesn't grow. So to say that just puts people out of work, and so that makes the productivity numbers look artificially good just doesn't match with the past 150 years or so of industrial history. Because if that was true, almost everyone would be unemployed by this time. After all, one person now produces as much as maybe 100 people 150 years ago.

    The new sales opportunities of the greater consumer purchasing power is what makes industrialization possible. Without it the best you can hope for is the boom and bust cycle that the 19th century is noted for, as productivity outstrips demand, and then many of the producers go bankrupt. Rising wages offset that, and stabilize the system. What we are going through now is the consequences of wages being too low for too long. And in the long run everyone will be poorer because wages stayed low.

    It's not "just narrative" it's the history of the developed world over the past 150-200 years. If there is not a match between purchasing power and productivity, then there has to be a massive crash. This is complicated because most markets now are global. But the Great Recession drags and drags because no one has the purchasing power to put people back to work. And that is true because wages are too low. And wages are too low, because there is in fact no connection between wages and productivity. The actual connection is between wages and the bargaining strength of labor. And that is very weak right now.

    My plan does not price the lowest labor out of the market. At least not to any significant degree. Places with higher minimum wages do not have higher long term unemployment.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox...age_1960s_higher_wages_less_unemployment.html

    http://www.juancole.com/2013/02/beggaring-employment-infographics.html

    http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/events/spring07/pedace/pedace.pdf
     
  2. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    Your plan depends on pricing low wage workers out of the market! It depends on artificially raising the price of labour sufficiently high that employers will replace it with capital, thus increasing productivity. If employers don't replace labour with capital, then productivity doesn't rise, and none of the rest of your plan even matters. You say there's no connection between wages and productivity, but your plan depends on there being a connection between wages and productivity! Man, I feel like I'm in some weird vortex where things you say in one sentence disappear in the next...
     
  3. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Some jobs are lost to raising productivity. Other jobs are created by rising opportunity. You can't just look at one side of the ledger.
     
  4. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    I know, I'm aware of that - my point is that you haven't given me a reason to believe that the "raise" side will outweigh the "loss" side. I mean, you've just said that, in the past, replacing labour with capital increases jobs overall. But, in the past, those productivity rises were caused primarily by better/more use of technology or outsourcing to lower wage countries, not simply by artificially raising wages, reducing hours, etc. You say that higher min wages don't increase unemployment, but there's no evidence that they simultaneously increase productivity as well.

    I don't see the point in proposing higher min wages or fewer working hours or better working conditions based on the economic argument. To me, the economic argument is clear: those things tend to be a drag on the economy. They have a cost associated with them, in terms of lower GDP growth or lower tax revenues or whatever. But that's not why we do them. We don't institute a minimum wage because it raises GDP, we institute it because it raises standards of living. We don't limit working hours because it's good for the economy, we do it because we want to prevent workers from being exploited. We don't regulate working conditions because it's good for productivity, we regulate working conditions because it's good for workers.

    This whole argument completely misses the point of liberalism. We do these things not because there's money to be made in doing them. We do these things because they're the right thing to do. We don't need an economic argument to do those things: the moral imperative is abundantly clear.
     
  5. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    http://ineteconomics.org/blog/insti...sed-inequality-damaging-innovation-and-growth

    I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Mise, you're thinking is in line with the conventional wisdom of the past generation. But it's a paradigm that has failed, and failed badly, in the real world.

     
  6. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    I don't really care about blog posts, Cutlass. I care about, like, numbers and stuff. Evidence. I care about literature reviews and academic consensus. What you're saying is not uncontroversial, and there are good reasons to think that it won't work. And the bits that aren't controversial are trivially achieved in the way Kaiserguard described. Right now, it's just a narrative, and linking me to another narrative written by somebody else doesn't do much to convince me otherwise.

    Especially when the narrative actually says: "thereby offsetting at least part (and perhaps all) of the negative impact of higher wages on profits". Like, "at least part" and "(perhaps)" isn't exactly something I'd bet the bank on.

    Sent from a phone, apols for any mistakes.
     
  7. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Well the "consensus" has clearly failed, and we are all the poorer because of it.
     
  8. Part_Time_Civer

    Part_Time_Civer Warlord

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    That's not a fair way of reasoning. You should (in my opinion) at least indicate which part of my argument is wrong and why (for instance: "premise 1 is wrong because ....", or "conclusion 2 is wrong because premise 1 + premise 2 cannot lead to..."). If you make a general statement about my argument as a whole like "you just made it up" then I can't take your response seriously.
     
  9. Pangur Bán

    Pangur Bán Deconstructed

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    Libertarianism is just an intellectualization of rhetorical attacks on certain aspects of government regulation common in Anglo-American political life. It is silly as an intellectual movement because it is predicated on the idea that 'government' should withdraw from things which only exist because of it, like the 'free market', 'private property', and so forth. Teach anthropology at US high schools and you'd kill the movement stone dead.
     
  10. Part_Time_Civer

    Part_Time_Civer Warlord

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    A market can be coercive and free at the same time according to wikipedia's definition (and according to mine): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_market
     
  11. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    You put a gun to someone's head, and you call it a "free market". The person who has a gun to their head disagrees. Who has the better case?
     
  12. dutchfire

    dutchfire Deity Retired Moderator

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    The man with the gun?
     
  13. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Retired Moderator

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    No, the gun manufacturer who is sitting on the Board of Directors of. NRA.
     
  14. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Then don't make stuff up.
     
  15. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    I think I can provide a counter argument that will satisfactorily stay within the confines of formal logic he's requested.

    If I am posting this, than Part_Time_Civer's argument is False.
    I am posting this.
    Ergo, Part_Time_Civer's argument is False.

    I'm satisfied that this conclusion follow's very logically from my premises.
     
  16. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    That's only true for anarcho-capitalism. You can still believe free markets and private property exists thanks to the state, and be a Libertarian of the small-gov't variety.

    I do agree anarchocapitalism is totally off anthropologically. Case in point: Ancaps say taxes are unjustified because of private property rights. Bring in Thomas Hobbes and turn the argument upside down and claim the State has property rights over their sovereign territory.
     
  17. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    But the point remains that, Libertarians have no issue with granting the state a truly insane amount of power, so long as that power is directed towards maintaining free markets and capitalism. Which really makes them no different from normal classical liberals, save for their particular vigor in keeping the government out of other things not capitalism-maintenance-related.
     
  18. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    But couldn't you use those qualifiers to argue for various "socialistic" policies like healthcare, welfare, and government-pension programs?
     
  19. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    the causal mechanism of getting capitalists to invest in capital is not rising wage costs....
     
  20. Pangur Bán

    Pangur Bán Deconstructed

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    I wouldn't distinguish those. Libertarianism is a popular intellectualization of anti-government sentiment which itself emanates from various rich guys wanting to free themselves from the rules and taxes that could otherwise limit their power and wealth. It's a mistake to take the effects of intellectualization seriously or make the latter primary in importance. Indeed making people think the origins of the movement lie in philosophical discourse rather than self-serving interest is pernicious and serves those interests by disguising them.
     

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