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-   -   Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=6845)

miceelf 06-28-2011 12:01 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 214485)
Heh. That's assuming we can import them. Rather, it looks like we're exporting them at this point:

Just look at the completely insane threshold, waiting list, and quotas for skilled workers to immigrate to this country. We could easily be a net importer of talent and skill. A master's* level guy from India can anticipate waiting up to 20 years to get permanent residence, if he is sponsored tomorrow by an employer. A phD level* guy has at least 7 years of waiting.

* other than those with Nobel prizes.

sugarkang 06-28-2011 12:17 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 214487)
Just look at the completely insane threshold, waiting list, and quotas for skilled workers to immigrate to this country. We could easily be a net importer of talent and skill. A master's* level guy from India can anticipate waiting up to 20 years to get permanent residence, if he is sponsored tomorrow by an employer. A phD level* guy has at least 7 years of waiting.

* other than those with Nobel prizes.

We probably are a net importer of skilled workers. My point was just to illustrate the stupidity in letting our Stanford graduates leave. Talent from India is not the same as talent grown from our best schools. Now, I don't think it's all that useful to compare who's smarter or more skilled. We obviously want both.

That's not what we're doing. We're importing some and exporting others; this shit needs to stop. This is probably the single biggest economic impact we can have for America in the next generation. Unfortunately, people aren't even interested. They don't even know that it's happening and they certainly don't know that it's important.

miceelf 06-28-2011 12:30 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 214488)
We probably are a net importer of skilled workers. My point was just to illustrate the stupidity in letting our Stanford graduates leave. Talent from India is not the same as talent grown from our best schools. Now, I don't think it's all that useful to compare who's smarter or more skilled. We obviously want both.


But the point is that an Indian who has been educated at Stanford counts as "talent from India" for the purposes of USCIS. I was agreeing with you, really.

sugarkang 06-28-2011 12:35 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 214492)
I was agreeing with you, really.

Well, dammit man. You've just ended the conversation. You will be held accountable.

bkjazfan 06-28-2011 12:50 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 214485)
Heh. That's assuming we can import them. Rather, it looks like we're exporting them at this point:

The U.S. is not the job creating machine it used to be. In 2011 there are 1,000,000 fewer jobs than there were in 2000. With high immigration rates, birth rates, younger people wanting to enter the employment market, and older ones due to collapsing IRA's and the like wanting to remain in it, this is a vexing problem the Obama Administration has to contend with.

chiwhisoxx 06-28-2011 12:53 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 214445)
I wouldn't say it's totally bizarre, but it's a bit off. This is not an academic department, or a political philosophy group. This is a general audience forum. Many people volunteer their views and opinions without having any deep knowledge of the issues or their philosophical roots. That's the nature of these discussions.

that's fine. although as Julian notes in the diavlog, thinks have certainly changed on this front. he argues that 25 years ago, it would be unusual for someone interested in politics to not have any knowledge of political philosophy. today, it seems pretty common. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I think he's right either way.

sugarkang 06-28-2011 12:55 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bkjazfan (Post 214496)
The U.S. is not the job creating machine it used to be. In 2011 there are 1,000,000 fewer jobs than there were in 2000.

Well, jobs aren't a fixed pie where if one gains the other must lose. Certainly, it's zero-sum if one company is hiring for one position, but there are two applicants. But, if I start a business tomorrow, I've also created jobs.

The question, then, is what and who is preventing me from starting a business tomorrow?

Winspur 06-28-2011 01:19 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
I share your worry about inequality, however I must point out that J.S. Mill was not a "libertarian" in the sense of supporting economic growth whatever the costs. He wrote:

Quote:

If the earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness which it owes to things that the unlimited increase of wealth and population would extirpate from it, for the mere purpose of enabling it to support a larger, but not necessarily a better or a happier population, I sincerely hope, for the sake of posterity, that they will be content to be stationary, long before necessity compels them to do it.

bkjazfan 06-28-2011 01:23 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 214498)
Well, jobs aren't a fixed pie where if one gains the other must lose. Certainly, it's zero-sum if one company is hiring for one position, but there are two applicants. But, if I start a business tomorrow, I've also created jobs.

The question, then, is what and who is preventing me from starting a business tomorrow?

That's a big question. Obviously, they are leaving some areas and going to others. California being rated an unfriendly business clmate has experienced an outflow of jobs and a population that is static but remains large at 36 to 38 million people. Perusing the data certain states are benefitting, the most obvious is Texas. Then, there is the outsourcing to foreign countries, another factor in not creating employment here.

The book I read on this which I recommend is "The Betrayal of American Prosperity" by Clyde Prestowitz. Sorry, I don't recommmend articles feeling they are not sufficient in exploring an issue.

sugarkang 06-28-2011 01:36 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bkjazfan (Post 214501)
Then, there is the outsourcing to foreign countries, another factor in not creating employment here.

Yes, but what are your premises, exactly? Outsourcing these jobs creates wealth for everyone else. The cheap crap you get at Walmart means it becomes much easier for poor people to have a decent standard of living. Or do we not care about poor people?

Again, you are assuming that jobs are a fixed pie. We have 100 jobs and 50 of them are now gone to China. I reject this and so does Krugman, but he's too much of an ideologue to fucking say it.

Outsourcing is inevitable. The real question is whether we're going to be protectionist, which will certainly fuck us for generations. You should not ask yourself if jobs are going to be outsourced. They are. You can slow it, but you cannot stop it. What happens when Europe's free trade agreement is passed with everyone else, but we haven't passed our own? Democrats are disadvantaging all of our exporters in favor of European exporters. Who loses jobs? Americans.

If you want to complain about the economy, study economics. If you want to complain about wealth inequality, study wealth.

http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/492/zimbabwel.png

This is "money" that he's holding there. I'd guess he's holding more than a BILLION dollars.

Mannish Boy 06-28-2011 01:42 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 214439)
But are Americans really more "pragmatic" than the French or other Europeans? I don't think so.

Speaking from a British perspective, I would agree. While the current government is applying some interesting ideas about localism, these aren't really discussed in terms of philosophy. Especially since New Labour, every election in the UK is a battle for the mushy centre ground over practical issues.

I would say that American politics, with debates about the Founding Fathers and their constitution, is much more philosophically inclined. I think Matt and Julian have just applied the stereotype of the sophisticated European vs the action-man American uncritically.

brucds 06-28-2011 01:42 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
"okay, let me make sure I've understood your argument."

Pretty much what I'd expect from someone with the kind of equipment that flits from the seamless left-wing views of Chomsky (not a "liberal" by the way, and loved by very few who consider themselves such, contrary to your characterization) to the sophomoric charms of libertarianism. A pattern if there ever was one.

But to the point, there was a central question embedded in that comment that apparently went over your head...

brucds 06-28-2011 01:56 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
chiwisoxx - why am I not surprised that you leap to a false assertion that is little more than an ego stroke, while ignoring the question I asked - as did Yglesais - that makes it obvious Nozick is steeped in a ridiculous straw man of a thought experiment. I haven't read into Nozick, but of course I've heard of him and read many references to him. I had not paid attention to the "Wilt Chamberlain" issue...which is hardly a reflection on me. Because it's a bogus issue. Total BS that has nothing to do with any relevant critique of liberal concerns with economic inequality. As Yglesias notes, there are these things called taxes. Adam Smith was for a progressive version. Once you introduce the concept and validate it, Nozick's thesis becomes irrelevant.

If you want to jerk off with Nozick's puerile thesis, more power. And I won't be surprised.

Hal Morris 06-28-2011 02:06 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 214463)
The way I have interpreted the invisible hand is that no one can imagine all of the decisions which go into making up an economy but that somehow, because of self interest, the proper amount of goods get to market ...

The way I interpret it is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Lots of things aren't broke and don't need fixing, or attempts to fix them with our current competence and knowledge will probably make them worse. It is a philosophy I'd apply to, e.g., Iraq in 2003.

Actually Smith's reference to an invisible hand isn't quite as general as that, but indicates how remarkably diverse sets of people are able, through free exchange, with no overall plan, to satisfy their needs. Still I think Smith said it in more or less a spirit of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", and had no idea people were going to come along after him and make such a fetish of it.

Something like the Taoist principle of "Wu Wei", or "Through doing nothing, all things are done" is one way I've heard it, will spontaneously crop up throughout history in many different forms. Buster Keaton was the master of "knowing when to do nothing". In Dilbert there was a running joke about a "male work-avoidance gene" by which the men in the office would intuit when the pointy haired boss was asking for a report that he would forget about tomorrow, or which would in some way become moot.

On the other hand, the abuse of "Wu Wei" was a major them of Stilwell and the American Experience in China. Apparently Chiang Kai Shek often though he was exercising masterful inaction when he was in fact being lazy or had no idea what to do, or at least that was Stilwell's (and Barbara Tuchman's) interpretation

Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 214463)
Looks like a good article.

It's a video, actually.

brucds 06-28-2011 02:07 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
sugarkang - "Krugman is too much of an ideologue"

This from someone who has veered from Chomsky to libertarianism.

The rest of your rant doesn't make any more sense, but I had to laugh out loud at that bit of hubristic bullshit, steeped in total lack of self-awareness.

Incidentally, while most of your observations about trade and job creation are banal and could be lifted from an econ 101 text (Krugman's?), if you want to examine actual policy in the current environoment, it's the "strong dollar" demagogues, mostly found among the opportunistic cranks of the GOP, who are hurting our trade. The reality is that economic policy is more complicated in most regards than the ephemera of these comments, but I get no sense you have a clue about anything regarding coming to terms with relevant economic policies or the strengths and weaknesses of comparative approaches. All knee-jerk stuff.

And is China "free trade" ? Are there any issues in the context of our current relationship - or is Wal-Mart "communism" an unalloyed good because of all the cheap shit? I'm sure you have this one all figured out...

bkjazfan 06-28-2011 02:27 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Another race to the bottom guy. Talk about a meaningless conversation. Out!

badhatharry 06-28-2011 02:43 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hal Morris (Post 214509)


It's a video, actually.

Oooops, looks like a good name for a video.

Hal Morris 06-28-2011 02:54 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
[not responding yet to previous paragraph, which will take more thought]

Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 214477)
...you seem to be saying that evidence of the demolition of 'rough equality' is that the rich control politics, left and right. I am wondering if this is seriously any different than at any other time in our country.

Well, I don't have all these sorts of statistics at my fingertips, and haven't checked and cross checked everything, but I've seen (to me so far) credible arguments that

Essentially all the gains in productivity of the past 3-4 decades have gone to the top few percent income earners in the population.

The salary ratio between a typical CEO and typical employee has had an increase something on the order of from 30:1 to 300:1.

40% of profit in the U.S. economy was in the financial sector (last year, last X years?), which is more of an arena in which money creates money than an exchange market where anyone can trade productive work for whatever it is they need.

I don't think the poor are better off than in the 50s and 60s. They eat better and have toys that were unimaginable back then, but ... can someone make the case that they are? I'll admit I can't make a good case of this now, but why are the poor in rural states like Kentucky so much involved in meth and prescription drug addiction?

As for the ultra-rich controlling politics, I can't marshal a strong argument, but my impression from thousands of hours of reading is well no. I think national elections in the 19th century up to the Civil War (after which I don't know so much) were not managed so well for the rich. As Alfred Chandler said railroads were our "first big business", and they didn't get really big until around the Civil War, maybe not until after. At a local level the wealth and the offices were better matched, and better able to operate in the shadows, much as today, so my impression is there was much more pure corruption there.

It just came into my mind as I was writing that the vast network of think tanks and heavily subsidized movements do seem like a departure. And even when movements were sponsored, once upon a time a moderately well off candy manufacturer like Jack Welch could start an influential (for a while) movement, it takes a billionaire today. So it seemed a bit like a throwback to how an 1830s English travelor (Edward Abdy) had trouble getting his mind around reform movements popping up despite a dearth of Dukes to sponsor them.

I think "new media" has, partly through anonymity, made it possible to dress up an awful lot of blatant manipulation as "grass roots", and if we want it to be more of a real vehicle for democracy, we'll have to fight and work very hard for it.

badhatharry 06-28-2011 02:57 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by brucds (Post 214508)
- that makes it obvious Nozick is steeped in a ridiculous straw man of a thought experiment. I haven't read into Nozick, but of course I've heard of him and read many references to him. I had not paid attention to the "Wilt Chamberlain" issue...which is hardly a reflection on me. Because it's a bogus issue. Total BS that has nothing to do with any relevant critique of liberal concerns with economic inequality. As Yglesias notes, there are these things called taxes. Adam Smith was for a progressive version. Once you introduce the concept and validate it, Nozick's thesis becomes irrelevant.

I haven't read him but I've read about him and some of the people I've read about him from don't like him and that's enough for me. Furthermore, what he says is BS and has nothing to do with economic equality. I say this having never really read into him. Therefore I feel fairly confident that I can say with certainty that Nozick's thesis is irrelevant. And, although I haven't read into him or have a feel for the context and stuff like that, Adam Smith is cool because he calls for a progressive version of taxes.

sugarkang 06-28-2011 03:00 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hal Morris (Post 214518)
Essentially all the gains in productivity of the past 3-4 decades have gone to the top few percent income earners in the population.

No, this is the typical Marxist (not exaggerating) view of how wealth works. You have already assumed that workers created wealth and that the capitalists have usurped it.

Larry and Sergey of Google are billionaires. They are in the top 0.1% of rich people in the nation. Have they made your life measurably worse?

FUCK.

bkjazfan 06-28-2011 03:10 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
A visit to your local bookstore if it's still around shows that the philosophy section is small. I would venture to say the New Age part is bigger. I know very little about either but would venture to guess this is a problem.

popcorn_karate 06-28-2011 03:15 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JulianSanchez (Post 214430)
As I note in the dialog, every person I've spoken to about this who is actually familiar with Nozickóincluding staunch progressives who utterly disagree with himóregards the Slate piece as an embarrassing farrago whose author does not appear to even grasp the point of the argument he imagines himself to be answering. If you're going to form an opinion of the work based on summaries, it's probably better to pick a guide who (however unsympathetic he might be) understands what he's explaining in some elementary way.

I think Matt's point was that the technical reading of Nozick's argument is irrelevant to political discourse because that is not how we do politics in the U.S.A. The non-technical, bastardized version of his arguments are what live in the minds of libertarians (see sugarK's constant refrain about coercion, for example) and some conservatives, so that shallow understanding should be refuted - which is what the article did.

The author should have been clear about what he was doing, but overall I'm happy the article was written and it does a good job of eviscerating the ignorant understanding of Nozick's arguments that are used in popular politics.

Hal Morris 06-28-2011 03:22 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 214476)

Here's my key argument against John Rawls. If we are all supposed to imagine some minimum standard that we could bare to be with in the world, then that's the minimum we should work toward for our bottom quintile. But again, what is wealth? And if you are born beautiful and I am born ugly, should you be taxed on your beauty? Should you pay for my plastic surgery? Should we pay to make everyone somewhat beautiful? And if everyone is beautiful, will everyone still be beautiful?

I am more partial to Sen's critique of Rawls than to Nozick's. Don't let this sort of hair splitting divert your attention from the extreme cases; try to find a way to make the world arguably better by addressing some of the worst misery. Worry about the smaller differences when and if that ever begins to seem worth worrying about. And don't worry so much about metaphysical crap like "what is wealth"? That's the kind of question Marx obsessed over and it drove him crazy.

Apropos of nothing, why don't you check out "THE ROAD TO SERFDOM (in cartoons)" which was apparently published in LOOK magazine then widely circulated as a pamphlet by General Motors.

The Reader's Digest Condensed version of TRTS, which I'm convinced converted far more people than the actual book, seems to me pretty close to the cartoon version, and pretty far from a summary of the book (although Hayek didn't seem to mind).

sugarkang 06-28-2011 03:27 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hal Morris (Post 214529)
And don't worry so much about metaphysical crap like "what is wealth"? That's the kind of question Marx obsessed over and it drove him crazy.

Metaphysical? I believe you've shown your cards. If you think wealth cannot be defined, you are mistaken. Wealth can be subjective, but it can clearly be defined and does not require one to go insane.

For me, wealth is standard of living. If our poorest have food, clothing, shelter (you know, the traditional test), then our society is, at the very least, not horrible. Our bottom 20% live better than the rest of the world's 80%.

You, unfortunately, have mistaken wealth for nominal dollar terms. Look at the happy child from Zimbabwe with all his "riches."

badhatharry 06-28-2011 03:29 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bkjazfan (Post 214524)
A visit to your local bookstore if it's still around shows that the philosophy section is small. I would venture to say the New Age part is bigger. I know very little about either but would venture to guess this is a problem.

You are so right! At Barnes and Noble, Deepak Chopra is a philospher.

chamblee54 06-28-2011 03:33 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
http://chamblee54.files.wordpress.co.../06/37043a.jpg

chamblee54

badhatharry 06-28-2011 04:08 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hal Morris (Post 214518)
[not responding yet to previous paragraph, which will take more thought]

Thanks for your post. I wrote a very lengthy response to it but it got lost.

So I'll try to summarize. I think we're in the doldrums. It's hard to think that we'll ever be the exciting, innovative nation we once were . But I don't think we fully appreciate the gains we've made and that is typical of being human. We look at all of the problems we have and we ignore the problems we've solved because they're solved.

We're in a new age and that's intimidating and uncertain. As Tyler Cowen has pointed out, it seems like all the low lying fruit is gone and we're stuck with figuring out what to do next. A tall ladder would be good. And we have to deal with all these people!

I have faith that we'll figure it out and what we figure out won't come from some think tank. And we should resist the urge to try to fix things that aren't broken, as you pointed out. Maybe we just have too much time on our hands.

Florian 06-28-2011 04:26 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mannish Boy (Post 214504)
Speaking from a British perspective, I would agree. While the current government is applying some interesting ideas about localism, these aren't really discussed in terms of philosophy. Especially since New Labour, every election in the UK is a battle for the mushy centre ground over practical issues.

I would say that American politics, with debates about the Founding Fathers and their constitution, is much more philosophically inclined. I think Matt and Julian have just applied the stereotype of the sophisticated European vs the action-man American uncritically.

More philosophically inclined, or more inclined to bow to the authority of tradition as represented by the constitution? Take, for example, Clarence Thomas:

http://www.slate.com/id/2297410/entry/2297829/

If Americans were more philosophical, they would be less inclined to believe that the constitution is the final authority on every question. Can you even imagine Europeans consulting what people thought about child rearing in the 18th century to decide what laws should be applicable in the 21st century?

badhatharry 06-28-2011 04:30 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hal Morris (Post 214529)
The Reader's Digest Condensed version of TRTS, which I'm convinced converted far more people than the actual book, seems to me pretty close to the cartoon version, and pretty far from a summary of the book (although Hayek didn't seem to mind).

Just in case you aren't amongst the millions of people who have seen these two videos...

Boom and Bust
Fight of the Century

These have converted a fair number of people, also.

badhatharry 06-28-2011 04:42 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 214546)
More philosophically inclined, or more inclined to bow to the authority of tradition as represented by the constitution? Take, for example, Clarence Thomas:

http://www.slate.com/id/2297410/entry/2297829/

If Americans were more philosophical, they would be less inclined to believe that the constitution is the final authority on every question. Can you even imagine Europeans consulting what people thought about child rearing in the 18th century to decide what laws should be applicable in the 21st century?

How silly, people don't think the constitution is the final authority on every question. There's that soaring rhetoric you need to watch. What the constitution does is spell out the limitations of the power of the federal government. That's not clear at times and that's why we have the SCOTUS. And strangely, they don't always agree and that is why we have nine justices so that they can make majority decisions if need be.

But it is nice to have principles, don't you agree and not to just whimsically decide things based on the fashion of the day?

Hal Morris 06-28-2011 04:44 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 214530)
Metaphysical? I believe you've shown your cards. If you think wealth cannot be defined, you are mistaken. Wealth can be subjective, but it can clearly be defined and does not require one to go insane.

For me, wealth is standard of living. If our poorest have food, clothing, shelter (you know, the traditional test), then our society is, at the very least, not horrible. Our bottom 20% live better than the rest of the world's 80%.

You, unfortunately, have mistaken wealth for nominal dollar terms. Look at the happy child from Zimbabwe with all his "riches."

Shown my Cards!? Shown my cards??. We-e-elll, that tears it, you metaphysical varlet!!!!!

But seriously, I think you miss the point. Either we take wealth as any other part of the English language, something we can just talk about with common sense, or else it is some philosophical or technical term about which we must as "What is wealth?" "What is beauty?" "What is goodness?" "What is a class?" "What is being?" "Does existence exist?", and so on.

People like Karl Marx, Ludwig Von Mises, and Ayn Rand have given great false impressions of profundity with such questions, which have lulled people into turning off their critical faculties.

BornAgainDemocrat 06-28-2011 04:46 PM

The principle of rectification
 
Matt Yglesias makes some good points. There has been so much chicanery over time that we might as well say capital is the accumulated crime and sacrifice of centuries, plus interest. (Come to think of it, that is true by definition since interest is largely the work of honest businessmen investing capital where it will do the most good.)

So? So tax consumption rather than income, assuming those who have legal title do so by virtue of managerial skills. They are the stewards of our wealth not its absolute owners: they manage capital but do not have claim to the entirety of its fruits.

This would justify Irving Fisher's concept of a graduated expenditure tax, which is essentially like a graduated income tax but with savings tax exempt. In other words you penalize people for what they take out of the common pot not what they put in.

A graduated expenditure tax would actually makes it easier to become very rich (if you are a miser) but also makes it possible to bring about a more just redistribution, not of income, but consumption. Liberty and fairness combined: entrepreneural genius in service of the maximum general welfare.

operative 06-28-2011 04:53 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 214546)
More philosophically inclined, or more inclined to bow to the authority of tradition as represented by the constitution? Take, for example, Clarence Thomas:

http://www.slate.com/id/2297410/entry/2297829/

If Americans were more philosophical, they would be less inclined to believe that the constitution is the final authority on every question. Can you even imagine Europeans consulting what people thought about child rearing in the 18th century to decide what laws should be applicable in the 21st century?

Perhaps that is why the United States has proven to be much more stable over the last 220 years. A government that is too slow is virtually never as bad as a government that is too fast.

operative 06-28-2011 05:01 PM

Matt is wrong...
 
While Republicans overwhelmingly say that they're 'conservative', what they mean by that statement is wildly different depending on who you ask. Ron Paul and Gary Johnson disagree with Rick Santorum on many core issues. Libertarian conservatives, theoconservatives, paleoconservatives, neoconservatives etc. have substantial disagreements. The only thing they really agree on is that it's good to call yourself conservative.

Florian 06-28-2011 05:20 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 214549)
But it is nice to have principles, don't you agree and not to just whimsically decide things based on the fashion of the day?

To be sure. But why does it matter what the authors of the constitution thought about child rearing? I am sure that they had some sensible ideas on the subject, and probably some of their ideas were better than ours, but unless we have principles of our own we cannot evaluate whether their ideas are good or not. Besides, I fail to see why the personal opinions of Jefferson or anyone else on extra-constitutional matters should determine a point of law today.

Jay J 06-28-2011 05:20 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
JulianSanchez,

I really enjoyed the conversation between you and Matthew.

And hey, you used to have the audio of your interview with Nozick on your website. Any chance that's coming back, or that I'm overlooking it at your site?

badhatharry 06-28-2011 05:42 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 214555)
To be sure. But why does it matter what the authors of the constitution thought about child rearing? I am sure that they had some sensible ideas on the subject, and probably some of their ideas were better than ours, but unless we have principles of our own we cannot evaluate whether their ideas are good or not. Besides, I fail to see why the personal opinions of Jefferson or anyone else on extra-constitutional matters should determine a point of law today.

It's not what the framers thought about child rearing. The case had to do with whether children should be prevented from buying certain video games.
It was really a free speech issue and what limits could be placed on it.

We go to the constitution to determine if laws or legal decisions conform to the intent of the document. For instance, I don't think a burqa bann would ever be upheld no matter how obnoxious some people think the practice is.
We take this stuff pretty seriously and lots of times decisions are made that people vehemently disagree about but I think most Americans think it's a pretty broad document that allows for many freedoms and protects them.

Here's an article about the case that doesn't target Thomas.

badhatharry 06-28-2011 06:20 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 214526)
The author should have been clear about what he was doing, but overall I'm happy the article was written and it does a good job of eviscerating the ignorant understanding of Nozick's arguments that are used in popular politics.

So the article was not a critique of Nozick but rather the ignornant people who might somehow manage to slog their way through his books.

ledocs 06-28-2011 06:23 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
I have not watched your diavlog, but I did read the Metcalf article and the Wilt Chamberlain argument in "Anarchy..." within the past week. I had the following criticisms of Nozick's hypothetical.

http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpo...2&postcount=26

I did not even mention that it is crucial to the Chamberlain "argument" that economic goods are perfectly distributed, in the sense that no individual has a complaint about that distribution, prior to Wilt's entry into consideration. The argument fails utterly, unless one further specifies that the psychology of individuals in the assumed perfect state of distribution must differ markedly from the psychology of people in the real world.

It is well known that people with exceptional earning potential, like investment bankers or movie stars or Wilt, but also like the other players in any hypothetical game involving Wilt that people would be likely to pay to watch, tend to be highly jealous or envious about how income is distributed. As an example, just have a look at the description by David Halberstam of Maurice Lucas, Lionel Hollins, and Portland's third-rate center whose name I can no longer remember in "Breaks of the Game," written just a few years after "Anarchy...." The Maurice Lucas envy problem arose primarily because Bill Walton, the white Wilt, was making so much more money than Lucas. But Nozick completely ignores this problem or says something about it that is obviously false, namely that it is inconceivable that other players could object, on the grounds of distributive justice, to Wilt's 25% share of the ticket price (provided that they had no complaints about their income and wealth prior to the new dispensation involving Wilt).

What is the elementary point about the argument that Metcalf fails to grasp?

I am guessing, partly a priori, but partly based upon glancing at some of the comments here, that you and Yglesias fail, like Metcalf, to go through the argument of the hypothetical in any detail.

badhatharry 06-28-2011 06:33 PM

Re: Political Philosophy and Wilt Chamberlain (Matthew Yglesias & Julian Sanchez)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ledocs (Post 214562)
I have not watched your diavlog, but I did read the Metcalf article and the Wilt Chamberlain argument in "Anarchy..." within the past week. I had the following criticisms of Nozick's hypothetical.

http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpo...2&postcount=26

You said:

Quote:

If WC's share were 75%, the games might not be played, for example, because either the fans or the other players or neither would agree to be a party to games played under those terms.
__________________


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