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Is a truly free market system actually a good thing?

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May 16, 2000
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Everyone who happens to be against free markets should read Human Action. Every argument being made here against the free market is covered plainly in the book. Rather than be insulted with no notable or meaningful replies other than rich people are evil I'll just leave it at that.
Then they can read the thousands of critiques of the Austrian School and find out why the majority of the book is a load of ignorant, self-serving horseshit.
 

tcG

Golden Member
Jul 31, 2006
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PrinceofWands said:
I wasn't making an argument I was insulting you, however given your obvious lack of intelligence it doesn't surprise me that you failed to recognized the difference.
I apologize for assuming you were capable of rational argument. The last thing I want to do is discriminate against the mentally disabled. If all you can do is offer insults, then I guess that's all you can do.
 
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Abraxas

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2004
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Well intentioned != Well thought or actually addressing the real reasons behind the issues they seek to alleviate. Furthermore often times these regulations are rightly challenged because they are so deeply flawed.
I never said otherwise. That not all regulations are well thought out does not imply all regulations are not well thought out.

If what you stated was the at all factual then nations such as North Korea, the USSR and satellite states of old would of all been thriving economically with a high standard of living without a free market and China's ChiCom government would not of needed to of loosened it grasp on their market via free market economic reforms to be able to become a dominate power in today's economy.
That in no way follows from what I said. How does us being productive enough to enjoy greater standards of safety and leisure have anything to do with the relative standard of living between the US and the USSR/China?

This looks like one of those orange sturgeons, like a red herring only larger and more obvious in that it is in no way even related to what I said.
Our standard of living is a direct result of the market place here in this nation being able to meet the needs of the consumer in a competitive environment where there are in some cases (not enough in others) losers and winners. Along with allowing businesses and consumers to make decisions on how much risk they are willing to bear or how much they are willing to pay to attain resources but it has nothing to do with regulations at all.
And yet much of Europe enjoys comparable to superior standard of living to the US while having tighter regulations on their markets.
In addition over regulation is more apt to produce a higher cost of living and thus lower the actual standard of living.
Perhaps, but by the same token it can raise standard of living by reducing the cost of goods that are otherwise inaccessible or even provide the push to vastly expand a higher economic class as the GI Bill did.

Monopolies can and do form on their own in a free market but they only stay competitive in the same free market so long as they can meet the needs and desires of the consumer and follow along the correct path of decision making which leads to their growth and continual profit generation while being left exposed and unprotected to continual competition from all sides of the market.

However this is extremely difficult to do over a very long period of time without such monopolies resorting to appealing to government for some intervention at some point because no one person or businesses entity could ever hope to make decisions that are 100% accurate and correct all the time in the market place.
What makes you think in a free market a company or companies won't engage in anti-competitive practices? A monopoly can quite often prevent a competitor from entering through a lock on resources required or a lock on intellectual property.

In addition government via its own interference (via regulations, mandates, subsidies etc) can very well lead to the formation of a monopoly (or in many cases cartels) as large entities are able to weather the storm of regulations and they eventually gobble up small time players and thus increase their size and scope of power in the market place by leveraging their influence in government.
Why does a big company need the government to acquire a small one?


You implied it when you stated that regulations somehow protect people from the "pollution, exploitation, theft" as if any business would continue to stay in business by behaving in a clear and open criminal fashion without first attaining the support of government itself to secure its continued existence.
Because they have and do? Enron case and point. Or how about the time in American history where our rivers were catching on fire due to all the chemicals dumped in them? You have no cause to attribute these to government intervention as opposed to merely being an easy way to boost profits because consumers can reliably be assumed to be ignorant and willing to choose convenience over long term benefit.
 

Abraxas

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2004
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Everyone who happens to be against free markets should read Human Action. Every argument being made here against the free market is covered plainly in the book. Rather than be insulted with no notable or meaningful replies other than rich people are evil I'll just leave it at that.
Then they can read the thousands of critiques of the Austrian School and find out why the majority of the book is a load of ignorant, self-serving horseshit.
No need to be like that, Prince. We can find a compromise here. How about we read Human Action and in so doing find out why the majority of the book is a load of ignorant, self-serving horseshit. Jin gets his book read, everyone else gets an understanding of why Austrians fail economics forever, everyone wins.
 

Pr0d1gy

Diamond Member
Jan 30, 2005
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There are still 90 sheep and 10 wolves. But 5 of the wolves call themselves corporations while the other 5 call themselves government. The 5 government wolves exist to calm the sheep into believing they won't be eaten by the 5 corporate wolves, making it easier for all 10 wolves to pick and choose which sheep are the fattest and ready for the grill.
Your trust of greedy corporate wolves is shocking and ignorant given what this country has been through the last few years but you have a right to your opinion. I am just shocked that so many educated people would trust these corporations, which would gladly throw you out on the street for profit, to such an extent that they blind themselves to what is happening right in front of their faces.

That said, I do like you Bober, you seem like a smart guy so hopefully you will see the corporate wolves for the sociopathic thieves they really are at some point.
 

nextJin

Golden Member
Apr 16, 2009
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No need to be like that, Prince. We can find a compromise here. How about we read Human Action and in so doing find out why the majority of the book is a load of ignorant, self-serving horseshit. Jin gets his book read, everyone else gets an understanding of why Austrians fail economics forever, everyone wins.
I look forward to your critique. All I want is for people who are critical of something to actually read up on it rather than keep bombing it because the only people they read is or study are if the exact opposite philosophy.

Sort of how most conservative folks only watch fox and never once care to watch MSNBC for spite.
 

3chordcharlie

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2004
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Voluntary trades yield the most production, because both sides have fear of loss to check their behavior. In some cases, we sacrifice quality/choice for convenience, like government roads over toll roads. But that's not a very good tradeoff for most things.

Some rules can be benign and worth the cost while others can be completely ridiculous. Most rules are actually created via big companies bribing so-called regulators to pass them because they know they will hurt competitors. That's right, who's regulating the regulators? They are just as greedy as everyone else. The more you accept the idea that someone should save you from your own choices, the more that's going to happen.

Things that could never be choices, such as murder and theft, are far easier to police than things that could. Because choice implies competition, and only a competing body would try and bribe an institution of force (the government) into preventing consumers from choosing competitors.

In cases where you see greed and rampant speculation causing problems, you'll want to look hard at government activity in that area and whether it offloaded risk onto the taxpayer, thereby creating a "win-win" gambling situation. It gets more complex when you realize that the problems of some regulations can be mitigated by other regulations. Glass-Steagall mitigated the problems created by FDIC insurance. Once you remove fear of loss from depositors and banks no longer have to compete on safety of deposits, it becomes necessary to limit what banks can do with those deposits. You can't just have one or the other, but when Clinton removed the restrictions and left FDIC alone, that's exactly what he did. Some socialists are more short-sighted than others.
Not true, and substantially everything there is to argue about free vs. regulated economies comes from this statement.
 

3chordcharlie

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2004
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Is labor was valued properly and the increases in standards of living afforded by technological innovations weren't gobbled up by excessive taxation and government thievery, it would be possible for somebody with minimal skills to work a 10 hour a week crappy job and have enough money to feed an entire family.
It's already "possible", but it will never happen, and that has nothing o do with regulation, taxation, etc.
 

tcG

Golden Member
Jul 31, 2006
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^ Firms are "price takers" in competitive markets.

The functioning of the free market isn't contingent on businesses having good will towards the people they serve - the structure is such that they are forced to respond to consumers if they want to exist at all. This is undeniably the case in competitive markets. The conversation should be about whether businesses in unregulated markets end up functioning in a way that could be called competitive.

Though it's a bit misleading to think of there being such a definite distinction between businesses on the one hand and consumers on the other. In reality, we are all producers AND consumers pursuing our own self interest - the more subtle point, and the realization of Adam Smith three centuries ago, was that individual actors each pursuing their own self interest can work to the advantage of what is called the "public good".

As I said before, the current situation is confused because mega-corporations control everything. But that's because of government, not the unregulated market.

Monopolies simply do not form in competitive markets, which would describe the condition a vast majority of markets would be in under a system of voluntary trade.
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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Your trust of greedy corporate wolves is shocking and ignorant given what this country has been through the last few years but you have a right to your opinion. I am just shocked that so many educated people would trust these corporations, which would gladly throw you out on the street for profit, to such an extent that they blind themselves to what is happening right in front of their faces.

That said, I do like you Bober, you seem like a smart guy so hopefully you will see the corporate wolves for the sociopathic thieves they really are at some point.
What part of "I don't trust corporations" do you not understand? It's just that I don't trust government either. They're in collusion to fuck us over. The difference is that only one of them has the power of law (backed up with the threat of violence) and that's the government.
 

3chordcharlie

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2004
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^ Firms are "price takers" in competitive markets.



The functioning of the free market isn't contingent on businesses having good will towards the people they serve - the structure is such that they are forced to respond to consumers if they want to exist at all. This is undeniably the case in competitive markets. The conversation should be about whether businesses in unregulated markets end up functioning in a way that could be called competitive.



Though it's a bit misleading to think of there being such a definite distinction between businesses on the one hand and consumers on the other. In reality, we are all producers AND consumers pursuing our own self interest - the more subtle point, and the realization of Adam Smith three centuries ago, was that individual actors each pursuing their own self interest can work to the advantage of what is called the "public good".



As I said before, the current situation is confused because mega-corporations control everything. But that's because of government, not the unregulated market.



Monopolies simply do not form in competitive markets, which would describe the condition a vast majority of markets would be in under a system of voluntary trade.
In a word: No.

Monopolies and other market distortions absolutely form without government. There are a number of reasons, but the chief one is geography.
 

DucatiMonster696

Diamond Member
Aug 13, 2009
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In a word: No.

Monopolies and other market distortions absolutely form without government. There are a number of reasons, but the chief one is geography.
That might of been the case in 1900's before the advent of the railroad but in today's global economy competition is basically world wide and has be proven to be world wide in many areas of the economy from manufacturing to high tech fields, from companies established on one side of the globe competing a rival located half a word away, to employees facing wage competition with their counter-parts located across expansive oceans and in foreign lands.

Furthermore as Adman Smith long since recognized and illustrated not all monopolies are to be considered equal or negative in their effects. Those formed via market competition are infinitely superior and beneficial to the consumer as opposed to those formed by government action in the form of regulations, mandates taxation, subsidies, etc.
 
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rchiu

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2002
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What part of "I don't trust corporations" do you not understand? It's just that I don't trust government either. They're in collusion to fuck us over. The difference is that only one of them has the power of law (backed up with the threat of violence) and that's the government.
Amen to that. I have worked with big business and government, and I gotta to tell you, politicians up there is so much more corrupt and get away with so much more than any business out there.

I don't get the naivety of those anti-free market people thinking government knows more, and government is more effecient than the market. Just go back to history and you'd see government fvck up more, kills more people than any business ever could.
 

Abraxas

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2004
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I look forward to your critique. All I want is for people who are critical of something to actually read up on it rather than keep bombing it because the only people they read is or study are if the exact opposite philosophy.

Sort of how most conservative folks only watch fox and never once care to watch MSNBC for spite.
Well, to begin with the Austrian school is ideologically corrupt to its very foundations, praxeology. That the Austrian school of economics dogmatically rejects prima facie any and all attempts to treat itself or economics in general analytically or empirically, quite literally basing all of their conclusions on word games; axioms that they claim cannot be disputed (they can). That they pull all of their conclusions from these axioms rather than data like every other school of economic thought is sufficient reason in and of itself to dismiss their conclusions, like all other unevidenced assertions as that which is presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
 

3chordcharlie

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2004
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That might of been the case in 1900's before the advent of the railroad but in today's global economy competition is basically world wide and has be proven to be world wide in many areas of the economy from manufacturing to high tech fields, from companies established on one side of the globe competing a rival located half a word away, to employees facing wage competition with their counter-parts located across expansive oceans and in foreign lands.

Furthermore as Adman Smith long since recognized and illustrated not all monopolies are to be considered equal or negative in their effects. Those formed via market competition are infinitely superior and beneficial to the consumer as opposed to those formed by government action in the form of regulations, mandates taxation, subsidies, etc.
"The railway" is part of "the Problem" in this context. (Who owns it? Who can compete?)

Neither Adam Smith, nor anyone else has 'recognized' or 'illustrated' what you claim. The argumentation is mostly rooted in 'begging the question' and generally offers little of value.
 
Nov 29, 2006
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What part of "I don't trust corporations" do you not understand? It's just that I don't trust government either. They're in collusion to fuck us over. The difference is that only one of them has the power of law (backed up with the threat of violence) and that's the government.
I agree with you but the government is also the only one "we the people" (if the masses were smart enough) could do anything about. We can change the govenerment which could in then change corporations etc. It seems we have to go through one to get to the other the way it is currently set up.
 

sao123

Lifer
May 27, 2002
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completely free markets cannot co-exist with intellectual property protection.
one or the other must go.
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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I agree with you but the government is also the only one "we the people" (if the masses were smart enough) could do anything about. We can change the govenerment which could in then change corporations etc. It seems we have to go through one to get to the other the way it is currently set up.
Really? I change corporations all the time and don't have to get 100 million people to agree with me in order to do it. I used to drive a Chrysler. Got sick of the piece of crap. Now I drive a Ford. I cast my vote for a different corporation and the effect was immediate. Conversely, I can't remember the last time one of my libertarian or independent picks won an election. I have infinitely more control over the free market than I do the government.
 

tcG

Golden Member
Jul 31, 2006
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In a word: No.

Monopolies and other market distortions absolutely form without government. There are a number of reasons, but the chief one is geography.
Notice I said a "vast majority" of markets don't form monopolies, not all. There are a few that do, like some private road companies or telecommunications services where the number of providers is limited by the the 'physical capacity' of the area. That's fine. It's not necessary that every single market not be a monopoly in order to not have a large wealth gap develop and be beholden to the wishes of a few rich corporations.

The vast majority of markets for things like food, medical care, cars, shipping, trinkets, almost anything, would be competitive and free of monopoly. The only way that people truly gain an unfair advantage over other people is by using the institution that has the sole right to take people's money, restrict civil liberties, and decide the values/structure of the entire society. The fact that the supposed limit to such an enormous power, and what makes that power of government beholden to the will of the people, is something as flimsy and subject to corruption as representative democracy, was why the Founding Fathers favored not an unchecked democracy where the will of the easily led majority is king, but a government with limited powers kept in check by a severely limiting constitution. The notion of fair regulation is an impossible ideal because democracy is too easily exploited. Especially in our current situation where lobbyists abound and the wealthy corporations have such enormous financial influence on politics, it should be plainly obvious that regulations aren't going to be unbiased. Big agri-business executives and FDA regulators are pretty much the same group of people, FFS. There is also the fact that regulations are going to be necessarily bad since the free market competitive situation is already the optimum situation; any change to this situation is necessarily not optimum. The same thing applies for untold other industries. Regulation also costs a ton of money. They also violate rights and restrict freedom. The constant growth of government is why you are taxed at almost 50% - and for what?

Surely you agree that as it stands in the US, many of the regulations on the books are downright corrupt. Surely, with the number of regulations on the books and the goliath size of the bureaucracy, it's not the case that there is no regulation, as is often claimed. It must be, from your point of view, that there are regulations, but that they aren't of the right kind, right?
 

3chordcharlie

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2004
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Notice I said a "vast majority" of markets don't form monopolies, not all. There are a few that do, like some private road companies or telecommunications services where the number of providers is limited by the the 'physical capacity' of the area. That's fine. It's not necessary that every single market not be a monopoly in order to not have a large wealth gap develop and be beholden to the wishes of a few rich corporations.
You're simply changing the terms of the discussion here to avoid the implications of being wrong;).
The vast majority of markets for things like food, medical care, cars, shipping, trinkets, almost anything, would be competitive and free of monopoly. The only way that people truly gain an unfair advantage over other people is by using the institution that has the sole right to take people's money, restrict civil liberties, and decide the values/structure of the entire society. The fact that the supposed limit to such an enormous power, and what makes that power of government beholden to the will of the people, is something as flimsy and subject to corruption as representative democracy, was why the Founding Fathers favored not an unchecked democracy where the will of the easily led majority is king, but a government with limited powers kept in check by a severely limiting constitution. The notion of fair regulation is an impossible ideal because democracy is too easily exploited. Especially in our current situation where lobbyists abound and the wealthy corporations have such enormous financial influence on politics, it should be plainly obvious that regulations aren't going to be unbiased. Big agri-business executives and FDA regulators are pretty much the same group of people, FFS. There is also the fact that regulations are going to be necessarily bad since the free market competitive situation is already the optimum situation; any change to this situation is necessarily not optimum. The same thing applies for untold other industries. Regulation also costs a ton of money. They also violate rights and restrict freedom. The constant growth of government is why you are taxed at almost 50% - and for what?
This is significantly not true. Economics did not begin and end with Adam Smith, or with Econ 101.
Surely you agree that as it stands in the US, many of the regulations on the books are downright corrupt. Surely, with the number of regulations on the books and the goliath size of the bureaucracy, it's not the case that there is no regulation, as is often claimed. It must be, from your point of view, that there are regulations, but that they aren't of the right kind, right?
There are serious problems with regulation, especially as currently practiced. So, try this as an exercise:

1. Illustrate how the pure free-market system directly values, and therefore controls environmental degradation.

1A. Show a mechanism by which the pure free-market system directly values, and therefor controls the long-term depletion of semi-renewable resources (eg. '60-year old lumber').
 

tcG

Golden Member
Jul 31, 2006
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There are serious problems with regulation, especially as currently practiced. So, try this as an exercise:

1. Illustrate how the pure free-market system directly values, and therefore controls environmental degradation.
If you pollute, you are incurring costs on others. That's illegal under property right law, just like vandalism or physically hurting somebody.

I also think the amount of pollution would be far less under a free market system.

1A. Show a mechanism by which the pure free-market system directly values, and therefor controls the long-term depletion of semi-renewable resources (eg. '60-year old lumber').
The fact that big companies deplete natural resources is a function of the way the economy is structured. Land in this country is owned by the rich. With a more equal distribution of wealth (which in my opinion would be the result of a free market), property would be more evenly dispersed in the hands of a large middle class, who, as individuals, have incentives to keep the land from being depleted of it's natural resources that a corporation doesn't.

Something like 80% of the world's annual seafood catch is taken in by the 3 largest mega-fishing ships. Local fishermen account for barely any of the overfishing contributing to the depletion of the oceans. This isn't the fault of profit-driven self-interest run wild, it's the result of income disparity causing fishing to be done in a large-scale commercial manner rather than in a local manner.

Anyway, I think it must be realized that how the free market responds to environmental issues is a special case. I thought this thread was about regulations in general, which are consolidating power everywhere in the economy, not just in the environmental sector.
 
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Howard

Lifer
Oct 14, 1999
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If you pollute, you are incurring costs on others. That's illegal under property right law, just like vandalism or physically hurting somebody.

I also think the amount of pollution would be far less under a free market system.
How would damages be fairly compensated?
 

3chordcharlie

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2004
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If you pollute, you are incurring costs on others. That's illegal under property right law, just like vandalism or physically hurting somebody.

I also think the amount of pollution would be far less under a free market system.



The fact that big companies deplete natural resources is a function of the way the economy is structured. Land in this country is owned by the rich. With a more equal distribution of wealth (which in my opinion would be the result of a free market), property would be more evenly dispersed in the hands of a large middle class, who, as individuals, have incentives to keep the land from being depleted of it's natural resources that a corporation doesn't.

Something like 80% of the world's annual seafood catch is taken in by the 3 largest mega-fishing ships. Local fishermen account for barely any of the overfishing contributing to the depletion of the oceans. This isn't the fault of profit-driven self-interest run wild, it's the result of income disparity causing fishing to be done in a large-scale commercial manner rather than in a local manner.

Anyway, I think it must be realized that how the free market responds to environmental issues is a special case. I thought this thread was about regulations in general, which are consolidating power everywhere in the economy, not just in the environmental sector.
How the free market deals with environmental and sustainability issues is that it doesn't. That's not a special case, that's reality. I'm not sure how to re-frame all transactions as 'buyer, seller, mother-earth', but that's what would be needed.

Big companies may be the final cause of a lot of environmental damage. They are not the most important cause - mouths to feed are the most important cause, followed by dedication to economies of scale and productivity, neither of which disappear if you eliminate government.
 

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