Privatization.

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Seanchaidh:

For example, there is the market's failure to adequately deal with externality costs or benefits: those effects of a transaction which occur for people who are not parties to the transaction. Yes, people can make market decisions that affect others without those others having input into the decision. Astonishing. Air pollution is an example of this. Affects everyone. Deciding to buy and burn gasoline at whatever is the market price? Essentially one person's decision-- pretty easy to find a gas station in most places. He (or his close family or acquaintances) gets all of the benefit of using that gas and just as much of the environmental cost as everyone else. For him, the environmental price can easily be outweighed by the benefits. For everyone else, not so much. Of course, he is also the "everybody else" when it comes to other people using gasoline. And that there is what is called a collective action problem. It is rational to use gasoline, but also to want others not to do so. If deciding not to do so yourself meant that others would not do so as well, then there would be no (or at least much less of a) problem: you'd make the decision based on whether the total environmental cost of everyone acting like you is worth the benefit you get from acting as you do. But that is, of course, not how it works. The individual incentives don't match how people want everyone else to act-- even if all of them would be willing to cut their own use if they could be assured that it meant everyone else doing so. Game theorists analyze such decisions as the 'prisoner's dilemma'.

Obviously pollution is not much of a factor to most people in comparison to the services you can already receive.

Also, the market can and has developed clean energy to replace the old methods. Guess who stopped that little market effect.

Theoretically you could solve pollution by bringing a class action lawsuit every time there is a pollutant added to the atmosphere (a perfectly plausible civil wrong)-- notice how even this isn't the market providing a solution to the problem: the courts are government intervention.

No, it is a market transaction. Fucking people over and the retaliation can be considered a market transaction. Also, business protectionism (that the government does now) is government screwing with the free market. Protecting contract rights is not.

Of course there is a much less wasteful way than endless lawsuits: a predictable and publicly acknowledged pollutant tax. Everyone is still free to burn as much gas as they want, but they have to pay a price that takes into account the (relatively modest, in the individual case) harm inflicted upon others.

And what do you plan to do to help all of the people you fuck over that way because you shifted market conditions before the market was able to properly align resources? Sucks to be you?

farson135:

Because it save all of them money.

No, it could save their competitors money, and even that's a maybe. I mean, if you had to rip out an Cat Scan machine, or an X-Ray just because of some deal, you'd have to pay to remove the machine, pay to safely transport it, and maybe even pay to set it up at the other place! Not only that, but do you even realize what this would do to the patients? There would be no definitive hospital for their needs. If someone needed to get chemo therapy, then it would be torture if you started moving the machines or the doctors around. One minute your hospital has what you need or a doctor you enjoy, the next you're being told that everything was moved, and it was moved to a hospital 50 miles away.

There is zero benefit to moving the machinery around. Instead, there is a hell of a lot of problems.

And you need all of those people to be in one place because?

Try to convince those doctors to constantly move around because "it saves the hospital money", you'll find most of them will just end up quitting. Besides, the relationship between doctor and patient is important, having your doctor constantly switched around would be an unneeded stress on a patient's health.

Which happens because we distort the market so that other companies cannot get in and make a profit.

No one's stopping people from starting up a Hospital, it's just difficult, and that has more to do with the costs and competition then anything else. Also, competition is unhealthy in the healthcare business, it requires one business to always be the "loser", do you even realize the nightmare many people would have if suddenly their local hospital went out of business? Also, monopoly's are natural occurrences in a free market society, it would be less possible to get into the healthcare market in a free market system, not more.

Because you guys mix socialism and capitalism so much that it becomes an entirely different system. You put up the government overhead and make them in charge or morality, then you leave the companies to do what they will without any consequences.

This is the system people like you built. Don't get pissy at me when it crashes down on you.

What do you mean "people like you"? I never built this system, it was the free market types that didn't want any government organization to handle anything that could even possibly run on a profit motive. If it were left to people like me, it would be a mostly Socialistic system.

Which is why you need to separate government and business. Y'all need to stop supporting government and business coming together.

We do, "us people" are the ones that support and end to lobbyists, to government receiving corporate checks, to a whole host of other problems that all have their root in the "free market"

The government does exactly that. Business does not.

It was because a business was left "unregulated" that there was the Texas fertilizer plant explosion. It was because business was left to "Self-regulate" that hundreds died when a building collapsed in Bangladesh. It was because we were told to leave things to "The Free Market" that workers unions are targeted by hitmen in Indonesia.

Because you do not put incentives for them to stop. Another example of why government should not be involved in business.

The incentive should be "Pollute the environment, and get fined to all hell", you're arguing for a free market system, where the government is incapable of even fining business to stop. Why the hell do you think businesses would even bother to worry about the environment in a "free market" system.

That would be the government.

Under express orders and in name of the wonderful "Free Market"

That would also be the government.

Oh really? Have you never heard of something called "The 1st Amendment"? Short of committing illegal acts, you can "oppose" the government all you want.

That would also be the government.

Government's don't run sweatshops in China. The government only causes misery through incompetence, mostly the result of the "free market" crowd, businesses cause misery through intent.

How about promoting a half-ass concept of government coming to liberate the people.

You mean Iraq and Afghanistan? We weren't at our best there, but what we brought is more welcome than Saddam and the Taliban.

Which is what I said.

No, you said it seeks to increase efficiency/services, it doesn't, it seeks a profit and if it finds a way to make the most while providing the least, it will take that route.

The US is not a capitalist society.

Yes, it is a capitalist society.

One, those tram cars are not as good as you say and the regular cars are far more efficient for most people.

Today. Back then most people could not afford cars, they were forced into it. Secondly, the cars of those days were inefficient compared to the trams. Thirdly, the trams would probably have had a chance to advance if they were a major public institution and thus improving design was deemed as "important" to it.

BTW why didn't more rail companies come on line? Because the cities blocked their construction. The car companies would not have done anything to the other companies if another would simply rise up. Your anti-capitalist tendencies caused this problem.

That is bullshit and you know it. It would repeat the process again and again, because businessmen realize that other businessmen would not see any profit in a venture that would just be actively subverted the full way through.

No it would not. After all, you cannot sell if no one buys.

Yes, it would. Plenty of people would buy at increased prices, it's just those who couldn't afford it that would starve away.

You guys created corporations. Corporations are anti-capitalist. In fact, Jefferson fought tooth and nail AGAINST corporations. The legal use of corporations isolate owners from their mistakes. Corporations were originally founded (legally) in the Age of Imperialism as a way to increase the number of shareholders while making them less accountable to what happened in the colony.

Capitalism. I don't think you know what that word means. You're arguing for a free market? That means you're arguing for a lack of regulation. Forcing businessmen into being unable to channel their resources together and form corporations is a lot closer to socialism than a free market.

farson135:

Seanchaidh:

For example, there is the market's failure to adequately deal with externality costs or benefits: those effects of a transaction which occur for people who are not parties to the transaction. Yes, people can make market decisions that affect others without those others having input into the decision. Astonishing. Air pollution is an example of this. Affects everyone. Deciding to buy and burn gasoline at whatever is the market price? Essentially one person's decision-- pretty easy to find a gas station in most places. He (or his close family or acquaintances) gets all of the benefit of using that gas and just as much of the environmental cost as everyone else. For him, the environmental price can easily be outweighed by the benefits. For everyone else, not so much. Of course, he is also the "everybody else" when it comes to other people using gasoline. And that there is what is called a collective action problem. It is rational to use gasoline, but also to want others not to do so. If deciding not to do so yourself meant that others would not do so as well, then there would be no (or at least much less of a) problem: you'd make the decision based on whether the total environmental cost of everyone acting like you is worth the benefit you get from acting as you do. But that is, of course, not how it works. The individual incentives don't match how people want everyone else to act-- even if all of them would be willing to cut their own use if they could be assured that it meant everyone else doing so. Game theorists analyze such decisions as the 'prisoner's dilemma'.

Obviously pollution is not much of a factor to most people in comparison to the services you can already receive.

You've clearly failed to grasp the argument. I can try to put it more simply, perhaps in bite-sized chunks...

Air pollution is the result of the combined actions of many individuals.

Everyone in the local area experiences the environmental cost of my consumption of gasoline. I alone (for simplicity's sake) experience the benefits of my consumption of gasoline.

Are you seeing where this is going?

Now say there are 1000 people who act just like me with regard to their consumption of gasoline. They all experience some benefit from their own consumption of gasoline. But they all experience all of the environmental cost of the whole thousand people.

Individually, they could make a decision not to use gasoline. And, numbers being what they are, this would mean that each such decision would cause there to be 0.1% less air pollution.

It is extremely plausible that the individual benefit of using gasoline would outweigh 0.1% less air pollution. However, it is also extremely plausible that people would not find 100% of the air pollution to be worth what benefit they get from the use of gasoline.

It is possible that all one thousand of the people would prefer that no one use gasoline at all, or that they all cut their consumption by some percentage. But even in that case, that is not the decision they get to make: they have control over their own actions. They do not get to compel others to participate in a reduction in the consumption of gasoline. They do not get to levy a tax on gasoline in order to incorporate the environmental cost into the price. Self-interested, rational decisionmakers are prone to choosing actions which have costs that are borne by the community and benefits that are not shared. The market fails to capture the full costs of the transaction because the two parties to it are not the only people who bear the costs.

Also, the market can and has developed clean energy to replace the old methods. Guess who stopped that little market effect.

Buyers of patents?

Theoretically you could solve pollution by bringing a class action lawsuit every time there is a pollutant added to the atmosphere (a perfectly plausible civil wrong)-- notice how even this isn't the market providing a solution to the problem: the courts are government intervention.

No, it is a market transaction. Fucking people over and the retaliation can be considered a market transaction. Also, business protectionism (that the government does now) is government screwing with the free market. Protecting contract rights is not.

Going to court is not a fucking market transaction. Or when it is, we call that judicial bribery.

Also, you'll have to point out where redress for the harm caused by pollution is a matter of protecting contract rights. I suspect your brain just said "Oh, courts! Contract rights!" and then stopped thinking about it.

Of course there is a much less wasteful way than endless lawsuits: a predictable and publicly acknowledged pollutant tax. Everyone is still free to burn as much gas as they want, but they have to pay a price that takes into account the (relatively modest, in the individual case) harm inflicted upon others.

And what do you plan to do to help all of the people you fuck over that way because you shifted market conditions before the market was able to properly align resources? Sucks to be you?

You're going to have to make that a bit less abstract if I'm to properly respond to whatever it is that is your concern.

Witty Name Here:
No, it could save their competitors money, and even that's a maybe. I mean, if you had to rip out an Cat Scan machine, or an X-Ray just because of some deal, you'd have to pay to remove the machine, pay to safely transport it, and maybe even pay to set it up at the other place!

You do realize that they make some of those machines in such a way that they can be transported and used in trucks right? How do you think the military uses that equipment in the field (I mean rear echelon field not front lines)?

Not only that, but do you even realize what this would do to the patients? There would be no definitive hospital for their needs. If someone needed to get chemo therapy, then it would be torture if you started moving the machines or the doctors around. One minute your hospital has what you need or a doctor you enjoy, the next you're being told that everything was moved, and it was moved to a hospital 50 miles away.

And then it can be moved back.

Try to convince those doctors to constantly move around because "it saves the hospital money"

What is the difference if they have to get in a truck and move a few miles down the road back and forth?

No one's stopping people from starting up a Hospital, it's just difficult

Which is preventing people from getting in.

Also, competition is unhealthy in the healthcare business, it requires one business to always be the "loser", do you even realize the nightmare many people would have if suddenly their local hospital went out of business?

Not much of a nightmare if there is competition with another hospital.

Also, monopoly's are natural occurrences in a free market society, it would be less possible to get into the healthcare market in a free market system, not more.

Actually no. Monopolies and free markets are on opposite poles. Monopolies come from the government distorting the market.

What do you mean "people like you"? I never built this system

You support this system and defend it.

it was the free market types that didn't want any government organization to handle anything that could even possibly run on a profit motive. If it were left to people like me, it would be a mostly Socialistic system.

And socialist systems create lots of monopolies. You fucked up the system.

We do, "us people" are the ones that support and end to lobbyists, to government receiving corporate checks, to a whole host of other problems that all have their root in the "free market"

ALL of those problems come from you guys ensuring that in order to make a profit businesses HAVE to lobby government. If the government did not have anything to do with the market then corporate lobbyists have no reason to exist.

It was because a business was left "unregulated" that there was the Texas fertilizer plant explosion.

Actually it is looking more and more like that was because someone broke in and tampered with the valves.

It was because business was left to "Self-regulate" that hundreds died when a building collapsed in Bangladesh.

Actually that was due to the government protecting the business. Business protectionism is not capitalism.

It was because we were told to leave things to "The Free Market" that workers unions are targeted by hitmen in Indonesia.

Or, because the government allow it.

The incentive should be "Pollute the environment, and get fined to all hell", you're arguing for a free market system, where the government is incapable of even fining business to stop. Why the hell do you think businesses would even bother to worry about the environment in a "free market" system.

Because people will sue them. A bit more effective than government's slap on the wrist.

Under express orders and in name of the wonderful "Free Market"

Free markets actually support unions. It is people like you who create systems that support big business and its power.

Oh really? Have you never heard of something called "The 1st Amendment"? Short of committing illegal acts, you can "oppose" the government all you want.

Ever heard of a national security letter? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_security_letter

Government's don't run sweatshops in China. The government only causes misery through incompetence, mostly the result of the "free market" crowd, businesses cause misery through intent.

You mean this is due to governmental incompetence-

BTW the government does run sweatshops in China. Who do you think gives the authorization for them to exist?

You mean Iraq and Afghanistan? We weren't at our best there, but what we brought is more welcome than Saddam and the Taliban.

Yeah, sure-

No, you said it seeks to increase efficiency/services, it doesn't, it seeks a profit and if it finds a way to make the most while providing the least, it will take that route.

In order to make a profit they have to increase services and efficiency.

Yes, it is a capitalist society.

No it isn't.

Today. Back then most people could not afford cars, they were forced into it.

You mean most people in the US were forced to use tram cars that were only in California? That must have been inconvenient.

Secondly, the cars of those days were inefficient compared to the trams.

Citation.

Telling a farmer that trams are more efficient that trucks is not going to work without evidence. Doesn't matter the time period.

That is bullshit and you know it.

Prove it.

It would repeat the process again and again, because businessmen realize that other businessmen would not see any profit in a venture that would just be actively subverted the full way through.

So businesses have infinite money now?

Yes, it would. Plenty of people would buy at increased prices, it's just those who couldn't afford it that would starve away.

And that would profit for them how? Answer, it wouldn't.

Capitalism. I don't think you know what that word means. You're arguing for a free market? That means you're arguing for a lack of regulation. Forcing businessmen into being unable to channel their resources together and form corporations is a lot closer to socialism than a free market.

Have you ever actually taken an economics course? Have you ever looked at the complete definition for pure capitalism? The complete definition does not exist in the real world (same for a pure monopoly). However, what most people are looking for when they think of capitalism is this definition.

Imagine this, a single person is standing in the middle of a space. An equal distance around him is an infinite number of companies. Each and every one of those companies can switch between any industry they want at will without any sort of lag or cost. The person in the middle of the companies has perfect knowledge of every single company. That is pure capitalism. Apply that on a more limited scale and you get real world capitalism.

Also, corporations are not the only avenue from which people can combine resources. Corporations just shield people from responsibility. Not paying back your debts is not a capitalist system. Socialists on the other hand like big corporations because then the government acts as the holder and can control a huge industry rather than a bunch of tiny ones.

Seanchaidh:
You've clearly failed to grasp the argument.

Or you are underestimating my indifference to your point.

It is extremely plausible that the individual benefit of using gasoline would outweigh 0.1% less air pollution. However, it is also extremely plausible that people would not find 100% of the air pollution to be worth what benefit they get from the use of gasoline.

Apparently they do since they keep using gas.

It is possible that all one thousand of the people would prefer that no one use gasoline at all, or that they all cut their consumption by some percentage. But even in that case, that is not the decision they get to make: they have control over their own actions. They do not get to compel others to participate in a reduction in the consumption of gasoline. They do not get to levy a tax on gasoline in order to incorporate the environmental cost into the price. Self-interested, rational decisionmakers are prone to choosing actions which have costs that are borne by the community and benefits that are not shared. The market fails to capture the full costs of the transaction because the two parties to it are not the only people who bear the costs.

Which would require a separate transaction. However, the "shared cost" you describe is so irrelevant that no one even tries to collect. If some guys fuck up my land in the process of their transaction then they have to pay for it.

Sorry, no one gives a shit about what you are describing because it is too irrelevant to them on any more than a theoretical level. If they did care then the market would deal with it. You want to force people to care.

Buyers of patents?

Which are protected by whom?

Going to court is not a fucking market transaction. Or when it is, we call that judicial bribery.

Yes it is. You are going to have to pay for what you did.

Also, you'll have to point out where redress for the harm caused by pollution is a matter of protecting contract rights. I suspect your brain just said "Oh, courts! Contract rights!" and then stopped thinking about it.

Depends on what you are referring to.

I was referring to a case where a person has the right to use your land but then dumps chemical waste on it. Ostensibly that was not in the contract and instead the person was meant to return the area to the way it was once they were done. There are a number of ways to do it. Although I suppose simply mentioning one way is not good enough since you do not have the focus to think things through to the end.

BTW now that we have exchanged blows for no good reason can we cut the shit and move on? Please.

You're going to have to make that a bit less abstract if I'm to properly respond to whatever it is that is your concern.

My family needs their trucks to work (they are farmers and ranchers). Their vehicles are older than god and require a lot of gas. They are poor. You want to raise taxes on them. How do you plan to avoid fucking people over so that you can live in your dream world? Or are they just collateral damage?

To Farson, yes. America 'is' a capitalist society. There's no argument there.

I find it pretty surprising you'd think otherwise.

Nikolaz72:
Governments interests lie in improving the economy of the country...

if a private establishments owns hospitals it has to turn a profit and as such the treatments become more expensive, it has to.

If the Governments own it, treatment can be given for the cost of the personnel and medicine. Therefor it becomes cheaper, not even typically. Just factually, it becomes cheaper.

Ideally the government has public interests at heart. In reality this couldn't be further from the truth. Now I'm not advocating for the private takeover of all public services and utilities, but to defend the government as a champion of the public interest and slam privatization as an oppressive scheme is unfair given what the world is suffering under right now. The worst of both worlds are alive and well, and I'd argue they're married in many cases.

Karma168:
A CEO is only interested in money, not ethics. Any number of ethics scandals, hell even just the fact that people freeze to death over winter while their utility provider posts profits over a billion pounds, should tell you that if companies want more money and they can get away with it, a little thing like morals isn't going to get in the way.

We can't change CEO because we disagree with their business practices and in areas that form natural monopolies (e.g. railways) you can't even get the choice to change provider.

At least with government we get the option of getting rid of the bosses if we don't like the business practice, even if they do make a profit.

If corporations contain people interested in money and are where ethics go to die, then government is the undertaker. It's rife with corruption, greed and is a place where politicians and careerists thrive at the neglect of good policy decisions. You have a point about the option to change these elected officials, but when power consolidates over time it creates an "old guard" that resists reformers and idealists, supposing those types actually win elections. Those that don't start towing the line are pushed to the edges as radicals and obstructionists.

Really, the answer to both private and public systems is good government.

Overhead:
Rich Capitalists are getting rewarded for poor results, not punished.

Because illiegality isn't the only yardstick. Social benefit, economic benefit, morality and various other concerns all come n as reasons why we shouldn't want people to benefit off ineptitude and cronyism.

People should be allowed to earn whatever other people in control of money feel they are worth. I don't mind a CEO making $20m/year when actors, entertainers and professional athletes (many of whom aren't worth their pay) make enormous bank in industries full of under-paid people who support it.

In the same way that people can stop going to concerts of "rich capitalists" giving "poor results", people can stop doing business with a company. What we can never do is avoid the government; it's the only one we have. Mess that up and everyone suffers.

AgedGrunt:
People should be allowed to earn whatever other people in control of money feel they are worth.I don't mind a CEO making $20m/year when actors, entertainers and professional athletes (many of whom aren't worth their pay) make enormous bank in industries full of under-paid people who support it.

I'm in control of money and don't think anyone should be allowed to earn over 200,000 a year.

Of course I'm not sure what moral basis "given the okay by someone who controls money" is for deciding what someone should be allowed to earn. So what if you don't mind? When did an opinion without any arguement backing it up become a barometer of righteousness

In the same way that people can stop going to concerts of "rich capitalists" giving "poor results", people can stop doing business with a company. What we can never do is avoid the government; it's the only one we have. Mess that up and everyone suffers.

Far too simplistic to work in real life.

What are you having for dinner? What kind of results do the CEOs of all the food manufacturers involved in your dinner have? This includes the companies further down the supply chain, like the dairy company that makes the cheese which goes on the pizza.

Any clue?

The idea of perfectly informed perfectly rational actors punishing the CEOs in a perfect free-market world falls down at the first hurdle when you try and actually apply it to real life. People don't work like that, so if that's your answer it fails.

Also most places have multiple governments at different levels. I for instance have the international EU government, my national government, my county council government and my local district government. These governments are also very adaptable, able to alter how they operate according to the democratic will of the people.

farson135:
If they did care then the market would deal with it.

You are evidently continuing not to grasp the argument. The whole point is that the market would not deal with it. The bare assertion otherwise-- your article of faith that the market will properly deal with anything whatsoever-- does not engage the point. Rational, self-interested and wealth-maximizing individuals (human beings in rational choice theory) will use gasoline and pollute the air to a level they would find distasteful and not worth it if everyone did as they did even if they do care about air pollution. You have done absolutely nothing to rebut this other than to establish your indifference to how the market fails to address collective action problems.

The way people tend to deal with such problems is generally political or judicial-- because the market does absolutely nothing to respond to externality costs. The market poses the decision as between the consumer and producer and not all the rest of everyone that they affect by their transaction.

Buyers of patents?

Which are protected by whom?

I didn't think you were going to actually blame the government for protecting intellectual property rights. I'm content to just note that you did so.

Going to court is not a fucking market transaction. Or when it is, we call that judicial bribery.

Yes it is. You are going to have to pay for what you did.

So when a judge decides to force you at the point of a gun to pay others, that is a market transaction? Interesting.

But a pollution tax would not be, because apparently police acting on the orders of a judge are agents of the market (except when the case is about eminent domain!) but police acting on the orders of voters are not. Consistency...

Also, you'll have to point out where redress for the harm caused by pollution is a matter of protecting contract rights. I suspect your brain just said "Oh, courts! Contract rights!" and then stopped thinking about it.

Depends on what you are referring to.

I was referring to a case where a person has the right to use your land but then dumps chemical waste on it. Ostensibly that was not in the contract and instead the person was meant to return the area to the way it was once they were done. There are a number of ways to do it. Although I suppose simply mentioning one way is not good enough since you do not have the focus to think things through to the end.

Oh, you were "referring" to a case that neither you or I mentioned in any way. If you're going to expect me to be psychic in response to your points, you could at the very least engage mine.

You're going to have to make that a bit less abstract if I'm to properly respond to whatever it is that is your concern.

My family needs their trucks to work (they are farmers and ranchers). Their vehicles are older than god and require a lot of gas. They are poor. You want to raise taxes on them. How do you plan to avoid fucking people over so that you can live in your dream world? Or are they just collateral damage?

How would a tax be practically any different from taking them to small claims court over their air pollution? Aside from the lack of time spent at court, of course. Is it only "fucking them over" when a democratic polity decides that their consumption of gasoline has a cost that is not reflected in the price, but not when a singular judge decides that their actions are a civil wrong against others worthy of compensation?

Interestingly enough, many proposals to tax gasoline for the benefit of the environment include provisions to exempt the poor-- which is probably not something courts would be as liable to take into account; damages are damages.

AgedGrunt:
Snip

Ideally the government has the publics interest at heart, and if said country isn't a god forsaken shithole, practically it does too.

Seanchaidh:
You are evidently continuing not to grasp the argument.

Or you do not.

The whole point is that the market would not deal with it.

Because people do not care enough to deal with it. Your issue is irrelevant to most people. Sorry.

Rational, self-interested and wealth-maximizing individuals (human beings in rational choice theory) will use gasoline and pollute the air to a level they would find distasteful and not worth it if everyone did as they did even if they do care about air pollution. You have done absolutely nothing to rebut this other than to establish your indifference to how the market fails to address collective action problems.

Actually I have addressed it. If the problem was that bad then they would stop and find another solution. Your problem is that people do not give a shit about what you think is important.

I didn't think you were going to actually blame the government for protecting intellectual property rights. I'm content to just note that you did so.

That is what they do. Do you deny that?

So when a judge decides to force you at the point of a gun to pay others, that is a market transaction? Interesting.

Since you have stolen from a person at the point of a gun, yes. Stealing value from a person means that you can respond with force. I am not a pacifist. I follow the non-aggression principle.

But a pollution tax would not be, because apparently police acting on the orders of a judge are agents of the market (except when the case is about eminent domain!) but police acting on the orders of voters are not. Consistency...

In emanate domain police are stealing from you. In courts the purpose is to regain lost property. So it is consistent. You are calling for the initiation of force. I am calling for the return of lost value.

Oh, you were "referring" to a case that neither you or I mentioned in any way. If you're going to expect me to be psychic in response to your points, you could at the very least engage mine.

I mentioned an example. You should be able to figure out that one example does not imply the lack of others.

How would a tax be practically any different from taking them to small claims court over their air pollution?

No one would take them to court over that. Maybe you would, but no reasonable court would rule against my family. That is the difference.

Nikolaz72:
To Farson, yes. America 'is' a capitalist society.

No it is not.

There's no argument there.

Yes there is. That is why so many Libertarians argue exactly that.

I find it pretty surprising you'd think otherwise.

Why? I am a capitalist. I have made no secrets about my disdain for the US government distorting the market.

Overhead:
I'm in control of money and don't think anyone should be allowed to earn over 200,000 a year.

Of course I'm not sure what moral basis "given the okay by someone who controls money" is for deciding what someone should be allowed to earn. So what if you don't mind? When did an opinion without any arguement backing it up become a barometer of righteousness

Don't you find it slightly hypocritical to criticize an opinion over a lack of moral basis yet determine, without basis, the upper limit of what someone should be allowed to earn?

farson135:
Because people do not care enough to deal with it.

Actually I have addressed it. If the problem was that bad then they would stop and find another solution. Your problem is that people do not give a shit about what you think is important.

People do care enough to deal with it. People have dealt with it. They may do more in the future, but they've done plenty already. Here, have a look:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=air+pollution+laws+in+the+United+States
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emission_standard
http://grist.org/climate-policy/2011-02-16-public-trusts-epa-loves-clean-air-act-wants-congress-to-butt-out/

See that red, gray, and blue chart in the third link? Notice one of the categories? "Support stricter fuel efficiency standards"? (Right beside "support stricter limits on smog and CO2?") Even a solid majority of the Republicans surveyed, more of the independents, and even more of the Democrats supported stricter fuel efficiency standards being imposed on everyone. Well gosh, farson, if they all want stricter fuel efficiency standards (which would tend to reduce emissions by mile traveled), why don't they just perform some magical market transactions or form a voluntary organization which will magically cause better air quality? I guess "the majority" must not care, even though the majority wants the government, through its Environmental Protection Agency, to intervene in the market and reduce pollution, as you would say, "at the point of a gun."

It seems people just "deal with it" in a manner that actually works for such things: politically! Or "by initiating the use of force" to coordinate action. They do not use the market because the market is ineffective at addressing such problems for the reasons my argument (which I don't particularly feel like repeating a third or fourth or fifth time but which you still haven't engaged) explains.

That is what they do. Do you deny that?

Of course I don't deny that the government enforces intellectual property rights. Do you think it shouldn't? Do you think that buying a patent isn't within the rights of anyone with enough money to do so?

Since you have stolen from a person at the point of a gun, yes. Stealing value from a person means that you can respond with force. I am not a pacifist. I follow the non-aggression principle.

Wait. Air pollution = "stolen from a person at the point of a gun"? What?

No one would take them to court over that. Maybe you would, but no reasonable court would rule against my family. That is the difference.

But no reasonable court would rule against your air-polluting family. Interesting.

In any case, the primary reason courts wouldn't rule against your family is because practically everyone pollutes just as much or more, and there is an entirely inadequate system in place to account for all the various ways which people harm the environment. Changing such widespread behavior is rightly seen as a matter for legislation. That is why things like the EPA exist-- because people do care, and even so the market doesn't fix those problems. So societies find ways of solving such problems that are not the market. And then a minority complains because the solution isn't the market, denies that any problem which the market doesn't automatically solve could possibly exist, and treats blind adherence to the market over the will of society as a matter of righteous piety.

It has been said that governments exist to solve collective action problems. Probably the earliest collective action problem government/the state solved is that of security against foreign invasion: individual incentives are not to contribute to such a thing, but rather to just take advantage of the security offered by others. That's why there are taxes levied to form an armed force rather than such being funded by voluntary donations. Do you at least understand that example?

Seanchaidh:
People do care enough to deal with it. People have dealt with it. They may do more in the future, but they've done plenty already.

But they do not care enough to inconvenience themselves. In fact, they care so little about this issue that you whine about it on a regular basis. Why isn't the environment fixed if your almighty government can solve everything? Because the government is weak in comparison to people's needs. And guess what, your precious government is ensuring that nothing ever gets fixed. You want environmental issues worked on? Guess what, you need money. The oil companies pay a shit ton in taxes. Your precious government relies on companies for taxes and you expect the government to regulate them? And you try and pretend that what I say is contradictory.

See that red, gray, and blue chart in the third link? Notice one of the categories? "Support stricter fuel efficiency standards"? (Right beside "support stricter limits on smog and CO2?") Even a solid majority of the Republicans surveyed, more of the independents, and even more of the Democrats supported stricter fuel efficiency standards being imposed on everyone. Well gosh, farson, if they all want stricter fuel efficiency standards (which would tend to reduce emissions by mile traveled), why don't they just perform some magical market transactions or form a voluntary organization which will magically cause better air quality? I guess "the majority" must not care, even though the majority wants the government, through its Environmental Protection Agency, to intervene in the market and reduce pollution, as you would say, "at the point of a gun."

Well golly gee, I wonder if there is a difference between a poll and actually doing something.

Supporting something in theory is not the same as doing something. And people do not care enough to do anything.

It seems people just "deal with it" in a manner that actually works for such things: politically! Or "by initiating the use of force" to coordinate action. They do not use the market because the market is ineffective at addressing such problems for the reasons my argument (which I don't particularly feel like repeating a third or fourth or fifth time but which you still haven't engaged) explains.

The market does deal with it. Your problem is that people still do not care enough. If they care so much then why don't I see more of those hybrids out there?

Companies would build more electric cars and hybrids if people wanted enough of them. Hell, your fucking government provides tax incentives and it is still not enough to replace every car. If it was not for government distorting the market there would be far more efficient cars on the road today.

Do you think it shouldn't? Do you think that buying a patent isn't within the rights of anyone with enough money to do so?

For the rest of time? Hell no.

Wait. Air pollution = "stolen from a person at the point of a gun"? What?

You know damn well what I am saying so stop making shit up.

Changing such widespread behavior is rightly seen as a matter for legislation.

In your opinion perhaps but that does not make it right.

That is why things like the EPA exist-- because people do care, and even so the market doesn't fix those problems.

The market would care if people cared.

"Oh yeah, environmental damage is a major issue", says the woman driving a van to pick her kids up.

"Oh yeah, the government should step in and make sure that those oil companies do not destroy the environment", says the guy who just threw a bottle made from petroleum byproducts in the trash.

Do you at least understand that example?

Do you understand that more wars have been prevented and stopped by market forces when they are allowed to do their thing?

Do you understand that the government distorting the market has caused an ungodly number of problems?

Do you understand that no one gives a shit about your priorities which is why you have to point a gun to their head and force them into action?

One wonders how you would do if you did not have a gun to force people to follow you. Ask around. There are plenty of dictators to choose from. But of course, YOU say that you are simply following the peoples will (Hail Caesar). Why don't you just admit that your issues are so irrelevant that you could never spur people to action without threatening them.

farson135:
Why don't you just admit that your issues are so irrelevant that you could never spur people to action without threatening them.

I don't think things like clean water and air are irrelevant. Hard to make people care? Maybe, but that could also be attributed to things like people not understanding the ramifications of their collective and individual actions, or maybe just the feeling of 'this problem is too big for me to get involved with' or 'my contributions to this problem are small, so it isn't really my problem', or they're just waiting for someone else to step up to the plate and lead.

When it's all said and done though, I am perfectly fine with using threats to preserve our collective continued existence.

farson135:
The market does deal with it. Your problem is that people still do not care enough. If they care so much then why don't I see more of those hybrids out there?

This is why I don't think you've grasped my argument: you think asking that sort of question is somehow good for your position. The answer:

For the exact same reason that my argument laid out: because the benefits of hybrids are mostly collective while the increased costs occur for the individual buying the hybrid. Buying a hybrid doesn't mean you get to enjoy a substantially better environment-- it means you get to enjoy an environment that might be slightly better than otherwise-- but everyone else also gets to as well. A suitably large number of "slightlys" can add up to "substantially", but you can only control your own decision. It's not that people don't care enough to inconvenience themselves-- they vote to have the government inconvenience them. They just don't want to be the only ones bearing the costs while everyone gains the benefits. In the case where action is government enforced, the effect is larger and is more justly distributed. The market rewards those who don't participate in the solution of the problem, but still allows them to reap the benefits of a better environment-- or in most cases, there just isn't a better environment if it is left to the market. It isn't because people don't want a better environment or aren't willing to sacrifice a little to have a better environment, but because they only control their own decisions and their own decisions by themselves are not consequential to the environment. Only in the aggregate do they become so.

"Oh yeah, environmental damage is a major issue", says the woman driving a van to pick her kids up.

"Oh yeah, the government should step in and make sure that those oil companies do not destroy the environment", says the guy who just threw a bottle made from petroleum byproducts in the trash.

Yes! Good examples! Why do they do this? Is it because they don't care? Is the world really full of basically irrational people who say one thing and think another? Is the vast collection of human beings really so dull?

Maybe so, but not for this reason. Either way you slice it, they act the way they do directly in response to market incentives. It makes absolutely no sense for an individual to unilaterally change his own actions at substantial cost to himself principally for the benefit of others-- no matter how much he values the environment, if he's just one of a thousand people he only controls one onethousandth of the potential for environmental damage (and when it comes to the global climate each of us is only one out of several billion.)

Why don't you just admit that your issues are so irrelevant that you could never spur people to action without threatening them.

You get that my point isn't even about the environment, right? I'm hardly some sort of activist. I just understand what a collective action problem is and vote accordingly. And you seem not to do so. You think the market solves every problem (except, I assume, some of the particular collective action problems which you probably call "violations of rights" or something.)

I already mentioned collective security-- how about theft?

Why don't we all just steal, farson? Or to put it another way, why do we recognize rights of property at all? (Don't answer that, I have a better answer already.)

I mean, I could gain. I could just take what someone else has. Why not do that? There is certainly no market reason stopping me. Market incentives? I could have more or I could have less. Hmm, let me think. We seem to have to go beyond the market to reach a point at which there is a substantial reason for me not to just take things from others. We might even have to go... to the point of a gun (!1)

So why is rampant theft not the norm? I think even you would agree that we're all better off not stealing each other's cattle. Right? We're better off using our efforts to produce things and perform services for payment than we would be if everyone just pillaged the surrounding countryside. It is better to enlarge the whole pie than to simply take someone else's slice. (That way there's even more to steal!)

If we all voluntarily agree not to steal (and actually refrain from doing so) we'll all be better off. Yes? Yes. Astutely, yes. Solemnly: Yes.

So why do we seem to need a police force, or at the very least our own weaponry and locks for our doors (measures beyond sacrificing a goat to the market gods, at any rate), then? And don't try to pretend locks, weapons, and personal security are a market solution-- that is an additional cost and risk that is being imposed on all of us by thieves even if their use manages to prevent 100% of thefts and burglaries.

We have to take measures beyond the market because:
*If everyone else doesn't steal, and I don't as well, then that is a perfectly acceptable situation. On the other hand,
*If everyone else doesn't steal, but I do, I gain. An even better situation!
*If everyone else steals, but I don't, then I'm just basically screwed.
*If everyone else steals, and I do as well, then I'm at least better off than if I'm the only one who doesn't steal.
=> No matter the actions of anyone else, I'm better off by stealing. In the absence of threats against my person or property if I do so, it is in my rational self-interest to steal.

So we have the government 'initiate the use of force' against people who would otherwise be carrying away my TV set. Oh, and I might 'initiate the use of force' against those people myself. Well, my computer monitor anyway. TV's my roommate's; the burglars can have it as far as I'm concerned (if they can lift the thing.)

Now, some of us have this weird sense of 'civic duty' or something that might cause us to make a decision that is not, strictly speaking, both rational and self-interested when given the opportunity to steal or save some number of dollars by polluting. A sense of civic duty or social morality is a quality which varies from person to person and from time to time. It certainly can mitigate the incidence of theft, just like such a quality can prompt people to buy hybrid vehicles even though it is not really in their interest to do so (I will acknowledge that sometimes the self-righteousness of driving a hybrid seems to be a good enough reason.) Sometimes we are value-rational rather than just self-interestedly rational. Probably comes from being a social creature. But we do have well-developed senses of self-interest in most cases, and in most cases it even serves us well. There are cases, however, where it doesn't, and many of those cases are collective action problems. Whether it's a problem of a mass of externality costs or just a free rider problem, collective action problems are often better off solved than not.

AgedGrunt:

Overhead:
I'm in control of money and don't think anyone should be allowed to earn over 200,000 a year.

Of course I'm not sure what moral basis "given the okay by someone who controls money" is for deciding what someone should be allowed to earn. So what if you don't mind? When did an opinion without any arguement backing it up become a barometer of righteousness

Don't you find it slightly hypocritical to criticize an opinion over a lack of moral basis yet determine, without basis, the upper limit of what someone should be allowed to earn?

No, because I actually think people shouldn't be allowed to earn anywhere near 200,000.

The first paragraph was there because you claim it is only right for people to earn a lot of money if other people in control of money okay it. Pointing out that I earn money and don't okay the vast incomes of the rich was to show how your argument falls down on logical and moral grounds.

AgedGrunt:

People should be allowed to earn whatever other people in control of money feel they are worth. I don't mind a CEO making $20m/year when actors, entertainers and professional athletes (many of whom aren't worth their pay) make enormous bank in industries full of under-paid people who support it.

There is a huge difference between the salaries of entertainers and professional athletes compared to CEOs. The worth of the former can be relatively easily assessed: increased audience, merchandising, etc. to examine whether their pay is commensurate with their added value, and those who control the money can make the judgement.

CEOs, however, do not have this. Three issues come to mind:
1) Company boards substantially decide their own remuneration, so the people who control the money are paying themselves. This is wide open to corruption, which could be resolved by oversight, but...

2) ...oversight is exceptionally weak. In theory, shareholders actually own the money, but power tends to be so diluted across so many so disconnected from the activity of the corporation that their knowledge and ability to exert power is feeble. The layer of investment vehicles (pensions, other corporations, etc.) further disconnects shareholders from target corporations. Although these funds theoretically could "rebel" against the decisions of the board, they obviously rarely do, and there are many reasons to suspect why (for instance, that it invites similar rebellions against their own management by their shareholders)

3) Measuring the success of a director is extremely tricky. We could use, for instance, market capitalisation, but changes in the value of company stock do not necessarily reflect the performance of the guys at the top; it might just be that the rest of the sector did well, and it got dragged along. It might be that someone at the tops sucks, but the rest of the company did well enough to compensate. There are identified problems with bonus systems encouraging short-term thinking and poor long-term strategy, and so on. What negative pressures - e.g. labour competition - are really in play?

All of this is not to argue that you're wrong and that people should be paid what their employers think reasonable. It is to point out there are massive problems with the way that high-level corporate pay is done. Although it cuts both ways - they may potentially be underpaid.

On the other hand, nor does this deny that Overhead has a point that there may be societal problems with paying executives incredibly vast sums, irrespective of whether it is technically deserved by value added. But he's making that point himself.

Jux:
I don't think things like clean water and air are irrelevant.

That is not what he is talking about in the vague sense. He is talking about attacking people for driving.

When it's all said and done though, I am perfectly fine with using threats to preserve our collective continued existence.

What about when the thing they are claiming to prevent is what they are supporting? Government hypocrisy is not limited to running anti-smoking ads while subsidizing tobacco farmers.

Seanchaidh:
For the exact same reason that my argument laid out: because the benefits of hybrids are mostly collective while the increased costs occur for the individual buying the hybrid. Buying a hybrid doesn't mean you get to enjoy a substantially better environment-- it means you get to enjoy an environment that might be slightly better than otherwise-- but everyone else also gets to as well. A suitably large number of "slightlys" can add up to "substantially", but you can only control your own decision. It's not that people don't care enough to inconvenience themselves-- they vote to have the government inconvenience them. They just don't want to be the only ones bearing the costs while everyone gains the benefits. In the case where action is government enforced, the effect is larger and is more justly distributed. The market rewards those who don't participate in the solution of the problem, but still allows them to reap the benefits of a better environment-- or in most cases, there just isn't a better environment if it is left to the market. It isn't because people don't want a better environment or aren't willing to sacrifice a little to have a better environment, but because they only control their own decisions and their own decisions by themselves are not consequential to the environment. Only in the aggregate do they become so.

So in other words they do not care about your issue and you want to force them to care.

Stop beating around the bush. You and I both know damn well that the people do not give a shit about your issue. You want them to care and you want the government to force them to care. The government does things in such a way that the people who do care say they are doing something while the people who don't care do not notice.

Either way you slice it, they act the way they do directly in response to market incentives. It makes absolutely no sense for an individual to unilaterally change his own actions at substantial cost to himself principally for the benefit of others-- no matter how much he values the environment, if he's just one of a thousand people he only controls one onethousandth of the potential for environmental damage (and when it comes to the global climate each of us is only one out of several billion.)

Of course it does not make sense. And you have provided absolutely no reason why anyone should care about something so minor.

The market does not care because it is irrelevant to most people. It is irrelevant to most people because there is nothing to be gained from it, even if action is performed collectively.

You get that my point isn't even about the environment, right? I'm hardly some sort of activist. I just understand what a collective action problem is and vote accordingly. And you seem not to do so. You think the market solves every problem (except, I assume, some of the particular collective action problems which you probably call "violations of rights" or something.)

Your problem is that you assume that the government has a mandate because it exists.

YOU have to justify the government's actions. I do not give a flying fuck if the government marshals the resources. That does not make it right if the people themselves would not do it. People would protect themselves no matter what. People would uphold contracts no matter what. By your own argument no one would give a shit about your issues if you did not force them. The fact that you cannot marshal the people without a gun proves how weak you are.

Why don't we all just steal, farson? Or to put it another way, why do we recognize rights of property at all?

Because if you take my stuff, you die (or at the very least are injured). At the same time, since you do not know what is in my home, you do not know that what you are stealing is worth your life.

I mean, I could gain. I could just take what someone else has. Why not do that? There is certainly no market reason stopping me. Market incentives? I could have more or I could have less. Hmm, let me think. We seem to have to go beyond the market to reach a point at which there is a substantial reason for me not to just take things from others. We might even have to go... to the point of a gun (!1)

Yes, my gun. The gun I purchased. The gun that I spent time training with. All opposed to the opportunity provided by the market for a job and a wage. Oh looky there, we have a market reason no to steal.

So why do we seem to need a police force, or at the very least our own weaponry and locks for our doors (measures beyond sacrificing a goat to the market gods, at any rate), then?

Because people calculate odds differently. People are not uniform.

And don't try to pretend locks, weapons, and personal security are a market solution-- that is an additional cost and risk that is being imposed on all of us by thieves even if their use manages to prevent 100% of thefts and burglaries.

Which is the market at work. Cost vs. benefit.

Why do people put signs on their home to warn people away? Isn't that giving up the element of surprise? Guess what, the money you can make off of that TV in the market does not counter the cost of going up against that dog and the security system in that home. That is why my typically unadorned house now has a security companies sign on it as well as a beware of dog sign (be careful, in a few years he will be tall enough to rip your balls off).

So we have the government 'initiate the use of force' against people who would otherwise be carrying away my TV set.

You mean, who would otherwise be attacking your ability to exist.

You need to stop trying to turn my arguments against me. You just do not understand my arguments well enough to make yourself sound intelligent.

Overhead:
No, because I actually think people shouldn't be allowed to earn anywhere near 200,000.

The first paragraph was there because you claim it is only right for people to earn a lot of money if other people in control of money okay it. Pointing out that I earn money and don't okay the vast incomes of the rich was to show how your argument falls down on logical and moral grounds.

I don't think you understood me. Supposing someone creates a billion dollars to invest, the billionaire should be allowed to pay his advisers and managers whatever he feels is appropriate. I wasn't saying that anyone with wealth qualifies having a say in the matter (nor should it).

And you still haven't given any logical or moral basis of your own for what gives you the right to set an arbitrary limit on what people can rightfully earn.

Agema:
All of this is not to argue that you're wrong and that people should be paid what their employers think reasonable. It is to point out there are massive problems with the way that high-level corporate pay is done. Although it cuts both ways - they may potentially be underpaid.

On the other hand, nor does this deny that Overhead has a point that there may be societal problems with paying executives incredibly vast sums, irrespective of whether it is technically deserved by value added. But he's making that point himself.

I understand what you're saying and agree that they're not apples:apples comparisons, but to entertain the broad question of "how much should someone be worth?" I would absolutely rate CEOs and executives above the average professional athlete salary (major league baseball, 2012 = 3.4m USD). There are users and abusers in the corporate world; that's life. But I wouldn't say every bench warmer, injured player or franchise bust is worth their salary.

Anyway I support the individual's right to make as much money as their talent and ability can take them. Whether its careerists who stepped on people to get to the top or an escort turned celebrity signing book deals, it's not my right to regulate earning potential. That should always remain private.

AgedGrunt:

I don't think you understood me. Supposing someone creates a billion dollars to invest, the billionaire should be allowed to pay his advisers and managers whatever he feels is appropriate. I wasn't saying that anyone with wealth qualifies having a say in the matter (nor should it).

Why?

And you still haven't given any logical or moral basis of your own for what gives you the right to set an arbitrary limit on what people can rightfully earn.

I was extending your arguement.

Overhead:

AgedGrunt:

I don't think you understood me. Supposing someone creates a billion dollars to invest, the billionaire should be allowed to pay his advisers and managers whatever he feels is appropriate. I wasn't saying that anyone with wealth qualifies having a say in the matter (nor should it).

Why?

Why should people be allowed to do what they want with their money/be allowed to earn as much as they can (legally) secure for themselves? Well, capitalism, or enterprise if you will, and it's dependent on a system of private ownership and property. What's mine is mine and what's yours is yours. Why not?

farson135:

Jux:
I don't think things like clean water and air are irrelevant.

That is not what he is talking about in the vague sense. He is talking about attacking people for driving.

Attacking! Scary!

farson135:

Seanchaidh:
For the exact same reason that my argument laid out: because the benefits of hybrids are mostly collective while the increased costs occur for the individual buying the hybrid. Buying a hybrid doesn't mean you get to enjoy a substantially better environment-- it means you get to enjoy an environment that might be slightly better than otherwise-- but everyone else also gets to as well. A suitably large number of "slightlys" can add up to "substantially", but you can only control your own decision. It's not that people don't care enough to inconvenience themselves-- they vote to have the government inconvenience them. They just don't want to be the only ones bearing the costs while everyone gains the benefits. In the case where action is government enforced, the effect is larger and is more justly distributed. The market rewards those who don't participate in the solution of the problem, but still allows them to reap the benefits of a better environment-- or in most cases, there just isn't a better environment if it is left to the market. It isn't because people don't want a better environment or aren't willing to sacrifice a little to have a better environment, but because they only control their own decisions and their own decisions by themselves are not consequential to the environment. Only in the aggregate do they become so.

So in other words they do not care about your issue and you want to force them to care.

No. They care about the issue, and they care about effectively addressing it. That's why they answer in polls the way they do, and that is why they vote the way they do. That is why they support the EPA and dislike Congress weakening the strictures of the EPA. Just because you don't accept political action as in any way legitimate does not mean people don't care. It just means people are avoiding the market for the reasons I laid out. You've yet to address the argument, which proceeds from the premise that there are costs (or sometimes benefits) to some transactions that are the burden of (or sometimes to the benefit of) neither the buyer nor the seller.

There are people who would exchange the amount of money saved by not lowering their emissions for the environment that would result from everyone lowering their emissions. There are people who, if they could coordinate with all others, would make that decision. Those people care. Those people care enough that political action ought to take place. If those people form a majority and pick their candidates well, then such emission standards should become law.

You might deny this? I don't know because your points haven't engaged. You just repeat the falsehood that people don't care about the issue. Whereas I've repeatedly explained the behavior of people who do care about the issue in terms of their market incentives.

Market incentives favor collectivizing costs while privatizing the benefits of one's decisions: that, in itself, is not a reason not to care about the environment. It is, however, a quite powerful reason to make certain decisions within the marketplace. And it is an equally good reason to choose political action to address the issue. The market doesn't address all of the issues that people care about.

In the case of pollution, the market rewards people who pollute and punishes those that refrain. That is sub-optimal.

farson135:
Stop beating around the bush. You and I both know damn well that the people do not give a shit about your issue. You want them to care and you want the government to force them to care.

Your wailing to the contrary, no, neither of us know that because it isn't true.

I want them to register that they care by voting, and for them to vote that the government, upon various products that cause pollution when used, impose a tax that incorporates an estimation of the externality costs of that pollution into the price-- so that people are able to choose to avoid imposing (in this case environmental) costs on the community without such avoidance costing them (and only them) personally. I want to stop the market from rewarding those that impose costs on the community as the market does now and will continue to do if left to itself. When imposing undeserved costs on others is a profitable strategy, that is a problem.

farson135:
The government does things in such a way that the people who do care say they are doing something while the people who don't care do not notice.

Ah, I see the problem. It seems that no one gives a shit about your issue. Well, I suppose that is mildly amusing. Now stop projecting.

farson135:

Either way you slice it, they act the way they do directly in response to market incentives. It makes absolutely no sense for an individual to unilaterally change his own actions at substantial cost to himself principally for the benefit of others-- no matter how much he values the environment, if he's just one of a thousand people he only controls one onethousandth of the potential for environmental damage (and when it comes to the global climate each of us is only one out of several billion.)

Of course it does not make sense. And you have provided absolutely no reason why anyone should care about something so minor.

Nor need I. People do care, as I've already shown. That you won't accept any evidence other than a mass of people dropping everything to spend thousands of dollars on hybrid cars immediately as they come out is of no concern.

farson135:
The market does not care because it is irrelevant to most people. It is irrelevant to most people because there is nothing to be gained from it, even if action is performed collectively.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/28391130/wid/18298287/page/2/#.UY1UEZz4Kl8

farson135:

You get that my point isn't even about the environment, right? I'm hardly some sort of activist. I just understand what a collective action problem is and vote accordingly. And you seem not to do so. You think the market solves every problem (except, I assume, some of the particular collective action problems which you probably call "violations of rights" or something.)

Your problem is that you assume that the government has a mandate because it exists.

YOU have to justify the government's actions. I do not give a flying fuck if the government marshals the resources. That does not make it right if the people themselves would not do it.

I think the government has a mandate if and when it represents the will of the people as measured by their votes. Simple existence has never been my criteria, and I'm puzzled that you would assume that to be the case. Actually, that was a lie. I'm not puzzled: you haphazardly make weird accusations quite regularly-- that was just another one. 'Tisn't puzzling 'tall.

Also, what you give a flying fuck about is neither here nor there.

farson135:
People would protect themselves no matter what. People would uphold contracts no matter what. By your own argument no one would give a shit about your issues if you did not force them. The fact that you cannot marshal the people without a gun proves how weak you are.

Yeah, they'd try. Without a state, the metagame would shift: rather than individual or small groups performing crimes and trying to act quickly and without being noticed, there would instead be larger gangs that act quite a bit more brazenly and might be willing to have a bit of a siege. That's just the nature of a relative absence of power. I'm not sure why one would favor a power dynamic that resembles international politics in the absence of a hegemonic power, but that is, translated to the small scale, what you seem to favor. Correct me if I'm wrong.

farson135:

Why don't we all just steal, farson? Or to put it another way, why do we recognize rights of property at all?

Because if you take my stuff, you die (or at the very least are injured). At the same time, since you do not know what is in my home, you do not know that what you are stealing is worth your life.

I mean, I could gain. I could just take what someone else has. Why not do that? There is certainly no market reason stopping me. Market incentives? I could have more or I could have less. Hmm, let me think. We seem to have to go beyond the market to reach a point at which there is a substantial reason for me not to just take things from others. We might even have to go... to the point of a gun (!1)

Yes, my gun. The gun I purchased. The gun that I spent time training with. All opposed to the opportunity provided by the market for a job and a wage. Oh looky there, we have a market reason no to steal.

But it is not a market reason. It is a reason of violence.

farson135:

So why do we seem to need a police force, or at the very least our own weaponry and locks for our doors (measures beyond sacrificing a goat to the market gods, at any rate), then?

Because people calculate odds differently. People are not uniform.

Hey! You're (partially) right! That is true! Congratulations!

farson135:

And don't try to pretend locks, weapons, and personal security are a market solution-- that is an additional cost and risk that is being imposed on all of us by thieves even if their use manages to prevent 100% of thefts and burglaries.

Which is the market at work. Cost vs. benefit.

Locks, guns and ammo have the power to influence the incentives of others without their consent-- quite like government action. If locks and weaponry qualify as market forces, then so does government action. I don't particularly care how you want to define what is and isn't a market force, but you need to be consistent about it. Unless you think that government intervention into the market is "the market at work", then you aren't being consistent. There is not a principled way to distinguish all the actions of a state from the unilateral actions of an individual. Establishing a police force is government intervention to solve a collective action problem. That individuals can employ less overwhelming means in a similar way at some cost to themselves isn't terribly important. The propriety of having a police force, aside from to people like you, is fairly uncontroversial.

farson135:
Why do people put signs on their home to warn people away? Isn't that giving up the element of surprise? Guess what, the money you can make off of that TV in the market does not counter the cost of going up against that dog and the security system in that home. That is why my typically unadorned house now has a security companies sign on it as well as a beware of dog sign (be careful, in a few years he will be tall enough to rip your balls off).

Not to devolve too far into a discussion of strategy, but it depends on how much potential attackers are willing to commit. One person might have trouble with your dog, but five armed people probably would not. And five armed people could probably figure out a way both to ambush you and to protect themselves. And if you feel like limiting yourself to responding only to force with force, then that gives them somewhat free reign to engage in reconnaissance in order to figure out when and where to attack you at your weakest. Why would Los Zetas give a shit that you have a firearm?

farson135:

So we have the government 'initiate the use of force' against people who would otherwise be carrying away my TV set.

You mean, who would otherwise be attacking your ability to exist.

No, I mean "who would otherwise be carrying away my TV set." I don't feel the need to make my statement both less accurate and more abstract. My ability to exist is not dependent on my television.

farson135:
You need to stop trying to turn my arguments against me. You just do not understand my arguments well enough to make yourself sound intelligent.

I'm not terribly worried about sounding intelligent, farson. For your sake I hope we are similar in that regard.

Also, I'm not attempting to turn your own arguments against you. I'm utilizing a theory of government (that governments exist to solve collective action problems) to make arguments that I hope you can understand and relate to.

AgedGrunt:

Overhead:

AgedGrunt:

I don't think you understood me. Supposing someone creates a billion dollars to invest, the billionaire should be allowed to pay his advisers and managers whatever he feels is appropriate. I wasn't saying that anyone with wealth qualifies having a say in the matter (nor should it).

Why?

Why should people be allowed to do what they want with their money/be allowed to earn as much as they can (legally) secure for themselves? Well, capitalism, or enterprise if you will, and it's dependent on a system of private ownership and property. What's mine is mine and what's yours is yours. Why not?

There has never been a capitalist system in the entire history of the world that has said the capitalists can own what they will without restriction. There have always been laws, taxes, prohibitions on owning certain items or substances, etc.

So why, because it sure isn't the basis of the capitalist system and even if it were that would only bring up the question of "and we are sticking with the capitalist system"?

Privatization has its place. Private corporations with a profit-motive are well-enough equipped to deal with luxury goods and consumer goods that there is plenty of competition over, such as food; at least when it's regulated well enough.
Where it fails is with essential services (like healthcare) and services that may run at a loss (like public transportation, postal services and the like).
That doesn't mean private corporations shouldn't be able to enter into those areas as competitors (think UPS or other private delivery services), but it does mean there needs to be a public baseline to set some standards to compete with and provide services in unprofitable areas.
This urge to privatize any and all services, thinking naively that it will improve them, is destroying much of our infrastructure if we let it continue. Some things are just too important to let the profit-motive be the driving force behind them.

Overhead:
There has never been a capitalist system in the entire history of the world that has said the capitalists can own what they will without restriction. There have always been laws, taxes, prohibitions on owning certain items or substances, etc.

I don't know of any capitalist, at least any significant argument, advocating for the abolition or evasion of all taxes and regulations respective to money and assets. I also don't know of any way to implement a "prohibition" (limit) on net income in a capitalist system and still call it capitalism.

Overhead:
So why, because it sure isn't the basis of the capitalist system and even if it were that would only bring up the question of "and we are sticking with the capitalist system"?

So far as I can tell, you do not support capitalism. That's fine. Just putting it out there that under such a system it is 100% unlawful and baseless for the State to impose income caps. It can and does tax and regulate excessively, but can never set an upper bound like that. You might as well just scrap all free market principles at that point, because you won't have one to defend.

farson135:

So in other words they do not care about your issue and you want to force them to care.

Stop beating around the bush. You and I both know damn well that the people do not give a shit about your issue. You want them to care and you want the government to force them to care. The government does things in such a way that the people who do care say they are doing something while the people who don't care do not notice.

From Seanchaidh's post:

image

Averages out at 77%, 77%, 74% and 79% in favour of each respective measures.

So why don't people actually 'do' something? because it places excess strain on them without giving any noticeable benefit.

Consider cars. A brand new hybrid costs about 25000, a new electric could cost 20000, while a similar sized petrol/diesel would cost 12000. Why buy a hybrid when you could buy a petrol car and almost 900 miles worth of petrol? You're paying that extra for what is literally a drop in the ocean compared to the emissions of every other car.

Lets say a petrol car causes 10 Arbitrary Units (A.U) of pollution per mile while a hybrid causes 5 A.U. There are roughly 40 million cars in the UK, lets say that all of them are petrol powered and every car drives an average of 1000 miles a year:

40 million cars X 10 A.U. X 1000 miles = 400 Billion A.U.

You as an individual swapping for a hybrid removes 5000 A.U. from the environment - 0.0000000125%. It's nothing!

However if you got the government to legislate standards of engineering that mean petrol cars now emit 8 A.U. you reduce the total by 80 Billion A.U. - 20% or the equivalent of 16 million people switching to hybrids. Much more effective.

The market doesn't give a shit about the environment, if we leave the market to fix things we get;

Safety features, pollution reduction, etc. costs money, money that could be spent elsewhere in the company. If you aren't forced to follow a set of expensive rules why would you?

Being green costs more than not, especially in industry, and the effects of an individual being green are meaningless without a larger group (at the scale of at least a town) joining in. A single person recycling or switching to a hybrid is meaningless.

That's why people might be slightly hypocritical in calling for environmental regulation while not being perfectly green but that does not mean they don't want to see a change in how things are done.

Well, let's waltz into the discussion. Externalities are something those that do not understand economics bring up. Literally every action or inaction a person does every second of every day creates externalities. For instance, my decision to take a nap instead of watching a show on Hulu creates an externality in that Hulu and its partners make less advertising revenue.

Due to the billions upon trillion upon upon upon near infinite decisions made every day by every living thing in the entire world, economics is insanely complex on its surface. It is chaos.

This is where spontaneous order comes in. These near infinite decisions and actions every day create, essentially, ordered chaos. As an example found in nature, thousands upon thousands of bats can fly out of a cave all at once and none of them bash into each other.

This is the best approach to economics. It is free market capitalism with few regulations. Regulations that simply assure various assurances necessary for capitalism to work. Liberty laws. Essentially, legal moral codes. If violated, person is punished. Property laws, laws against assault and murder and everything bodily harming inbetween, and such.

It is not the government's role to "prevent" things. It is there to respond to violations in the basic liberty laws. The market can take care of everything else better than the government ever will.

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

Seanchaidh:
No. They care about the issue, and they care about effectively addressing it. That's why they answer in polls the way they do, and that is why they vote the way they do. That is why they support the EPA and dislike Congress weakening the strictures of the EPA.

No, they don't care. Which is why they will not take any action that you will not force on them.

BTW, as for voting, how is the green party doing? Looks like there is more to the issue.

It just means people are avoiding the market for the reasons I laid out. You've yet to address the argument, which proceeds from the premise that there are costs (or sometimes benefits) to some transactions that are the burden of (or sometimes to the benefit of) neither the buyer nor the seller.

And higher fuel standards are to the benefit of both. Which is why Ford is winning the race for best Truck. In fact, Ford is set to surpass the government fuel standards for 2025, next year. Why do you think I own a Ford?

You might deny this? I don't know because your points haven't engaged. You just repeat the falsehood that people don't care about the issue. Whereas I've repeatedly explained the behavior of people who do care about the issue in terms of their market incentives.

Falsehood? YOU have yet to show that people would do anything without force beside you. I have shown market forces at work.

The market doesn't address all of the issues that people care about.

It does not address the issues that ALL people care about. But the majority, it does.

In the case of pollution, the market rewards people who pollute and punishes those that refrain.

Really? So if I dump trash all over my land the market would reward me for that? If I buy a Hummer the market will reward me?

Ah, I see the problem. It seems that no one gives a shit about your issue. Well, I suppose that is mildly amusing. Now stop projecting.

What issue would that be? That people do not care about things that do not directly affect them? You have that problem in spades. My problems tend to affect them directly.

People do care, as I've already shown.

No you have not. You have shown polls and mentioned voting. Polls are meaningless. Lots of people say that we should do something about starvation in Somalia but how many people have donated to a charity? Lots of people vote for a person because they have a nice smile rather than for the issues (s)he holds.

I think the government has a mandate if and when it represents the will of the people as measured by their votes. Simple existence has never been my criteria, and I'm puzzled that you would assume that to be the case. Actually, that was a lie. I'm not puzzled: you haphazardly make weird accusations quite regularly-- that was just another one. 'Tisn't puzzling 'tall.

Are you trying to argue that the people sanctioned every single action that the government performs? Or is it just the actions that are convenient for your narrative?

I often here that the government is representative of the people because some people vote. Then I hear about the evil Republicans who gerrymander things to such an extent that they are destroying democracy. Then I hear about how this, that, or the other law does not have the mandate of the people for some reason.

Your support for the "will of the people" is always conditioned on whether YOU support the action. Compared to you, are am far more uniform.

But it is not a market reason. It is a reason of violence.

It is a market reason. What you could gain from the selling of that TV is not equal to the risks in taking it when you could just get a job.

Locks, guns and ammo have the power to influence the incentives of others without their consent-- quite like government action. If locks and weaponry qualify as market forces, then so does government action. I don't particularly care how you want to define what is and isn't a market force, but you need to be consistent about it. Unless you think that government intervention into the market is "the market at work", then you aren't being consistent. There is not a principled way to distinguish all the actions of a state from the unilateral actions of an individual. Establishing a police force is government intervention to solve a collective action problem. That individuals can employ less overwhelming means in a similar way at some cost to themselves isn't terribly important. The propriety of having a police force, aside from to people like you, is fairly uncontroversial.

I am being consistent. YOU are analyzing things so narrowly that you are missing the bigger picture.

Why would Los Zetas give a shit that you have a firearm?

Because they are walking into an unknown fortified territory and they are trying to fight against someone who regularly goes out and trains to shoot at multiple targets in low light situations. Or, just because I have the element of surprise- http://patdollard.com/2010/11/mexican-rancher-stands-up-to-cartel-kills-4-wounds-2-gets-killed-himself-in-insane-bad-ass-all-balls-well-planned-man-alone-home-defense-firefight/

No, I mean "who would otherwise be carrying away my TV set." I don't feel the need to make my statement both less accurate and more abstract. My ability to exist is not dependent on my television.

But it is dependent on your economic situation. A TV is representative in this case of anything. If they decided to take away my equipment would it be any different in reality?

Karma168:
So why don't people actually 'do' something? because it places excess strain on them without giving any noticeable benefit.

Which is my argument.

However if you got the government to legislate standards of engineering that mean petrol cars now emit 8 A.U. you reduce the total by 80 Billion A.U. - 20% or the equivalent of 16 million people switching to hybrids. Much more effective.

Or the market does that on its own because people like to save money. That is why Ford is planning to surpass the government's new fuel standards more a decade before the new standards are to be in place.

Safety features, pollution reduction, etc. costs money, money that could be spent elsewhere in the company. If you aren't forced to follow a set of expensive rules why would you?

If it would make me more money then yes. I do not take special care not to scratch the metal on the guns I work with because I am ordered to do so, because I care about a little scratched metal, or because it is in my contract to do so. No, I do it because many of my customers like to keep their firearms looking brand new and I want them to come back.

That's why people might be slightly hypocritical in calling for environmental regulation while not being perfectly green but that does not mean they don't want to see a change in how things are done.

They can want whatever the hell they want, but if they are unwilling to act then they do not really care. To all of those idiots who got themselves arrested here at UT to protest against sweatshops, don't lecture me about morality when all you did is waste a day of your life sitting around. In the time you wasted I made about $500 (I started and finished a job that day). Over the course of last year I donated about $5,000 to the Red Cross. Your wasted day could have been spent gaining money to do something. Instead, you whined and no one listened.

If you care, fine. Do something. Don't just talk. I can give those sweatshop guys props for at least wasting more than 5 minutes of their time. And guess what, the 5 minutes it took to answer a poll is not the same as doing something.

farson135:

Why would Los Zetas give a shit that you have a firearm?

Because they are walking into an unknown fortified territory and they are trying to fight against someone who regularly goes out and trains to shoot at multiple targets in low light situations. Or, just because I have the element of surprise- http://patdollard.com/2010/11/mexican-rancher-stands-up-to-cartel-kills-4-wounds-2-gets-killed-himself-in-insane-bad-ass-all-balls-well-planned-man-alone-home-defense-firefight/

"Gets killed himself."

Very persuasive, farson. Very persuasive.

Falsehood? YOU have yet to show that people would do anything without force beside you. I have shown market forces at work.

That's some nice circular logic; collective action problems don't exist because people won't do anything about them without government intervention. That's why they do exist, farson. There are market forces that discourage the people who do care about the issue from acting accordingly. This is why people vote for regulations that protect air quality and so on rather than simply cutting their own emissions unilaterally. Voting and opinion polls are one way that we measure preferences. They aren't perfect, but in many cases they do so better than the market because the market doesn't account for externality costs and externality benefits.

It is odd that you consider people who take the action of voting for a government that will impose environmental regulations on themselves as people who "don't care" about the issue enough to take action. There are plenty of people who are willing to take action-- are willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of the environment-- just so long as everyone else does the same and making the environmentally responsible decision is not punished by the market. When these people form a majority, it is appropriate for laws to be passed in recognition of their preference.

It's pretty clear to me that you just don't understand the logic of the problem, so I shall attempt to lay it out more clearly for you. Perhaps in a more quantitative form you'll understand.

Doing X has a result Y.
X has certain individual benefits.
Y is experienced by everyone in the community, and is generally unwelcome.

That is the structure of a collective action problem that is due to non-pecuniary negative externalities. Each person who does X has a share in causing some quantity of Y. One X causes one Y. 100 people doing X causes 100Y. And remember, everyone involved experiences all of the Y while gaining only, at maximum, the benefits of just one X.

An individual in a community of 100 may be given to think that 100Y is not worth the benefits he gains from X. Everyone else in the community might be inclined to agree (or more than half of them, at any rate.) Each individual's gain from X is less than the irritation at experiencing 100Y. If each individual stopped doing X, none of them would experience any of Y. X < 100Y, or to put it in prose, the gains from doing X are not worth the personal annoyance to me of everyone else also doing X. In this case it seems to make sense for the (Borg) collective not to do X. Yeah?

Rational, self-interested people in that situation will still do X even though they are clearly all better off with regard to their own preferences if no one does X rather than if everyone does X. Why? Because it can still be the case that X > Y while X < 100Y. You cannot, without intervening in the market, control the behavior of others. The best move for the individual making the decision is to decide-- Ok, I'll accept 1Y for the benefits of my 1X. And all the rest of the suckers can deal with my 1Y and hopefully they won't also choose to do X.

You can, of course, see how a purely voluntary agreement not to do X would start to break down? Can you not see the rationale for saying "Ok, let's estimate the irritation to everyone of Y and institute a tax on X which makes the financial cost of X equal to X+Y."

Can you find a flaw in that logic? Or will you just continue to sputter about how if the market isn't solving a problem, that by itself can mean nothing other than that no one cares about the problem?

Seanchaidh:
"Gets killed himself."

Very persuasive, farson. Very persuasive.

Let us see, they came at him with machine guns and grenades while he is armed solely with hunting rifles. He still kills 4 of them and injures two.

You know that in history a loss must be judged on more than just whether or not one side managed to "win". The cartels took 6 times as many casualties AND failed to take the land. That sounds rather successful.

That's some nice circular logic; collective action problems don't exist because people won't do anything about them without government intervention. That's why they do exist, farson.

When did I say that they do not exist? I stated that they are not relevant to his idea that the government must be in charge of the market in order to "solve" certain issues.

It is odd that you consider people who take the action of voting for a government that will impose environmental regulations on themselves as people who "don't care" about the issue enough to take action.

Are they voting for that? I seem to remember the Green Party failing to gain any national offices. Or are you referring to the people who do not make the environment the centerpiece of their efforts?

Can you find a flaw in that logic? Or will you just continue to sputter about how if the market isn't solving a problem, that by itself can mean nothing other than that no one cares about the problem?

Tell me something, if the problem you see is so great that if you do not stop then EVERYONE will die, then why would anyone continue?

Your failure is to assume that your problem is enough that anyone should care. No one cares because what you are talking about does not affect them directly and they can see no rational reason to stop. Everything you are talking about is under the assumption that what you are trying to prevent is so minor that a rational person would not bother worrying about it. If that is the case, then fuck off because your problem is irrelevant. Also, your premise works under the assumption that if knowledge is not perfect we must use force to make people act without them understanding why they act. No rational discourse allowed. Every step of the way you use force and justify your actions. For the love of Christ, most of y'all rail against the military industrial complex then you dictate force as the solution for all of your problems.

Big_Willie_Styles:
Snip

Well, if this is true. How do you explain the various nationalized instances of say, hospitals and schools in various other countries performing better than their private counter-parts in the US?

By your logic said counterparts would always be performing better, so what is holding them down?

farson135:
Tell me something, if the problem you see is so great that if you do not stop then EVERYONE will die, then why would anyone continue?

What are you even talking about? When did my example become a matter of everyone dying? I didn't realize it was so high stakes!

In any case, trying again...

Doing X has a result Y.
X has certain individual benefits.
Y is experienced by everyone in the community, and is generally unwelcome.

That is the structure of a collective action problem that is due to non-pecuniary negative externalities. Each person who does X has a share in causing some quantity of Y. One X causes one Y. 100 people doing X causes 100Y. And remember, everyone involved experiences all of the Y while gaining only, at maximum, the benefits of just one X.

An individual in a community of 100 may be given to think that 100Y is not worth the benefits he gains from X. Everyone else in the community might be inclined to agree (or more than half of them, at any rate.) Each individual's gain from X is less than the irritation at experiencing 100Y. If each individual stopped doing X, none of them would experience any of Y. X < 100Y, or to put it in prose, the gains from doing X are not worth the personal annoyance to me of everyone else also doing X. In this case it seems to make sense for the (Borg) collective not to do X. Yeah?

Rational, self-interested people in that situation will still do X even though they are clearly all better off with regard to their own preferences if no one does X rather than if everyone does X. Why? Because it can still be the case that X > Y while X < 100Y. You cannot, without intervening in the market, control the behavior of others. The best move for the individual making the decision is to decide-- Ok, I'll accept 1Y for the benefits of my 1X. And all the rest of the suckers can deal with my 1Y and hopefully they won't also choose to do X.

You can, of course, see how a purely voluntary agreement not to do X would start to break down? Can you not see the rationale for saying "Ok, let's estimate the irritation to everyone of Y and institute a tax on X which makes the financial cost of X equal to X+Y."

Nikolaz72:

Big_Willie_Styles:
Snip

Well, if this is true. How do you explain the various nationalized instances of say, hospitals and schools in various other countries performing better than their private counter-parts in the US?

By your logic said counterparts would always be performing better, so what is holding them down?

I question your premise, you bring up statistics, I claim those statistics do not prove your point and are faulty, you get more statistics. Back and forth, forth and back.

Statistics are useless in proving an argument one makes because they change every second but are not updated every second. Just wanted to say this before I got into it.

The U.S. health insurance market is more heavily regulated (and this was BEFORE Obamacare) than any other industry in the United States. It is a far breath from a free market. It is filled with cronyism, back-scratching, Big Business using Big Government to screw the little guy (I call this Obamanomics from the book written by an author I met,) etc. Obamacare exacerbated all of those problems, made bigger problems, and solved none of the actual problems in the U.S. health insurance market.

Health care is no more a right than food is. I am not owed food by my government. No man is. Doesn't stop government from creating "temporary" programs to deal with this "problem." There is nothing quite as immortal as a temporary government program. It becomes an entrenched interest and critics of it get demagogued to bloody 'ell.

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