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Author Topic: Asking for libertarian input..  (Read 19525 times)

RhythmStar

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2004, 05:43:37 pm »

>>avoiding the question "would that make US companies inefficient and lazy"

It was, but I took it to be what the pols call staying "on message".

As for the question unanswered, I think not, so long as free market conditions exist.  What would make US companies fat, lazy and unresponsive to market demands and foreign competition would be tariffs that sought to force the issue. There just aren't enough economic patriots in the US to generate that strong a backlash.

FWIW, I buy American whenever I can.  As a result, even though I could have afforded Mercedes or BMW, I drive a Ford Escape.  Neat little car, the Escape -- most of the positives of an SUV, with better gas milage, an easier parking profile and far better handling.

RS

« Last Edit: January 24, 2004, 05:44:33 pm by RhythmStar »
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LeopardPM

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2004, 06:48:58 pm »

ok, Rhythm,
why do you buy american then if you do not think it makes a difference?  The fact is EVERY purchase makes an incremental difference - a tariff forces an across the board difference, but a tariff in an amount that increases domestic auto sales by 10% has essentially the same effect as 10% more people playing the 'buy american' game (don't mean to sound degrading, I applaud you using the free market to reflect your principles/values/beliefs it works!).  But, on a pure monetary/economic basis, it makes the american companies fatter/lazier/whatever because they didn't have to earn/work/put forth effort to garner the additional 10% increase in sales.....

its all a matter of degrees, the overall effect may to 'tend' manufacturers to be 'lazy and uncompetitive', but one instance isn't going to turn our economy south by any means... its when there is a steady accumulation of tariffs and 'buy american JUST to support american jobs' (to buy american because they do not employ slave labor is a different matter entirely, with different effects because the REASON of a purchase decision DOES influence production through polls/surveys to companies) - then there is a serious overall effect on our nation as a whole... we end up paying twice the amount to garner the same standard of living of competing nations...

michael
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BillG

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2004, 08:25:42 pm »

Osborn-

IMHO your gut instincts are correct. Wherever producers are farthest away from consumers - communities and cultures will not survive...

How do we conquer this negative force being unleashed on the world?

Build local economies of human scale today because in the not too distant future the price of oil is going to rise too quickly for us to easily recover without major economic and social disruptions...

The key is building economic decentralization & self-reliance via alternative currency...


Wendell Berry in Orion Magazine:
http://www.oriononline.org/pages/om/archive_om/Berry/Local_Economy.html

excerpt:

"Albert Schweitzer, who knew well the economic situation in the colonies of Africa, wrote nearly sixty years ago: "Whenever the timber trade is good, permanent famine reigns in the Ogowe region because the villagers abandon their farms to fell as many trees as possible." We should notice especially that the goal of production was "as many...as possible." And Schweitzer makes my point exactly: "These people could achieve true wealth if they could develop their agriculture and trade to meet their own needs." Instead they produced timber for export to "the world economy," which made them dependent upon imported goods that they bought with money earned from their exports. They gave up their local means of subsistence, and imposed the false standard of a foreign demand ("as many trees as possible") upon their forests. They thus became helplessly dependent on an economy over which they had no control.


Such was the fate of the native people under the African colonialism of Schweitzer¹s time. Such is, and can only be, the fate of everybody under the global colonialism of our time. Schweitzer's description of the colonial economy of the Ogowe region is in principle not different from the rural economy now in Kentucky or Iowa or Wyoming. A total economy for all practical purposes is a total government. The "free trade" which from the standpoint of the corporate economy brings "unprecedented economic growth," from the standpoint of the land and its local populations, and ultimately from the standpoint of the cities, is destruction and slavery. Without prosperous local economies, the people have no power and the land no voice."

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LeopardPM

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2004, 09:30:30 pm »

What?

never seen you launch into such prose, BillG!  How dramatic, 'conquer this negative force being unleashed on the world'!!!  You had to be smiling as you wrote that, I know I can't even read it without chuckling...

as for your situational example....
ok, first off, we are dealing wih a very small population so it is not reasonable to apply whatever results on a vastly wider scale.  BUT, even with that said...
So, the farming communities found it more advantageous to cut trees than to farm... this leads to the obvious question: What did they do with their profits?  They obviously knew that if they didn't grow stuff that they would need to purchase it from somewheres - I would assume one of two things:

(1) The farmers made a very poor choice - they either were not paid enough to sustain themselves until they could begin planting again or they were paid with items that held much less value than they thought they did (ie: cheap plastic beads or something that they, due to pure ignorance, thought was valuable but when they tried to convert those beads into foodstuffs, discovered otherwise)

(2) the farmers made a very poor choice - they reaped great profits from the timber harvesting but spent the money on other things instead of planning for the obvious coming self-induced famine...

my guess is that these poor folks were just plain taken advantage of and had no reference within their culture as to how to deal with the westerners.  My heart cries for them...

BillG,
if I grow a tomato in my hydroponic garden and sell it to my neighbor for an amount we both agree upon, is this 'trade' good for both parties?  Does it matter how far away my neighbor lives?  the next town, county, state, country?  Should the government or ANYONE, besides my neighbor and I, have any say in the trade if it does not involve force or fraud?  Where is this 'negative force' that arises from this trade?

You know i am with you when it comes to self-reliance and alternative currency et al - but negotiating trades freely IS one aspect that self-reliance and responsibility manifest themselves.  The larger the population of traders, the greater the overall prosperity, this is not some made up opinion... its substantive economics... (ell, in my opinion j/k LOL!!!)

michael

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RhythmStar

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2004, 10:00:12 pm »

ok, Rhythm,
why do you buy american then if you do not think it makes a difference?  

I did not say it doesn't make a difference.  Obviously, it does.  What I said is that there are not enough economic patriots nowadays to create "that strong a backlash", meaning an effect so ubiquitous and damaging as raising the price of imported cars via tariff so high that all the Camry and Civic drivers would be driving Fords or Chevies.

RS
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LeopardPM

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2004, 10:05:29 pm »

ok, i didn't catch the 'degree' to which you meant...

(ps: are you sore about my stupid 'humor' remark?)


michael
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RhythmStar

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2004, 10:11:32 pm »

>>fatter, lazier, etc.

BTW, I have to object to this tripe.  What makes companies fat and lazy is ignorance, not customers willing to pay a price for qualities they value.  To me, the fact that a fellow American got to feed his family as a result of me buying a car is definitely worth something.  THAT, my friend, IS the free market at work, invisible hand and all!

Harrumph!!

RS


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JasonPSorens

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2004, 10:19:19 pm »

BTW, I have to object to this tripe.  What makes companies fat and lazy is ignorance, not customers willing to pay a price for qualities they value.  To me, the fact that a fellow American got to feed his family as a result of me buying a car is definitely worth something.  THAT, my friend, IS the free market at work, invisible hand and all!


When it comes to my clothing, I always try to implement a Buy Bangladeshi policy.  It's much more important to feed Bangladeshi families than to feed American ones.
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BillG

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2004, 10:39:20 pm »

Quote
BillG,
if I grow a tomato in my hydroponic garden and sell it to my neighbor for an amount we both agree upon, is this 'trade' good for both parties?  Does it matter how far away my neighbor lives?  the next town, county, state, country?  Should the government or ANYONE, besides my neighbor and I, have any say in the trade if it does not involve force or fraud?  Where is this 'negative force' that arises from this trade?

You know i am with you when it comes to self-reliance and alternative currency et al - but negotiating trades freely IS one aspect that self-reliance and responsibility manifest themselves.  The larger the population of traders, the greater the overall prosperity, this is not some made up opinion... its substantive economics... (ell, in my opinion j/k LOL!!!)

michael

The point of the article (if you had read it) is that cheap oil becomes the basis for the idea that communities should give up self-relience in order to specialize in production for export of the single commodity that can be most cheaply produced resulting in destroyed local production capacities, local diversity, and local economic independence.

The negative force is that subsistence farmers are forced off their land as cheaper imports flood their market and they are forced into the cities to sell their labor as cheaply as possible...sound familiar? try the enclosure movement in England!

Where did I say anything about government or anybody else having any say in this?

My perscription is alternative local currencies that strengthen a local economy...completely voluntary!
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BillG

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2004, 10:43:50 pm »

BTW, I have to object to this tripe.  What makes companies fat and lazy is ignorance, not customers willing to pay a price for qualities they value.  To me, the fact that a fellow American got to feed his family as a result of me buying a car is definitely worth something.  THAT, my friend, IS the free market at work, invisible hand and all!


When it comes to my clothing, I always try to implement a Buy Bangladeshi policy.  It's much more important to feed Bangladeshi families than to feed American ones.

They wouldn't have to be fed if their subsistence culture wasn't been destroyed by globalization forces...
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2004, 10:50:28 pm »

They wouldn't have to be fed if their subsistence culture wasn't been destroyed by globalization forces...

Isn't it interesting how it's only people in countries with an advanced division of labor who maunder on about the glories of "subsistence"... ::)
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Mike Lorrey

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2004, 11:17:45 pm »

BTW, I have to object to this tripe.  What makes companies fat and lazy is ignorance, not customers willing to pay a price for qualities they value.  To me, the fact that a fellow American got to feed his family as a result of me buying a car is definitely worth something.  THAT, my friend, IS the free market at work, invisible hand and all!


When it comes to my clothing, I always try to implement a Buy Bangladeshi policy.  It's much more important to feed Bangladeshi families than to feed American ones.

They wouldn't have to be fed if their subsistence culture wasn't been destroyed by globalization forces...

I was under the impression that Bangladeshi subsistence culture regularly gets destroyed by monsoon forces.... you certainly can't slave away in a maquiladoro plant when your town is under 20 feet of Ganges floodwaters...
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BillG

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2004, 11:31:05 pm »

They wouldn't have to be fed if their subsistence culture wasn't been destroyed by globalization forces...

Isn't it interesting how it's only people in countries with an advanced division of labor who maunder on about the glories of "subsistence"... ::)

You mean vs. being forced off the land to sell you labor in the cities with a "built in" structural unemployment pool to insure wages don't get too high and no social services mandated by IMF asterity policies?

hmmm...tough choice but hey no guts no glory - right?
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LeopardPM

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #28 on: January 24, 2004, 11:43:46 pm »

>>fatter, lazier, etc.

BTW, I have to object to this tripe.  What makes companies fat and lazy is ignorance, not customers willing to pay a price for qualities they value.  To me, the fact that a fellow American got to feed his family as a result of me buying a car is definitely worth something.  THAT, my friend, IS the free market at work, invisible hand and all!

Harrumph!!

RS
I understand you.  And I would suppose that companies could easily enough determine how much of their market share is derived by 'local patriotism' and the like, in fact, they probably count on it in their market models - they would probably seek to enhance this patriotism through advertising since it is an aspect of their product which costs them nothing EXCEPT having to deal with whatever taxes/regulations/high wages they might encounter in order to conduct business domestically.  I kinda lost my train of thought here, so I am stopping, and restarting (sorry, its getting late...)

So, let me get this straight: you would rather purchase an inefficiently produced (either higher cost or less value) product if it was produced domestically then its better, foreign, competitor?

And the reason is... to help your neighbor keep his job?

Why not buy the foreign product and send the cost difference in the form of a check to your neighbor?

OR... apply the old 'teach a man to fish' idea and help the displaced workers re-educate and find work at which we have the comparitive advantage, or perhaps open up a new business to cater to other needs or desires of the market?

Buying American is just fine, but it does nothing to solve the 'problem'.  In my strange mind, I equate those extra dollars you spend like a form of welfare routed through a business instead of the government - a better solution, i agree, but still a bandaid which does not address the basic economic problem: the domestic producer is in the wrong business and through creative destruction needs to have that labor be put to other uses!  You, and other 'buy americans' cannot indefinitely support an inefficient company - you are just delaying the inevitable end is all.

well, I applaud your motives.  I know your heart is in the right place.  And, most importantly, you are not advocating some coercive scheme - so all I really can do is point out some alternatives, smile, and perhaps attempt to become employed in one of these businesses where I can work less to earn inflated wages just by there mere fact that i am american and I have the awesome charitability of other fellow americans like yourself supporting me no matter how inefficiently I produce my product or service...

...no, that wouldn't suit me at all - but I can dream can't I?

(btw: mostly is all tongue in cheek, but, I do think there s 'some' truth to me statements above)

you got me wondering,
michael

JASON! - didn't know you were following, care to lend more than a sound-bite to this discussion?  I would like to hear how you weigh in on this as I don't have the formal education (just some ol' country hick I am) that you do...
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RhythmStar

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Re:Asking for libertarian input..
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2004, 04:18:07 am »

>>fatter, lazier, etc.

BTW, I have to object to this tripe.  What makes companies fat and lazy is ignorance, not customers willing to pay a price for qualities they value.  To me, the fact that a fellow American got to feed his family as a result of me buying a car is definitely worth something.  THAT, my friend, IS the free market at work, invisible hand and all!

Harrumph!!

RS
I understand you.  And I would suppose that companies could easily enough determine how much of their market share is derived by 'local patriotism' and the like, in fact, they probably count on it in their market models - they would probably seek to enhance this patriotism through advertising since it is an aspect of their product which costs them nothing EXCEPT having to deal with whatever taxes/regulations/high wages they might encounter in order to conduct business domestically.  I kinda lost my train of thought here, so I am stopping, and restarting (sorry, its getting late...)

So, let me get this straight: you would rather purchase an inefficiently produced (either higher cost or less value) product if it was produced domestically then its better, foreign, competitor?

Who says it's "inefficiently" produced?  It gets from point A to point B.  It's fun to drive.  It looks cool -- girls always go "What a cute car!"   It is very fast for a street car -- without the governor on the electronic fuel injection system, it would probably do over 150MPH (it does 80 at about 2300RPM, and the engine revs to 5K without breaking a sweat).  It was NOT expensive.  It's a good value -- I coulda bought a car with better milage, but it woulda been like driving a tin can.  I could bought a bigger, more luxurious car, but that woulda been like driving a boat (or a tank).  All in all, I think the Ford Escape is a fine value for the bucks.

Now, there are some Korean cars that are pretty darned good values, but how you gonna get parts for the dang thing out in the boonies?  And what if there's a war over there, or political unrest?  Why risk it?

And, yes, buying Fords puts my money back into the US economy.  This is a GOOD THING, fella, and I could care less how many Austrians it harelips!

Quote
And the reason is... to help your neighbor keep his job?

I already gave you tons of non-patriotic reasons.  As for the patriotic one, putting money back into MY community (the US) doesn't just help my neighbor keep his job, it helps me keep MY JOB!  I live and work in the US economy.  When it is strong, I am fully employed and well paid.  When it is weak, I am in trouble.  

Quote
Why not buy the foreign product and send the cost difference in the form of a check to your neighbor?

Because that doesn't help the economy, that just helps one guy.  He'd probably just spend it on crack or Budweiser anyway.  :)

Quote
OR... apply the old 'teach a man to fish' idea and help the displaced workers re-educate and find work at which we have the comparitive advantage, or perhaps open up a new business to cater to other needs or desires of the market?

Why should I have to invent a new industry when the existing one serves my purpose just fine?  Screw 'em if they think I'm gonna stab my country in the back over a few lousy bucks!  Let 'em eat Ganges river mud.

OTOH, if Detroit didn't make a car I found good enough to suit me, then I'd buy foreign.  Before the crash, I was planning on buying a couple of Japanese electric hybrids, just to send them the message that they better get their butts in gear and start making non-gasoline powered cars, because they ARE the future.

Quote
Buying American is just fine, but it does nothing to solve the 'problem'.  In my strange mind, I equate those extra dollars you spend like a form of welfare routed through a business instead of the government - a better solution, i agree, but still a bandaid which does not address the basic economic problem: the domestic producer is in the wrong business and through creative destruction needs to have that labor be put to other uses!  You, and other 'buy americans' cannot indefinitely support an inefficient company - you are just delaying the inevitable end is all.

You just don't understand the nature of economics.  Too many Austrian pseudo-economic political tracts, I'd wager.  Just as all politics are local, so too is all economic prosperity local.   Buying foreign goods is like donating blood.  Giving a little blood now and then is a fine thing to do, but spill too much blood and you are in big trouble.

Quote
well, I applaud your motives.  I know your heart is in the right place.  And, most importantly, you are not advocating some coercive scheme - so all I really can do is point out some alternatives, smile, and perhaps attempt to become employed in one of these businesses where I can work less to earn inflated wages just by there mere fact that i am american and I have the awesome charitability of other fellow americans like yourself supporting me no matter how inefficiently I produce my product or service...

That's just not true.  Taking things to extremes is stupid, or at least ignorant.  I already said that ignorance, in this case ignoring my criteria for acceptable quality, will lose you my business.   HOWEVER, so long as the US producer can meet my quality standards at a price I can afford, then I will prefer them to the foreign product.   If you would actually go to the trouble to compare, rather than just accepting the "only foreign goods are cheap enough and high-quality enough to buy", you might find yourself buying some US-made goods as well.

Quote
...no, that wouldn't suit me at all - but I can dream can't I?

(btw: mostly is all tongue in cheek, but, I do think there s 'some' truth to me statements above)

you got me wondering,
michael

JASON! - didn't know you were following, care to lend more than a sound-bite to this discussion?  I would like to hear how you weigh in on this as I don't have the formal education (just some ol' country hick I am) that you do...


FWIW, the economic globalization movement is a WORLD GOVERNMENT MOVEMENT.  It will benefit no one in the end but multi-national corporations and Communist China.   Too many US libertarians have been hoodwinked into believing that it serves their interests.  It does not.

RS
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