Carrying forth a debate from Facebook

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government | Posted on 21-11-2009

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On Facebook, I got into a debate with Evan Guay. The debate was fun, but I’m afraid the person who started the debate by posting an image may defriend us before it’s over, so I decided to bring it to ProudProfiteer.com.

Evan GuayI’m not sure if you intended to put the question mark at the end of your opening sentence–because you would be arguing with yourself–so I’ll assume a period was intended. Once again, it takes very little effort to find lucid examples supporting my statement that big business and the government are most often one in the same, and that this is nearly always a bad thing for the worker (defined as anyone not in ownership of production). I’m glad that you used the health care debate, as it plays perfectly into explaining how big business interests are what steer the decisions of the government.

The question mark was to highlight that the environment that you advocate, socialism, is what causes companies to lobby congress. If you were for the free market and the constitution, most of the policies the corporations and politicians are pushing today, wouldn’t happen. They would be unconstitutional. Advocating government redistribution does not fix the problem you and I are both complaining about. It increases it.

Also in your previous replies you kept talking about libertarian socialism. That is basically the same thing as anarco-capitalism, but the people are voluntarily socializing. This is fine in my opinion as long as you don’t force others into socialism. I think the problem is, as history has shown, socialism does not work and ultimately leads to force. It is unsustainable and eventually those living under it will decide they need to expand the people under it in order to expand resources available within it. With motivation dissipating, because people aren’t rewarded for merit, it will quickly devolve into economic disaster. Those in charge, will then look to expand.

Also, if you truly are a libertarian socialist, you sure aren’t doing a good job arguing for it. From what I gather, you don’t believe in a state. Yippee! Let’s get started on that, so you can go with your socialist buddies and share your wealth, and I can go with my capitalist buddies and create wealth.

It has been documented that there are 6 health insurance lobbyists for every member of congress, at least 350 of these lobbyists were former staffers, and that the health insurance industry is spending 1.4 million dollars per day on lobbying.

This only highlights my point that if the government is going to pick winners and losers, you are going to send lobbyist to advocate for you to be a winner. The way to fix it is for government to not intervene in the economy at all. This is just one of the unintended consequences you get when you look to the government for everything.

The fact that single payer wasn’t even invited to the debate should tell you something. Also, the fact that only the shareholders, not the stakeholders (providers, patients) were invited to the discussion should shed further light on the validity of the debate.

Again, the result of handing over your freedom. If the debate revolves around insurance, which it does, who do you think is going to be involved? As soon as you hand over your freedom by asking someone else, whether insurance companies or the government, to pay for your care, you then are out of the decision. Ready my blog on root causes of the health care crisis, and you will see what I mean. If you paid for your care yourself, you wouldn’t have these issues. Instead you advocate setting up this third party payer system, and then complain about the fact that the payer has control over your spending.

The fact that medicine has been transformed from a healing art to a business should tell you something about the nature of the beast.

When wasn’t it a business? It’s always been a business. The only thing that change is the introduction of ever expanding insurance and government intervention. Believe it or not, doctors used to voluntarily take care of the poor.

If you follow the belief of Rudolf Virchow that medicine is a social science, there is really no question which is the correct route to take. The fact that the US is the only industrialized country not to have a single-payer or highly regulated system, and the US offers the most expensive care, while providing the 37th best outcomes, makes it impossible to argue against a single-payer plan—unless your goal, along with insurance and pharmaceutical companies, is profit.

More of the we must be like everyone else. For you it seems that if other countries give up their freedoms, we must as well. I don’t care what other countries do. I care about what our country does and preserving the little freedom we have left. If our care is so bad, why do foreign government officials come here. It’s easy to twist facts to make things appear the way you want. Saying that our health care isn’t good because we aren’t socialized is crazy. I could sit here and dig up tons of disaster stories and statistics about these other countries, but I’m not going to waste my time. They will never change your mind. Also, you still have the sustainability question. Our country is going bankrupt, and yet you guys want to spend more and more money. Our resources are not endless, and unfortunately, I think we will soon witness the consequences.

The US is also the only country where pharmaceutical companies advertise directly to the patient, creating greater than normal demand for drugs that people don’t always need. The argument that these high prices for drugs are warranted is without merit, as pharm companies spend much more each year on advertisements than they do on R&D. Also, drug prices are the highest in the world in the US because price negotiating is illegal.

Who cares if they advertise. You think business is inherently evil, so you think everything they do is evil. Why shouldn’t they be able to advertise in order to inform the public about their product. This is just a silly argument. Why should I think a drug company is evil, and you are not? Drug companies are made up of people too, and many of them are more compassionate about saving lives than you are. Quit besmirching your fellow man because it makes you feel more righteous than they are. You may be able to make other believe you are compassionate, but the end result if we implement all your ideas is people die. You will not have the innovation in the drugs and the medical technology that we now have. If your ideas are so great, the Soviet economy would have been the envy of the world. As we know, it is not. We also know from history that socialism does not work. It didn’t work for the pilgrims, and it has not worked all the way up to current times.

It would be to everyone’s benefit (except the profit of the companies) to be able to order drugs from Canada, Africa, Europe, etc, but big business (read as government) doesn’t allow it.

Hear, Hear! I’m all for it, but this is a free market idea, not a socialist idea. Again, if government couldn’t use force against us at the behest of their corporate cronies, this would happen in a free market.

Other issues that have arisen because of a lust for money in the health care system are doctors having to close their practice because of outrageous malpractice insurance payments, and people being locked in their jobs because insurance comes from their employer, which, strangely enough, are now closing US plants and outsourcing jobs because they don’t have to pay those workers as much, aka higher profit.

Hey, did you read my blog on free market solutions to health care? I made the same argument about people being stuck in their jobs. The solution though isn’t the government. The solution is to allow the consumer to buy their own health care insurance. If they did, they would make wise decisions. Most would buy catastrophic care, and pay for doctors visits out of their pocket. This would prevent them from being attached to a crappy job because of health insurance. It would also free up expenses at companies, resulting in more jobs and higher wages.

As far as malpractice, you are right there as well, but you look at it the wrong way. Because of insurance in general, people no longer have a personal relationship. People assume it’s not big deal, the insurance company will be paying the settlement. This problem has grown as insurance has grown. The solution isn’t a one size fits all tort reform, as Republicans pose. This isn’t fair to patients, who may rightfully have a claim. It should be taken out of the federal government’s hands. States should enact these limits if they want. This would allow competition between states. Also, if insurance was out of the picture, you could have agreements made before hand between doctors and patients. Maybe there is a predetermined payout in the event of something bad happening. I don’t know all the solutions to solve this, because I can’t be expected to be an expert on all areas of the economy. The point is the free market would develop solutions to this if their wasn’t so much government involvement. You didn’t have these issues when the government was less involved.

It is simply logical that if a company is looking for profit, they will do what it takes to increase that profit. This means denying coverage for sick people and certain procedures and charging high premiums.

Again, this didn’t happen at the rate it did back before all the insurance and government intervention. Again, the systems you are advocating are the very systems that create the symptoms you are complaining about. You are also prejudging people motivations without proof. People in general are charitable, and the sick and poor would be taken care of. They were prior to all this government intervention, and they would again. I’m not sure if your a religious man, but you sure do worship the state. The state solves all human ailments based on your logic, and we have never done these things on our own. As I said previously, you create a tragedy of commons on the human level.

The fact that insurance companies have a 31% overhead, while medicare has a 3% overhead should tell you something about the affordability of care.

This is taking fuzzy math to the next level. The overhead would skyrocket if all people were on the government plan. You aren’t looking at who is in both systems. The fact that you have senior citizen as the customer in the medicare system, makes the overhead seem lower.

Example. If you have two patients, one a 30 year old male under private insurance and two a 70 year old male under medicare. Both of them cost $50/year in overhead. The problem is the 70 year old will spend much more money. So if say the 30 year old spends $100 for the year on insurance, his overhead if 50%. On the other hand, if the medicare patient, spends $1,000 for the year, his overhead is only 5%. As we all know, senior citizens spend way more money on health care services, so there is a reason medicare’s overhead appears less. If you add the remaining population into it, you will see that number go up, and it will go up higher than the private sector, who is constantly rooting out waste.

This process has everything to do with capitalism because just as Adam Smith made clear, the economy is the controlling factor in government and society. It seems clear to me that your view is no fault of your own, instead the idea has been inculcated so solidly in your head by the media that you actually believe it is what’s best of you and all other US citizens.
“Trying to prevent the polarization of wealth does the exact opposite of what you want to do.” This also couldn’t be further form the truth. If you look at the economic breakdown of the US, it is clear that we are moving nearer and nearer to what is essentially a 3rd world model. The top 5% of the population are proceeding to accumulate a greater piece of the pie, while the rest are left to split the remaining sliver. It’s clear to anyone that looks at it, that this isn’t beneficial to the middle class. In fact, the middle class is slowly disappearing. The middle class is what pays for programs when there are regressive taxes, such as those that currently exist.

Thanks for saying it’s not my fault that I’m so stupid, and you’re so smart. You are arguing that the wealth gap is the result of the free market, when it has been getting worse under government intervention. This is silly. I think we agree on the middle class, but you are wrongly identifying the cause. The biggest cause is the Fed. Devaluing our currency is robbery of the middle class. It also, is central planning. We have one guy at the head of a little over a dozen bozos deciding what the cost of money should be. What you get is the bubble we just had and the bust we are currently in. With all the bailouts, the money has been transferred from the middle class to the rich, who have now recovered. The middle class will not recover what has been taken. The poor never had it in the first place, so they lost nothing. You idea that we need more government is crazy in light of they are the ones causing this gap to get larger.

These regressive taxes were amped up by the conservative icon, Raegen, by implementing outrageous tax-cuts on the wealthy. The trickle down theory doesn’t work. As we know, it takes money to make money.

What in the world are you talking about here? Reagan and Bush cut taxes on all income tax brackets. You are so blinded by your hate of people who have more than  you. It’s nuts. Trickle down does work better than Obama’s “Trickle Up Economics”. The very name describe what is does, and his policies and actions shows how it works. He has taken from the middle class, and given it to his cronies, thus trickling it up to them. Under Reagan, Clinton, and Bush, they cut taxes on the so called rich, and you had jobs created and people growing financially. The problem in the long run was the Fed was punishing us with the inflation tax and the bubbles they were creating. As I said, jobs were created which is what creates wealth for people. The Fed tricked people into going into debt and devalued the money they earned through inflation. If you want to fix the wealth gap, you will end the Fed.

When you keep pumping money into the people that already have it, they keep making more. I agree with you that the Fed devaluing money is a negative. I think you have my stance confused. I’m not arguing that everything that the government does is good. I’m saying that large corporations controlling the government, as they do now, is bad.
I’m very glad you brought up the old safety nets of family, friends, neighbors, etc. The explanation for this disappearance is a little more complex, but generally explainable, nonetheless. I think we can agree that there has been a steady atomization of society since WWII. We see this in nearly any resource we look. People are generally less interested in helping their neighbor and more interested in material goods, reality TV, and whatever other distraction you can think of. This is a direct result of constant competition and capitalism. Capitalism breeds competition, not cooperation. People currently work longer hours and receive less valuable remuneration. The steady barrage of consumerist propaganda has made people care less and less about family, friends, and neighbors, and more and more about cars, TV, sports, etc. Speaking of TV—a key tool in this atomization—it can be separated into two categories, content and filler. Contrary to what you would think, the content is the commercials. This makes sense because it is how the station makes its money (excluding cable and HBO, although most cable shows suck, too). The filler is whatever garbage show is on.

I’m pointing in the wrong direction? Our country was more capitalist and entrepreneurial before WWII than after, but for some reason capitalism gets blamed? People are less interested in helping because they assume they don’t need to. Remember, we have safety nets! As I said, we have a tragedy of commons on the human level. Basically, those people become public property, and everyone assumes someone else will take care of it. Families also used to bring us more happiness, and I would argue that government interference as pushed us apart making us less happy. In order to replace that happiness, we have looked other places, such as TV shows, material items, etc. Believe it or not, there are people who refuse to take government help because of their dignity. I was raised by one of these people, and guess what, they didn’t end up in the streets. Churches, families, friends, etc do step up and help.

I’m not sure how you think private roads would improve traffic in major cities. There are so many people travelling that there is no way to get around quickly, safe public transportation (trains). Are you saying a $200 million air port with 3 flights a day is an efficient use of resources? … Read More

I am not saying for sure it would improve congestion, but I do know the free market is more efficient, so I believe there is a chance. I am not going to write it off as you have, just because I’m not imaginative enough to develop the system myself. I do know, if it was ran privately, that roads could be paid for by businesses, developers, etc. After all, you would need to get to your house, fi a developer wanted you to buy it. You would need to get to a business if the business wanted you to work there and wanted customers to come there. Also, I can guarantee you it would be better taken care of as is most driveways and business parking lots. You also wouldn’t have unmotivated road crews standing around watching one guy at a time do work.

I did not say the $200 million air port was efficient. I might have forgot my contraction, n’t. I do that when typing fast. It is inefficient and an example of government waste that would never happen in the free market it. If it did, it would only harm the person paying for it out of his own pocket. It would not be stolen from the middle class tax payer to pay for it.

I don’t want to get into the military budgeting in this post because I’d also say that it’s superfluous and controlled by big business interests, and this message is already ridiculously long.

Haha. I would agree with you, which is more proof that government control is always wasteful and inefficient. The only hard part about this here, is this is about the only thing the government does at this point that is actually in the constitution, and without a military to defend the country, you pretty much don’t have a country.  If you really are an anarco-socialist, I’m sure you’ve read some arguments by the anarcho-capitalist at how the free market would better at this. They make some great arguments, but I’m not totally sold on it.

Continued ….

Evan GuayAbout Katrina, if everyone has to throw some money in a hat to save someone else’s life, I don’t think it’s even debatable. I think there should be social intervention to ensure that the victims have everything they need. There is an interesting article written by an anthropologist at MSU (don’t know the author or title off-hand) saying that it isn’t competition and war that makes humans unique in the animal kingdom, it’s the extent of humans’ ability to empathize, cooperate, and negotiate that makes them unique. I agree with the author, and I think that empathy, cooperation, and negotiations for peace should be maximized. I’m not talking about forcing anyone to give anything up, I’m talking about changing the economic and educational system so people wouldn’t view it as forcing. It should be viewed as sharing superfluous resources. You’re not going to get argument from me saying that Walmart and churches should have been able to help. And please don’t use GWB’s politics to represent my side of the debate on corporate government, as he’s even further than Obama from what I’m advocating.

This sounds like something straight of an Ayn Rand book or 1984. “I’m talking about changing the economic and educational system so people wouldn’t view it as forcing.” Wow, you are talking about brain washing. We aren’t brain washed for the free market. That is human nature. You want to change our nature. This is what leads to the apalling disasters of the Soviet Union and Mao’s China. If you think it’s so great, why do you feel the need to stick a gun to other people’s heads to force them to do it? Brainwashing them into it is no different. If it’s so great, you are able to do it yourself freely. Of course as with all socialist, marxists, etc. that isn’t enough. You have to force all society to do it, which points out that you truly don’t believe in libertarian socialism as well. That was just a ruse to get someone to start buying into socialism.

I have anything but a dim view of my fellow man. I am optimistic to the Nth degree. I think that if given the opportunity, with coercion removed, people would all jump at the opportunity to help one another. I also think that people would like a say in what goes on around them. If anything, you’re the one that doubts people. I have the utmost confidence in people, as I think society should be democratically run. The only way that democracy is horrible is if you think that people having a say in what happens to them/their taxes is a negative. As I said in each post, majority rules, but individual liberties must be protected. And I’m not saying that the poor are more deserving of the water, I’m saying that their needs must be protected. It’s impossible to establish any kind of hierarchy of value upon people or animals, so every person should be accounted for.

You’re view of your fellow man isn’t low? Really? You do not see that all these evil corporations, etc are made up of your fellow man, but for some reason you believe you are more righteous than they. I’ll take a Bill Gates over someone claiming to be righteous any day.

You are arguing around the issue of democracy. I don’t think the form of democracy we had under the constitution is bad. It was a republic. By saying liberties must be protected, you are arguing the same thing I am. The constitution is what protected those liberties. The problem is, as is with pure democracies in general, you only want your liberties protected. If you think someone else’s liberties interferes with your ideals, they don’t count. That is what pure democracy is. Mob rule, and as I said,  you are only free as long as you are in the majority.

Following the constitution isn’t denying progress. Where you get in trouble is when you start to think that previous generations were inherently more wise/honorable/intelligent

Your whole argument is telling me how horrendous everyone is in the the private sector (oh and they are the same as the public sector). So until I see someone more wise, honorable, and intelligent, I’ll stick with the founders.

than current generations. If you don’t allow laws/systems to evolve with moral philosophy and other advancements, you have unjust/inefficient laws/systems…. Read More

I’m going to avoid the abortion debate in this message for the same reason I avoided the military resources, this message is ridiculously long. But I agree with you that if a state wishes to enact a single-payer plan it should be able to do so. (I had to split this in 2 because it said it was too long to post as 1 message).

I wasn’t trying to engage in the abortion debate per se. I was trying to give an example of how the Federal government took something out of the states hands that was legislated by the states previously. It wasn’t like it was illegal. Some states it was, and some it wasn’t. Under that setup, people could have decided to live in a state that was more along the line of their values, but instead they had to have it crammed down their throat by special interest groups. Federalism provides competition between states and maximizes liberty, which you claim to want.
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Comments (7)

I’m not sure how you formatted your post, so I’ll assume a different style. I’ll use EG: for my post and JV: for your post. I trust that you’ll post this exactly as I have entered it.

JV: The question mark was to highlight that the environment that you advocate, socialism, is what causes companies to lobby congress. If you were for the free market and the constitution, most of the policies the corporations and politicians are pushing today, wouldn’t happen. They would be unconstitutional. Advocating government redistribution does not fix the problem you and I are both complaining about. It increases it.

EG: Here you misconstrue what I’ve said by implying that I’m against the constitution, when I clearly stated that I’m not against it, but it should be understood that progress is inevitable—hence why amendments have been added, making it better suited for current issues. That leads us to one of the core problems about theoretical political debates. You have to keep in mind that the human condition is a steadily changing and evolving state. To have a static, immovable layout doesn’t make any sense. As I stated in an earlier post (I suggest you post the entire conversation—introducing a blog reader half-way into the convo doesn’t give the conversation or the reader a full view of what is going on. As always, it’s important to give the reader diverse views so he/she can formulate his/her own opinions), Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith agreed that democracy—what I’m advocating for—is only possible when everyone has relatively the same wealth.

JV: Also in your previous replies you kept talking about libertarian socialism. That is basically the same thing as anarco-capitalism, but the people are voluntarily socializing. This is fine in my opinion as long as you don’t force others into socialism. I think the problem is, as history has shown, socialism does not work and ultimately leads to force. It is unsustainable and eventually those living under it will decide they need to expand the people under it in order to expand resources available within it. With motivation dissipating, because people aren’t rewarded for merit, it will quickly devolve into economic disaster. Those in charge, will then look to expand.

EG: There is a key difference between libertarian socialism and archocapitalism, this being that in anarchocapitalism the “free market” would determine what is produced. This, as it does now, would lead to the most profitable goods being produced. Under libertarian socialism, production is determined by the needs of the region (how the region is broken up I cannot say). Another element of libertarian socialism is the workers themselves collectively own the means of production. This means that nobody is a “wage slave” to anyone else. Remuneration depends on the onerousness and duration of work. Anarchocapitalism would have workers enter into a “free contract” with owners of the business. I don’t see how this would turn out well for the greater majority (the workers), as Adam Smith made it clear that the owners and the workers do not have the same interests. The key difference between anarchocapitalism and anarchosyndicalism is that the free market and competition drive the capitalist form, while cooperation and democracy drive the socialist form. And as I stated earlier, I would be against military force to institute the new form of economy; it should be a democratic decision. Interestingly enough, this dovish approach that you insist upon by socialists is not followed by capitalists. We can look at US interventions pre-, peri-, and post-Cold War in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. to see that capitalism is by no means always peacefully obtained. There have been hawks and doves on each side, to generalize isn’t fair to reality. This is assuming that people will refuse to work simply so that they, their family, their neighbors, and their fellow countrymen will have what they need. I think that if people felt like they actually contributed to society, instead of feeling like a tool in a machine, their satisfaction in life would greatly increase. Also, in a participatory economy, the individual would have a say in where resources are allocated and what gets produced. I don’t know who wouldn’t like to have a say in the work they’re doing.

JV: Also, if you truly are a libertarian socialist, you sure aren’t doing a good job arguing for it. From what I gather, you don’t believe in a state. Yippee! Let’s get started on that, so you can go with your socialist buddies and share your wealth, and I can go with my capitalist buddies and create wealth

EG: This entire debate has not been about me advocating for libertarian socialism, I only added it as an example and said that it is the form of socialism that maximizes liberty and democracy. The debate started as a clarification that all socialist ideas aren’t the same. I then had to explain that democracy would be increased under some forms of socialism. The debate then transitioned to an explanation of how the current government and big business are essentially one entity, steadily filling the pockets of the wealthy in a capitalist society that is increasingly atomized and polarized. If you want to focus solely on libertarian socialism, we can do that, although that hasn’t been the purpose of previous posts. And your idea of socialists being unable to create wealth is without backing. As I explained earlier, socialist ideals can be something as simple as reallocating funds from the military budget to social spending like education, research, health care, housing, infrastructure, etc.

JV: This only highlights my point that if the government is going to pick winners and losers, you are going to send lobbyist to advocate for you to be a winner. The way to fix it is for government to not intervene in the economy at all. This is just one of the unintended consequences you get when you look to the government for everything

EG: You have once again misconstrued what I’ve said. I am completely against lobbyist. Lobbyists are hired by people/groups with money to portray their product/view in a positive light—this is propaganda no matter how you slice it. I think that the decision should be up to the public. The role of the government in this instance should be to accurately convey all options and facts to the public. The decision should be democratic, as I’ve said all along. If this means separate systems within each state, then fine, as long as it’s democratically decided.

JV: Again, the result of handing over your freedom. If the debate resolves around insurance, which it does, who do you think is going to be involved? As soon as you hand over your freedom by asking someone else, whether insurance companies or the government, to pay for your care, you then are out of the decision. Ready my blog on root causes of the health care crisis, and you will see what I mean. If you paid for your care yourself, you wouldn’t have these issues. Instead you advocate setting up this third party payer system, and then complain about the fact that the payer has control over your spending

EG: As I’ve been saying all along, the people should be involved. This shouldn’t have been a decision limited to insurance/pharm companies. In fact, business should have zero say in the decision. People should vote, not businesses. This doesn’t mean giving up freedom, it means democracy and cooperation. If people understand that cooperation is necessary and the community will help provide for them, the majority opinion will be welcome. This can be related to taxes now. Each April 14th, people despise paying their taxes. If society was organized so people had control of how money was spent, they would look forward to paying taxes because it would mean that the programs they voted for would be strengthened or initiated. you have to keep in mind here that “the government” that you write about is completely different than the organization that libertarian socialists speak of—the semantics are critical to understanding. As I’ve been saying all long, the government should be for the people and BY THE PEOPLE. Professional politicians shouldn’t exist. “Governments” should simply be groups of people cooperating in planned administrations, ruled democratically. To get to this stage, an overall socialist understanding must exist. People must understand that cooperation leads to a better society for everyone. Atomization leads to polarization and decreased inter- and intra-personal relations. I’m not sure if you’re against any form of cooperation, or just what is currently practiced as government in the USA. The fact that people would be cooperating, not competing, seems to be where you misconstrue my ideas. I’m not sure if you’ve communicated with people who could/can not afford care in case of an emergency, let alone a routine procedure/check-up—I have—but it’s not possible for many individuals to pay out-of-pocket for care. This is due to people not making bundles of money and care/drugs being overpriced. Here is where the principle of socialism (read as community/state/nation cooperation) comes in. Vulnerable people must be protected.

JV: When wasn’t it a business? It’s always been a business. The only thing that change is the introduction of ever expanding insurance and government intervention. Believe it or not, doctors used to voluntarily take care of the poor

EG: This statement makes absolutely zero sense. You start by arguing against what I said, and you end by saying exactly what I said, but claiming it as your own idea. Let’s just say we both agree that medicine should be a healing science, not a profit-hungry business.

JV: More of the we must be like everyone else. For you it seems that if other countries give up their freedoms, we must as well. I don’t care what other countries do. I care about what our country does and preserving the little freedom we have left. If our care is so bad, why do for government officials come here. It’s easy to twist facts to make things appear the way you want. Saying that our health care isn’t good because we aren’t socialized is crazy. I could sit here and dig up tons of disaster stories and statistics about this other countries, but I’m not going to waste my time. They will never change your mind. Also, you still have the sustainability question. Our country is going bankrupt, and yet you guys want to spend more and more money. Our resources are not endless, and unfortunately, I think we will soon witness the consequences

EG: Here you’re misconstruing what I’ve said again. I never said we must be like everyone else, but it would be mindless not to borrow good ideas! Jingoist ideals, such as those expressed in this paragraph, shouldn’t impede progress for the general population. The phrase is, “it’s easy to twist statistics.” Facts are facts, and the facts show single-payer would be cheaper and it would cover everyone. I also didn’t bring up disaster case studies, just stated facts about the general population. I’m assuming that by “you guys” you meant single-payer advocates and not what you call “Obamacare”, which I am not in support of. The facts have shown, as displayed in other countries, that single-payer coverage is cheaper and provides better outcomes, so I don’t know why you’re talking about increased overall costs.

JV: Who cares if they advertise. You think business is inherently evil, so you think everything they do is evil. Why shouldn’t they be able to advertise in order to inform the public about their product. This is just a silly argument. Why should I think a drug company is evil, and you are not? Drug companies are made up of people too, and many of them are more compassionate about saving lives than you are. Quit besmirching your fellow man because it makes you feel more righteous than they are. You may be able to make other believe you are compassionate, but the end result if we implement all your ideas is people die. You will not have the innovation in the drugs and the medical technology that we now have. If your ideas are so great, the Soviet economy would have been the envy of the world. As we know, it is not. We also know from history that socialism does not work. It didn’t work for the pilgrims, and it has not worked all the way up to current times.

EG: You’ve misunderstood what I’ve been saying yet again. I’ve clearly made the distinction between big business/profit and business/production in general. Business can (in my opinion, should) exist to serve the population, not to maximize profit. Where businesses get in trouble (in my eyes) is when they diminish worker rights/wages and maximize the price they can charge for the goods/services. I’ve also never said anything personal about anyone—I’ve left that to you. As a matter of fact, I don’t think anything/anyone is inherently evil. Big business is controlling government decisions, small businesses are at the mercy of those decisions. If you can’t recognize the difference between informing the public of their product and advertising their product, you don’t understand marketing. An example of informing the public would be for Viagra to tell the public the possible benefits and adverse reactions to its product. Marketing shows two attractive 50-something people dancing around a beach house, walking on the beach, caressing, etc, while the auctioneer rambles info about the drug, then the Viagra symbol is shown. The difference is the same as Budweiser telling about its product, and Budweiser showing some attractive 20-something women in bikinis holding its product. Advertising isn’t meant to inform the target market, its meant to mislead the target market. In regard to what you said about compassion, people dying, the Soviet economy, I addressed this point in an earlier post. This is classical generalization and anti-socialist propaganda. Bolshevism is clearly not what I’m advocating, and you shouldn’t use scare tactics like saying the implementation of my ideas makes people die, especially when you have no backing. What I’m advocating, as with what you’re advocating, has clearly never been enacted.

JV: Hear, Hear! I’m all for it, but this is a free market idea, not a socialist idea. Again, if government couldn’t use force against us at the behest of their corporate cronies, this would happen in a free market

EG: I think you somehow have been getting confused by thinking that I’m defending what is currently in practice. I am not. I am suggesting a new system. You can call this a free market idea, but it is without a doubt a socialist idea, too. It would undoubtedly benefit society. Profit wouldn’t even be considered in a socialist state, so drugs would automatically be at their lowest possible price.

JV: Hey, did you read my blog on free market solutions to health care? I made the same argument about people being stuck in their jobs. The solution though isn’t the government. The solution is to allow the consumer to buy their own health care insurance. If they did, they would make wise decisions. Most would buy catastrophic care, and pay for doctors visits out of their pocket. This would prevent them from being attached to a crappy job because of health insurance. It would also free up expenses at companies, resulting in more jobs and higher wages

EG: As I said earlier, many people can’t afford to pay for many procedures/illnesses. Many chronic illnesses are simply unaffordable, unless you’re a millionaire. We agree that it’d be better to get away from employer based care, because this would, in theory, mean higher wages for people. If a fraction of this increased wage were to go toward a single-payer plan, EVERYONE would be covered in the plan. Your solution sounds like a book that I read called “Healthcare, Guaranteed” by Ezekiel Emmanuel (sp?). In the book, Dr. Emmanuel admits that single-payer is a viable, cost-saving option, but he doesn’t advocate it because he thinks it would be too drastic of a change. If something is a better option it should be pursued, or explored at the very least. And once again, you assume that what I envision is the current form of government. I think I’ve spoken about this sufficiently, so the reader knows what I mean.

JV: As far as malpractice, you are right there as well, but you look at it the wrong way. Because of insurance in general, people no longer have a personal relationship. People assume it’s not big deal, the insurance company will be paying the settlement. This problem has grown as insurance has grown. The solution isn’t a one size fits all tort reform, as Republicans pose. This isn’t fair to patients, who may rightfully have a claim. It should be taken out of the federal government’s hands. States should enact these limits if they want. This would allow competition between states. Also, if insurance was out of the picture, you could have agreements made before hand between doctors and patients. Maybe there is a predetermined payout in the event of something bad happening. I don’t know all the solutions to solve this, because I can’t be expected to be an expert on all areas of the economy. The point is the free market would develop solutions to this if their wasn’t so much government involvement. You didn’t have these issues when the government was less involved

EG: I’m not sure how you think single-payer wouldn’t do well on this issue. A few of my physician friends have suggested a kind of “good Samaritan act” with medicine, but I don’t think this is the answer, as there is sometimes definite negligence.

JV: Again, this didn’t happen at the rate it did back before all the insurance and government intervention. Again, the systems you are advocating are the very systems that create the symptoms you are complaining about. You are also prejudging people motivations without proof. People in general are charitable, and the sick and poor would be taken care of. They were prior to all this government intervention, and they would again. I’m not sure if your a religious man, but you sure do worship the state. The state solves all human ailments based on your logic, and we have never done these things on our own. As I said previously, you create a tragedy of commons on the human level

EG: Once again, you assumed that what I envision is what Democrats speak of—it is not. I am not a Democrat. I’m not prejudging people, I’m looking at history to determine the best route forward. The idea that capitalism takes care of every member of society is so absurd that it isn’t even comment-worthy. A general appreciation of cooperation, love, and protecting vulnerable people is what I speak of. The statements about me worshipping anything are simply desperate and immature.

JV: This is taking fuzzy math to the next level. The overhead would skyrocket if all people were on the government plan. You aren’t looking at who is in both systems. The fact that you have senior citizen as the customer in the medicare system, makes the overhead seem lower.
Example. If you have two patients, one a 30 year old male under private insurance and two a 70 year old male under medicare. Both of them cost $50/year in overhead. The problem is the 70 year old will spend much more money. So if say the 30 year old spends $100 for the year on insurance, his overhead if 50%. On the other hand, if the medicare patient, spends $1,000 for the year, his overhead is only 5%. As we all know, senior citizens spend way more money on health care services, so there is a reason medicare’s overhead appears less. If you add the remaining population into it, you will see that number go up, and it will go up higher than the private sector, who is constantly rooting out was

EG: If only the story was that simple. Overhead in private insurance must also include advertisements and payment to employees for all of the cost-cutting techniques. This includes research to deny coverage and to drop people from plans—often accompanied by a group teleconference. Increased cost also comes from increased administrative bureaucracy.

JV: Thanks for saying it’s not my fault that I’m so stupid, and you’re so smart You are arguing that the wealth gap is the result of the free market, when it has been getting worse under government intervention. This is silly. I think we agree on the middle class, but you are wrongly identifying the cause. The biggest cause is the Fed. Devaluing our currency is robbery of the middle class. It also, is central planning. We have one guy at the head of a little over a dozen bozos deciding what the cost of money should be. What you get is the bubble we just had and the bust we are currently in. With all the bailouts, the money has been transferred from the middle class to the rich, who have now recovered. The middle class will not recover what has been taken. The poor never had it in the first place, so they lost nothing. You idea that we need more government is crazy in light of they are the ones causing this gap to get larger

EG: I never said that you are stupid and I’m smart, what I said is your information sources likely aren’t giving you diverse opinions. Inculcation is learning by repetition, it has nothing to do with intellectual ability. I apologize for the confusion. I could reiterate my opinion here, but we’d just be talking in circles. I hold steady to the fact that capitalism is polarizing the population, and I agree that devaluing the money doesn’t help anyone. The financial industry, which was just at the heart of the “bubble bursting”, is capitalism at its finest—people steadily trying to make a profit, even on things that hold no real value. Privatized profit with socialized risk, the story of the relationship between big business and the government.

JV: What in the world are you talking about here? Reagan and Bush cut taxes on all income tax brackets. You are so blinded by your hate of people who have more than you. It’s nuts. Trickle down does work better than Obama’s “Trickle Up Economics”. The very name describe what is does, and his policies and actions shows how it works. He has taken from the middle class, and given it to his cronies, thus trickling it up to them. Under Reagan, Clinton, and Bush, they cut taxes on the so called rich, and you had jobs created and people growing financially. The problem in the long run was the Fed was punishing us with the inflation tax and the bubbles they were creating. As I said, jobs were created which is what creates wealth for people. The Fed tricked people into going into debt and devalued the money they earned through inflation. If you want to fix the wealth gap, you will end the Fed

EG: I’m not sure where you came up with my “hatred for people who have more than me”, but it was a desperate, inaccurate personal attack from someone who knows nothing about me besides a facebook discussion about theoretical politics. Back to our political debate, Reagan’s cuts all contributed to the economic polarization that we discussed earlier. I completely support jobs being created for the masses. The middle class is a staple in the economy, but the poor must also be considered in all discussions. This last election focussed on the middle class, while scarcely ever mentioning programs to help the poor.

JV: I’m pointing in the wrong direction? Our country was more capitalist and entrepreneurial before WWII than after, but for some reason capitalism gets blamed? People are less interested in helping because they assume they don’t need to. Remember, we have safety nets! As I said, we have a tragedy of commons on the human level. Basically, those people become public property, and everyone assumes someone else will take care of it. Families also used to bring us more happiness, and I would argue that government interference as pushed us apart making us less happy. In order to replace that happiness, we have looked other places, such as TV shows, material items, etc. Believe it or not, there are people who refuse to take government help because of their dignity. I was raised by one of these people, and guess what, they didn’t end up in the streets. Churches, families, friends, etc do step up and help.

EG: The amount of power that the corporate-government had pre-WWII can’t be compared to post-WWII levels because of international involvement. Once again, we may get into a circular debate on this one. People see much of what is going on each day through the media; they see war, violent crime, foreclosures, people getting laid off, troop suicides, etc. It seems clear to me that people are aware that others need help, and they are not getting it from the atomized, competition-driven population, nor are they getting it from the current government. ANY degree of socialized action would be beneficial in this regard. I’m talking community involvement, churches, state-wide support groups, nation-wide social justice organizations. I commend your parent for working hard and improving his/her economic situation, but the fact is some people are too deeply entrenched in the poverty trap to free themselves from its shackles. This theoretical political debate isn’t just about the US, it’s about all of humankind. It’s about helping oppressed people across the world, when possible. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to the more impoverished regions of the world, but when you’re there, it’s clear that some form of socialism is the only possible solution. Other countries simply don’t have the land and resources that the US has been lucky enough to be situated on. Cooperation and looking out for the greater good are the only way that improvement will happen. Thanks to modern technology, the world is becoming increasingly interrelated. It will soon become an issue of society only being as good as its weakest link on a global level. Cooperation, not competition, will be the way to solve large issues like the world hunger crisis.

JV: I am not saying for sure it would improve congestion, but I do know the free market is more efficient, so I believe there is a chance. I am not going to write it off as you have, just because I’m not imaginative enough to develop the system myself. I do know, if it was ran privately, that roads could be paid for by businesses, developers, etc. After all, you would need to get to your house, fi a developer wanted you to buy it. You would need to get to a business if the business wanted you to work there and wanted customers to come there. Also, I can guarantee you it would be better taken care of as is most driveways and business parking lots. You also wouldn’t have unmotivated road crews standing around watching one guy at a time do work.
I did not say the $200 million air port was efficient. I might have forgot my contraction, n’t. I do that when typing fast. It is inefficient and an example of government waste that would never happen in the free market it. If it did, it would only harm the person paying for it out of his own pocket. It would not be stolen from the middle class tax payer to pay for

EG: You don’t have much of a debate on this one. Look at the number of super-rich people that own private planes and runways. I happen to have a family friend that has such a set-up. He lives in upper WI and makes biweekly flights—in his private plane, from his private runway—to Chicago for business. This is the exact waste we’re talking about. This is in the private sector. Also, I wasn’t defending frivolous government spending. I’ve maintained that large spending decisions should be community, state, or nationwide. Democracy is the key to what I’m suggesting. If people would rather allocate $200 million to a school than an airport, then that’s their prerogative.

JV: Haha. I would agree with you, which is more proof that government control is always wasteful and inefficient. The only hard part about this here, is this is about the only thing the government does at this point that is actually in the constitution, and without a military to defend the country, you pretty much don’t have a country. If you really are an anarco-socialist, I’m sure you’ve read some arguments by the anarcho-capitalist at how the free market would better at this. They make some great arguments, but I’m not totally sold on it

EG: Once again, if the government is run by big business interests—private military contractors in this case—there will be superfluous funding. If decisions are made democratically by the general population, I think you would eliminate such wasteful spending. Also, I’ve run into the argument that the average person is “too stupid” or “not specialized enough” to aid in such decisions. I think this is without merit and I hope you wouldn’t share in the opinion. I’m also not sold on anarchocapitalist ideas. I think that power over another person—in the form of free employment contracts in this case—is nearly always abused. That’s why I think an anarchosyndicalist approach would a better system.

JV: This sounds like something straight of an Ayn Rand book or 1984. “I’m talking about changing the economic and educational system so people wouldn’t view it as forcing.” Wow, you are talking about brain washing. We aren’t brain washed for the free market. That is human nature. You want to change our nature. This is what leads to the apalling disasters of the Soviet Union and Mao’s China. If you think it’s so great, why to you feel the need to stick a gun to other people’s heads to force them to do it? Brainwashing them into it is no different. If it’s so great, you are able to do it yourself freely. Of course as with all socialist, marxists, etc. that isn’t enough. You have to force all society to do it, which points out that you truly don’t believe in libertarian socialism as well. That was just a ruse to get someone to start buying into socialism

EG: I’m not talking about indoctrinating the population. I’m talking about bringing more views into the mainstream. Let’s face it, neither of our stances is accepted in the mainstream debate. You would be considered a “radical right-winger” and I would be a “radical left-winger”. In the current education system, capitalism reigns supreme, “brain washed” as you would say, no contest. Especially since the Cold War, even the utterance of the word socialism has been taboo. In fact, a misunderstanding of socialism is what spurred this entire thread. I think once people are given an option other than constant competition and one man’s victory must be another man’s crushing defeat, they will flock to the possibility. You should really quit grouping socialist, Marxist, etc. into one boat. My views clearly differ from Marxism in that there is no central, state-controlled governing body, and I am completely for freedom of religion. I hope your readers aren’t so quick to throw out the “Marxist card” to vilify the opponent. Also, your last two sentences are another desperate attempt to mislead your blog readers and claim victory in the debate. I never once mentioned forcing anyone. It has always been about democracy.

JV: You’re view of your fellow man isn’t low? Really? You do not that all these evil corporations, etc are made up of your fellow man, but for some reason you believe you are more righteous than they. I’ll take a Bill Gates over someone claiming to be righteous any day. You are
You are arguing around the issue of democracy. I don’t think the form of democracy we had under the constitution. It was a republic. By saying liberties must be protect, you are arguing the same thing I am. The constitution is what protected those liberties. The problem is, as is with pure democracies in general, you only want your liberties protected. If you think someone else liberties interferes with your ideals, they don’t count. That is what pure democracy is. Mob rule, and as I said, you are only free as long as you are in the majority

EG: OK, I’m guessing you were fired up when you wrote this paragraph because it gets pretty choppy, incoherent, and greatly misconstrues things I’ve said. I am talking about community, state, or whatever magnitude you want to think of, organization run by individuals working as a team. Within these organizations, there is no single owner. Each worker has a piece of the ownership. I apologize for using a cliché, but generally speaking, absolute power corrupts absolutely. In a free market model based on profit, workers interests cannot be identical to those of the ownership; this inevitably leads to various forms of oppression (Adam Smith made this point very clear), as ownership tries to maximize the profit at the expense of workers and the public. A few lucid examples of this are NAFTA and WTO. Each of these organizations—controlled by large corporations—have been disastrous for the common workers. The free market model simply doesn’t work.

JV: Your whole argument is telling me how horrendous everyone is in the the private sector (oh and they are the same as the public sector). So until I see someone more wise, honorable, and intelligent, I’ll stick with the founders

EG: Once again, you’ve misconstrued what I’ve been saying. Big business interests cannot be the same as those of the common worker, and in the current corporate-government scheme, big business nearly always wins. I never made personal attacks or called any individual in the private sector a “horrendous” person. I will leave those generalizations and personal attacks to you.

I hope your readers enjoy this debate and appreciate a different view! I think it will be clear to them that the point where we diverge is somewhere near the divergence of anarchocapitalism and anarchosyndicalism, which, relatively speaking, is similar to the difference between libertarian socialism and marxist socialism.

Cheers,
Evan

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You are for outright democracy as you’ve kept going back to. THe constitution was written for the purpose of protecting liberties. All added amendments were added to expand liberty. Ex: voting rights for women and black Americans. Under your view that we should disregard the constitution and just do anything that the majority says, if in direct contrast to the point of a constitution. With this view, government doesn’t expand liberty, it takes liberty. That is not progress. It maybe be progress to you because you believe your ideas should be forced on all society. I believe in a voluntary society, where people are free to work, play, etc as they see fit as long as they don’t interfere with the liberty of others. Forcing a health care bill or socialism down someone’s throat is taking their liberty. It is in no way expanding it.

Saying the only things that will be produced is the most profitable is a very close minded view. Profits just mean there is demand. Why would you produce something that doesn’t have demand? That is why government and socialism are so inefficient and produce a lower standard of living. You don’t rely on real demand. You rely on what central planners say is demand. That has never worked and will never work. Profits are relative as well. Example, the most profitable deliverable maybe a service because there isn’t much overhead. For example, a day laborer makes the most profit because he doesn’t have cost of goods to his labor. On the other hand, if you are correct, oil would not be produced, because it is very expensive and the profit is much lower on it. That is why I say its relative. Oil is produced on a much larger scale because it can produce profits on a massive scale, and there is demand for it on a massive scale. Also, reality doesn’t bare out your belief. In reality, many products and services are produced because in the free market people are free to pick and choose what they want, and in response producers produce them. Under socialism, it’s all determined centrally, and it cannot deliver what society really demands. If you have a need, you only get it if the collective decides you get it. It doesn’t matter what value you place on it and if you are willing to pay a certain price for it. This isn’t freedom, and it sure isn’t efficient.

One element of libertarian socialism may be workers themselves collectively own the means of production, but you are leaving out the entire meaning of the first word. I reckon it is because you don’t believe in that part. Libertarian means its voluntary, and as I said, I have no problem with it. If people want to voluntarily create a collective, have at it. It will not work, but who am I to say they can’t. That is the difference between you and me. I’m not saying you can’t do it. I’m not trying to control you. Currently, you can do this now. It will never last because the workers will realize their mistake and they’ll leave unless forced to stay. Of course though, you are trying to force the rest of us into your model. Under your model, I can’t choose to be free. I have no choice. Well that isn’t true either. If you do some reading on the topic, underground economies always pop up. Freedom can never be suppressed for long. It is these underground economies that sustain people through the forced slavery of socialism and communism. This has even happened in our own country during WWII when we were a demand economy.

As far as what Adam Smith said he is right. Is everyone in society supposed to have the same interests? That sounds like tyranny to me. Anyways, you place the value of labor above the entrepreneur. This is silly and short sighted. Without the vision of the entrepreneur, you would not have the jobs for laborers. Also, the business owner is creating more value than the workers. The owner created a system to deliver products and services to society. Without him, society would go without, therefore it is his idea that is of the most value. Ideas are always more value than labor. That is why you go to college, because you assume your knowledge will make you more valuable.. Your hatred of the business man is just like the farmer killing the golden goose. Socialism is killing the golden goose because it’s not fair the goose has gold.

You don’t understand the differences. Anarcho-capitalism is based on freedom first. It is the cooperative system. You cooperate with others freely to the benefit of both of you. Anarcho-socialism can exist within an anarcho-capitalist society as I said above. As I said above as well, you don’t believe in this idea anyways because you constantly are arguing for the state to force on people to pay for what you believe is the “just society”.

You say you are against military force, but what do you think a democratic decision is? How do you enforce the decision of the majority? It is enforce by government force. You are talking in circles. Government is military force. Try to freely disregard something you disagree with the government on? Do you think it won’t result in force? There is nothing peaceful and just about forcing free people to adhere to what the majority says is just. It sure isn’t freedom.

History has disproved the idea that you believe people would just simply work for their fellow countrymen. People quickly realize they are just slaves. There is not motivation to work harder, because you gain nothing. Again, it has never worked, and history is rife with disastrous consequences to the contrary. Lastly, the free market is a participatory economy, not socialism. That is silly to say otherwise. We, the consumer, are the ones that decide what is produced, and we vote everyday with our dollars. Why do you think it’s so efficient? The economy changes constantly, and under socialism, you’d have to wait for a vote before society could change the allocations of resources.

I’m glad you admitted you aren’t for libertarian socialism. Like I said, it was just a ruse to make people think socialism is ok. It isn’t the socialism that most people may like. It’s the libertarian part that they would buy into. Now that is established, we are back to you believing in force via the state.

If your argument that socialism would wisely reallocate funds, education is a horrible example of it in action. Public education in this country is a disaster as a direct result of it being socialized. It is central planning in action. The closer schooling gets to the free market, the better the results, which is why private schools, charters schools, and home schooling is becoming so popular.

You said you are completely against lobbyist. That is fine to say, but what do you think a person who goes to their local congressman and asks them to do something is? Also, you talk about businesses like they aren’t part of the public? How do you get that? They after all are made up by all people not working for the government. Do you not think those workers want to lobby the government to help the company they work for? Surely they do, and it is to the detriment to the rest of us, just like the bailout of GM and the autoworkers was. Again, you are asking for the government to provide all this stuff, and then you are complaining because people ask to have it steered in their direction. If you want the government to pick winners and losers, don’t cry when you are the loser.

“If people understand that cooperation is necessary and the community will help provide for them, the majority opinion will be welcome.” This gets back to think all humans should think exactly the same. This is not natural and results in disaster. People understand more than you give them credit for and they understand cooperation is not cooperation when it is forced. This is a perfect example of how Tylers picture of a man holding a gun to the other man’s head and titled socialism is correct. Under socialism, this is considered cooperation. Also, assuming “the community” will take care of you is a recipe for disaster as well. Look at Katrina. They assumed they would be taken care of, but low and behold the government didn’t work. Expecting “the community” to take care of you creates a moral hazard that results in disaster. It causes people to act recklessly and to be irresponsible. Look at Wall Street. They knew they’d get bailed out, and it is because of the moral hazard that they took the risks they did. There was no responsibility to be concerned with.

When you talk about people not being able to afford health care, you are looking at it from within the current system which is corrupted by insurance and government. Medicine would not be as expensive in a true free market. People were able to afford health care previously, and again you completely disregard charity of medical professionals, churches, and the people.

You keep saying “impede progress”. It really sounds like something right out of Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China. “Progress” is always the buzzword to forced slavery. Also, you belief that the world would operate the same if you forced single payer systems in the US is short sighted as well. The rest of the world has the luxury to benefit from our innovation, just like they are lucky to benefit from our military protection. There no doubt would be a decrease in innovation if profit was taken out of the industry. It’s silly to expect otherwise.

“Business can (in my opinion, should) exist to serve the population, not to maximize profit.” Why do you think the business is created? It’s created by someone seeking profit. Why would you think that the business would be created to serve the population if you removed the profit motive? It is by seeking profits, that the business serves society.

Next, you give the example of Viagra marketing with two attractive people, and this is a bad thing. If it is a bad thing for medicine, surely it should be a bad thing for food. If it’s bad thing for food, surely it should be a bad thing for housing. Our kids should not be led to believe some toy is exciting. They should be informed. Why would we force one standard on one industry, and not the others? Food is much more important to our health than Viagra.

“Profit wouldn’t even be considered in a socialist state, so drugs would automatically be at their lowest possible price.” Oh, this is such a dangerous idea. Self interest cannot be outlawed. People naturally look out for their self interest and their families self interest. Because of that, they look to get ahead. If you remove profit, you remove their motivation to get ahead. They are not rewarded. Also, drugs are only automatically set to the lowest possible price by force, via price setting. Price setting always creates shortages. It’s one of the biggest reasons socialism doesn’t work. Markets always opperate whether you want to wish them away or not. Under socialism price signals do not exist. Without price signals, reality is not properly perceived. If this was the way to abundance, Russia would have had plenty, under rent control, New York would have had plenty of apartment, etc. As a matter of fact, it is price fixing that ultimately caused our “health care” crisis. Because FDR put wage caps in place for workers, businesses used health benefits to compete for talent. This was the beginning of employer paid health insurance, which is the ultimate reason we are in the mess we are in now.

As far as single payer, you are pushing beliefs on me that aren’t mine. I know it won’t work. Yes, everyone would be covered, but who cares if you are “covered” if you can’t get care. Under socialism there are always shortages, and instead of having options, you only have what the government says you get. Again, this is not liberty, even though you claim to be for maximizing liberty.

While it didn’t seem like we had too much of a debate about law suits and medicine, I figured I better stir it up. Actually, I think the free market is the solution. The problem is as I’ve said in other areas is moral hazard. People assume all doctors are good at their trade. Why do they assume this? They assume it because government tells us so. Government after all licensed them. Again, rely on the government proves to be disastrous to many. Under the free market, without government licensing, people would be researching their doctor similar to how they research a car. Why do people spend hours researching their next car, and 0 times researching their doctor? They assume the work is already done by our savior, the government.

As far as your additional comments on private insurance overhead, you completely skip over my point. My point is the numbers you stated are very misleading. What the real numbers are I can’t say, but I know you cannot make judgments based on the faulty math that is put forward.

“The financial industry, which was just at the heart of the “bubble bursting”, is capitalism at its finest—people steadily trying to make a profit, even on things that hold no real value. Privatized profit with socialized risk, the story of the relationship between big business and the government” You say I don’t get diverse opinions. That sounds pretty judgmental to me. You have no clue what I read or who I talk to. Also, this statement here shows your lack of reading and diverse sources of information. To believe the crisis was caused by capitalism is way off base. It was government that caused the crisis, with the Fed being the primary culprit, and legislators being the second. The government released the flood waters with low interest rates and then steered it into housing with affordable housing legislation. That is not the free market.

Sorry if it sounded like an attack, but I can only make judgments based on your constant attack of rich people. Rich people are people to, and do as much good and have as good of intentions as you. I do not think it’s fair to constantly bash the rich. As far as, “This last election focused on the middle class, while scarcely ever mentioning programs to help the poor.”, how’s the working out for you. Obama is destroying the middle class by taxing them out of their money and handing it to his buddies on Wall Street. On top of that, he’s in cahoots with the Fed, which does more damage to the middle class than any other institution, law, etc.

“I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to the more impoverished regions of the world, but when you’re there, it’s clear that some form of socialism is the only possible solution. Other countries simply don’t have the land and resources that the US has been lucky enough to be situated on.” This is not the reason the US has been so prosperous. If that was the reason, Russia and China would be much more prosperous than they are. Also, Japan would be horrendously impoverished. Look at the difference between Hong Kong and the rest of China. As you know, Hong Kong was much closer to the free market than the rest of China when they were under UK control. Also, Taiwan is much more prosperous than mainland China. Is this because Twain is so rich in resources?

“Look at the number of super-rich people that own private planes and runways. I happen to have a family friend that has such a set-up. He lives in upper WI and makes biweekly flights—in his private plane, from his private runway—to Chicago for business. This is the exact waste we’re talking about.” You completely missed what I said. This may be waste, but the waste only hurts the person who paid for it. It does not hurt society. Actually it helps society. Society did not have to pay for it, and guess who gets the jobs for building it?

As far as military waste goes, I’m not really advocating privatized military. I’m actually still reading up on such topics, so I don’t have enough knowledge to advocate it or dismiss it. Also, the discussion relies on whether there is a state or not. What I would believe, would be different depending on the state. Also, expanding military is the result of expanding government. People believe the government is a must to protect them and the military is an extension of that idea. I’m sure you know that Japan never attacked the mainland during WWII, because they knew the population was heavily armed. Our second amendment scared the Japanese into not attacking the mainland. Unfortunately, this is another area where our liberties are under attack by the state, which leaves you relying on the government for your protection. As I’ve stated in another blog about Ft. Hood, the misplaced belief that government can protect you is what led to that disaster. People should be free to arm themselves for protection. If you want to comment on that, I’d comment on that blog, because these are getting extremely long.

As far as NAFTA, WTO, etc, I can agree with you. We should have free trade with all nations in my opinion; after all, we are all human. It only benefits everyone to have free trade. A perfect example is the tariffs we have on agricultural goods, so our farmers keep their prices below those of other nations, particularly Africa. It harms other nations, and it harms our nation in general. It helps the farmers (which most are large corporations), and it hurts everyone else with high prices.

I think we have something going here, that hopefully we could get some others to follow. While we completely disagree, just because I’m right (haha, joking), we can still have a civil debate. Maybe we should separate these discussions out into different topics. I didn’t think this one was going to end.

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We shouldn’t be debating just for the sake of argument, as I fear this is becoming, because I know I could be spending my time doing other things than writing on this blog. This should have the goal of finding the best solution. All of the details needn’t be ironed out completely, but a general belief system is possible to establish.

OK, let’s clear something up before we move forward with our utopian ideas of economy and politics. I have never advocated a centrally planned government. Your remarks continue to come back to the idea that this is somehow what I’m speaking of. It is not. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but what I speak of are polities ranging in size from neighborhoods, to cities, states, or perhaps, in a rare occasion like defense, national/international. These organizations should never expand more than is necessary. Cooperation and organization is imperative in anything that involves more than one person—I think we can agree on that. Having agreed upon this, I think that we can also agree that cooperation—defined as the combination of persons for purposes of production, purchase, or distribution for their joint benefit—always involves compromise, which should not be viewed as a subtraction of liberties by force. A hypothetical example: if your neighbor lived in a tent and decided he wanted to build a house for himself, you might feel obliged to go lend him a hand as he raises the skeletal framework. You could admittedly be doing many other things at that moment (washing your car, reading the paper, eating a sandwich), but you choose to help him. There is an obvious benefit to him by you lending a hand—he will likely finish the house sooner, thereby living a happier, more productive life since he has the warmth and security of a house. Although it may not seem obvious at first, there is also a benefit to you and the community/city/state etc. Not only will your neighbor likely be willing to help you in times of need, but, because he has his basic necessities met, he will be able to better contribute to the society as a whole. This improves the neighborhood, which improves the city, which improves the state, etc. One could argue that it is against your liberties to help the man, but I don’t think this argument holds water. The key to my debate is that there will always be a battle between what is best for the individual and what is best for the community. Of course it is within every person to make sure that he/she has what he/she needs; self preservation is one of the common threads in all living things (sometimes disguised by altruistic acts of self-sacrifice to pass on genes or ensure the survival of an idea). It is also within each person to do what makes him/her happy. This includes doing things that he/she finds enjoyable, but it must also factor in the feelings of guilt that may come from shirking the opportunity to help someone in need. It is impossible to draw a line in the sand dictating where individual interests should give way to altruistic acts in service of the community, but it cannot be denied that altruism/cooperation/compromise can improve the state of society, therefore, also the state of individuals.
I don’t think that you will argue with me when I say that cooperation is necessary in many, if not all, facets of the economy. Humans have simply moved past the point of “every man for himself”, as this system proves inefficient and costly for the individual and community.

Having established that cooperation is an inalienable characteristic of societies of the present and future, we are now at a place where forms of economy can be further discussed to empower the individual in each cooperative situation, all the while keeping in mind that every person is a mix of good and bad, and should be granted all liberties to lead a happy, successful life, as long as partaking in the chosen activities doesn’t negatively impact another person. These negative effects must also be constantly weighed against the positive effects of participating in the behavior. Yet again, we are at an instance where a definitive line cannot be drawn.

Now, to address the participatory economic systems that I’ve described (to maximize worker empowerment), we must first identify negative aspects and possibilities of business. I’m sure we can both agree that exploitation of workers is a negative—no person should be remunerated less than is deserving. Also, all forms of repression and oppression should be eliminated from production (as well as society as a whole). Within this discussion, I should state that it is my belief that people want to have a say in what they’re doing, and that by silencing this voice—making workers subservient to ownership—we would be abusing the individual’s basic nature and completely missing the goal of empowering the individual. The only way to get around this is to make each worker part of the decision making process, ie ownership. This doesn’t mean that each worker has an exactly equal say. The ideal way to design the system would be to match each worker’s say with his level of investment in the organization. This is to say that someone who is 100% invested in the company would have a larger say than someone who has two other jobs and only works there one day a week, because the person with 100% investment is more greatly effected by what happens to the organization than the person who has other jobs. This allows innovation to continue because individuals can start their own organizations and have majority say in how the organization is run.

To take this a step further, the idea of participatory economy would then be applied to society as a whole. This would mean that everyone who deals with this or that organization would have a say in aspects of the organization (pricing or distribution for example), and the level of contribution would yet again be determined by the level that the decision effects the individual.

Now, from what I’ve gathered thus far, where our stances differ is that I think cooperation must triumph over anti-social behaviors like competition and abstract market values. I also think that organizations should be worker-run, while you think the individual should have complete authority, in a kind of every man for himself society where workers are subordinate to ownership. Please correct me and explain your ideal system if I have misunderstood.

Now, to address your last post (I’ll try to make this short). I never suggested disregarding the constitution as a whole. I think laws must be put in place to protect individual liberties, as I’ve said all along. This should include laws listed in the constitution, but it should also be open to other laws, as adjudication issues should never be held above evolving moral philosophy. There will always be new groups to protect and individual liberties to defend.

And, for the sake of wasting typing space in each post, please quit pretending like I’m trying to force my ideas on anyone, I never suggested this. Democracy is the view of the public. What I say is simply an option to be considered. As I wrote earlier, all cooperation—this includes living peacefully amongst one another—involves compromises. This doesn’t mean force, it’s simply part of increasing civility. I’m sure there are some people out there that think all speed limits should be abolished, but this makes no sense to the general population. Does this mean that the majority is acting tyrannically and “forcing” their views of limitations on speed upon the minority? No. It’s simply reasonable that within a community, you can’t always do whatever it is that you want. And as far as the healthcare debate is concerned, if you think that being healthy is an inalienable right to a happy and successful life, as I do, not to mention that it would decrease overall cost, there is no way that guaranteed care could be viewed as an infringement on individual liberties. Your suggestion that the generosity of healthcare providers, churches, etc. would account for the lack of coverage is an extreme overestimation of their available funds. Also, please quit using childish phrases stating that I “hate” anyone or any group of people. I don’t think anyone is inherently evil. As I stated above, I think everyone does a mix of good and bad things. I may disagree with someone’s ideas, but this doesn’t mean that I dislike, let alone hate, that person. In the words of Burt Baccarat, “What the world needs now is love,” not hate. 

Let’s now look at why the most profitable goods, not necessarily the most necessary in society, are always produced in a capitalist economy. As we both know, gaining profit through competition (because monopolies are illegal) is the goal of companies in a capitalist society. This means that once a company is no longer profitable, or a more profitable venture presents itself, the ownership will close/leave the company and pursue the more profitable option. So now we have a theoretical company that is producing food supplements that are largely consumed by low-income families. The company has specialized machines that wrap and package these foods efficiently. Now, here comes inventor A, who has a new product that will be produced by the same specialized machines and is aimed at high-income families, providing a higher profit margin. It is only logical that the production company will reallocate some, if not all, of its machines to producing this new product with a higher profit margin. Would you argue with me that the new product is less essential to the society, when a staple in the diet of low-income families was just removed/displaced in favor of an option that will simply add to the choices of high-income families? This isn’t pure hyperbole, we see this constantly in the pharmaceutical industry, when they switching from manufacturing necessary medications that largely serve low-income demographics to the production of more profitable drugs. In a participatory economy, decisions would be made to benefit the population, not the pockets of wealthy investors.

I stated the differences between anarcho-capitalism and anarcho-syndicalism, the most obvious of which is that the free market rules in anarcho-capitalism. This makes it impossible for anarcho-syndicalism to exist with an anarcho-capitalist system. Liberty is essential in both of these systems, although I think it would quickly deteriorate in the anarcho-capitalist system when workers’ would be exploited via free labor contracts. Workers’ rights must be protected. If they aren’t included in ownership, they must be allowed to unionize. The two forms of economy are antithetical and cannot coexist, as is the same with Marxist socialism and libertarian socialism. History has never attempted a participatory economy, so it cannot be ruled out, unless you’re saying it is against human nature, which I feel it strongly suits. To say that people are slaves in a participatory economy makes zero sense, since each worker is part of the ownership. And to say that free market capitalism is a participatory economy also makes no sense because in a free market capitalist economy there is an owner and subordinate workers. The hypothetical example I stated earlier about the food production company further elucidates this.

Also, I never said that I’m not for libertarian socialism, you must pay attention to the words themselves. What I said is that this debate hasn’t been solely about libertarian socialism. I have not attached myself to any political party or “ism”, because, as I stated earlier, society is a steadily evolving beast, and changes must constantly be made. Libertarian socialism accounts for this steadily evolving state, but I will not pin my undieing allegiance to it. I maintain to be an independent thinker, as I advise everyone else to be. Ideas like liberty and democracy should be defended, not political parties.

As far as your public education debate goes, this issue stretches across many aspects of society, and can’t be simply attributed to a central planning failure. I’m not saying central planning should be enacted, but the problem isn’t as simple as you’re making it. Having said that, public education is a must-have. It’s one of the reasons that America is admired in many places of the world. The clichés of the “American dream” and “Rags to Riches” would be greatly limited without public education. Many families couldn’t afford to put their children through private schooling or home schooling (would remove a parent from the work place). Education, like nourishment, housing, clothes, and, in my opinion, healthcare should be considered basic necessities for the possibility of a happy, successful life.

You made a good point about lobbying in the current system, I should clarify. Individuals should be able to voice their opinion, it’s lobbying for corporate interests that I’m against. Where this gets sticky is corporations often convince their workers that what’s good for the bottom-line is also good for them—this usually isn’t the case. I’m not saying the two NEVER match-up, nor am I saying that corporations ALWAYS exploit their workers/consumers. But, getting back to our theoretical discussion, in a libertarian socialist system, this issue would be eliminated because all workers are part of ownership; therefore, their interests would be one-in-the-same and worker/consumer exploitation wouldn’t be a concern. Also, there wouldn’t be a central governing body to lobby to, so the argument is superfluous.

I’m assuming your argument about advertising is sarcastic and you think all advertisement is good. I would take the opposing stance because of reasons already described. I could have given an example for each industry, but this would be unnecessary, as extrapolation is pretty simple. Your idea of people naturally looking to get ahead of the competition doesn’t seem fully thought to its end. I would argue that human nature is to be independent and survive, but this doesn’t necessarily mean getting AHEAD of someone else. Cooperation without competition is seen in native populations all over the world.

Sorry to tell you I’m going to avoid the malpractice debate. We agree for the most part and this is taking up too much of my time to go into more depth right now. If we changed this to a weekly, instead of daily, event, I would be up for expansion. Ditto for the Fed argument, we both say they’re to blame, although we disagree on the of blame (if you can’t tell, I’m getting tired of typing right about now). As for Obama being elected, I don’t claim to have his back, so I’m not sure how that’s a knock against me. I will concede that I was being lazy and should have used an indefinite clause instead of a definite clause when I said land/resources was “the” reason of its riches. There are many, which include: hard work of laborers, innovation, exploitation of various parts of the world, protectionism, the slavery years, etc. Again, perhaps we can delve into these at another time. We’re getting very far off the topic of general political theory, which was how this discussion started.

About private military contracts, whether it be weapons or soldiers, I don’t think they’re are good ideas. There have been too many legal issues to rationalize their use, not to mention the economic issues. I think you may have been alluding to the idea that there is too much hysteria and unjustifiable fear, which I would agree with. The simple logic I bring to military intervention is that of moral universality, it’s fail-proof. I’d say your explanation of why Japan attacked Hawaii instead of the mainland is a little overzealous. The target definitely had something to do with proximity to Japan. Regarding what you just said about Ft. Hood, I think you’re simplifying again. There is definitely something to say about allowing a volunteer military to opt out of their contracts if they so choose (this would require the soldier to return a portion of his earnings). Forcing people to go off to a war they don’t believe in, or when they aren’t mentally stable is not the right thing to do. I’ll read the Ft. Hood blog some other day, this message has already consumed a large chunk of my evening.

NAFTA and WTO unfortunately bring us to another bifurcation, even though we both recognize government subsidies and tariffs on imported goods to be one of the key causes. There has been an increasingly vocal movement for “deglobalization”, which I agree with. Large governments have simply used “free trade” as a pretext to exploit less developed countries and crush workers’ rights. In poor countries, I’ll use Haiti as an example because I am most familiar with it, subsidized food has completely undercut their largely agrarian economy. It is, quite frankly, impossible for Haitian rice, avocado, sugar cane, kidney bean, coffee, etc. farmers to compete with the large industrialized farms of the US. Most Haitians have no other economic means than farming, as the vast majority can’t afford boats to fish from and the country is so devastatingly deforested. Haiti has an interesting history with the US, but, again, that’s far off topic. As you would expect, I believe in a bottom-up economy.

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YOu can argue cooperation is necessary, and I would agree it is needed in society with more than one person. The question is what is cooperation. Cooperation is freely agreeing to something with another person for a common objective. The problem with socialism is it assumes everyone will want to cooperate, and this just isn’t reality. If this isn’t reality, then it would require force to make everyone “cooperate”. At that point, it is no longer cooperation. It is compulsion. Whether you force someone with a gun or force someone by brainwashing them and making them believe something they otherwise wouldn’t, is still compulsion.

“should be granted all liberties to lead a happy, successful life, as long as partaking in the chosen activities doesn’t negatively impact another person.” Who’s to decide what negatively impacts another person. People can say anything that they don’t like impacts them. My neighbor buying a better car than me may impact me if my wife starts telling me how great his car is and how ours sucks. Maybe we should just live in a boring society where we all have the same things.

“I’m sure we can both agree that exploitation of workers is a negative—no person should be remunerated less than is deserving. Also, all forms of repression and oppression should be eliminated from production (as well as society as a whole).” No we can’t agree on this. YOu assume that people are voluntarily being exploited. This is silly. No one in our country is forced into a job. If someone is offering a job, and there are multiple people willing to take it at the offered wage, then those people are not being exploited. Also, the market decides the wages. Who do you believe should decide the wage? Oh, let me guess. The workers will vote on it. Yeah, I’m sure they won’t vote increases until the company is bankrupt. All you have to do is look at the countless unionized companies and the evenual downfall of them.

What you are describing in how you say business decisions should be made is what is call stock holders. How is an employee supposed to become invested if he has no money? Wouldn’t that be unfair? Also, while you say this allows for innovation, why would it do that? who is to decide what the company is worth overall? What’s the point of owning say 10% of the company if you can’t sell it on the open market? As you know paper wealth is pointless if it has no liquidity. Ask everyone who tried getting their “value” out of their homes during the mortgage crisis. If you have no one to sell to, you have no value. Since you have no one to sell to, you have defeated the innovation motivation. Your only motivation would be to have more votes. It seems to me, you will only have people trying to gain control, and eventually they may be able to “exploit” everyone else. If you are allowed to realize real value by selling you investment on the open market, you just defeated the whole system you are talking about.

You say I’m for an every man for himself society. I’m for all men being free to decide their own destiny and to be rewarded for their effort. That has nothing to do with every man for himself. You cannot benefit yourself or become an evil rich guy if you aren’t serving society. Where would you get customers? This is a silly way to look at the free market. YOu act like we are all out foraging through the woods for food.

You keep saying you don’t want to force your ideas on people, but again if the majority votes for something and that must apply to everyone, you don’t have a choice. There must be a means to enforce the decision. What do you call the means to enforce the decision? You can call it cooperation, progress, or anything else. It can only be done by the threat of force and then by force itself.

Your description of businesses seeking only the most profitable goods and services is without proof. Of course you can come up with one product or service, but it isnt’ the general history of the market. Should we continue to manufacture horse buggies because it might displace a poor person who has a need for horse buggies? Also, first you say monopolies are illegal (they shouldn’t be), and then your examples always talks about a single company moving from an unprofitable business (which only means there isn’t demand) to a profitable business (means their is demand). The problem is business don’t do that. They add the new product, or they sell their business to another company, etc. Under your example, computers would stop being produced because the margins on them are constantly eroded, and they could make more profit margin on services. As you know, companies like Dell figure out cheaper ways to do things and innovate new production strategies to drive down cost. Who benefits? Society and especially the poor, because they can then afford what before only the rich could.

While I’m not going to keep going back and forth about anarcho-syndicalism being able to exist under anarcho-capitalism, to say you couldn’t socialize a company under anarcho-capitalism makes no sense. No one would stop you. The only thing that would stop you is you would be extremely inefficient and would not be able to compete. Instead, you believe all society should be inefficient so that socialism can exist.

I’m not sure where I even mentioned political parties. Maybe I did. These posts are pretty long. No where did I say I would defend a party over ideas.

You said advertising is bad, as if it exist in a vacuum. Of course companies will stretch the truth, but you discount the existence of things such at the Internet, Consumer Reports, Ralph Nader, etc. Also, you say cooperation without competition is seen in native populations all over the world. That may be true, but they are not huge populations like a large city, state, nation, etc. Also, they have no where near the living standard that the US has.

Hear, hear on the Haiti argument. I do not think we should be punishing poorer countries by subsidizing local farmers. It is in no ones interest other than the group being susidized. It also hurts the poor in our country, because it drives the cost of their food up. In one of my blogs, I blame this for the reason we have so many health problems, well partly to blame. Because we’ve subsidized surgar so much, companies created high fructose corn syrup, which as you know is extremely pervasive in our diets now, and is the biggest reason we are as fat as we are as a nation. By the way, these subsidies and tariffs are anti-free market. Real capitalists (not looters like Wall St) hate subsidies and tariffs.

Again, I enjoy the debate. I tried not responding tit for tat to cut down on how much time this takes. I understand if you don’t respond. This does take a lot of time. I didn’t even want to respond when I first started typing, but once I got going, I got excited about the debate. Anyways, good discussion, and good night.

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Wow, this took an incredible amount of time and energy to read and think about. Both very well written sides of the coin, and I enjoyed this. I’m sorry I can’t contribute much to this great discussion now as you both know MUCH more than I. Evan, didn’t know you were so into this. We might need to play some basketball back up in GB so calm these waters! ;-)

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[...] none of it. What was to blame? PROFITS! These idiots think that profits drive up the costs. I even debated a socialist on Facebook who said under socialism goods and services would be the cheapest they can be, because there would [...]

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