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  #81  
Old 05-07-2009, 07:56 PM
gwlaw99 gwlaw99 is offline
 
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Default Re: observations and misconceptions

I just wanted to say that the tone of this diavlog was great. I am very happy that Matt Y has stopped being so condescending and "snarky."
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  #82  
Old 05-07-2009, 08:01 PM
Thanks, dad!
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

what reality r u living in? the EPA was invented to prevent exactly what you're talking about because we were destroying the environment. and why is europe so successful if government reach inhibits us so?
all this philosophizing you do is meaningless. why don't you give actual real life examples of these theories?

Last edited by Thanks, dad!; 05-07-2009 at 08:09 PM..
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  #83  
Old 05-07-2009, 08:03 PM
Thanks, dad!
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Default Re: observations and misconceptions

italy is run by the mob so that might not be the best example.
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  #84  
Old 05-07-2009, 09:46 PM
kezboard kezboard is offline
 
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Default Re: observations and misconceptions

Your comments point out the inaccuracy of calling European systems "socialist". The fact is that all market economies do a certain amount of tinkering for various different reasons, and a lot of the tinkering seems to be a legacy of old politics. Thanks for your comments.

By the way, I got really excited when they started talking about vacation money from the government. I'm convinced that there are few things Americans need more than government-mandated vacation.
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  #85  
Old 05-08-2009, 03:46 AM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unit View Post
Joking aside, there is quite a bit of literature on the unintended consequences of environmental regulation (and of the public choice problems that create fat cats and the like thanks to such regulation). The logic of free-market environmentalism is pretty simple: people take care of their own stuff, i.e. if you manage to have well defined property rights you do less damage to the environment in the long run. Also "growth" brings technological progress and makes cleaning the environment cheaper.
You owe me $0.82 for the pollution that you caused that's floating over my land and has landed in my grass.
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  #86  
Old 05-08-2009, 04:02 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unit View Post
Joking aside, there is quite a bit of literature on the unintended consequences of environmental regulation (and of the public choice problems that create fat cats and the like thanks to such regulation). The logic of free-market environmentalism is pretty simple: people take care of their own stuff, i.e. if you manage to have well defined property rights you do less damage to the environment in the long run.
You are too smart for me to believe for a second that you're being sincere here. Please. Absent environmental regulations, nobody cares about the consequences of his or her own actions, with the possible exception of visibly fouling one's own nest. What happens if you don't have regulations is people do things like dump stuff in rivers, ship it somewhere out of sight and out of mind, and bury it on some piece of land, which if they own, they later sell.

And virtually no one will take any steps at all to control gaseous emissions if everyone else is happily running an incinerator or driving a smog machine.

That there may be some problems in the details with specific regulations is not in dispute. That some people figure out how to game any rule-based system, ditto. But this does not at all mean that what we should do, therefore, is just give up on making rules. That is madness.
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  #87  
Old 05-08-2009, 06:12 AM
Francoamerican
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unit View Post
We must have a very different idea of free-market. For me free-market means voluntary exchanges and (voluntary or involuntary) cooperation. It does not mean individualism, hedonism and all that...In fact I believe public spirit is a necessary condition for free trade. In particular, since I'm opposed to government action I definitely don't want the government to push growth at all cost: I want it out of the economics business.
I agree that markets require public spirit to function. I disagree that markets necessarily produce desirable outcomes. And one of the main reasons for the undesirable outcomes they sometimes produce is the hedonistic individualism of homo economicus. Nota bene: in saying "hedonistic individualism" I don't intend a moralistic critique of capitalism. As Adam Smith et al. understood, the selfishness of economic actors is simply a fact of life, or a fact of the marketplace. As such it is the motor of capitalism, but after two centuries we know that the motor sometimes malfunctions. Hence the need for occasional "corrective" state action. I don't mean by this state control of the economy. Social democracy---as it is understood in France and other European countries---isn't the same as "state capitalism," i.e. the ownership of the means of production.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Unit View Post
In summary, government intrusion in civil society "crowds out" the genuine ethical evolution that would arise from people taking personal responsibility for their own property. Not only that, since government action always tend to hand out privileges and monopoly power to certain subgroups, these people end up maximizing their takings in a typical hedonistic fashion with utter disregard for other people's property. Let's not mistake free-markets with state-capitalism.
One of the great weaknesses of American democracy, from a European perspective, is the influence of powerful economic lobbies in the functioning of the federal government. I agree with the spirit of your remark, but the solution is.....a better government.
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  #88  
Old 05-08-2009, 10:08 AM
Kandigol Kandigol is offline
 
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Default Re: observations and misconceptions

Okay, so here's a Dutchie giving a review of Russel Shorto's article and the discussion of our double bill of Matthews.

I could go on for a long, long time, but suffice to say that Russel Shorto, in explaining how our system works, had to take some (amusing) shortcuts. It is actually more complicated than he had room for in his article. And he is painting a too rosy and at the same time too bleak a picture.

The case in point being the 'holiday money', which indeed to an American must be something really weird. Shorto is a bit ambiguous about it. The holiday money is an old remnant of the workers struggle for better payment and the eight hour working day - it works out that the employer takes some of the gross salary before taxes, keeps it, plays around with it, and pays it out once a year. (in the fifty percent tax bracket. Half go-eth to the taxman, don't be fooled).
This is not a gift from employers and companies. We, as employees, 'save' for our holiday through our employer.
(One more thing that may be ambiguous: how we spend this holiday money, however, is strictly our own business. We can spend it anyway we want, its our own.)

Then we have our system of health insurance. We do not get anything for free, we pay for everything, but since some of it is taken directly from our monthly income, we do not actually notice it as much.

Maybe this is the root of the perceived difference between Holland and America. When someone is employed, a lot of tax and social security payments are taken care of automatically by the employer. Compared to a self-employed person, or maybe also compared to the average American, a Dutch person who is employed by a company has less hassle with most primary and secondary taxes.
That does not mean we don't pay them, we just do not physically sit down with our checkbooks to pay them ourselves.
And you better believe we still pay a lot of local, regional and government taxes, on a gliding scale, and a lot of hidden taxes and VAT. One can not fill a glass of water at the sink or there is a taxman holding out his hand.

Would the Dutch system work in the US?
Our welfare state is the result of a unique mixture of old religious traditions, socialist class struggle and the economic prosperity of the post-war years.
You can not transplant that to such a very different environment as the US.

But maybe there is something to be gleaned from the Dutch current Health Care system, which is actually not a form of National Health Service, but more of a private-public hybrid.
I am not sure one would want the large bureaucracy of fitting 300 million people into a system that works well for 16,5 million people. But maybe the individual States could set up something like the Dutch system, which caters for choice first, but also caters for basic coverage for all, including free care to all children up to the age of 18 and entry for all legal residents, be they foreign or Dutch. (If you want more than basic coverage, you can get extra insurance a la carte.) The State decides what's in the basic package, and provides extra funds.
On the State level, that could work.
There is but one drawback. The top medical care in the US is better than the top care in Holland. Not much, but the cutting edge of medicine needs more money than the Dutch system can provide. On average though, a Dutch person and an American will have the same chances of survival, all other things being equal. But since they are not, it is really not easy to make comparisons.
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  #89  
Old 05-08-2009, 10:34 AM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Francoamerican View Post
I agree that markets require public spirit to function. I disagree that markets necessarily produce desirable outcomes. And one of the main reasons for the undesirable outcomes they sometimes produce is the hedonistic individualism of homo economicus. Nota bene: in saying "hedonistic individualism" I don't intend a moralistic critique of capitalism. As Adam Smith et al. understood, the selfishness of economic actors is simply a fact of life, or a fact of the marketplace. As such it is the motor of capitalism, but after two centuries we know that the motor sometimes malfunctions. Hence the need for occasional "corrective" state action. I don't mean by this state control of the economy. Social democracy---as it is understood in France and other European countries---isn't the same as "state capitalism," i.e. the ownership of the means of production.
I agree that markets can fail for whatever reason, hedonistic individualism for instance, but by the same token and for the the exact same reasons government can fail too: because it is run by the same hedonistic (at times) individuals that run around in the free market. So telling the govt to correct market failures generates its own peculiar failures. Moreover, Hayek's great insight was to point out that knowledge is dispersed and that government officials are at an even greater disadvantage than market participants as a whole, because govt is centralized so its knowledge of what should be done and how is highly inaccurate, so much so that it often simply cannot do what ought to be done. Roughly speaking there two types of action that govt can take while it stumbles in the dark: make uniform rules across the board that are impersonal and rigid, or go into the messy details and try to be clever by punishing this folks over here and rewarding these others. Both approaches have their weaknesses.


Quote:
One of the great weaknesses of American democracy, from a European perspective, is the influence of powerful economic lobbies in the functioning of the federal government. I agree with the spirit of your remark, but the solution is.....a better government.
I agree, and "better government" for me means a government restricted in the amount of money it can dole out and in the amount of regulations it can offer to powerful lobbies. How do you solve the problem of lion attacks? You stop walking around naked in the jungle. We always worry about giving people in civil society "the right incentives" (it's quite offensive in a way), but we've stopped worrying about the incentives that govt is facing.
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  #90  
Old 05-08-2009, 10:46 AM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
You are too smart for me to believe for a second that you're being sincere here. Please. Absent environmental regulations, nobody cares about the consequences of his or her own actions, with the possible exception of visibly fouling one's own nest. What happens if you don't have regulations is people do things like dump stuff in rivers, ship it somewhere out of sight and out of mind, and bury it on some piece of land, which if they own, they later sell.

And virtually no one will take any steps at all to control gaseous emissions if everyone else is happily running an incinerator or driving a smog machine.

That there may be some problems in the details with specific regulations is not in dispute. That some people figure out how to game any rule-based system, ditto. But this does not at all mean that what we should do, therefore, is just give up on making rules. That is madness.
Brendan,

The tragedy of the commons is a well established phenomenon. I'm trying to question the idea of solving problems by designing laws from the comforts of bureaucratic armchairs. Unfortunately, probably as an accident of evolution, we humans have a boundless faith in the power of new rules. That's all that people ask of their politicians: we want rules! Find a clever rule that fixes this or that problem! Their outta be a law! etc...Economists have looked into environmental regulation and found many cases where it actually ruins the environment. One of the main problem with regulations is that it gives people the "illusion" that things are taken care of and hence allows people to stop using their judgment. Take the Madoff scandal: there were whistle-blowers as early as 1999 and 2001; the SEC routinely investigated him and gave its stamp of approval; this comforted investors who stopped worrying about this guy's dealings.
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  #91  
Old 05-08-2009, 10:47 AM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
You owe me $0.82 for the pollution that you caused that's floating over my land and has landed in my grass.
Clay,

if it makes you feel better I would reluctantly accept to pay a carbon tax. Happy?
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  #92  
Old 05-08-2009, 10:53 AM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thanks, dad! View Post
what reality r u living in? the EPA was invented to prevent exactly what you're talking about because we were destroying the environment. and why is europe so successful if government reach inhibits us so?
all this philosophizing you do is meaningless. why don't you give actual real life examples of these theories?
I don't know if you're interested in my argument, but if you are here is a good place to start:

http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/...ootleggers.pdf
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  #93  
Old 05-08-2009, 11:03 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unit View Post
Brendan,

The tragedy of the commons is a well established phenomenon. I'm trying to question the idea of solving problems by designing laws from the comforts of bureaucratic armchairs. Unfortunately, probably as an accident of evolution, we humans have a boundless faith in the power of new rules. That's all that people ask of their politicians: we want rules! Find a clever rule that fixes this or that problem! Their outta be a law! etc...Economists have looked into environmental regulation and found many cases where it actually ruins the environment. One of the main problem with regulations is that it gives people the "illusion" that things are taken care of and hence allows people to stop using their judgment.
I agree that there are, have been, and will likely continue to be bad rules. However, I think you're over-generalizing from examples. You cannot deny the benefits of major pieces of legislation in cleaning up the air and water, nor many of those restricting toxins or controlling dumping.

I would also say that while there may be some ways in which people think once a law is passed, the problem is solved, I don't agree with this as a general principle. Over the course of my life, I have watched repeatedly as people changed from viewing me as a freak for, say, picking up litter, sorting out recyclables, choosing to buy or not to buy certain products, or refusing to go for the black market vehicle inspection sticker into mostly doing the right thing. Yes, you'll always come across a few cretins who will unconsciously or willfully continue to do the wrong thing, but I don't think that's the rule. And with each succeeding generation, it's easy to get the kids to do the right thing from the get-go.

As I said before, I don't think you can even begin to make a case that doing away with environmental rules in general would be for the best. You have to look at this as a generally worthwhile process made up of many discrete parts and concentrate on fixing the broken ones.

Quote:
Take the Madoff scandal: there were whistle-blowers as early as 1999 and 2001; the SEC routinely investigated him and gave its stamp of approval; this comforted investors who stopped worrying about this guy's dealings.
A supremely bad analogy. Stick to the environment and stop trying to make it all about regulations just because the same word can be used in two different areas. To try to equate the two is glib at best.
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Last edited by bjkeefe; 05-08-2009 at 11:09 AM..
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  #94  
Old 05-08-2009, 11:12 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I agree that there are, have been, and will likely continue to be, bad rules. However, I think you're over-generalizing from examples. You cannot deny the benefits of major pieces of legislation in cleaning up the air and water, nor many of those restricting toxins or controlling dumping.
...
I agree. Another issue that the Libertarian argument fails to address is that dumping toxins into the environment is simply wrong. Poisoning people as a consequence of market efficiency is unacceptable in the same way that poisoning people as a consequence of sexual jealousy is unacceptable. We don't look for a market solution to the latter, and we ought not look to one for the former.
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Last edited by AemJeff; 05-08-2009 at 11:23 AM..
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  #95  
Old 05-08-2009, 11:40 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Found Online

Rising Hegemon's view of today's diavlog.
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  #96  
Old 05-08-2009, 01:07 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

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Originally Posted by Unit View Post
In summary, government intrusion in civil society "crowds out" the genuine ethical evolution that would arise from people taking personal responsibility for their own property. Not only that, since government action always tend to hand out privileges and monopoly power to certain subgroups, these people end up maximizing their takings in a typical hedonistic fashion with utter disregard for other people's property. Let's not mistake free-markets with state-capitalism.
A suggestion.

;^)
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  #97  
Old 05-08-2009, 01:09 PM
Thanks, dad!
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

i can see what you're getting at but i think i'd still have the obvious response: of course! we're worried primarily about getting the air and water clean and it worked. since our country is based on cynicism and greed there will always be some who benefit from these things. very much like how the mob stole $60 million in 9/11 clean up funds. you gotta see the big picture is this case for sure because the power to lobby congress is not going away anytime soon.
keep in mind the cato institute, reason, TCSDaily, etc. are very visible on the web and like to push their philosophy by stealthily hiding their dogma in semi-legit arguments like this. i know because i used to read them every day. don't let yourself be owned by these people.

Last edited by Thanks, dad!; 05-08-2009 at 01:12 PM..
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  #98  
Old 05-08-2009, 01:17 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thanks, dad! View Post
keep in mind the cato institute, reason, TCSDaily, etc. are very visible on the web and like to push their philosophy by stealthily hiding their dogma in semi-legit arguments like this. i know because i used to read them every day. don't let yourself be owned by these people.
On your second source: did you see this and this?
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  #99  
Old 05-08-2009, 01:33 PM
Thanks, dad!
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

dear lord. i actually tried to finish the first piece but it was just....so bad. that's literally nothing but paid lying. i'm always afraid stuff from articles like that will mistakenly stick in my memory and cause me to end up getting owned in an argument: "But....oh yeah, I guess I made that up" anyway, it's so calculated and cynical it scares me. it's like the songwriter Robbie Fulks who did an expose interview about being a country songwriter and selling his songs to major "artists." he said something like they would ask him to write a "patriotic" song that would go over well with males who were fans of randy jackson. naturally, he'd write it, sell it to randy or whomever and....i guess that's the way the world works, huh?
this:
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=308_1239855121
is why the internet is great. someone from reason loads up on BS? all you need is a computer to shut them up (coordinated against the bailout?? ..it seems as if at least some of the people there were border-line retarded...especially the head of the YRs or whatever group he's in.)
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  #100  
Old 05-08-2009, 01:38 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
On your second source: did you see this and this?
From your second link:

http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/2009/05...d-juice-boxes/

The answer is provided by the sane wing of the opposition:

http://newmajority.com/ShowScroll.as...2-656f064b0aa6
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  #101  
Old 05-08-2009, 01:41 PM
Thanks, dad!
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

nice. is it possible that since people have seen true conservatism at it's best/worst for eight years that cons can see the writing on the wall? i'd like to say "it's finally over."
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  #102  
Old 05-08-2009, 02:13 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by graz View Post
From your second link:

http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/2009/05...d-juice-boxes/

The answer is provided by the sane wing of the opposition:

http://newmajority.com/ShowScroll.as...2-656f064b0aa6
I never in a million years thought I would say this, but Frum: FTW.

Great find.
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  #103  
Old 05-08-2009, 02:16 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thanks, dad! View Post
this:
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=308_1239855121
is why the internet is great.
Yeah, that BloggerInterrupted guy is great. I don't know how he has the balls to talk to a crowd of those people. About half of them look like they're going to snap at any second.

Quote:
someone from reason loads up on BS? all you need is a computer to shut them up (coordinated against the bailout?? ..it seems as if at least some of the people there were border-line retarded...especially the head of the YRs or whatever group he's in.)
That YR was a piece of work, wasn't he? What a creep. He had Young Karl Rove written all over his pudgy face.
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  #104  
Old 05-08-2009, 03:05 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Final answer: traditionalists. Louis' Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut, the restaurant widely believed to have served the first hamburgers ever made in the United States, absolutely forbids ketchup.
FORBIDS ketchup? Now that's fascism.
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  #105  
Old 05-08-2009, 04:56 PM
Thanks, dad!
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

yeah, what a douche. wtf is the point of having a "learned" representative there if he can't even explain why he's there?? oh well.....
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  #106  
Old 05-08-2009, 07:07 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Market Europe

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Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve View Post
It doesn't matter if you can prove big government can be efficient or not. A large number of Americans, although not a majority, will never accept the authority of the state in their lives.
Steve,
I found just the place for you!

Libertarian Paradise
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  #107  
Old 05-08-2009, 08:15 PM
pampl pampl is offline
 
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Default Re: observations and misconceptions

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Originally Posted by Kandigol View Post
.
Thanks for that post. It was useful (and interesting!) getting an insider's view on Dutch health care.
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  #108  
Old 05-08-2009, 08:23 PM
Thanks, dad!
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Default Re: observations and misconceptions

very nice! thanks a lot.
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  #109  
Old 05-09-2009, 12:31 AM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
That's funny. Although, economically Somalia has been doing better than some other African countries that are afflicted by despotic governments. You gotta compare apples to apples.
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  #110  
Old 05-09-2009, 12:51 AM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I agree that there are, have been, and will likely continue to be bad rules. However, I think you're over-generalizing from examples. You cannot deny the benefits of major pieces of legislation in cleaning up the air and water, nor many of those restricting toxins or controlling dumping.
Most cleaning up happens as a result of technological progress and technological progress is a result of competition. So insofar as regulation does often hinder competition by elevating barriers to entry and advantaging bigger players, I'm not sure how much of the "greenierness" can be attributed to these major pieces of legislation you speak of.


Quote:
I would also say that while there may be some ways in which people think once a law is passed, the problem is solved, I don't agree with this as a general principle. Over the course of my life, I have watched repeatedly as people changed from viewing me as a freak for, say, picking up litter, sorting out recyclables, choosing to buy or not to buy certain products, or refusing to go for the black market vehicle inspection sticker into mostly doing the right thing. Yes, you'll always come across a few cretins who will unconsciously or willfully continue to do the wrong thing, but I don't think that's the rule. And with each succeeding generation, it's easy to get the kids to do the right thing from the get-go.
Yes signaling one's greenishness has become very popular these days, but for instance the guy who throws his beer bottle in the thrash does a favor to the environment as opposed to the guy who wastes time sorting and maybe even washing (sic!) said beer bottle and recycles it. Recycling is a form of production and it is not at all clear if it's more efficient (and hence more green) to make a new bottle 1. from scratch (from sand), hence relying on the economies of scale that that involves, or 2. by breaking down older glass bottles (a process that liberates toxins that were going to be trapped in the glass forever), which must first be collected with polluting trucks from dispersed households, etc....

Once you realize that it's a question of trade-offs and that pollution is never completely eliminated, then efficiency means "green" because every penny saved means more money that can be invested in pollution cleaning technology.
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  #111  
Old 05-09-2009, 12:55 AM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thanks, dad! View Post
i can see what you're getting at but i think i'd still have the obvious response: of course! we're worried primarily about getting the air and water clean and it worked. since our country is based on cynicism and greed there will always be some who benefit from these things. very much like how the mob stole $60 million in 9/11 clean up funds. you gotta see the big picture is this case for sure because the power to lobby congress is not going away anytime soon.
keep in mind the cato institute, reason, TCSDaily, etc. are very visible on the web and like to push their philosophy by stealthily hiding their dogma in semi-legit arguments like this. i know because i used to read them every day. don't let yourself be owned by these people.
Bruce Yandle is a scholar. The fact that that piece came from Cato is irrelevant. So let me see if I get this straight: there's no problem with the environment and it's all clean thanks to the existing regulations? Wow, I thought I was the optimist here.....
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Old 05-09-2009, 01:04 AM
Thanks, dad!
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

hmmm.......kinda boring, huh?
there's something called the "encyclopedia." it's generally non-partisan. why wouldn't you just read that for info on regulation rather than someone who obviously is an ideologue. you really shouldn't let these people turn you into a mouthpiece for their agenda. they're only using you to get clicks for their websites so they can keep getting paid to write.

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  #113  
Old 05-09-2009, 01:07 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Steve,
I found just the place for you!

Libertarian Paradise
Jinx!
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  #114  
Old 05-09-2009, 01:27 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Most cleaning up happens as a result of technological progress and technological progress is a result of competition.
I agree that a big part of cleaning up is due to technological innovation. I believe, however, that what often spurs such innovation is a mandate to clean up in the first place. While you can probably come up with some examples of people innovating of their own accord, or because they correctly realize that over the long run, upgrading their physical plant will mean cost savings, the more usual reality is that most people and businesses are driven by short-term thinking. This means that they will resist making investments that will take years to pay off when they get judged on the basis of quarterly results. It also means that they won't do things that they perceive as putting them at a short-term disadvantage with their competitors. The value of mandating something is that it removes the incentive for people to keep doing things in the dirty old way. If suddenly everyone has to play by a new set of rules, there is a lot more incentive to innovate now rather than "maybe someday."

Good examples of this are emissions controls at factories and power plants, better exhaust systems installed in vehicles, change of behavior in waste disposal, and increased receptivity to designing production loops with an eye towards cutting down effluent and/or reusing by-products.

Quote:
So insofar as regulation does often hinder competition by elevating barriers to entry and advantaging bigger players, I'm not sure how much of the "greenierness" can be attributed to these major pieces of legislation you speak of.
I agree there may be some cases where regulations make it harder for someone to get started in a given field, but I have to say, that doesn't bother me very much. If someone wants to jump in the game with the idea of adding to the pollution problem, I don't see what's so attractive about that.

As to the success of the major pieces of legislation in cleaning up the air, water, and soil, all I can say is that you're being ridiculous to insist that they had no significant effect. It doesn't matter that they did not prescribe the details of the solution; what matters is that they said, "Here are the new rules. Figure out a way to obey them." As a radical libertarian, you should appreciate that aspect, I would think.

Quote:
Yes signaling one's greenishness has become very popular these days, but for instance the guy who throws his beer bottle in the thrash does a favor to the environment as opposed to the guy who wastes time sorting and maybe even washing (sic!) said beer bottle and recycles it. Recycling is a form of production and it is not at all clear if it's more efficient (and hence more green) to make a new bottle 1. from scratch (from sand), hence relying on the economies of scale that that involves, or 2. by breaking down older glass bottles (a process that liberates toxins that were going to be trapped in the glass forever), which must first be collected with polluting trucks from dispersed households, etc....
I'll agree that recycling is usually the third-best option when it comes to reducing waste and its associated problems, but it's still better than doing nothing in the vast majority of the cases. It's also unimpressive of you to pick out the one product -- glass bottles -- where your argument is easiest, while ignoring the many other products where recycling gives a lot more bang for the buck.

Quote:
Once you realize that it's a question of trade-offs and that pollution is never completely eliminated, then efficiency means "green" because every penny saved means more money that can be invested in pollution cleaning technology.
Agreed. But as I said above, few people actually act upon this truism. It is much more often the case that they postpone upgrading their processes or changing their habits. It's too easy to make excuses not to, especially when the view is that an individual's contribution is going to be lost in the noise and/or that making the change is going to cost them something up front.
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  #115  
Old 05-09-2009, 01:30 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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You gotta compare apples to apples.
Sorry. I find that exhortation very hard to respect ever since ...

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  #116  
Old 05-09-2009, 02:25 AM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I agree that a big part of cleaning up is due to technological innovation. I believe, however, that what often spurs such innovation is a mandate to clean up in the first place. While you can probably come up with some examples of people innovating of their own accord, or because they correctly realize that over the long run, upgrading their physical plant will mean cost savings, the more usual reality is that most people and businesses are driven by short-term thinking. This means that they will resist making investments that will take years to pay off when they get judged on the basis of quarterly results. It also means that they won't do things that they perceive as putting them at a short-term disadvantage with their competitors. The value of mandating something is that it removes the incentive for people to keep doing things in the dirty old way. If suddenly everyone has to play by a new set of rules, there is a lot more incentive to innovate now rather than "maybe someday."
It's a myth that firms are driven by short-term thinking. Politics is, because politicians' horizon extends just short of their term.
Quote:
Good examples of this are emissions controls at factories and power plants, better exhaust systems installed in vehicles, change of behavior in waste disposal, and increased receptivity to designing production loops with an eye towards cutting down effluent and/or reusing by-products.
This all sounds good on paper but in practice the govt does not "impose standards and then let competitors try to achieve those standards" (If it did there would still be the problem of guessing the right level required). No, usually the govt mandates specific kinds of technology: instead of letting the best solution emerge, it's easier to just pick winners and losers.
Quote:
I agree there may be some cases where regulations make it harder for someone to get started in a given field, but I have to say, that doesn't bother me very much. If someone wants to jump in the game with the idea of adding to the pollution problem, I don't see what's so attractive about that.
Increased competition forces current firms to become more efficient and hence greener.
Quote:
As to the success of the major pieces of legislation in cleaning up the air, water, and soil, all I can say is that you're being ridiculous to insist that they had no significant effect. It doesn't matter that they did not prescribe the details of the solution; what matters is that they said, "Here are the new rules. Figure out a way to obey them." As a radical libertarian, you should appreciate that aspect, I would think.
I wish they did that (impersonal across the board rules that apply equally to everyone), but they don't (they usually pick who can pollute and who cannot). As for taking a more "big picture" view-point, another reason that I'm unimpressed by the environmental regulations is the incredible amount of waste, pollution, and inefficiency that is a direct consequence of say farm subsidies, ethanol subsidies, car subsidies, etc...


Quote:
I'll agree that recycling is usually the third-best option when it comes to reducing waste and its associated problems, but it's still better than doing nothing in the vast majority of the cases. It's also unimpressive of you to pick out the one product -- glass bottles -- where your argument is easiest, while ignoring the many other products where recycling gives a lot more bang for the buck.
Aluminum cans used be the best thing to recycle, but it's becoming less and less so because they weigh less and less (about a third of what they used to weigh).

Quote:
Agreed. But as I said above, few people actually act upon this truism. It is much more often the case that they postpone upgrading their processes or changing their habits. It's too easy to make excuses not to, especially when the view is that an individual's contribution is going to be lost in the noise and/or that making the change is going to cost them something up front.
Let me make something clear: I am not offended by the genuine feelings of wanting to help out in cleaning the planet, and I do believe that despite the signaling involved they are a healthy signs of respect for mother-earth, etc...In fact, it's exactly because I care for the environment that I'm bothered by the majority view that central planning is the way to go and that there's nothing to learn from the trial-and-error evolutive process of market interaction.
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  #117  
Old 05-09-2009, 03:14 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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It's a myth ...
All right, Unit. I've had enough of your empty assertions and your black and white views. I'm sorry, but I think your ideas of how the world works as far as environmental concerns go is way too simplistic. You come off as being against "central planning" as a religious article of faith, and seem only to be trying to put a gloss of rationality on top of it. You seem to be convinced that hinting at isolated shortcomings proves that the entire idea of government regulation is necessarily bad.

You are ignoring or denying the very real and very large differences between the present and the bad old days of unmitigated pollution and waste. Your belief that Teh Free Market will fix everything if we just leave it alone is a crock. If that were true, the environmental movement would never have gotten launched in the first place.

And if you're thinking of responding that, say, the hundred years leading up to the birth of green concerns were not real free markets because they were dominated by oligopolies and so prevented innovation, or whatever, then I would say to you, in that case, we'll never have a Real Free Market in this world, so the your alternative wish to how we do things now is a fantasy on that basis alone.

I am glad to hear you say that you, too, care about keeping the planet as clean as possible, but I just can't take your prescriptions for how to achieve that goal seriously any longer. I'm sorry if that's offensive. Have the last word if you like.
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  #118  
Old 05-09-2009, 03:29 AM
Thanks, dad!
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

maybe it's John Stossel!? maybe we've been talking to a robot that's been uploaded with nothing but reason articles.....or just a long-term troll who's suckered us both pretty good
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  #119  
Old 05-09-2009, 05:12 AM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

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Originally Posted by Unit View Post
It's a myth that firms are driven by short-term thinking. Politics is, because politicians' horizon extends just short of their term.

This all sounds good on paper but in practice the govt does not "impose standards and then let competitors try to achieve those standards" (If it did there would still be the problem of guessing the right level required). No, usually the govt mandates specific kinds of technology: instead of letting the best solution emerge, it's easier to just pick winners and losers.

Increased competition forces current firms to become more efficient and hence greener.

I wish they did that (impersonal across the board rules that apply equally to everyone), but they don't (they usually pick who can pollute and who cannot). As for taking a more "big picture" view-point, another reason that I'm unimpressed by the environmental regulations is the incredible amount of waste, pollution, and inefficiency that is a direct consequence of say farm subsidies, ethanol subsidies, car subsidies, etc...

Aluminum cans used be the best thing to recycle, but it's becoming less and less so because they weigh less and less (about a third of what they used to weigh).

Let me make something clear: I am not offended by the genuine feelings of wanting to help out in cleaning the planet, and I do believe that despite the signaling involved they are a healthy signs of respect for mother-earth, etc...In fact, it's exactly because I care for the environment that I'm bothered by the majority view that central planning is the way to go and that there's nothing to learn from the trial-and-error evolutive process of market interaction.
We have all kinds of constraints on commerce. You can't threaten your customers with murder. You can't rape you competitors's daughters. Nobody talks about the government centrally planning rape and murder, no matter how much utility rapists and murderers get from their activities. Similarly, you can't put lead into the air and cause brain damage in children, at least not anymore. This doesn't have shit to do with signaling. It has to do with basic morality. There are some things you just don't get to do.

Honestly Unit, what you wrote here is so blinkered I think you're just trolling.

"It's a myth that firms are driven by short-term thinking. Politics is, because politicians' horizon extends just short of their term." I'm sure you've heard of the principal-agent problem. You are probably also aware of what a disaster incentive stock options have been.

"Increased competition forces current firms to become more efficient and hence greener." Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Can you think of cases when it doesn't? Hint: it's related to your critique of democracy.

"I'm bothered by the majority view that central planning is the way to go and that there's nothing to learn from the trial-and-error evolutive process of market interaction." Environmental groups are pushing for carbon taxes / cap and trade. Both are market mechanisms. Neither pick winners. Sulfur dioxide emissions trading goes back to 1995. So why all the harping about environmentalists?

You sound like it's 1930 and you're taking sides in the socialist calculation debate. That debate is over. Hayek won. There's broad consensus today that the best policy uses market mechanisms for what market mechanisms can do. Panglossian fantasies about the magical market haven't played for a hundred years. Every economist from Smith to Hayek to Friedman has acknowledged there are no shortcuts, and that wisdom requires you consider facts beyond blackboard economics.

You're taking a good thing too far. You've fallen into a trap where you're more worried about mistakes of market efficiency than mistakes of human health and environmental sustainability.
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  #120  
Old 05-09-2009, 05:31 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Dutch Wonderland (Matthew Yglesias & Matthew Continetti)

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Originally Posted by Thanks, dad! View Post
maybe it's John Stossel!? maybe we've been talking to a robot that's been uploaded with nothing but reason articles.....or just a long-term troll who's suckered us both pretty good
I'd like to be charitable and believe that Unit is taking a more rigid stance than he or she actually holds, as most of us tend to do in this sort of environment.
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