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  #1  
Old 12-10-2008, 09:19 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Welcome to the Jungle

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  #2  
Old 12-10-2008, 10:25 PM
MikeDrew MikeDrew is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

I wish Bob wouldn't encourage Megan. Just sayin'.
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  #3  
Old 12-10-2008, 10:38 PM
fredsbreakfast fredsbreakfast is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Megan!!!! Finally!

..... get rid of the new glasses!

Fearless
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  #4  
Old 12-10-2008, 11:17 PM
metacodger metacodger is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

This was informative for me. I especially appreciated Megan's explanation of why Ford was in better shape than GM or Chrysler, as I hadn't previously understood that they had raised a lot of cash against all their hard assets before the crisis hit really hard.

To me, this means that Ford had a plan B, and the others didn't. I also didn't realize that the UAW permitted retired members to vote, and I think she's right that this is unique among labor unions. I'd like to think I'm pro union in many circumstances (I've never been a member of a union however), but I think the UAW has acted in ways that were ultimately against the long term best interests of their members, and even the union movement as a whole. The point about imperial vs. metric measurements was very interesting.

I do disagree with Megan's point about the Local 3 electrician's union in NY. I've been working in IT in NYC for 20 years (kinda senior but still very technical). Local 3 can sometimes offer a decent labor value if you need a large project done right and quickly.
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  #5  
Old 12-11-2008, 12:14 AM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Bob has new fan.

Bob has a great sense of humor. Bob thinks, and Bob is entirely reasonable. Bob has obvious libertarian sensibilities and should try to explore them further. Maybe not come outright out of the closet, but at least be aware of this curious side of his. He doesn't like the auto-bail-out, doesn't approve of corporate welfare based on economic nationalism. Would rather bail-out the individuals directly. So presumably if all the auto-workers had taken out a "transition" or "unemployment" form of insurance, i.e. if the free market had somehow provided coverage for the actual workers then he would be advocating for the government to "do nothing"! Glorious laissez-faire!

Bob is starting to realize that the term libertarian has evolved: it doesn't mean rugged individualism anymore, everyone for himself, these days it mostly means an awareness of the principles of microeconomics. He even brings up the law of the jungle and then argues in a very libertarian way that the current system props up and protect the rich an powerful. Also, hear, hear, the jungle is not as bad as we think! Maybe, just maybe, without a centralized form of coercion, freely interacting hunter-gatherers would actually develop forms of cooperation, norms, even laws, but certainly cultures, that might actually be better then our current system! Pure libertarian utopianism!

Finally on the piracy question he advocates a truly legitimate legal institution which would gradually evolve, possibly starting with a small consortium of willing nations that make agreements with the possibility of defaulting etc...what a Hayekian idea! Go Bob! He even recognizes that there are trade-offs to everything.

You have a new fan.
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  #6  
Old 12-11-2008, 12:23 AM
chiropteran chiropteran is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

megan mcardle annoys the heck out of me
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  #7  
Old 12-11-2008, 01:05 AM
MoodyLoner MoodyLoner is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Is it me, or are Bob's arguments in favor of the ICC quite similar to the ones used to invade Iraq?
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  #8  
Old 12-11-2008, 03:10 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Quote:
Is it me, or are Bob's arguments in favor of the ICC quite similar to the ones used to invade Iraq?
Maybe, but without the invasion part.
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  #9  
Old 12-11-2008, 02:58 AM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

I'll start taking McArdle seriously when she stops abusing economics for her weird political goals.
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  #10  
Old 12-11-2008, 09:26 AM
PaulL PaulL is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
I'll start taking McArdle seriously when she stops abusing economics for her weird political goals.
I suspect the hatred of McArdle by some of the commenters here is due to her previous schooling of Glenn Greenwald.
Or her schooling of John Bowe on Cuba having a lower infant mortality rate than the US.

Quote:
Yes, the Megan rant on the Jacksons was extremely bizarre, especially since she based her observations wholly on something she had just heard on Fox News.
I suspect your high opinion of the Jacksons is due to you getting your News from Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Jon "I can't do my show without writers" Stewart.
BTW did Jesse Jackson ever pay the college tuition of the Duke Lacrosse Rape hoax accuser Ms. Mangum?

Last edited by PaulL; 12-11-2008 at 09:31 AM..
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  #11  
Old 12-11-2008, 11:02 AM
pampl pampl is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

There's a difference between having a "high opinion of the Jacksons" and not condemning Jesse Jr. without any evidence. As Ezekiel says, the son will not bear punishment for the father's sins.
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  #12  
Old 12-11-2008, 07:54 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulL View Post
I suspect the hatred of McArdle by some of the commenters here is due to her previous schooling of Glenn Greenwald.
Or her schooling of John Bowe on Cuba having a lower infant mortality rate than the US.
Nope. I never read Greenwald. His posts are too long!

No, McArdle reminds me too much of myself back when I was an undergrad. I'd taken a few econ classes, read "Free to Choose" by Milton Freidman, and thought I knew everything. You know, literally sophomoric ("conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature"). She makes me wince.
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  #13  
Old 12-11-2008, 01:19 PM
fredsbreakfast fredsbreakfast is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
I'll start taking McArdle seriously when she stops abusing economics for her weird political goals.
You've got me quite curious --- how exactly do you mean that Megan's "abusing economics" here? And what do you believe might be her "weird political goals"?
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  #14  
Old 12-11-2008, 09:26 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredsbreakfast View Post
You've got me quite curious --- how exactly do you mean that Megan's "abusing economics" here? And what do you believe might be her "weird political goals"?
Here's one example.

For weird political goals, I mean libertarianism. I have a lot of problems with libertarians, despite being a baseline libertarian. But since I'm a slow writer and lazy I'll give you one ... okay, what does a libertarian want? Generally speaking, to maximize individual liberty, and relatedly, a small state. The rationale for the small state is that the state pushes you around a million little ways, takes your money, and puts you in prison if you don't play along. These are serious issues, and libertarians are smart to care about them. The main libertarian critique is that small groups can work together to enrich themselves at the expense of society (economists put related issues under the heading of "public choice," "collective action," and "game theory"). For example, agricultural subsidies, state-sponsored monopolies, protectionism, etc.

It's fairly easy for a handful of companies to work together to advance their interests. It's really, really hard for the multitudes to coordinate their actions. What libertarians what is for everybody to stop using the state to advance their interests. In a way they want everyone to surrender. But in practice that means the multitudes concede and powerful cliques rule the day. In practice most libertarians mainly complain about welfare and consumer protection and environmental protection. You don't often hear libertarians fighting against corporate power. So in practice libertarianism resembles old-fashioned aristocratic conservatism: more power for them that's got. The deal they're offering is: everybody give up politics, and then we'll just let money decide the rules. No thanks.

Okay, one more: government=bad is quite the shortcut. The messy truth is you have to evaluate every government program on its merits and faults. It's boring, but there's really no substitute. Generalized scorn isn't a path to enlightenment.
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  #15  
Old 12-11-2008, 10:09 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
Here's one example.

For weird political goals, I mean libertarianism. I have a lot of problems with libertarians, despite being a baseline libertarian. But since I'm a slow writer and lazy I'll give you one ... okay, what does a libertarian want? Generally speaking, to maximize individual liberty, and relatedly, a small state. The rationale for the small state is that the state pushes you around a million little ways, takes your money, and puts you in prison if you don't play along. These are serious issues, and libertarians are smart to care about them. The main libertarian critique is that small groups can work together to enrich themselves at the expense of society (economists put related issues under the heading of "public choice," "collective action," and "game theory"). For example, agricultural subsidies, state-sponsored monopolies, protectionism, etc.

It's fairly easy for a handful of companies to work together to advance their interests. It's really, really hard for the multitudes to coordinate their actions. What libertarians what is for everybody to stop using the state to advance their interests. In a way they want everyone to surrender. But in practice that means the multitudes concede and powerful cliques rule the day. In practice most libertarians mainly complain about welfare and consumer protection and environmental protection. You don't often hear libertarians fighting against corporate power. So in practice libertarianism resembles old-fashioned aristocratic conservatism: more power for them that's got. The deal they're offering is: everybody give up politics, and then we'll just let money decide the rules. No thanks.

Okay, one more: government=bad is quite the shortcut. The messy truth is you have to evaluate every government program on its merits and faults. It's boring, but there's really no substitute. Generalized scorn isn't a path to enlightenment.
Excellent observations, well made. In this and your other posts on this thread. Bravo.
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  #16  
Old 12-13-2008, 11:11 AM
fredsbreakfast fredsbreakfast is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
Here's one example.

For weird political goals, I mean libertarianism. I have a lot of problems with libertarians, despite being a baseline libertarian. But since I'm a slow writer and lazy I'll give you one ... okay, what does a libertarian want? Generally speaking, to maximize individual liberty, and relatedly, a small state. The rationale for the small state is that the state pushes you around a million little ways, takes your money, and puts you in prison if you don't play along. These are serious issues, and libertarians are smart to care about them. The main libertarian critique is that small groups can work together to enrich themselves at the expense of society (economists put related issues under the heading of "public choice," "collective action," and "game theory"). For example, agricultural subsidies, state-sponsored monopolies, protectionism, etc.

It's fairly easy for a handful of companies to work together to advance their interests. It's really, really hard for the multitudes to coordinate their actions. What libertarians what is for everybody to stop using the state to advance their interests. In a way they want everyone to surrender. But in practice that means the multitudes concede and powerful cliques rule the day. In practice most libertarians mainly complain about welfare and consumer protection and environmental protection. You don't often hear libertarians fighting against corporate power. So in practice libertarianism resembles old-fashioned aristocratic conservatism: more power for them that's got. The deal they're offering is: everybody give up politics, and then we'll just let money decide the rules. No thanks.

Okay, one more: government=bad is quite the shortcut. The messy truth is you have to evaluate every government program on its merits and faults. It's boring, but there's really no substitute. Generalized scorn isn't a path to enlightenment.
You were doing pretty good there for a while, but you got off track around the "at the expense of society" part, and the "multitudes coordinating" part. I don't agree (I don't think) about multitudes not coordinating so well.

The greatest restriction to that coordination probably is, in fact, big central coercive authority. Megan's dad's collective bargaining is an example of the multitudes -- them's that's not got? -- doing well for themselves without the (above scorn?) federal government.

Libertarians are not interested generally, as you say, in "everyone giving up politics". Most libertarians would surly eliminate much of the modern state -- especially much of the federal government's business of selling transfer payments (including all those benefiting "corporate power") for votes. Government - and it's coercive authority - is corrupt and ugly and inefficient, and should be reduced.

The result of reducing government regulation and taxation and interference will in fact increase the efficiencies of the efforts among the multitudes to coordinate. While I personally do sometimes feel general scorn for those uninterested in learning what is to account for the great wealth created in the US, I wonder if Megan's base motive in her work is really statist scorn.

As for libertarianism being weird -- it seems to me to be an interest in going back to a lower level of governance. Libertarians of all stripes would agree with that. Conservatives and Republicans would all agree with that. Most of the Western World is beginning to agree with that. It may have seemed weird at the beginning of the last century --- but now?
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  #17  
Old 12-13-2008, 05:18 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredsbreakfast View Post
You were doing pretty good there for a while, but you got off track around the "at the expense of society" part, and the "multitudes coordinating" part. I don't agree (I don't think) about multitudes not coordinating so well.

The greatest restriction to that coordination probably is, in fact, big central coercive authority. Megan's dad's collective bargaining is an example of the multitudes -- them's that's not got? -- doing well for themselves without the (above scorn?) federal government.

Libertarians are not interested generally, as you say, in "everyone giving up politics". Most libertarians would surly eliminate much of the modern state -- especially much of the federal government's business of selling transfer payments (including all those benefiting "corporate power") for votes. Government - and it's coercive authority - is corrupt and ugly and inefficient, and should be reduced.

The result of reducing government regulation and taxation and interference will in fact increase the efficiencies of the efforts among the multitudes to coordinate. While I personally do sometimes feel general scorn for those uninterested in learning what is to account for the great wealth created in the US, I wonder if Megan's base motive in her work is really statist scorn.

As for libertarianism being weird -- it seems to me to be an interest in going back to a lower level of governance. Libertarians of all stripes would agree with that. Conservatives and Republicans would all agree with that. Most of the Western World is beginning to agree with that. It may have seemed weird at the beginning of the last century --- but now?
In a previous episode McArdle made it pretty clear her motive was hating hippies. But questioning motives is not cool, so we'll let that go.

As for weird, you wouldn't know it from BHtv, but there aren't many libertarians in America.

I'm going to take another stab at the point I was trying to make ... okay, let's say you have three big oil companies. It's easy to coordinate the actions of three big oil companies. They can easily pool resources to lobby Congress and get billions in subsidies. So let's say they spend $100 million on lobbying and make $10 billion on the deal. That's a Hell of a profit. Since there's only three of them the free rider problem isn't a problem. And each of them doesn't have to ante up much cash anyway. And since it helps to keep the abstraction level low here, the managers of those companies capture some of that $10 billion. Not all of it is going to be returned to the shareholders. That $10 billion cost is spread over the rest of America: $10b/300m people = $33/person. It's hard to organize 300 million people on an issue that costs them $33. This is what I meant by the multitudes coordinating. It's hard for 300 million people to even be aware of the issue (People have lives!). It's not that much money to each of them. And it's easy to free ride on the other 299,999,999 people.

(Now you don't have to be a libertarian to hate this stuff. Us liberals call it "corporate welfare." Economists use terms like "rent-seeking" and "the logic of collective action." We all want it to go away. Libertarians don't own the rights to common sense.)

I deliberately picked the worst example of a government project. Now let's slide over to the other end of the continuum of the best example of government projects. Just to keep the quibbling factor low, pick your favorites (Unless you're a full-blown anarchist there's got to be at least one!). Chances are the benefits are diffuse. If you start shrinking the size of the state, if you start cutting this and that, the last things to be cut are going to be the things that the rich and few can defend. This is what I meant by surrendering in politics.

This is my problem with the libertarian mission. I don't want to shrink all projects. I want to be smart about it. I want to get rid of the bad projects and keep the good projects.

If you think of American history as not starting in 1776, but as a continuation of English history (and I do!), you have a long period of a minimal state (the libertarian good old days), but all the land was owned by a handful of families (again, easy to coordinate. See enclosures and clearances), and everybody else was pretty close to slavery. You didn't pay taxes, you paid rent. Then, through technology, riots, politics, and whatnot, the masses were able to claw some power away from the few. And in only the last hundred years or so we're in a position where everyone can vote, and through politics we've achieved a fairer society: universal education, consumer protection, and even health care. Now libertarians want everyone to give up politics and let money rule again?
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  #18  
Old 12-13-2008, 05:41 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

clay:

Your thoughts on the key problem of libertarian ideology are extremely well-articulated. Thanks for taking the time and making the effort.
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  #19  
Old 12-13-2008, 06:03 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Naw, I'm just stealing from Matt Yglesias :P

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2008/11/...arian-project/
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  #20  
Old 12-13-2008, 06:56 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
Naw, I'm just stealing from Matt Yglesias :P

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2008/11/...arian-project/
Heh. Thanks for the link -- it was a good read -- but give yourself some credit. You did more than regurgitate.
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  #21  
Old 12-13-2008, 07:00 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Clay, you might enjoy this thread:

http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showth...7651#post97651
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  #22  
Old 12-14-2008, 11:36 AM
fredsbreakfast fredsbreakfast is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Megan's just rebelling against her own beautiful inner hippie. Do you remember the earthy-crunchiness she revealed when she returned from Vietnam? I wasn't sure if I was watching Julia Butterfly Hill, or Megan Buttermilk McArdle. Questioning motives is okay -- I just happen to like most every libertarian I've met, and have also an affinity for many things hippie (most especially in realms of aesthetics and music).

When it comes to public policy, and political economy, I get defensive when libertarians are attacked -- I believe libertarianism is the opposite of your contemporary left-liberal Democrat philosophy. Well - to the extent there actually even is a coherent leftist philosophy - I believe it is clearly (and sometimes not so clearly) simply more statism ... that the answer is in another government action.

Sorry -- I didn't realize earlier what you meant by people working together. You were referring to people getting attention of - from? - government. Your idea about shrinking the size of the state 'till nothing's left but protecting interests of the few remaining rich is interesting. I haven't thought of it quite like that before.

I guess I'd say no -- that may not actually happen because the first priorities of government having by then been givin' up (national defense, rule of law, court system, protection of basic rights and private property, protection of freedom to associate and freedom pursue our private interests, and freedom to practice our religions) we'd already have revolted. I believe what would actually happen is as you reduce government down to say 25 or 30% of our lives, from the roughly 46 or 47% where its at now, you'd get much less special interest goodies for those you and I agree are undeserving - legally and morally. You're too afraid of the rich: they don't really have power over you -- only government does!

They will be crowded out before we --- that's guaranteed by the Second Amendment. If government only has enough of my money for the basics -- there's nothing left over for the big ideas and boondoggles and bailouts and transfer payments and handouts -- none of 'em. Then I'm happy -- I'm free.
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  #23  
Old 12-14-2008, 10:25 PM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
In a previous episode McArdle made it pretty clear her motive was hating hippies. But questioning motives is not cool, so we'll let that go.

As for weird, you wouldn't know it from BHtv, but there aren't many libertarians in America.

I'm going to take another stab at the point I was trying to make ... okay, let's say you have three big oil companies. It's easy to coordinate the actions of three big oil companies. They can easily pool resources to lobby Congress and get billions in subsidies. So let's say they spend $100 million on lobbying and make $10 billion on the deal. That's a Hell of a profit. Since there's only three of them the free rider problem isn't a problem. And each of them doesn't have to ante up much cash anyway. And since it helps to keep the abstraction level low here, the managers of those companies capture some of that $10 billion. Not all of it is going to be returned to the shareholders. That $10 billion cost is spread over the rest of America: $10b/300m people = $33/person. It's hard to organize 300 million people on an issue that costs them $33. This is what I meant by the multitudes coordinating. It's hard for 300 million people to even be aware of the issue (People have lives!). It's not that much money to each of them. And it's easy to free ride on the other 299,999,999 people.

(Now you don't have to be a libertarian to hate this stuff. Us liberals call it "corporate welfare." Economists use terms like "rent-seeking" and "the logic of collective action." We all want it to go away. Libertarians don't own the rights to common sense.)

I deliberately picked the worst example of a government project. Now let's slide over to the other end of the continuum of the best example of government projects. Just to keep the quibbling factor low, pick your favorites (Unless you're a full-blown anarchist there's got to be at least one!). Chances are the benefits are diffuse. If you start shrinking the size of the state, if you start cutting this and that, the last things to be cut are going to be the things that the rich and few can defend. This is what I meant by surrendering in politics.

This is my problem with the libertarian mission. I don't want to shrink all projects. I want to be smart about it. I want to get rid of the bad projects and keep the good projects.

If you think of American history as not starting in 1776, but as a continuation of English history (and I do!), you have a long period of a minimal state (the libertarian good old days), but all the land was owned by a handful of families (again, easy to coordinate. See enclosures and clearances), and everybody else was pretty close to slavery. You didn't pay taxes, you paid rent. Then, through technology, riots, politics, and whatnot, the masses were able to claw some power away from the few. And in only the last hundred years or so we're in a position where everyone can vote, and through politics we've achieved a fairer society: universal education, consumer protection, and even health care. Now libertarians want everyone to give up politics and let money rule again?
I find it more plausible to think that freed-markets (in which I include the abolition of slavery) and competition have brought about wealth and technology to such an unprecedented level that we have been able to indulge in our impulses for collective hubris. As a result government has been increasing steadily, whether Reps or Dems were in power, and we've ask it to "solve" more and more real and imagined problems. It's oppressive, inefficient, corrupt, but we can afford it, and we couldn't get rid of this form of oceanic group therapy.
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  #24  
Old 12-11-2008, 03:18 AM
travis68 travis68 is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Bob has a good point about using the ICC to try cross-border terrorism cases. Countries whose nationals commit cross-border terrorism can save face, so they are more likely to cooperate. We can restrict the charter of ICC to try the type of cases that we want.

It would have been nice to have gotten Bin Laden in that way and we could have avoided the invasion of Afghanistan. Now it's probably unlikely that the Taliban would have cooperated without further inducement, but if the US had said: "cooperate or we eliminate you" -- then there is a decent possibility we would have had cooperation. It would have just taken longer. But we now know that there is no rush to invade countries. They will still be there later to invade.
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  #25  
Old 12-11-2008, 03:37 AM
MikeDrew MikeDrew is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

It is not established (remotely) that Jesse Jackson Jr. agreed to anything in the Blago tapes. It is alleged that Blagojevic is on tape (have the tapes even been released?) claiming that someone claiming to represent Jackson claimed that Jackson would be able to raise (not pay!) the amount in question. Jackson being Candidate 5 proves nothing. Megan's oh-so-sad proclamation that it's a 'sad day for the Jacksons' is just amazingly premature.
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  #26  
Old 12-11-2008, 03:50 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Quote:
Megan's oh-so-sad proclamation that it's a 'sad day for the Jacksons' is just amazingly premature.
Yes, the Megan rant on the Jacksons was extremely bizarre, especially since she based her observations wholly on something she had just heard on Fox News.
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  #27  
Old 12-11-2008, 03:56 AM
MikeDrew MikeDrew is offline
 
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Default Megan Contra Megan on Labor Costs

Megan goes to lengths to point out that the UAW's negotiation aims are disporoportionately aimed at satisfying their lagacy memebers, which is hugely on point in many of the debates giong on now (see Leonhardt's Weds Times piece).

However, when she then goes on to make her theoretically sound point (notwithstanding Bob's skepticism) about the effect of total labor costs on the quality of parts used [The argument wouldn't be limited to parts, and I doubt Megan has a deep understanding of how GM structures the burden of its total labor costs, but the basic point is fair.], she uses the misleading phrase 'in order to pay their workers more,' to explain the theoretical skimping on part quality, completely disregarding the important point of the proportion of total labor costs that are legacy payments, even though she herself had pointedly explained that fact herself not seconds earlier!
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  #28  
Old 12-11-2008, 04:05 AM
MikeDrew MikeDrew is offline
 
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Default Re: Megan Contra Megan on Labor Costs

It was "...pay their workers extra," not "more."
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  #29  
Old 12-11-2008, 09:49 PM
elementaryteacher elementaryteacher is offline
 
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Default Re: Megan Contra Megan on Labor Costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeDrew View Post
Megan goes to lengths to point out that the UAW's negotiation aims are disporoportionately aimed at satisfying their lagacy memebers, which is hugely on point in many of the debates giong on now (see Leonhardt's Weds Times piece).

However, when she then goes on to make her theoretically sound point (notwithstanding Bob's skepticism) about the effect of total labor costs on the quality of parts used [The argument wouldn't be limited to parts, and I doubt Megan has a deep understanding of how GM structures the burden of its total labor costs, but the basic point is fair.], she uses the misleading phrase 'in order to pay their workers more,' to explain the theoretical skimping on part quality, completely disregarding the important point of the proportion of total labor costs that are legacy payments, even though she herself had pointedly explained that fact herself not seconds earlier!
Hmm, her point seemed to be that they asked for standard rather than metric sized parts to steer work towards the states, and UAW parts plants. My dad who is pretty anti-union, and is a real propeller-head loathed metric sized parts because they were not spec'ed as well as standard ones which were based on work done by some professional association of machinists or engineers. He felt the tolerances on the metrics were much lower, so, there would be a good reason to "buy American", but dad is fond of quixotic positions on arcane matters like that.
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  #30  
Old 12-11-2008, 04:12 AM
MikeDrew MikeDrew is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

I'm all for two or even more U.S. automakers filing for bankruptcy. They're shells of themselves. But I don't see why not forestall that until the economic light is at the end of the tunnel. That's all this is.
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  #31  
Old 12-11-2008, 04:22 AM
MikeDrew MikeDrew is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

If only the world would just start listening to libertarians, all our problems would be solved! Alas, nothing they advocate has ever been put into practice, nor has any hope ever to be.
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  #32  
Old 12-11-2008, 04:29 AM
timba timba is offline
 
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Default another great pairing

more please - this one really made me think
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  #33  
Old 12-11-2008, 04:54 AM
timba timba is offline
 
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Default Re: another great pairing

seriously - this was like watching a great baseball game where the lead keeps changing hands. There were at least a dozen places where one person had me completely convinced - and the other would convince me the other way with the next point.

Of course, I'm pretty gullible ... but I'd love to hear a lot more of this discussion - both on global governance and on the labor/bailout situation.

It's just not LONG enough! Remember, I've canceled my cable TV and all of my subscriptions. I need BHTV 24/7 and it's only about 1/6.
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  #34  
Old 12-11-2008, 06:30 AM
jstrummer jstrummer is offline
 
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Default Know-Nothing McArdle

I don't know where to begin. Megan McArdle does not know what she's talking about. She doesn't know, definitionally, what it means to be a libertarian. I think she's read Capitalism and Freedom, and that IS IT. And yet she insists on calling herself a libertarian. But she adheres to no particular part of it - not foreign policy, not economic policy, not monetary policy, not social policy, not cultural policy. She claims she's a federalist, but can't actually defend that either, except to say she doesn't like the acretion of federal power post Civil War. Ugh.

Plus, aside from Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman, she can't actually cite anyone she's read on this score. This is not someone who understands a political philosophy as anything more than a cartoon caricature.

That also goes for her knowledge about economics in general, which just amounts to pulling out these absurd anecdotes: GM workers earn $75, "my dad is a negotiator for construction workers in NY" (although she can't say which side cause she doesn't know), a friend of a friend once told me about how UAW doesn't like metric. ARE YOU FRIGGIN' KIDDING ME? Bob thankfully calls her on some of these just-so anecdotes, BUT THEY JUST KEEP COMING.

But let's get to this whole international court business. On the question of whether countries can be expected to turn over criminals to the court, she says no because there's no monopoly on force. FOUR RESPONSES: 1) has she never heard of extradition treaties. No one actually things that the U.S. will invade Canada if Canada doesn't turn over a killer who flees to Canada. But Canada turns those people over regularly (except for the odd case where there's some claim to human rights violation because the the potential for death penalty in the U.S., and even then those people are turned over when the U.S. state agrees not to seek the death penalty). So the notion that this court needs to be backed up EVERY SINGLE TIME, or even in 99 percent of the cases, by force is absurd.

2) The EU exists as a multinational governance system, AND THERE IS NO EU ARMY that will march into, say, Germany when Germany fails to comply with this or that directive. That's because various EU countries know that the general benefits of membership outweigh the cost of complying in individual instances. So they better comply.

3) Milosevic isn't a perfect example, but note that it was the Serbian gov't that turned the guy over to UN forces. This was quite apart from the NATO led bombing campaign that preceded it, since there was always some question about whether Serbia would comply with the international tribunal's arrest warrant. Serbia did so because they were looking to future benefits from the EU.

4) Is McCardle NOW going to come out against GATT and TRIPS and WTO, all of which are dispute resolution systems that involve adjudicatory functions which, however imperfect, have generally reduced barriers to trade.

I should also note that EVERY SINGLE TIME SHE UTTERS A FACT, it sounds as if she doesn't know what she's talking about. To the very clear question: how many workers do the Big 3 employ by Bob, we get like a 3 minute response that sufficiently hedges her answer, when it should've been "Bob, I don't know for sure." In fact, neither of her answers, she says 90,000 or 190,000, are correct. I'll just go over to wikipedia to find that: Ford has like 87,700 according to Wikipedia, GM has like 266,000, and Chrysler has 58,000. Megan: You're not even close.

This makes me disbelieve any other particular thing she says, and since she also doesn't have her theory right - the stuff about the gold standard (however much the gold standard is silly) was ludicrously bad - what is the point of having her on?
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  #35  
Old 12-11-2008, 02:07 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Know-Nothing McArdle

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstrummer View Post
I don't know where to begin. Megan McArdle does not know what she's talking about. [...]
Great critique, js, and ditto for the other comments you posted on this thread.

It's an enduring mystery to me why Megan keeps getting invited back to BH.tv.
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  #36  
Old 12-11-2008, 03:09 PM
Jeff Morgan Jeff Morgan is offline
 
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Default Re: Know-Nothing McArdle

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstrummer View Post
Ford has like 87,700 according to Wikipedia, GM has like 266,000, and Chrysler has 58,000.
That's not entirely inconsistent with what she was trying to recall

All your points are fine though, but let's not sound too mean!
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  #37  
Old 12-11-2008, 06:38 AM
jstrummer jstrummer is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

This was informative for me. I especially appreciated Megan's explanation of why Ford was in better shape than GM or Chrysler, as I hadn't previously understood that they had raised a lot of cash against all their hard assets before the crisis hit really hard.

Right. Well, color me less impressed. Even her discussion of why Ford is in better shape than GM had the whiff to me of, hey, I just read this in The Economist about how Ford recently mortgaged itself and so doesn't have to borrow in a tight credit market.

I mean, McArdle has not spent any particular time studying the auto industry, she couldn't accurately tell you even how many people it employs, she has all these just-so anecdotes about union featherbedding. Just cause her dad is a lawyer or something that has negotiated with construction workers in NY (although it's never clear she even knows what side he was on), doesn't mean she has the first clue about the Big Three other than what she's picked up from surfing the web.

Get someone on Bloggingheads who knows what she's talking about or, at least, doesn't making stuff up as she goes along.
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  #38  
Old 12-11-2008, 09:33 AM
MemeInjector3000 MemeInjector3000 is offline
 
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Default Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstrummer View Post
Get someone on Bloggingheads who knows what she's talking about or, at least, doesn't making stuff up as she goes along.
Agreed. That's a problem in general on BHTV (although it's certainly not exclusive to it): too many journalists and not enough experts. I personally don't care what journalists/writers think. Their role should be to interview people who have informed opinions, not to convey their own anecdotes, off-the-top-of-their-head misunderstandings, and second-hand sound bites. A journalist can become an expert (eg, Bob on evolutionary psychology, Ahmed Rashid on Pakistan), but it's rare.

This problem is especially vivid on "Science Saturday" -- John and George are great (they originally got me into BHTV), but when they interview real scientists, the difference in quality is clear.
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  #39  
Old 12-11-2008, 09:32 AM
jstrummer jstrummer is offline
 
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Default Know Nothingness II

Ok, one more post just to drive home my point:

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/164...7:01&out=29:16

Listen to this discussion here about the UAW and work rules. Ok, it may be true that the UAW has stupid work rules. I'm totally open to hearing about that, and about structural inefficiencies.

But what's McArdle's source? "A friend of mine's brother" who works for not GM, but a supplier. I mean, is this for real? Are you serious? Does this even approach a kind of journalism that ought to be taken seriously, or that is deserving of publication by The Atlantic?

Note that minutes before, her claim about shitty construction material is backed up by "gearheads" she knows! Now, I'm again waiting to be convinced that American cars are made out of shitty material. I would like some evidence more than "gearheads" Megan McArdle knows for the claim that UAW benefits mean GM has scrimped on materials.

Some of McArdle's claims may be backed by evidence - you know, a stopped clock and all that - but where is it? And why isn't Bob laughing?

I have to say, much too much respect is being extended to these obnoxious claims that are backed up by no more "I talked to some guy once", "a brother of a friend", "my dad", "gearheads", "I'm told that..."

Right.
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  #40  
Old 12-11-2008, 01:14 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: Know Nothingness II

Jstrummer, couldn't agree more. If i have to hear one more MM argument backed up by a late night conversation she had at a bar with her brother's girlfriend's uncle's college roommate, i am going to snap!
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