Libertarians for Regulation?

|

Virginia Postrel does some propositional calculus and ends up with interesting results. She observes that some libertarians love Howard Dean; Dean loves regulation; therefore some libertarians must love regulation. Sound, but is it true?

Although I don't think I could ever vote for the guy, I think I understand the reasoning of reg haters embracing Dean. Much the same way I've voted for any number of staunch anti-abortion candidates over the years, figuring their bent on that issue would never make any real policy difference, one might assume that Dean's send-in-the-feds playbook will not make it past a GOP-controlled Congress.

Certainly with Congress a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bells danger always lurks, but were Dean to roll in with a Hillary-for-telecom deal he'd get stopped halfway up Pennsylvania Ave. Other sectors, particularly the airlines, are more ripe for DC meddling.

'Tarians might also conclude that, yeah, we might get more regulation, but that we've got to get that bi-partisan tug of war over spending back up and running. One-party control, it seems, just turns on the spending spigot regardless of the party.

These arguments do not convince me—I fear having to drive to Vermont to buy milk before I could get my cable modem provisioned—but I think it would be a mistake to dismiss their effect on some folks. In fact, the whole Dean campaign has had to stay one step ahead of preemptive dismissals all along. The guy faces an uphill climb all the way, but he isn't George McGovern. His operation is the only one out there potentially nimble enough to give the Dubya steamroller fits in the general.

Maybe being a part of that is all Dean libertarians really want.

NEXT: Trash Talk

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “She doesn’t say that at all. She just wonders aloud about how libertarians for Dean will react to his support for regulation, and then hints that maybe they support Dean only because it allows them to be part of the in crowd.”

    Well, if she doesn’t make that accusation clear, others have, so a response was worthwhile.

    Regarding the in-crowd comment, I’m really unsure that even needs a reply. For the record, no, I’m completely uninterested in being attached to a fad just to be with the “cool kids”. Alternatively, I would credit my individualism to afford me the ability to risk alienation from libertarians by considering to support Dean.

  2. “quickly gravitate to Dean”

    where’d you dream that one up. any support we are giving Dean you can still rest assured is tentative and skeptical and in response to months of thought.

  3. Is OSHA “regulation”? It does a piss poor job right now, because its underfunded and has no muscle. But if it were run properly, why would anyone be against decent protection for workers?

  4. To amplify, I think, Esq’s notions: Phrasing what Dean proposes as re-regulation is disingenuous. Airlines, telcos, option-granting corporations, everybody, is already operating under an enormous burden of state regulation. joe couldn’t wait for individual people to understand that having wheelchair riders out eagle watching was desirable, and thus alter their personal choices. joe preferred action now, and enacted state regulation to force those outcomes.

    Upon learning that every sidewalk corner in my town was rebuilt with wheelchair ramps, although even years later incredibly few wheelchairs roll down them, joe might applaud. Their enhanced mobility is certainly good, but it resulted from a large transfer of wealth from the assessed to the concrete companies at the state’s behest.

    Regulation creates change, even beneficial change, but at some loss of efficiency, and it also creates an opportunity for corruption and further regulation. Where does it end?

  5. Marukov:

    5) Granny uses her massive war chest and market influence to buy friendly legislation, manipulate suppliers and retailers, and run all other Grannies out of business.

    What is ‘friendly’ legislation? The government staying out of the pie business and leaving granny the hell alone?

    6) Granny turns the screws on the customers by pricing much higher than the free market equilibrium price, but with the high barriers to entry, no new Grannies can break into the market. If they try, Granny destroys them.

    Oh, you mean the way Walmart did that? How does granny price higher than market equilibrium, again? Did granny create the barriers to entry, or did she just decide how much HER pies cost?

    7) Granny leverages her pie empire to force her proprietary pie plates and pans, then spatulas, and even ovens into the market. You want pie, so you must adopt. Baking your own pies becomes too difficult for any but the deranged hobbyist. Home baking is marginalized and eventually made illegal.

    Not sure if you are being facetious here, but this is the impression I get from libertarians of a certain stripe. You can always bake your own pies, you can always buy cheaper bakeware, and never in the world has home baking or any analogous process been made illegal because of granny. It is fantasy.

    8) Poster beats metaphor to death.

    Well, we agree on one.

    “Granny may sell her soul in step 4, but she doesn’t turn evil until later. Did I mention how she pulls out of the bakery towns that dot the Midwest and moves production overseas?”

    You mean the bakery towns that were only bakery towns in the first place because she brought bakeries there? If granny had never done that, what would those people be doing for work?

  6. Mark Borok:

    “”the government, which is a big, unaccountable corporation?”

    It’s accountable to voters (if they choose to hold it to account) and campaign donors. It is also different from corporations in that it does not have a single agenda – each politician is interested (in theory) in serving his or her constituents and therefore getting re-elected.”

    It is a single entity with a monopoly of force that is accountable to 51% of legislators in most cases. Its perverse incentives affect every market, its special interests get what they want at gun point. How can thousands of companies of differing interests held by millions of shareholders with differing interests without police powers to enforce their will be more dangerous?

  7. Jason,

    There is more to libertarian philosophy than economics.

  8. Yes, there are specific issues on which some of us find Dean much more attractive (gays, abortion, war, civi liberties, maybe balanced budget) and some for Bush (lower taxes, freer market.)

    But speaking for myself, I would vote for Dean over Bush simply because Dean strikes me as a much more intelligent and practical person. Bush has governed out of ideology, and I don’t think Dean will, his ode to regulation notwithstanding. At least I hope he won’t.

    There is also the preference for an unknown evil over a known one.

    I would be really interested in the results of a (scientific) poll among Reason readers: Bush or Dean?

  9. Brady & alma: The lesser evil is still evil. I understand political compromise, but it sounds like both of you are willing to vote against significant personal ideals in the interest of “making your vote count”. If you’re voting against yourself, aren’t you “throwing your vote away” anyway? Moreso in view of your lack of trust that your preferred candidate will come through on the parts that you like?

  10. Brady:

    I’m struggling to see the tradeoff. You would lose economic freedom and a push for educational freedom, and gain what?

    Tell me, now that the war is in clean up phase, what is the upside to Dean from any practical standpoint?

  11. The x’s against Bush don’t end and are not limited to the Iraqi war.

    Mark, I have to shrug and just call myself a realist.

  12. I also can’t help but think that there is some pie-in-the-sky about civil liberties under a Democrat post 9/11. The pressure to ‘do something’ was simply too great. I don’t believe we escape some form of PATRIOT given similar circumstances.

  13. I’ve got no arguement with you guys that want to stick with the LP…whatever helps you sleep at night.

    What I want to know is, are any libertarians here actively supporting Bush on the basis that he’s the lesser of two evils? And if so, how is this position superior to (or even different from) supporting Dean by the same rationale?

  14. First, off, I have no idea why you decided to start name-calling like an elementary school-kid, but have fun at it, I’m not going to lower myself to that level.

    I will, however, call bullshit.

    You say:

    Yeah PATRIOT sucks, but it isn’t like Dean is campaigning to repeal it.

    and then you say:

    That doens’t mean my arguments are dishonest (as yours are).

    However, Dean says:

    Now the Attorney General is seeking to supplement the Patriot Act with Patriot Act II, included in the Administration?s so-called ?Victory Act? proposal. Rather than expanding the Patriot Act, we should reconsider the wisdom of the original bill.

    Now, who is being dishonest here?

    If you disagree with my reasoning fine, but don’t question my motivations and honesty, you will just look like a fool.

  15. Brian: It’s a matter of degree. I am sure some here might PREFER Bush, but Mr.Brady is the only one here serving as a “political activist” (his words) on “libetarian merits” for a canidate that basicially showed his sentiments lie with a more centralized economy.

  16. “Considering the wisdom” is NOT the same as appealing it. Just as being anti-Bush is different that actively campaigning for Dean.

  17. Some people belive the choice is between a divided government where the lesser evil (GOP Congress) keeps the greater evil (Democratic President) in check, or a united government where 2 lesser evils (GOP Congress and GOP President) run unchecked.

    Others believe it’s between a lesser evil (GOP President) and a greater evil (Dem President).

    I think the question boils down to this: Would the GOP Congress have voted for a massive prescription drug plan (arguably the largest expansion of the welfare state since LBJ) if a Democrat were in the White House right now? Would Congressional Republicans have voted to augment Attorney General Janet Reno’s powers by passing the Patriot Act?

    My answers: Definitely not, and probably not.

    But here’s the good part: Only a handful of states will be swing states. If you don’t live in a swing state you can vote for the LP candidate, or whoever else you want to vote for, knowing that the outcome in your state is already assured one way or another. On the other hand, if you live in the Midwest or Florida, Bush and the Democratic nominee will probably knock on your door personally every other day. So you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed choice between the two… (I’m fairly certain that if I called the White House from a residential number in Florida and identified myself as being from a swing demographic I’d be connected to the Oval Office immediately.)

  18. I’m so sure. What the hell do you think he means by “considering” the bill, sitting on the toilet and reading it? Give me a break.

    AND he is clearly against PA II, which Bush is trying to get passed. Your argument is weak, and now you are trying to claw your way out of your hole.

  19. Jason,

    What big corporation ever, despite its wonderful “free market” rhetoric, ever REALLY wanted the government to just get out of the market and leave it the hell alone?

    Corporatism is the point at which Granny uses the government to subsidize her R&D and other operating costs, to cartelize the pie industry with regulations, and thereby to expand Global Mega Piecorp LLC far beyond the size that a free market would support.

    9) poster gives dead metaphor a few kicks in the rib cage with steel-toed boot.

  20. The position that voting for a Republican is better than voting for a Democrat because the size of gov’t is the mother of all issues is one I can respect (even though Bush is a very dubious poster-boy for small gov’t.)

    It does come down to personal priorities. Bush’s foreign policy and social/cultural policy evidently offends me a lot more than it does some of you.

    Also, the fact that Bush will not outlaw abortion is balanced by the fact that Dean will not get too much regulation of business out of a GOP congress.

    Finally, and this is probably a subject for a whole ‘nother thread, it is clear that libertarianism means very different things to different people on this site, even though the common denominator is an aversion to intrusive gov’t. Proritizing different parts of the “libertarian” platform may be a sign of ideological weakness, but in the real world things are seldom black and white, and we all make choices.

  21. Alma-

    Are you suggesting that one regulation might be less burdensome than another? That would mean we’d have to prioritize issues, and recognize that it’s possible for libertarians to disagree on priorities but still deserve the title of “real libertarians.”

    That would be chaos! Sheer chaos!

    (sarcasm)

  22. Corporatism is the point at which Granny lobbies Congress to make sure that her company never pays any taxes, ever. Corporatism is the point at which Granny’s lawyers have made sure that no anti-pollution regulations apply to her, while the pollution produced by her pie-making organization is causing asthma in one in every four black children in New York City. Corporatism is the point at which those working for Granny lose their right to organize for decent wages or working conditions, and Granny has gotten laws passed to make sure they can never sue her.

    There’s a good recent interview with Bobby Kennedy Jr. at salon.com for more on Granny and her wanton destruction of the environment.

    (By the way, thanks to the earlier posters for explaining why it may make sense to oppose the Clean Water and Clean Air acts. I will have to think about these issues some more, and read more, but at first blush it seems to me that “regulations = evil” can only apply to clean water and clean air if the court system is truly a place where justice can be had by regular people against major polluters who kill people. Right now, it seems that the court system is moving the other way, and corporations are doing everything they can (tort reform, etc.) to keep things moving that way.

  23. Cheers to Alma and thoreau, I agree with your points. And for the record, I’m a Floridian.

  24. But Kevin, who (companies and inidividals) really – other than libertarians – ever advocates that government leave markets alone? Everyone wants to screw his neighbor. Look at anon above who wants his unearned cut from a company and his God-given “right to organize for decent wages or working conditions” (i.e. beg the government to shakedown a business).

    Instead of blaming everyone, corporations included, why not blame the idiots making the laws?

  25. Thoreau-

    I actually mean more than that- not just that some libertarian positions trump others but that sometimes non-libertarian positions trump libertarian ones. Of course I am aware of the slippery-slope argument and the impossibility of mechanizing a decision procedure for when its *ok* for the gov’t to jump in.

    But there are still cases when I would vote for gov’t intervention despite a general aversion to such things. I don’t think there is a logically consistent way to square this with a philosophy of “libertarianism”, but I would argue that principles are not the most important thing in the real world. I call myself a “libertarian” because I hold many positions associated with “libertarians” as well as a generally negative attitude towards gov’t, not because I hold orthodox libertarian views about the absolute primacy of the free market.

  26. so there are some libertarian arguments NOT to vote for Dean. But what are the libertarian arguments IN FAVOR of voting for Bush? He is a social conservative and a fiscal slut. Bush’s administration has increased spending (defense and non-defense) and deficits way more than Clinton ever did.

    “The Mother of All Big Spenders: Bush spends like Carter and panders like Clinton”: http://www.cato.org/research/articles/dehaven-030728.html

    At least Dean knows what a balanced budget looks like. And with a Republican controlled congress, the political gridlock would reduce spending.

  27. Dear Libertarians:
    Thank you for your support. You can see by my statement how much I give a shit about your free market bullshit. I look forward to continuing the Democratic tradition of civil liberty begun by Janet Reno.

    Best,
    Howie

  28. Nice rifles, Howie.

  29. “It is a single entity with a monopoly of force that is accountable to 51% of legislators in most cases. Its perverse incentives affect every market, its special interests get what they want at gun point. How can thousands of companies of differing interests held by millions of shareholders with differing interests without police powers to enforce their will be more dangerous?”

    We were comparing gov’t to a single corporation, not the mass of corporations. However, if you want to do that, I would point out corporations join into industry-wide lobbying groups to support their common interests. Also, the interests of the shareholders, as regards their status within the corporations, are to see more profits. The interests of a senator from Kentucky, however, may be different than the interests of a senator from Maine. And I really don’t understand how gov’t is accountable to 51% of legislators. If a politician wants to hold on to power, he needs to appeal to voters, not other politicians.

    Most people would agree that completely unregulated business would result in monopolies that severely restrict personal freedom (child labor, insanely long work hours, control over the media by a single company, etc.) So obviously the question WRT regulation is how much is appropriate. And I would not say that corporate power is more dangerous than gov’t power, only that it is dangerous in a different way.

    Bottom line, IMO, is that any entity that has inordinate power over the individual needs to be watched closely.

  30. >>Most people would agree that completely unregulated business would result in monopolies that severely restrict personal freedom

    Most people would probably agree but they would be wrong.

    Regulations create monopolies. Companies don’t have any power, they can only attempt to sell to customers, investors and employees. Power comes from the barrel of a gun.

    If you angry at “corporate power” then lay the blame on your Congressman and those that argue that the economy should be planned from DC (i.e. Howard Dean).

  31. “Bottom line, IMO, is that any entity that has inordinate power over the individual needs to be watched closely.”

    To me, a line needs to be drawn between the ‘power’ of a company that sells hamburgers to people who want them and a government who tosses people behind bars and sells their house for failing to agree with the government policy.

    “… I would point out corporations join into industry-wide lobbying groups to support their common interests.”

    So do old people and greenies. You want to talk about too much power? Try the AARP on for size.

  32. Mark Borok: How do you react to the idea that corporate power stems from state power, as PNAC asserts? How would a corporation ensure its monopoly and torturous working conditions without force? Somebody could always choose to work less, or scratch out a subsistence outside the corporate system.

    Both need watching, I agree. Thanks for your vigilance.

  33. “Corporatism is the point at which Granny lobbies Congress to make sure that her company never pays any taxes, ever.”

    If you find that company, let me know its trading symbol. I’ll invest. This is something of the ‘the elite pay no taxes’ mythology that has been brought over to apply to Walmart.

    “Corporatism is the point at which Granny’s lawyers have made sure that no anti-pollution regulations apply to her, while the pollution produced by her pie-making organization is causing asthma in one in every four black children in New York City.”

    Grannys lawyers didn’t do squat. Corrupt politicians (who are the same ones who will be running things in a ‘regulated’ pie industry) made laws to benefit their constituents and protect jobs. The pollution of a commons has nothing to do with organizing as an LLC or raising capital through the sale of shares. Yell at your politicians, not the company.

    “Corporatism is the point at which those working for Granny lose their right to organize for decent wages or working conditions, and Granny has gotten laws passed to make sure they can never sue her.”

    When did this happen? Have you ever seen the DOL’s website? How much friggin right to organize do you want? During the Greyhound bus strike, a disgruntled striker set up with a rifle and took pot shots at the scab driver and passengers. He was arrested and fired. Guess what? Unfair labor practice! Rehired, with back pay by force of law. Wheee!

  34. Swamp Justice hits the nail on the head.

    We can spend the entire day pointing out Dean’s flaws (their name is Legion, for they are many). OK, so Dean sucks. Then we can spend the entire day pointing out Bush’s flaws (their name is also Legion, for they are many).

    And then we have three options:

    1) Figure out the relative demerits of each and see which one is less bad and vote for that “lesser evil.”
    2) Say “They both suck, I’m voting for (insert protest candidate here).”
    3) Say “They both suck, I’m not voting.”

    If you don’t live in a swing state 2 and 3 are good options, but 2 is better because a vote for a protest candidate sends more of a message (however tiny) than no vote at all.

    If you live in Florida, the midwest, or a handful of other places, option 1 is more tempting, because yours could turn out to be the deciding chad. (Don’t you feel special? 😉

    My take on their relative demerits:

    One commonly discussed issue is taxes. The burden of taxation is due to spending. When they spend huge sums of money the bill must be paid. You can pay it today and forgo a tax cut, or you can get a tax cut today and pay the bill with interest later. If you invest your tax cut and you earn enough interest that (after the interest has been taxed) you exceed the rate of return on government bonds then you’re in good shape. But if you fail to do that then you’ll be in worse shape when the bill comes due, and you would have actually been better off just paying the whole thing at once.

    (And obviously you’d be better off still if they’d never spent huge sums of money to begin with. That’s my point, the burden comes from the spending, and at some point they’ll have to collect taxes to cover the bill, one way or another.)

    Now, somebody will say “It’s not my problem if idiots aren’t smart enough to invest their tax cuts wisely.” (That could be a traditional investment like stock or real estate, or it could be starting your own business or getting more education for a better job, or whatever.) And it isn’t. But the point is that even with this tax cut you still have to exert effort to avoid being worse off. If you say “It’s my money, I’m going on vacation and have fun”, you’ll be bitten by the interest. So even when the government cuts your taxes you still have to do work to avoid getting bitten by their spending habits.

    So there is no free lunch. Tax cuts just defer the pain.

    Somebody will probably say “But if in the future they cut spending then it’s OK, we won’t need more taxes.” First of all, why should we trust the GOP to spend less in the future if they spend more now? Second, future spending cuts don’t really “pay” for the interest on the debt. It just means that in the future they’ll still take money from you for interest, but they’ll take less money from you for other projects.

    So, one way or another, the bill must be paid. Tax cuts without spending cuts are meaningless.

    Given that, a Democrat in the White House with a GOP Congress seems a good way to go. Congressional Republicans are less likely to spend when a Democrat is in the White House.

    Of course, there are other issues (e.g. guns, foreign policy, the relative demerits of Ashcroft vs. Reno, etc.). But as far as spending is concerned the best formula is a Democrat President facing a GOP Congress is

  35. Watching and vigilence is worthless. If you see an industry that could offer me a better product, job or investment, start a company and make it happen! Sell me a better product! Run it better! Increase sales and reward your workers to get the best people! Make yourself some bucks too.

    But hurry up before Brady and Howard Dean makes that impossible!

  36. PNAC,

    Your attacks and assumptions no longer warrant a response, I’ve made my reasoning clear. If you don’t agree, that’s fine, I’m not asking nor assuming that what I’m suggesting will represent everyone’s opinion.

  37. >>So, one way or another, the bill must be paid.

    Sorry thoreau, but I would rather have my money up front. I am against the massive spending, but I can’t personally stop it.

    I can personally invest my money and hopefull make enough in the future to pay for the even more spending they will do in the future (the interest is marginal compared to the increases of future spending). To “balence the budget” Dean will probably raise taxes, making me personally poor while still bankrupting the nation.

    Call me selfish, but I don’t like that one bit!

  38. >>Your attacks and assumptions no longer warrant a response, I’ve made my reasoning clear.

    Which is why you are fleeing the scene instead of facing my arguments? I could care less, others will pick up where you left off. 😉

    >>I’m not asking nor assuming that what I’m suggesting will represent everyone’s opinion.

    Well I hope it isn’t, since you are wrong.

  39. PNAC-

    I’m not saying tax cuts are bad, just that without spending cuts the burden is still there. Tax cuts may give us more flexibility in how we adjust to that burden, i.e. we can invest the tax cut and hope that the interest (minus taxes on interest) exceeds the interest on the debt. But the burden is still there.

    So having more flexibility to cope with Congress’s insane spending is good. But don’t kid yourself: The burden is still there, and the only way to remain ahead of the game is to invest your tax cut. If you just decide to have fun with your money (it is, after all, your money) you’ll find that Congress is running up a debt to bite you later on.

    In other words, they aren’t removing a burden from you (that spending must be paid for, one way or another) they’re just letting you find an easier way to cope with it. It’s a step in the right direction, but it is a far cry from frugal government.

    Enjoy your tax cut. Just don’t delude yourself into thinking the government shrank as a result. Only spending cuts can shrink government.

  40. No delusions here. Either people will wise up and Congress will reduce spending or I am enjoying my last meal on the Titanic. But I am not going to delude myself into thinking that Howard Dean taxing away my last glass of wine while sinking the ship is “libertarian.”

  41. PNAC:

    OK, I’ve got to respond to this one. If you call putting words in my mouth, calling me names, lying, and making illogical claims “arguments” then that’s your call. However, I don’t.

    I’m not hiding anywhere, and if I was I wouldn’t have a blog on the subject that allows for user comments.

    Pardon me, I have a day job to attend to.

  42. Get back to work! You have make some green to for your campaign contributions for re-regulated America! Remember, “libertarians for dean” is just Brady’s opinion, he named it that because the URL “Brady for dean” was already taken. He isn’t implying that libertarians should vote for Dean.

    Meanwhile, does anyone with a brain and a spine want to discuss why Dr. Dean’s economic policies are more dangerous to liberty than his non-existant blustering about civil liberties?

  43. Another lie. Do a search at network solutions. bradyfordean.com is open (at least at the time of this post). Take it if you want it.

    you are on a roll.

  44. PNAC–Forget civil liberties. Can you explain how Mr. Bush’s orgiastic federal spending is ultimately less of a threat to liberty than Dr. Dean’s tendency towards regulation? Especially in light of the fact that a Republican congress is likely to impede Dean but has already demonstrated that they will give Bush whatever the hell he wants?

  45. Brady: You said it yourself – liking Dean is just your opionion. You don’t speak for anyone but yourself.

    You should register bradyfordean.com and move your site there to let everyone know that it is just your opinion and not “libertarians for Dean.”

    I was just trying to be helpful.

  46. Thanks for the suggestion, but I think that this statement on my site pretty much sums up its purpose.

    “This blog is for libertarian-minded voters who are interested in supporting Howard Dean for president in 2004.”

    You seem the only person having trouble understanding what it means. Notice, it doesn’t say all libertarians feel this way, nor have I (or would I) ever claimed to be the libertarian figurehead.

    Check this out – I wouldn’t even claim to be the first libertarian to suggest voting for Dean, there was a yahoo group on the subject well before I made the blog. Further, the other guys that work on the site may think it a bit rude of me to change the name as you have suggested.

  47. Here’s a hint: It really helps to sell your idea as something you actually believe as true rather than “just your opinion.”

  48. thoreau,

    You never seem to consider that you don’t know who will be in control of Congress after the elections.

  49. Watching and vigilence is worthless.

    If that is all we do. It is also the first step to revolution.
    Polish your spears!

  50. Jason Ligon,

    Were you looking for a concrete example of corporatism?

    Google for Dwayne Andreas.

  51. Brian Hawkins,

    Regulation is worse for the economy than taxes. At least with taxes, you are allowed to make money before it is taken from you. Over regulation reduces your ability to at least produce something.

    The start-up I work for is essentially working to allow cell phones to use wi-fi internet hotspots as cellular towers, which is cheaper and more efficient than current technologies as well as providing more bandwidth. We still face a few technical hurdles, but our biggest unknown right now is whether the FCC will allow our product to reach the light of day, since we can’t suport 911 service through wi-fi the way the FCC has mandated it be supported by mobile telephones. The regulations were written with the current network in mind, and the two systems are not analogous.

    The opinion of those who work here, and know this sort of thing is that they’ll let us get away without meeting the E911 regulations, but at any rate, it will be up to some bureaucrat somewhere to decide – not potential customers.

  52. is Dwayne Andreas a senator or representative? Which executive department does he work for?

  53. JDM-

    Good point. Certainly there’s no guarantee that the GOP will control either house of Congress. But I consider GOP control of both to be quite likely.

    The post-census gerrymander, which basically amounted to incumbent protection in most states, is still fresh. Gerrymanders do grow stale over time as voters move between districts and the profile of each district no longer conforms to the intent of the original gerrymanderer. But this would be only the second election since the gerrymander. Also, there was a new gerrymander done recently in Texas (and Colorada, I think?) which favors the GOP. So the House is likely to remain in GOP hands.

    My understanding is that in the Senate the Dems will be defending more seats than the GOP, and at least one Democrat in the South is retiring. So the Dems are more vulnerable in the Senate.

    Finally, as long as there are at least 41 GOP Senators they can filibuster. It won’t be used in every case, but as a measure of last resort it’s there to be used from time to time.

  54. Oh, one other point on gerrymandering. Since gerrymandering is so prevalent now, both for House districts and also state legislatures, there are very few competitive legislative races anymore. Aside from some city and county councils with at-large elections, the only legislative body with districts that aren’t gerrymandered after each census is the US Senate.

  55. I guess I have to spell it out for you, but I really think you are the only one so confused about this.

    The site is a meeting ground for libertarian-minded voters to have a discussion about Howard Dean.

    Each poster and commenter’s words represent their own opinion, not that of anyone else.

    Equally, I don’t think Jeff Taylor would say that everything he says represents everyone else’s opinion at reason, and I don’t think anyone at reason would claim to represent the voice of all libertarians in everything they say. The comment threads over here would be fairly empty if we agreed on everything and there was nothing to debate.

    Sheesh, I guess you are the type of guy that have to put “caution hot!” on a coffee cup for. It is assumed that most people could figure that one out on their own.

  56. In case there was any doubt, the above was directed to PNAC.

  57. Dwayne Andreas:
    Former CEO of Archer Daniels Midland

    My top Google result:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/president/players/andreas.html

    * Handed a $25000 CASH bribe… I mean, undocumented campaign contribution in a manila envelope… to Dick Nixon.
    * Convicted in the price-fixing scandal with other soybean combines in the late 1980s
    * I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around how interconnected Andreas and ethanol subsidies are. Read the link.

  58. Keith:

    No doubt. Kill ethanol subsidies and all farm subsidies. The joke is that Dean won’t kill them because he’ll be killing farmers.

    If corporatism means giving cash to corporations, I am absolutely opposed. It doesn’t really mean that, though. The anti corporate crowd will argue that a handout in cash to ADM is non distinguishable from a patent on a new drug that cost $500 million to develop. It is at that point that I run like hell from the concept.

  59. PNAC Infiltrator at 03:41 PM,

    I understand how some types of regulation, in creating barriers for entry, can promote monopolies. I disagree that completely unregulated enconomies will be monopoly free. Barriers to entry and economies of scale exist. Collusion and preditory pricing work. When market power exists, money is force.

  60. Keith,

    How you feel about Soros?

  61. “When market power exists, money is force.”

    Money is never force. I would suggest that anyone who thinks so hasn’t been on the wrong side of force.

    Monopolistic behavior in the market is a deviation from efficiency, but it is temporary unless protected by real force, as people can simply choose to substitute goods. Even in ‘natural monopolies’ this is the case. Raise the price of gas to $30/ gallon and see how long it would take for us to have a hydrogen economy simply because of demand.

  62. Brady: I respect Jeff Taylor’s positions because he obviously believes they are more than “just an opinion.”

    Maurkov: They could exist, but only for short periods of time. Barriers to entry and economies of scale would exist until someone invents a new method or technology to surpass these barriers.

    Collusion and so-called “predatory” pricing are irrational behaviour that ultimately would destroy an enterprise, either by someone screwing the colluding parties (standard prisoners dillema) or alternative product being brought to the market.

    >>When market power exists, money is force.

    Money is not force. It is just a commodity that is easy to trade. Don’t worship it.

  63. While Virginia Postrel was attempting to be snide and dismissive, she actually guessed right when she said
    “Are they simply looking for an antiwar candidate, and accepting Dean as the best alternative on their top issue?”

    I have been an active libertarian since 1969 – the YAF Libertarian Caucus – and I support Howard Dean because the Bush policy of Pre-Emptive War poses a clear and present danger to international peace and to our domestic freedom.

    War is a government program after all, and often more deadly than taxes or regulation.

  64. While Virginia Postrel was attempting to be snide and dismissive, she actually guessed right when she said
    “Are they simply looking for an antiwar candidate, and accepting Dean as the best alternative on their top issue?”

    I have been an active libertarian since 1969 – the YAF Libertarian Caucus – and I support Howard Dean because the Bush policy of Pre-Emptive War poses a clear and present danger to international peace and to our domestic freedom.

    War is a government program after all, and often more deadly than taxes or regulation.

  65. jdm – fcc regulation of innovations such as VoIP are exactly the kind of thing i’m fairly comfortable guessing dean would be less inclined to choke w/ regulations than bush. why? bush would be in the pocket of the entrenched telecom industry, and dean is the campaign of the techno-philes. if dean wins, at&t offers a higher sellout price for your startup. bet.

  66. Jason,

    Thank you for the bye on step 5; it was the one I would have had the most trouble defending.

    “What is ‘friendly’ legislation? The government staying out of the pie business and leaving granny the hell alone?”

    Friendly legislation is any law that harms Granny less or benefits her more than it does her competitors. For example, toughened FDA labeling requirements are a larger burden for small pie companies than for her large one. PNAC Infiltrator said that regulation causes monopolies; this is how.

    6) Granny turns the screws on the customers by pricing much higher than the free market equilibrium price

    “Oh, you mean the way Walmart did that?”

    I’m not aware of Walmart doing this. As I understand it, because Walmart sells commodity items, they’d have a tough time gouging consumers. Walmart’s suppliers aren’t so lucky.

    “How does granny price higher than market equilibrium, again?”

    She has market power.

    “Did granny create the barriers to entry, or did she just decide how much HER pies cost?”

    Some are natural, but Granny created some in Step 5. She decides rationally to maximize profits to the extent her market power allows.

    7) Granny leverages her pie empire….

    “Not sure if you are being facetious here, but this is the impression I get from libertarians of a certain stripe. You can always bake your own pies, you can always buy cheaper bakeware, and never in the world has home baking or any analogous process been made illegal because of granny. It is fantasy.”

    Not facetious, just articulating poorly. I’m alluding to Microsoft’s (man)handling of open standards, and to Linux and the specter of a new DMCA that would brand any non-DRM throttled OS a circumvention device and therefore illegal.

    “You mean the bakery towns that were only bakery towns in the first place because she brought bakeries there? If granny had never done that, what would those people be doing for work?”

    I should have dropped this point as corporate social responsibility is not something that should be legislated, but a company’s total abdication could be considered evil.

  67. position, belief, and opinion are synonyms.

    AND

    How do you speak for Jeff?

  68. If you mean supporting “international peace” by coddling genocidal dictators

    So which countries can officially be considered to have coddled Hussein?

    There’s a lot of countries that didn’t invade Iraq. There’s also a number of countries whose governments didn’t complain when the US invaded Iraq, but they didn’t really send much help.

    One could point to certain governments that did business with Hussein’s government and railed against the war and make a good argument that those governments coddled Hussein.

    What about, say, Thailand? Last I checked (forgive me if I’m wrong) the Thais weren’t all that heavily involved in the war (I’m sure their army brought both of his friends to help out), but they weren’t exactly on Hussein’s Rolodex either. What about other countries that aren’t major powers and/or wealthy?

    Now, one could make a good case that those countries are pretty much irrelevant since they aren’t major military powers and/or wealthy. So it’s only the wealthy and powerful nations that have an obligation to go around the world toppling oppressive governments.

    I guess the motto of US military policy should be “To each country according to its needs, from each country according to its means.” Ironic, huh?

  69. “Mark Borok: How do you react to the idea that corporate power stems from state power, as PNAC asserts? How would a corporation ensure its monopoly and torturous working conditions without force? Somebody could always choose to work less, or scratch out a subsistence outside the corporate system.”

    1. I’m not sure what PNAC means by that. If he means that corporations execise too much influence on gov’t, using it to further their own ends, I agree (although they should have the same rights as everyone else to petition for redress of grievances, etc.) I can’t recall the last time McDonalds called in the feds to force me to buy a happy meal. Or to run Burger King out of town.

    2. Monopolies, it seems to me, would form spontaneously without antitrust laws as one company reached critical mass and swallowed all of its competitors. If someone has an argument to the contrary, I would be interested to hear it. Seems to me it is in the nature of any business to expand as much as it can. Once it reaches a certain mass, if there are no laws holding it back, it should be able to completely dominate its market, using financial muscle to buy out or otherwise squash its competition.

    As for people opting to work less, I’m sure those factory workers in the early days of the industrial revolution would have been happy to work less if they could have afforded it. With the price of labor being determined strictly by supply and demand, and without any ethical or legal boundaries, any business would naturally be able to extract the maximum amount of work for the minimum amount of pay from its employees. To me this seems self-evident. I haven’t studied the subject, of course, and it could be one of those areas where conventional wisdom is wrong.

    Finally, it seems to me that the free market is great at creating efficiency, but efficiency is not the only goal of a civilized society and must be balanced by ethical considerations.

  70. Gene Berkman makes a point that many libertarians seem to believe:

    “…I support Howard Dean because the Bush policy of Pre-Emptive War poses a clear and present danger to international peace and to our domestic freedom.

    War is a government program after all, and often more deadly than taxes or regulation.”

    I think this is wrong as a matter of fact and principle. In fact, I think we’re fighting a war that will make us safer and freer, not to mention helping millions of others. But that’s just strategy, not principle.

    Just what is libertarian principle regarding war? Like many issues, such as abortion or the death penalty (but not greater regulation), it’s a clash of rights we believe in. Libertarians believe in small government, but one of the few things we have government for is to protect us. Wars can be justified, and not just automatically condemned as another “government program.”

  71. I wish y’all would quit assuming everyone’s conversant in economics. I know it’s currency in libertarian circles, but it helps if you submit at least a cursory explanation for the uninitiated when you use jargon. This courtesy would serve the dual purposes of educating your interlocutors and exposing the dopes just aping some fancy language that they themselves barely grasp.

  72. Jason Ligon: thanks for your response. Here’s mine, for you. (Offered, as always, in a spirit of friendliness and open seeking toward better understanding.)

    First: of course I overstated exactly how much Granny can (so far) get away with. But if the energy bill that is going through right now becomes law, the exaggeration won’t be that extreme.

    Decrying “corporatism” is not the same as blaming corporations as such — and it certainly isn’t about supporting giving governments more power! It is more a worry about the collusion of government power with corporate power to create a greater evil. Corporations buy power and influence with governments, and use that to screw over individuals.

    I do not claim that libertarians are in favor of corporatism in that sense. But it seems to me that by saying that the only power corporations can possibly have is the power to sell their goods at a reasonable price, they are intentionally placing their heads in the sand. Corporations have crazy amounts of power, which they wield (in part) through their interference in governments, regulations, and so on. But corporations also have the power to pollute and destroy the environment around them, and the health and safety of people living around their pollution-producing plants — if somebody doesn’t stop them. And the only somebody that can possibly stop them is the government (in some form — regulations, or courts upholding litigation). Either way, the government is a necessary force to prevent corporate power from harming individual health and liberty (is the right to breathe air that doesn’t kill you an actual right for libertarians? or is that a “positive” right and therefore not ok?).

    As I understand it, libertarians are against corporatism (corporation power + government power working together against the common good), because they are against governments having regulatory (etc.) power in the first place. But it is ostrich-like to claim that it isn’t happening right now, or that it isn’t a problem, or that somehow it is possible to disentangle what corporations are doing from what the government is doing, and somehow blame it all on the government.

    I would recommend, again, the interview with Bobby Kennedy Jr. in Slate. He says that he is basically a hard-core free-market supporter. For instance, corporations that pollute and get away with it, scot-free, are pushing their costs onto others: the cost to clean up their pollution is being pushed onto the health of individual people, in the form of dirty rivers, dirty air, disease, and so on. As an environmentalist and a free-marketer, Kennedy just says that it’s important to make companies pay their own costs, and not throw those onto the community.

    Now, the libertarian idea that you can stop corporations from doing that only via punitive lawsuits, and that regulations as such are just not needed — well, that’s an interesting angle, but it seems a little bit optimstic to me. But I’ll leave that for another time.

  73. Mark Borok: Thanks for noticing my question. I’ll forego replies about the economic elements (as much as infract tempts me), and agree that there is more than efficiency to be gained. So, how do we decide our common code of ethics? Or even, what is the code of ethics we currently claim/hope to be operating under?

    Extra Credit– Discuss Bush’s ethics v. Dean’s ethics. Beneath the economics and the rhetoric lie assumptions about the nature of man, man’s potential, and the possibility of realizing it.

  74. “Now, the libertarian idea that you can stop corporations from doing that only via punitive lawsuits,”

    Isn’t that kind of closing the barn door after the horses have left?

  75. The threat of punitive lawsuits seems to work pretty well. A number of sellers of ephedra, for example, have eliminated that substance from their products not because it is illegal, but because they fear litigation over its misuse.

  76. Jason (and PNAC Infiltrator),

    “Money is never force”

    You’re not being creative enough. Think about what you could do to someone, without resorting to fraud or violence, if you had a trillion dollars and a serious pathology. Once you devastate them financially, its simple to deny them the resourced necessary to live.

    Corporations are vulnerable. The market should correct in the long term, but what if you can destroy rivals before the market can correct? Turf wars are expensive, but how many times do you have to defend that turf before your rivals’ money dries up because rational investors know they will get burned?

    Economies are vulnerable. Sure, $30/gallon gas would be quickly replaced, but what would a series of orchestrated oil shocks do to the economy? As a bonus, think how much money would be made because of the short term demand inelastisity.

    I’ll say it again. If you have market power, money is force.

  77. PNAC = Lukin

  78. Consider the above a question and I’ll take credit for it.

  79. Maurkov,

    You seriously overestimate the importance of economy of scale. Productive economies of scale are reached at very low levels, as a whole body of literature by Walter Adams, Barry Stein, etc., shows. In fact, even at levels of output significantly below peak productive economy of scale, unit costs rise fairly slowly, and are offset by reduced distribution costs.

    As for monopoly power in a free market, you should check out Gabriel Kolko’s “The Triumph of Conservatism.” He showed that the trust movement at the turn of the twentieth century was a failure. Not that a free market existed then, of course (the economy was heavily concentrated and cartelized through tariffs, patents, and railroads)–but even with those statist advantages, the trusts still lost market share steadily. They were over-leveraged and operating above optimal size for efficiency, and smaller competitors were kicking their butts. That’s why big business turned away from the failed policy of PRIVATE trusts, and instead acted through the “progressive” state to cartelize the economy with regulations.

    Mark Borok,

    The defining ethical principle of a free market is that all transactions are voluntary and non-coercive. And since no transaction takes place unless both parties perceive themselves as gaining from it, it is therefore Pareto-optimal (i.e., nobody gains at anybody else’s expense). Coercion, in contrast, is a means for one person to gain at another’s expense. The government came about as a mechanism for privileged groups to live at the expense of producers (which brings us back to the definition of corporatism, I guess).

    In These Times’ mission statement used to (and maybe still does) lament the eclipse of “human values” by “market values.” But market values only require that all human interactions be voluntary–including interactions like voluntary cooperation and mutual aid. Market values mean that nobody can put a gun to anybody else’s head and steal the fruit of his labor. What value is more human than that?

  80. pretty man,

    Dean style nanny-state meddling is the cause of my particular problem. No one is allowed to assume the risk of carrying around a phone that doesn’t provide location to 911 services automatically.

    In my experience, the wireless carriers are not happy that they had to pay billions for new 3G spectrum license fees. I really doubt that it was their idea, since they have largely taken a bath on the whole thing – no one wants “m-life” or any of the other 3G services – and new technology is rapidly obsoleting what they paid for. Further, it is also doubtful that they had the government institute the 3G fees as a barrier to entry, since they are pretty enthusiastic about wi-fi to the point of providing my company with money, lab time, free consulting services, etc.

    So based on the actual facts of my case, I’d have to say Dean is worse, fanciful closed door cronyism aside.

  81. The single best reason to vote for a Democrat in this next election is to oust Bush so that more nations will assist in the rebuilding of Iraq. So long as Bush remains in power, other nations will hold a grudge against the US for our unilateralism in this war on terrorism. However justified the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might have been, and however successful they might have been during the offensive stages, and however right Bush might have been to pull the trigger… we need a new face in the white house to garner international support. If Bush really cares about the success of the war on terrorism, he’ll allow himself to be defeated, for the good of his country.

  82. Kevin, I would love nothing more than being wrong about monopolies. I will pursue the resources you suggest. However, economies of scale were just a small part of my arguments. As for the railroads, with information and capital growing increasingly fluid, “optimal size” is not what it was.

  83. Monopolies are very rare in the free market, contrary to popular dogma. For example, Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, gained 85% of the market for a couple of years, but found that the only way he could keep competitors from gaining ground was to maintain low prices. AT&T, on the other hand, asked the government to give them a monopoly to put their many competitors out of business. For all his greed, Rockefeller could only dominate the marketplace by giving the customer a good deal. Until the government reversed its policy on long distance service in 1984, AT&T was able to charge monopoly prices. Government intervention is usually necessary to make monopolies possible.

    For more info:
    Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
    Economics For Real People by Gene Callahan

  84. Face it, deregulation was just corporatism. It failed. The government is better running parts of the economy over “enronomics.”

    how sad a statement. i wonder how many voters have ignored the benefits and confused deregulation with corporate scandal?

  85. best quote of 2003/04:

    anyone…ANYONE other than Bush (except Lieberman)

    But would someone out there give this kid some examples of Dean regulation? Thanks.

  86. Dean hasn’t said what sort of regulations he contemplates. So his meaning could be anything from actually punishing corporations for lying to their shareholders (good) to requiring a 1-hour workday (bad). He has, however, said that he intends a re-regulation of power utilities (already bizarrely regulated; yawn.), telcos (practically a division of the government these days anyway; double-yawn.), and any company using stock options (yipe!)!.

    So, this could be good, bad, or indifferent, but the mention of stock options does make me a bit nervous. Maybe he just means expensing them in the account books, but frankly it makes me nervous. Not as nervous as I am of undivided one-party government, but still nervous.
    –G

  87. If Dean is serious about re-regulation in the worst sense, it may be time to look seriously at Lieberman again. He seems not to have been giving his anti-first-amendment impulses quite so free a rein, and he does seem to be much more of a globalist and free-trader than either Bush or Dean. I admit that his name fills my mouth with the bitter taste of bile, but it is not impossible that he is a lesser evil.
    –G

  88. We need to tell the people of this country that they have freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

  89. OK, I’m a grudging Dean supporter, but no, I’m not thrilled with his statement on regulation. But I still look at Dean v. Bush, and the number of pages that have been added to the Federal Register under Bush and Bush vs. under Clinton…and I get the idea that divided government will do a lot more for what I want than united government.

    BTW, Virginia’s usually cogent logic is not sound: there is no “is a” relationship here. You are not required to take on every position ascribed to a candidate by supporting that candidate. Otherwise, Virginia is being disingenuous with her posts about gay marriage–even tacitly supporting Bush over Dean must mean that she is, by her own argument, against gay marriage (and abortion, and for protectionism, and…).

    And lest we forget, there are several such things where Dean is far and away superior to Bush in what he wants: Gay rights, the Patriot Act, abortion, the separation of Church and State, etc.

    So the question of whether you support Dean does not boil down to “is he perfect on every issue,” but, on the issues you care most about, is he more likely to lead to some outcomes you want than by voting for Bush or for the Libertarian candidate.

    This time around, despite having voted for the Libertarian candidate every time except the last election (when I voted for Bush because I have had it in for Gore ever since ’86), the calculus works in favor of Dean for me.

    Is it my ideal? Hell, no. But then again, I haven’t even agreed with every plank on the Libertarian Party platform, so perfection will not be the enemy of the good, or the at least not-so-bad, this election.

  90. Dean said that we ned to undo the deregulation of the airlines and other industries, like telecoms, that were deregulated in the 80’s and 90’s. Businesses to be regulated include utilities, communications, and “any business that offers stock options” will become a regulated industry.

    Um, Howard dear, the whole of the Fortune 500,pretty much any publicly held corporation, and a lot of close hold corporations and partnerships offer options. Options are just a method of sum-uncertain compensation. Threatening to regulate any industry where options are offered is like threatening to regulate any industry where the workers are paid money, and to especially regulate any industry where workers do their thing for a commission.

    Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good libertarian platform to me. He’s got my vote.

    Libertarians for Dean indeed.

    Next up: Married Gays for Santorum, followed by Isolationist Atheists for Bush.

  91. one might assume that Dean’s send-in-the-feds playbook will not make it past a GOP-controlled Congress.

    Well, since the regulatory apparatus is under the control of the executive branch, he probably wouldn’t need to run whole truckloads of new regulations, or any new enforcement campaigns, past Congress. Scratch that pathetic rationalization.

    Libertarians for Dean – you might as well be for Ralph Nader. Dean favors Kyoto, socialized medicine, higher taxes, more regulation. Just where in all that is a libertarian plank?

  92. “some libertarians love Howard Dean; Dean loves regulation; therefore some libertarians must love regulation. Sound, but is it true?”

    Sound? I tried for a while to understand this comment as sarcastic, but I can’t. Clearly, it’s an invalid syllogism.

    As for who to vote for, I vote for whoever seems like the best candidate… which tends to lead me to the Libertarian. But for you “I’ll vote for Stalin because Hitler’s a shade more evil” people, won’t your vote hinge on which direction Congress moves? If it remains Republican, vote for Dean (or Leiberman). If it goes Democrat, vote Bush.

  93. Re: regulations, I have a question for all the libertarians here.

    Do you oppose the clean water act? The clean air act? Why or why not?

    I ask sincerely, with an eye to learning. Thanks for your serious responses.

  94. Let’s be clear here. The guy isn’t talking about regulating in the sense that fraud should be illegal, he is talking about regulating companies that issue stock options (as mentioned above, probably 400 of the Fortune 500) like the airlines used to be regulated.

    How can this not be a deal breaker? Have we moved to a point where we burn Hayek just to get revenge for a war that has already been committed to? Are you people nuts?

  95. yes… bring back decent torts and abolkish enviro regs… they’re just like labour regs: only adopted when they’re not really needed

    but then i’m a real libertarian, not just ome bs leftist trying to hide his maoism

  96. Kent:

    Libertarians believe that government regulation never accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish. The purpose of the clean air act can be better enforced by people shunning and refusing to purchase products than it can by government regulation. Consider…businesses are designed to be motivated by profit, show them the money and all kinds of good things can happen. Impose regulation and you artificially create a marketplace that is rigged for failure.

    Regulations = loopholes = enforcement apparatus = campaign donations to change regulations = unsavory politicians that live off of these donations. Both republican and democratic parties are corrupted by special interest money that would not even exist if the government was not in the regulation business. When you look at the entire process you can see through the false satisfaction of the high sounding government language contained in laws to the seemy side deals that subverty the high sounding language.

    The libertarian tent is a big tent, but many of us see this cycle for what it is and recognize that the free market forces would be ever so much more effective in actually accomplishing something!

  97. jason, i think the realization i’ve come to (again) is that the best choice for president is certainly “neither”. i’d love for lieberman, or even kerry, to make a resurgence — but it isn’t going to happen.

  98. but also, kent, w.r.t. what esg said, you have to be prepared to let freedom and choice run its course. you may find that people on the whole can tolerate a lot less clean air and a lot less clean water than you personally would dictate if you were judge, jury and executioner. this is a concept most activists (whose activism is almost always based on the idea that they know better than the unwashed masses and should be in charge) can not tolerate — and so they prefer the instruments of regulation, as that’s the next best thing to seizing power and governing by diktat, a la stalin.

  99. Jason:
    “Monopolistic behavior in the market is a deviation from efficiency, but it is temporary unless protected by real force, as people can simply choose to substitute goods.”

    A “deviation from efficiency”? Why is this so? Why is it necessarily more efficient to have an assortment of mom and pop convienience stores over a 7-11 on every corner?
    I can’t technically argue against the monopoly being temporary tho, I mean, everything is temporary, even the earth.
    Remember, there are no easy substitutes for some goods. Think oil…

    Libertarianism 101:
    “Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, gained 85% of the market for a couple of years, but found that the only way he could keep competitors from gaining ground was to maintain low prices.”

    Wow, is that a record over-simplification or what! Good ol John D. Rockefeller found lots of creative ways to keep his competitors from gaining ground, few of which were ethical.

    A point some people have missed here is that there is no need for a monopoly holder to raise prices to make a mountain of money. Concessions from suppliers, coupled with economies of scale, combine to give the large corporation one heck of an advantage. I’m sure Walmart makes money at price points most competitors would lose money at. Some people call this a barrier to entry.

    This doesn’t necessarily offend me, but the path to large corp status, and the the continued practices of said corp, ought to be ethical. If not , than the game was rigged, and there is no assurance we’re getting the best product or price.
    Oh, and more than a few people might get hurt along the way.

  100. Clicked post a bit too quick, that was my comment above.

  101. “The purpose of the clean air act can be better enforced by people shunning and refusing to purchase products than it can by government regulation.”

    I recommend that Esq boycott air.

  102. Kent:

    Yes and yes. I prefer restoring the common law doctrine of private nuisance, and subjecting polluters to tort action by their neighbors. And a very large proportion of pollution takes place on government-owned land: either by the military, or by giant, politically connected corporations with special access to government land.

    mak_nas and Dean Libertarian 4 Life:

    The problem is, you’re both considering deregulation outside the context in which it is implemented.

    DL4L, Gabriel Kolko showed pretty strong evidence that regulatory regimes like the ICC (and their modern analogues in electric power) were designed mainly to cartelize the railroads, airlines, utilities, etc. So deregulating, as such, is a good thing.

    Even so, mak_nas, deregulation as it’s actually been implemented has been in an overall context of corporatism. It’s been implemented only in cases where it serves the overall interests of the corporate economy, and regulation ceased to be an effective state capitalist policy. Like anti-trust action and nationalization, deregulation has mainly been used against some centrally important resource or infrastructure that the corporate economy as a whole depends on, and for which monopoly profits hurt corporate interests in general.

    So deregulation should not be pursued as a dogma, without regard to the strategic situtation. It should be pursued as part of an overall strategy of dismantling corporatism and replacing it with a genuine free market. The libertarian agenda should be set consistent with an overall anti-corporatist game-plan, rather than by corporate interests.

    At any given time, corporate interests will support dismantling forms of state action that have ceased to be useful for those same corporate interests. Welcoming any form of deregulation, as such, while allowing THEM to determine where it takes place, is like the Romans welcoming the withdrawal of the Punic center at Cannae as “a step in the right direction.”

  103. I have to say that I?ll vote for whomever the Dems run not because I might agree with everything they stand for but simply because I can?t imagine my freedom being in as much jeopardy from them as from the current group. That is a COMPELLING reason compared to regulating fortune 500 companies, many of which have already proven that if they aren?t watched they can?t be trusted. If you think the current group are for individual freedom (the basic libertarian ideal) with minimal government intrusion, you haven’t been paying attention.

    Where are all those examples of deregulation working? ?Pish tosh? and ?get away kid? are a poor response to the reality of the problems.

  104. “I prefer restoring the common law doctrine of private nuisance, and subjecting polluters to tort action by their neighbors.”

    Replace regulation with torts + tort reforn designed to keep punitive damages from doing harm to liable defendants = take your asthmatic kids and go shit in your hat

  105. You guys saying, “I’m voting Libertarian”, answer this for me.

    Do you really think a group of guys like this have a chance in hell in ’04? I mean, kudos to them for taking a stand and giving out there and spreading the libertarian philosophy, but they haven’t got a prayer when it comes to getting elected.

    I’m much more of the philosophy that you screw up, you get fired. Bush screwed up, so I’m going to vote where I have the most chance of firing him. Dean screws up, I’ll do the same in ’08. There is a difference between political activism and stagnant philosophical banter.

  106. I don’t speak left libertarianese. How, exactly, is ‘corporatism’ different from devolving regulatory authority from the government, which is a big, unaccountable corporation? How could option B ever be preferable?

    What the hell is corporatism, anyway? Tell me when granny turns evil:

    1) Granny bakes pies and sells them in her neighborhood.

    2) Granny buys a store front and big ovens to sell pies to her greater community.

    3) Granny opens more store fronts across the state that sell pies based on her recipe.

    4) Granny decides to sell pies nationally and seeks investment capital. She goes public.

    Egad! The terror!

  107. Jason you missed some steps in there.

    1. Where Granny has to change her recipe to fit what the Feds insist she print on the side of the federally regulated cardboard box that meets all of the standards imposed by the FDA.

    2. Where Granny has to donate to her local politicians to avoid having inspectors who are on the take shut down her pie baking ovens.

    3. Where Granny has to testify at Congress about how her publicly traded company is complying with trade association supported legislation designed by her competitor to make Granny’s pies and advertising slogans conform to some law designed specifically to impose regulations on the non-nutricious apple pie industry that is making our kids fat.

    4. Where Granny is told by the Congressional Representative from Washington State that if she will buy her apples from Washington growers he/she will guarantee that Granny receives the Granny pies loophole that his staff has prepared for him. Oh and a contribution to President’s inaugural ball wouldn’t hurt either.

    You get the picture.

  108. “where have you ever seen regulation create change”

    Clean Air Act. Clean Water Act. Leaded Gasoline Ban. ADA. Especially the last two – there are a lot more bald eagles, and lot more people in wheelchairs, out and about today than there were 20 years ago.

  109. With the exception of the Leaded Gasoline Ban the other regs are so riddled with loopholes that they are completely uneffective and only enforced when the green stuff isn’t paid. You are mistaking the high sounding legislation with the actual enforcement or non-enforcement of the regulations that are created from the fine language of the legislation. Such brimming idealistic sentiment is really endearing.

  110. Funny I’m called a weasel from someone who posts with a fake name.

    I’m not changing the subject. Making this an anti-Bush argument has been a main point of Libertarians for Dean from the beginning. Do i really have to reiterate that it is a lesser-of-2-evils argument? How do you assume I’ll make that case without being “anti-Bush”? When have I claimed my reasoning to be any different?

  111. Jeff Taylor wrote, “[Virginia Postrel] observes that some libertarians love Howard Dean; Dean loves regulation; therefore some libertarians must love regulation.”

    She doesn’t say that at all. She just wonders aloud about how libertarians for Dean will react to his support for regulation, and then hints that maybe they support Dean only because it allows them to be part of the in crowd.

  112. Additionally, how am I changing the subject when this was in the post that we are all commenting on:

    “[Dean’s] operation is the only one out there potentially nimble enough to give the Dubya steamroller fits in the general. Maybe being a part of that is all Dean libertarians really want.”

    Seems my comments are pretty much right on topic.

  113. “Maybe he just means expensing them in the account books, but frankly it makes me nervous.”

    That’s probably what he does mean. I can’t think of any other reason why regulation would be brought up in tandem with stock options. I’m also reminded that Dean used to be a stockbroker for a while.

    I would look at his record in Vermont, as opposed to his campaign speeches.

    “the government, which is a big, unaccountable corporation?”

    It’s accountable to voters (if they choose to hold it to account) and campaign donors. It is also different from corporations in that it does not have a single agenda – each politician is interested (in theory) in serving his or her constituents and therefore getting re-elected.

  114. I suspect the Dean libertarians are just Dean liberals who like to call themselves libertarians. I think there is a decent tactical libertarian rationale for wanting a Democrat to defeat Bush in 2004, but it is kind of odd that a libertarian would so quickly gravitate to Dean, one of the more liberal candidates in the Democratic field. I know, I know, he is not a liberal because he balanced the Vermont state budget.

  115. Jason,

    5) Granny uses her massive war chest and market influence to buy friendly legislation, manipulate suppliers and retailers, and run all other Grannies out of business.

    6) Granny turns the screws on the customers by pricing much higher than the free market equilibrium price, but with the high barriers to entry, no new Grannies can break into the market. If they try, Granny destroys them.

    7) Granny leverages her pie empire to force her proprietary pie plates and pans, then spatulas, and even ovens into the market. You want pie, so you must adopt. Baking your own pies becomes too difficult for any but the deranged hobbyist. Home baking is marginalized and eventually made illegal.

    8) Poster beats metaphor to death.

    Granny may sell her soul in step 4, but she doesn’t turn evil until later. Did I mention how she pulls out of the bakery towns that dot the Midwest and moves production overseas?

  116. Yes, Esq, the loopholes that industry and their toadies get inserted makes the regs weaker, limits their effectiveness, and makes the federal code a lot longer.

    Down with loopholes!

    But the lakes in upstate New York are recovering because of lower NOx levels being emitted. Los Angeles has reduced its nonattainment days per year by a factor of 100. And millions of people who, a generatin ago, would have been homebound or institutionalized are now productive workers.

  117. Is anybody still reading this thread? If so, getting back to the question of Dean and regulations, here is a quote from an article about a book on Dean which appeared in my local paper:

    “Dean’s record on the environment is decidedly mixed. On the one hand, he was progressive on issues such as acquiring and setting aside open space. On the other, he ran roughshod over the state’s regulatory officials in easing environmental rules in order to court business development.”

    So there you have it. He’s a pragmatist and a centrist. More to the point, he is not an ideologue, as his stump speeches might suggest.

  118. TJ says it is unethical to charge customers low prices for a commodity. Bullshit. And that monopolies would be common in a free market. Double bullshit.

    Either these Dean “libertarians” are just left-liberals stealing the name or they are totally illiterate of any of the libertarian source materials. Have you guys even read ANYTHING by Friedman, Hayek, Mises, Rand, Hazlitt, Rothbard, etc?

    I am very close to throwing the term “libertarian” into the trashcan once and for all.

    Fuck guys, even Liberman gets it!

    “Howard Dean doesn’t understand how Bill Clinton created 22 million jobs in 8 years. By responsibly deregulating markets, Bill Clinton allowed exporters to sell more American products to foreign markets and brought competition to existing monopolies. “Howard Dean would usher in a new era of big government with his re-regulation proposal. He would give us a treacherous trifecta of policies that turn back the economic clock: new trade barriers, a larger tax burden on our middle class, and now bigger bureaucracy. Either he doesn’t know how to turn the economy around, or this is another reckless mistake.

    “We need to toughen the integrity of our marketplace, put real enforcers in regulatory posts, and put wrongdoers in jail. We don’t need to cripple the economy with a whole new set of broad re-regulation as Howard Dean proposes.”

  119. TJ:

    “A “deviation from efficiency”? Why is this so? Why is it necessarily more efficient to have an assortment of mom and pop convienience stores over a 7-11 on every corner?”

    Competition is necessary for a formally efficient market to exist. True monopolies operate in the absence of competition. My gripe is that the term ‘monopoly’ is applied to all sorts of things that simply aren’t.

  120. Maurkov:

    “As for the railroads, with information and capital growing increasingly fluid, “optimal size” is not what it was.”

    As the economy shifts to information and computing becomes smaller and cheaper, price barriers to entry become much lower and optimal size can be quite lean.

    “You’re not being creative enough. Think about what you could do to someone, without resorting to fraud or violence, if you had a trillion dollars and a serious pathology. Once you devastate them financially, its simple to deny them the resourced necessary to live.”

    I’m not sure what you mean here. Force is still not involved. Say he has an apartment that I buy out from under him. He made an agreement voluntarily that assumed the risk of the landlord being bought out. The landlord made a deal with me. This is all voluntary. What you are seeing as force is just the risks inherent in voluntary transactions like job contracts, credit, and mortgages. If I buy shares of a stock for a lot of money, and someone with a million shares dumps ownership the next week, he is not ‘forcing’ me into poverty even if his intention was malicious.

    Corporations are vulnerable. The market should correct in the long term, but what if you can destroy rivals before the market can correct?

    How do I destroy rivals? Offer better or more goods for less? I still don’t see force.

    Turf wars are expensive, but how many times do you have to defend that turf before your rivals’ money dries up because rational investors know they will get burned?

    Is turf war just code for competition here? Turf wars are expensive for some people but beneficial for others.

  121. One good thing about voting for the Libertarian is that the Republicans get really pissed if they lose the election.

    I love it when Republicans are pissed.

    They arrogantly assume that I’d vote for the Republican if the L was not on the ballot. If that were the case I would have stayed home.

  122. Nobody says:( in a complete fit of confusion)

    “TJ says it is unethical to charge customers low prices for a commodity. Bullshit. And that monopolies would be common in a free market. Double bullshit.”

    Nobody, Nowhere do I say that. I said that Rockefeller used unethical means to enable his low prices. Low prices, if ethically derived, are just ducky by me.

    “monopolies would be common”? Never said it. Never implied it.

    I did imply that monopolies aren’t necessarily less efficient. Perhaps I should have developed that exposition a bit more. I don’t think monopolies are initially less efficient, though they very likely will be once well established. Monopolies (or near monopolies) are usually established through extremely competitive behaviour. This behaviour might even be ethical. Regardless, at the point in time when a business is nearing monopoly status, it’s likely as competitive, and thus efficient, as it will ever get.

    I often think Libertarian is the closest label for my political beliefs. Then some knee jerk reaction like this makes me wonder

  123. To quote Mark, “I can’t recall the last time McDonalds called in the feds to force me to buy a happy meal.”
    I can recall when the Feds were called in by corporations to act as strike breakers and protected scab labor.
    History will repeat itself. /R

  124. One good thing about voting for the Libertarian is that the Republicans get really pissed if they lose the election.
    Real site for the all people .. have a good continuation!!

  125. I was surfing along and came across your website. I really enjoyed it. Thanks! This site is very informative. I hope to see more in the near future, Wishing you all the best!

  126. I just wanted so say thank you!
    Many greetings!

  127. EMAIL: krokodilgena1@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL: http://www.penis-enlarger-pills.net/
    DATE: 12/09/2003 09:46:21
    Unusual ideas can make enemies.

  128. EMAIL: krokodilgena1@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL: http://www.PENIS-ENLARGER-PILLS.NET

    DATE: 12/10/2003 12:56:11
    It is never a mistake to say good-bye.

  129. EMAIL: krokodilgena1@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL: http://natural-penis-enlargement.nonstopsex.org
    DATE: 12/20/2003 04:51:06
    Genius is of no country.

  130. EMAIL: pamela_woodlake@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL: http://mail-order-pharmacy.drugsexperts.com
    DATE: 01/09/2004 03:19:10
    He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare,And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere.

  131. EMAIL: nospam@nospampreteen-sex.info
    IP: 212.253.2.201
    URL: http://preteen-sex.info
    DATE: 05/20/2004 01:51:36
    ‘May you live all the days of your life.’ – Swift

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.