The Free Market Is a Beautiful Thing

Trade and cooperation are superior to force and command.

Market advocates tend to respect the intellect of their fellow human beings. You can tell by their reliance on philosophical, moral, economic, and historical arguments when trying to persuade others. But what if most people’s aversion to the market isn’t founded in philosophy, morality, economics, or history? What if their objection is aesthetic?

More and more I’ve come to think this is the case, and I believe I witnessed an example recently at a lecture I gave at St. Lawrence University. During the Q&A a woman asked, in all sincerity, why society couldn’t do without money, since so many bad things are associated with it. She also suggested that cooperation is better than market competition. I replied that since money facilitates exchange and exchange is cooperation, it follows that money facilitates cooperation — a lovely thing, indeed. Government, I added, corrupts money.

I also said that competition is what happens when we are free to decide with whom we will cooperate. I don’t know if my response prompted her to rethink her objections to the market, but I am confident her objection was aesthetic. For her, money and competition are ugly. Perhaps I didn’t respond on an aesthetic level; it’s something I have to work on. But I tried, and so must we all when we encounter these sorts of objections.

Like that nice woman, many decent people dislike markets because they find them unattractive. And they associate markets with other things they find unattractive besides money and competition: (rugged, atomistic) individualism, selfishness, and profit. F.A. Hayek noticed this, writing in “Individualism: True and False” (PDF), “the belief that individualism approves and encourages human selfishness is one of the main reasons why so many people dislike it.” If that’s the case, philosophical, moral, economic, and historical arguments may fall on deaf ears. The objections must be met on an aesthetic level.

In other words, advocates of free markets must demonstrate that markets are things of beauty. Fortunately, that is not hard to do.

The freed market is a political-legal setting in which people are at liberty to peacefully pursue their chosen plans. This activity generates, unintentionally, an undesigned order that facilitates cooperation and coordination among even distant strangers, making each person’s pursuit more effective and efficient than otherwise. The price system is the primary means by which this is accomplished. To many people, the price system seems impersonal and cold, but it’s the key to the market’s beauty, for it is what gives the market its coordinative and corrective power, which, although generated by individuals’ purposive action, transcends them. The market is beautiful not because it lives up to some mathematically elegant equilibrium model — but because it does not! It’s beauty lies in its power to coordinate and correct errors. And it does this work without compulsion or authoritarian central direction. As a result, when truly free — no privileges, no arbitrary restrictions — the market gives all a better chance at living in any peaceful way they wish. How lovely!

That is where our emphasis should be placed. Frédéric Bastiat knew what he was doing when he called his (unfinished) magnum opus Economic Harmonies. His purpose throughout was to show that the market setting harmonizes people’s deepest interests and enables them to further their own causes by cooperating with others through exchange. For him, a central feature of the market is its inexorable transfer of wealth from the private to the “communal domain,” as technological innovation and competition increasingly substitute the gratis services of nature for arduous human labor. As a description of this harmony, his book is a work of art — as is Ludwig von Mises’s Human Action, which is dedicated to showing that markets are social cooperation. (That nearly was the title of the work).

To most people the quintessential market “force,” the law of supply and demand, seems sterile and cold, but it is the market’s beauty in action, and we must find ways to communicate it in that way. Adam Smith saw it. Indulge me as I quote from The Wealth of Nations (bk. 1, chap. 7):

The market price of every particular commodity is regulated by the proportion between the quantity which is actually brought to market, and the demand of those who are willing to pay the natural price of the commodity, or the whole value of the rent, labour, and profit, which must be paid in order to bring it thither. Such people may be called the effectual demanders, and their demand the effectual demand; since it may be sufficient to effectuate the bringing of the commodity to market.…

When the quantity of any commodity which is brought to market falls short of the effectual demand, all those who are willing to pay the whole value of the rent, wages, and profit, which must be paid in order to bring it thither, cannot be supplied with the quantity which they want. Rather than want it altogether, some of them will be willing to give more. A competition will immediately begin among them, and the market price will rise more or less above the natural price, according as either the greatness of the deficiency, or the wealth and wanton luxury of the competitors, happen to animate more or less the eagerness of the competition. Among competitors of equal wealth and luxury the same deficiency will generally occasion a more or less eager competition, according as the acquisition of the commodity happens to be of more or less importance to them. Hence the exorbitant price of the necessaries of life during the blockade of a town or in a famine.

When the quantity brought to market exceeds the effectual demand, it cannot be all sold to those who are willing to pay the whole value of the rent, wages and profit, which must be paid in order to bring it thither. Some part must be sold to those who are willing to pay less, and the low price which they give for it must reduce the price of the whole. The market price will sink more or less below the natural price, according as the greatness of the excess increases more or less the competition of the sellers, or according as it happens to be more or less important to them to get immediately rid of the commodity. The same excess in the importation of perishable, will occasion a much greater competition than in that of durable commodities; in the importation of oranges, for example, than in that of old iron.

When the quantity brought to market is just sufficient to supply the effectual demand and no more, the market price naturally comes to be either exactly, or as nearly as can be judged of, the same with the natural price. The whole quantity upon hand can be disposed of for this price, and cannot be disposed of for more. The competition of the different dealers obliges them all to accept of this price, but does not oblige them to accept of less.…

If at any time it [quantity] exceeds the effectual demand, some of the component parts of its price must be paid below their natural rate. If it is rent, the interest of the landlords will immediately prompt them to withdraw a part of their land; and if it is wages or profit, the interest of the labourers in the one case, and of their employers in the other, will prompt them to withdraw a part of their labour or stock from this employment. The quantity brought to market will soon be no more than sufficient to supply the effectual demand. All the different parts of its price will rise to their natural rate, and the whole price to its natural price.

If, on the contrary, the quantity brought to market should at any time fall short of the effectual demand, some of the component parts of its price must rise above their natural rate. If it is rent, the interest of all other landlords will naturally prompt them to prepare more land for the raising of this commodity; if it is wages or profit, the interest of all other labourers and dealers will soon prompt them to employ more labour and stock in preparing and bringing it to market. The quantity brought thither will soon be sufficient to supply the effectual demand. All the different parts of its price will soon sink to their natural rate, and the whole price to its natural price.

The natural price, therefore, is, as it were, the central price, to which the prices of all commodities are continually gravitating.

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  • John Galt||

    If free markets were presented in an exotic form like a Tabriz Bazaar or Shangri-La market place something tells me the people who despise them would suddenly love them. It's like feeding pets or children something they think they don't like, a little camouflaging, or hiding the undesired ingredient, makes it very appetizing. In this case they just need to think what they're getting is un-American and contains no capitalism.

  • Ted S.||

    The free movement of goods and people was great when only the wealthy could afford it.

    Cheap vacations in Florida for everybody? How vulgar.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "a little camouflaging, or hiding the undesired ingredient, makes it very appetizing"

    Yep. Why do you think the left always wants to redefine the language of the their arguments. Last one I heard is that "gun control" laws should be called "public safety" laws. They know they can't win the argument without obfuscation.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Of course they have done the same thing with capitalism is well. "Robber Barons", "Law of the Jungle", "Predatory Capitalism". I don't know that we need to camouflage our arguments as much as we need to deprogram the sheeple. It's an uphill battle because you're fighting the media who have the largest pulpit.

  • Virginian||

    The school is far more of an issue then the media. They take your kids at five, keep them six hours a day, and give them back at 18....for an advanced course in statist propaganda.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, then if they go to college it gets even worse. But they're already prepped which is why it's easier to get those kids on the bus to loonyville.

  • Virginian||

    Yeah I don't think people really understand just how the schools are. It's a constant swarm of statism and communalism from start to finish. It is explicitly designed to turn out socialists.

  • ||

    To be fair, Cronyism/Crony Capitalism has caught on fairly well and is an excellent jumping off point for explaining why our system is so fucked particularly to tea party or occupy fellow travelers who know something is wrong but don't have a fleshed out idea of what that is.

  • AlmightyJB||

    But I think most people see that as just an issue of the republicans being the "party of the rich." It's the good old boys network. They don't tie that to the bigger picture of overall government power and money and the corruption it breeds.

  • ||

    That's pretty easy to fix. Chris Dodd is the most awesome example of crony bullshit ever.

    I usually outline Dodd's career, mention his disdain for the DC "revolving door", his exit through the revolving door, and then:
    "Candidly, those who count on quote 'Hollywood' for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake," Dodd told Fox News. "Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don't pay any attention to me when my job is at stake."

    People have a WTF moment and are primed to believe that cronyist corruption is a DC problem and not a Red or Blue problem.

  • Hyperion||

    A lot of people only see one side of the street. Sort of like the OWS movement.

    They blame it all on big business and forget that cronyism can't happen without the government going along and even encouraging it.

  • Ted S.||

    I like to tell people that we give Big Government enormous power to *uck up people's lives (let people replace the asterisk with what they will). As such, it's perfectly logical that people will go to great lengths to ensure that Big Government is interfering in someone else's life. And yet there are people who think the solution is to give Big Government more power to screw up people's lives.

  • Whahappan?||

    Tony in a nutshell.

  • Hyperion||

    This is where part of the problem can be found. Since it's mostly crony capitalism in this country today, people don't know the difference between that and a free market capitalism, so capitalism gets a bad name.

  • AlmightyJB||

    And since both sides as well as the media and unions and corporations all play the cronyism game, they're all invested in keeping the game going.

  • thom||

    Basically this. People are generally dumb and I've given up trying to explain this stuff.

  • John Galt||

    A little tweaking of a word here or a phrase there and viola! now the unacceptable is desirable.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Oh for sure. Propaganda works.

    Take the blatantly corporatist behavior of the obama administration; they call it a "green jobs initiative", or "investments into sustainable energy" when all it is is straight up theft.

    And people fucking cheer for it.

  • John Galt||

    Sometimes do you ever wonder if sticking to your principles, which are well thought out and most likely the best choice, or simply doing what must be done to win is the wisest approach?

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    "or simply doing what must be done to win..."

    What's the prize? Is it something I want? Is it worth doing things I disagree with, or find downright immoral?

    The problem is "winning" simply means engaging in more crony capitalism, theft, oppression etc. That's not the prize I want.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But what if most people’s aversion to the market isn’t founded in philosophy, morality, economics, or history? What if their objection is aesthetic?

    That's a polite way of putting it, I suppose. Thinking versus feeling.

  • robc||

    Thinking versus feeling.

    I still think Myers-Briggs is only one step above astrology, but it does have its uses.

  • Jerryskids||

    Given the fact that the market is simply the aggregate of all the choices made by all the people out there, saying you don't like a particular aspect of the market is saying you don't like the choices other people have made. For some of us, whether or not we like the choices others have made is something we accept we have no control over. For others, not liking the choices other people have made is all the excuse they need to assert the right to control the choices of others.

    If you don't like Walmart, don't shop there. Or organize a group to demand the government outlaw Walmart. It's all the same thing, right? Except if you choose the latter course, you get to be smug about demonstrating your moral superiority to the rest of us while you stomp on our faces.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The natural price, therefore, is, as it were, the central price, to which the prices of all commodities are continually gravitating.

    Free markets are beautiful for sure and an auction is the epitome of a free market. When I played a lot of competitive golf this was our preferred market methodology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcutta_auction

  • Gene||

    You where a pro golfer? Lemme guess, Ted Tryba?

  • Gene||

    *were*

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The new tool on MSNBC, that replaced Chris Hayes weekend mornings has a group of proglodytes saying that the government has been starved for money and shrinking in the last 12 years, thanks to republicans, and that's why we're in a depression. With the solution being vastly increasing gubmint spending and taxes as the solution.

    Total government spending is pushing 45% of GDP - so there is literally no amount or spending that would satisfy these assholes.

  • John||

    We spent 20% more in 2010 than we did in any year of the Bush Administration. MSNBC doesn't really even try to be professional anymore.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Of course you are lying again. The CBO said Bush spent $3.5 trillion his last year and we are in the $3.7 trillion area now.

  • John||

    Go back in your whole you little retard. And stop pretending Bush was still in office in 2009.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The CBO said Bush spent $3.5 trillion his last year

    That year including the supposed one time bump from TARP and the 800bn stimulus that Obama signed in feb 09.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "supposed one time bump from TARP"

    The fact that TARP and the "Stimulus" funds somehow are now part of the baseline budget is really the most insane part of this whole thing. That has to be tge largest money/power grab by the government in history. I don't get why that doesn't piss every single person in this country off.

  • Hyperion||

    It pisses me off. Most people are too busy worrying about the next episode of dancing with the stars to even have ever heard of TARP.

    I'm sorry to say it, and it's sad, but most Americans are fucking stupid, ignorant, quasi retards.

  • AlmightyJB||

    It's true.

  • John Galt||

    Yes, we are. And that's why, while it may be hope generating distraction, it's ridiculous for any of us to think the downward death spiral of our dodo bird can be reversed. herp derp.

  • ||

    Once again shithead. Bush added $4T to the debt in 8 years. Obama added $6T in a little over 4.

    FUCK YOU!

    Link 1

    Link 2

  • Wind Rider||

    Ahem, Congress added $4T while Bush sat by and watched, then Congress added $6T in a little over 4 years, with Skippy as head cheerleader.

  • ||

    Point taken.

  • John Galt||

    For the last two years of Bush 43's presidency, after the Democrats gained control of the Senate, he seemed to have just resigned himself to what he appeared to believe was a case of total Democratic Party control with him just along for the ride.

    It was ask and you shall receive.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I watch it to get a sense of where the progressives are and where they're headed.

    They've gone completely fucking insane. Actually believe that government has shrunk, when it has grown rapidly, and believe that most people want higher taxes so that the pols can spend ever more.

    It's almost as insane as their gun grabbing hysteria.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    State and local spending is way down since 2008.

  • John||

    http://www.usgovernmentspendin.....1_US_total

    No it is not you lying little retard.

  • Gene||

    What's a measly little half trillion or so?

  • Killazontherun||

    John, I usually advise no communition with the trolls but you just kicked his ass in ways that only the French army has ever known before now.

  • ||

    They've gone completely fucking insane.

    No, this is a highly effective technique for them. They introduce an out and out lie to the narrative and repeat it long enough for it to become accepted as common knowledge. It then becomes nearly impossible to argue against because you are committing heresy by challenging their overwhelmingly accepted premise.

    IT WORKS.

    e.g. Trickle down economics was proven to be an abysmal failure. Capitalism caused the Great Recession...

  • Virginian||

    Exactly. They stake out the position that total government control will save us, and then eventually they grudgingly acquiesce to only half what they wanted. Then they start demanding the rest of the pie a week later.

  • Killazontherun||

    Capitalism through the deregulation that the hard core free market ideologue George W Bush pushed through as he bled the tax base dry and destroyed its fair progressivity is what they truly believe to have occurred. The Great Recession is to them and what they believe about capitalism as the fall of the Berlin Wall is to anti-communist. Definitive proof of the righteous nature of the cause.

  • Hyperion||

    They were always insane. It's just that they're emboldened right now and actually coming out and saying the insane shit that they were always thinking, but were afraid to say.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    A depression is a sustained downturn in economic activity marked by asset devaluations.

    2008-09 contained a depression. We are in recovery. Tell those assholes that.

  • John||

    We have 11% real unemployment and completely stagnant growth. Go back in your hole you disgusting little fuck.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    A depression is a long period of time where actual GDP is below potential GDP.

    The 1930s are called the great depression for that reason, despite the fact that the economy was growing for more years than it was shrinking in during that depression.

    Face it, we are in a depression, with actual GDP more than 10% below potential and no real expectation by anyone that we will see the kind of sustained growth needed to bring us back to potential. In fact, the growth rate has been below long term trend for the last couple of years, meaning that the actual-potential gap is growing, not shrinking.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    How do economists measure "potential" GDP? Are you making shit up again?

  • John||

    No. He is just speaking intelligently about economics. Since you are a retarded, you don't understand. And yes, GND grew in many years in the 1930s. Yet, it was still considered a depression.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Resource utilization never achieves 100%.

  • John||

    So what? But employment can hit its natural rate. And growth can it a high where it can go no higher without producing inflation.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Shut the fuck up, shreik.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    How do economists measure "potential" GDP? Are you making shit up again?

    Long term trend based on a 50+ year average of 3.1% growth per year.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org.....-04-20.pdf

  • VG Zaytsev||

    And since you'll probably claim that the St Louis Fed is a wingnut site, here's a link to socialist Brad deLong on the issue.

  • VG Zaytsev||

  • Mike M.||

    Seriously, go tell the people in Europe that there's no depression going on and see just how well that claim goes over.

    Honestly guys, I have no idea why you keep on engaging this lying, Obama-worshipping scumbag. He's nothing but a shit-throwing monkey.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Because casual lurkers might believe his bullshit.

  • Virginian||

    Exactly. You don't argue with statists at a bar or wherever to persuade them. You argue so the people who overhear you, who don't have strong political beliefs, will consider your point of view.

    Debates are not for the participants, debates are for the audience.

  • ||

    THIS^

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Yes, this. Most of the time I ignore him. But occasionally an especially ignorant comment needs to be slapped down.

  • Jordan||

    Bullshit. We have achieved a measly few percent growth, artificially inflated by massive deficit spending. It's a house of sand.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Like that nice woman, many decent people dislike markets because they find them unattractive. And they associate markets with other things they find unattractive besides money and competition: (rugged, atomistic) individualism, selfishness, and profit. F.A. Hayek noticed this, writing in “Individualism: True and False” (PDF), “the belief that individualism approves and encourages human selfishness is one of the main reasons why so many people dislike it.” If that’s the case, philosophical, moral, economic, and historical arguments may fall on deaf ears. The objections must be met on an aesthetic level.

    It seem to me that humans are genetically hardwired to believe in zero-sum resource allocation. Which leads to the ill formed concept that profit = theft, if you're making money from interacting with xxxxxx then you are effective stealing from them.

    That erroneous belief can be replaced with a respect for profits and markets by education and experience, however we have 12-year socialist indoctrination camps in the form of public schools that reinforces the innate concept that profit = theft.

  • John||

    The problem with economics and life in general is that it often produces counter intuitive answers. What seems intuitively the right thing to do, because of the enormous complexity of society and second order effects often produces the opposite result. Something like rent control intuitively sounds like a great way to make sure everyone has reasonable rent. Of course in practice it does just the opposite.

    Most people can't or won't get past that. People who make decisions on an emotional level tend to be really susceptible to not getting past their intuitions. And thus liberals tend to be so emotional and angry.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The problem with economics and life in general is that it often produces counter intuitive answers.

    True, and this is an area where our current education system is greatly failing students and society by reinforcing the the pre existing biases instead of helping people get past them.

    They're literally pushing anti-scientific dogma when it comes to economics.

  • PapayaSF||

    Indeed. Even really bright progressives just can't wrap their mind around the fact that a high minimum wage hurts poor people. They think that if everybody getting $7/hour suddenly got $14/hour, all sorts of wonderful things would happen.

    I recently had a bright (psychologist) friend of a friend argue that that was how economic prosperity worked: when people had more money to spend, business had more customers. So to promote business, you have a high minimum wage and lots of welfare spending.

  • John||

    The other issue is that people seem to be naturally susceptible to Utopianism. Most of our problems can be traced to people's inability to take the best of a set of imperfect options.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    however we have 12-year socialist indoctrination camps in the form of public schools that reinforces the innate concept that profit = theft.

    You didn't bring enough "x" for the whole class?

  • Virginian||

    Yeah, or taking everyone's markers at the beginning of the school year and putting them in one giant bin.

    Or forcing a kid to share a toy that belongs to them.

  • Mike M.||

    We're in the middle of April, and the midwest is still getting socked with major snowstorms. Minneapolis has had like five days of snow in a row now. How's that "global warming" working out for everybody?

    And yes, this is the cue for Mary Stack and all our other assclown trolls to reply with some argle-bargle about the melting Arctic ice, the "polar vortex", and every other piece of bullshit that they can think of.

  • John||

    Of course last year it was like 90 degrees in Boston on Patriots' Day. It is almost as if the weather varies year to year instead of moving in a linear fashion towards the AGW apocalypse.

  • Gene||

    The rain can fuck off as well, so much for that drought.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    It is scary because people I would otherwise believe to be very informed and intelligent will vehemently argue that GW is real and needs a national effort to be averted if you even hint that global warming may be a bunch of BS.

    I read a fair amount of nuclear power blogs and articles and I am always astounded that most will admit that government has single handedly caused most, if not all, of nuclear powers high costs and negative image issues, but will than continue that if we could only get our TOP.MEN. in charge we could force nuclear power. There is no thought that maybe government is the problem to begin with. This is where I seriously diverge from this crowd. I believe the only way to proliferate nuclear power is to remove government from the equation and allow it to compete on the free market, which I believe it would dominate in. Nuclear power has to deal with the most political and inefficient regulatory agency on the planet, the NRC, and it still manages to compete.

    Deregulation of nukes would open up so many opportunities to develop better nuclear technology and would result in plants being built on a similar time scale to a coal plant, but at a far lower cost than current nuclear plants.

  • Virginian||

    My conspiracy loving brain says that they're terrified of micronukes. I think it was Toshiba that came out with a garage sized underground sealed unit that can provide an apartment building or an average suburban block with 20 years of power for a very reasonable price. That kind of independence on the part of us proles scares the shit out of them.

  • John||

    They are terrified of abundance. It really is a sin to them. They hate consumerism and materiality so by extension they hate anything that makes us richer and life more abundant. That is why they have latched onto environmentalism. It is a great excuse for keeping people poor and noble.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Yes, there are many designs that are better than what we have now it is saddening that we are still using the first version of a nuclear power plant developed in the 50's. I would be interested to see what an industrialist could come up with if he knew that he could actually develop his design into a money making machine.

    The NRC takes literally a decade to license pressurized water reactors, very well know plants. Imagine how long it would take to license something completely different such as a liquid fueled reactor. It would blow the NRC's mind.

  • Bill Door||

    I have a buddy who interned at the Idaho National Lab, a pretty big time nuclear development lab that the Clinton admin basically crippled. We talk pretty frequently about nuclear power and its advantages, but also about some of reactors they have developed that are way more efficient than what is currently in use. It irritates me how so many people are scared of nuclear power, because they've bought into the scare tactics that have been shoved down our throats for so long.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Notice that AGW advocates never bring up the effect of Solar weather upon the Earth. They would never let the idea that the Sun is entering a cooling period enter into their teeny-tiny little brains, despite the undeniable evidence.

  • ||

    I was joking with a friend of mine that we were heading for a period of sunspot activity most closely associated with the Maunder Minimum and that AGW was going to partially protect us from a little ice age. He thought I was being loony, then read the article I sent him and was amused.

  • PapayaSF||

    I once knew an astronomer with expert knowledge of zodiacal dust, some of which is between the Earth and the sun. She thought that the idea that small increases in atmospheric CO2 were causing climate change was pretty funny.

  • John||

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....stant.html

    So much for the evil Aryan Nation Mexican drug cartel alliance. Turns out the murders in Texas are the result of some angry loser ex court employee.

  • Virginian||

    Not surprising at all. I mean, organized crime in general doesn't go after cops or DAs, TV shows and movie to the contrary. If you kill a DA, another one takes over, and your case is now priority number one for every single badge in the state.

    Love the arrogance and entitlement of that government employee.

    "So we have you on camera stealing computers from the office"

    "So? My bosses never liked me! They're out to get me!"

  • John||

    yeah. It is really bad business to go after DAs and such. The FBI are assholes. The gangs know that the FBI would just start killing them if they made a habit of killing judges and such.

  • Virginian||

    Yeah if you piss off the FBI they surround your home, machine gun it, pump it full of CS, and light it on fire.

  • John||

    If the mexican drug gangs started really killing cops and judges, the US would start drone striking them.

  • Generic Stranger||

    I thought that was the LAPD...

  • Generic Stranger||

    Err...I guess it's both. Forgot about Waco and Ruby Ridge for a second, mostly because I associate those cluster fucks more with the ATF than the FBI.

  • ||

    SO, cops can raid my house by mistake, shoot me, my family, my dog. They can open up on a lady in a vehicle not coming close to the description of the perp. And...Oopsie...take a paid vacation until this all blows over we sweep it under the rug.

    But THIS is grounds for termination:

    A police officer accused of bringing targets resembling Trayvon Martin to a gun range has been fired.

    I think perhaps, priorities are a just little out of whack in the world of LE.

  • PapayaSF||

    My favorite story like this happened in San Francisco in 1996. A uniformed but off-duty city bus driver took exception to two guys kissing, so he assaulted them. He was suspended, convicted of assault, fired, and then reinstated when his union protested.

    Even in SF, municipal unions are so powerful that you can bash gays and keep your job.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It seem to me that humans are genetically hardwired to believe in zero-sum resource allocation.

    What the human sees is "her" pair of shoes going out the door of the shoe store under somebody else's arm. She loses, and that other girl wins. She does not see the guy at the shoe factory looking at sales reports for that model and saying, "People are buying the hell out of these; let's make more."

  • Ted S.||

    This is why there are no female libertarians.

  • ||

    Um yeah. I do see girls who are like that. I observe them like an alien species. I cannot imagine what life must be like to have no marketable skills and have to rely upon the hope of a future marriage for one's material well being. These girls seem primarily motivated by the desire to look pretty so they can catch a husband. If they have jobs or careers they don't seem very interested in them.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    A police officer accused of bringing targets resembling Trayvon Martin to a gun range has been fired.

    Don't worry. When the totality of circs are revealed in arbitration, he'll be reinstated with back pay.

  • John||

    To me the most irrational and unhealthy thinking going on these days is people's irrational hatred of corporations. The fact that corporations produce all of this great stuff and that millions of people have a good middle class living and retirement working for corporations is completely lost on liberals.

  • ||

    It all goes back to, as VGZ said above, people believing in zero-sum resource allocation.

    If Korporations become wealthy, they MUST have stolen that money from someone more deserving. They cannot comprehend that something non-existent yesterday is now added to the whole. What was a piece of leather worth $1, is now a pair of shoes worth $50.

    Education!

  • John||

    Everyone out to have to learn and understand the old island analogy and the hill people and valley people analogies before graduating high school. Things like labor specialization and comparative advantage are totally alien concepts to many people.

  • ||

    Everyone needs an econ/business class or two. It would be nice if they got it in high school. I didn't know SHIT about business until I got a bullshit MBA at 40. At that point I realized how ignorant I was in economic matters prior.

  • John||

    I understood business because my grandfather was a farmer and my dad worked in corporate America. He explained to me how things actually worked. I remember having a conversation about protectionism when I was like 11. And he explained to me how AT&T sourced parts and how they needed to buy the best parts available to be competitive and if you didn't let them buy foreign made parts they would be worse off and the American companies who supply the parts would be worse off because they wouldn't be driven to get better by the foreign competition.

    Sadly, almost no one has those things explained to them.

  • John||

    And that doesn't include the number of endless angry lectures I got from my grandfather on taxes and how hard it was to make a living and how taxes made it that much harder.

  • Generic Stranger||

    I remember having a conversation about protectionism when I was like 11. And he explained to me how AT&T sourced parts...

    Wait, when did your father work for AT&T? Because if it was pre-1984 or thereabouts, that's hypocritical as hell.

  • John||

    No its not. It was still a business. And it still had to source parts.

    Thanks for completely missing the point dipshit.

  • Generic Stranger||

    An employee of a government-protected monopoly was bitching about how government protectionism made his job harder. Yeah, that's pretty much textbook hypocrisy, right there.

  • John||

    Part of it too also is that a lot of liberals work in government and academia and have no idea how corporations actually work. And worse, they don't know anyone who does.

  • Virginian||

    Let me explain to you how this works. You see, the corporations finance Team America. And then Team America goes out, and the corporations sit there in their-- In their corporation buildings, and... And-- And see, they're all corporation-y, and they make money. Mmm?

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    "You are worthress Aric Barwin!!"

  • Sevo||

    OT:
    Some ChiCom quasi-gov't entity was planning on bankrolling ($1.7Bn) the development of former Fed lands in SF. Last week, they pulled the plug.
    The story is mostly hidden behind a pay-wall (the Chron's latest effort to make money as an AP reseller), but:
    "Tax law may have sunk China deal in S.F."
    ..."Specifically, an Obama administration tax law known as FACTA, which the Chinese bank would be subject to, and the Chinese really, really don’t like."...
    http://blog.sfgate.com/bottoml.....i-project/
    There really aren't any good guys here; it is 'urban development' crony/cap, but it's fun watching one of those projects get shot down as a result of Obozo's tax-grab.

  • John||

    That is the thing about being a crony, sometimes you win and sometimes the other cronies get the drop on you.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    During the Q&A a woman asked, in all sincerity, why society couldn’t do without money

    How does a (presumed) college student get through life without even the most rudimentary understanding of the concept of money as a medium of exchange? How do I find her? I want to trade her these magic beans for her cow.

    We're DOOOOOOOOMED.

  • John||

    Part of it I think is being a special snowflake and never having to work a real job. This woman is like some gelded age princess. She really does think power comes from the light socket.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Oh, she's taught that shit in college. That's pure soviet union bullshit right there. Everything is the collective doing their little jobs. The state takes care of providing you with your needs. You don't need money.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Man, I hate living in the gelded age! The falsetto vocal stylings of Justin Timberlake don't make up for all the downsides of this age.

    Seriously, though, I agree that this woman probably has a trust fund and really doesn't understand how most people live.

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...gelded age...

    You're busting my balls, John.

  • PapayaSF||

    John's best typo in a while. He meant "Gilded Age," right?

  • BakedPenguin||

    I think so, it fits in context. And that is a top ten typo.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I don't know. I think they both work.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    My conspiracy loving brain says that they're terrified of micronukes. I think it was Toshiba that came out with a garage sized underground sealed unit that can provide an apartment building or an average suburban block with 20 years of power for a very reasonable price.

    Really. This would be awesome; and, according to conversations I have had with people like former Navy nuke guys, it would be pretty easily doable right now.

  • Virginian||

  • John||

    That would be so awesome. Have one of those in your neighborhood with all underground lines. Absolutely reliable power for 40 years.

  • Virginian||

    It's not the reliability that scares the Top Men, it's the independence. Anything that reduces dependence on the collective is a bad thing for the people steering the collective.

    A neighborhood with a micro-nuke plant can run their showers as hot as they want, can use whatever fucking lightbulbs they want. Look up "smart meters". Anyone who doesn't think those will be used at some point to enforce a green agenda based rationing scheme is delusional.

  • John||

    I hate those things.

  • John||

    And don't forget the entire power industry would go the way of the buffalo with those things. They would not go quietly.

  • ||

    And don't forget the entire power industry would go the way of the buffalo with those things. They would not go quietly.

    Meh. More likely the power industry would be on the cutting edge of this. They'd slowly shift their business model away from other forms of energy to the more efficient one that is more profitable. It costs a shitload to explore for oil and to pull it out of the ground.

    I never bought the notion that Big Oil is holding us back from X because they can't make as much money with X. That's bullshit. If X was really better (more efficient) than oil, they'd be in X up to their ass. The problem is X (solar/wind...) isn't more efficient. Not by a longshot. There is truly no money to be made.

  • ||

    But that presupposes that energy is even vaguely operating under a healthy market environment. I'm not saying that solar will ever outcompete oil, but it would be more attractive for a mixed energy source portfolio if the price of oil floated upward because of fewer tax breaks and implicit subsidies (the military for one).

    Gotta go, so I won't be here to defend this point, shred away I'll be back tonight to see why I'm wrong.

  • ||

    Toshiba expects to install the first reactor in Japan in 2008 and to begin marketing the new system in Europe and America in 2009.

    The success of this should be verifiable by now. Any chance there are examples of these in place?

  • robc||

    http://imdiversity.com/village.....icro-nuke/

    Most recent news I can find, from Nov 2012

  • robc||

    Toshiba has pledged that the 4S prototype would be constructed at no cost to the village. Galena would have a cheap, clean-burning solution to all its energy needs for three decades, in exchange for becoming an international nuclear guinea pig.

  • Virginian||

    but that it will have to first clear the hurdle of public opinion.

    The only fucking public opinion that matters is the people in the village.

    See, this I think more then anything else is the root of the problem, this fucked up idea that the things someone thousands of miles away chooses to do with their own land and money is anyone else's business.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Nice.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Galena would have a cheap, clean-burning solution to all its energy needs for three decades, in exchange for becoming an international nuclear guinea pig.

    Racist corporations, always trying to force modern technology on the noble indigenous population. They're like Mengele on paper.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    According to Toshiba, the 4S could cut electricity costs for the village by more than 75 percent for at least 30 years. The plant would also use water from the Yukon River to create hydrogen gas to be stored in fuel cells, one of the most talked-about forms of renewable energy in recent years.

    Al Gore needs to dispatch a 747 full of protesters, pronto.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    “Like anything new, it’s going to have to be studied pretty closely before we agree to bring it in,” Louden Village Council Chief Peter Captain told the Anchorage Daily News.

    Like anything new, we fear and demonize it.

  • Virginian||

    Eh, to be fair here, if the reactor has "issues" in the winter, his people are going to get mighty fucking cold. He's just doing his due diligence.

  • Hyperion||

    Where did buttpig go? Is his head safely back up Obamas arse again?

  • ||

    He always conveniently disappears after getting his ass handed to him.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    He's just doing his due diligence.

    Hopefully, but it sounds to me like it's not principally about functional issues. And you certainly wouldn't want to scrap those diesel generators right away.

  • Jerryskids||

    OT: A start toward freedom of the press for the internet.

    It bugs the hell out of me that the reason for extending journalist shield laws to a blogger is due to the opinion that someone writing on the internet is a 'professional journalist' covering political topics and is therefore protected rather than simply admitting that free speech and free press rights give *everyone* the right to express an opinion, but this is at least a start. I think I have free press rights to post a comment here regardless of whether or not I am a 'professional journalist' - I have that right because I am a human being.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Goddamn it, yes. The Founding Father knew this. Journalism of the day was scribblers and pamphleteers reprinting other papers' articles as a sideline. TMZ is more professional than they were.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    OT: The wife came back from the eye doc just furious the other day. The eye doc told her, thanks to Obamacare, he's going to be required to take height, weight, and body fat measurements on every exam and place those in his soon to be computerized records.

    No idea how accurate his claims actually are but should I feel guilty about relishing my wife's growing limited government beliefs? She started talking about leaving the country if things got really bad. Previously, she had ridiculed my desire to move to another state to escape the state level stupidity.

  • Rhywun||

    I can't for my next eye appointment so I can have that argument.

  • Rhywun||

    Er, "...wait...".

  • ||

    It's a thing. The doctor is going for "meaningful use". It's incredibly dumb.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    You're busting my balls, John.

    If we're not living in a "gelded age" I'll eat my hat.

  • Josef||

    To paraphrase von Mises in 'Human Action,'"The market is not a beauty contest. The most efficient or best solutions don't always win." While the market is a beautiful thing, those who have decided what the "rational" answer is, are often disappointed at the evolutionary steps the market takes. These evolutionary steps are often thought of as ugly because they disrupt the current conditions flow and are often not the "rational" solution.

    Auto-tuning originated from a oil engineer who thought his process could be used in the music industry. Auto-tuning lead to artists creating new musical ventures, not so much their voice as an instrument. The status quo initially denounced auto-tuning as a tool for hacks, but now everyone is using it. The entrepreneur spoke and the customers listened. An ugly solution from a beautiful process.

  • ||

    I'll raise my hand as one of those users. Yeah, I initially recoiled against the idea of auto tuning, but then I realized I was just being a purity dork, kind of like those that got all huffy when Dylan went electric.

    Auto-tune is a great tool. I've used it with the Reaper DAW and it's the kind of tool (like compression), that can be overused, but can also be used subtly. Either way, it can greatly enhance a track. Sure, it can help people with crap talent at staying on tune... stay on tune... but so what? Music isn't judged based on how hard it is to make or how talented the musicians are... it should be judged on the final result - the music itself. And auto-tune is a tool I will thus continue to use and thank the inventors for making it available to us.

  • celena7ron||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job Ive had. Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link, mojo50.com

  • OldMexican||

    Re: celena7ron,

    It's by-far the best job Ive had.


    Who's Ive?

  • OldMexican||

    I don’t know if my response prompted her to rethink her objections to the market, but I am confident her objection was aesthetic. For her, money and competition are ugly.


    Same thing I've said here many times: anti-market ideologues consider profits and markets icky. They have no reason to hate profits or markets or money; they only have their own hang-ups.

  • John C. Randolph||

    They have no reason to hate profits or markets

    I have to disagree with you here, OM. A person with nothing valuable to offer will hate the market. Ivory-tower pinheads in particular, love the pretense of prestige they get from their tax-funded institutions, and they fear the poverty they will fall into if we all stop letting the state loot us.

    -jcr

  • ||

    -market ideologues consider profits and markets icky

    See? Icky = Disgust mechanism.
    That's the liberal purity/sanctity axis, right there. Markets are impure, sharing is pure.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Palin's Buttwipe,

    A depression is a sustained downturn in economic activity marked by asset devaluations.


    We still have downturn in economic activity and asset devaluations. If you want to bring up the supposed recovery in the housing market, let me tell you something: Just because you put yourself up in a stool does not mean the boat under you is not sinking.

    2008-09 contained a depression. We are in recovery. Tell those assholes that.


    Tell yourself that. Just one thing, Buttwipe: don't expect any sympathy from us when the shit hits your finances.

  • OldMexican||

    To many people, the price system seems impersonal and cold


    More than that, Mr. Richman; the price system reminds a lot of people that they're not entitled to those things they want, a psychological shock that makes them lash out against those that simply want to engage in fair exchange. Hence: Minimum wage laws, "fair" market pricing laws (e.g. price floors or price ceilings, anti-gouging laws, anti-trust laws, etc.), progressive taxation, you name it.

    Especially those that are not productive enough to obtain higher-value goods from the market than other more productive people. Some of the less-productive people (including intellectuals whose wares have very little market value) make appeals to fairness that rely on people's envy to impose policies that purport to "level the playing field" when, in fact, the goal is to forcibly transfer goods from the more productive to the less productive; the goal is thus to reward mediocrity at the expense of productivity.

  • Hyperion||

    Well said, in fact, I would go so far as to say, you can't say it much better that.

    I tend to fall over into hyperbole and say that today in Murika, success is punished, and sloth is rewarded.

    However you say it, this cannot end well.

  • Sevo||

    "More than that, Mr. Richman; the price system reminds a lot of people that they're not entitled to those things they want,"

    I'd add that it forces them to quantify the value of what they offer to the world, and that means questioning whether anything on offer is worth diddly-shit.
    Most often, it isn't.

  • ||

    I mentioned this in a another thread a few weeks ago.

    I think markets fall in the 'impure' side of the purity-santity axis for many progressive and liberals. This is because money elicits a "disgust" reaction based on the fact that historically, for most of human history, trade and money would have been common disease vectors. Money changes hands a lot, and trade brings people in contact with diseases from other parts of the world. The Black Death was carried from China along the silk road and spread through Europe on trade routes.

    So it's entirely possible that trade and the exchange of coin became associated with disease and therefore became attached to to a disgust reaction that eventually became associated with ALL commerce. And of course it got mixed up with religion which reinforces the norm.

    Over the weekend I was at a party where (in a fit of sadism) I subjected a bunch of people to an argument about organ markets. It was interesting to see how many people were perfectly fine with organ donation as something you have to opt out of, but if you asked what they thought of leaving your organs to you heirs to *sell*, they would react like the thought was kind of icky.

    To me it seem pretty clear that there is a disgust mechanism operating whenever you introduce the thought money or commerce into human relationships.

  • theakeman||

  • Politics Debunked||

    re: "selfishness"

    One of the things we need to emphasize is that markets are a tool that can be used for social goods as well as consumer goods. Competition works to improve private charities, while government monopolies tend to get bloated and fail the poor as well as the taxpayers.

    http://www.politicsdebunked.co.....s-the-poor
    "Official US Census poverty figures show about 46 million people have been living in poverty the last couple of years, the most ever. The 15% poverty rate is tied for the highest it has been since 1965. The problem isn't lack of funding.

    $195 billion would have been needed last year to simply give everyone enough money to bring their income above the poverty level.
    $1030 billion at least was spent on federal anti-poverty programs (including state funding put into those programs)."

    The solution is to handle things privately. One alternative to Milton Friedman's negative income tax idea would be a tax credit (rather than deduction) for charity so you can give money to a charity that works instead of a government program that doesn't. The intent is similar to school vouchers, to introduce private competition. Over time as the public sees the private sector take over things more efficiently, taxes could be reduced (and the tax credit) until the government is entirely out of the charity business it should never have been in. The link above goes into variations on that theme of trying to introduce competition into the system.

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