Libertarians sappin' mah initiative

Damnit, the last few weeks I haven’t been able to blog of anything particular. I just don’t seem to have the energy for it. I am guessing that this is caused by my wasting too much time arguing online with various strains of Right-“Libertarians” (Rothbardians, Objectivists etc) which ends up eating all my interest in writing on the Division by Zer0. And that is sad.

I should probably stop and write something here instead. But then, I’m out of ideas.

Maybe I should write about the very high concentration of aforementioned right-“libertarians” online. Hmm….

EDIT: Something is breaking my theme. Ignore this sentence.

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14 thoughts on “Libertarians sappin' mah initiative

  1. I checked that debate thread, and no wonder you're running out of steam. It takes a lot of psychological energy to claim that all economic activity is zero-sum. All it takes to refute you is *one* case in which both parties to a trade came out ahead, for in that exchange, both partie gain greater utility than they previously had. Wealth is created. In the case of voluntary trades that don't involve fraud, both parties gain from their exchange every single time. You also seem to be relying on a Labor theory of value, which has been so thoroughly refuted by scholarship and history it's no wonder this is a taxing enterprise for you.

    The whole discussion is a chasing of the wind anyway. Employment should not be the focal point of the debate. High employment just means lots of work is getting done. It says nothing of quality of life increases. We could have 100% employment if President Obama decided to conscript us all to build a giant network of pyramids in an O shape out of limestone. But I doubt even you would consider that a fruitful enterprise.

    1. for in that exchange, both partie gain greater utility than they previously had. Wealth is created.

      No. No wealth is created by simple exchange. Each party may consider that they are more wealthy, or as wealthy as before, or less wealthy, but not actual wealth is created. This reasoning is nonsensical.

      In fact, it's the kind of reasoning that makes people assume that the stock market creates value. It's the same kind of reasoning that led the icelanders to think they had a lot of value. It's the kind of reasoning that leads to wiping of half the world value from one day to the next, just because perspective changes.

      In short, it's bollocks

      1. Funny. Your refutation of my reference to the Marginal Theory is an article by you asserting that both theories are valid and you don't know what to think about it.

        Labor Theory is woefully inadequate. It has no explanation as to why a certain good requires X amount of labor. How do you objectively tell the difference between a hand-carved toothpick by a master who carves one per day, and an identical one that came out of a factory along with 10 million others that day? If I can't tell the difference, am I "exploiting" the toothpick-carver if I'm only willing to give him a nickel for his day's work?

        How do we know what the standard is? It has no explanation as to how you can figure out the value relationships between different goods. If there is an objective standard of value, perhaps you can provide numerical values for these different objects. This is all very objective and scientific after all. We'll call them Marx Bucks. If a potato is worth 1 Marx Buck, how many is a 1997 Honda Accord worth? And now it occurs to me: how does LTV handle depreciation anyway? If it's objective, you should be capable of some kind of calculation apart from human valuations. So why can't we divide cars by potatoes?

        Subjective value theory is perfectly capable of handling all these situations. There is no reason to pretend that "value" exists outside of a valuer. (Stock bubbles and Iceland are excellent examples of what pandemics of state-backed fraud can do to an economy. A normal stock market serves many functions, all of them morally neutral and of different utility to different people. When a government steps in and tells the participants they won't have to feel pain as a consequence of irresponsibility or fraud, well, we see now what happens. That's what happened in Iceland, and now in the US. http://mises.org/story/3499 )

        Of course, without LTV, Marxists have no compelling reason to assert that employment is exploitation. That doesn't really stop them, though, because they have some sort of permanent psychological animus against a market economy. It is often linked with a lifestyle isolated from the market (such as being ensconced inside academia) during one's formative years, or a lack of acquaintances who have spent their lives saving and building.

        1. Funny. Your refutation of my reference to the Marginal Theory is an article by you asserting that both theories are valid

          No, that's my refutation of "You also seem to be relying on a Labor theory of value, which has been so thoroughly refuted by scholarship and history".

        2. Labor Theory is woefully inadequate. It has no explanation as to why a certain good requires X amount of labor.

          What? This is nonsense. It does not require this explanation. If lacking such an explanation makes a descriptive theory of the economy "woefully inadequate" then so is marginalism, as it has no idea why it takes a certain amount of time to produce items either.

          We do not need to predict the amount of time a good requires to produce. The LTV simply points out how goods which require the same amount of SNLT will have approximately the same cost.

        3. If there is an objective standard of value, perhaps you can provide numerical values for these different objects. This is all very objective and scientific after all.

          Can Marginalism do that? No it can't. So why the double standards? You don't provide numerical values for this objects any more than the LTV does. You just look at what is out there. The LTV can use the same function just fine. Like any descriptive theory, it tries to describe how the world works (in this case, the capitalist mode of production).

          Of course the LTV cannot predict the cost, not as a social science. This is just you trying to move the goalposts.

        4. There is no reason to pretend that "value" exists outside of a valuer.

          There's no pretending about it. There are two types of value, objective and subjective value. The first one is intrinsic and the other isn't. There's no reason to pretend the first one doesn't exist at all in order to avoid uncomfortable questions.

        5. tock bubbles and Iceland are excellent examples of what pandemics of state-backed fraud can do to an economy.[…]

          yeah yeah yeah. Of course it's all the guv'ment fault. What is a "normal stock market" pray? And do you have an example of one not suffering bubbles? Or did it occur to you that a stock market would not exist *without* the government stepping in?

          Or did bubbles not happen when the government did not interfere? Why do the Misoids always have to be reminded that we've had big and nasty bubbles ever since speculation appeared without requiring any help from the state at all? Or is the mere existence of a state enough to skew all examples? In which case we can just assume you're just a cook with imaginary theories of unrealistic worlds.

        6. Of course, without LTV, Marxists have no compelling reason to assert that employment is exploitation.

          You confuse the chicken with the egg. Exploitation follows naturally from realizing the validity of the LTV. People did not imagine the LTV so that they have something to grasp upon.

          because they have some sort of permanent psychological animus against a market economy.

          Only because it's a disaster for humans and the environment at large.

          It is often linked with a lifestyle isolated from the market (such as being ensconced inside academia) during one's formative years, or a lack of acquaintances who have spent their lives saving and building.

          Yeah, I mean, this is why Socialist ideologies are always confined to ivory towers and academia with no relation to working people and no chance to convince them to struggle for popular movements and revolutions.

          Oh wait…

    2. You also seem to be relying on a Labor theory of value, which has been so thoroughly refuted by scholarship and history it's no wonder this is a taxing enterprise for you.

      The LTV has been ignored, not refuted. But you know, better simply to trust what the economists and the other apologists of the system tell you rather than figure it out yourself.

    3. You also seem to be relying on a Labor theory of value, which has been so thoroughly refuted by scholarship and history it's no wonder this is a taxing enterprise for you.

      The LTV has been ignored, not refuted. But you know, better simply to trust what the economists and the other apologists of the system tell you rather than figure it out yourself.

  2. You are truly a glutton for frustration. Debate.org is composed primarily of right-libertarians. I use to have an account there a few years ago when it was .com and even then it was dominated by the right-libertarian political view. I stop by occasionally but it looks like it's only gotten worse. I think that are far better sites for organized debate. Sites with larger and much more diverse communities. I say get out of there before it drives you batty.

    1. Yeah, I've noticed pretty much the same thing. Once I saw debates where the non-rightwinger side was absolutely owning but *still* they lost by a large margin I just gave up. Problem is that I haven't managed to find the far better sites you're talking about 🙁

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