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Old 03-13-2008, 11:32 AM
Jeff Morgan Jeff Morgan is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 48
Default Re: So tell me why I Shouldn't be a libertarian

I'm largely with Wolfgangus.

Cooperation is most competitive.

Nature is a example of a competitive system; think of species off the top of your head and you'll probably notice that members of those species work together (organize into cooperative groups) and are interdependent. Notice the absence of species of loners.

If you're self-interested, libertarian disorganization is not good news for you. Note: government kinda defines a cooperative group of humans.


Economic detail:
Natural market dynamics are great and desirable whenever possible, but the determinants of those dynamics aren't had for all things we demand.

First obvious example is highways, usually everyone recognizes highways as okay for the government to do because you can't have multiple highway services coexisting, so on and so forth.

Thomas Paine inspired illustration: throw a couple dozen guys on an island, what rules/agreements would naturally arise... So say they want a highway. Usually the story goes: no one alone can afford it and only if they all pitch in can they do it (or that they would all benefit from it so the cost should be on all of them).

But instead, imagine there is one guy on the island that is rich enough to build the highway on his own. Then cooperative organization (gov't) isn't required. So the guy takes all the cost but is going to do this toll-road style. He'll profit eventually, and he wouldn't build it if he didn't. After he makes back initial cost, the regular guys are still paying and what you get is polarization in wealth distribution over time, because you have all the regular guys continue to pay the rich guy while the rich guy is incurring no costs.
After a couple decades, the islanders would probably realize if they just went government style, they could have avoided all these additional costs.

Go back to before the highway was built. Knowing those two futures, it would be in your economic self-interest to demand the government run highway, and thank you democracy (democracy itself is the antithesis of some libertarian veins), demand can be expressed independent of wealth so all the regular guys outweigh the rich guy.

Extend metaphor: traffic on highway as economic activity generally. Notice tolls the rich guy collects would be roughly proportional to economic activity (as opposed to initial cost inefficiency that libertarians often attribute to government activity as axiom), and thus literally be a tax. The regular islanders of course would gain from the highway or else they wouldn't use it, but they end up far behind where they could have been. And there is no stopping leakage; the rich guy could buy a million dollar diamond from another island.

I think this is a good analogy to what we see currently with the expanding income gap, investment money going overseas, and paying $50 every month for an internet service that costs a tenth as much to provide. I only wish government could have started a public fully fiber-optic network nationwide in the early 90's.
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