Sunday, February 1, 2015

Tax Choice Survey And Proprietism

A few days ago I searched Youtube for "tax choice" and was very pleasantly surprised to find this video...

The video was created by a fellow by the name of Paul Kurke.  Here's his blog... Proprietism.

If you'd like to participate in the survey that his video is based on then here's the relevant page on his blog... Tax Choice Survey.

So what in the world is proprietism?  It can't be that bad if Kurke is a fan of tax choice!  According to the Wikipedia entry, proprietism is a movement to replace corporations with sole-proprietorships.  Kurke's blog provides a lot of support for this movement.  I haven't had a chance to go through all of it...but, rather than waiting until I had a perfect understanding of his rationale, I figured that it would be better to share sooner, rather than later, an introduction and analysis of sorts.

One main theme that I get from Kurke's blog is a real openness to the potential value of alternative systems.  This is consistent with pragmatism...
Philosophical pragmatism is an essential American development.  Its animating principle is that truth is social and constructed rather than transcendent and objective.  It holds that ideas prove their worth in action, and that the results of an idea are the best criteria by which to judge its merit.  And since what works for me might not work for you, pragmatism advocates a strenuous openness to all perspectives. - James Walsh, Liberty in troubled times
A huge part of appreciating, or at least respecting, alternatives is based on appreciating fallibilism.  Knowing that we could be incredibly wrong about some of our most fundamental tenets forms the foundation of humility.
On the one hand, I regard the basic human value that underlies my own beliefs as tolerance, based on humility. I have no right to coerce someone else because I cannot be sure that I am right and he is wrong. - Milton Friedman, On Libertarianism and Humility
Without this humility, people are all too willing to impose their systems onto others.  This fatal conceit reflects the fact that they do not adequately appreciate the possibility that they are really barking up the wrong tree.

As a pragmatarian I really hope that I'm not barking up the wrong tree.  But I accept the fact that it's entirely possible that this is exactly what I'm doing.  With this in mind, even if I could somehow impose pragmatarianism on others, I would not do so.

Speaking of trees...
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. - Henry David Thoreau
If you're going to bark, it might as well be up the right tree.  If you're going to strike something, it might as well be the root.

As a pragmatarian, I don't strike at the entire government.  Instead, I strike at the idea that congress is superior to earner valuation.  I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that this fundamentally moronic idea is the root of the problem.

Because I could be wrong, I'm open to the possibility that perhaps corporations are the root of the problem.  The thing is, there are a lot of different problems.  So maybe corporations are the root of one problem and impersonal shoppers are the root of another problem.  Perhaps the question then becomes...which is a bigger problem?

Let me consult my magic database... *shake shake*

According to Milton Friedman...
The government should not help to save Chrysler, of course not. This is a private enterprise system. It's often described as a profit system but that's a misleading label. It's a profit and loss system. And the loss part is even more important than the profit because it's what gets rid of badly managed, poorly operated companies. When Chrysler loses's got to do something. When Amtrak loses money it goes to congress and gets a bigger appropriation. [...] It's the stockholders of Exxon who ultimately are buying it. If they don't like what Exxon is doing with their money, they have a perfectly good alternative...they can sell the stock. And as the stock went down, if the stockholders didn't like it, they would pay somebody to change the policy which Exxon is following. We have a far greater degree of control over what Exxon does than we have over what a lot of our government corporations do. - Milton Friedman, What is Greed?
According to Murray Rothbard and Ronald Coase...
Coase stated that the important difference between planning under socialism and within business firms on the free market is that the former "is imposed on industry while firms arise voluntarily because they represent a more efficient method of organizing production." - Murray N. Rothbard, Economic Controversies 
According to Israel Kirzner...
In buying the resources needed to produce any one good, an entrepreneur has succeeded in competing away these resources from other possible uses.  When a producer, not enjoying protection against competitive entry, finds himself as sole producer he still has to worry about the activities of competing entrepreneurs. They are channeling their energies and their alertness into producing other products, which are competing for consumers' attention also.  Inter-product competition will not guarantee horizontal demand curves facing each producer. But it offers assurance that errors made in the identification of the most urgently needed consumer products (and/or of the most easily accessible resources) will tend rapidly to be noticed and exploited by alert, competing entrepreneurs. - Israel M. Kirzner, How Markets Work
Off the top of my head, I think that the most relevant blog entry that I've written on corporations versus impersonal shoppers is this one... Modular vs Monolithic Representation.  In it I argue that the Koch brothers are far better at representing/protecting people's interests than Elizabeth Warren is.

None of this means that corporations are perfect.  There's always room for improvement.  It's just that, the information that I've considered leads me to believe that congress is a much bigger fish to fry.

This being said, my previous blog entry was about procreation licensing!  And I've even written three blog entries about unbundling cable...

As I mentioned in the procreation license entry and the last cable entry...if the fish are similar enough...then if people can understand why it's a good idea to fry the small fish then they should also be able to understand why it's a good idea to fry the large fish.

Where we at?

  1. Because of fallibilism, it's entirely possible that corporations are a larger fish than congress.  
  2. But even if congress is a larger fish, it's entirely possible that helping people understand why we should fry corporations will also help them understand why we should fry congress.  

There's always more than one way to fry a fish.  Eh?  Is that true?  There's certainly more than one way to attach an epiphyte to a tree.

So look over Kurke's blog and see if it can help you identify the best fish frying strategy.  Here are a few good places to start...

While you're at it...if you haven't already done so, be sure to check out my entries on razotarianism, quadratic voting and futarchy.

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