Indiana's freedom to discriminate law

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Magical Realist, Mar 29, 2015.

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  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    No, you did not guess that people would use aggregate income tax stats among other data in estimating the income of the superrich. I would not have pointed out that you were uninformed had you said anything like that.
    1) Roads are not the only government infrastructure provided by government
    2) Roads and auxiliary government infrastructure are necessary for horse and camel transport of goods in agricultural societies, and other (lesser, but still critical) government infrastructure of various kinds is necessary for horse or camel transport of goods to established markets in non-agricultural societies (pastoral, nomadic, etc). Ferries, bridges, stables and rest areas, bandit security, communication, medium of exchange and methods of credit, management of common grazing areas (Hardin's Tragedy, specifically), - - it's a long list.

    No governments, no markets.
    In small communal societies without markets, there is personal and community accountability without government. So?

    And why do you replace "government" with "state" when replying to posts?
    So? Are you trying to present an argument based on assuming the analysis in that book does not recognize tax evasion as a factor in estimating incomes?
    You will learn a lot about that idea, if you read the book. Among the things you will learn is that "redistribution" is not an accurate term - squelching the growth of inequality is not a matter of redistribution.
    It is not what you did guess. What you did guess was that rich people's individual tax returns were the only source of info, and that the entries on them were accepted without analysis or correction. You didn't have the researchers "making use" of tax records among a plethora or other data, but naively accepting them as sole and unquestioned authority without prudent analysis.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
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  3. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    So your criticism is reduced to that I have not written "among other data"? LOL.
    I have understood, to ride on a camel you need the government. LOL.
    In small communal societies with markets, there is personal and community accountability without government too. So?
    Its easier to write, 5 letters instead of 10. And it makes it more funny if you name the chief of a tribe, together with the shaman, a "state" instead of a "government".
    No, I will simply read the book, as long as it is interesting. What I expect is, of course, that he has to recognize this problem - this is, so to say, the minimum. If he does not even recognize it, the data in the book are only raw materials for more competent scientist, nothing else. And then it becomes interesting if he has some good ideas how to solve this problem.
    Fine that you agree about this. Because this would have been another point I would have made. It is a quite general point, the Austrians think that it is so important that all the macroeconomic statistics are worth nothing. There are always too many different things influencing all the macroeconomic data so that it is extremely difficult to extract anything useful from them. Here I differ from the Austrians - I know that serious scientist have the ability to extract a lot of useful information from high noise data (if they want, which is a problem in politically influenced sciences).
    I can even explain you why I have not made this point earlier. It would have looked like I search for a cheap excuse. Your point was, oversimplified, high tax -> lower income of the 1%, from 1930-1980 US, thus, redistribution by the state works. My point, high tax -> high tax evasion -> tax records show low income was hitting the point. All the other points which can be (and have to be by serious researchers) raised against such a simplified thesis would have looked, in a forum, like a cheap search for excuses. But, once you have made this point yourself, thank you ;-)
    Ok, you are the winner in your fight with you strawman. Don't forget: To make a point in a forum discussion is something different than writing a scientific paper. And the main difference is, of course, simplification and polemical overexaggeration. So, it is not really a good idea to evaluate postings in forums to find out what I think about such more subtle points.

    Instead, I had not expected that I receive such a rigorous support for what I thought already in the introduction of the first source you have presented to me to make your point.
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Not only failed to write it, but also denied its existence and significance. It's how one corrects for tax evasion, for example.
    You only need a government if you plan to ride that camel across political boundaries to an established market, bearing trade goods and planning to meet others there and do business, without bringing a private army of bodyguards.
    There are no markets without government.
    And the difference between a government and a State is one of those many "trivialities" that you have no interest in. Because in your world tribes don't govern themselves, or negotiate with other tribes, or do politics at all, in any significant way. That's how you get your markets without government.

    Which leaves us poor souls bound to the reality of human life a bit perplexed as to how to communicate with your bubble world.
    They have to. Because all the macroeconomic statistics lead to the conclusion that the Austrians are mistaken about how industrial economies work. So they face a choice: evidence or pet theory? And they choose.
    No, what he has to be doing is arguing from reasonably sound evidence as employed in his argument. He's arguing from trends, not absolute numbers, after all. If other people have long ago "recognized this problem" in the development of this evidence, then it's sound for his purpose and he doesn't need to bother with that kind of question.
    I specifically denied that high taxes on the rich were necessarily redistributive.
    Now all you need is some evidence that the professionals's allowance for tax evasion was so completely inadequate that the tax evasion they missed overwhelmed even the direction of the obvious and consistent trends also visible in all the other sources of data - the census, property ownership, inheritance and probate and documents of marriage, aggregate corporate financial data, stock price and behavior, volume and nature of international trade, aggregate purchase of goods and services, production and manufacturing data, land leases and mineral rights purchases, personal communications, and so forth and so on in a pile the size of a small house before computerization. Then your point is made.

    Until then, all your point means is that I am not arguing against a strawman, as you claim here:
    You are insisting that the vast body of research into the income levels and large scale economic patterns of the Western democracies is worthless for Piketty's argument, because rich people cheat their State taxes and nobody has ever been able to figure out by how much, even in aggregate, even in retrospect, even in rank order comparisons.

    And that therefore your pet theory, which is contradicted by all this evidence (and is being promoted by people who think markets in prisons and markets in tribal regions and markets on the internet do not depend on government infrastructure), needs no evidence of its own.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
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  7. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Up to now, I have not yet found a way how to correct for it. But we will see. May be you can help and make some quotes from the book? It would prevent the possibility of overlooking them in a diagonal reading.
    LOL. Thanks for admitting that you only need a government to overcome restrictions created by governments. And, BTW, you are wrong. There is a free market solution how to overcome political boundaries known as smuggling or contraband. So, quite recently, it seems, political boundaries between Libya and Mali have, somehow, not prevented the market of illegal weapons to reach a size which became dangerous for the very existence of the Mali government, so that it could be saved only by NATO intervention.

    You are not, by accident, a guy who has recommended the US-puppets of the Libyan government the simple way to prevent contrabands of weapons - to install checkpoints on all government-build roads through the border? "Its for a market, thus, they have to use roads"?

    (Note for the casual reader: This is polemics, and not only toward iceaura, but also against the US policy, which behaves as if it would be that stupid. If they are really that stupid as it seems, or if the consequences of their actions - destruction and destabilization of whole regions - is their real hidden aim, is something everybody has to judge for himself.)
    So, ok, the point is if one names the chieftain together with the shaman a government or not.

    But, then, I do not doubt at all that in every form of organization of human society, anarchistic or not, will appear leaders of local structures, similar to the chieftain together with the shaman. This is a simple consequence of subdivision of labor. Almost every firm, even very egalitarian communes, have such a subdivision of labor. Some try to avoid this violation of equality by introducing some sort of rotation - but this is very costly (even if they don't use money) because in this case not only all people have to learn how to do every job, but also every job will be done not by those who can do this best, but by the average guy.

    In other words, if you name the chieftain and the shaman a government, I can, without violating any libertarian or anarchistic principles, accept your thesis that there will always be a government. But, then, what the libertarian wants, is not at all to get rid of government. The libertarian is not so stupid to propose that private firms have to be managed like a Kibbuz. They are quite comfortable with the private firms having a chief - the owner or a manager chosen by the owner. Nobody, except some communist fundamentalists, name the chief of a firm a government.

    What the libertarian rejects, naming it "state" or "government", are organizations which violate the Golden Rule, and claim superiority, monopoly rights, over large territories. Which force you to do things you don't want to do, and have not accepted to do in any volitionally signed contract.

    About Austrians:
    No. There are libertarian economists which are not at all Austrians (the direction I prefer), and who are not Keynesians too. They agree with Austrians in many political conclusions. There are whole directions of economy (like public choice theory) not based on Austrian economics at all, but quite unconfortable for believers into "democracy", and the way they handle these theory is a quite simple one: complete ignorance.

    There would be, indeed, a simple viable alternative to Austrians, the way I follow: Critize the macroeconomic nonsense by showing how they fail.

    From a general, methodological point, there was, in physics as well as economics, a similar problem: The foundations of the scientific methodology have been completely off. The philosophy of science was positivism, or empiricism - roughly, observation is prior, theories have to be derived from observation. The already existing alternative was Kantian philosophy, which was also off, but in the other direction, roughly, there are unquestionable truths a priori, and, starting from them, we can use observations to obtain knowledge a posteriori. Mises has, for economy, rejected empiricism and preferred a Kantian philosophy.

    The much better solution was found by Popper. It is based on the priority of theory. But, different from Kant, the a priori is not a unquestionable knowledge, but questionable hypothesis, and observation is used to falsify false a priori theories.

    Mises has not accepted the Popperian methodology, which was his error. The mainstream economy is, instead, heavily empiricist, which is also nonsensical. (We can use Piketty to discuss this, already in the introduction I have seen such heavily empiricist ideas which make no sense.)

    What I prefer is what David Friedman is doing. He is by education a physicist, thus, sufficiently familar with the methodology of physics, which is Popperian. This is something one can feel, even if he has not written anything I know about methodology. There is a clear priority of theory, with the use of evidence to falsify theories.
  8. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Depends on what is the question he considers.
    Sorry, I have missed this. In this case, what are we arguing about?

    I do not deny that some changes in technology, which are completely independent of any government, may have a large influence on particular elements of wealth distribution. For example, if people are able to hide their income from the government is a question which is more technological than political, or, at least, has a lot of technological aspects. Say, in a world with unbreakable encryption people can have all their documents (contracts, accounts, money) in a way which is simply inaccessible to the police because it is encrypted, and with safety copies in the cloud. In this case, the classical method to obtain information - search of all the documents you can find by a house search and control of bank accounts - does no longer give anything. In such a society income taxation would be technically de facto unenforcable, and probably not be used. In a world were hiding income requires more sophisticated means, including some minimal costs (a specialized lawyer, cost for managing bank accounts in Swiss or other offshore havens) a progressive income tax will be a distribution from middle class to very rich.

    Then, in a society where things are produced by expensive machines but there are not high requirements for abilities of workers with these machines, a larger part of the income will be from capital than from wages. In a primitive society without machines, wages will play a more important role, possibly rents (if land is scarce). All this will have some influence on wealth distribution too, because in a society where capital is important, society has to be organized in a way that it is safe, so, to save by making capital investments - or, in societies where land is important to buy land - will be easy and safe. But, given that there will be always people without savings, a society where saving is easy and safe will create inequality, in a quite unavoidable way - people who make savings will become richer than those who don't.

    No. First of all, I have yet to see if the other data really give independent evidence for what you claim. Don't forget about the "the dynamics of income inequality can only be studied in a long- run perspective, which is possible only if one makes use of tax records." quote. This doesn't let me expect that all the other data presented in this book give independent information about the dynamics of income inequality.

    Then, the question is which explanations for what all these data are suggesting are possible. As I have explained, there are a lot of things which can influence the distribution of wealth - my point was only that what a state is doing will not redistribute against the 1% (in a modern mass media controlled democracy - in autocratic regimes it may be different, but this is not very probable too).

    What is not claimed is that there may be losers even among the 1%. So, for example, the oligarchs Achmetow and Kolomoisky were clearly among the 1%, in the past, they have essentially ruled the Ukraine. Today, another oligarch, Poroshenko, is in power, and the fighting against the Donbass was, at least in part, fighting against Achmetow, who has lost a lot during the last year. Actually, a fighting between Kolomoisky and Poroshenko has started, and, at least up to now, Kolomoisky seems to loose. This does not contradict the thesis, because what these oligarchs loose is gained by other oligarchs. Actually, Poroshenko has gained a lot. The population of the Ukraine is clearly and obviously loosing.

    I'm also not claiming that there may be no new people coming into the 1%, in particular by extorting part of the old 1%.
    No, this is another strawman. My point is that we have to see, to look at the data. That means, your claim - redistribution below from 1930-1980 - is not sufficient to make a point. I have made a simply guess about the source of the data, which seemed justified by your source. I will see if other data give something independent. And, no, I'm not impressed by vast bodies of research, because I have seen enough vast bodies of pseudoscience starting with scientific communism.
    They may use it, but they certainly don't need it. A thing which is quite obvious to everybody with enough common sense.
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    We were arguing about the incoherence and ignorance evident in your presumptions, and your refusal - even when flatly corrected on various matters of fact - to reconsider your vocabulary and evident assumptions. State/government, taxation/redistribution, infrastructure/will, and so forth, are not mere choices of term, but evidence of fundamental confusions.
    But as illustrated for you in several US examples - the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the New Deal - what you claim to be impossible has happened.

    In the US, we are seeing the middle stages of an organized, hugely expensive, time and effort intensive, and increasingly successful political effort to reverse the effects of the New Deal, and restore or even increase the former relative status of the 1%. This would not be necessary if that former status had not been compromised.
    Such a change in technology "independent of any government" is wholly imaginary.
    What I and hundreds of actual researchers claim; So quit claiming they don't. I handed you a list, quite incomplete, of the kinds of records available - which in itself contradicts your claim of only one source of information.
    Read with comprehension, then talk about what your "expectations" were.
    Your projection of garbage from your personal and poorly evaluated experience unto people and politics you don't know anything about has led you to make several basic errors of fact - about racism in the US, about the infrastructure provided by government in democracies, even about the basic requirements of markets in an industrial economy.
    I made no claim based in the word - or concept - "redistribution".
    [quote+"schmelzer"] They may use it, but they certainly don't need it. A thing which is quite obvious to everybody with enough common sense. [/quote] It may be "obvious" to you, but it's silly - and the ludicrousness of the examples you chose and the arguments you advanced (that market exchange which is illegal therefore does not require government provisions of infrastructure, etc) illustrate the depth of your confusion in this matter.

    And it's especially relevant in this thread, in which Indiana's freedom to discriminate laws are stalking horses for consolidation and protection of power against threats to it - threats that depend on the State to be threatening. The government of Indiana is perceived to be a potential threat to the wealthy residents of that State, by those residents: are they wrong?
  10. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    In neutral terms, these disagreements may be considered as misunderstandings. But they also reflect different aims.

    For example, I care about the state, you about the governement, which you define in such a general way that the chieftain and the shaman are the "government" of a tribe. You make use of this extremely wide interpretation of "government" to make your point that markets need a government. With such a wide meaning of "government", this claim would be without any interest for me. Because in every human society where will be leaders, which have some authority, thus, a "government" in your wide sense, so that the thesis reduces to the trivial one that "markets require a human society". If I have not only slightly exaggerated, but fundamentally misrepresented your position here, then it should be easy for you to specify some nontrivial general principles which distinguish a society with government from a society without, and which leaves enough examples of societies without governement. Feel free to provide them.

    "State" is much more restrictive, it is a structure with a monopoly of force over some territory, and can be distinguished from a stateless society by a simple criterion - that the state does not accept the Golden Rule but claims superior rights. This is much more interesting, because the very definition of the state requires that the state violates a basic moral rule, one which the philosopher Kant has described as the only categorical imperative. Thus, a stateless society would be preferable from a moral point of view. This notion is much more restrictive than your "government". Such a restrictive interpretation is necessary if one wants to have a reasonable hope for a stateless society. The question if a stateless society is possible is, of course, a very controversial one. But in a meaningful discussion one should use a very restrictive definition of "state". To make the definition very wide, so that it includes almost every society, is simply a cheap and uninteresting propaganda technique to win such a discussion.

    The distinction infrastructure vs. will is quite similar. Infrastructure is something any developed society needs. The question is not if there is infrastructure, and also not that markets need some infrastructure, but how it will be created, who builds and controls it, who pais for it and who owns it.

    As I have already explained, I do not claim that there are never any redistributions. And in particular wars lead usually to heavy redistributions - from the former 1% to the new 1%. The New Deal was, instead, some concentration of power. Not that much about the 1%, more against the 10% in favour of the 0.1%, from a more or less (in comparison) free market toward corporatism, essentially the fascist economic system.
    Of course, every technology firm has some chief, thus, a government, see above. What I mean is independent of the particular form of organization of the state.
    My claim is not only one source of information, but no reliable source of information at all. That there are a lot of unreliable sources of information, which can, nonetheless, allow to extract useful information, I have never questioned.

    And how many scientist support your claims is completely open. Up to now, the sources you have provided appeared to support my position much more than your. You may not have seen this, given that you tend to fight strawmen all the time, but this is what I have found reading them - and what I have supported here by quoting them.
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    If all you are claiming is that markets on some rudimentary scale can be established without setting up a State level government, then we have no disagreement.

    Then why were you objecting to my plain assertions about the necessity of government in establishing markets?
    My "sense" is not that wide. I agree that human society can exist, on a small enough scale, without a "government". I deny that one can establish markets in such circumstances.
    My thesis is that markets require infrastructure provided by the specific aspects of human society normally labeled "government". Not the mere existence of human society, but the contributions of that specific aspect of it.
    That is not how sane people recognize the existence of a State in a given region. States are not people. Corporations are not people. A State-relevant formulation of the Golden Rule, if "accepted" by a State (? How?), would apply to its relations with other States.
    Which is why I use "government" instead. As you should - it would help clear up some of your confusions. You are the only one here interchanging these terms, replying to claims of governance in terms of the"State", etc, and this practice is confusing you.
    Yes. And in the case of much of the infrastructure necessary for markets, the answer is "government".
    Still with this "redistribution" obsession. Why?
    But you claim the ability to evaluate other people's analysis, and reject it despite its apparent explanatory power and agreement with events. And in your rejection, you make errors of fact which these other people do not make, and you base your arguments on assumptions that do not appear to obtain. So what recommends you to me as a source of information about their information?
  12. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Because it is misleading. Many people use "government" as more or less a synonym for some part of a state, the part which rules the state. And such an animal is not necessary to establish markets. And even the "government" consisting on the chief and the shaman is not necessary for establishing markets - because even in such a stateless tribe people often have private ownership of various things and can also exchange them - without permission or even knowledge of the chief or shaman.

    Let's simply quote wikipedia about government: "A government is the system by which a state or community is controlled. In the Commonwealth of Nations, the wordgovernment is also used more narrowly to refer to the collective group of people that exercises executive authority in a state. This usage is analogous to what is called an "administration" in American English. Furthermore, especially in American English, the concepts of the state and the government may be used synonymously to refer to the person or group of people exercising authority over a politically organized territory." You see, all this refers to a state.
    And this is clearly false. Because in every human society there will be some sort of ownership - if a member of a primitive tribe finds something, he will usuall own it. And what one ownes one can change for something different. So, exchange appears in a natural way. And exchange is all one needs for a market.
    But you have forgotten to explain which part of the market requires which particular aspect.
    Of course, only insane and stupid people like me consider states and organisations simply as groups of people, and think that being a group does not add any rights to the members of this group. Thus, if all the people alone are bound by a moral rule, the Golden Rule or whatever else, a group of these people will be bound by the same moral rules too.

    I know, this is undemocratic, and a democratic majority has the right to do whatever they like with a minority, to kill them, to torture them, to imprison them, whatever, and without any justification except "we like it". But, sorry, I'm not a democrat, because I think this is amoral.
    The meaning of "governement" is even less clear than that of "state". That's why I prefer "state". And it would be helpful if you would stop to make derogatory claims.
    No. Governements build nothing. Governments may rule over people and force them to build some infrastructure, but they do not build it, they do not pay own money for it, but only distribute money they have extorted from others.
    Because this was the context. I was talking about redistribution, you have claimed that something contradicts my statements - so in my answer I have to clarify to you what I have said - thus, to talk about redistribution. If you don't want to talk about redistribution, but about the nice weather, then don't claim that statements I have made about redistribution are wrong.
    Nothing - I have never pretended to become a source of information for you. Feel free to ignore what I say - your choice.
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And some people use "State" to deflect issues of government they cannot handle. Let's just use the words as they should be used, from now on.
    I listed three or four requirements of markets that can only be provided by a government, remember? You never addressed the matter.
    Yep. That's nonsense. But you can extricate yourself from that bizarre incoherence through intellectual effort and study in good faith.

    Begin with the fundamentals: a group is not a person, a State is not "simply" a group. A State is a contrivance, like a bulldozer or a joint stock corporation. In theory it could be set up as a network of bots, with no humans involved beyond elected officials and the occasional repairman.
    Both words have clear meanings. They are not interchangeable. If you are not sure what these meanings are (neither one is "a group of people") obtain a dictionary, and study it.
    They do, but the point is irrelevant: Without government, key infrastructure necessary for a market cannot be built, provided, written, established, or maintained.
    Regardless, no government = no market. So you have a quandary, since you want markets but you don't know how run a government that isn't evil. So all your markets are going to be based in evil.
    Where did you get the notion that any government has such "rights"? The US government certainly does not - it is explicitly forbidden them by its own establishment documents.
    Your talking about "redistribution" was the problem - you were pretending to talk about progressive income taxation and other State implementations, in response to my claims, but you kept dragging "redistribution" into the discussion.
    I have been claiming that my assertions about government, markets, and taxation are right, including the New Deal economic and social policies of the US 1930 - 1980. If you have no disagreements with these assertions, fine. If you do have disagreements with them, address them - not some misrepresentation involving "redistribution" and "the State".
  14. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    If that would be that simple, and depend only on good intentions, life would be much easier.
    I don't. What I remember you have listed I have addressed. So, link please what you think has not been addressed.
    So, it is nonsense that a group has to follow the same moral rules than each member of the group? This is already interesting. Of course, the law of the jungle assigns a large group more "rights" because it is stronger, and democracy, as a variant, assigns a majority more rights.
    I have no problem to acknowledge that forms of organization are inventions too. But this does not change any moral question. If a group uses whatever form of organization for self-defense this is morally acceptable, if it uses the same form for aggression it is inacceptable. I can imagine that a group of owners of some small territory decides, by consent, to organize this territory as a democratic state.
    In this case, it would be the "elected officials" who would be responsible for all the wrongdoings done by the bots. Those who "elected" these officials would be, in a lesser degree, responsible too.
    Dictionary, LOL. On the level of dictionaries, one can think about these words as having a "clear meaning". But already wikipedia-level information will show you that the things are a little bit more complex.

    But, just for fun, tells us that government is "The group of people with the authority to govern a country or state;" ROTFL.
    Yes, this is what you want to construct, but it does not work. Because I have nothing at all against a chief or a shaman with authority based on their merits, I have also nothing against rule based on ownership of small or medium pieces of land. And I reject your thesis that markets cannot exist without governments - as nonsensical given the evidence that markets appear in many variants in every society.
    No. Waterboarding and similar interrogation techniques have been legal in the US, even if only against some special groups. I don't know if Obama has officially made it illegal, but this does not matter, today nobody really knows if they remain legal now, because there already exists secret laws, controlled by secret courts, and one has to expect that such secret laws are about the rules for the really nasty, most dirty crimes of the US. And such crimes as killing people with drones are known to be a hobby of Obama.
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Ok, how about you use the word government, instead of State, when replying to my posts specifically involving government and not addressed only to State level organization? That would be the beginning of you having good intentions, not evident in your current deflections and misrepresentations.
    Accountability, communication and transport, medium of exchange, security, for starters. Weights and measures, meeting and storage areas, dispute handling standards, banking and lending, came in as subsidiary. At one point you were claiming black markets and prison markets were examples of independence from government infrastructure - so you have quite a pile of absurdity to dig out from under. Maybe start here: Notice in particular how the larger scale governing bodies - right up to State level - postponed and delayed and avoided and delegated and screwed up the chore of standardizing measures until the expanding market regions forced their hand? It's not something governments want to take on. But people want to have markets, expand their purview, etc.
    Yes. They don't apply. It's also nonsense to refer to a State as "simply a group of people", or talk about it as "accepting" moral rules.
    Both those statements are false.
    It makes your moral question nonsense. You may as well talk about a bulldozer "accepting the Golden Rule". Even group organizations are not people, let alone States.

    Here - if you have finished Piketty, and learned from that book, another (shorter, better read) text you can use:
    So even by that minimal quote from an online dictionary you have come to agree that your use of State instead of government, in replying to me, has been grossly in error - a type error in logic, according to your source ? Very good. Baby steps.
    You have provided no evidence that a market has ever existed without depending on a government for certain of its infrastructure, or an argument that one ever could.
    You confuse powers with rights, and war with peace, and secrecy with legitimacy, and so forth. Nobody here has denied the fearsome danger posed by government, especially State level - although citizens, recipients of the benefits, tend to overlook what is more obvious to foreigners. But it does not usually come from the rights that governments have been granted - it comes from the powers they have seized.
  16. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    LOL, if you think I have bad intentions, and do not want to consult a psychiatrist about paranoia, you have to live with this. Simply note that I usually do not care much about the difference, in agreement with which writes "Furthermore, especially in American English, the concepts of the state and the government may be used synonymously to refer to the person or group of people exercising authority over a politically organized territory." I know that there are differences, but do not care very much about them, for me this is comparable to the differences between Wehrmacht and SS.
    Accountability exists in any viable organization of society, communication too, and for transport we have feets completely without any government, horses and camels have also been used without governments. A medium of exchange will be created spontaneously if there is enough barter.
    Also no need for a government visible. Dispute handling exists in every society, lending too. There exist a lot of things one can measure by counting or looking at them. And banking is already a quite advanced form.
    The absurdity is on your side. The state does all what is possible to destroy such markets but fails, and you claim they cannot exist without a government. Absurdity pure.
    And the first line of this is "Weights and measures were among the earliest tools invented by man". LOL, I fought they first had to invent a government before inventing weights and measures.

    That you think that states/governments can do what they want without any moral responsibility is terryfying. Is this some special handling for the state/government because you like them so much, or are other criminal gangs also free of any moral responsibility for their crimes?
    I can freely switch between the use of state and government, as long as the differences between them are irrelevant for the question which is discussed. This is similar to the differences between SS and Wehrmacht.
    And you try to play around with minor irrelevant distinctions to hide the murderous crimes of your beloved state under a lot of irrelevant nonsense.

    For the innocent guy who is waterborded by the US torturers it does not make a difference if they have the right or the power to do so, for the drone-murdered child it does not matter if there was a formal declaration of war against Jemen or Pakistan or if Obama simply couldn't care less about international law, and if you will be imprisoned by a secret courts decision for violating a secret law, thinking about the differences between secrecy and legitimacy will give you a pastime in your prison cell but not freedom.
    Especially state level? Because they make the horrible crime of allowing a little bit more freedom of contract, while the federal government murders people with drones in other countries, even without declaration of war, simply because Obama has decided they deserve to be killed, which is irrelevant because they are anyway only non-American subhumans and possibly hate gays or jews?
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Then don't attempt to make arguments that depend on these differences - you will screw up, as you have, every time.
    The infrastructure of them necessary for a market does not exist unless a government establishes it.
    People can ride horses and walk around on their own personal business without government. They can't set up a market and transport themselves and their goods to said market without government infrastructure.
    Sure. It will be created using a government, of course - that's how it's done.
    It's a fact that the infrastructure provided by governments is necessary for the existence of illegal as well as legal markets. You seem to be having great difficulty with this matter.
    Your habit of posting like that when cornered does not recommend your positions or claims. You were told that governments were necessary for the standardization of weights and measures, as growing markets require. You were linked to an illustration of the process - the history of the metric system.
    I'm beginning to understand how you come by the notion that states and corporations and gangs and so forth should be controlled by morality, rather than government - you think they are people, and have moral values and wants and so forth. When you talk about the will of the State, it's not a metaphor or shorthand term for a pattern of behavior - you really think the State has a "will".
    Then what is your problem with correcting your vocabulary and straightening out your muddled thinking?
    Which the definition you posted shows is almost never the case, and which I have several times mentioned is not the case here. So you should almost never do that, and certainly not do it here.

    Indiana, remember?
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  18. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    No problem, I don't. I know that this will not prevent you from claiming that such differences are relevant - I have recognized now that you are not really interested in these differences themself, but simply use them for cheap polemics of type "you are so stupid that you mingle notion1 with notion2".

    To answer this cheap attack strategy, I will no longer accept any claimes of this type, if they are not supported by evidence that the difference is relevant. As evidence I would count that a statement we are arguing about would change its truth value if one would change the notion.
    This is already completely .... So one can use camels to transport themself and whatever else the camel can carry without government, but if one uses them to carry these goods to a popular meeting place, under a nice big tree, where one may find people interested in exchanging some goods, one needs a government.

    About the medium of exchange:
    LOL. I guess, the prison inmates, if they are not allowed to have any cash in the prison to prevent illegal markets, do not simply use one of the goods they are allowed to have and are sufficiently popular as a medium of exchange, to simplify their (anyway illegal) barter, but ask the government to create such a medium. And the governement, of course, supports this, and establishes, say, tobacco as the medium of exchange. This is done because the government hopes to reduce tobacco smoking, given that economists have found that if tobacco is used as a medium of exchange, it will be, in part, used as liquidity or for savings even by non-smokers.
    The point is that it is used - of course, everybody will use what is available, one would be stupid not to do this - but it is not necessary. What is necessary is that different people own different things, and not necessarily the things they want to own. And the solution of this problem is exchange, starting with simple sporadic barter.
    Let's translate: You don't like my habit of quoting the sources you have provided, finding (without much work) quotes which contradict the claims you want to support with these sources.
    It is, in fact, quite interesting, because it is quite untypical. It is much more typical that the proponents of even the most absurd claims can provide some sources which unequivocally support their claims. You, instead, provide sources which contradict your own claims and, instead, support my position much more than your.

    Its already the third case. The first was the paper about child labor. It strongly supported my basic claims that the usual way to "fight" child labor harms the children, are, instead, in the interest of the rich Western firms who want to prevent competition from the Third World, and allowed me to illustrate my thesis about the behaviour of scientists in politically influenced sciences.

    The next was Piketty, which has already in the introduction supported my main thesis - that the main source of information about the distribution of wealth are the statistics about taxation. Actually, I'm on page 210, and have not found yet anything which would give an independent information about this.

    By the way, I have seen today in the newspaper a comment about an actual study of the German DIW about the development of wealth distribution in Germany. A point which was mentioned was that the data do not allow to tell anything about the wealth of the superrich. Surprise, surprise.
    Nonsense. The point is a different one. I reject the idea that people can get rid of their moral responsibility if they simply act as members of some organization. If I kill because of my own interest, I'm a murderer. If I kill for the interest of a group of people, I'm a murderer too. But some people - like you - seem to reject this idea. Or restrict it, to the particular case of "bad" groups of people, like criminal gangs or terrorist organizations. Instead, if you kill in the interest of a "good" group, you are not a murderer, but a hero, or a policeman, a soldier and so on.

    I reject these double standards. A murderer is a murderer, even if he acts as a member of some organization, which has made the decision and given him the order to kill. The moral responsibility for this murder is a shared one - shared between all members of the organization. And, of course, a fair trial would have to take into account the differences in the responsibility between the members. A conscripted soldier, in danger of imprisonment or worse if he refuses to kill, will have a much smaller responsibility than the usual murderer. A contract soldier has much more responsibility. And Obama, who has only signed the killing lists, without personally killing anybody, will share a large part.

    This subdivision of responsibility for crimes made by an organization is a difficult problem for justice. But the basic principle should be clear - the organization as a whole has the same responsibility as a single person for the same deed. If, say, the just penalty for a particular deed would be some compensation for injury, this compensation would not change at all, not even by a cent, if done by an individual or a group. How the group manages to get this compensation from its members can be left to the group - but it has to pay the compensation to the victim.

    This is in complete agreement with common sense, and also behind the concept of considering organizations as a juristic person.
    If it would be simply a correction, there would be no problem at all. Such a correction would look like this: "The claim that "notion1 is X" is inaccurate, it would be better to write "notion2 is X" instead". And not like "You are so stupid that you even mingle notion1 with notion2". And what makes the difference between the two is not the use of defamatory language - this would be only a problem of lack of civilization - but that there would be a proposal from your side which would be acceptable for you. And, assuming that I consider the difference between the notions as irrelevant, acceptable for me too. So, it would be a nice way to find agreement.

    The second form, instead, does not lead to such an agreement. It will usually start a meaningless discussion about the probably quite irrelevant differences between notion1 and notion2, which ends nowhere.

    This does not mean that there are no good reasons for you to prefer the second variant. In particular, this second variant is obviously preferable for you if my "notion1 is X" is as inacceptable to you as the modified "notion2 is X". In this case, the civilized form of correction would give you nothing at all. You would be faced with the challenge to argue against the corrected version "notion2 is X", which would not be easier that to argue against "notion1 is X".
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member


    Consider what that situation requires. Here's just one odd factor (just one now ok?of dozens): nobody has cut that tree down for firewood, instead for years now schlepping it from a considerable and growing distance at no small cost. Why not? Are there no selfish and inconsiderate or spiteful idiots in this market region? Then the obvious: water, sewer, animal feed and care, storage and shelter, degradation of the immediate area from traffic, exchange terms known in advance, dispute resolution re all this stuff - - -

    it's called real life. Get to know it.
    That wasn't your main thesis. Your main thesis was that tax statistics were the only source of such information, and that they were fictional - completely subject to rich people's whims or interests in the first place, and impossible to correct or adjust even in the aggregate in the second.
    You have forgotten the argument: He uses the taxation data as they have been supported by the other data, sources which I have partially listed for you more than once now. Explicitly, if you have read past the first couple of chapters and the notes to them. The tax data are more direct, complete, and easily employed than the variety of proxy data that support them - but of course like all economic data contain wide error ranges: hence Piketty's explicit use of trends and aggregate comparisons and proportions or ratios rather than absolute numbers, and his explicit disclaimers and qualifications throughout - his argument is robust, not sensitive to the degree of tax evasion concealable in his information sources.
    I don't like your habit of changing the words and meanings of my posts, in order to respond without acknowledging your errors of fact and reason they addressed. I pointed out that one needs government to standardize weights and measures for a market, you responded as if I had claimed one needs government to invent a measure or weigh something - and then mocked my supposed claim. Your habit of misrepresentation followed by mockery is beginning to look like a tactic - and in that context, note that it is a common tactic among posters of your "libertarian" persuasion here. In concert with your denigration of tribal economics and politics, your denigration of the achievements of community organization, your unfounded ascription of motives and allegiances to others who differ with you on matters of fact, etc, this tactic tilts you into a faction, united as much by attitude, difficulties in comprehension, and common ignorance, as by ideology.
    We would be in perfect agreement if that was what you were doing.
    No, I go farther than you - I reject the notion that the State can be morally absolved by acting in lieu of a person, as your formulation allows. I would permit killing in self defense by people, for example, in situations where I would forbid a State to have its agents kill.

    The State is not a person, in my world - it does not derive a moral nature, freedom of action, or any rights, from people. Your formulation too easily excuses tyranny - justifies, for example, the secession of the Confederacy in the American Civil War.
    The problem is that there is no such agreement. I am pointing out that your thinking is nonsensical. You are on the one hand claiming to find the difference between State level government and town, community, tribal level governments trivial, and on the other hand denying the role of government in establishing markets by denying the role of the State in town, community, and tribal markets - exactly where the difference between levels of government is not trivial.
  20. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Say, because it is owned by a guy strong enough to defend himself and his property. And, moreover, there are sufficient trees for firewood in the nearby woodland.
    What is obvious is that all this becomes problematic only in a large scale market, not in a small one. So, if the small market - but, however small, already existing - becomes greater, one will have to start to care about this. Naturally, it is the local guy, who controls the territory of the market, who will care about this. These services, if provided, are, of course, not for free. The provider will be even able to get higher prices for the services than somebody who provides them somewhere else, because people are interested to come to this place because of the market. What makes this market provider different from a government is the point that he does not need any taxation to provide the services, everything is volitional.

    (Of course, you can name this "government", which was your point of preferring "government" instead of "state". Whatever, that's your personal Newspeak. My point is that this market provider does not have to violate, even in a single point, libertarian principles. And this is the main point - a libertarian society can, without any state, provide all what is necessary for markets.)
    Nice strawman, but this is what I already expect.
    I'm actually on page 221, and have not found yet anything which I would consider as independent data which can possibly provide information about the real wealth distribution.

    It is even unclear to me yet if his final conclusions will be something I will disagree.
    And I don't like your aggressive way to present me as stupid, making errors but not acknowledging them and so on.

    A government may be useful for standardization of weights - but who cares? Your point was listing weights as something which can be provided only by the government. It is not. A small local market can have weights without any government. If a global standardization of weights requires governments is quite irrelevant, because your thesis was that markets in general need some government. This certainly includes markets which do not need standardization of weights, but simply use local weights. So, I have cared about what is relevant, which is if inventing weights needs a government, not if nation-wide standardization needs a government.

    By the way, there exist a lot of de-facto standards in industry which have been created not by government decision, but simply by the product design of a leading firm and the wish of smaller competitors to provide compatibility with the leader.
    "Misrepresentation" of my position I see a lot from your side. The mockery is simply a reaction to the absurdity of your claim that markets need a government and your defenses. Where you have seen a denigration of tribal economics and politics, or a denigration of the achievements of community organization, is beyond my understanding. Instead, I think that as tribes, as local communities can reach, easily, what you claim needs a government, in particular, they can have markets, without any problem.
    A secession is, of course, the natural right of everybody - and, as well, any group of people too. Of course, only from a libertarian point of view - for a state, its citizens are not much better than slaves (at least military conscription is clearly a form of slavery, and quite distributed even today, from a libertarian point taxation is also part time slavery).

    But how the idea that states do not have more rights than people can justify a tyranny is beyond me. Slavery is a clear violation of a basic libertarian principle - self-ownership. It can be made compatible with libertarian ideas only if one classifies slaves as non-human, as speaking animals. If one rejects this as nonsensical, there is no way to justify slavery. And once slavery is rejected on a personal level, it cannot be justified on the level of organizations too.

    Ok, let's explain my position again: First, without a global reputational system, a state seems necessary at a level where a traditional reputational system does no longer work. One can expect that 10 000 people are a limit, I have seen this number given as the population of towns where the first states have been created. Thus, tribes as well as communities do not need any state. They nonetheless will have leaders, and if you like to name such leaders a government, even if they have nothing except their moral authority to enforce something, your choice. Here my point is quite clear: Markets can be created there, and without any need for a state. There may be local leaders, say owners of the marketplaces - but they do not need superiour rights in comparison with others (except the rights related with their property).

    I care only about states, or governments of states. States like to control and to regulate everything, so they will also regulate tribes, communities and even families living on their territory. But this is clearly unnecessary regulation - they would not only survive, but live even better, without all this regulation. You will, of course, think differently, and probably wonder how they could survive without all the helpful regulation. Whatever, I do not deny that all this regulation exists, all what I deny is its necessity.
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The local Laird, for example. Or the town council. But let's ride along on your fantasy:

    So we have ownership of land established without government, its nature (such as the boundaries and privileges of ownership) communicated via telepathy, and the owner (who apparently lives hsi whole life near this tree) can defend his property against dozens of organized and armed strangers without himself having police or an army at his disposal. And there is all this money around unstolen, privately coined and validated by - something - , and great piles of valuable merchandise and pastured camels and horses and tents and so forth likewise unstolen and all organized by happy spontaneous thoughts, and some way of handling sewage and garbage that spontaneously occurs to everyone and is followed without being enforced regardless of the inconvenience, and so forth.

    Do you begin to understand where I got the term "libertarian utopia" from?
    That is something you might want to change. It's been pretty offensive. It's in the stuff you keep posting about chiefs and shamans not rising to the level of "government".
    Sure they can. They have government. They politically coordinate thousands of people, many of whom do not know each other, to establish these markets. You ever been to one?
    Secession is not something a person can do. Dictionary time again - although it seems not to avail you.
    Giving states the same rights as people will create tyranny in very little time - the power difference is too great, and the self- justification as ready to hand as with a person.
    You need to drop the word "state" entirely, and quit bringing in nonexistent and impossible factors (global reputational system).
    They need governments.
    Your continual underestimation of people you apparently regard as simple and primitive is noted.

    Then refrain from arguments in which government at non-State levels is the primary referent.

    You don't need them anyway - the government of Indiana is State level. It's the State that is going to protect freedom-of-contract abuses of gay people, black people, women, and atheists.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  22. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    That this role is in states taken over by a government does not show that it requires government. In socialist countries, the whole production has been taken over by the government. This does not show that everything has to be produced by the state, only that it has been done in these states.
    No telepathy necessary, the onwers like to build things like walls and fences to mark these boundaries.
    They don't live alone, but in small communities, and these communities are strong enough to organize a defense. Against small gangs this is sufficient. Against whole armies of robberers not, and that's why we have states today - the robberers have been the winners.
    All this is unstolen because it is protected by the owners. As money they use something they can easily validate.
    From the phantasy that everything what is done today by governments has to be necessarily done by governments.
    Strange interpretation, but reasonable for a statist. I exempt them from the accusation that they are a government - that means, from the accusation that they are criminal robberers. But for the statist it is a denigration not to be the greatest robberer, but only a poor guy on equal foot with the sheeple.

    But, ok, I think the situation is now sufficiently clear:

    1.) If you name chiefs and shamans of a tribe government, then the existence of a government is a triviality, and in a libertarian society there will be governments of this type too, without violating any libertarian principles.

    2.) If we restrict the use of "government" to the government of states, and do not consider typical tribes as states, then your claim that markets need government is nonsense.
    If individuals seceede, this is in a statist society named emigration. No need for dictionaries - a look into libertarian literature is more helpful here. Libertarian theory supports the right of secession. And does, quite explicitly, not impose any restrictions about a minimal number of people to have the right to seceede. Of course, it makes not much sense for a single person to seceede, because to live alone is not a very attractive option. In the past, say, for a tribe, to expel a member was a quite serious penalty, more or less equivalent to a death penalty.

    But this is not the question. Whatever group decides to seceede has the right to do this, for a quite simple reason - the Golden Rule. If they create their own state, they are doing the same what the original state has done - to create a state. So, if creating a state is not a misdeed - which has to be accepted by the original state, else they would accuse themself of this misdeed - creating an own state cannot be a misdeed too. So, any state which refuses to accept the right of secession violates the most fundamental moral principle.
    Nonsense. States have actually far greater rights than the sheeple. Of course, no doubt, the result is tyranny, no "will create" is necessary, because if a group of people has greater rights than another one it is tyranny.
    You don't like it, but once it is possible, it will be created. And this will change the situation in an essential way.
    I was not talking about particular American Indian tribes. I'm not a historian to care much about the question if some of them can be already classified as states.
    You have started this. By your claim that markets need "governments", which makes sense only if one uses an extremely wide meaning of "government" including non-state "governments". I have needed some time to understand what you want to name even the chief and the shaman of a small tribe a "government".
    If a state sometimes protects some freedoms, like the freedom of contract, that's fine. It is accidental - sometimes they protect slavery, sometimes part-time slavery in form of military conscriptions, they all are robberers (taxation). Freedom of contract is an elementary right, namely part of self-ownership. Restrictions of freedom of contract are always violations of rights, and force to contract particular individuals if they wish it is simply slavery.

    And slavery is slavery, even if the slaves are white evangelicals and the slaveholders atheistic black lesbian women. You may like the idea of having white evangelicals as slaves for atheistic black lesbian women, as some sort of compensation for the slavery of the past, but it is as unjust as that slavery in the past. And if it is only part time, this does not change the fact that it is slavery.
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    It wasn't in a State - remember? It was your example.
    Now your "owner" is building a wall around something - the marketplace, or just the tree? This is getting good. The libertarian utopia has people building walls around trees - or possibly entire "free" markets - and posting guards, gatekeepers, etc. But not forming a government - heaven forbid.
    Right. Stuff that is protected by its owners is of course not stolen, in libertarian world.
    Of course. By some means, the details of which are beneath your interest but you are certain do not involve government of any kind.
    Emigration is named emigration in the English language. It is not secession, which is a different term for a much different concept. We try to use different words for significantly different concepts, in English.
    Uh, I have looked into libertarian "literature". You guys need dictionaries - badly.
    Why yes, if you redefine words to suit yourself then lots of what other people say will suddenly become nonsense - to you. There isn't any "we" in that approach.
    And until then, which is never, it won't be.
    They are not classified as "States". And your lack of interest in stuff should lead to silence about it - you've made a habit of posting a lack of personal interest in the topic under discussion as an excuse for your repetition of ignorant falsehoods.
    I posted some links for you, figuring you were just ignorant about tribal and small community organization, but you keep denigrating the political complexity of tribal organization. It's not looking good - especially after your similarly arrogant carelessness regarding racial oppression and the like.

    This stuff:
    "Fine", is it. Even if that freedom of contract is used to abuse and oppress entire groups of human beings, who are denied thereby many of those freedoms you claim to promote.

    Because only the State can abuse, and loss of freedom and liberty is only possible at the hands of the State, in libertarian world.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2015
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