Tragedy of the commons

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Re: Tragedy of the commons

Postby TheGZeus » Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:58 pm

Paul wrote:
TheGZeus wrote:If you go too small in governmental/regulatory power you're back to robber barons, sharecropping, surfdom and boom/bubble and bust economics.


You have that backwards...those things you list are/were caused by government; if you "go too small in governmental/regulatory power", you solve those problems!

Wait, what? That stuff never happened before a territory became a state?

"OIL!" is a work of fiction, but in it it gives an example where an oil man swindles a town out of their fare share of the oil underneath them. The contract is legal. The government has to enforce it, and there's no regulation of the processes involved.

You can do something similar with farmers' land and making them into employees for an up-front investment during a mediocre harvest. Those families no longer truly own their land, or at least can't farm it without paying him 'his' share.

There's more than one means to the same end.


In short, Ayn Rand was intelligent, but idiotic.
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Re: Tragedy of the commons

Postby Paul » Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:54 pm

TheGZeus wrote:
Paul wrote:
TheGZeus wrote:If you go too small in governmental/regulatory power you're back to robber barons, sharecropping, surfdom and boom/bubble and bust economics.


You have that backwards...those things you list are/were caused by government; if you "go too small in governmental/regulatory power", you solve those problems!

Wait, what? That stuff never happened before a territory became a state?


What does that have to do with the price of tea? You suggesting that before they became states, there were no governments involved with them? :lol: The so-called "robber barons" arose out of government grants of land and money to railroad companies, etc. Serfdom, of course, is purely a feature of (feudal) government. Economic booms and busts are a result of monetary manipulation by government-privileged banks (by monopoly central banks, nowadays). None of which could exist without government aid.

"OIL!" is a work of fiction, but in it it gives an example where an oil man swindles a town out of their fare share of the oil underneath them.


I don't know the work you're referring to, but...what "fair share of the oil underneath them"? How did they come to have a (non-zero) "fair share" if they didn't drill for it or anything?

In short, Ayn Rand was intelligent, but idiotic.


I didn't mention Ayn Rand nuttiness, either.
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Re: Tragedy of the commons

Postby TheGZeus » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:50 am

Paul wrote:
What does that have to do with the price of tea? You suggesting that before they became states, there were no governments involved with them? :lol: The so-called "robber barons" arose out of government grants of land and money to railroad companies, etc. Serfdom, of course, is purely a feature of (feudal) government. Economic booms and busts are a result of monetary manipulation by government-privileged banks (by monopoly central banks, nowadays). None of which could exist without government aid.

I said territory, not colony.
Also, as I said, there's more than one means to the same end. You can get to the same situation without the government being involved.

"OIL!" is a work of fiction, but in it it gives an example where an oil man swindles a town out of their fare share of the oil underneath them.


I don't know the work you're referring to, but...what "fair share of the oil underneath them"? How did they come to have a (non-zero) "fair share" if they didn't drill for it or anything?
[/quote]
They were lead to believe that there would be considerably more work involved, were not told the value of the oil, were told that the garret workers would bring families and stay(no way to guarantee that, but yeah) and so on. But, like any drilling/mining operation once the boom was over, there was a bust, and the money went along with the people that made it.
So there's a boom and bust, capitalism in the worst connotation's sense of the word, and a contract that's enforceable, but unfair(due more or less to great salesmanship, but it's a raw deal).
"I pay you a little more than this terrible land gives you, and then I make 1 billion dollars" is a raw deal, but legal. If you add in 'work or get off my land' you have a situation that's as bad as robber barons of old, but without government intervention.
You can game any system, no matter how small.
I think it should be small, but not TOO small. Too big and you get emminent domain for a shopping mall, too small and you get an oil refinery in the middle of your cattle ranches.(trust me, living near a refinery is horrible. I live near one. Even cows would be unhappy)

In short, Ayn Rand was intelligent, but idiotic.


I didn't mention Ayn Rand nuttiness, either.[/quote]
She believes that government should protect people from violence and enforce contracts, and nothing more.
She placed individualism above everything, is the reason for that, but again, different motivation doesn't always lead to a different result.
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Re: Tragedy of the commons

Postby Paul » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:24 pm

TheGZeus wrote:Also, as I said, there's more than one means to the same end. You can get to the same situation without the government being involved.


You can have government grants without government?

"I pay you a little more than this terrible land gives you, and then I make 1 billion dollars" is a raw deal


How's that? Seems like a good deal to me!
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Re: Tragedy of the commons

Postby TheGZeus » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:23 pm

Paul wrote:
TheGZeus wrote:Also, as I said, there's more than one means to the same end. You can get to the same situation without the government being involved.


You can have government grants without government?

Don't be rude.
That's a means.
Not an end.

If you didn't read my entire post, don't reply to it.
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Re: Tragedy of the commons

Postby findinglisp » Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:31 pm

TheGZeus wrote:
findinglisp wrote:
  • First, if people aren't charitable enough, then perhaps we really, as a society just aren't that charitable and perhaps the number of welfare recipients would decrease once they realize that. In other words, either we are charitable or we aren't. If we aren't, why are some of us trying to coerce (force!) the rest of us to be, particularly at threat of jail time?

How far would you take that, though?


I would go all the way. Government should be completely out of the charity business. No way, no how.

What of those born with disabilities? At a certain point poor people with disabilities become a burden on their families, and if the family can't afford it, things get ugly fast.
At the least, the financial/time burden can hold back those who might be capable of greater things.


I did not say that there shalt be no charity, only that the government should get out of the business of forcing people to be charitable. There is a huge difference. Again, I give > 10% of my income away to charity (and while I'm upper-middle income, I'm not financially fee).

People born with disabilities should absolutely be cared for. There are great private charities that are far more efficient for doing so, however.

If you go too small in governmental/regulatory power you're back to robber barons, sharecropping, surfdom and boom/bubble and bust economics.


Hmm... I disagree with you here. I don't see those things as either caused by small government, nor fixed by large government. Can you explain what you mean for each of them? Also, note that I specifically don't say that there is no role for the US federal government. I simply believe it has a very limited role and has greatly exceeded the limits set out for it in the Constitution, to the detriment of everybody. Specifically, I fundamentally believe in "voting with your feet" as the ultimate act of civil disobedience. A large, all-power federal government makes that tremendously more difficult. Once of the great things about the USA is that if I dislike California (where I now live, and which I do now dislike even though I was born here), I can move to a state that suits me better (which I'm honestly thinking of doing; Texas is looking good). A too-powerful federal government means that I'd have to start looking for another country, rather than another city or state, although my ancestors did exactly that when they came to the USA from Ireland, Wales, Germany, etc.

Incentivising certain behaviours is an option, but there are problems with that as well.


Why should government be in the business of incentivising anything? Maybe government should simply stop taxing beyond very low rates and call it a day, leaving society to evolve largely unmolested. See, government power frequently gets subverted by a few to try to change the beliefs of the many. Because government can act coercively with little fear of being called out for it, it becomes the perfect vehicle for every special interest to avoid having to make a real case to the public about it's cause; it's simply easier to get elected and then create laws that force everybody to do what you want. As long as you can promise 51% of your constituents that they are the oppressors and not the oppressees, then you can play this game for a long time.

That said, I do feel that there are certain things which government should do to ensure overall justice (NOT "social justice," which is simply code for massive government entitlement programs). For instance, I believe that the federal government did have a role to play in the 1960s with the civil rights movement. The local and state governments of former slave states were, in fact, dealing out injustice to their citizens, preventing them from voting, etc. In stopping that, government should play a role. That said, the movement immediately got hijacked following MLK's death into a victim-group mentality, complete with reverse discrimination, etc.

The important thing is balance and moderation. Right now we have people who seem to want extremes, and rather than call for lessening of the opposing bill, they seek another, equally or worse, bill in the other camp to make it 'fair'.
It's like a child demanding that the other childrens' toys should be broken because theirs were. That's not fair, it's stupid.


I agree with you on that (e.g. my comments on the civil rights movement following MLK's death). Government needs to stop trying to play favorites to "make up for" whatever went on before, and simply enforce, as best as it can, our idea of what the long-term right behavior should be. In other words, slavery was wrong, as was Jim Crow, etc. Let's just stop all that and move along. We don't need quotas, affirmative action, etc. We simply need to live up to MLK's vision of judging people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. And we can start that right now.

What I'm saying is too little is just as bad as too much.


I depends what "too little" means and who is doing too little of it. I'm NOT arguing for a world without compassion or charity or taking care of your fellow man. Far from it. I merely assert that government is not the right social institution for doing that and should get out of the business entirely. In fact, we lived for over a century in the USA without a massive statist government. It was really Teddy Roosevelt (being a "progressive"), Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and LBJ that screwed the pooch for us. And most every administration since has had one social engineering slant or another, albeit with a different focus and different degree.
Cheers, Dave
Slowly but surely the world is finding Lisp. http://www.findinglisp.com/blog/
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Re: Tragedy of the commons

Postby findinglisp » Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:42 pm

TheGZeus wrote:
In short, Ayn Rand was intelligent, but idiotic.


I didn't mention Ayn Rand nuttiness, either.

She believes that government should protect people from violence and enforce contracts, and nothing more.
She placed individualism above everything, is the reason for that, but again, different motivation doesn't always lead to a different result.


While I won't defend Rand on all points, I would agree with her that the main (sole?) function of government is to keep us from harming our neighbors and enforce contracts. In general, I believe in liberty and individualism as the best relationship between citizens and government.

That does NOT mean that is the best relationship between individual citizens, however. Rand seemed to eschew charity, for instance, as somehow being soft and contributing to an erosion of liberty, the producers being victimized by the non-productive. I'm against government as an agent of "charity," coercing individuals (taxing) to "contribute" to social causes, which are really political payoffs to favored special-interest groups. I disagree with Rand at an individual level, however, and think that people should be tremendously generous with their time and treasure. Rand didn't believe in religious institutions and secular charities, while I think they have tremendous societal value. I don't think you're being victimized as a producer by the non-productive if you always have the opportunity to walk away. Sometimes, people really need a helping hand, and I see nothing wrong with giving them one as long as it's never coerced.
Cheers, Dave
Slowly but surely the world is finding Lisp. http://www.findinglisp.com/blog/
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