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If Life is a "Constatutional Right" then everyone gets free food and water! | 397 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
If Life is a "Constatutional Right" then everyone gets free food and water!
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 19 2012 @ 10:27 AM EST
I think a lot of people get confused because of the rather
problematic legislative focus in the USA. Our government
seems to spend a lot of time doing things it does poorly (eg
creating jobs and watching banks well enough to prevent
undue risktaking) and very little time doing things that are
clearly a good idea (adding efficacy considerations to
Medicare, cutting military spending, regulating the
financial sector to remove agency concerns and too big to
fail, weakening copyright and reforming software patents.)
The current level of rule of law also seems low.

In terms of life, there's a real choice to reduce individual
risk and not let people die in the street. It is important,
but there are tradeoffs. If there is no risk of death or
serious discomfort, an unproductive class can potentially
become problematic -- it hasn't yet. (As percentage of GDP.)
OTOH, Increasing income inequality in a free market
eventually results in loss of stability and bloody
revolution - there are tiny murmurings in that direction.
So, I personally would vote for a government that did the
necessary, potentially bipartisan things first, and then
worked toward leveling out the income curves.

Randists seem obsessed with applying a single system to
everything. I personally don't want free market police. It
sounds nice if you are rich...until you remember how cheap
guns are.

--Erwin

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

If Life is a "Constatutional Right" then everyone gets free food and water!
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 20 2012 @ 12:19 AM EST

Not too hard to see what you've been reading.

I read a lot of things. I am a news junkie. I read cnn, usatoday, foxnews, huffingtonpost, reason.com, bunches and bunches of tech news and blogs, including yours, PJ. I am a big believer in not falling into the confirmation bias trap. I read lots and lots, and I make it a point to read things I know I might disagree with. What exactly do you think I have been reading? I'll make a deal with you. You pick out any book (of reasonable length & in English) for me to read, and I will pick one out for you to read.

But you know the US has tried little or no regulation. You know what happens? Things like robber barons and companies in W. Va. killing people trying to unionize and products that either kill people or make them very sick and economic collapse because no one was looking out for anybody but themself.

I am not advocating no regulation. I think regulation is vital in many instances. However, in this case, I think the market can provide as good or better solution. In situations like that I advocate no regulation.

We are far, far from little regulation. Here is a graph showing that regulations are not little.

The current economic crisis was precisely because folks like Greenspan believed so much in the so-called free market, they assumed the banks wouldn't be so stupid as to destroy the world's money system.

I am no fan of Greenspan or the FED. The FED tries to control the market. And you are right to call the free market in banking into question. It was and is far from being free. By insuring deposits where the money can be lent out and by bailing out "too big to fail" banks, the government has created perverse incentives that have contributed to the crisis.

But they did, and us little people had to bail them out. Ditto the Depression. What happened to the free market when the banks wanted our tax money, by the way? It all proved to me that Ayn Rand was an idiot, an ideologue who knew nothing about real life and what really motivates people and how undiluted self interest ends up invariably hurting others, sometimes killing other people for no reason except that it was cost-effective. Why do you think toxic dumps happen? Because companies are selfish and don't care if people die, that's why. Why do they sell cigarettes in ads tailored to children?

No, we did not have to bail them out. Capitalism is not just about profit & success. Loss & failure are an essential part of capitalism and the free market and our government interfered with that and has been interfering for a long time. This is not the place to argue about the Depression, but suffice it to say I think our government's policies before and its reactions to the start of the Depression made things worse.

I am not an Objectivist. I believe that there is plenty to be critical of in Ayn Rand's writing/philosophy, but I also think she had some ideas that are worthwhile, just as there are good and bad things in The Communist Manifesto

Sure there is a lot of bad things that happen such as toxic waste being dumped and cigarettes being targeted at children. As I keep saying and you seem to keep ignoring is that I am not against all regulation. I don't believe pure capitalism is the answer. We have a mixed economy. It is just you and I disagree on exactly how much regulation is optimal. I also believe for every case of toxic waste dumps and cigarette hawking there are many, many more of people not acting in a manner harmful to others. I also believe that no amount of regulation can totally eliminate the sort of evils you describe

You know what they do in China to sell people granite? They paint it to make it look dark, and then when you install it and wash it, the paint bleeds out. Why? Because there are no regulations and people are selfish sometimes. Regulations are to deal with selfish people who don't care if somebody else dies as long as they make money.

As a paralegal, you know we have a thing called torts in this country. Any company in this country that tried that would have its reputation hurt, a complaint to the BBB, and possibly a law suit. We already have plenty of laws on the books against this sort of fraud. A regulation aimed specifically at granite sellers would be superfluous.

So, while you have a point that government can become oppressive, hence the checks and balances that mostly are ignored currently, there is clearly some role for government. And pretending that human greed isn't a factor, or that with populations like the US's no regulation will be fine (think stop signs), or that companies will do what is beneficial for the country in a world where the biggest companies are international in scope and couldn't care less about Americans (cf. outsourcing), when we've seen the truth play out is to live in dream land.

Of course there is a role for government. Just because I don't think there is not a case for it in this instance doesn't mean I never think there is.

Yes, human "greed" has always been a factor in every society no matter how it was set up and governed. But what is greed really? I think anyone who buys a lottery ticket is greedy. They want millions and millions of dollars for one dollar. I also believe it is okay for them to want that. Words like "greed" have a negative connotation. People use that word when they want to put down someone wanting something. But when people approve of someone wanting something, they call them "industrious" or "ambitious." With very few exceptions, people get money in this country by providing someone else something they want (want & greed go hand in hand). Don't think of money as anything other than a certificate of service. I come over to your house and fix your plumbing. You give me so many certificates of service as proof I have served your need. I take those certificates and I give them to someone who fixes my car. That next person takes them the grocer who has already given the farmer certificates of service for his crops. Money changes hands because we are serving one another providing for our wants (greed) and needs. That is the magic of capitalism. Capitalism depends on the profit motive. And profit motive is just a nicer name for greed.

Companies get so into money, they will actually harm people that they view as "a problem." I've lived that with the SCO folk, backed by Microsoft money, so don't bother telling me that doesn't happen

No, I am not going to tell you that doesn't happen. But I will tell you that that is not the way most companies and people conduct themselves. Any system is going to have people who try to abuse it and no amount of regulation will totally eliminate it. We need regulation, but in measured amounts. Trying to regulate down to the last detail is stifling and does more harm than good. Balance in all things.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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