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How about a situation where you have two major competitors for a single product, but both are so powerful, neither can really overtake the other. So instead of competing, they enter an agreement where they'll both raise prices on their products by 15%, thus making their profits much higher. Do you consider this ethical? Some countries have laws against price fixing like this, others don't. When it happens, it's hands-down a very effective way to maximize profit over normal competition.

 

"Price fixing" is another thing forbidden by the antitrust laws. "Price-fixng" is subjective and literally any business can be guilty of it if government thinks they're too successful. Anyway...

 

Yes, I would consider this "ethical". "Ethics" is how you should treat other human beings. The corporations made a product, they're legally entitled to own it, and the consumer is free to buy it or refuse it; no force is being used--the relationships are voluntary.

 

To say that it would be "unethical", is to imply that corporations exist to serve consumers i.e. they have no right to exist for themselves. If corporations have a right to exist for themselves, it's not any of your business what they do with their own property; if they don't have a right to exist for themselves, then it IS your business what they do on their own time--only then, can this be considered unethical.

 

Yes there are, here are some objective "goods" for society:

 

-Access to clean water

-Access to affordable housing

-Access to affordable food

-Access to affordable waste disposal / sewage

-Access to affordable heating / lighting / electricity

-Access to affordable health care

-Access to affordable education

-Protection against crime

-Some sort of safety net for people unable to work or find work

-Being able to afford leisure time

 

There's plenty of others, but the things people need to survive and services / comforts that a modern civilization can easily afford its citizens is a good place to start. Since the government doesn't provide all those things, many people depend on wages to try and achieve them. By lowering the standards for workers, it jeopardizes more people from having all of these things. As for whom and what it's good for, it's good for the happiness and survival of the entire population living in an area. All these things are frequently NOT always good for maximizing profit margins. If you think these are subjective goods and not objective ones, I would love to hear who you think should NOT be entitled to those things.

 

I think that lowering standards for workers means that more people can get jobs, and thus, more people can have all these things. Take minimum wage for instance: all minimum wage does is outlaw jobs whose wages (determined objectively through supply and demand) are lower than that; owners will usually do the jobs themselves--this means that LESS people can get jobs and the things you said. This actually happened during The Great Depression: FDR, in his attempt to fix the depression, raised minimum wage; this put small businesses out of business, more people lost their jobs, and the economy got worse.

 

But anyway, you asked who shouldn't be entitled to these things? Simple: nobody. Lemme explain:

 

First of all, "entitled" implies "by right". Let's take something that I presume that both you and me agree is a fundamental human right: the freedom of speech.

 

What does the "right to freedom of speech" mean? Because a right is a moral principle, this means that you can morally speak your mind--no one can morally apply force to you to make you stop speaking. You are free to speak and if anyone tries to stop you, then they're morally in the wrong.

 

The "freedom of speech" does not mean that people have to listen to what you say and it does not mean that people are obligated to provide a microphone for you to speak. It simply means that on your own time and money, no one may morally force you to stop speaking. Take note that the only obligation this right puts on other people is the absence of force i.e. other people may not initiate force on you; because a government is instituted to protect rights, the government may punish anyone who initiates force on you and violates your rights.

 

All these liquid commodities (protection against crime is a different issue that I'll address later), are valuable. Therefore, they must be paid for.

 

If these are "rights", that means that the government must initiate force on people to compel them to provide your "rights". The obligation of your "freedom to health care" (or any other piece of value) to other people, means that other people are forced to provide it for you, or suffer at the hands of the government.

 

Your right to freedom of speech recognizes that no one may morally compel you to do anything; the "right to healthcare" says that everyone must compel you to do something.

 

This is why "the right to healthcare" can only be viewed as "good" if you drop contexts. The right to healthcare means that other people are forced, at the point of a gun, to provide your healthcare. This means that the government can legally rob you. The only difference between the armed robber and the government in this situation is that the government is sanctioned by a majority vote.

 

It might be good for the robber if he has extra money, but it's certainly not good for the victim.

 

For me, "The Jungle" represents largely unbridled capitalism.

 

Well, it is just a story. For me, "Atlas Shrugged" represents socialism and democracy. In it, life is going fine until more and more constraints are put on the people who run the motor of the world; the majority wasn't as successful as the minority, they were jealous, so they voted to constrain them. These producers eventually decide that they can't work under these conditions, so they abandon their posts. The standard of living goes down, as incompetent people and government bureaucrats take their positions. I think this is where we agree to disagree.

 

I said UNBRIDLED Capitalism, in other words, capitalism with basically no limits other than the free market. Taken to extremes, it doesn't FORCE things directly, but it can directly impact and incentivize the majority of a population to work harder for less money, thus lowering the standard of living and quality of life for the majority. Now granted, quality of life is subjective, but I think we can agree that it's better to get paid $9 an hour (assuming the company can EASILY afford it) than 30 cents an hour, and better to have the option of working 8 hours a day or less, than only 12 or more.

 

I'm know; I'm talking about unbridled capitalism as well i.e. the state and economics are completely separate. The government only recognizes the right of the individual to be free of the initiation of physical force.

 

People work harder for less money, yes; that's because capitalism doesn't support mediocrity. In capitalism, anyone who is willing to work and produce will do fine. Keep in mind though that less wages means lower prices; combine that with a minimalist government and what you have is a situation where someone below the poverty line in capitalist America is FAR better off than someone below the poverty line in the Soviet Union.

 

Alright, let's focus on water companies then. Suppose the government no longer is in charge of water purification. A company moves into a town and sets up a water purification service, based on demand. After they're established, they do market research to determine that they will maximize profits if they charge prices that only 90% of the local population can afford. Other companies look at this region, but decide to dismiss it, because while they could open up a competing facility at lower prices, the initial overhead would lead to a profit loss for at least 10 years, so they all decide it's not worth it since the existing company is already there. So 90% of the population has water to drink, and the remaining 15% have to use the river, which is polluted. How does privatization provide for these bottom 10%? Are they simply on their own and don't receive clean drinking water?

 

Before purification companies, people DID have clean drinking water; just talk to the Amish. That being said:

 

This is a really contrived situation, but I think people would find ways to purify it themselves. I would compare this to the automobile industry: there are different kinds of cars, some more expensive than the others. When you gave me this situation, this is kind of like asking me: "What if in a small town, the only car dealer that opened up was Porsche? Do you expect everyone else to walk ten miles to work everyday?"

 

Also, this is how I append every perceived flaw in capitalism: I reject the idea that someone's "need" is a claim on the lives and effort of other people. I don't think that the robber's "need" justifies the robbery.

 

I can listen to the audio when I run, but I won't be doing that until I'm no longer sick. It was mainly the dialogue in Atlas Shrugged that drove me crazy, the rest I figured was worth reading since it's such a famous book.

 

It's an essay on tape, so there won't be any annoying dialogue.

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Yes, I would consider this "ethical". "Ethics" is how you should treat other human beings. The corporations made a product, they're legally entitled to own it, and the consumer is free to buy it or refuse it; no force is being used--the relationships are voluntary.

 

That implies existence of competition. The problem with price fixing is that when it happens there is no competition - either your corporation already is a monopoly or it makes a cartel agreement with other major players (the actual "fixing" bit). None of this is in any way ethical, normal or good for society.

 

In fact, if you want the ultimate example of how price-fixing economy works take a look at the socialist economic model of the USSR period (100% price fixing with 100% monopolisation of production).

 

To say that it would be "unethical", is to imply that corporations exist to serve consumers i.e. they have no right to exist for themselves.

 

Of course they don't have any right to exist for themselves. Their function is to organise labour and concentrate finance to produce product which can be exchanged for a value. They have to compete with other similar producers to achieve the best combination of quality v value. If they fail to do that they must die, their assets to be eaten by others. If they use anti-competitive ways to maintain the value of their product the key incentive for them to produce product efficiently disappears. The value they claim is inflated which diminishes the value of all other products and of money itself. This is a disease and it must be fought rigorously whenever detected.

 

First of all, "entitled" implies "by right".

 

Yes, but rights cannot exist without responsibilities. You are correct in saying that if you are being granted a right by the society then you must expect something to be demanded of you in return.

 

Welfare and healthcare - a modern society simply cannot exist without those. It is too expensive not to have them - the cost of bringing up a child, education, training, all wasted if he dies of hunger or appendicitis while going through a bad patch (which may be weeks, may be months, who knows, before he could regain employment, recover, turn around).

 

The question is in the balance - yes, there clearly must not be an entitlement to live one's entire life on benefits but you must have a safety net. It's like insurance - you pay your taxes and you should expect some help back if needed, but not indefinitely and not in unlimited amount...

 

Regards

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I think there's some important stuff here to focus on, otherwise the rest of this debate is pointless:

But anyway, you asked who shouldn't be entitled to these things? Simple: nobody.
The simple version of what I think you're saying is that the government shouldn't enforce anything that infringes on what other people wish to do (short of obvious illegal things, like theft, murder, etc.). I can understand that mentality, but in practice, I think this creates more of an "every man for himself" society. So if you're too poor to afford housing or regular meals, that's your problem. If you're injured or uneducated and can't find work, that's your problem. If you're ill or elderly and can't afford healthcare, that's again, your problem and nobody else's (unless they choose to make it theirs). Is this a correct conclusion of what you're advocating? If it is, I think that's immoral and rather brutal towards people, provided a society has the means to provide for everyone. So if so, I fundamentally disagree with what you're saying, sorry. As long as a society has the resources to do so, I don't think anyone should not be provided basic needs in order to survive, regardless of their situation. If that's not what you're saying, then who provides for all those types of people under the system you're describing?
Also, this is how I append every perceived flaw in capitalism: I reject the idea that someone's "need" is a claim on the lives and effort of other people. I don't think that the robber's "need" justifies the robbery.
Well let's go back to my above examples in this post. Who exactly are the "robbers?" Does it include the person who is homeless on the street who wants somewhere to live and food to eat because he doesn't have these things and can't currently provide for himself?

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I've recently heard it said that, boiled down to its essential truth, welfare, social security, and similar such programs are "bribes, paid by the wealthy to the poor, to keep them from rising up and simply TAKING what they want/need," and that the point of all the arguing back and forth about them is to distract the poor (or, the non-wealthy), enough to keep them preying on each other.

 

Which is what really seems to happen. I mean, when poor people actually rob other people, do they rob rich people? No, they usually rob each other, or someone just slightly more wealthy (like, say, me.) When there are riots and looting, are rich neighborhoods burned and sacked? Not usually, usually the rioters burn down their OWN neighborhood, or one that's simply close by, and the looted stores are usually local businesses, something that always does more harm than good - and coincidentally leads to the public impression that the poor are a bunch of idiot savages who foul their own nests.

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I've recently heard it said that, boiled down to its essential truth, welfare, social security, and similar such programs are "bribes, paid by the wealthy to the poor, to keep them from rising up and simply TAKING what they want/need," and that the point of all the arguing back and forth about them is to distract the poor (or, the non-wealthy), enough to keep them preying on each other.

 

Which is what really seems to happen. I mean, when poor people actually rob other people, do they rob rich people? No, they usually rob each other, or someone just slightly more wealthy (like, say, me.) When there are riots and looting, are rich neighborhoods burned and sacked? Not usually, usually the rioters burn down their OWN neighborhood, or one that's simply close by, and the looted stores are usually local businesses, something that always does more harm than good - and coincidentally leads to the public impression that the poor are a bunch of idiot savages who foul their own nests.

And that really does remind one of the thesis, every man for himself.

For stealing/robbing is what one will do when in need without caring about consequences to anyone else or the majority since one will be forced to when one needs vital life items.

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The more I read about it, the more I'm convinced that OWS is nihilism.

 

Clearly, crony capitalism is a problem; it hurts everybody. That's why I say that the government and economics should be completely separate.

 

This is not what the protesters want. They want, as a fundamental issue, to make the government as a legalized armed robber to take money from those who've earned it and give it to those who didn't. Right now, they're figuratively and literally pissing on the symbols of capitalism and the free market.

 

CNN says that forty-seven percent of Americans don't pay taxes; I'm sure that a great number of these people are on Wall Street. Normally, I wouldn't be so indignant, but these are the parasites of America: they pay nothing to the system and demand that it does more for them (the OWS protesters who don't pay taxes, not people who don't pay taxes in general). For those that do pay taxes, why do they keep putting their money into the free market? Why don't they donate more to the government?

 

By what right, by what standard, do both these groups say that they can force others to pay more? If the free market is so bad and corrupt and the government is so great, then why don't they give all of their money to the government instead of putting it into the corrupt free market? I know why: deep down, they know that capitalism is better than socialism; deep down, they know that the voluntary exchange of goods is better than the initiation of force.

 

I think this is why I'm feeling this way: I was born into the "1%" that these people are talking about. My father works damn hard to support four children and an ex-wife--and he still manages to put me through university and give me amazing things.

 

I'm infinitely grateful for everything I receive from him; I respect what he does, and I excuse his flaws because he goes out of his way to provide things for me.

 

This is why it makes my blood boil when I see things like this:

 

tumblr_lsxgeuPktj1r4cz2xo1_1280.jpg?1318992465

 

This isn't something a normal person does; this is something a spoiled, self-entitled brat who's never worked an honest day in his life does.

 

If his parents loved him (her?), they'd make him pay for university himself.

 

So if you're too poor to afford housing or regular meals, that's your problem. If you're injured or uneducated and can't find work, that's your problem. If you're ill or elderly and can't afford healthcare, that's again, your problem and nobody else's (unless they choose to make it theirs). Is this a correct conclusion of what you're advocating?

 

I'm saying that if you can't get these things yourself, you'll have to rely on private charities i.e. the kindness of other people.

 

So pretty much, yes. If I was a doctor and a patient came to me but couldn't pay for his operation, I won't necessarily let him die, but I think that society should let me let him die. If it was my father, or anyone in my family, of course I would waive the bill; but I'm not going to commit my valuable services to someone just because you told me to. I operate who I want to operate on and under what conditions I say.

 

If he dies, I didn't kill him; he died because he didn't have the foresight to buy insurance. Of course, this would only work in a lassiez-faire society where the government didn't make it difficult for doctors and healthcare professionals to make money.

 

I think that's immoral and rather brutal towards people, provided a society has the means to provide for everyone...As long as a society has the resources to do so, I don't think anyone should not be provided basic needs in order to survive, regardless of their situation."

 

Whenever you say "society", you're really referring to "people who've earned that money through hard work." If you view these people not as "individuals", but as "society", then I guess you can justify the assertion that their wealth belongs to "society" and not "individuals".

 

I think that a society is simply a collection of individuals; this is why I think it's immoral to take the concept of "for the good of society" as something that undermines an individual.

 

If that's not what you're saying, then who provides for all those types of people under the system you're describing?

 

They would have to rely on charity i.e. the kindness of other people. There's a difference between charity and "by right"; I would think that people who run charities would be offended if someone told them that the impoverished people should have those things "by right".

 

Don't think that charity isn't good enough; the Christian church, a very charitable organization, raises something like one hundred billion dollars a year purely in donations in America alone. And that's just one of the bigger charities.

 

Well let's go back to my above examples in this post. Who exactly are the "robbers?" Does it include the person who is homeless on the street who wants somewhere to live and food to eat because he doesn't have these things and can't currently provide for himself?

 

I define a "robber" as "one that initiates an act of force against an individual without their consent, to take property that does not belong to them."

 

So yes, a homeless person on the street who steals money would be a "robber."

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CNN says that forty-seven percent of Americans don't pay taxes. Normally, I wouldn't be so indignant, but these are the parasites of America
I clicked on that article, and it cited another article, which said this:

 

"At issue for the Republicans is the fact that an estimated 46% of Americans don't owe any federal income tax. That's because many of them earn so little that the standard deduction and personal exemption absolve them of liability."

 

While I'm sure a few of them are parasites, my guess is the majority of them are not. If somebody works as a janitor 40 hours a week (or better yet, like some jobs I've had, 35 hours a week so they can work you almost full time without providing benefits), but can barely pay for his rent and groceries, but after filing his taxes, owes nothing to the IRS because he earns so little, do you think he's a parasite to society, even with the work he's doing?

 

By what right, by what standard, do both these groups say that they can force others to pay more? If the free market is so bad and corrupt and the government is so great, then why don't they give all of their money to the government instead of putting it into the corrupt free market? I know why: deep down, they know that capitalism is better than socialism; deep down, they know that the voluntary exchange of goods is better than the initiation of force.
This sounds kind of bigoted. When you say "I know why" talking about someone else, assuming everyone else's views are really the same as yours, you don't really achieve any understanding that way. That would be like me saying that I know why some people listen to jazz; it's because deep down, they know metal is awesome, but they're too afraid they can't handle it.

 

Personally, I think capitalism in its modern form produces great things, but has also become extremely harmful to the middle class and unregulated I think is dangerous to the well-being of society. As for the government, I feel like its been infiltrated by lobbyists and is a limp duck in a lot of areas or an enabler to what would have previously been illegal practices in the past. Exchange of goods isn't everything, force is necessary. I WANT the government to force companies not to do something like dump mercury into the river. If someone is making 100 million dollars a year, I WOULD like the government to take some of that money and use it to benefit people have almost nothing. So if they earn 80 million that year instead of 100 million, yes, they are being "robbed" for operating in the country they live in, but my guess is that money can improve the lives of an incredible number of people than it would in the hands of the individual.

 

I think this is why I'm feeling this way: I was born into the "1%" that these people are talking about. My father works damn hard to support four children and an ex-wife--and he still manages to put me through university and give me amazing things.
Well I'm sure he does work hard, though $350,000 or more of gross income a year makes it far easier to provide all those things than the vast majority of families, many of which likely work just as hard as he does. An example of hard work is fine, but I'm willing to bet the average blue collar worker works a hell of a lot harder than the average family member who inherits millions. I'm WELL within the 99% myself and was born into it, but I think my views wouldn't change if my income ever did.

 

This isn't something a normal person does; this is something a spoiled, self-entitled brat who's never worked an honest day in his life does.
And yet this woman could earn more income from trust funds than your entire family combined. But if you're consistent with your ideology, I'm assuming you think it's more of a crime that she is charged any taxes from her trust fund income than to have the government force a percentage of it go towards scholarships for poorer families.

 

Whenever you say "society", you're really referring to "people who've earned that money through hard work."
No, I'm referring to everyone who lives within a civilization. This includes hard workers, but it also includes homeless drunks, and it includes upper income earners like the woman in your picture.

 

I think that a society is simply a collection of individuals; this is why I think it's immoral to take the concept of "for the good of society" as something that undermines an individual.
Well if something immensely benefits thousands or millions of individuals and inconveniences a few individuals, I consider that generally a good thing. So if you earn 100 million dollars and the government takes 20 million from you, yeah, I guess that sucks that you don't get every last dollar, although you still have 80 million dollars, which is more money than 99% of people will ever see in their lives. Then if you turnaround and that money goes and benefits 20,000 people by providing schools for children, dental work for people who can't afford it, shelters for battered women, etc., I consider that a pretty good tradeoff for society overall, even if the individual would rather have his extra 20 million dollars. If it's easier, imagine it's the woman in the picture who's earning 100 million dollars each year from trust funds.

 

They would have to rely on charity i.e. the kindness of other people.
Are there any projections this would actually work without a LOT of people being left on the wayside? America has both welfare and private charities and we still have about 44 million people in poverty. If there wasn't any welfare, that number would almost certainly be higher, more on that below. At least with a government "forcing" some things you can have some guarantees of some services, however shoddy they might be.

 

Don't think that charity isn't good enough; the Christian church, a very charitable organization, raises something like one hundred billion dollars a year purely in donations in America alone. And that's just one of the bigger charities.
Well again, according to wikipedia we have about 44 million in poverty in America. So 100 billion would mean about $22 per person in poverty on average. But even if you want to factor in every other charity, I think the math still doesn't add up. from 2000 - 2010 the Bush tax cuts saved about 2.7 trillion dollars in tax cuts, yet the poverty rate increased by 4-5%, with 11 million more in poverty. Even before the 2008 economy problems, the poverty level was rising steadily. So if your theory was true, that means that poverty should have gone DOWN because private charities would have had more money, because the government was taking less from taxes. Instead, it went up. Just relying on the kindness of people I think doesn't cut it, I think it would leave way too many people suffering or dead that wouldn't be with more socialized benefits.

 

I think the government currently spends around 800 billion on welfare and we still have tons of people in poverty. I don't understand how we would have LESS poverty if welfare suddenly disappeared. Charity would have to raise at least an additional 800 billion just to have similar numbers to what we have today.

 

I would think that people who run charities would be offended if someone told them that the impoverished people should have those things "by right".
I can't imagine any charity worker who thinks people do NOT have a right to something like a place to sleep or food.

 

So pretty much, yes. If I was a doctor and a patient came to me but couldn't pay for his operation, I won't necessarily let him die, but I think that society should let me let him die.
Well assume in this scenario you're living comfortably from your salary and this is not a case of triage, where by denying him you're saving someone else's life. If you still would like society to ALLOW you to let him die in your position, I think this discussion is over; your morality is simply different from mine. I think you value no compromise whatsoever to the rights of the individual, at any cost, including the lives of people who are less fortunate.

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@Michael Archer:

 

What you seem to have trouble to understand is that we are social creatures, we live in society, which is a complex, living, self-organised system. Look at is as a human body - it is not a random collection of cells, the cells are grouped into organs, organs are grouped into the whole body. The cells do their function, in exchange they are provided the necessary resources.

 

People are like cells, like it or not. They must exist in a relationship with the rest of the people. If your hand decide it no longer needs the head or your dongle decides that it does not want to share its blood with those hairy legs, they are both in for a disappointment...

 

If the complex relationship, which must include a degree of redistribution of wealth, breaks down, the society decomposes into chaos pretty much immediately. Remember New Orleans, immediately after Katrina - it took at most 24 hours of isolation for the civilisation to start collapsing there.

 

Our modern society is too complex to rely on charity or voluntary actions to stay coherent. There must be predictability and reliability of social functions to avoid excessive waste of resources and productivity on unnecessary deaths, discontent and unrest among a great part of productive population. This predictability and reliability is provided by the state. There is no question that it is needed - the only question is where is enough and when it becomes too much.

 

As for that girl, she looks like a typical spoiled teenager, full of romantic notions and hormones. It's an adventure for her (with the safe knowledge that at any moment she can come back to her loving family, free from want). In 10 years time she will be as conservative as anyone and will be calling the then protesters a bunch of lazy bastards who should pull their fingers out and go do something, like making a fortune on the stock market... Life.

 

Regards

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Actually I have one more comment, a friend presented me with this question, that I think could have saved a lot of time figuring out everyone's morality:

 

Let's say you ate a belladonna berry by accident, which is poisonous. I have a calabar bean, which is the antidote. However, I refuse to give you the calabar bean because you can't give me something in return. Is that unethical?

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As for that girl, she looks like a typical spoiled teenager, full of romantic notions and hormones. It's an adventure for her (with the safe knowledge that at any moment she can come back to her loving family, free from want). In 10 years time she will be as conservative as anyone and will be calling the then protesters a bunch of lazy bastards who should pull their fingers out and go do something, like making a fortune on the stock market... Life.

 

 

Seriously? Studies show that people untill about 16-17 are conservatives, people are most libertarian in University and right after, however they start becoming conservative as they get older and especially when they get time-hogged after having a child or a family or a career to take care of.

 

Seriously, you can tell me how all of this is xp or whatever, but how I interpret it is that people just give up on a better life/society when they are time-hogged and start saving up and securing at least what they have for when they get older so at least they get something.

 

But you know, that's my opinion. I just don't like this attitude, conservative. The name itself implies that you should save up untill at 60 when you can't even move properly or have the energy to play football it will pay off with worthless money. Fuck that, you should live life always not just after 60.

 

@Ross Scott Since Michael Archer is Laissez Faire Capitalist. He doesn't believe in intervention of nature.

 

In Britain, in 1843, the newspaper The Economist was founded, and became an influential voice for laissez-faire capitalism. In response to the Irish famine of 1846–1849, in which over 1.5 million people died of starvation, they argued that for the government to supply free food for the Irish would violate natural law. Clarendon, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, wrote, "I don't think there is another legislature in Europe that would disregard such suffering.

 

This is why I will always be against laissez-faire.

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Abstracting for a moment from the criminal aspects of this appeal let's imagine that they succeeded. Overthrown the Federal Government, disbanded the Congress, arrested the POTUS. What next?

 

How are they then going to run the country, effect justice, keep the financial system working, honour international commitments, manage diplomatic relations? They don't seem to have provided a lot of details on that...

 

Regards

 

P.S. @ProHypster re: "Fuck that, you should live life always not just after 60." - That's the spirit!

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"If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable."

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"If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable."

"The goal is nothing, the movement is everything"

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"If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable."

"The goal is nothing, the movement is everything"

"Thank you for playing 'should or should we not, follow the advice of the galactically stupid?'" :lol:

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Abstracting for a moment from the criminal aspects of this appeal let's imagine that they succeeded. Overthrown the Federal Government, disbanded the Congress, arrested the POTUS. What next?

 

How are they then going to run the country, effect justice, keep the financial system working, honour international commitments, manage diplomatic relations? They don't seem to have provided a lot of details on that...

 

Regards

 

Clearly, they haven't thoght that far ahead. But then, if they had cultivated that capacity, most of them probably wouldn't be where they are now.

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I think the government currently spends around 800 billion on welfare and we still have tons of people in poverty. I don't understand how we would have LESS poverty if welfare suddenly disappeared. Charity would have to raise at least an additional 800 billion just to have similar numbers to what we have today.

 

The point is that no matter how much the government spends or doesn't spend, it hasn't had a significant impact on the poverty level for longer than I've been alive. It's fluctuated between ~10 and ~15% since 1965.

 

Meanwhile, check out what's happened to the family structure in that time, with an eye towards the fact that while 8% of children in two-parent families live in poverty, 42% of children of single mothers live in poverty. Our system has something to do with that.

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The point is that no matter how much the government spends or doesn't spend, it hasn't had a significant impact on the poverty level for longer than I've been alive. It's fluctuated between ~10 and ~15% since 1965.

I'd have to see a study showing no correlation between government spending on welfare and the poverty rate before I could just take your word for it. I mean if you spend 50 billion above average one year and the poverty rate drops 1%, it may not seem like much, but there could be a correlation.

 

What I do know is our government welfare system didn't really start until after the Great Depression, so you would have to look at rates prior to that. I believe in the late 1800s and early 1900s you had poverty rates from 30-60%, which is much higher than what we have now. There's lots of variables at work in this, but that suggests that simply eliminating government welfare would just make the overall situation worse. In an anecdotal sense, say you're unemployed, can't find a job, and receive welfare money and food stamps. Now take that money away so that you can't pay rent or buy groceries. Now say that a private charity is overstretched and has to provide to even needier people than you. What options do you have then?

 

Meanwhile, check out what's happened to the family structure in that time, with an eye towards the fact that while 8% of children in two-parent families live in poverty, 42% of children of single mothers live in poverty. Our system has something to do with that.
I did a search on google and this is one of the first links I found:

 

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/oct/13/rick-santorum/rick-santorum/

 

It sounds like the numbers aren't as high as 42%, but it makes sense that if you have half the earners in a family, they'll have less to work with. Again though, I think this is an argument that our system needs improvement, if welfare was taken away these numbers would likely be higher.

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Well, they've been kicked out and maybe the police can clean up the street. I can already hear the socialist liberals crying, "Tyranny! Our freedom of speech is being abridged! Our First Amendment right is being violated!"

 

I've explained this earlier, but the freedom of speech does not give you the right to force other people to listen to you or forcibly occupy another's property, or vandalize public streets.

 

Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto also kicked the occupy protesters off Bay Street (Toronto's Wall Street--the stock exchange is there). It's the first good thing he's done since he's been elected. I'm surprised: Toronto was always a very liberal city, but then they elect a rather conservative guy. At least he's not as bad as the last guy.

 

Anonymous is threatening to attack Toronto's internet, if Ford doesn't let the protest continue. I don't even know what that means! Like, how they took down Facebook (spoiler: they didn't.)

 

Didn't Anonymous organize the protest? If so, I guess this just shows how OWS and Anonymous believe that might makes right and that the 99% is bigger, so they'll get their way.

 

While I'm sure a few of them are parasites, my guess is the majority of them are not. If somebody works as a janitor 40 hours a week (or better yet, like some jobs I've had, 35 hours a week so they can work you almost full time without providing benefits), but can barely pay for his rent and groceries, but after filing his taxes, owes nothing to the IRS because he earns so little, do you think he's a parasite to society, even with the work he's doing?

 

No. He's a hard working, honest man who is living by his own means.

 

A parasite would be someone who doesn't pay taxes, yet demands for more government programs to be paid for with other people's money.

 

This sounds kind of bigoted. When you say "I know why" talking about someone else, assuming everyone else's views are really the same as yours, you don't really achieve any understanding that way. That would be like me saying that I know why some people listen to jazz; it's because deep down, they know metal is awesome, but they're too afraid they can't handle it.

 

Yeah, I guess you're right. That was kind of short-sighted of me. Sorry 'bout that.

 

Personally, I think capitalism in its modern form produces great things, but has also become extremely harmful to the middle class and unregulated I think is dangerous to the well-being of society. As for the government, I feel like its been infiltrated by lobbyists and is a limp duck in a lot of areas or an enabler to what would have previously been illegal practices in the past.

 

That's not lassiez-faire capitalism. That's crony capitalism and I think we can agree that that DOES hurt everyone.

 

I'm going to have to disagree when you say it's harmful to the middle class. Before capitalism, there was no middle class. Saying that capitalism is bad because some of the middle class struggles is like saying that oxygen is bad because it fuels criminals. If there was no oxygen, there would be no criminals; likewise, if there was no capitalism, there would be no struggle middle class to suffer.

 

And yet this woman could earn more income from trust funds than your entire family combined. But if you're consistent with your ideology, I'm assuming you think it's more of a crime that she is charged any taxes from her trust fund income than to have the government force a percentage of it go towards scholarships for poorer families.

 

If she practice what she preaches, she'd disown the trust fund. Hopefully, she did. Can you imagine, "My family is evil because of all the stuff they provided me! Not my trust fund...I need that". But seriously:

 

Aren't those the same things? My problem isn't that she wants to give her money to the government: my problem is that she denounces all the good things that her parents gave her because they love her, and she presumes to speak for every other rich person in the country. She thinks that all the money in the country belongs to her to decide what she will do with it--I think that's unspeakable.

 

No, I'm referring to everyone who lives within a civilization. This includes hard workers, but it also includes homeless drunks, and it includes upper income earners like the woman in your picture.

 

She didn't earn anything. Nothing in the poster does it says that she has a high-earning job. Her parents got her everything. Not only is she spitting in the face of her parents, but she's thinks that other people who rightfully earned their money don't deserve it.

 

Well if something immensely benefits thousands or millions of individuals and inconveniences a few individuals, I consider that generally a good thing. So if you earn 100 million dollars and the government takes 20 million from you, yeah, I guess that sucks that you don't get every last dollar, although you still have 80 million dollars, which is more money than 99% of people will ever see in their lives. Then if you turnaround and that money goes and benefits 20,000 people by providing schools for children, dental work for people who can't afford it, shelters for battered women, etc., I consider that a pretty good tradeoff for society overall, even if the individual would rather have his extra 20 million dollars. If it's easier, imagine it's the woman in the picture who's earning 100 million dollars each year from trust funds.

 

I think that's a very condescending attitude. I'm not trying to offend or insult you, but it sounds to me like you're saying "That individual doesn't need that extra twenty million dollars--he's fine with what he has". Does this justify you robbing him and gunpoint? Because you don't think he needs that money, that means it's fine for you to take it? Why do you get to tell him what happens with his money? I use the word "you", since a government derives its power from the consent of the governed.

 

You used the word "tradeoff"; are you a utilitarian? The problem is that when you say "benefits thousands or millions of individuals and inconveniences a few individuals" is that this implies that some individuals are more important than other individuals; it implies that it's fine to treat some people as your personal ATMs, regardless of the whether or not they agree with it as long as they're the minority.

 

You say "a pretty good tradeoff for society". This means that "good" is something independent of the good of an individual. Are you saying that it's fine for society (i.e. a majority) to take what doesn't belong to them as long as the majority says it's ok? I could be wrong about this, so correct me if I am.

 

This is very terrible, and I feel like a horrible person for saying it, but I think it needs to be said just for the sake of reductio ad absurdum: the "good for the majority" means that it is fine for the KKK to lynch an individual, since that individual is a minority and the that the majority thinks that it's for the "common good". After all, since they're the majority, they get to decide what's best for the majority.

 

That's what always puzzled me about the phrase "common good" or "good for the majority" is that the majority decides what's good for them. Convenient?

 

Personally, I think that no good can be achieved by violating an individual's rights because no good has ever been achieved by a lynch mob; because of this, I don't think using the phrase "for the good of society" or "the common good" ever justifies violence of a mob rule onto a helpless individual.

 

Are there any projections this would actually work without a LOT of people being left on the wayside? America has both welfare and private charities and we still have about 44 million people in poverty. If there wasn't any welfare, that number would almost certainly be higher, more on that below. At least with a government "forcing" some things you can have some guarantees of some services, however shoddy they might be.

 

You've got me cornered. At this point, I really don't know.

 

Regardless, other people's need is never a claim on the lives of other people.

 

Well again, according to wikipedia we have about 44 million in poverty in America. So 100 billion would mean about $22 per person in poverty on average. But even if you want to factor in every other charity, I think the math still doesn't add up. from 2000 - 2010 the Bush tax cuts saved about 2.7 trillion dollars in tax cuts, yet the poverty rate increased by 4-5%, with 11 million more in poverty. Even before the 2008 economy problems, the poverty level was rising steadily. So if your theory was true, that means that poverty should have gone DOWN because private charities would have had more money, because the government was taking less from taxes. Instead, it went up. Just relying on the kindness of people I think doesn't cut it, I think it would leave way too many people suffering or dead that wouldn't be with more socialized benefits.

 

I think the government currently spends around 800 billion on welfare and we still have tons of people in poverty. I don't understand how we would have LESS poverty if welfare suddenly disappeared. Charity would have to raise at least an additional 800 billion just to have similar numbers to what we have today.

 

Isn't Social Security bankrupt? Wasn't that a big cause of the whole debt crisis?

 

Also, Bush isn't the poster boy for capitalism. I also don't know what caused the poverty rate to increase. But shouldn't have Obama's job plans decreased poverty also?

 

I'm also not saying that in lassiez-faire, no one would be poor. Anyone who would be willing to work and would be able-bodied would be fine, is what I'm saying.

 

I can't imagine any charity worker who thinks people do NOT have a right to something like a place to sleep or food.

 

This guy. He's the founder of one of the largest charities in the world, an Objectivist (and therefore, a lassiez-fare capitalist), and a huge admirer of Ayn Rand, like me.

 

Well assume in this scenario you're living comfortably from your salary and this is not a case of triage, where by denying him you're saving someone else's life. If you still would like society to ALLOW you to let him die in your position, I think this discussion is over; your morality is simply different from mine. I think you value no compromise whatsoever to the rights of the individual, at any cost, including the lives of people who are less fortunate.

 

Unfortunate, but I can respect that.

 

You're absolutely right when you say I won't compromise the rights of the individual. As I said before, I think rights are moral absolutes; I don't compromise principles. This is why I fail to understand how some people can claim to achieve good for society--a group of individuals--by violating the rights of an individual.

 

Let's say you ate a belladonna berry by accident, which is poisonous. I have a calabar bean, which is the antidote. However, I refuse to give you the calabar bean because you can't give me something in return. Is that unethical?

 

No.

 

I assume that you rightfully earned the calabar bean through hard work and voluntary trade.

 

Just because I can't afford to buy your antidote, does not give me the right to stick a gun in your face and demand that you give it to me. I should have been more prudent, and planned for the future. You didn't kill me.

 

@Michael Archer:

What you seem to have trouble to understand is that we are social creatures, we live in society, which is a complex, living, self-organised system. Look at is as a human body - it is not a random collection of cells, the cells are grouped into organs, organs are grouped into the whole body. The cells do their function, in exchange they are provided the necessary resources.

 

I think I understand it fine. I agree that man exists and prospers best in a society; all the more reason that it's imperative the social concepts known as "rights" be strongly upheld.

 

If the complex relationship, which must include a degree of redistribution of wealth...

 

I'm going to have to stop you there. It's not up to you to decide who gets what wealth because that wealth doesn't belong to you. You have no right to treat other human beings as ATMs.

 

I point you to the Soviet Union and North Korea for societies that one of their many fundamental principles in the redistribution of wealth.

 

@Ross Scott Since Michael Archer is Laissez Faire Capitalist. He doesn't believe in intervention of nature.

 

I don't even know what that means!

 

Isn't man nature? Doesn't man come from nature? I don't think that man exists independent of nature. I'm confused by your statement

 

In Britain, in 1843, the newspaper The Economist was founded, and became an influential voice for laissez-faire capitalism. In response to the Irish famine of 1846–1849, in which over 1.5 million people died of starvation, they argued that for the government to supply free food for the Irish would violate natural law. Clarendon, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, wrote, "I don't think there is another legislature in Europe that would disregard such suffering.

 

This is why I will always be against laissez-faire.

 

Have you read Johnathan Swift's A Modest Proposal? It's about the Irish famine. Basically, he say that we should eat babies (it's a satire). He's criticizing the treatment of other human beings as commodities and he's criticizing utilitarianism.

 

I could be wrong, but I think that's just an unfortunate choice of wording. I think by "natural law" they refer to our "natural rights" like the right to property and pursuit of happiness. I highly doubt that they're saying "Oooh, we musn't disturb the nature! Everything happens for a reason!"

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Watch this insanity:

WmJmmnMkuEM

 

I used to think that the cops were just keeping the rowdier ones under control, but this is unfuckingbelievable.

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