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Author Topic: Asking for libertarian input..  (Read 20940 times)

RhythmStar

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #60 on: January 26, 2004, 10:24:03 am »


Last time I looked, companies that made sales were able to pay their employees.  Has that suddenly changed in the "new" global economy?

You don't understand economics. :)  When you spend more of your money rather than saving it, you help the company you buy from, obviously, but you also hurt the companies out there that don't have access to loaned funds from your savings.  You're indulging in Keynesian/mercantilist fallacies that have been repeatedly disproven.  Pumping currency into the economy does nothing to help productivity, which is the basis of all wealth.

Who's doing the pumping here, Jason?  When I need to buy something, I'm gonna buy it, one way or another.  I am not engaging in "Keynesian/mercantilist fallacies", I am putting my money where it will do ME the most good.   The help to the local company that you seem so willing to dismiss is something that I include in my value equation, that's all.  Or, is that too POLITICALLY INCORRECT?  Well, I've been an unconventionalist all my 49 years, no sense in stopping now. :)

A company that goes out of business IS a non-producing company.

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It merely redirects some resources away from more productive American industries to less productive American industries (assuming you're buying for the American label at some cost in quality or price, or both).

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An assumption you make with no substantiation, other than your (apparent) belief that price alone is the only value that one may consider when spending their own money, or that American goods are somehow inferior.  

By definition, if you're purchasing partly on the basis of a made-in-America label rather than quality or price solely, then you're willing to make some sacrifice on quality and price purely to assist an American company.  (Not even an American company necessarily, as "made in America" stickers can be found on goods produced by multinational corporations headquartered outside the U.S., of course.  But that's a side issue.)  If you're purchasing completely on the basis of price and quality, then you don't need to look at the "made in" sticker.

That is not entirely true.  Many times, the US goods will be superior in many respects, such as service and warranty, but will be less effectively marketed, since they are produced by a family-owned business instead of a multi-national corporation.  I would rather pay the family for better service and equal goods, even if I have to look harder to seek them out, than to blithely buy off the global corporate rack with the rest of the herd folk.  Call me a loner... :)

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I am far more likely to benefit economically from well-off New Hampshirites than I am from well-off Malaysians.  

Don't be so sure.  It's a law of economics that exports and imports tend toward equilibrium.  So if you reduce your consumption of imports, you're also reducing the resources that would flow into America's export industries from abroad.  I'm not sure exactly what New Hampshire's trade balance is, but I suspect that NH is much more dependent on exporting than most of the U.S. (especially interior states).

We have a GROWING multi-hundred billion dollar trade deficit in this country.  I think we can go back a pretty far bit in the other direction before even get close to any sort of equilibrium.   If equilibrium were what we were looking at, then we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

RS
« Last Edit: January 26, 2004, 10:34:09 am by RhythmStar »
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #61 on: January 26, 2004, 10:30:49 am »

Who's doing the pumping here, Jason?  When I need to buy something, I'm gonna buy it, one way or another.  I am not engaging in "Keynesian/mercantilist fallacies", I am putting my money where it will do ME the most good.   The help to the local company that you seem so willing to dismiss is something that I include in my value equation, that's all.  Or, is that too POLITICALLY INCORRECT?  Well, I've been an unconventionalist all my 49 years, no sense in stopping now. :)

Well, if it does you good, that's your call, obviously.  I just wanted to examine the reasoning behind the "buy American" slogan.  If the goal is to promote the American economy, the best way to do that is to buy what serves your needs and wants best.  The country of origin, ipso facto, shouldn't matter.

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That is not entirely true.  Many times, the US goods will be superior in many respects, such as service and warranty, but will be less effectively marketed, since they are produced by a family-owned business instead of a multi-national corporation.  I would rather pay the family for better service and equal goods, even if I have to look harder seek them out, than to blithely buy off the global corporate rack with the rest of the herd folk.  Call me a loner... :)

Again, that's another issue.  If the quality is different, there's room for judgement.  I like to eat at local New Haven restaurants rather than national chain restaurants - in general, the local restaurants have much more character and are higher quality.  (And sometimes cheaper too.)

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We have a GROWING multi-hundred billion dollar trade deficit in this country.  I think we can go back a pretty far bit in the other direction before even get close to any sort of equilibrium.   If equilibrium were what we were looking at, then we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

Actually, the trade deficit is starting to shrink due to the dollar's weakness... But the main reason the trade deficit has persisted has been a long-term appreciating dollar.  If we could get developing countries to stabilize their monetary systems, the trade deficit would disappear...  Gotta use the IMF for that. ;)  (Only partially kidding.  I want to abolish the IMF, but use moral suasion to get China to remove exchange controls.)
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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #62 on: January 26, 2004, 10:41:32 am »


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It merely redirects some resources away from more productive American industries to less productive American industries (assuming you're buying for the American label at some cost in quality or price, or both).

An assumption you make with no substantiation, other than your (apparent) belief that price alone is the only value that one may consider when spending their own money, or that American goods are somehow inferior.  

By definition, if you're purchasing partly on the basis of a made-in-America label rather than quality or price solely, then you're willing to make some sacrifice on quality and price purely to assist an American company.

Jason makes some excellent points in here, and there's another one that could be made:

If you buy an American product at a higher price than an equal-quality foreign product, you lose some of your purchasing power, funds that could have been spent on other products from another American company that IS competitive, in a different industry.

In effect, you're rewarding an uncompetitive local company, and diminishing your capability to reward a competitive local company.  (Through your purchases, or through investment, as Jason suggested.)

Why would you do that?

(You're also diminishing your own quality of life, since you can't buy all the goods and services that you could if you purchased without regard to country of origin.  Again, why would you do that?  How would the local economy benefit if everyone voluntarily diminished their individual quality of life?)
« Last Edit: January 26, 2004, 10:45:23 am by Lex Concord »
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RhythmStar

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #63 on: January 26, 2004, 11:53:44 am »

From the WTO's own website:

...

So, the WTO rules on product bans and environmental limitations that most right-libs bristle at when undertaken by our own government.  

When the WTO makes a ruling on these things, all that means is that it's not viewed as a fair retaliation to impose trade barriers on countries that have environmental regulations.  Making such a ruling in no way infringes on sovereignty; in fact, it's an explicit limitation on the WTO's remit.  Personally, I think it would be good for the WTO to sanction punishment of countries that have private-property-violating environmental regs, but the WTO expressly sets itself against this policy - which I think you would probably say is a good thing.

There are good ends and good means.  It is a good end to facilitate NOT destroying the biosphere in greed and ignorance, to the detriment of all living humans (who require a functioning biosphere Earthside to survive, at least for now).  However, the ends do not justify the means.   The best way to fight ignorance is to disseminate knowledge.  Coercion is generally bad.

OTOH, whale watching, for an example of a green activity on a biosphere resource,  is a bigger business worldwide than whale harvesting.  It seems that for many species, there is more money to be made in celebrating them than there is in wiping them out, since wiping them out removes the resource, but watching them can go on as long as there are whales and watchers.  

Ahhh, capitalism at work!  8)

RS
« Last Edit: January 26, 2004, 07:51:22 pm by RhythmStar »
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RhythmStar

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #64 on: January 26, 2004, 12:09:18 pm »


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It merely redirects some resources away from more productive American industries to less productive American industries (assuming you're buying for the American label at some cost in quality or price, or both).

An assumption you make with no substantiation, other than your (apparent) belief that price alone is the only value that one may consider when spending their own money, or that American goods are somehow inferior.  

By definition, if you're purchasing partly on the basis of a made-in-America label rather than quality or price solely, then you're willing to make some sacrifice on quality and price purely to assist an American company.

Jason makes some excellent points in here, and there's another one that could be made:

If you buy an American product at a higher price than an equal-quality foreign product, you lose some of your purchasing power, funds that could have been spent on other products from another American company that IS competitive, in a different industry.

In effect, you're rewarding an uncompetitive local company, and diminishing your capability to reward a competitive local company.  (Through your purchases, or through investment, as Jason suggested.)

Why would you do that?

(You're also diminishing your own quality of life, since you can't buy all the goods and services that you could if you purchased without regard to country of origin.  Again, why would you do that?  How would the local economy benefit if everyone voluntarily diminished their individual quality of life?)

The problem with generalization is that it is so generalized.   You need to first define your basket of goods before you can make any coherent points that I can't just brush aside by saying I'm not looking for the product of that putative 'efficient' company.

Also, you need to define the elements of 'efficient'.  You seem to assume that somehow all local companies are saddled by a fat, overpaid workforce and a greedy, totalitarian government that bleeds them dry with taxes.   This is a hyperbolic perspective, for while local workers may indeed be paid more AND the local tax burden may be excessive and its delivery of value via the public sector inefficient in terms of waste, etc.,  that does not mean that I enjoy no 'network effect' benefits at all from that activity -- the local services are provided, such as they are, and the local employees and/or companies are my customers.  

Over a multi-year timeframe, perhaps there will be a statistical averaging of indicators that some economist may point to and say "See?  I toldya so!"   This in no way invalidates my assertion that by patronizing local businesses, we help ourselves (that is, individuals living in Real Time on the ground), or that you can extrapolate that out as far as you like in concentric rings of economic interdependence.

Anyone who is thinking of working with a local chamber of commerce may need to at least be a little strategic with the global vision economics rhapsodizing, if they want to get anywhere.  I'd sure hate to see pot kept illegal in New Hampshire just because the local NH folks decided we were all corporate shills working for the Chinese division of Wal-Mart!

RS
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Mike Lorrey

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #65 on: January 26, 2004, 01:19:02 pm »


The problem with generalization is that it is so generalized.   You need to first define your basket of goods before you can make any coherent points that I can't just brush aside by saying I'm not looking for the product of that putative 'efficient' company.

Also, you need to define the elements of 'efficient'.  You seem to assume that somehow all local companies are saddled by a fat, overpaid workforce and a greedy, totalitarian government that bleeds them dry with taxes.   This is a hyperbolic perspective, for while local workers may indeed be paid more AND the local tax burden may be excessive and its delivery of value via the public sector inefficient in terms of waste, etc.,  that does not mean that I enjoy no 'network effect' benefits at all from that activity -- the local services are provided, such as they are, and the local employees and/or companies are my customers.  

I'm sorry, RS, but BillG has sold you a bill of goods. Comparative advantage proves that what Jason says is right. The problem with the theory of comparative advantage is that it does not take into account such things as tyranny, political repression, etc. Recall that slavery was economical so long as the southern states prevented alternatives from being exploited and made institutional measures to protect their labor force (bans on education, Fugitive Slave Act, etc) and imposed national tariffs on foreign cotton, and so therefore each state, which preferably would have competed against each other to produce cheaper cotton, colluded in protecting their market together.

Today, you have over a billion Chinese people living virtually as slaves (and a large chunk actually are slaves in PLA factory prisons) producing product at a comparative advantage to the US. If they had a political system like ours, their comparative advantage would not be nearly as wide as it is, because their workers would organize, citizens would demand a cleaner environment, etc.

Similarly, in India, an English based educational system and a billion person population has produced a huge IT labor force that can telecommute far cheaper than you or I can to a US company. Exporting IT jobs is therefore far cheaper than exporting a factory. But those Indians do not live as freely, or at as high a standard of living.

Comparative advantage works, but HOW you want it to work is a matter for national policy. Exporting low pay jobs elsewhere is fine. Exporting high education jobs is not.

You can only play the comparative advantage game if there is something your own economy produces better for export than anybody else. Otherwise you wind up like France.
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LeopardPM

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #66 on: January 26, 2004, 04:16:16 pm »

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Comparative advantage works, but HOW you want it to work is a matter for national policy. Exporting low pay jobs elsewhere is fine. Exporting high education jobs is not.

hmmm - having a problem with this, not sure how to put it into words yet...
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Tracy Saboe

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #67 on: January 26, 2004, 06:11:37 pm »

For the record.

I agree with RhythmStar about the UN, WTO, EU, NAFTA, CAFTA, and every other long complicated international trade treaty.

They are evil. They aren't about free trade, they are about "FAIR TRADE" (Whatever that means) They are about government regulated trade.

They need to be scrapped in favor of short two sentence agreement.

Tracy

Nope, the Libertarian Party, Lew Rockwell, et al. are wrong about the WTO and NAFTA, and the Cato Institute is right.  These agreements are complex, and the two-sentence agreement would be ideal, but the problem is that the two-sentence agreement is not politically sustainable.  No government will ever adopt that kind of unilateral free trade because it reduces their political leverage.  The WTO and NAFTA simply provide a political framework for the reduction of trade barriers.  They improve overall freedom to trade by making freedom politically palatable to national governments.  Now, it's true that NAFTA has labor and environmental side agreements that could damage freedom, but fortunately they haven't been enforced. :)

See, except that we WANT to reduce there political leverage. Reducing political leverage is a good thing. It reduces government for all parties concerned.

Tracy
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RhythmStar

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #68 on: January 26, 2004, 07:45:57 pm »


The problem with generalization is that it is so generalized.   You need to first define your basket of goods before you can make any coherent points that I can't just brush aside by saying I'm not looking for the product of that putative 'efficient' company.

Also, you need to define the elements of 'efficient'.  You seem to assume that somehow all local companies are saddled by a fat, overpaid workforce and a greedy, totalitarian government that bleeds them dry with taxes.   This is a hyperbolic perspective, for while local workers may indeed be paid more AND the local tax burden may be excessive and its delivery of value via the public sector inefficient in terms of waste, etc.,  that does not mean that I enjoy no 'network effect' benefits at all from that activity -- the local services are provided, such as they are, and the local employees and/or companies are my customers.  

I'm sorry, RS, but BillG has sold you a bill of goods. Comparative advantage proves that what Jason says is right. The problem with the theory of comparative advantage is that it does not take into account such things as tyranny, political repression, etc. Recall that slavery was economical so long as the southern states prevented alternatives from being exploited and made institutional measures to protect their labor force (bans on education, Fugitive Slave Act, etc) and imposed national tariffs on foreign cotton, and so therefore each state, which preferably would have competed against each other to produce cheaper cotton, colluded in protecting their market together.

Today, you have over a billion Chinese people living virtually as slaves (and a large chunk actually are slaves in PLA factory prisons) producing product at a comparative advantage to the US. If they had a political system like ours, their comparative advantage would not be nearly as wide as it is, because their workers would organize, citizens would demand a cleaner environment, etc.

Are you saying I should buy the cheap goods and enjoy the benefits of slave labor, or not?  

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Similarly, in India, an English based educational system and a billion person population has produced a huge IT labor force that can telecommute far cheaper than you or I can to a US company. Exporting IT jobs is therefore far cheaper than exporting a factory. But those Indians do not live as freely, or at as high a standard of living.

I actually have a cure for Bangaloridosis, although it is only a transient one.  Still, change in the appdev field is so fast, it might continue to keep ahead.  Time will tell. :)

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Comparative advantage works, but HOW you want it to work is a matter for national policy. Exporting low pay jobs elsewhere is fine. Exporting high education jobs is not.

I like to do my economic policy implementation on a personal level, and in businesses where I have influence.  Expecting the "national policy" wonks to do it for me seems like a bad bet... they are too macro, and I like things to be particular and directly related to individuals and individual companies, so I know what actually happens.  Doing everything on the other end of a stack of stats apps has its place, but it is no substitute for real time, 3D info.

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You can only play the comparative advantage game if there is something your own economy produces better for export than anybody else. Otherwise you wind up like France.

Certainly, the Chinese have the slave labor comparitive advantage game sussed!

:)

RS
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Osborn F. Enready

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #69 on: January 26, 2004, 08:42:54 pm »

     I appreciate all the input to my original post question. I also appreciate the info from everyone including the "discussion" that seems to have spawned from this thread.  Still trying to absorb some more information on Libertarian trade theories.  In one thread someone referred to trading produce with someone in another country.  In your ideal minimal government how would something like this be handled as far as inspection for bugs/germs before leaving or entering the country?  Would this be handled by the government?  How big of a hand would government have in the "ideal" Libertarian Government?  I like to think that as much as I am for minimalist government there also has to be certain areas of government in place to inspect and monitor trade goods for quality and germ/pest protection.

     Mike Lorrey seems to like wearing the nametag of informed Libertarian spokesperson, so I will address this question to him:  Mike, if I wanted to know more about Libertarians ideal government, where could I find this info?  Do you know of any good sources that deal with my question of ideal government size and scope specificly?

    Once again, Leopard, Bill G, Tracy, Mike, michael, all the info and debate greatly appreciated.


                                                          Osborn F. Enready

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #70 on: January 27, 2004, 01:45:14 am »



     Osborn, if you're interested, here is the objectivist view of government from the Objectivist Center website:

"The Objectivist political theory has three main elements, all of which draw upon the classical liberal political tradition. First, the foundation of the political system should be the fundamental right to live free from physical force. Second, government has the strictly limited function of protecting rights. Third, government power should be exercised in accordance with objective laws. Capitalism is the politico-economic system implied by these principles."

www.objectivistcenter.org/objectivism/faqs/wthomas_faq-politics.asp

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #71 on: January 27, 2004, 01:46:17 am »

Individual Rights:

"The Objectivist ethics holds that each person can live and flourish through the independent exercise of his rational mind. Economically, humans flourish through production and trade, as is evident from the fact that the freest countries are either the richest countries or are getting rich most quickly. Socially, trade is the model for how people can best deal with one another.

Trade is voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. We trade money for the goods we need. But we form friendships and join clubs and associations as a kind of trade, too, investing our time, money, and energy in a relationship, for mutual enjoyment or the advancement of a shared cause. Independent people are traders because they give value for the values they receive from others. They do not mooch off of their friends and relatives, and they do not loot the resources of strangers.

It is possible to live independently only if one is allowed to do so. One's choices must be voluntary if they are to be freely made. Fundamentally, only the threat of deadly force can undermine one's ability to reason and choose. Assault, murder, theft, fraud: all these are examples of the use of force to deprive someone of freedom, of goods, or even of life. Normally, one employs one's mind to support one's well being. The threat of force makes one accept someone else's dictates, rather than one's own judgment. This was the way the totalitarian systems such as Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, or Maoist China treated their citizens, and that is why the effect of those systems was a gray, uniform style of life, faltering production, and periodic bouts of mass imprisonment and slaughter. Because force is a fundamental threat to the independent life of production and trade, there is one fundamental principle of social organization that a just society must secure: the principle that no one may initiate the use of physical force against any other.

The principle of non-initiation of force does not prohibit its use in self-defense. Objectivism is not a pacifist philosophy. A trader does not seek to profit from the use of force, but he is able and willing to defend himself, his friends, and his goods if they are threatened or attacked. The pacifist is right to recognize that violence is not the best way for rational beings to deal with one another. But when the rational and good fail to defend themselves from those who attempt to live irrationally, through force, they are surrendering all that is decent to all that is not. Those who choose the life of the animal, the life of tooth and claw, deserve a response in kind, if that is what will eliminate the threat.

The individual rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness—mentioned in many American political documents—identify different dimensions of freedom and prohibit the corresponding types of force. "A 'right' is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context," wrote Ayn Rand. "There is only one fundamental right (all others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right to his own life." To live, one must be able to take action, by one's own choice, in support of one's life; that is the right to liberty. We are material beings, and so we need the freedom to keep the fruits of our labors and use or dispose of them as we see fit: that is the right to property. And we live as ourselves, for ourselves, so we have a right to pursue our own happiness."

www.objectivistcenter.org/objectivism/faqs/wthomas_faq-politics.asp
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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #72 on: January 27, 2004, 01:47:14 am »

Limited Government

"The power of government is the power of the gun. It has the power to enforce a set of rules in the territory it controls, a power that is often turned against freedom. Objectivism therefore advocates a strictly limited form of government: a republican system that has only those powers and takes only those actions required to secure our rights to freedom from force. There must be a military force for defense against external enemies. There must be a system of legislation and law courts to establish the law and to adjudicate disputes in which force might be used. And there must be a system of enforcement of the law such as the police, to make sure the law is a social rule, not empty words.

No country today scrupulously respects our rights, and indeed many people do not understand what rights really are. A limited, rights-respecting government would have no welfare system and no forced pension-paying system like Social Security in the U.S. It would not have agencies with open-ended and vaguely defined regulatory powers. There would be no anti-trust law, nor zoning laws, nor anti-drug laws. This does not mean that a free society would not have unemployment insurance or pensions, or that it would not have distinctive neighborhoods or public campaigns to reduce the use of dangerous narcotics. But if people wanted any of these things, they would have to organize and undertake them voluntarily, through individual contracts and free associations. And no one would have the right to enforce his preferences on someone else through violence. Free debate and rational persuasion would have to be the means a social organizer would use, and the result would be a system of freedom, in which each person would choose for himself the best course in life and would suffer or enjoy the consequences of his choices."

www.objectivistcenter.org/objectivism/faqs/wthomas_faq-politics.asp
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"I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life.  Nor to any part of my energy.  Nor to any achievement of mine… I wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others."
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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #73 on: January 27, 2004, 01:47:58 am »

Objective Law

"Civil law (primarily contracts, property, and torts) is government's main positive service. Civil law provides objective, just, and peaceful means of resolving disputes among producers and traders. In so doing, it provides the context needed for reliable long-term planning and contracting, which in turn are necessary conditions for the prodigies of global capitalist production and the wonders and conveniences of modern life. Police and the armed services, by contrast, serve in a negative role: they protect citizens from threats by criminals and foreign aggressors. In both civil and criminal realms, law functions by providing clear standards for determining which actions and interactions among people are consistent with individual rights. Without these legal institutions, society collapses into warring camps; each interaction invites violent dispute; and life becomes more inconvenient, less productive, and more brutal—at best.

Objectivity in the law is crucial to its function. The laws must be clearly expressed in terms of essential principles. The highly detailed, programmatic laws so common today violate this principle, as do the vague standards under which many regulations are issued. The law must be intelligible to the people on whom it is enforced. The law courts must be structured so that objectivity and impartiality are the hallmarks of any legal decision. And the law must always be grounded in principles of rights."

www.objectivistcenter.org/objectivism/faqs/wthomas_faq-politics.asp
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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #74 on: January 27, 2004, 01:48:37 am »

Capitalism

"Thus capitalism is not merely a system of economic freedom, much less an economic system favoring big businesses. In its pure form, capitalism is a social system characterized by individual freedom, diversity, and dynamism. It is a system that treats people as individuals, with no ethnic, religious, or other collective principle enshrined in the law. It is the system under which each of us makes his own choices and must take responsibility for his own life and happiness. It is the system in which long-term peace and unbounded prosperity are possible, if people will work for them. As Ayn Rand said, it is the system of separation of economy and state, just as there is separation of church and state, and for the same essential reason: because each person has a right to think and to live as his own conscience dictates, and because we all benefit from everyone having that freedom."

www.objectivistcenter.org/objectivism/faqs/wthomas_faq-politics.asp
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"I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life.  Nor to any part of my energy.  Nor to any achievement of mine… I wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others."
-Ayn Rand
http://www.aynrand.org
http://capitalism.org
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