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  1. #31
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Studying political philosophy from age 20 onwards I became aware that the freedom I prized on moral/social/religious issues among others, had an apparent counterpoint in economics that I hadn't really considered before.
    Gradually over several years I found that the following issues complicated the comparison between economic and personal freedoms and thus I realised that a person can consistently strongly support liberty on many issues while being more wary about it on economics:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    * The initial distribution of property in a society is arbitrary and almost invariably influenced by violence, so the ethical chain of consensual transfer from deserving owner to deserving recipient that is the basis of an economic libertarian philosophy in the thought of Rand, Nozick and others never actually gets off the ground.
    Not sure what that means. It seems that the libertarian economy is the best way for someone with a poor background to become rich. A lot of the wealthiest people started with almost nothing, e.g. were poor immigrants or children of them. To become wealthy in a free market system, one must normally supply what lots of people want, e.g. cars (Ford), computers (Gates), cheap goods (Woolworth, Sam Walton).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    * Economic libertarianism as an ideology handles some environmental issues poorly, particularly those where one person's actions impact on environmental qualities available on another person's property. When these are considered carefully, arguments based on property rights do not necessarily lead to anything recognisable as capitalism but may actually lead to a society with very stringent environmental restrictions.
    You've given some good examples to support this. But didn't you also point out one case where there was no endangerment? The EPA in America has also come under fire for over zealousness that in effect meant depriving people of their own property.

    Also, the countries with leftist governments and planned economies have usually turned out far worse for the environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    * Capitalism is supposed to reward the deserving by making it possible for their labour to be purchased. But in the critical area of employment, how good a job you get often depends not on how good you are at the task in question, but on how well you market yourself. The possibility that a person who was brilliant at their chosen task but awful at self-marketing would struggle badly in a laissez-faire society, and the likelihood that such a person would be me, was alone enough for me to support a very strong welfare net even had the issue of property arbitrariness not already done so.
    I can relate to this, actually. All the same, in a planned economy, advancement often involves pleasing the bureaucrats rather than pleasing lots of ordinary people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    * I was familiar with the argument for economic libertarianism as a moral one.
    What about the practical one, where bureaucratic interference in the price that a free seller may charge a free buyer will often cause shortages or surpluses, thus reduce overall wealth to the country?

    And a theoretical one, where both buyer and seller win, because both are obtaining something they value more than they are giving up. The mercantilist economics before Adam Smith, and Marxist theory, regard trade as a zero-sum game. Hence leftists often talk about "fairer share of the pie", whereas capitalists point out that their policies result in a larger pie to share.
    “The destructive capacity of the individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and that destructive capacity necessarily expands, too, pari passu.”—Paul Johnson, Modern Times, 1983.

  2. #32
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    One of these preferences is not to ever need to look for work in order to survive, because I like working but despise having to actively seek employment.
    You've explained this well to Gunner, and I think you're right. People should not be allowed to refuse reasonable job offers, but they shouldn't have to go through bureaucratic hoops looking for work that isn't there. Similarly, when Roger Douglas freed up the NZ economy, lots of people in former government corporations were put out of work, and there was not much work at that time for them, esp. for people over 50, so there needed to be a safety net.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Howard has been actively hostile to this preference through his government's hoop-jumping Centrelink gibberish (which I have, often precariously, avoided throughout his reign) and therefore I detest his regime and want it gone, no matter what it may have done right.
    That seems a drastic single-issue vote. And will Labor change anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    (The religious "conservatism" of the Coalition is another reason I want them out of office.
    Of course, in my view, that is one of their good points But then why is Rudd flaunting his Christian credentials

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    I place "conservative" in brackets because what is called a conservative position is often really a reactionary one. Real conservatives are rarely all that religious. )
    Hard to define. When Roger Douglas freed up the NZ economy, the "conservatives", in the sense of preserving the status quo, would have been those who wanted to preserve Muldoon's price and wage freeze, farm subsidies, regulations. Hayek wrote "Why I Am Not a Conservative". Friedman advocated policies like school vouchers, which had not been in place before, so that is also not really "conservative", or "reactionary" in the sense of restoring a past condition, real or imagined.
    “The destructive capacity of the individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and that destructive capacity necessarily expands, too, pari passu.”—Paul Johnson, Modern Times, 1983.

  3. #33
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    it gets worse and worse

    Have a look at the possum polytics website.

    The swing against the government is lowest in safe Labour seats higher in marginals and highest in safe coalition seats.

    I am reminded of the famous poem "underwear'

    "I saw Richard Nixon on television. He must have had tight underwear, he squirmed a lot" The same appears to be the case with john Howard.

    In my opinion the coalition needs to do more rebuiloding than the Essendon or Carlton football clubs.

    At least the election is not going to be as bad for the coalition as this season is for Melbourne.

  4. #34
    CC Grandmaster Basil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    One of these preferences is not to ever need to look for work in order to survive, because I like working but despise having to actively seek employment.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jono
    You've explained this well to Gunner, and I think you're right. People should not be allowed to refuse reasonable job offers, but they shouldn't have to go through bureaucratic hoops looking for work that isn't there.
    Kevin has explained a personal belief, and Jono has ratified his agreement of same.

    What is missing prior to arriving at the stated conclusion is the existence of these premises:
    a) That the Howard government is enforcing this policy
    b) That the Labor government wasn't
    c) The very idea that jobs don't exist
    d) The onus on the employment seeker to re-skill

    With respect to a) this begs the question in respect to c). I say that jobs do exist. I can prove it.

    With respect to b) I would suggest that at very worst, we are talking degree between the two parties as I have cited experience of my own some 20 years ago when forced to make a quota of applications.

    With respect to d) Neither of you have commented on this and I'd be staggered if either of you (not necessarily others ) deny the onus.
    Last edited by Basil; 08-08-2007 at 12:17 PM.
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  5. #35
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono
    Not sure what that means. It seems that the libertarian economy is the best way for someone with a poor background to become rich. A lot of the wealthiest people started with almost nothing, e.g. were poor immigrants or children of them.
    Nothing much like the pure libertarian economy has existed for many decades. But even if some of the wealthiest people started with nothing and got rich (as some did) that's not the issue. The issue, for me, is guaranteed financial survival at a reasonable level, at least for those who are not either comprehensively useless or else completely hell-bent on self-destruction. A pure libertarian system is too risky in this sense if you start at a low level and can't sell yourself effectively, or perhaps even if you just don't get the right breaks. You mentioned that Hayek supported a welfare net; in my view this moves him a little outside the pure libertarian/capitalist school of thought. Indeed my own system is largely libertarian apart from taxation to maintain income support for the unemployed (and underemployed poor), but to many capitalists this would be seen as a major concession and a halfway house to socialism.

    You've given some good examples to support this. But didn't you also point out one case where there was no endangerment?
    Oh, there are many such cases; a lot of environmental claims are trumped-up or entirely fallacious, but that doesn't mean the issue doesn't exist. The particular issue that makes it difficult for libertarian theory is pollution - the rights or otherwise of a property owner to put stuff into the air that will then go into the atmosphere and potentially affect the wellbeing of not just immediately adjacent property-owners, but in some cases property-owners well away from there and even perhaps globally.

    My point in this case is not that I personally support extreme restraints on industry in the interests of fiddling decimal points of pollution. I personally suspect that people generally are better off if some small degree of pollution is permitted so that the economy grows, there is more disposable income and people can spend more on health care - it will quite likely more than cancel out. But such a view is in a sense a technical deviation from the non-infringement principles underlying capitalism. Either that or one has to argue that a person owns land but has no control over air quality on that land, and I don't like where that leads.

    Also, the countries with leftist governments and planned economies have usually turned out far worse for the environment.
    Certainly the case in much of the old Eastern Bloc, but how well it applies as a causative principle is another question.

    I can relate to this, actually. All the same, in a planned economy, advancement often involves pleasing the bureaucrats rather than pleasing lots of ordinary people.
    Yes, which is one of many reasons why I don't support a planned economy. What I do support is a strong basic welfare net for all so that one doesn't have to necessarily impress anyone to survive.

    What about the practical one, where bureaucratic interference in the price that a free seller may charge a free buyer will often cause shortages or surpluses, thus reduce overall wealth to the country?

    And a theoretical one, where both buyer and seller win, because both are obtaining something they value more than they are giving up. The mercantilist economics before Adam Smith, and Marxist theory, regard trade as a zero-sum game. Hence leftists often talk about "fairer share of the pie", whereas capitalists point out that their policies result in a larger pie to share.
    I actually agree with both of these things in general, but expanding the pie doesn't appeal to me too much if the result is a risk for some of those on low incomes of missing out entirely. Most likely I take this stance because I am not especially rich at the moment and if I was financially secure for life I would have a different preference.

  6. #36
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunner Duggan
    What is missing prior to arriving at the stated conclusion is the existence of these premises:
    a) That the Howard government is enforcing this policy
    Have you been on Centrelink unemployment assistance since 1996? Do you know (closely) anyone who has? Those with direct or even close indirect experience of the system generally don't see the need to debate (a). Of course it is still possible to dodge the enforcement attempts and bludge, but we've reached a state where long-term bludging itself is almost as demanding in time terms as having a job.

    b) That the Labor government wasn't
    It certainly was, to its detriment, but to a much lesser degree. In the early 90s under Keating it was two jobs per fortnight. There was very little checking and most people just took numbers out of the phonebook.

    c) The very idea that jobs don't exist
    I'm not saying jobs don't exist at all; I'm saying that jobs for a given person in a particular area may not exist, yet they are still legally required to contact a given (and quite large) number of employers in a given time asking for work. Some of them receive literally hundreds of knockbacks in the process. Many more would be in a similar situation if they actually went through the whole demeaning process of applying and getting rejections rather than lying on the form (which many people still do despite the risk of being caught and having their benefits cut).

    d) The onus on the employment seeker to re-skill
    It is not at all easy to re-skill effectively if you are unemployed and have virtually no money to re-skill with. Especially not if you are having your time used up doing Work For The Dole projects which are, according to at least one study, more of a hindrance in terms of time burnt up than a help in terms of skills gained, on average.

  7. #37
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Have you been on Centrelink unemployment assistance since 1996? Do you know (closely) anyone who has?
    I was, for about 6 months during 2003. Gunner 'n me are mates. Now, did someone have a question they wanted to ask?
    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    but we've reached a state where long-term bludging itself is almost as demanding in time terms as having a job.
    Maybe that was the point? The only problem is punishing those willing to work but don't have employment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    I'm not saying jobs don't exist at all; I'm saying that jobs for a given person in a particular area may not exist, yet they are still legally required to contact a given (and quite large) number of employers in a given time asking for work.
    Similarly, just after Rogernomics, there was a genuine shortage of jobs. However, the problem could equally have been the huge expansion of government that resulted in gross inefficiency that created the problems of useless jobs in the first place. But this wasn't the fault of the employees.

    Nowadays, it seems that employers can't fill positions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Some of them receive literally hundreds of knockbacks in the process.
    And that is pointless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    It is not at all easy to re-skill effectively if you are unemployed and have virtually no money to re-skill with. Especially not if you are having your time used up doing Work For The Dole projects which are, according to at least one study, more of a hindrance in terms of time burnt up than a help in terms of skills gained, on average.
    That's a worry. Probably would be good training for school leavers who lack other qualifications and can't easily gain them, but less point for those with qualifications, and if it costs the country money as well, it's crass.

    All the same, since reality involves trade-offs rather than solutions, I wonder if "solving" some of the problems with economic libertarianism results in more problems than it solves.
    “The destructive capacity of the individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and that destructive capacity necessarily expands, too, pari passu.”—Paul Johnson, Modern Times, 1983.

  9. #39
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    I had an unusual situation where I was "unemployed" for a number of months (in 98) in between my undergrad degree in Australia and postgrad in the UK (due to the different academic year). Centrelink was quite hard to deal with - there was no concession due to my circumstances, and I was forced to apply for the usual 8 jobs a week (or whatever it was - it was a lot).

    Needless to say, employers were not really interested in someone who was going to be gone in a few months so the job search was entirely fruitless. There were a few realistic propositions to pursue (internship type positions etc), but they dried up very quickly - and it degenerated into the pointless cold calls - "do you have any jobs/contracts for 3 months? no? thanks, bye".

  10. #40
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    Insights on why some housing is so expensive

    From Sub-Prime Politicians
    By Thomas Sowell

    But why were housing prices going up so fast, in the first place? A number of studies of communities across the United States and in countries overseas turned up the same conclusion: Government restrictions on building.

    While many other factors can be involved — rising incomes, population growth, construction costs — a scrutiny of the times and places where housing prices doubled, tripled, or quadrupled within a decade shows that restrictions on building have been the key.

    Attractive and heady phrases like "open space," "smart growth" and the like have accompanied land use restrictions that made the cost of land rise in many places to the point where it greatly exceeded the cost of the homes built on the land.

    In places that resisted this political rhetoric, home prices remained reasonable, despite rising incomes and population growth.
    “The destructive capacity of the individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and that destructive capacity necessarily expands, too, pari passu.”—Paul Johnson, Modern Times, 1983.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Have you been on Centrelink unemployment assistance since 1996?
    No
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Do you know (closely) anyone who has?
    Yes
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Those with direct or even close indirect experience of the system generally don't see the need to debate (a). Of course it is still possible to dodge the enforcement attempts and bludge, but we've reached a state where long-term bludging itself is almost as demanding in time terms as having a job.
    It is still very far by a huge margin
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    It certainly was, to its detriment, but to a much lesser degree. In the early 90s under Keating it was two jobs per fortnight. There was very little checking and most people just took numbers out of the phonebook.
    True. But having it tougher is that little extra incentive to look for job more actively. It could be a coincidence, but I got my first job after the rules were tightened a bit (still under Keating)
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    I'm not saying jobs don't exist at all; I'm saying that jobs for a given person in a particular area may not exist, yet they are still legally required to contact a given (and quite large) number of employers in a given time asking for work. Some of them receive literally hundreds of knockbacks in the process. Many more would be in a similar situation if they actually went through the whole demeaning process of applying and getting rejections rather than lying on the form (which many people still do despite the risk of being caught and having their benefits cut).
    I agree that in general welfare system has to be streamlined, and stupid requirements dropped. But people on the dole should remember that unemployment benefit is not to be taken for a granted and they should find a job. There are heaps of jobs that do not pay as much, but they can support someone who is looking for a better job.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    It is not at all easy to re-skill effectively if you are unemployed and have virtually no money to re-skill with. Especially not if you are having your time used up doing Work For The Dole projects which are, according to at least one study, more of a hindrance in terms of time burnt up than a help in terms of skills gained, on average.
    Work for the Dole is one of the stupidest thing Howard did. Is it still there?
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  12. #42
    Account Permanently Banned Axiom's Avatar
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    what do you do with those that are conscientious objectors to work?
    throw them on the streets doleless?

  13. #43
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono
    Maybe that was the point? The only problem is punishing those willing to work but don't have employment.
    Quite possibly it was indeed the point (and it may well be quite effective in this regard) but chasing down the relatively small number of out-and-out bludgers for the sake of appeasing the right-wing talkback radio doesn't seem worth the risks and harassement of others to me.

    Nowadays, it seems that employers can't fill positions.
    I find that whole skills shortage thing intriguing. We've had a decade of a government approach that tries to force unemployed people to constantly look for work whether they have a hope of getting it at that time or not, but now we have a situation in which employers have work they want done and they can't find anyone to do it.

    Either the government strategy of forcing people to look for work isn't actually working (they don't look), or else the problem is that those it forces to look for work lack the relevant skills. I'm guessing it's the latter and wondering if the government would be better off encouraging dole recipients to train for the dole, rather than jumping through Centrelink hoops.

    Or, in other words, expand study assistance, but perhaps make it more vocationally focussed.

  14. #44
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axiom
    what do you do with those that are conscientious objectors to work?
    throw them on the streets doleless?
    I'm not too concerned with what happens to them. They can take their chances with charity as far as I'm concerned.

    But conscientious objection to applying for a job you can't get is quite a different thing.

  15. #45
    Account Permanently Banned Axiom's Avatar
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    Forced To Work = Slavery !

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    I'm not too concerned with what happens to them. They can take their chances with charity as far as I'm concerned.
    where is this universal law that states - if you are born a human, you must work?


    is it not just a giant slave plantation, only with better conditions?
    ie. slaves are provided food/shelter etc in exchange for their labour.
    its the same now, with the nice disguise that people are conditioned to believe that they are in control !

    centrelink is where the potential slaves have yet to be allocated an owner.

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