In my recent conversation with a…err…”political moderate”, a fundamental difference in opinions surfaced which I think is what caused most of the friction. Specifically it is the classic collision that occurs between a free market libertarian and a Libertarian Socialist.
Our conversation started with me explaining if I am a supporter of personal freedoms and very soon I was being drilled on why I support them but I don’t support the freedom of people to amass capital. Even as I was explaining that such freedom creates inequality and exploitation I was indirectly being accused of hypocrisy (which was incidentally a trigger point to take this publicly).
There was a tacit understanding by my opponent that I was somehow as supportive of (the same type of) freedom as he was and thus, by not supporting economic freedom I was being hypocritical. Indeed, thinking about the way this conversation took place I get the impression tha Oolon was attempting to make me realize this perceived dissonance in my opinion and thus abandon such views.
However what Oolon and generally libertarians do not understand is that for me (and I guess for the rest of the left-libertarian movement – feel free to correct me on this) it is not liberty (or more accurately, negative liberty) that is my highest value or priority, it is egalitarianism or positive liberty and while I do consider negative liberty as a worthy goal and will be willing to cooperate with free market libertarians to achieve it, it will definitely take the back seat when it conflicts with egalitarianism.
Libertarians love to scream “bloody oppression” when such views are expressed and this is what really gets me annoyed. I can only take so many accusations that “I am trying to force my morality on others” or that I am trying to take away freedoms when I am attempting to achieve the exact opposite: Promote the most freedom for the largest amount of people.
Thus our fundamental difference once again comes down to the classic Egalitarianism VS Freedom or Positive VS Negative Liberty and if we are to have any meaningful discussion, it is this part that we need to argue for the rest of our argument stems from it.
There is no point in expressing my opinion on one policy and have the libertarian exclaim “Aha! But you’re taking away my freedom.” I.Don’t.Care. By allowing you that freedom it would mean that inequality would once again occur and people would suffer as a result. I do not care for your repugnant beliefs that the people are not entitled to escape suffering and if you call me authoritarian one more time I will smack you.
Our freedoms need already to be curtailed in some aspects in order to have a working society. Thus, among others, you do not have the freedom to pay people below the minimum wage and you do not have the freedom to freely pollute your own property. And finally, you do not have the freedom to relinquish your own freedom.
Incidentally this is similar to the classic disagreement between the BSD Licenses and GNU GPL. The BSDs are always accusing the Free Software movement that they are not as free as them because they do not allow the freedom to take away the freedom. GPL is about providing positive freedom while BSD is about proviging negative freedom. The type of freedom that BSD espouses is what enabled Microsoft to get and then grip the market with their Active Directory implementation of LDAP & Kerberos.
It is in a similar way that negative liberty is abused, even without the initiation of force. This is what free market libertarians fail to consider. Things like monopolies, worker exploitation etc are the results and they end up hurting everyone.
On the other hand, what Egalitarianism is about, is not making all people achieve the same (which is again a misunderstanding of the concept) but allowing all people the same freedoms no matter their abilities or social standing. Egalitarianism is not about putting overachievers down, but rather in making sure that inequality is not created because of it.
For example, it is of not unfair if a person making 1M a year is taxed at 80% in order to enable people making 20K to be taxed 10%. The former is still filthy rich and the later can have a comfortable life without struggling for subsistence.
But why is egalitarianism of higher priority than freedom? Because through egalitarianism people truly have a choice in their lives. It allows people to do what they do best even if under capitalism that is not profitable. It makes people happier and it allows people to discard fear which further serves as a catalyst for discarding religion. And most importantly, it is self-sustaining.
When people learn to cooperate in this manner it is difficult for it to change. Cooperative people have already the necessary mentality to unite and oppose creeping inequality and authoritarianism. Free Market Libertarians OTOH, classically with a “Every man for himself” mentality, are doomed to play the Prisoner’s Dilemma.
So dear libertarians and political moderates, if you’re going to debate me on such issues you’re better trying to convince me why Negative liberty is superior to Egalitarianism. Anything else can only end in frustration.
90 thoughts on “Egalitarianism VS Freedom”
I'm not up upset. I was just refuting the "I don't expect a response" statement.
Socialist redistribution is also coercive. Coercion in and of itself is not an argument. YOu have to show that coercion is coming from poor reasoning, unduly/unjustly limits liberty, and/or a host of other considerations. You canno use coercion by itself as an argument if you are arguing for other examples of coercion. You can make an argument that specific instances or types of coercion are preferrable to others.
Are you hinting at the old 'marxist bees' idea? Anyway, you can have progressive taxation and annihilate both extreme wealth and extreme poverty, which I think a good argument against their desert can be made, without destroying actual inequality or capitalism. Thats liberalism. Honestly I think you've almost convinced me of a couple of programs, but I don't see where you've really done much to attack capitalism itself. The urge to better oneself is the same urge that drives us to make more money and wear bette clothes. To hamper one will neccesarily hamper the other and we have stagnation.
The problem with this is that a monetary reward has proven to be the best way. Even Marx, despite his various erroneous problems, argues that communism is only possible when the means of production are built up to a certain extent. Communists countries, save for the increasingly capitalist parts of China, stagnate economically. In the first world publicly owned institutions are never as competitive as privately owned ones. We have seen again and again that competition always produces better results.
Also I see no reason to deny more reward for more work. An employee that works more hours, has more education, has more skill, and better innate abilities contributes more to the production of a product or service than an average worker or a slacking worker. By contributing more to a product a person should recieve more from the sale of said product. To look at it another way is to say that the person who knits 75% of a sweater should recieve more of profits from the sale of that sweater than the person who knits 25% of said sweater.
A mistype actually. Your argument, which we can address later, is that it is immoral and/or unjust for a person to be coerced into "work". I use the word "work" here to indicate an activity that produces the means to support oneself. You claim that since a person will starve if they do not work it is unjust and/or immoral coercion. The work or starve mechanic exists outside of personal coercion. We must work or starve as a matter of natural fact. Simply because person-owned business provides the best and most efficient means of work does not mean that it is the business that is coercing. You can think that JD guy over at barefoot bum for that one. I had another point but I forgot it about midway down this one.
The free rider problem is not vague or overly subjective, you can look it up at any time on your own. The free-rider problem states that if you create someting like a guaranteed income or abolition of private property then no one has any incentive to achieve or to contribute. For example, if there is a guaranteed minimum income then you will have a large group of people who will not work and will not contribute to society, free-riders. The only way to prevent this is to either provide incentive to work through reward or provide dicentive through punihsment. An argument can be made that this is coercion, but I think that would stretch the term coercion beyond useable limits. Without reward or punishment there would be no incintive to work.
As I agued elsewhere, and can point you to more professional studies if you would like, economics provides incentive not only for work but for innovation and achievement. No other system of competition or incentive has ever created results on the same scale.
I agree. I believe that forced socialism is bound to fail. Which is why I am not striving for that. I am striving to shift our socioeconomical thinking 😉
I was initially responding to your advocacy for socialism in a post on atheist nexus. As I said elsewhere, your views are more nuanced than your comments there.
Oh the irony.
Obviously you need to understand what the word means first.
authoritarian |əˌθôriˈte(ə)rēən; ôˌθär-|
favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, esp. that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom : the transition from an authoritarian to a democratic regime.
• showing a lack of concern for the wishes or opinions of others; domineering; dictatorial : he had an authoritarian and at times belligerent manner.
I do understand the definition.
First: Please use html blockquotes for quoting (read the comment policy as well). They are specially formatted to stand out.
Err, profit does not mean that it sustains it's own existence. Profit is simply the money the capitalist earns after and over he has already sustained the existence of his enterprise. Profit is what you have after you have already paid the workers and bought the raw materials for production.
Untrue. To be profitable you need to be exploiting your workers. If your product is of value to society is irrelevant as long as if it sells. That is why a huge advertising industry exists whose sole purpose is to convince consumers to buy products of no value.
I mean the word irony but anyway…
So care to explain why I'm an authoritarian? Before you do speak, I would point out that the disregard of the wishes of others goes together with "domineering" and "dictatorial".
Why would a performer bring down the system. Doesn't your street dancing bring about some joy to the hearts of the passers-by? Don't you make some people pick up dancing or dance with you? I don't see this activity as worthless as you seem to imply. As your wishes are to dance, the baker's wishes are to bake. And when you're hungry you'll go to him to get some bread to eat. Thus you are sustained.
Perhaps my choice of words was incorrect. Indeed profit is left after your pay your workers and pay for the raw materials. When you work alone you are not exploiting yourself as you get the whole value of your work. However if you're using this profit simply to fund the next day of work (including food for yourself and raw materials) then it's not really "profit" as you can't do anything with it other than continue next day's work.
If however you use this profit to hire other workers to which you do not give an equal share of the day's work value and thus make more profit, then this is exploitation.
This perfect world you mention only does not happen because you do not let it happen. If disagreements occur within a group, they can be resolved democratically. And even if a split does occur, it does not lead to competition as none of them is working for profit.
There is nothing nature defying about egalitarianism. I will comment on that pathetic article you proposed tomorrow.
What is beneficial for society is not what can sustain a person under Capitalism. This is again classic Libertarian circular reasoning.
You only judge benefit to anyone else by if the make any money out of it. And anything that makes money must be providing a benefit.
But someone this reasoning, someone who is happy by providing medical care to the impoverished is obviously not providing any benefit to society.
Only in your eyes. It's not about simply not-fitting, it's about being a parasite. If one does not want to play by the rules that everyone has agreed, even though one very well could, there must be a way to stop them from becoming a burden to everyone else.
No you see, you're picking and choosing situations. If one wants to be a baker, he does so because he wants to. If one wants to be a lazy baker to the detriment of everyone else, then societal pressure would stop him from being lazy. If he is not lazy but cannot produce enough, then simply more bakers are required. If there aren't enough bakers or other people making food to fulfill the needs of society (something basically impossible) people just organize and agree to make it a "societal chore". But this is an impossible scenario since we already have something like 12x the food we require
If everyone did what they loved, then certainly they would have been more productive and worked more because they loved what they did. I'm not certain what you're trying to achieve with what you're saying. If I could do, what I do voluntary already as my job, obviously I would do my job better.
In Capitalism that doesn't work that way as you've pointed out. I do what I do not want, in order to do what I want, and that is simply because I am living in the developed countries. Most people in the world do what they do not want in order to survive. Fullstop.
And again, your own example proves how Capitalism does not work. Millions of people need food, medication and shelter, but even though we have an abundance of them, there is no money to be made, and thus it does not happen.
Untrue, if the only farmer in a town did not want to be a farmer, someone else would or maybe nobody had to. They would simply import or arrange to do this chore by rota. Your theoretical examples prove nothing more than how Capitalism makes people do what they don't like.
Communism ensures that people are compensated by all what you mention by simply the fact that they have absolute freedom to do what they like all the time, not simply for the little time allowed to them by the Capitalist.
Yes, because fictional stories made to create comedy are a true representation of reality. I shouldn't be surprised however at your cartoonish argument.
In the real world, people would have realized that she couldn't bake anymore. In the real world people who wanted as much would probably learn to make the candy themselves. In the real world, "Friends" does not work.
Others can become chair makers just as well if they want to. Someone may even ask the chair maker to apprentice with him so that he can learn making chairs as well. Why would the chair maker refuse?
The full product of their labour is their equal share of the profits (or simply the money you make out of their chairs, whatever). You're trying to find reasons to explain away the exploitation. Your determination and ideas already take care of you. exploiting workers is exploiting workers.
Yes, and since there is not money in Communism, nobody is being paid anything either. If the grill person does not like it, he can simply go away or arrange to switch positions with the mop guy or with the public relations guy.
Of course it would. Someone else would simply take his place, perhaps the grill guy. Your circular reasoning that he is the manager because he does the best job at it, shows again. The workers can easily arrange between themselves who the manager is.
The one who needs it the most. But your theoretical example is simply away from reality as we have already more than enough bushels.
Find something realistic.
I have news for you, I can make your theoretical scenario work as well. SImply the bad baker goes to the good baker and learns how to do good bread as well. Since they are not in competition, the good baker has a benefit to allowing the bad baker to learn since this will reduce their working hours or allow to feed more people. Everyone is again happy and nobody needs to stop doing what he likes.
If somoene simply does a horrible job at something, cannot realize it and becomes a weight on the rest, either he would be pressured societaly to counterbalance it with something productive or be ostracized. And anyway, a performer who is horrible at is, usually gives up not because he does not get any money, but because he does not like the reactions he gets. The ones who don't because they believe in their work occasionally turn out to have created good content anyway when recognised after their death.
The same thing applies to your baker example. If the baker is not doing what the society finds as a minimum in relation to the work of everyone else, then he will be pressured societally to make it up. I explained above what happens to lazy people but apparently you skipped it.
Err, I suggest you take out your rose coloured glasses and take note of all the people who cannot do what they want, not because they are bad at it, but because there is no market for it. Even though what they do might have been much more beneficial to humanity.
Once again you're using the classic Libertarian thinking of merging correlation with causation. For you ,just because someone is doing a crappy job must mean that he is lazy or incompetent.
You obviously make enough money to support your business right? So basically you don't need any more workers but only want them so that you can make more money than you are making right now. How are you going to make more money? By exploiting the worker.
So yes, either don't hire them, or pay them their fair share of their work. Don't try to play to poor person who sacrificed himself to help others. You have sacrificed nothing and are simply trying to get more money at the expense of others.
It's your fault in the first place then for growing your business to the point of needing others. If you need others, you'd better pay them for the full value of what they produce and give them equal rights to the place they helped you to grow. If you don't need them, don't hire them.
And equal is not identical. Just wait 30 mins.
No it wouldn't. Basically because Socialism is nothing like U.S.A.
Do you have a government in your family when you agree who gets to wash the dishes?
Do you avoid cleaning the toilet in your house because nobody wants to do it? If you don't agree to clean the toilet do you get to avoid doing it?
When you clean your toilet, do you not lose time from doing what you want? Do you never clean your toilet so that you don't lose your freedom?
Force people who don't want to do the job to do it.
if you ignore the fact of all the people who end up doing work they do not like and all the people who do not get their needs fulfilled because there's no profit in being a baker. Then yes.
There is. People volunteer to do it for the good of the society. Simple no?
Oh and if one of the communist bakers figures out a way to make more breat at less time (invention) then he can share the knowledge and help all bakers work less time. Amazing eh?
If you ignore the bakers who are now out of work and must seek a job they do not like. All the workers from that baker who got laid off because they are not needed anymore to make the same amount of bread. All the money that is lost of all those people left without a job and now must find a crappier, more exploitative job leaving them with less time and money to pursue their own endeavors…yeah I see it now!
Or, you know, everyone sharing the work and thus spreading the "misfortune" so thinly that it's not a problem anymore?
Brilliant! There's no societal pressure which is basically only psychological and moral. Only economic pressure which is lethal.
People will be pressured depending on how much less they work than everyone else. The people working with them can decide if they are lazy or just very productive.
Nope. All experiments have shown that people work more productively when it is voluntary. Indeed, making more money does not mean that someone is more productive, on the contrary it usually means the opposite and I'm talking from personal experience.
This is why startups or examples like this do so well.
Which is what happens with most wage-slaves you mean?
Nope, not a central comitee. Democracy. Better than fucking everyone over so that you get to live the good life.
Only in the cartoonish reality Libertarians live in I guess.
Really? So you missed the part where I told you what would really happen?
In the real world of Capitalism you mean? It is not always like this and it was not like this at all before private property. So you're horribly wrong. It is a far more beneficial tactic for the individual to cooperate than defect, expecially when most people in the world follow a tit-for-tat method
More cartoonish Libertarian reality. The warlords who steal the food and control the land obviously have nothing to do with it. The invisible hand of the market has striken them down!
Just because it's a cartoonish representation of reality in order to create laughs it does not mean it can't be used as a Libertarian argument when it fits.
A perfect world? Where everyone denies himself so that I can have anything I want and they can rest assured of the same? How bad must that be!
How do you do it? If your wife doesn't do her chores, what do you do? If you don't do your chores, what does your wife do?
(Asking because I'm too unimaginative: anything I can think of, even if it's mild and acceptable in a family, only seems to be analogous to payment or coercion for society at large.)
Which is why I'm opposed to having anyone in power when they're not immediately revocable and I also do not think communism can work without an aware worker's force who can recognise people who start to get authoritarian quickly.
And generally they simply let their money work for them. They don't make money, they simply pay others to make money for them.
If one member in the family does not do the chores you usually discuss it and find a solution which works for both.Perhaps one does some chores which he prefers while the other does some others (this is the way I do it with my gf) As long as both members care to stay in the relationship, a solution can be agreed.
Why? Because you keep imagining a government where there is none little libtardian? But I guess being so disconnected from reality is enough. And by that it's enough for me libtardian, I don't have time to waste explaining the same thing again and again and again and again to someone who only want to bring up the same unfounded boogeyman. Time for the banhammer to fall. Consider this your first warning.
If you can do that, obviously everyone else would be able to as well. I'm talking about things that you can't escape sharing with others. Stop trying to avoid the point.
Because he wants to? Because that's his calling? AFAIK, most doctors don't do it for the money, or else they would have gone to other more luxurious positions. Indeed, most people who get to choose their profession (instead of being forced in it) don't do it on the basis of money.
That might work, but then it wouldn't really make a difference if it were communism or capitalism, unless such workplaces aren't particularly more productive than authoritarian workplaces.
The difference is that under capitalism, you automatically need to have authoritarian power over the people you employ. You also need a higher authority to enforce property rights and contracts.
Exactly. It is to your benefit to do your part of the societal chores in the same way you do your house chores.
Do you tell your wife to do her chores in an authoritarian way as well? So no, obviously you've proven nothing of the sort but don't let me detain you from claiming internet victory
Do you now see how cleaning the sewer is a direct benefit to you and why you might consider doing it the same way you clean your toilet?
Capitalists generally don't know anything more than how to make money. The workers are the ones with the skills, and those will remain.
Er, no I didn't say the town would force someone. That's just you filtering everything through your preconceptions. I said the town would decide and they might just as well arrange for everyone to contribute a little instead of dumping it all on one unfortunate person.
I have admitted nothing of the short but I guess that hard for you to understand if it means stepping outside the libertarian box. Continue this way thought and I'll start calling you libtardian for your lack of understanding.
me cleaning your toilet does not benefit me obviously. Cleaning the sewer does and so does you, so why should I be cleaning your part of the sewer? Come down here and help you lazy bastard.
Like the opressive authoritarian governments the US regularly funds when they promise to allow them to exploit the wealth and the people? Yeah I know.
You insist on calling it a "system of force" libtardian? I do not care to continue discussing with someone who cannot understand simple concepts.
hey, at least I'm not the living oxymoron here.
I dunno, maybe because it would mean working less hours for the same production? Why would a person ever do that eh?
I have grave doubts that most capitalists even know how to make money, at least anymore than anyone else. All too often it seems they're just effective in convincing others that they know how to make money, regardless of the truth of the matter …
Yes indeed very good. You seem to be totally impervious to understanding basically anything. Whatever I say, you keep repeating the same shit as if I had said nothing at all.
At this point I realize there's no point discussing any more with you, as you seem incapable of grasping even simple explanations so I will not waste any more time with you.
Anyone who peruses this farcical discussion with a libtardian is welcome to make their own mind
Most worker runned coops, once again, prove you wrong. I wonder how many times real life must prove you wrong before you decide to stop preaching bullshit. I mean, isn't sinking the world economy enough?
Depends on the reason they miss it mr I-jump-to-conclusions-that-support-my-assertions
We'll see. Our society is already crumbling because of libertarian economics so I'm prepared to give mine a shot.
I think you may be giving ammunition to capitalist ideologues: because they do so well, they'll out-compete the authoritarian competition and democratic workplaces would spread naturally, i.e. the free market works! (Supposedly.) 😛
I don't give too much credence to the argument, though: too many people are control freaks and get too easily drunk on power.
I don't know, South Korea has a glut of medical students and doctors because it used to be a guaranteed way to earn a whole lot of money (same thing with lawyers and a few other jobs). And then some jobs like teachers have job security. Engineers and scientists, on the other hand …
I'm confused. Do the workplaces you're referring to exist independently from our mostly capitalist societies?
Dbo, give it up, one of the greatest abilities we humans have is the ability to learn fairly quickly compared to other organisms. You obviously didn't know much about economics when you formulated your system, but now you know a lot more thanks to people like Easye. Others have gone down the same path you are on and seen that it's a dead end. Capitalism has many faults, but it is so enduring because it solves the problems you're currently running into. These problems, of incentive, of what to produce, of signals, of relative values, are fundamental to human society and must be addressed by all systems. Capitalism currently offers the best solution, for you to replace capitalism with a truly better system, you must offer a better method–the day a better method is offered, the world will move away from capitalism. The tide will be unstoppable just as capitalism's rise is today.
You need to address these "problems", not shy away from them. Perhaps you should consider that capitalism IS the best solution that is possible. It may not give you the answer you want, but then again we're constrained by reality all the time. The laws of physics forbid us from thinking into existence whatever it is we want. And so perhaps the natural laws of human society and interaction forbid the existence of the society you envision. Even if they don't, it is clear your system can't adequately deal with the aforementioned. It's time to make an U-turn and get back on the right path.
"such freedom creates inequality and exploitation"
This is a concept that I'm interested in exploring – could you send me some links via e-mail or something? cheers.
I don't have any link to give you on this as it's basically my own thoughts but I went ahead and crystalized them in digital form for you 😉
I noticed that in RSS yesterday – cheers!
Actually, most motivation is intrinsic – we are motivated by things like helping others, feeling fulfilled, and feeling capable and intelligent. This is confirmed by hundreds of studies in business management and behaviour. There is no need for such a ruthless and immoral thing like the "survival instinct" to be used for motivation. This is precisely the reason that the current society is crumbling.
Actually, material reward is quite ineffective compared to intrinsic. I wrote a post a while back that's a good place to start, has lots of links and citations. http://sitakali.org/2011/02/20/is-money-really-a-…
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