Free Markets, Free People


Once again socialism is proven to be a lie

The lie – that central planning and a command economy run by enlightened socialists is superior to capitalism.

As usual, that’s been proven to be false … again …  and as irony would have it, capitalism is their savior.

Steve Orlicek, a rice farmer here, is living the American dream. He owns a thriving business; he vacations in the Bahamas.

His good fortune springs from many roots, including an unlikely one: He is a prime beneficiary of the socialist economic policies of Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s late president and critic of what he called U.S. "imperialism."

I know, you’re just surprised, right?  I mean, Venezuela, pre-Chavez, was pretty much self-sufficient.  And the new, better way that Chavez promised – *cough* socialism *cough* – was going to make Venezuela the economic jewel of South America.  That is, after he stripped the foreign companies of their assets and nationalized or took over the businesses of the home-grown capitalists first, and then put himself in charge of the economy.

And, as usual, the result of that tired old plan played out exactly as it has everywhere else in the world.  It failed miserably:

It is a paradoxical legacy of Mr. Chávez’s self-styled socialist revolution that his policies became a moneymaker for the capitalist systems he deplored. During his 14 years in power, he nationalized large farms, redistributed land and controlled food prices as part of a strategy to help the poor.

But these policies turned Venezuela from a net exporter to a net importer of rice—from farmers like Mr. Orlicek. "The rice industry has been very good to us," Mr. Orlicek said, sitting in his newly renovated home, appointed with a baby grand piano played by his wife, Phyllis.

It isn’t just rice. Production of steel, sugar and many other goods has fallen in Venezuela, leading to occasional shortages. Until recently, Venezuela was largely self-sufficient in beef and coffee. Now it imports both.

In this year’s first half, the U.S. exported $94 million of rice to Venezuela, a 62% jump from a year-earlier, making Venezuela the U.S.’s fourth-largest rice market, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Overall, Venezuelan imports have quadrupled since Mr. Chávez took office, to $59.3 billion in 2012 from about $14.5 billion in 2000, according to Venezuela government figures and economists at Barclays PLC. Exports to Venezuela from the U.S. hit $12 billion in 2011, up 16% from the previous year, the latest U.S. government figures show.

I remember the US bailing out the Soviet Union year after year when its wheat harvests again failed to produce the needed grain.  Socialism fails again.   Command economies have never worked (except in the short periods of warfare).  Complex systems like economies do not lend themselves readily to central control and function properly.  No central authority is able to a) know all the variables that comprise a healthy economy, or b) how to weight them or c) understand their complex interactions.  Healthy economies are true grassroots systems.  They are driven by billions upon billions of buying decisions made by individuals – something the socialists would prefer to ignore. 

Venezuela is just the latest in a long line of countries and economies who have fallen for the utopian promises of socialism and again proven that it is and always will be a leftist fantasy.  Unfortunately, real people end up suffering for the “dream” of something for nothing.  But the belief must be ingrained somewhere in the genetics of our species because time and again a new group falls for the promise and ends up flat on their face while the capitalists are thankfully there to bail them out.

~McQ

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55 Responses to Once again socialism is proven to be a lie

  • “something for nothing.  But the belief must be ingrained somewhere in the genetics of our species”
    Sounds like Garden of Eden, Elysium fields, Valhalla….well, not Valhalla, berserkergang nutjobs…those old writers understood man pretty damn good for a bunch of wandering goat herders.
     

  • Well, that’s hardly controversial.   As I note to my students in Comparative politics, the model of a planned centralized economy has been tried, and we have empirical proof that it fails on material terms, spiritual terms (harms the psychology of the people involved) and governmental terms (turns into corruption and abuse).   In real world terms, only market economies with governmental regulation to try to protect markets and maximize equal opportunity have ever been successful in material terms – and states with a larger gap between the wealthy and poor tend to do more poorly.   Rather than follow ideology (ideology is ultimately a simplistic way for people who want to think they have “the truth” to follow), go with empirical observations of what has worked, and what has not.

    • Oh, just for the chuckle, you are aware that “protecting markets” and “maximizing equal opportunity” might very well be in complete opposition to one another, right?

      • Such words are just playthings for him.  Their precise meaning matters not.  He’s going to push his ideology and toss around some buzzwords to attempt to appear more intelligent.  You and I know the substance of what happens in the real world when politicians claim to be “protecting markets” (cronyism, supporting failure/outmoded technology) and “maximizing equal opportunity” (redistributing wealth, building a counter-productive bureaucracy to oversee this “opportunity”, and failing to help the people they purport to be helping).  Those are “real world terms” he chooses to ignore.
        At least he didn’t shoehorn “quantum” into there, though he did add “spiritual”.  He must be a bit hungover to put too much effort into that one.

        • Day-um, he DID say spiritual didn’t he.   Missed that.

          should I just roll my eyes or make a smiley face?    Let’s see, the spiritual decision is

          :)
           

      • Come on guys.  Didn’t you get the memo that we were going to congratulate Erb for his agreement.
        This would surely reek havoc with this brain, but you missed a golden opportunity.

      • There is no way they could be complete opposites.   They are connected, equal opportunity yields stronger markets.
        Elliott, your first response is to simply engage in “argumentum ad hominem.”  To do likewise, I simply don’t think you understand these issues, you simply have your faith.
        Your second is meaningless.  Psychology and human spirit can be talked about together, and some of the most powerful dissidents in the former Communist world did so.  You seem to have a weird aversion to some words, and idiosyncratic definitions.   You make bizarre claims – like “all government power” leads to such abuse.  That is absurd on its face.  You can have government power that is not corrupt or abusive – in both business and government, it’s people who make decisions.  Some people are honest and hard working, others are not.  That is why you need rule of law.   I also am not condemning anyone, I just find your perspective odd and contrary to what real world empirical knowledge tells me.  You don’t really defend your view either, you go into weird ad hominems or argument by definition.  I think you really believe you see things more clearly, and you are convinced you have real clear principles and that they make more sense than what most others think.  I know you believe that, I just think it’s a bit delusional on your part.

        • …equal opportunity yields stronger markets.

          That is a simplistic ideological assertion, contrary to empirical evidence.  The more socialist a country, in which the government planners use the most brute force to impose the illusion of “equal opportunity”, the more failure, corruption, and collapse.

          Psychology and human spirit can be talked about together….

          When “human spirit” is a metaphor for emotional aspects, such as hope, pride, contentment.  But you don’t refer to such things as “spiritualism”.  You’re attempting to equivocate, using words with the same base, but utterly different meanings.
          Under the socialist utopias you prefer, the human spirit is crushed when the central planners pick and choose the winners arbitrarily and capriciously.

          You can have government power that is not corrupt or abusive….

          Examples?

          I also am not condemning anyone….

          You incessantly condemn and criticize people of different ideologies (pretending, of course, that your ideology isn’t ideological, that your absolute declarations are not absolute, etc.).  You accuse people of “extremism” of “simplistic thinking” of living in the past century, etc..
          You do condemn people, constantly.  The fact that you deny it just shows you are dishonest as hell.

          …I just think it’s a bit delusional on your part.

          says the man who sounds like Baghdad Bob, declaring that there are no scandals, that it is all the imaginations of “right wingers”, that the changes in the Arab world are “good and necessary” because of twitter, or something.
          Your attempts at lecturing to others in this comment space are so delusional, there is a pseudonym dedicated to lampooning you.  It is that bad.
          Schadenfreude: watching you come back for more abuse, time after time, arrogantly pretending to be “winning” arguments while you contradict yourself incessantly.
          Had I written a novel in which I had the pinko liberal acanemic say the sorts of things you say, the editor would tell me that I need a more realistic character.

        • STILLLLLL waiting for you to respond to my models where there is NO government regulation of market activity.
          STILLLLLL waiting for any model you can cite where markets grew to “gangsta” activity.
          STILLLLLL waiting for your citations to history where that has happened.
          You are a lying, cowardly, Collectivist tool.  (See the period?)

    • …planned centralized economy has been tried, and we have empirical proof that it fails on material terms….

      In what ways does it fail?  For the politburo and nomenklatura–and their analogues in other authoritarian regimes–the economy works just fine for them.  They get special perks, don’t have to wait in lines, the upper echelon get dachas.  Just ask your former father-in-law how he and his ilk made out like bandits.  Oh, but he was one of the unfortunate ones, who was still around when the system collapsed.  Tsk tsk.

      …spiritual terms (harms the psychology of the people involved)….

      Psychology is not spiritualism.  To say that something harms “the human spirit” is a metaphor, which means that it dampens the mood, harms initiative, erodes hope.  It’s not some ethereal disembodied soul.

      …and governmental terms (turns into corruption and abuse).

      All government power leads to corruption and abuse.  The more power, the worse the abuses, the quicker the corruption.
      It’s lovely that you pretend to stand up against such things, when you have, for decades (according to your own accounts), defended, advocated, campaigned for, voted for, propagandized for bigger, more powerful government, more centralized controls.  The most obvious example is your exuberant advocacy for ObamaCare, which has already shown clear signs of being untenable, of not solving the problems it purports to solve, of increasing costs, and of being a major example of the “corruption and abuse” you pretend to decry just now.  The corruption and abuse, of course, includes all the special exemptions, the delays calculated to avoid electoral disaster (which directly countermand the law itself).
      If you had opposed ObamaCare for the very reasons you just enumerated, one might have reason to take you seriously.  As it is, though, you’re simply hedging your bets, damning failed governments after the fact, governments you would be cheering were they still in the phase during which the rot is hidden.

      …ideology is ultimately a….

      There you go again, babbling away, making narrow, misleading generalizations, condemning others for having principles, for making decisions based upon ideas rather than whims, refusing to acknowledge differences between good ideas and bad ones, and ignoring the complete oxymoron of issuing absolute condemnations of absolutes, principled rejections of principles, ideological denunciations of ideologies.
      Thanks for the laughs.

  • “only market economies with governmental regulation to try to protect markets and maximize equal opportunity”

    So….in your world, if the United States made the best durn buggy whips on the planet, at this point in history,  the government ought to step in and protect that market, yes?   Perhaps by limiting imports of motor vehicles, or propping the market up by buying the buggy whips and handing them out as party gifts to foreign dignitaries?  Maybe selling them to Islamic countries for use in lashing criminals?   Creating a foreign demand for them by giving foreign countries monies linked to buying American buggy whips?   Why, maybe they could do that for Electric cars perhaps, I’ll bet that would work just swell!  Maybe for solar panels perhaps.

    Sigh, let’s move on to your other blurb….equal opportunity…..what EXACTLY does that mean?   No mumbo jumbo, clearly outline what you think equal opportunity means in the realm of economic markets.
    I’ll warn you in advance, I’m sure your answer is going to be feel good mumbo jumbo, but for entertainment value it ought to be interesting.

    • No, the US should not base a regulatory scheme on single products or import limitations.  Those would distort the market rather than protect it.  I do think there is a lot of real world empirical proof that government investments into new technologies often create long term market advantages (indeed, that’s what MITI did in Japan).   I think investment in alternative energy technologies and electric cars make sense, including government assistance.   Equal opportunity simply means that one’s position within the structure of society (wealth, access to health care, education, socialization) is not a better determinate of outcome than anything else.  In a country like the US with declining (and already low) social and class mobility, and a large income gap, opportunity comes more by chance of birth.   That harms everyone.   The idea that markets magically work on their own – well, no one who looks at the real world can believe that.  If your head is in ideology and theory, then you might….

      • No, you said protect the market, you didn’t say how big it should be in order to merit protection.   So you want to protect SOME markets, but you won’t protect others.   You intend your government to pick the winners and loser then.
        And yes, the government support for alternative energy technologies has just served the market, and CERTAINLY the American tax paying public, so well these last 8 years, almost like they were picking the winners and well, in this specific case, and specifically used as an example for that reason, losers.

        As to equal opportunity  – as I expected, if a wealthy man creates a lawn mower and a poor man creates a lawn mower, and they are essentially the same mower, with nothing drastic to differentiate them such as quality or price and they both want to sell them, the government should prevent the wealthy man from using his already accumulated wealth to assist him in making more sales on that market than the poorer man, yes?
        What you’re saying is the government should ensure market share for both because….that’s fair?   You’re saying the government should pick the winners and losers.   Yes, I can’t see how that ever would destabilize the markets.   I can see why government regulation is necessary,

        You know, you are about the only one who thinks the market working as it is intended to work, is ‘magic’.   The rest of us understand it’s NOT magic, it’s the way markets work.

        • You intend your government to pick the winners and loser then.

          It all boils down to principles.  Scott decries the application of principles, the use of ideas, to evaluate the ethics of a situation, because he knows that the favoritism and central planning he advocates have created corruption and failure in empires for millennia, the railroad magnates, ObamaCare, the USPS, the NHS, the Volga, Solyndra, Spain’s Potemkin “green jobs”, Germany’s reckless plunge into solar power (being in a horrible geographic location for such a thing), China’s Potemkin-style ghost cities, etc..
          The principle being that economic decisions must be made by people who bear the cost, who stand to reap success, but who also face the immediate consequence of failure, uninsulated.  When decisions are instead made by people insulated from the cost of failure (government planners), this inexorably leads to careless risks, graft, waste, and a high rate of failure.  Look at ObamaCare, which is, as predicted, an economic disaster which is increasing costs for no benefit.  Those who drew up the bill and their staff have just insulated themselves from the consequences.  By delaying the onset for large businesses, they hide the failure until after the election, again, insulating themselves from the price.
          But this is something Scott praises.  It’s what he voted for, what he campaigned for, what he pushed for, and what he loudly crows about.  He attacked those who opposed it–even those who made predictions which are shown, by empirical evidence today, to be spot on–as being “ideologues”, “extremists” and every other sort of insult.
          We were right.  He was wrong.  And still, he pushes for more.

          You know, you are about the only one who thinks the market working as it is intended to work, is ‘magic’.   The rest of us understand it’s NOT magic, it’s the way markets work.

          It’s something he is too stupid to understand, so “magic” is the easiest (and laziest) explanation.  Maybe there is some kind of quantum mechanics going on.

          • What meaningless blather, Ellliot.  You don’t have principles, you have assumptions and beliefs you call principles, and you dress them up with fancy words.  It’s your own house of cards.   You program it to interpret reality to fit your pre-existing beliefs.   Harmless, I guess, and I’m sure it allows you to feel very self-righteous.  But it’s a delusion.  Deep down, I think you know it.

          • You don’t have principles….

            Pretending that something doesn’t exist because you lack the intelligence to argue against it is one of the weakest attempts to evade debate.
            Here’s one: “…every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself.” -John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government, Chapter V, “Of Property” (1690)
            That principle, enunciated centuries ago and included in countless discussions of individual rights ever since, is a principle you not only deny to be true, but which you stupidly pretended (a few months back) made no sense and that you had no familiarity with it.

            …you have assumptions and beliefs you call principles….

            That’s evidence you don’t understand the definition of the word–if one were to take you at face value, which I don’t.  You simply rewrite the rules when it suits you.  If I had the time, I could dig up copious examples of you stating your beliefs and assumptions, and referring to them as principles, either directly or indirectly.

            …and you dress them up with fancy words.

            I am at a loss to decide in what way to mock that preposterous statement.  I could make fun of your inferior intelligence, juxtaposed against the authority you claim through your letters.  How can a man who claims to “teach this stuff” be befuddled by my vocabulary?  Maybe you’ve been kicked by a moose in the head, drank too much Scotch, or are suffering some sort of dementia.  I could make a joke about you being a northern sort of hillbilly, missing teeth and yammering about “fancy words, ayuh”!
            Better yet, I could list a number of authors I read, each of whom has caused me to seek out a dictionary on multiple occasions, to investigate an explication of some allusion, or to go to a book store to find basic material.  I daresay that the “fancy words” such people employ would send your head spinning.

            You program it to interpret reality to fit your pre-existing beliefs.

            Nonsense.  My “pre-existing beliefs” were run through a science and engineering education, tested and challenged by interactions with intelligent, sometimes brilliant, people (in person), contrasted with books and articles I’ve read, and intensely scrutinized via the cauldron of Internet debates.  Decades later, most of what I believed as a teenager or young adult I no longer believe.  Some things I have rethought to the point that my current beliefs are similar, though the basis for that belief is less a matter of rote, tradition, or “common sense” and actually grounded in a more solid basis, derived rationally instead of emotionally.
            Reality is what has guided me to abandon those beliefs which did not stand up to scrutiny, and which constantly drives me to test and refine what I currently believe.
            In other words, my mind is exactly the opposite of what you accuse.  As you are a feeble propagandist, the most obvious interpretation of such an accusation is that you are identifying exactly what you see as your own weaknesses, projecting them onto others.  Or, maybe you’re just parroting what you see others say.  It doesn’t really matter.
            I suspect you realize that I see through your bluster and know you for what you are.  That you don’t slink away in shame is a bit perplexing, and I would normally feel pity for one such as yourself–except I’m familiar with at least some of your history of being so nasty to others, to making fun of a man because of his father’s suicide, accusing good people of doing bad things which they did not do, and copious other examples of petty spite you’ve displayed in public forums.
            Keep coming back.  We’ll keep kicking you around and laughing about it.

          • >>>>You don’t have principles

            And that’s still a da*m sight better than the evil world view you spend your life pushing….

        • No, government doesn’t pick winners and losers.  In only a few cases of new technologies and strong public interest is it important NOT to leave it purely to the market.   That’s not very controversial, at least in most circles (I know on this blog it is).  Your wealthy man poor man analogy proves my point.  You’re assuming they both are just as likely to create the same lawn mower.  You’re assuming equal opportunity in your analogy!  You also are wrong in assuming equal opportunity would mean a change in market conditions.  No, each man has the same market.  Rather, to get relatively equal opportunity you need to assure that citizens have access to education, health care, protections (police, legal, etc.) and the like.  That will make everyone better off and strengthen society.   It’s no accident that the greatest increase in prosperity has happened alongside the greatest increase in government regulation and social welfare programs.   As long as its to protect the market and build opportunity, it doesn’t have the evil and disastrous effect of central planning.   And a look at the history of economic growth in the last century proves it!

          Only a fool would think markets can function on their own with no regulation.  That is an absurd claim on its face, utterly laughable.   Luckily, most voters understand that very clearly. Only someone with no understanding of how the economy works could claim that.

          • …government doesn’t pick winners and losers.

            Solyndra, GM, AIG, light rail, sports stadiums, local cable television monopolies, Halliburton, Chrysler, PBS, ….
            You’re mostly correct.  Most of the time, government picks losers.

          • to get relatively equal opportunity you need to assure that citizens have access to education, health care, protections….

            Thus you prove you’re a dyed-in-the-wool socialist and you support the central planning you explicitly denounced a few comments up.
            Sober up, Scott.

          • “You’re assuming they both are just as likely to create the same lawn mower.  You’re assuming equal opportunity in your analogy!”

            Absolutely correct.  YOU were the one who continually has to assume that they are not equal at the start apart from that which I clearly outlined.   I specifically said they were equal in all aspects except for wealth.   I made no argument to the contrary.   You couldn’t in your mind stay within that ideal universe I gave, the level playing field apart from cash.  You have to find a way to presume that the rich man MUST have had the advantage of a better education (I would personally argue having a degree is not necessarily ‘better’, and consider Bill Gates before you retort),  better ‘health care’, whatever that means, better police protection, as if the rich man bought a better police department than the poor man had.  YOU were the one who was unable to perceive the level playing field you absolutely require for your argument.    At no point did I argue that any of these things were, or should be, otherwise than equal. The sole distinction allowed was wealth.

            I presumed the police gave the same service, I presumed both men were healthy, I presumed any difference in their education would not give either of them a dramatic advantage in the market.  The sole distinction between them was their wealth, which you, in the object of fairness (where I made ALL other things that were relevant fair and equal) believe the government should step in and prevent the rich man from employing to his advantage in order to ensure OUTCOME.    You aren’t interested in equality of opportunity, you are interested in equality of outcome.   Even in the ideal world I posited where both had exactly the same opportunity, apart from their wealth, you demand the government ensure a fair outcome.

            You want to roll back the hands of time, you want to make sure the poor man, perhaps a newly arrived immigrant to the shores of our theoretical market, has the same education, you want to make sure he has precisely the same health, you want to make sure he had nice parents, a little dog to keep him company as a child, perhaps a field of flowers that he was able to run through when life got too stressful back in the poor old country.

            Perhaps the rich man is the new arrival, fleeing the shores of his homeland where his evil father acquired capital through conquest and plunder and rapacious behaviors. He eschewed the ways of his evil father, kicked out, with a large bundle of cash, and sent abroad to make his way as a severe disappointment to his pater families, eager to live in a new land where his ideas for a better kinder lawnmower can be realized without his father insisting on scythe blades attached to the wheels to mow down unsuspecting animals and lawn walkers.   A machine that totally violates Republican party principles!  One that won’t deliberately spew unnecessary pollutants into the atmosphere and randomly project gouts of engine oil into the streams so the poor will be able to breath freely and have clean water and enjoy manicured lawns like the rich.

            You want equal outcome.   You mandate that all entrants into the market must be the same or those with pre-existing advantages must be hobbled to offset (possibly prior) disadvantages suffered by some others.

            Healthcare was not an issue in the lawn mower market, until you proclaimed it to be one.   Education was not, until you proclaimed it to be until you concluded they must be otherwise.   You couldn’t make your argument work in the world I gave you without inventing obstacles for the poor man, and advantages for the rich man, which your government MUST offset in order to achieve your ‘equal opportunity’.

            It is not the job of the government to review a man’s history to see what his possible advantages might have been BEFORE he entered the market place.   He arrives, with his lawnmowers, and sells them.  If he does so at a profit he can continue, if he does so at a loss, he may choose to continue until he can no longer afford to.  Those are his decisions, not the governments’.

            If he arrives with armed men and chases away the other lawn mower sellers, the government OUGHT to step in and prevent that.  In YOUR world, you want the government to show up with armed men, and use legal force to make sure the other lawn mowers men don’t sell more than the man you’re ‘protecting’.

            If your dream was to be a poli sci professor, marketing your skill, there was no requirement for the rest of us to pony up money to build a university where YOU could teach, just because that was what you wanted to do.   So too with the poor man making lawn mowers.   Unless his mowers are just wizardly better than the rich man’s the advantages of the rich man merely to bring his product to market, to make more mowers to sell, to advertise his mowers, gives him an edge.  None of those things are illegal, none of them are wrong, nor do any of them involve the rich man using any kind of FORCE on the market, or on the poor man, to sell more mowers.

            This is the point of the post, that government often does more harm than good, when it interferes with the natural functioning (the thing you perceive to be ‘magic’) of the market.   And no amount of money should be, or can be spent to ensure that everyone entering the market with a product had all the ‘same advantages’ prior to their entry to the market.    And the government ought NOT to ‘ensure success’ through regulation or subsidy.

            Equal opportunity, I’m all for.  Guaranteed equal outcome?  Even as a fantasy I’m not for enforced equal outcome.

          • YOU were the one who was unable to perceive the level playing field you absolutely require for your argument.    At no point did I argue that any of these things were, or should be, otherwise than equal. The sole distinction allowed was wealth.

            Looker, it is obvious that you can effortlessly run circles around this pretender, using his own arguments against him, highlighting the obvious contradictions.  However, I would differ with you on a premise you are accepting:

            Equal opportunity, I’m all for.

            I’m not all for it.  At best, I’m for it to the same extent that I’m for no child dying of cancer or car accident.  It falls under the realm of “if I could push a magic button so no child would ever die of cancer, car wreck, ….“  It’s a matter of sentiment, not politics.
            Once you accept as a political premise that government force is justified in pursuit of the goal of “equal opportunity”, you allow the scoundrels like Scott to incessantly judge that the status quo is never good enough, that more money is needed, more programs, more “nudges”, until the massive bureaucracy undermines the goal itself, creating a perpetual need for the office holders to ostensibly pursue “equal opportunity” until they run out the clock and collect their pension.  Decades later, not only is the goal of “equal opportunity” never realized, but the system itself has destroyed so much production, wasted endless talent and ingenuity.  And, weasels like Scott will just blame libertarians or tea party obstructionists, insisting that the answer is just around the corner, if only the old-fashioned thinkers would just get out of the way and allow more taxes, more programs, more “nudges”, etc..
            It’s like a freaking Lewis Carroll novel.
            To hell with “equal opportunity”.  Unless you’re stealing from others, actively using force to oppress the competition or engaging in fraud to give your children an advantage, then spend all you want on private schools, tutors, trainers, the best doctors, high security gated communities.  See to it that your offspring milk every advantage that your honestly gained money can purchase.  Celebrate the gifted and talented.  Lift them up as heroic examples of what humans can achieve.
            If you feel sorry for the orphans, the mentally retarded, or other children without the same opportunities, then no one should stop you from using your time, money, and energy to charitably help them as well.  And, no one should force you to do so, either.

          • I understand what he’s after.  When I say equal opportunity, I mean you can enter the market with your product, whatever it is and try selling it.  It’s not the governments job to poke around in there to make things fair.   In this case, that all I mean.
            As a species we’re geared to try and give our genetic heritage every damn advantage when can lend it.  We don’t want to see our offspring sacrificed to government whim.  Scott can pretend he’s above that, I’ll wager if we were to put HIS offspring on the line as sacrifices to his ideals of perfect “fair” government, we’d have a quick convert to individual rights until the danger had passed.


             

          • “To hell with “equal opportunity”.  Unless you’re stealing from others, actively using force to oppress the competition or engaging in fraud to give your children an advantage, then spend all you want on private schools, tutors, trainers, the best doctors, high security gated communities.  See to it that your offspring milk every advantage that your honestly gained money can purchase.  Celebrate the gifted and talented.  Lift them up as heroic examples of what humans can achieve.
            If you feel sorry for the orphans, the mentally retarded, or other children without the same opportunities, then no one should stop you from using your time, money, and energy to charitably help them as well.  And, no one should force you to do so, either.”

            I should have finished reading – you nailed it.

      • And before you go there, at no point am I suggesting the rich man ‘buy’ politicians to improve his standing in the market.   Think in terms of larger manufacturing facility, providing more units for sale, and a larger pocket for advertising his product to the public.  Nor am I suggesting the rich man set out to wipe his smaller competitor out through economic extortion or strong arm tactics like undermining his materials sources by buying up all the raw materials for making the mowers, or cornering the market on some essential piece of the product and driving his competitor out of business.

        Since you’re assuming a pure and good government in intervention, I get to assume a pure and good rich man, and a pure and good poor man.

        • Since you’re assuming a pure and good government in intervention, I get to assume a pure and good rich man, and a pure and good poor man.

          You filthy capitalist running dog!  Only socialists are pure and good.  The rich man is always evil.

          • I know, see the lawnmower described above that his dad wanted him to build.  Evil evil evil.  No wonder he was kicked out of the house with a mere pittance of the total wealth he could have had had he lived up to his father’s dream of lootin and plunderin, father rapin and mother stabbin!   Argggghhhh arrrrgggggghhh matey.

      • …I do think there is a lot of real world empirical proof that government investments into new technologies often create long term market advantages….

        Solyndra?  Spain’s ultra-expensive “green jobs”?  Germany’s cloudy solar flop, for which they had to fall back on old-school power plants?
        If a new technology has market potential and is not being produced by snake oil salesmen, then government “investment” is not needed.  Most of the time government “investment” is simply cronyism, which turns out to be fraught with waste, fraud, and abuse.  But propagandists like you will ignore the 99% of graft and failures, and hold up a few examples, giving government credit for the rare cases in which taking money from producers and giving it to a crony turned out to result in the appearance of success.
        I could do that, easily.  I’ll just take the 401K contents of all poli sci professors, make a few thousand long-shot bets on horse races, and only focus on the races I won.  That will be empirical proof of my genius!

        Equal opportunity simply means that one’s position within the structure of society (wealth, access to health care, education, socialization) is not a better determinate of outcome than anything else.

        In the real world, that means you must grant overseers great power to punish success, hold back the talented, redistribute wealth to the “disadvantaged”, and, of course, create a large bureaucracy to organize such an important activity.  In other words, central planning, cronyism, abuse, corruption, and all of the other things you claim to oppose, in the preceding paragraph.
        You’re doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results, looking for ways to blame others for previous failures and pretending to be different than your predecessors.

      • MITI said that Honda shouldn’t manufacture automobiles.
        The MITI Miracle of the 80s’s is over.

      • So, where is MITI now?
        You aren’t going to tell me that MITI doesn’t do a good job once labor costs are more expensive than other countries are you? Because that would imply that MITI really didn’t do anything at all.
        Your claim is that MITI can do these things, and yet Japan now has super slow growth and is no longer seizing market share in key markets that are picked by the government….so what happened?
        And look at China…another country where the government makes strategic bets, with solar companies going bankrupt, too. Not to mention, how do you plan for the US to make bets on solar panels, while other countries with lower costs and huge economies of scale in electronic manufacturing are sitting there subsidizing, too? You better be a damn good stock picker if you want to convince me the USA or MITI can keep doing this day in and day out forever.

        • For example, why aren’t my smart phones made by Sony?
          Where was MITI?
          And how about search?
          Where was MITI?
          Driverless cars?
          Google is a leader…where was MITI?

      • No, the US should not base a regulatory scheme on single products or import limitations.

        This is “protectionism” AKA cronyism.
        Thanks for clarifying.
         

  • For socialists, it’s always the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. They just excise the failures from their memory and keep on pimping for government by enlightened masters who make decisions for us instead of letting us decide for ourselves via the market. 

    Why should we expect them to ever admit they’re wrong? The Soviet apologists never did, and that was about as obvious a misjudgment as it’s possible to make. The Obama apologists are clearly just as deranged. 

    It doesn’t matter if it’s called socialism, collectivism, communism, pragmatism, or whatever terminology they come up with next year to excuse Obama’s failures. They reject the lessons of the Knowledge Problem, and insist on believing that the right people making the decisions in government magically make it all turn out fine.

    They trim the obvious failures (e.g. green energy companies, the educational system, government run healthcare) right out of their memory, and then redefine the goals, ignore hidden costs, or simply mangle the facts by creating the right “narrative” to make less obvious failures look like success.

    There isn’t any point in arguing with them about it. They lack either the cognitive capability or the psychic strength to understand and admit their mistakes. Besides, there’s no penalty to them for being wrong. Heck, in certain quarters, keeping their job means they have to be wrong. If you live a life detached from reality, you can believe obvious nonsense and feel superior for doing it.

  • Cafe Hayek quote of the day includes this:
    It is one of the most historically unique and amazing features of life in modern market economies: almost everything that each of us daily consumes – stuff mundane to us, such as toothpaste, laundry detergent, underwear, houses with solid floors, walls, and roofs, motor transportation, blueberries and pineapple year-round in Boston and Berlin – is stuff that no one person knows how to make.  It’s not just that you didn’t make and don’t know how to make, say, the drip-coffee maker that you used this morning to brew your cup of coffee.  No one knows how to make that coffee maker. And nor is all of the knowledge necessary to make that coffee maker, and to get it at reasonably cost into your kitchen, available in any one place or to any one self-consciously cooperating group of minds.
    http://cafehayek.com/2013/08/quotation-of-the-day-725.html

    • Interesting fact ain’t it?       So few people grasp the inherent danger of such a thing.


       

  • Behold, we get to see the central planners at HHS convert the mess that is the HealthCare industry in an absolutely FUBAR situation.
    At this point, it really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to hold the belief that Obama never cracked an economics book at any point during his time as an undergrad or later in law school.

    • Even conservatives in Europe support comprehensive health care.  To call that socialist is something akin to “the big lie.”   (THough I suppose then our military is socialist, our police forces are socialist, etc.)   Such an abuse of political terminology for propaganda purposes.  Oh well, I think you’re losing the battle for the hearts and minds of people!

      • When your opponents buy people off, you have to promise to at least match the buy-off to compete.
        By the way, can you explain something for me?
        The claim is that if we copy Europe in healthcare we shall achieve European savings and effectiveness.
        Thus, the same should hold true in education, no?
        We spend 145% of OECD levels on education and get worse results than Europe, even though we strictly follow their nationalized education system.
        Can you explain why you would think we shall then achieve savings and effectiveness in Health when we cannot in education?

      • “Conservatives” in Europe are just trying to conserve Socialism.

        In Europe, pre-mature infants are left to die, the elderly are sent home with pain meds to die. Naturally, because single-payer health care systems are zero-sum games — the money for medicine is fixed and determined by the government — treatement for the very needy is taken from the very healthy and productive.

        But in America, it is (for now), open-ended.  That is why we spend so much more on health care — to us, life is precious, and when it comes down to it, most of us would gladly spend more money to save our loved-ones than cheap crap from China.

  • “capitalists are thankfully there to bail them out.I thought you were against bailouts McQ! Are you changing your position on this too? Is Scott Erb correct?Maybe I should remember the words of JFK when he said “Ask not”!

    • “capitalists are thankfully there to bail them out.I thought you were against bailouts McQ! (sic)

      “Capitalist”and “bailout” are oxymorons.
      Here’s a dime; buy a clue.

      • My point exactky Mr. Sharpshooter! “Sharpshooter” fits you. A little above a Marksman but quite a bit below most of us Experts!

  • No time to debate this further – too much going on.  Elliott, try to recognize your principles are based on assumptions and beliefs – learn to question those, and listen to other possibilities.  Looker, we’re both in favor of effective markets and individual freedom and initiative.  We have an empirical disagreement about what to do to best do that.  I think a belief that markets will work naturally is contrary to all the empirical evidence I’ve seen.  It’s a theory-based belief that falls short when power gets unequal in society.  Thus government must regulate, and must act to try to assure that the “winners” can’t cement an advantage and create long term class differences.  I think that’s happening, and it weakens markets; indeed, business people and so called “capitalists” are often really anti-capitalist because they want to maintain an advantage.   None of us want central planning or government bigger than it needs to be.  We disagree on what is needed and how it works.  My complaint against some of you is you seem driven by ideology rather than real world evidence (and you cherry pick your evidence to fit your ideology – the global warming debate is the most absurdly egregious example of that).   Pragmatically, markets work, but they aren’t magic.  Central planning doesn’t work.  Governmental power is necessary, but can cause corruption.  It’s a balancing act.  No one has the “right” answer of how best to do it, hence we rely on constitutional democracy.   The most dangerous people are those who think they know the “true” answer.  OK, I’ll not come back to this thread.  Sorry, but it’s a hyper busy time for me right now!

    • No time to debate this further – too much going on.

      Shorter Erp…”I’m running for the moose-infested woods now…”

    • “No time to debate this further – too much going on”

      Ah, it’s 11:45, I’ve filled your tiny craniums with my wisdom, nearly time for my lunch, perhaps pizza in the student center today, it’s Pizza special day, maybe one of the oppressed worker girls who flock to me like bees to flowers will score me a couple slices of free capitalist pizza.  I am nearly a god.

      “Elliott, try to recognize your principles are based on assumptions and beliefs – learn to question those, and listen to other possibilities.  Looker, we’re both in favor of effective markets and individual freedom and initiative.  We have an empirical disagreement about what to do to best do that.  I think a belief that”
      Elliot and Looker, you both managed to avoid calling me names, mostly, so your homework assignments are…..

      “My complaint against some of you is you seem driven by ideology rather than real world evidence (and you cherry pick your evidence to fit your ideology – the global warming debate is the most absurdly egregious example of that).   Pragmatically, markets work, but they aren’t magic……”
      the rest of you, consider my wisdom, here’s a little reinforcement of the highlights of today’s lecture, and I’ll see you all on Wednesday morning at 11:00 Moose time.

      TTFN!

    • “Thus government must regulate, and must act to try to assure that the “winners” can’t cement an advantage and create long term class differences.”
      Yet government is notorious for cementing the advantage of the winners.  Swing by K Street sometime and see how things work in the real world.
      Government power is about force and the arbitrary use of force is wrong.  That is why the liberal idea is to limit it, not to balance it.  Attempts at balancing it just devolve into cementing the advantage of those with access.

  • Erb: “Sorry, but it’s a hyper busy time for me right now!”  Truer words were never uttered by Erb.  He held his head up high – but then he had to after getting his ass handed to him by Elliot.  Hey Erb, don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  • Socialist today hide or obfuscate who they are.  On a recent May Day I noticed two things.  The association of May Day as the premier communist/socialist holiday was expunged on Wikipedia.  Secondly I started scanning photos of European May Day parades and marches and they were notably devoid of hammer and sickles in their marching signs which previously was a staple.  Either they hide it or news services are hiding it for them.

    They deny that they’re doing it and just go ahead and do it.  So a philosophical debate is completely sidestepped.

    • Ya-but…”greater good”.  Remember?  Any lie is fine.  Any deceit is justified.  All propaganda is Doublegood Speak.

    • “They deny that they’re doing it and just go ahead and do it.”
      Sounds rather like a current government I can think of….

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