individualism does not mean selfishness.

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It's not difficult to see why Ayn Rand ignored EP. She didn't even believe in evolution.

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I just came across this thing that was linked on facebook. I haven't been to this site or LessWrong in years.

I'm an Objectivist, which can technically be grouped in with Libertarian, since Libertarian is a broad category including anyone with some non-aggression principle.

The concept of "efficiency" depends on other concepts, such as value and cost. (Value depending on a morality to define what is good and bad.) The concept of efficiency refers to maximizing a value while minimizing the costs required to create/gain/keep it.

My main criticism of this post is this: The author is taking for granted a utilitarian "maximum happiness for all" type of valuation when he talks about efficiency. This type of efficiency is posed to us as if it is the only kind of efficiency there is. But it's not. It's only efficiency from the perspective of the utilitarian ethics.

I have chosen Ayn Rand's rational egoism as my ethics. And so I could easily say that the most efficient society is what best allows each individual to create and earn values for themselves. Then in that case, Laissez-Faire Capitalism would be more efficient than Socialism, Communism, etc.

When you say Libertarianism isn't efficient in this context, all you're really saying is "I disagree with Libertarian morality." This talk of efficiency just covers up that core premise and suggests that Libertarianism being wrong is self-evident.

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I like the moral argument here; it's what I focused on my explanation of why I am (no longer) a Libertarian: http://danielmiessler.com/b.... For me it comes down to a morality based on individualism (see selfishness) or shared human experience, and I simply choose the latter.

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Your bias against "nerdy white guys" is affecting your ability to think rationally.

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A libertarian future is predicted in Book 9 of the free ebook series http://andgulliverreturns.infoVery interesting

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I think you are looking at this as a female and not a male. Female bonding is mediated through oxytocin and recapitulates parturition. Male bonding is mediated through vasopressin and recapitulates territoriality. Conceptually males do treat females as property. To males, the natural world is territory, something to be owned and used or bought and sold.

People at the bottom are not actually “people” any more. People at the bottom don't matter, which is why they can be treated as things to be used and used up. That is why OSHA safety regulations are so objectionable, they only protect “workers” and cost “owners” money. It is better for owners to simply pay a risk premium to workers stupid or desperate enough to tolerate risky work conditions. Death, injury and chronic disability to workers are risks that owners are willing to take.

Unemployment is really high now. That means there are more workers than there is work for. That means owners can reduce wages and increase work hazards until a new equilibrium is reached.

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They’re just something that exists.

What is "just something that exists"? Government, or property rights?

The primary purpose of government is property rights. You can't have property rights without government. The degree to which a particular government provides property rights varies according to time and place. If an external government i.e. gang or individual that provides property rights doesn't exist, and you protect the property over a given territory, then you are the government of that territory.

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I disagree with Penn Gillette on libertarianism and atheism (he thinks the two have a common origin of rational skepticism). I think what the two have in common is that nerdy white guys are into them. I'd advocate technocracy as a better direction for nerd passion than "libertarianism" -a majoritarian identity politic of the more competent.

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The primary purpose of government isn't property rights. They're just something that exists.

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A solution and one that sometimes seems near to being realized in various places around the world at various times in history, is to collect the portion of value that rains down upon all properties within civilization from innovators—value which can be called “economic rent”—and instead of allocating it according to sophistry of politicians, lawyers, academics and storytellers, simply divide it up evenly amongst all people. This solution does not, of course, completely solve the problem, but it does at least prevent the horrendous genocide of creation seen during the last decades where a small number of third-rate inventors are grotesquely rewarded with monopoly profits and held up as an example of how well-compensated innovators are, so that the rest, including first-rate inventors, can have their wealth, hence potential children, confiscated by parasites.

The quantification of economic rent is pretty simple—it is the “no brainer” profit stream expected from an asset. Banks routinely estimate this when giving out loans when they assess the collateral value of the borrower’s assets. This is generally done by taking what is called the “liquidation value” (more precisely, the “orderly liquidation value in place") of an asset and applying the “risk free interest rate” to that value. Liquidation value of an asset is the value that virtually anyone could get from it if they were handed title to the asset and told to go sell it in a reasonable period of time. The “risk free interest rate” is usually the rate of return guaranteed by the government when you loan it money for short periods of time.

These mechanisms operate in the “civil” environment—an environment characterized by governments—an environment capable of supporting high value assets we typically associate with “cities” (which shares its linguistic root with “civil"). However, if we are to be rational about the interests of the individuals entering into an agreement to establish and maintain “civilization” it must be admitted that they would not wish to turn over to it that which they, themselves, possess by virtue of existing as human animals—the ability to defend their homes, families, tools and small-holding of land, fishing rights or other natural resource with which they can support their reproduction. If they were to turn over such individual sovereignty they would become in essence slaves to civilization. Hence in a free society, it makes sense to leave in the hands of individuals that portion of economic rent accruing to them by virtue of their subsistence properties—again, for emphasis (since this seems to be the point where I lose the most people’s reading comprehension) we are talking about some amount of assets sufficient to be equivalent to the ownership of a small family farm and all of its equipment.

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That creation of wealth is taxed rather than possession of wealth is precisely what is wrong with the tax base. Taxing creation rather than possession is precisely backwards from the fundamental standpoint of proper statecraft.

When you create something you are not costing society anything. When you possess something you are: the cost of defending your right to possess that thing.

It's that simple.

Every piece of wealth, be it gold, land or a corner grocery store, in society is, to degrees varying with their “monopoly” status as property rights, made more valuable by such systemic benefits of easily reproducible innovation. Land is special to economic theorists, particularly to Georgists, because it is the classic case of a fixed asset that everyone needs but which “they’re not making any more of”—hence containing a large degree of monopolistic value.

Of course, invention comes in many guises—not just putting together a better mechanical contraption—and those inventions, be they ways of doing business or ways of organizing communities or some scientific discovery that clarifies our relationship with nature, also increase the value of properties with which they are distantly related.

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The problem is conflation of the function (net in-place liquidation value of assets) with the derivative (income, capital gains, value added, sales, etc.).

The result of this conflation is a brain-dead discourse in political economy.

OF COURSE people who have vast property rights should pay more for the existence of the entity that upholds those property rights — just as they should pay more for property insurance.

OF COURSE people who make X dollars a year should have zero tax burden as a result of those CHANGES in their net in-place liquidation value of assets.

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I have three basic questions for all would be political economists:

1) If physicists conflated velocity with position the way you conflate income with wealth, where do you think technology would be today? Why do you think economic technology would be any better?

2) If the primary function of government is to uphold property rights, then why is government funded by taxing economic activity rather than taxing property rights?

3) Why don’t you ever answer the first 2 questions?

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Monopolies and insurmoutable coordination problems as regards natural resources are what kill off the standard Libertarian ideology.

It's really astonishing that so many smart folks (especially transhumanists) ever gave standard Libertarianism any credence at all, especially since it runs totally contrary to evolutionary psychology ( to give two examples: (1) most people have an in-built cognitive revulsion to treating living things/natural world as commodities, and (2) people at the bottom of the status pole eventually get pissed and want to get even (see the riots of the London yobs). )

Georgism corrects for all the blatant flaws in standard Libertarianism, whilst still retaining all its strengths. By putting natural resources/land into the common pool, at a stroke the main cause of monopolies is eliminated, as are most coordination problems. Using LVT (Land Value Tax) to fund a gauranteed minimum income at a stroke does away with the need for all the bureaucracy of government welfare, whilst at the same time eliminating poverty. Finally, the LVT at a stroke eliminates the need for income tax altogether, thats ZERO income tax, at last unleashing the full power and efficiency of the market for all areas other than natural resources,.

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