Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Value Deviation From The Crowd

Reply to: Is This Forum A Market?

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We can keep trying.

1. Does the crowd value football more than I do?  Yes, very yes.  I don't value it at all.  Therefore, I will never ever have to worry about funding football.

2. Does the crowd value public healthcare more than I do?  I have no idea.

3. Does the crowd value the environment more than I do?  No way.  For example, I'm the only person in my neighborhood who has a tropical dry forest instead of a lawn.  So, in a pragmatarian system, I would most likely have to worry about funding the environment.

4. Does the crowd value national defense more than I do?  I have no idea.

5. Does the crowd value education more than I do?  I have no idea.

If we created a market in the public sector...then we would have an infinitely better idea what the crowd values.  Here's how I've illustrated this...





If the top of the bar is green, then it means that the crowd values the public good more than you do.  If the top of the bar is tan, then it means the opposite.

From your perspective, there is a...

...surplus of healthcare (a)
...shortage of welfare (b)
...shortage of environment (c)
...surplus of defense (d)
...shortage of NASA (e)
...surplus of education (f)

Clearly you're not going to derive any utility from spending your taxes on public goods that there's a surplus of. This means that you wouldn't spend any taxes on healthcare, defense or education.  This narrows your spending options down to welfare, environment and NASA.  Welfare has the largest shortage so perhaps you'll spend all your taxes on welfare.

As an outside observer...I can't see your utility function.  All I can observe is that you spent all your taxes on welfare.  This means that I can't conclude that you don't value any of the other public goods.  In other words, I can't say that the other public goods don't match your preferences.  The only logical conclusion that I can come to is that welfare is, by far, your biggest priority.    

In reality though...you're probably not going to sit around observing funding graphs.  You're going to live your life and respond to public shortages in much the same way that you respond to private shortages.  If a shortage of milk sufficiently concerns you...then you'll allocate your private dollars accordingly.  If a shortage of defense sufficiently concerns you...then you'll allocate your public dollars accordingly.

Unlike in the private sector though...in the public sector you'll always have the option to give your taxes to your impersonal shoppers (congress).

What's important to consider is that the further people's values deviate from the norm/crowd...the greater they will perceive the shortages to be.  Personally, I'm pretty sure that I'll perceive a huge shortage of environmental protection.  But most people will not.  Most people in a pragmatarian system will perceive that most things are mostly well funded.

The closer somebody is to the norm...the more closely the funding levels will match their preferences...and the less anxiety they'll have regarding the funding of public goods.  The further somebody is from the norm...the less closely the funding levels will match their preferences...and the more they'll toss and turn at night worrying about the adverse consequences of large shortages.

Of course, the mission of every deviant will be to make themselves the norm.  That's exactly what I'm doing right now.  As a pragmatarian (a deviant)...I have reason to believe that there's a huge shortage of pragmatarianism.  My anxiety is that people can't allocate their assets to alleviate or address their anxiety.  But most people, having normal values, think the current supply of pragmatarianism is perfectly fine.  So here I am trying to convince them otherwise.  The more people that I convince...the smaller the shortage...and the more normal pragmatarianism becomes.

Orham's anxiety is, at least superficially, caused by her perception that there would be a large shortage of national defense in a pragmatarian system.  This means that she believes herself to be a deviant.  Or maybe she would prefer to think of herself as exceptional?  When it comes to defense funding...is she really the exception rather than the rule?

Hey Orham, global warming is a far more clear and present danger than any foreign threat.  What shall it profit us to win a war but lose the Earth?

See...we could certainly duke it out...and attack each other with pages and pages of facts and figures...but it's not like the loser can allocate their taxes accordingly.  Doesn't that make you nervous?  It really makes me nervous.  Because people can't shop for themselves in the public sector...there's far less incentive to widely disseminate essential information.  Widespread ignorance, rational or otherwise, should make everybody nervous.

What's interesting is that most people reject pragmatarianism on the basis of perceived shortages.  But for most people...the shortages will actually be far smaller than they currently are.  They just don't realize it because they have no idea what the crowd truly values.

Eliminating demand opacity would ensure that shallow input never trumps deep input...
The people feeling, during the continuance of the war, the complete burden of it, would soon grow weary of it, and government, in order to humour them, would not be under the necessity of carrying it on longer than it was necessary to do so. The foresight of the heavy and unavoidable burdens of war would hinder the people from wantonly calling for it when there was no real or solid interest to fight for. The seasons during which the ability of private people to accumulate was somewhat impaired would occur more rarely, and be of shorter continuance. Those, on the contrary, during which the ability was in the highest vigour would be of much longer duration than they can well be under the system of funding. - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations   
People wantonly calling for wars...that should sound familiar...
As was noted in Chapter 3, expressions of malice and/or envy no less than expressions of altruism are cheaper in the voting booth than in the market.  A German voter who in 1933 cast a ballot for Hitler was able to indulge his antisemitic sentiments at much less cost than she would have borne by organizing a pogrom. - Geoffrey Brennan, Loren Lomasky, Democracy and Decision
People should be free to wantonly call for wars (shallow input)...but if they want their wishes to come true...then they should have no choice but to reach deep into their own pockets (deep input).  This fail safe device will prevent any unnecessary wars.  And since no war is really necessary...pragmatarianism would result in world peace.    

Crowd Flowcilitation

What's the difference between a forum post and a blog post?

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Anybody a fan of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (ESMZ)? I sure am...my favorite song is Desert Song but the crowd favorite is Home.

The band's frontman, Alex Ebert, is passionate about helping to encourage and facilitate civic participation. To this end he's launched The New IRS and is in the process of developing SecondGov.

In this video, Ebert discusses both projects. You can read about them here...Change agent: Edward Sharpe frontman prepares to launch SecondGov, a virtual political system with real-world aspirations.

What do you think? Are you going to sign up to be notified when SecondGov goes live? Do you predict whether or not it will have a greater impact than Americans Elect?

I'm definitely planning on becoming a member of SecondGov. It sounds like a really fascinating experiment in facilitating input.

It should be a self-evident truth that allocation systems work better when input/feedback is facilitated rather than blocked. Being able to vote for a representative is certainly better than not being able to vote for a representative. Being able to write your congressperson is certainly better than not being able to write your congressperson. Being able to e-mail your congressperson is certainly better than not being to e-mail your congressperson.

If it makes sense for it to be easy to give a representative your vote...doesn't it also make sense for it to be easy to take your vote away from a representative?

Can you imagine walking up to Elizabeth Warren and taking your vote away from her? Should people be able to do that...at any time? Why would we want to prevent people from doing so?

The trend is clearly to make it easier and easier for people to share their input. This forum is one of many examples. It seems inevitable that this trend will spill over more and more into the public sector.

Civic crowdfunding already facilitates deep input...and SecondGov will facilitate shallow input...along with perhaps BitGov (Correcting Democracy) and/or BitVote.

What's the best analogy to describe why facilitating feedback is better than blocking it? This one is pretty good...
The management of a socialist community would be in a position like that of a ship captain who had to cross the ocean with the stars shrouded by a fog and without the aid of a compass or other equipment of nautical orientation. - Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government
So is this one...
Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. - Matthew 5:15
Blocking input is like turning off the lights. If the lights aren't on then we'll be stumbling around in the dark...
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. - Proverbs 11:14
If you're not a big fan of the bible...then you can just think of it as Linus's Law...
given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow
And even more towards evolution...
It is sufficient if all firms are slightly different so that in the new environmental situation those who have their fixed internal conditions closer to the new, but unknown, optimum position now have a greater probability of survival and growth. They will grow relative to other firms and become the prevailing type, since survival conditions may push the observed characteristics of the set of survivors toward the unknowable optimum by either (1) repeated trials or (2) survival of more of those who happened to be near the optimum - determined ex post. If these new conditions last "very long," the dominant firms will be different ones from those which prevailed or would have prevailed under other conditions. - Armen Alchian, Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory
Life is such that we don't know what the future will hold. We don't know what future conditions will be like. Facilitating input allows us to hedge our bets against uncertainty. If an allocation system blocks input...then it's because the architects believe that they have a crystal ball. Or perhaps a perfect compass. Or night vision goggles. Or maybe omniscience.

I certainly don't have a crystal ball...which is why I greatly encourage your input!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Alex Ebert - The New IRS and SecondGov

Every once in a while I search google for "choose where your taxes go" or "decide where your taxes go".  Yesterday, when I did so...I found this article...  Alex Ebert Wants YOU to Decide Where Your Tax Money Should Go.

Turns out that Alex Ebert is the frontman for one of my favorite bands...Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (ESMZ).  Clearly I don't usually take the time to learn the names of band members.  I love listening to music but spend my time studying other topics.

My favorite song from ESMZ is Desert Song...but the crowd favorite is by far Home.

It was certainly a wonderful surprise to learn that such a great artist supports such an important cause.  It's far more than a celebrity endorsement though.  What Ebert has done is create a website that allows you to share how you would prefer your tax dollars to be allocated...

The New IRS

This ties into a larger project called SecondGov..."an open online platform where ANYONE can propose, discuss, and vote on virtual policies to solicit change."

To learn more...check out this article by Michael Carney...Change agent: Edward Sharpe frontman prepares to launch SecondGov, a virtual political system with real-world aspirations

I've already signed up to be notified when it launches.  I wonder how many people will participate?  Will SecondGov manage to succeed where Americans Elect failed?

Here's a video where Ebert discusses The New IRS and SecondGov...






And here's a recent video of Townsquare discussing tax choice...


Friday, April 11, 2014

Flowcilitation

"Flow Facilitation" - 8,210 results
"Flowcilitation" - 2 results
"Flowcilation" - 0 results

If a concept is important then you really don't want to force people to wade through a swamp of irrelevant search results (ie tax choice vs pragmatarianism).  If you want somebody to find the needle, then don't put it in a haystack.  If the needle is already in a haystack, then endeavor to remove it by giving it a unique ID.

Is flowcilitation an important concept?  Yes, very yes.  Facilitating the flow of input improves the answer to the fundamental question... how should society's limited resources be used?

But not all input is equally valuable though.  I have to warn you that the following example might blow your mind.  On Reddit (a flowcilitator), in the econ subreddit, I saw this link that ellak12 shared...




The Huffington Post interview with the economist Ha-Joon Chang had received 897 upvotes and 219 downvotes.

Here's what I found when I read the interview...
So there is no economic theory that actually says that you shouldn’t have slavery or child labour because all these are political, ethical judgments. - Ha-Joon Chang
Was your mind blown?  It really should have been.

There were 897 people who freely gave their positive input to an economist who said that there's isn't an economic theory that defends people's freedom to give input.  Yeah...this is exactly why shallow input should never trump deep input.

Just because shallow input should never trump deep input doesn't mean that we should eliminate shallow input.  Shallow input is extremely useful.  In this case it highlights a huge problem: 80% of people who are interested in economics...and even some professional economists...don't know that there are very strong economic arguments against slavery.  This problem should really scare you because the moral arguments against slavery, by comparison, are extremely weak.  If we want to avoid slavery...then it would really behoove us to ensure that each and every member of each and every society knows the strongest arguments against slavery.

First, incentives matter.  Slaves lack the incentive to maximize their productivity...
Land occupied by such tenants is properly cultivated at the expence of the proprietor as much as that occupied by slaves. There is, however, one very essential difference between them. Such tenants, being freemen, are capable of acquiring property, and having a certain proportion of the produce of the land, they have a plain interest that the whole produce should be as great as possible, in order that their own proportion may be so. A slave, on the contrary, who can acquire nothing but his maintenance, consults his own ease by making the land produce as little as possible over and above that maintenance. - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
But if great improvements are seldom to be expected from great proprietors, they are least of all to be expected when they employ slaves for their workmen. The experience of all ages and nations, I believe, demonstrates that the work done by slaves, though it appears to cost only their maintenance, is in the end the dearest of any. A person who can acquire no property, can have no other interest but to eat as much, and to labour as little as possible. Whatever work he does beyond what is sufficient to purchase his own maintenance can be squeezed out of him by violence only, and not by any interest of his own. In ancient Italy, how much the cultivation of corn degenerated, how unprofitable it became to the master when it fell under the management of slaves, is remarked by both Pliny and Columella. In the time of Aristotle it had not been much better in ancient Greece. Speaking of the ideal republic described in the laws of Plato, to maintain five thousand idle men (the number of warriors supposed necessary for its defence) together with their women and servants, would require, he says, a territory of boundless extent and fertility, like the plains of Babylon. - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
...and it follows that they lack the incentive to innovate...
Slaves, however, are very seldom inventive; and all the most important improvements, either in machinery, or in the arrangement and distribution of work which facilitate and abridge labour, have been the discoveries of freemen. - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
More marionettes means less progress.

Second, input matters.  Slaves, by definition, are blocked from sharing their input on the question of how society's limited resources should be used.  The more input that's blocked, the less correct/valuable the answer will be.

Understanding the importance of incentives and input will help you understand why there's such a significant outcome disparity between command economies and market economies.

Here are a couple relevant comments on flowcilitation.  The first is one that I shared on Daniel M. Rothschild's article...How Uber and Airbnb Resurrect ‘Dead Capital’

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It's so much easier to comment on articles than it used to be. Just like it's so much easier to have articles published than it used to be. It's easier for input to flow. Flow is facilitated.

Command economies fail because input is blocked. Markets succeed because input is not blocked. But clearly, when it comes to facilitating flow, there's always room for improvement.

Crowdfunding isn't a recent phenomenon...but crowdfunding websites are. They make it extremely easy to share your deep input on commercial and civic endeavors. Therefore, they are flow facilitators.

What about creating a market in the public sector (pragmatarianism)? How much flow would be facilitated? It would be a flood of input. Yet, it only has 60 likes on facebook. Where's the bottleneck?

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Next comment was on this article...The Market: The Only Trustworthy Pollster by Donald Boudreaux...

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Excellent article! It's fundamentally important to help people understand this concept. But I'm thinking that it's only one half of the story...

First half: Votes don't accurately reveal what people actually want.
Second half: Voting for what you don't actually want can shift resources away from the things that you truly want. The genie might grant your wishes...but you'll be worse off if he does. The logical result of granting voters' wishes is that we end up with more of the things that we don't actually want and less of the things that we truly want.

If shallow input (voting) doesn't adversely impact the allocation of resources...then there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.

The first half of the story is essential...but the second half is far more compelling. It's the punch line. Unfortunately, perhaps it's not the easiest thing to illustrate.

We all voted for a Lexus and the result is a shortage of food? The resources required to provide everybody with a "free" Lexus had to come from somewhere. And it stands to reason that they were taken from the things that we value more than a fancy ride. So we're definitely worse off when our ballot votes (shallow input) are allowed to trump our dollar votes (deep input).

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Ballot voting, Reddit votes, Facebook likes and Youtube thumbs up/down are all examples of shallow flowcilitation.  These flowcilitators give us insight into people's opinions, feelings and sentiments.  This insight is extremely superficial.  It's the tip of the iceberg.  It's the cover of a book.  Dollar voting, on the other hand, is an example of deep flowcilitation.  It gives us insight into people's values.  This insight is extremely deep.  Therefore, when it comes to answering the fundamental question of how society's limited resources should be used...shallow input should never trump deep input.

The fact that people do not have the freedom to choose where their taxes go reflects the fact that the vast majority of people are not aware of the strong economic arguments against blocking input.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Shallow vs Deep Input

But when your leaders are chosen by popularity, whether through vote or product buying or social buzz, you then have a Cathedral that is of the bazaar. The great secret — this is what the Dark Enlightenment types are morally afraid to face — is not that our elites are bad, but that our elites are bad because they were chosen by our undifferentiated majority. The herd isn't brilliant; it's stupid. Worse than stupid, it's deceptive and dishonest. The bazaar is the enemy, not the cavalry come to save us! - Brett Stevens, The Redundancy of the Dark Enlightenment 

The other day I went to a bazaar. I saw a small rug that I really liked...




...so I asked the vendor whether he accepted votes.  For some strange reason he didn't.

Isn't that weird? The guy only accepted money. He wouldn't let me buy his rug with my words (opinion/sentiment/feeling).  I even tried offering him a thumbs up...both real life and youtube...but he said no deal.  Same thing with facebook likes. He did pause at a reddit rate up though.

See guy, your mistake is lumping markets and democracy together.

In a market...in order to get the rug, I have to sacrifice something that I personally own and value...like my money (blood/sweat/tears).  Spending is deep input.

With voting, on the other hand, I'm simply talking. Talk is cheap. Voting is shallow input.

Our system fails because shallow input trumps deep input.  Words are given more weight than actions.  It wouldn't be so bad if our political leaders were omniscient....but they really aren't.  This means that resources are diverted to less valuable uses.

NRxc (anorexic...no economics on their bones) people guess that the solution is to eliminate shallow input (voice).  No, the solution is to facilitate deep input on public goods. How? By creating a market in the public sector.  Giving people the freedom to exit within the public sector would clarify the demand for public goods.

Let me tweak Stephen Crane a bit...
Democracy, thou art for suckling children,
Thou art the enlivening milk for babes;
But no meat for men is in thee.
Then-
But, alas, we all are babes.
When you're ready to grow up, pragmatarianism has the meat you'll need.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Government: Larger, Smaller or Better?

So, I would think the solution would be smaller government, so the 1% have less they can control. A government that taxes less, spends less, and regulates less, offers fewer opportunities for cronyism. Alas, Stiglitz sees the solution as more government: higher taxes, more effective redistribution programs, and more effective regulation. - Randall Holcombe, Joseph Stiglitz: The Price of Inequality
shrinking government, which thus shrinks the power of politicians is the only way to stop cronyism. - Robert Wenzel, Bleeding Heart Libertarian: Koch, Soros and Adelson are Idiots for Spending Money Buying Politicians

If there were only two options on the table...

A. Larger government
B. Smaller government

...then I would certainly choose smaller government.  In other words, in the 2016 presidential elections...if I had to choose between voting for Elizabeth Warren or Rand Paul...then I'd certainly vote for Rand Paul.

On the one hand...everybody wants a free lunch...but on the other hand...consumer choice does have extremely beneficial consequences.  So whichever public goods Rand Paul kicked over to the private sector...I'd hope that the gain in quality/results/effectiveness would more than make up for any loss in volume.  A small volume of effective private welfare is certainly better than a huge volume of ineffective public welfare.
 
But it's so strange though when you think about it.  Rand Paul would kick certain public goods over to the private sector.  Why?  Because the invisible hand is better than the visible hand.  Except, it wouldn't be the invisible hand deciding which public goods were moved over to the private sector...it would be Rand Paul...the visible hand.  If we can trust Rand Paul to pick which public goods should be moved to the private sector...then that sort of defeats the purpose of moving public goods over to the private sector in the first place.

As far as I can tell...it would be far more logical to simply create a market in the public sector.  Doing so would allow the invisible hand to clarify the demand for public goods.  This means that the invisible hand would allocate resources in both sectors.  Therefore, pragmatarianism is economically consistent libertarianism.

Basically...my trust ranking looks something like this...

Elizabeth Warren < Rand Paul < Invisible Hand

Except, that really does not convey the intensity of trust.  I trust the invisible hand infinitely more than I would trust Rand Paul.

My question is...how long is it going to take before people acknowledge the existence of a third option?

A. Larger government
B. Smaller government
C. Better government

How many comments do I have to leave on other people's blogs before consumers are no longer forced between a rock and a hard place?

Perhaps one measure of effectiveness is to keep track of how many people make the argument that the government cannot or should not be run like a business.  So I'll conclude with a couple relevant passages...

If a government enterprise is funded through tax dollars, it does not face the same market test as a genuinely private business. The problem is all the more severe if the government grants an outright monopoly to the enterprise. The bureaucrats running it have little reason to cut costs or to please their "customers" if they receive a guaranteed level of funding regardless of their outcomes. In an extra twist of perversion, when a government agency botches its job, it often receives more funding. In this view, government officials waste money and offer shoddy output simply because they can. - Robert P. Murphy, Why Government Doesn't—and Can't—Manage Resources Like a Private Business

Government efficiency proponents make the mistake of viewing the cost of government in the same light as the cost of operating a private business. However, government cannot operate like a business because it isn’t a business.
[...]
Government is unconcerned with “profit.” The “cost” of government is equal to the taxes extracted from the private sector to pay for government activities, plus the economic damage caused by extracting resources from the private sector. Taxes are involuntarily obtained through compulsion and force. Regardless of the value a citizen assigns to the services provided by government, a citizen must pay for those services, and at a price set by government. The price one pays for government is primarily a function of political factors, which are only indirectly influenced by economic considerations. - Tad DeHaven, ‘Government Efficiency’

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Demand For Coercion

There are two roads that people can take to reach anarcho-capitalism.  People can take the economic road...or they can take the moral road.  The economic road is certainly the road less taken.

It's quite easy to identify whether somebody has taken the moral road.  When they invariably object to pragmatarianism...they use words like "rape", "theft", "coercion" and "violence".

Today I encountered this objection yet again.  It was the tipping point for me to create a blog entry for my reply.  Now I can simply link any future moral objectors to this post.

Well...ideally, if this post does its job, then I shouldn't have any reason to link to this post in the future.

There's always room for improvement though.  So I thought it might be interesting to track down a few of my replies over the past couple years.

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2014

What you're saying is that the victim could at least choose which person rapes them. No thanks, I'd rather not be raped in the first place. - Liberty_One, Government Success vs Market Success

What you're saying is that you don't want to boycott your rapist. If you don't want to boycott your rapist...then you must enjoy being raped.

Or maybe you think that the IRS is raping you for free? Naw, nobody's that stupid. Are they? Somebody would have to be a complete moron to fail to realize that congress pays the IRS to rape people.

Do you think that the amount of money that congress gives to the IRS accurately reflects the demand for coercion? If so, then you're a socialist. Because if you want to argue that the government supplies the optimal amount of coercion...then that means that you believe that it can supply the optimal amount of defense, milk, laptops and anything else.

Therefore, you're a socialist that enjoys being raped. Or maybe you're a libertarian that hasn't thought things through? Same thing.

In a pragmatarian system...it wouldn't be congress that determines how much money the IRS receives...it would be your neighbors. Do you think that your neighbors really want to pay the IRS to rape you? Do you think that the rape of "Liberty One" would be a high priority for them? If so, then what good would eliminating the government do? Getting rid of the government would be as useless as getting rid of guns. Guns don't kill people...people kill people.

Clearly you have no idea what Rothbard had to say about the subject...
A further point: in a profound sense, no social system, whether anarchist or statist, can work at all unless most people are "good" in the sense that they are not all hell-bent upon assaulting and robbing their neighbors. If everyone were so disposed, no amount of protection, whether state or private, could succeed in staving off chaos. - Murray Rothbard, Society without a State
Do you think that your neighbors are hell-bent on raping you? Do you think that there's a huge demand for coercion? If so, then getting rid of the government will simply create a huge vacuum. And markets, just like nature, abhor a vacuum.

Like I said before, pragmatarianism would clarify the demand for public goods. This would allow us to see the true demand for coercion. For all you know, you could simply be tilting at windmills.

First you look, then you leap. First you figure out which tree the cat is in, then you start barking.

The efficient allocation of resources depends on accurate information. Clarifying the demand for public goods would provide us with infinitely more accurate information than we currently have.


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2014

That's like saying you give money to your robber, or make love to your rapist. - LeeHyori, What Should The Government Do?

You're an anarcho-capitalist.  With the current system...the government is your enemy.  The government is the thief, rapist and murderer all rolled into one.  In a pragmatarian system...who would your enemy be?  Your enemy would be your neighbor.  If the IRS steals, rapes and murders you...then it would be because your neighbor paid them to do it.

So with the current system...you can shake your fist at the government...but in a pragmatarian system...you could have a talk with your neighbor.

The fact of the matter is...if your neighbor really wants to rape, murder and steal from you that much...then getting rid of the government would be about as effective as getting rid of guns.  Guns don't kill people...people kill people.  And people are pretty resourceful.

Sure, we don't need to implement pragmatarianism in order for you to talk to your neighbor.  But why waste your time talking to your neighbor if they have absolutely no interest in raping, murdering and stealing from you?

Here's the point that you really don't seem to appreciate: you have absolutely no idea what the demand is for coercion.  Well...unless you believe that the current supply of coercion perfectly matches the demand for coercion.  Is that what you believe?  If so, then you believe in socialism.  You believe that government planners can accurately divine exactly how badly your neighbors want to destroy you.


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2013

And pragmatarianism forces people to contribute to the tabs. Its just another form of coercion. - Sola_Fide, Nietzsche, Austrians and Creative Destruction

No no no. Pragmatarianism would reveal what the actual demand for coercion is. In other words, you have no idea how much of their taxes people would give to the IRS. If you did know the actual demand for coercion, then you would be omniscient and socialism would be a viable concept. But you are not omniscient, the preference revelation problem is a real problem, socialism is not a viable concept...we have no idea what the true demand for coercion really is.

But do you want to guess what the demand for coercion truly is? Is there a huge demand for coercion? If so, then so much for anarcho-capitalism. If not, then so much for your argument against pragmatarianism. If there's only a small demand for coercion, if only a few people give their taxes to the IRS, then the IRS could not be considered a legitimate public good. Why? Because enough of the people have to truly support (Willingness To Pay) a PUBLIC good in order for it to be considered a PUBLIC good.

So are you omniscient? Do you know what the actual demand for coercion really is? Or do you want to guess what the actual demand for coercion really is? Do you guess that there's a huge demand for coercion? Do you guess that it's the preference of most citizens to rob/eat their neighbors?
A further point: in a profound sense, no social system, whether anarchist or statist, can work at all unless most people are "good" in the sense that they are not all hell-bent upon assaulting and robbing their neighbors. If everyone were so disposed, no amount of protection, whether state or private, could succeed in staving off chaos. Furthermore, the more that people are disposed to be peaceful and not aggress against their neighbors, the more successfully any social system will work, and the fewer resources will need to be devoted to police protection. Murray Rothbard, Society without a State

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2012

Don't pay taxes for a year or two then and see how your quote-violence turns into non-quote-violence. - TheRobin, Can Economics Explain Human Sacrifice?

TheRobin, just like a liberal...you're not thinking things through.  If I stop paying taxes...the people who subject me to violence aren't going to do it for free.  They're going to do it because they are paid to do it.  Who pays them?  Obviously the government...but more specifically...government planners.  They are the ones who determine how much funding each government organization receives.

Everything we know about economics tells us that government planners cannot know the true values of millions and millions of people.  If they could...then all the socialist experiments would have been successful.  Given that they all failed miserably...we know that there's a disparity between how planners distribute public funds and how the market would distribute public funds.

What I'm advocating is that we allow taxpayers to choose which government organizations they give their taxes to.  This would create a market in the public sector.

So if you want to guess that the distribution of public funds would be exactly the same...if you want to guess that taxpayers would give the same amount of funds to the government organizations that engage in violent activity...then...you're indicating two things..

1. that you believe that socialism is a perfectly viable concept

2. that a stateless society would be just as violent as a state society