Monday, September 21, 2015

Limit Socialism To California

Reply to: You assume that political equality means one person, one vote.


How, exactly, does a “Constitutional Republic with a limited government” negate the problems with giving unequally rational people equal influence over choosing our representatives? Our representatives are in charge of the constitution. So you’re essentially giving unequally rational people equal influence over the constitution.

I’ve read Ayn Rand… but I’ll admit that I haven’t thoroughly read her work. So it’s entirely possible that I’m missing something. That being said, I sincerely doubt that what I haven’t read will cancel out what I have read….

The proper functions of a government fall into three broad categories, all of them involving the issues of physical force and the protection of men’s rights: the police, to protect men from criminals — the armed services, to protect men from foreign invaders — the law courts, to settle disputes among men according to objective laws. — Ayn Rand, The Nature of Government

However you spin it… this is socialism. True… it’s limited socialism… but that doesn’t make it any less socialism. Elected representatives say, “We’re going to allocate more resources to defense and less resources to police and courts because doing so will better protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

You argue that the visible hand should control X, Y and Z… but you also argue that the visible hand shouldn’t control A through W.

It’s like arguing that we should limit socialism to California. As if socialism somehow works in California but it doesn’t work in all the other states. As if the rules of economics are somehow different in California. Just like the rules of physics are somehow different in New York.

You and I both want the market to allocate A through W. But that’s not going to happen as long as you continue to argue that the market shouldn’t allocate X, Y and Z.

And if you believe that the market shouldn’t allocate X, Y and Z… then this means that you really don’t have a solid grasp on why the market should allocate A through W.

The benefit of consumer choice is that everybody wants the most bang for their buck. Consumers don’t choose to put their money into Friday’s hands. Why not? Because he can’t give them any pumpkins in return. Why not? Because he roasted and ate all his pumpkin seeds rather than save any to sow. Friday completely failed to consider other people’s interests… so of course consumers are not going to want him to have more influence over how society’s limited resources are used.

As a result of consumers striving to ensure that their hard-earned money isn’t wasted… society’s limited resources are placed in the most rational hands. And because people are unequally rational… the logical result of markets is that people are unequally influential. Some people have more influence than other people because some people earn more income than other people.

Earned influence is just as important in the public sector as it is in the private sector. Placing guns in the most rational hands is just as important as placing seeds in the most rational hands. Which is exactly why a market in the public sector is just as important as a market in the private sector.

You can benefit from this story of mine without paying for it. This is what makes it a public good. The question is… are you truly benefiting from this story? I don’t know. Why don’t I know? Because I’m not omniscient.

The fundamental and extremely unappreciated fact that people are not omniscient is just as relevant for public goods as it is for private goods. Believing otherwise is what makes libertarianism/objectivism logically absurd.


This is what Medium might look like if people truly appreciated the fact that nobody is omniscient.

If you benefited from a story… then you could communicate the size of your benefit to everybody simply by clicking on one of the *heart* buttons. Clicking on the 5 cent *heart* would instantly transfer 5 cents from your digital wallet to the creator’s digital wallet. Then, when people searched for stories and sorted the results by value, the creator’s story would show up 5 cents closer to the top of the results.

My girlfriend just told me that she’s upset that her organization’s directors want to fire the new Chief Operating Officer. Evidently my gf is a fan of the new COO. How many other employees are in the same boat? What would her organization look like if people truly appreciated the fact that nobody is omniscient?

The other day my gf was upset because a show that she enjoys on Netflix was canceled. What would Netflix look like if people truly appreciated the fact that nobody is omniscient?

Socialism is the idea that adequately good allocation decisions can be made without knowing the true demand.

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