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Thread: The Principle Concepts of Libertarian Economics - Feedback Requested

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    Default The Principle Concepts of Libertarian Economics - Feedback Requested

    Here's a list I compiled of important libertarian economic concepts. Feedback on this list would be appreciated. Do you know of any other passages which more effectively/efficiently convey any of these concepts? Are there any important concepts that I have not included?

    Scarcity...

    The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics. - Thomas Sowell

    Opportunity cost...

    The concept of opportunity cost (or alternative cost) expresses the basic relationship between scarcity and choice. If no object or activity that is valued by anyone is scarce, all demands for all persons and in all periods can be satisfied. There is no need to choose among separately valued options; there is no need for social coordination processes that will effectively determine which demands have priority. In this fantasized setting without scarcity, there are no opportunities or alternatives that are missed, forgone, or sacrificed. - James M. Buchanan

    The interests of consumers...

    Treat all economic questions from the viewpoint of the consumer, for the interests of the consumer are the interests of the human race. - Bastiat, Abundance and Scarcity

    Human action...

    We call contentment or satisfaction that state of a human being which does not and cannot result in any action. Acting man is eager to substitute a more satisfactory state of affairs for a less satisfactory. His mind imagines conditions which suit him better, and his action aims at bringing about this desired state. The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness. A man perfectly content with the state of his affairs would have no incentive to change things. He would have neither wishes nor desires; he would be perfectly happy. He would not act; he would simply live free from care. - Mises, The Prerequisites of Human Action

    Incentives matter...

    Difficulties and hardships are often but an incentive to exertion: what is fatal to it, is the belief that it will not be suffered to produce its fruits. - J.S. Mill

    The Invisible Hand...

    The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder. - Adam Smith

    Fallibilism...

    It follows, then, that a less centralized society has the advantage of a greater diversification of its performance across a larger number of preceptors. This is because diversification here dilutes the impact of the ability, or the lack thereof, of each preceptor on the aggregate societal performance. - Raaj K. Sah

    The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design. - Hayek

    Apparently, then, the legislators and the organizers have received from Heaven an intelligence and virtue that place them beyond and above mankind; if so, let them show their titles to this superiority. - Bastiat

    Consequences of failure...

    For this is the salient point: private organizations, whether for-profit or non-profit, perform or lose their customers or their donors. When a private entity fails to deliver on its promise, or actually causes harm, it is held liable for the failure and pays the damages. When government fails, it gets a bigger budget and even more power. - Mary L. G. Theroux

    Supply and Demand...

    The instruments of intervention became the tools with which to apply government knowledge. Resources were directed and allocated by the state, by political and bureaucratic decision making, rather than by the elemental forces of supply and demand - forces shaped by the knowledge of those in the marketplace. - Daniel Yergin, Joseph Stanislaw

    Partial knowledge...

    It must be remembered, besides, that even if a government were superior in intelligence and knowledge to any single individual in the nation, it must be inferior to all the individuals of the nation taken together. It can neither possess in itself, nor enlist in its service, more than a portion of the acquirements and capacities which the country contains, applicable to any given purpose. - J.S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy with some of their Applications to Social Philosophy

    The problem is thus in no way solved if we can show that all the facts, if they were known to a single mind (as we hypothetically assume them to be given to the observing economist), would uniquely determine the solution; instead we must show how a solution is produced by the interactions of people each of whom possesses only partial knowledge. To assume all the knowledge to be given to a single mind in the same manner in which we assume it to be given to us as the explaining economists is to assume the problem away and to disregard everything that is important and significant in the real world. - Hayek, The Use of Knowledge in Society

    Other people's money...

    There are four ways to spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why you really watch out for what you're doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well then, I'm not so careful about the content of the present, but I'm very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else's money on myself. And if I spend somebody else's money on myself, then I'm going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else's money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else's money on somebody else, I'm not concerned about how much it costs, and I'm not concerned about what I get. And that's government. And that's close to 40 percent of our national income. - Milton Friedman, The 4 Ways to Spend Money

    Unintended consequences...

    In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them.

    There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.

    Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa. Whence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil. - Bastiat, The Seen vs the Unseen

    Individual foresight...

    The resource status of material objects is therefore always problematical and depends to some extent on foresight. An object constitutes wealth only if it is a source of an income stream. The value of the object to the owner, actual or potential, reflects at any moment its expected income-yielding capacity. This, in its turn, will depend on the uses to which the object can be turned. The mere ownership of objects, therefore, does not necessarily confer wealth; it is their successful use which confers it. Not ownership but use of resources is the source of income and wealth. An ice-cream factory in New York may mean wealth to its owner; the same ice-cream factory in Greenland would scarcely be a resource. - Lachmann, The Market Economy and the Distribution of Wealth

    If the socialists mean that under extraordinary circumstances, for urgent cases, the state should set aside some resources to assist certain unfortunate people, to help them adjust to changing conditions, we will, of course, agree. This is done now; we desire that it be done better. There is, however, a point on this road that must not be passed; it is the point where governmental foresight would step in to replace individual foresight and thus destroy it. - Bastiat, Justice and Fraternity

    There is no need to prove that each individual is the only competent judge of this most advantageous use of his lands and of his labor. He alone has the particular knowledge without which the most enlightened man could only argue blindly. He alone has an experience which is all the more reliable since it is limited to a single object. He learns by repeated trials, by his successes, by his losses, and he acquires a feeling for it which is much more ingenious than the theoretical knowledge of the indifferent observer because it is stimulated by want. - Turgot

    Entrepreneurship...

    Entrepreneurship is necessary in economic development, therefore, for the quite pedestrian purpose of ensuring a tendency towards the adoption of the socially advantageous long-term capital-using opportunities available. So far from being a kind of exogenous push given to the economy, entrepreneurial innovation is the grasping of opportunities that have somehow escaped notice. - Kirzner, Entrepreneurship & the Market Approach to Development

    Heterogeneous activity...

    So far as this is the case, it is evident that government, by excluding or even by superseding individual agency, either substitutes a less qualified instrumentality for one better qualified, or at any rate substitutes its own mode of accomplishing the work, for all the variety of modes which would be tried by a number of equally qualified persons aiming at the same end; a competition by many degrees more propitious to the progress of improvement than any uniformity of system. - J.S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy with some of their Applications to Social Philosophy

    Market redistribution...

    These economic facts have certain social consequences. As the critics of the market economy nowadays prefer to take their stand on “social” grounds, it may be not inappropriate here to elucidate the true social results of the market process. We have already spoken of it as a leveling process. More aptly, we may now describe these results as an instance of what Pareto called “the circulation of elites.” Wealth is unlikely to stay for long in the same hands. It passes from hand to hand as unforeseen change confers value, now on this, now on that specific resource, engendering capital gains and losses. The owners of wealth, we might say with Schumpeter, are like the guests at a hotel or the passengers in a train: They are always there but are never for long the same people. - Lachmann, The Market Economy and the Distribution of Wealth

    Dollar voting...

    The capitalist society is a democracy in which every penny represents a ballot paper. - Mises

    Foot voting...

    The second broad principle is that government power must be dispersed. If government is to exercise power, better in the county than in the state, better in the state than in Washington. If I do not like what my local community does, be it in sewage disposal, or zoning, or schools, I can move to another local community, and though few may take this step, the mere possibility acts as a check. If I do not like what Washington imposes, I have few alternatives in this world of jealous nations. - Milton Friedman, Capitalism and freedom

    Moral value...

    Only where we ourselves are responsible for our own interests and are free to sacrifice them has our decision moral value. We are neither entitled to be unselfish at someone else's expense nor is there any merit in being unselfish if we have no choice. The members of a society who in all respects are made to do the good thing have no title to praise. - Hayek



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    You have a good list of "value free" "free market" economic ideas - but you've missed the tie from Austrian/FM econ to libertarianism:

    Economic value is OBJECTIVE in a trade if and only if the trade is mutually agreeable. If either party is forced into a trade, no economic statement can be made about the trade itself. The only thing that can be said is that the aggressor found it more desirable to force the trade than to not, and the victim either had no means to defend himself or found it more desirable to be a victim than to defend himself.

    This is how one can get from the NAP to free market economics and vice-versa.
    "You cannot solve these problems with war." - Ron Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by mczerone View Post
    You have a good list of "value free" "free market" economic ideas - but you've missed the tie from Austrian/FM econ to libertarianism:

    Economic value is OBJECTIVE in a trade if and only if the trade is mutually agreeable. If either party is forced into a trade, no economic statement can be made about the trade itself. The only thing that can be said is that the aggressor found it more desirable to force the trade than to not, and the victim either had no means to defend himself or found it more desirable to be a victim than to defend himself.

    This is how one can get from the NAP to free market economics and vice-versa.
    I'd certainly be interested in reading a specific passage from a fairly well respected economist that conveys this concept. That being said, it's unlikely that I'll add the passage if it leans more towards religion than economics...

    The short version...

    I generally prefer consequentialist arguments. I think I understand economics better than I understand moral philosophy, and possibly better than anyone understands moral philosophy. - David Friedman
    The long version...

    I guess the first thing is that it offers arguments which don't require that people already share your religion...using the term "religion" broadly. That as far as I can tell, nobody, whether deontological libertarians or communists or anyone else really has a really convincing argument to show that their moral views are right. Many people believe that they do but I don't think that they do. Ayn Rand, at least, presented an argument. Ayn Rand claimed in effect to have defeated David Hume's is ought problem. Hume argued that you couldn't derive on ought from an is. I have a discussion up on my webpage of the holes in Rand's arguments. As far as I can tell she simply didn't do it. I don't think it can be done as far as I know. So in order to persuade people by a natural rights argument there has to be some reason why they believe in natural rights to start with because you don't have any good arguments to show that they ought to believe it. Whereas my argument...it claims to show...it hopefully shows...that my system would be better in terms of the value that almost everybody already has. So I'm really saying if you regard natural rights to be really important...well look...in my system rights will rarely be violated. If you regard people being happy and being healthy and living long lives...look in my society people will be in effect wealthier than in societies with governments, therefore you should like the results of those things...and so forth and so on. So I think that I have an argument which does depend on convincing people that economics is relevant to human behavior but doesn't depend on convincing them of your particular right and wrong beliefs. - David Friedman
    An older version...

    That which has no existence cannot be destroyed — that which cannot be destroyed cannot require anything to preserve it from destruction. Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense — nonsense upon stilts. - Jeremy Bentham

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    Sound Money...

    "In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves. This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the 'hidden' confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights." - Alan Greenspan, Gold and Economic Freedom

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    Sound money...

    The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. - Henry David Thoreau

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Sound money...

    The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. - Henry David Thoreau
    That almost seems to suggest that Thoreau would have agreed with Marx' Labor Theory of Value, had he lived to see it rear its ugly, fallacious, oppressive head when applied politically. But he was speaking philosophically, about price in human terms only, not economically, with price that could be denominated in anything - the price for freedom, price in terms of time--anything at all.

    How about this one:

    That government is best which governs not at all. - Henry David Thoreau, a staunch advocate of the rights of the individual to self-government, and one of the Founding Fathers of Civil Disobedience, and a Voluntaryist long before there was a term to describe it

    The prices of any two unlike things in exchange will be denominated in whatever you and any other who are equally free to choose, declare them to be; else one or both of you are not free. - Me

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    You can't even begin to touch on so-called "Libertarian Economics" principles if you ignore the all-important (TO THEM) issue of Sound Money. There is a reason why this part of the message board exists on RPF, but you won't find its equivalent on many other partisan-related forums. Ignoring Sound Money is like asking Libertarians the equivalent of what principles they would employ in deciding which of the deck chairs they would prefer to move around on what is still nothing more than a Keynesian Titanic.

    Sound Money was brought up, because it is conspicuously absent from your list. And yet it is one of the defining characteristics, regardless of what form it takes, of libertarianism, and primarily because it is central to the issue of the rights of individual choice (including economic choice), and to the maximum extent possible, in all matters, public and private.

    So-called "Hard Money" Democrats have long become extinct, while the Republicans were the original betrayers of Sound Money, and advocates of currency debauchery (regardless how limited in form or scope, or temporarily intended), starting with its founder, Abraham Lincoln.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mczerone
    You have a good list of "value free" "free market" economic ideas - but you've missed the tie from Austrian/FM econ to libertarianism:
    I'd certainly be interested in reading a specific passage from a fairly well respected economist that conveys this concept. That being said, it's unlikely that I'll add the passage if it leans more towards religion than economics...
    The very term "Libertarian Economics" already begs questions. Whether referring to Libertarian (capital "L" meaning partisan) or libertarian with a lower-case "l" meaning philosophical, there remains a conflation of unlike terms, because while L/libertarians favor different economic theories and their philosophical underpinnings, L/libertarianism is not a branch of economics.

    We know what "Communist Economics" looks like, because Marxism, with its labor theory of value and such, really is a conflation of economics theories and political philosophies that occurred and were conflated within one man. But what would "Republican Economics" or "Democratic Economics" look like, if not also a normative platform, or a list of tenets put forth as philosophical should's and ought's, which are intended to guide to legislative policy decisions? In truth, there is no logical positivism in any of it.

    Current Dem and GOP 'economics' tends to be mainstream, Keynesian-spawned, and Fed-centric, with policy decisions on both sides that protect and defend the status quo of fiat currency, central banking, legal tender laws, statism, monetarism, etc., while Libertarians, by and large, tend to ascribe to Austrian school economics, with its often contrasting normative underpinnings, which stem from what libertarians feel are far more predictive, and better reflect market realities as they relate to individuals, and their rights as individuals to freedom of choice, including economic choice.

    One of the most important "Libertarian Economics" planks you left out is Sound Money, and the nature thereof. Things like "Scarcity" could have touched on this, but you only put it in the context of non-monetary resources--as if that commodity/resource called 'currency' followed some 'special' laws that put it into a truly special class of its own. Libertarians and Austrian School economists tend not to separate money, as if it really enjoyed some special exemption to the laws of supply and demand.

    Libertarian Economics, as it were, is not founded on a Keynesian House of Cards. We don't tend to slippery our way past the subject of money, as if all currencies were created equal, and as if all economic theories would apply equally under just any old currency. While libertarianism on the whole does have its contingents of statists, monetarists, and central banking fiat currency defenders, they are in a decided minority within that 'movement', if you will. By and large, they are ardent hard specie ("Sound Money") advocates, arguing as a common refrain for the abolishment of the Fed and legal tender laws, along with non-centralization of competing currencies with no barriers to entry. The tenets that describe the economic reasons for this (outside the moral or philosophical arguments) are found primarily in the Austrian school.
    Last edited by Steven Douglas; 10-25-2012 at 04:54 PM.

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    Contributing Member Henry Rogue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    That almost seems to suggest that Thoreau would have agreed with Marx' Labor Theory of Value, had he lived to see it rear its ugly, fallacious, oppressive head when applied politically. But he was speaking philosophically, about price in human terms only, not economically, with price that could be denominated in anything - the price for freedom, price in terms of time--anything at all.

    How about this one:

    That government is best which governs not at all. - Henry David Thoreau, a staunch advocate of the rights of the individual to self-government, and one of the Founding Fathers of Civil Disobedience, and a Voluntaryist long before there was a term to describe it

    The prices of any two unlike things in exchange will be denominated in whatever you and any other who are equally free to choose, declare them to be; else one or both of you are not free. - Me
    This is true. I remember reading a little about Marx' Labor Theory of Value. Not from collectivists works, but in Austrian responses. However time and effort are a crucial element to price. I think Marx' mistake was in making it the only element and perhaps he did not consider the businessmen's labor value. I don't know I don't care to argue communism. To the individuals view, his small part in the economy, it's very important. IMO Henry David Thoreau's qoute "The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." is a pro liberty statement. Long before I knew of Austrian free Market Economics or communist economics. I had my own personal view. That is, I exchanged my labor for money, then exchanged that money for a TV or a car or food. I traded those years of my life for those possessions. Therefore if a person steals from me, that person is in fact stealing a part of my life. IMO that's the core to Property Rights. Are Property Rights part of a Free Market economy?
    Last edited by Henry Rogue; 10-25-2012 at 11:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    You can't even begin to touch on so-called "Libertarian Economics" principles if you ignore the all-important (TO THEM) issue of Sound Money.
    I think we have a different target audience in mind. When I ask people whether taxpayers should be able to directly allocate their taxes...nobody uses their fondness of the current monetary system to reject my proposal. So if they don't mention a single thing about sound money...then it would be a total non-sequitur for me to respond with a sound money argument. Why should I spend my limited time/effort/energy responding to arguments that the opposition is not making? Why do I want to bark up the wrong tree? Why do I want to go tilting against windmills? How can I convince people of the value of liberty if I don't actually address their arguments against liberty?

    All the libertarian economic concepts that I included in my original post address the arguments that people actually make against allowing taxpayers to choose how they spend their taxes in the public sector. In other words...all those libertarian concepts address the arguments that people make against the free-market.

    In the other thread I asked you to show me your target audience and their arguments against liberty. Did you do this? For example, here's my target audience and their arguments against liberty...Unglamorous but Important Things. On that page are around 80 responses where people have argued against the free-market. So feel free to go out there and do the same thing. Show me 10 responses...or even 5 responses...or even 2 responses where people respond to your free market arguments with "fake" money arguments or moral arguments.

    Here's a convenient example. Right now on MSNBC Lawrence o'Donnell said that we currently have a government of the 1% but we should have a government of the 100%. Should we respond to this argument with a sound money argument? No...that would be a complete non-sequitur. Instead, looking over the list I shared...the best argument to respond with would be from Mises..."The capitalist society is a democracy in which every penny represents a ballot paper." That means that every penny that every consumer spends is a vote for how somebody uses our society's limited resources. A true government of the 100% would allow the people that we all vote for all the time to have the freedom to spend their taxes in the public sector.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    I had my own personal view. That is, I exchanged my labor for money, then exchanged that money for a TV or a car or food. I traded those years of my life for those possessions. Therefore if a person steals from me, that person is in fact stealing a part of my life. IMO that's the core to Property Rights. Are Property Rights part of a Free Market economy?
    Were all those possessions worth all those years of your life? What happens if taxpayers can choose which government organizations they give their taxes to? Are all those public goods going to be worth all the years of their lives? Why wouldn't we want each and every taxpayer to ask themselves this question?

    Here's how the average person thinks of it...from J.S. Mill..."It is, of course, not desirable that anything should be done by funds derived from compulsory taxation, which is already sufficiently well done by individual liberality."

    What is sufficiently well done by individual liberty? Let's find out. If we allow taxpayers to directly allocate their taxes...then it's doubtful that they will pay the government to do anything that the private sector does sufficiently well. This is because everybody wants the most goods for the least amount of life. Which is exactly why we really need to apply this concept to the public sector.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    I think we have a different target audience in mind. When I ask people whether taxpayers should be able to directly allocate their taxes...nobody uses their fondness of the current monetary system to reject my proposal. So if they don't mention a single thing about sound money...then it would be a total non-sequitur for me to respond with a sound money argument. Why should I spend my limited time/effort/energy responding to arguments that the opposition is not making? Why do I want to bark up the wrong tree? Why do I want to go tilting against windmills? How can I convince people of the value of liberty if I don't actually address their arguments against liberty?

    All the libertarian economic concepts that I included in my original post address the arguments that people actually make against allowing taxpayers to choose how they spend their taxes in the public sector. In other words...all those libertarian concepts address the arguments that people make against the free-market.

    In the other thread I asked you to show me your target audience and their arguments against liberty. Did you do this? For example, here's my target audience and their arguments against liberty...Unglamorous but Important Things. On that page are around 80 responses where people have argued against the free-market. So feel free to go out there and do the same thing. Show me 10 responses...or even 5 responses...or even 2 responses where people respond to your free market arguments with "fake" money arguments or moral arguments.

    Here's a convenient example. Right now on MSNBC Lawrence o'Donnell said that we currently have a government of the 1% but we should have a government of the 100%. Should we respond to this argument with a sound money argument? No...that would be a complete non-sequitur. Instead, looking over the list I shared...the best argument to respond with would be from Mises..."The capitalist society is a democracy in which every penny represents a ballot paper." That means that every penny that every consumer spends is a vote for how somebody uses our society's limited resources. A true government of the 100% would allow the people that we all vote for all the time to have the freedom to spend their taxes in the public sector.
    Xerographica completely misses the point of sound money. Xerographica, sound money is fundamental to your argument. Without sound money (money that 'rings' when dropped on a hard surface) you have zero ground to stand on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Travlyr View Post
    Xerographica completely misses the point of sound money. Xerographica, sound money is fundamental to your argument. Without sound money (money that 'rings' when dropped on a hard surface) you have zero ground to stand on.
    If you magically managed to replace all our "fake" money with "sound" money...then how would my argument change? We'd still have 538 congresspeople spending taxpayer's money in the public sector. I'd still have to use all the economic concepts I listed in my original post to help people understand why taxpayers should be able to directly allocate their taxes.

    Given that you think that your sound money argument has anything to do with my free-market argument...it's clear that you have no idea how the free-market works. If you did have an idea how the market works...and how we benefit from allowing it to work...then you'd stop wasting your limited time promoting sound money and instead spend your time trying to help people understand the economic concepts I listed in my original post.

    So why not start barking up the right tree?

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    Contributing Member Henry Rogue's Avatar
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    Were all those possessions worth all those years of your life?
    Those possessions or property include savings, and apparently so since i acquired them in a voluntary transaction.
    What happens if taxpayers can choose which government organizations they give their taxes to?
    It maybe an improvemnet over no choice, but it is still theft through coercion.
    Are all those public goods going to be worth all the years of their lives?
    No because the individual property owner can no longer use there property in future transactions.
    Why wouldn't we want each and every taxpayer to ask themselves this question?
    I never said that question shouldn't be asked. Go ahead and ask it. I'm not sure why all these questions are directed towards my post. I was responding to Steven Douglas's Interpretation of a Henry David Thoreau quote in which he responded to your post. I thought I defended HDTs quote as a libertarian idea, which was in your post. So shouldn't you be asking yourself the questions since HDT's quote was in your post.

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    It's the question, the damn question. If that's wrong the answer will likely be wrong. We have to get people to think about the right question(s) first.
    "When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it—without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud—to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed." - Bastiat : The Law

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    Quote Originally Posted by ClydeCoulter View Post
    It's the question, the damn question. If that's wrong the answer will likely be wrong. We have to get people to think about the right question(s) first.
    "Is it worth it?" is the always the right question. Was it worth it for you to read every single passage I included in my original post? Will it be worth it for you to reply to this? This is the opportunity cost concept...the basic relationship between choice and scarcity.

    "It is, of course, not desirable that anything should be done by funds derived from compulsory taxation, which is already sufficiently well done by individual liberality." - J.S. Mill

    What is NOT sufficiently well done by the private sector? Maybe nothing...maybe a few things...maybe everything? But whatever somebody wants the public sector to do...they have to ask themselves whether those things are worth their own taxes. This is the point of allowing taxpayers to choose which government organizations they give their own taxes to. If we can't accurately discern what things they believe are not being adequately supplied by the private sector...then how can entrepreneurs ascertain the potential payoff of supplying these inadequately supplied goods in the private sector?

    For example, if we allow taxpayers to directly allocate their taxes...and many taxpayers decide that funding public education is worth their own taxes...then entrepreneurs will be able to see the potential for non-profit schools in the private sector. If non-profit schools in the private sector offer people more bang for their buck...then they no longer would decide it was worth it to give their taxes to public education organizations in the public sector. This would narrow the scope of government and lower the tax rate.

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    I don't know what you intend to do with this stuff, but if you're going to present it to the wider world you should keep in mind that you're asking for the principal concepts. Or, if you prefer, the Principal Principles of Libertarian Economics.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin Coolidge View Post
    There is danger of disappointment and disaster unless there be a wider comprehension of the limitations of the law. The attempt to regulate, control, and prescribe all manner of conduct and social relations is very old. It was always the practice of primitive peoples.
    Quote Originally Posted by Will Rogers View Post
    Never was a country in the throes of more capital letters than the old U.S.A., but we still haven't sent out the S.O.S.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    It maybe an improvemnet over no choice, but it is still theft through coercion.
    But it's not theft if people are satisfied with the value they receive for their taxes. If a robber takes your money and gives you the things you were planning on spending your money on anyways...how is it theft?

    If we allow taxpayers to directly allocate their taxes...then will many of them be satisfied with the value they receive for their taxes? If many taxpayers are satisfied then perhaps the "theft" argument will be utterly useless. In that case your only line of attack will be to make sure that taxpayers are not satisfied with the value they receive for their taxes. You would do this by setting up organizations in the private sector that provide more value than the organizations in the public sector. But at least you would know exactly which goods/services you would try and supply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    No because the individual property owner can no longer use there property in future transactions.
    Therefore, people never see the value in purchasing gifts or making donations? Why wouldn't taxpayers be able to send their kids to the public schools they helped fund or be able to drive on roads they helped fund or rely on the police/firemen they helped fund? Why wouldn't they be able to benefit from a cure for cancer that they helped fund?

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    I never said that question shouldn't be asked. Go ahead and ask it. I'm not sure why all these questions are directed towards my post.
    Because I'm interested in your answers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    I was responding to Steven Douglas's Interpretation of a Henry David Thoreau quote in which he responded to your post. I thought I defended HDTs quote as a libertarian idea, which was in your post. So shouldn't you be asking yourself the questions since HDT's quote was in your post.
    You did defend HDT's quote as a libertarian idea...which is why I saw potential value in pressing you for more of your insight. Every investment of time/energy/money/effort is a gamble. There's no such thing as a sure bet. So we allow taxpayers to invest their own hard-earned taxes in the public sector and then see how many of them feel that the return on their investment is worth the amount of life they had to spend to earn that money.

    All I'm saying is that we should create a market for public goods. Is there a demand for public goods? Sure. Are their suppliers of public goods? Yes...government organizations. All that's needed to create a market in the public sector is choice. Once we give taxpayers the freedom to choose how they spend their taxes in the public sector...then we'll all reap the benefits of a market.

    It's a sad state of libertarian knowledge when it requires a monumental effort on my part to convince libertarians of the value of a market.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    If you magically managed to replace all our "fake" money with "sound" money...then how would my argument change? We'd still have 538 congresspeople spending taxpayer's money in the public sector.
    Which taxpayers? Did you buy into the common lay-illusion that Congress is merely taxing the current existing public and then turning around and spending that money? Do you know what deficit spending is, and the logistics as it relates to taxation?

    Right now both Congress and the Fed are spending promises of past, present and FUTURE taxpayers' money, AND NON-TAXPAYERS' money, in the form of debts that are being heaped onto children and as-yet-unborn taxpayers. How the fuck can little children and the yet-to-be-born participate in that process, or allocate any funds when they cannot vote, and many of them don't even exist yet?

    With sound money circulating, and without legal tender laws in place, deficit spending and financing of the warfare/welfare state by a government-chartered counterfeiting press would be virtually impossible, and could no longer even occur as it does now. Without that counterfeiting credit card from a Counterfeiter of First Resort, politicians would be forced to obtain revenues the old-fashioned way--from existing taxpayers--with all the backlash that entails, since you are no longer telling them, in essence, "Don't worry, your payments will be limited, we'll spread the bulk of it onto your children's tab."

    The more dismal reality is that most people (you included, apparently, based on your premises) don't even know what deficit spending is, or the role that currency debauchery and legal tender laws play in that. Most people are operating under the false perception current taxes go to fund current spending by the state. Until that really is the case, the notion that taxpayers even could "allocate" anything is nonsense.

    Right now we have a case where a state-created credit card is being used, and where much of the taxpayer funding goes to service the debt. So what you would really be asking, in most cases, is which funds should be allocated to WHICH OF THE DEBTS THAT ARE ALREADY INCURRED. The answer will be, "All of them, of course", since Congress put the entire American public, taxpayers and non-taxpayers alike, on the hook for them.

    I'd still have to use all the economic concepts I listed in my original post to help people understand why taxpayers should be able to directly allocate their taxes.
    Well, you'd first need to answer the above, but there is another thing you failed to address. Not all Citizens are taxpayers. More importantly, NOT ALL TAXPAYERS ARE CITIZENS. Does a Foreign corporation operating in the US now have political power, and control over the state purse strings? How do you think they would tend to "allocated more efficiently"? What if taxes were shifted, and the state was supported 100% by foreigner taxes only? Or what if funding was only in the form of tariffs? Are you proposing that we give foreigners and others paying those tariffs choices in how state funding is allocated? What they got from their taxes is the privilege of engaging in commerce, nothing more. Nothing else is due and owing to them, and how the state spends taxes that came from them (i.e., it is no longer "their taxes") is absolutely none of their concern.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    I don't know what you intend to do with this stuff, but if you're going to present it to the wider world you should keep in mind that you're asking for the principal concepts. Or, if you prefer, the Principal Principles of Libertarian Economics.
    LOL...thanks. Homonyms always get me. But either I've really cornered the market on libertarian economics...or it's a sad state of affairs that the only feedback I've received are a spelling correction, a sound money suggestion and a NAP suggestion. I was hoping for better passages than the ones that I included.

    That's the problem with sound money and NAP...once you believe in them then you see no need to make the effort to learn anything else about economics.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    Which taxpayers? Did you buy into the common lay-illusion that Congress is merely taxing the current existing public and then turning around and spending that money? Do you know what deficit spending is, and the logistics as it relates to taxation?
    And deficit spending is relevant to pragmatarianism because...? It's really not...pragmatarianism is the cure for deficit spending. If I give my taxes to the Dept of Education...will I want the Dept of Education to borrow money from the central bank or whoever? If the Dept of Education borrows money...then who is going to pay it back? If I care about the Dept of Education not going bankrupt...which I obviously would since I'm giving them my taxes...then I'm going to be on the hook for paying off their debt. If I don't pay off their debt...and they default and go bankrupt...then that's on me. Therefore, chances are extremely good that I'm going to make some noise should the Dept of Education incur more debt than I'm comfortable with. If people who value public education withhold their taxes from the Dept of Education...then clearly heads will roll within the Dept of Education.

    Therefore, if you're genuinely concerned with deficit spending...then you'll become as big an advocate of tax choice as I am. That you even bring this issue up clearly indicates that you're barking up the wrong tree with sound money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    Well, you'd first need to answer the above, but there is another thing you failed to address. Not all Citizens are taxpayers. More importantly, NOT ALL TAXPAYERS ARE CITIZENS. Does a Foreign corporation operating in the US now have political power, and control over the state purse strings? How do you think they would tend to "allocated more efficiently"? What if taxes were shifted, and the state was supported 100% by foreigner taxes only? Or what if funding was only in the form of tariffs? Are you proposing that we give foreigners and others paying those tariffs choices in how state funding is allocated? What they got from their taxes is the privilege of engaging in commerce, nothing more. Nothing else is due and owing to them, and how the state spends taxes that came from them (i.e., it is no longer "their taxes") is absolutely none of their concern.
    How is this even a concern? Voters would decide whether something should be a public good, taxpayers would choose which public goods they fund and congress would determine the tax rate. If enough voters want something to be a public good...then who's really going to complain if foreigners give their taxes to the EPA...or the Dept of Education...or the DoD? Errrr...Americans complain when our government gives them our money...and we're also going to complain when other countries give us their money?

    It's called a market. For a public goods market to work...everybody should be allowed to participate...not just current taxpayers. If a poor person sees value in giving $10 to the Dept of Education...then that's great. If foreigners see value in giving money to the EPA...then that's awesome. And if you don't think something is awesome...then you'd have the opportunity to engage in ethical consumerism in the public sector.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    LOL...thanks. Homonyms always get me. But either I've really cornered the market on libertarian economics...or it's a sad state of affairs that the only feedback I've received are a spelling correction, a sound money suggestion and a NAP suggestion. I was hoping for better passages than the ones that I included.

    That's the problem with sound money and NAP...once you believe in them then you see no need to make the effort to learn anything else about economics.
    Well, it could be that some of us are waiting until we get off work before we examine the OP more closely and think about the language. Or it could just be that you did a damned good job. Or a little of both.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin Coolidge View Post
    There is danger of disappointment and disaster unless there be a wider comprehension of the limitations of the law. The attempt to regulate, control, and prescribe all manner of conduct and social relations is very old. It was always the practice of primitive peoples.
    Quote Originally Posted by Will Rogers View Post
    Never was a country in the throes of more capital letters than the old U.S.A., but we still haven't sent out the S.O.S.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    That's the problem with sound money and NAP...once you believe in them then you see no need to make the effort to learn anything else about economics.
    How ironic that you should use the words "believe in" in the context of sound money OR economics. Between sound money and fiat currency, which do you think more qualifies as a belief system, as in, something that must be "believed in"?

    And economics? That highly fractionated, hyper-theoretical world with it's myriad schools of thought, controversies and conflicting theories? It's not like saying "Physics", where Quantum and Newtonian is about as divided as it gets. Saying "economics" is more like saying "Theism", or even "Christianity", because it really is nothing a collection of premise-laden belief systems at it most rudimentary core.

    The problem with fiat currency, and all that led up to it, was that that it gave birth to an ACADEMIC INDUSTRY, given that it requires an ASSLOAD of overly-complicated pseudo-economics to prop up its illusions. Those who think that sound vs. fiat currency is a matter of just six of one, half dozen of the other, can then roll up their sleeves and get about the business of what 'really matters'...to wit:

    But either I've really cornered the market on libertarian economics...
    Your first error is in the supposition that libertarianism is a branch of economics, or can be described as such. You are compiling a hodge-podge mish-mash of libertarian free market principle snippets--selective quotes from self-described 'libertarians' of every stripe--and trying to mush them together into a cohesive blob that you're labeling "libertarian economics", as if you have actually described such a thing. It doesn't work that way.

    What is truly ironic is that you are deliberately omitting the one part of libertarianism that IS purely economic! And why? Because you are NOT trying to discuss 'libertarian economics' AT ALL. In fact, what you are describing is not even economics, regardless of it economic implications! Your sole objective is to discuss your idea about the "taxpayers" and their role in POLITICAL spending decisions. That's POLITICS, NOT ECONOMICS.

    I see nothing but red flags any time I see someone attempting to treat the state as just another market player, or firm in the economy, with communofascism at its core. Loosely applying selective free market principles to the state (e.g., pretending that taxes are just another free market transaction, or can be designed as such), is like putting lipstick on a pig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    Well, it could be that some of us are waiting until we get off work before we examine the OP more closely and think about the language. Or it could just be that you did a damned good job. Or a little of both.
    It would be nice to think that I did a good job...but in terms of all the massive amounts of awesome material that's been written about libertarian economics...it would be really sad to think that I did a better job than the job that could be done by all the members of this forum contributing their own partial knowledge...

    It must be remembered, besides, that even if a government were superior in intelligence and knowledge to any single individual in the nation, it must be inferior to all the individuals of the nation taken together. It can neither possess in itself, nor enlist in its service, more than a portion of the acquirements and capacities which the country contains, applicable to any given purpose. - J.S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy with some of their Applications to Social Philosophy
    So I'm really hoping that it's just a matter of forum members not having had the opportunity to examine the OP more closely...rather than a matter of forum members having spent all their time solely focusing on sound money or the NAP...neither of which help people understand the value of markets.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    And economics? That highly fractionated, hyper-theoretical world with it's myriad schools of thought, controversies and conflicting theories? It's not like saying "Physics", where Quantum and Newtonian is about as divided as it gets. Saying "economics" is more like saying "Theism", or even "Christianity", because it really is nothing a collection of premise-laden belief systems at it most rudimentary core.

    Your first error is in the supposition that libertarianism is a branch of economics, or can be described as such. You are compiling a hodge-podge mish-mash of libertarian free market principle snippets--selective quotes from self-described 'libertarians' of every stripe--and trying to mush them together into a cohesive blob that you're labeling "libertarian economics", as if you have actually described such a thing. It doesn't work that way.
    One minute you're rejecting economics as a pseudo-science, the next you're saying he has no right to write his own chapter of pseudo-science as the pseudo-science is above that. Make up your mind.

    Maybe Austrian Economics is the semi-official 'economics' pet of libertarians, and nothing less deserves the title. Yet if all the quotes are money-related, how does he avoid the word 'economics'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    It would be nice to think that I did a good job...but in terms of all the massive amounts of awesome material that's been written about libertarian economics...it would be really sad to think that I did a better job than the job that could be done by all the members of this forum contributing their own partial knowledge...
    Give us a break. Did you make up your categories, then seek out quotes to suit them? Or did you make up the categories to suit some of your favorite quotes? It reads like the latter; I can't imagine 'Foot Voting' as anything but a descriptor tailor made for that quote (though the influence of the existing category 'Dollar Voting' is obvious). Not that there's anything wrong with that. Not at all. But with, as you say, the wealth of statements available, at least give us a minute to work this out, and decide if we need to play inside the boxes you have made or think outside of them. No?

    Maybe what you're asking for is our favorite quotes?
    Last edited by acptulsa; 10-26-2012 at 03:12 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin Coolidge View Post
    There is danger of disappointment and disaster unless there be a wider comprehension of the limitations of the law. The attempt to regulate, control, and prescribe all manner of conduct and social relations is very old. It was always the practice of primitive peoples.
    Quote Originally Posted by Will Rogers View Post
    Never was a country in the throes of more capital letters than the old U.S.A., but we still haven't sent out the S.O.S.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    Maybe what you're asking for is our favorite quotes?
    "But if in the pursuit of the means we should unfortunately stumble again on unfunded paper money or any similar species of fraud, we shall assuredly give a fatal stab to our national credit in its infancy. Paper money will invariably operate in the body of politics as spirit liquors on the human body. They prey on the vitals and ultimately destroy them. Paper money has had the effect in your state that it will ever have, to ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice." , George Washington in a letter to Jabez Bowen, Rhode Island, Jan. 9, 1787
    "Everyone who believes in freedom must work diligently for sound money, fully redeemable. Nothing else is compatible with the humanitarian goals of peace and prosperity." -- Ron Paul

    Brother Jonathan

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    And deficit spending is relevant to pragmatarianism because...? It's really not...pragmatarianism is the cure for deficit spending. If I give my taxes to the Dept of Education...will I want the Dept of Education to borrow money from the central bank or whoever? If the Dept of Education borrows money...then who is going to pay it back?
    Oh yes, and Social Security is in Al Gore's lock box, doncha know.

    You didn't address a damned thing I wrote. Did you even read it? Pragmatarianism isn't the cure for deficit spending, because deficit spending is not about today's taxes. Even if you managed to have a system designed such that today's taxpayers are determining FUTURE DEBT -- you still have a case where today's taxpayers are deciding what tomorrow's taxpayers will owe. There is NOTHING about pragmatarianism that even addresses this point, because it is operating under the assumption that today's taxes are going for today's spending. It...does...not...work that way.

    If I care about the Dept of Education not going bankrupt...
    So many flaws, so little time. The Dept. of Education might go without future funds, but it is NOT an entity in itself, and it still has past funding that was already consumed. You aren't cutting off yesterday's funding; you're simultaneously cutting off tomorrow's funding while refusing to pay make good on yesterday's deficit spending.

    Since credit is still involved, and you've done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to prevent financing through a printing press, how do you reconcile, under your system, whatever the taxpayers are allocating today with what future taxpayers would choose to allocate differently tomorrow? Once the US enters into a debt arrangement, neither Congress NOR future taxpayers "decide" which of those debt obligations should be funded or defaulted on. There is no such thing as "bankrupting" the Dept. of Education alone. The entity that funds the Dept. of Education is the Treasury, and if it was funded on "the good faith and credit of the United States", the only entity that ultimately goes bankrupt is the United States.


    If I don't pay off their debt...and they default and go bankrupt...then that's on me. Therefore, chances are extremely good that I'm going to make some noise should the Dept of Education incur more debt than I'm comfortable with.
    So, let them continue with deficit spending through continued currency debasement, and you will be sure to "make some noise" when the debt they incur makes you "uncomfortable"? That's your solution? The "cure for deficit spending"?

    Therefore, if you're genuinely concerned with deficit spending...then you'll become as big an advocate of tax choice as I am.
    You never even made your case. You left the counterfeiting presses intact, the monopoly on currency issuance intact, the out-of-thin-air credit card is still in the hands of the state, but somehow direct allocation choice by taxpayers is going to "cure" all that, because we'll "make some noise" and "heads will roll".

    For a public goods market to work...everybody should be allowed to participate...not just current taxpayers. If a poor person sees value in giving $10 to the Dept of Education...then that's great. If foreigners see value in giving money to the EPA...then that's awesome. And if you don't think something is awesome...then you'd have the opportunity to engage in ethical consumerism in the public sector.
    Public "goods" is not a market, because the state is not a firm -- nor should it behave as (or on behalf of) ANY firm(s).
    Like I said before, if I'm paying a billion in taxes, you can bet your sweet ass that I am going to lobby so that I can allocate funds ONLY to The Department of Best Serves My Special Financial Interests--which makes the state a Corporate Fascist state to that extent. Now I, as a Chinese Citizen/Corporate Taxpayer in the United States, have a department--and real people working for that department--that depends on me for funding, and which has political power as an agency or department of the government. That department had better continue to serve my interests, or I will lobby for the creation of another department that will best serve my needs, my wants, my interests.

    And what about the presumption that taxes even need to be paid or allocated anywhere, and what is it now that justifies the aggregate amount required prior to allocation? Funding is NEVER guaranteed to anyone, even in general, not even to the market itself, in a truly free market. That was the "problem" Keynes and all his spawn extrapolated into the insanity we have today: How to protect "the market" (banks) against people who refuse to participate, or don't participate fast or often enough?

    People really can choose NOT TO SPEND on anything at all. If you are talking about truly free market principles, where is the option to PAY NOTHING AT ALL? Where is the option to hold out, or wait for the market to finally give choices worth making? If the state is truly a "free market" participant, like a mall, where I can freely choose to shop wherever I wish, then it also cannot require that I do any shopping at all.

    In a free market, I can withhold funding from everyone until someone finally gets a clue and begins creating something that I would actually have a demand for (given quantity at a given price). What if I am withholding funding entirely until some creative entity within the state finally gets a fucking clue and starts to provide something that I actually value? You've essentially guaranteed funding to the state, with the only question of who are the winners in the state, based on where that juicy guaranteed pool of funding is being allocated, and by whom. That is not anything like a free market.
    Last edited by Steven Douglas; 10-26-2012 at 03:49 PM.

  29. #28

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    'From decentralization we get initiative, repsonsibility, development of personnel, decisions close to the facts, initiative--in short, all the qualities necessary for an organization to adapt to new conditions.'--Alfred P. Sloan

    That's my contribution on decentralization, a principal libertarian principle. And it comes from Alfred P. Sloan, who more than founder William Durant or anyone else (imo) put together a General Motors capable of becoming the biggest U.S. automaker. That is significant, because GM became number one by giving its divisions more autonomy. While, for example, Chrysler and DeSoto were nearly indistinguishable and likely to appeal to the exact same consumer, Buick and Oldsmobile were (during the Sloan years) different enough to appeal to very different consumers. The significance of that cannot be underestimated in GM's success.

    As for the problem of threadjacks, may I suggest that you ask the mods to remove any post that neither directly addresses the quotes in the OP nor suggests any new ones? That could encourage people to take their extraneous arguments elsewhere.
    Last edited by acptulsa; 10-26-2012 at 03:45 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin Coolidge View Post
    There is danger of disappointment and disaster unless there be a wider comprehension of the limitations of the law. The attempt to regulate, control, and prescribe all manner of conduct and social relations is very old. It was always the practice of primitive peoples.
    Quote Originally Posted by Will Rogers View Post
    Never was a country in the throes of more capital letters than the old U.S.A., but we still haven't sent out the S.O.S.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    Give us a break. Did you make up your categories, then seek out quotes to suit them? Or did you make up the categories to suit some of your favorite quotes? It reads like the latter; I can't imagine 'Foot Voting' as anything but a descriptor tailor made for that quote (though the influence of the existing category 'Dollar Voting' is obvious). Not that there's anything wrong with that. Not at all. But with, as you say, the wealth of statements available, at least give us a minute to work this out, and decide if we need to play inside the boxes you have made or think outside of them. No?

    Maybe what you're asking for is our favorite quotes?
    Make up my categories? Yes? No? Kinda? I mean...I didn't create the Wikipedia entry for foot voting...but I did add the passage from Friedman and the passage from Hayek. I did, however, recently create the Wikipedia entry for heterogeneous activity...and before that I created the Wikipedia entry for tax choice.

    There's so much overlap between the concepts that categorization is really not easy...but it's essential to my goal.

    My life is too short to spend barking up the wrong tree. So I'd like to identify which of these concepts people either do not understand or do not agree with. That's why I plan on creating a poll in other forums using these categories to see which of them people disagree with. That will help me identify problem areas. Without identifying problem areas I won't be able to get the most bang for my buck.

    You're welcome to reorganize/recategorize this list however you want. It's the kind of thing that blogs are perfect for. If your categorization makes more sense than mine does...then I'll certainly be happy to use it. But if your categories are too broad...then it won't be of much use for identifying exactly which specific concepts people disagree with.

    But yeah, favorite economic quotes are certainly welcome.

  31. #30

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    Here's your 'libertarian economics' quote (and more to follow):

    When I say “capitalism,” I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism—with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church. -- Ayn Rand, “The Objectivist Ethics,” The Virtue of Selfishness

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