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Forum Post: "There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal." - F.A. Hayek

Posted 2 years ago on April 8, 2012, 3:35 p.m. EST by Dell (-168)
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there you have it.

17 Comments

17 Comments


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[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (21407) 2 years ago

No. Wouldn't want to attempt to make people equal when unregulated free-wheeling capitalism will enable the rich to get richer while the poor get poorer. That would be the goal, silly. And, this can all be done under the guise of "treating" them all "equally." What a joke.

[-] 1 points by Boric (3) 2 years ago

Your assumption is not shown in practice.

Capitalism is simply the system where entities can make offers and others can accept those offers or not. It is entirely without force and driven by aggregate choice of individuals. I can find no harm that comes from allowing people to be free in their choices.

Perhaps you mistake the system we have now for capitalism?

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (21407) 2 years ago

Think back to the early days of the Industrial Revolution. Think Charles Dickens. That is the closest any society has ever been to pure capitalism. Capitalism must have the checks and balances that it does today because it would bring deleterious affects to many people, if not most people, as the rich use their capital to get richer, and the poor, without capital, would become poorer.

People don't have free choice when they are economically dependent and exploited.

[-] 1 points by Boric (3) 2 years ago

I wouldn't call that closer to capitalism than what we have today. The companies routinely used force on workers and presented false information to consumers. Both of those entirely invalidate a contract. In the worst cases the local political officials not only looked the other way but loaned police officers or the state's guard to the oppression.

We do need a government in place but one that does not involve itself in the market system over protecting the rights of people. Their right to contract for example would punish those who make false claims, their right to life and liberty protects them from being shot at.

The problem comes when the government tries to do more, with any invasive power to manipulate the market comes the attraction to the corrupt to manipulate the market for their own ends. And that begins the slow march towards the merger of the state and the corporation that we see today, the merger Mussolini described as Fascism.

I know it seems odd to many that the way out is less rules not more but in the same way that to hold something as slippery as liberty in our hands we must hold in gently not harshly or it will slip through our fingers.

We cannot afford to give the corrupt any purchase in the state, or any more purchase than the state naturally provides. Remember any government powerful enough to give you anything you want is powerful enough to take it all away - and history shows they will take it all away as soon as the people are too lazy or powerless to stop them from doing it.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (21407) 2 years ago

The very basic premise of capitalism is exploitation. For capitalism to succeed the value of someone's labor must be exploited. I don't think you could find any proponent of libertarianism or Austrian economics to agree to even out all citizens, in terms of their net worth (capital), before implementing such an economic system. The reason being that they know damn well that those with the capital (themselves) going in will garner power and will become richer, while those without capital will lack economic power and will become poorer.

[-] 2 points by Boric (3) 2 years ago

The very basic premise of capitalism is entities can freely trade what they own. That is it.

The problem I see with what you say is that you assume everyone would move at an equal tempo from that equal starting place. That is a false assumption. You envision everyone as perfectly interchangeable cogs that would produce the same result from the same start. This isn't at all reflective of the many and wonderful differences in each one of us.

Each one of us has different skills, motivations, flaws, desires, comfort levels, competitiveness, and interpersonal relationships. All of these and many more of our individual facets interact to create the kind of trades we value. I may value stability more than comfort and so I take a job that is steady but moderate paying, you may love risks so start your own company and maybe a few times till you get it right, someone else might be in between us so change jobs frequently for more challenge and money.

Thus it doesn't matter if everyone is made equal (in valuation) instantly - the results won't be that everyone remains so. Some will make bad decisions and lose money, some will make good ones, some will be very lucky and some will be very unlucky. What are we to do then - rebalance everyone again?

The poor do not get poorer under capitalism. They get richer - just like everyone else in the game. When more goods are produced their costs drop which helps everyone. When research is conducted and it results in a better version of a product everyone benefits.

We all start on an uneven playing field - that is just life. I am a very intelligent person but I am light on motivation. A person less intelligent than myself but hugely motivated will likely make a lot more money than I will. I don't begrudge them this use of their own personal skill set, I am happy for them just as I am happy for myself that I don't exhaust myself at work so I can retire home and cook a tasty meal and read a few books. That other person can do with their money what they find enjoyable.

I have to say I find the way you dehumanize people into such one-size-fits-all slots really disturbs me. We are all unique and we should all be allowed the most freedom possible in using our unique mix of skills and mindsets to best be able to secure what we each desire as our own future happiness.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (21407) 2 years ago

Well, you misunderstood me. I'm trying to make the point that the rich are all for unregulated capitalism because they know it will benefit THEM. The only moral way to ever implement such an economic system would be to do it fairly, by giving everyone the same chance to exploit their capital and even then, the outcome would be immoral. You want to make this an emotional thing. It isn't at all. Of course, everyone is different, but the aha moment comes when you try to get rich libertarians to agree to this. It won't happen because they like having the upper hand. That is the point and the reason they are proponents of this type of system.

[-] 2 points by Boric (3) 2 years ago

I think you'll find most corporations that are large and established actually like regulation. The reason is that they can get themselves into the position to make that regulation. They then create the regulation which imposes higher costs of entry to the market - costs they know they can pay but know would seriously hinder new competitors from entering the market. Thus they stifle competition by regulating future competitors away. Regulation also helps to destroy company liability. If the taxpayers front the cost for certain inspectors it saves the company money and insofar as the EPA is concerned people who are harmed by pollutants cannot sue if a given plant is following EPA guidelines.

Thus what we see is that regulations tend to help keep those currently in power in power and more immune to the choices of consumers (either by denying them choices by law or by preventing competitors from emerging). And why not - if you're getting political contributions from your friends don't you wan to ensure your friends are still there and still loaded with cash for your next election, and the next one, and the next one?

Most libertarians I know are not rich. We just want to be left alone to live our lives the way we wish to live them. The heart of libertarian ideology begins with the NAP or non-agression principle which states it is immoral to initiate violence or force on another.

A free market is HARD to excel in. That is because competition is all around and making one good product once doesn't ensure any survival for the next wave of products. There is no such thing as "too big to fail" - if you make bad decisions and there are enough of them or they are big enough you go out of business and your resources are bought up by your competitors. Your employees are hired by other forms, your office building is sold or rented out to someone else, and all your computers are now for sale as refurbished ones. The market recycles you.

However protectionism and regulation creates a system with less highs and lows which means less danger, less competition. It allows the establishment and entrenchment of companies in our political system in order to gain control of that protectionism and regulation. It is a self-replicating cycle.

I've never quite understood why those who rightfully point out that corporations are controlling government then assume the answer is more government. As it is already being controlled by the corporations - why would that ever stop the cycle? Cut the strings between government and corporations and push corporations back into real competition. Lets see how long those investment banks can last when they don't get bailed out or special favors.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (21407) 2 years ago

I am not talking about mere protectionism for the corporation, but protection, through checks and balances for the little guy. That is a necessity. Yes, corporatism is a bad thing. This is the main ruse the libertarian philosophers use to convince regular folks to go with libertarianism. Yeah! We can be free, man. Freedom! But, it's b.s. You will have more shackles with an unregulated economic system than any government could ever place on you.

[-] 1 points by Boric (3) 2 years ago

I doubt that I would be more shackled in a system of free exchange. I mean it is the system we humans default to when dealing with others. Voluntary transfers abound around us in our personal lives. Sure we need a Rule of Law but it should be general and unobtrusive - acting only when harm occurs and then rectifying it. We don't need specific EPA regulations when we have a law against harming another or another's property. If the corporation pollutes your land you sue, and perhaps press criminal charges against the managers responsible. Create enough disincentive to harm in those ways and if it continues the charter that the corporation receives from the government is disbanded.

The only shackle I see in a free system is the shackle I put on myself - my own lack of ability or drive. And I would much rather be constrained by my self which I can change than a co-mingled corporatist system imposing its shackles on me which I have no hope of changing.

The system of having government attempt to regulate corporations for "our own good" is the system we currently have - look where it has gotten us. Businessmen in bed with life long government overseers using that bribed money to say in power. No thank you. Cut government out of business and may the good ones prosper and the bad ones fail.

I could do with living in a world without a Morgan Stanley - couldn't you?

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (21407) 2 years ago

Please study how capitalism works as an economic system. Read "Capital" by Karl Marx. To this day, he does the best job of explaining the nuts and bolts. Also read Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations." Then get back to me.

[-] 2 points by Boric (3) 2 years ago

I've read them both and about 20some odd additional works on economics. I am fairly well-versed on the subject matter.

Marx's theory of value is unworkable and that is being kind.

Market distribution was the last of 4 distribution systems to emerge in human culture and therefore it is no surprise it is the hardest for people to understand. For example if one doesn't understand the concept of opportunity cost - Keynes broken window fallacy seems acceptable. If people ignore the hidden calculations of others the system seems capricious and eccentric. That said - these are failings of the individual in understanding the system - not of the system itself.

I'll end my post here as I am not here to deconstruct Marx.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (21407) 2 years ago

Okay, fair enough, we'll have to agree to disagree. I wish you the best.

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[-] -2 points by Dell (-168) 2 years ago

ok - you are entitled to your opinion. Seems you still haven't learned anything here lol! class envy only hurts you - no one else.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (21407) 2 years ago

Nope. There is nothing to learn from the ridiculous malevolent wishes of Austrian economics and libertarianism.

[-] -3 points by Boric (3) 2 years ago

Hayek was a great thinker.

So many people I talk to think the path to actual equality is to follow the path of Harrison Bergeron. Take away from the top until everyone is at the bottom.

The true spirit of peace and community helps everyone rise by oppressing no one.

[-] 4 points by toukarin (488) 2 years ago

"oppressing no one"

Yeah well. When that becomes true... we wont be having this problem...

Restore civil liberties and let no one be too big to fail.

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