[internetworkers] from the desk of Arianna Huffington
thomas at tbeckett.com
Thu Jul 22 00:28:21 EDT 2004
Alan MacHett wrote:
> Phillip said, "One of the reasons that Libertarians maintain that
> government charity is not needed, is the belief that in the absence of it,
> private charity would take it's place." Eh? What history books have you
> Libertarians been reading? The whole reason the social support system
> came about is because in the absence of "government charity" whole swaths
> of the public (workers, the impoverished, non-Whites, women, etc.) were
> being screwed. They're still being screwed. Capitalism, by it's very
> nature, concentrates wealth and power into the hands of a very few, and
> those few are loathe to give it up.
What he said. Also take a look at Victorian England. (Marx and Engels
> I applaud Don Rua for his actions and beliefs.
I'm really curious now how Don will respond to all of this.
> To wit: Capitalism does not teach one to set a *fair*
> price for one's goods, rather you should set the price to *fair market
> value* , which isn't fair at all (notice the coopting of the word 'fair')
> -- it means set the price to whatever you can get away with. For example,
> someone I know recently began making a product. She brought samples to
> show and told everyone that she planned to sell them for X amount. She
> believed that to be a fair price; it covered the cost of her materials
> (and labor?), plus a little extra for profit. Everyone was shocked.
> That's all!? They told her that she could sell them for at least twice
> that amount, 2X being "fair market value", or what they'd become
> accustomed to being the cost of such a product.
Capitalism says that "fairness" is in the eye of the beholder - or
buyer. Monopolies and unfair trade practices are exception to this rule
for some capitalists.
> So of course that's the
> cost she sells them at, not the cost she initially calculated as fair, but
> the cost she can get away with. That is just one example.
One thing they taught us in b-school is that your production costs have
no relationship to the price at which you sell.
> We need
> government intervention for the very reason we need government in the
> first place -- there are too damn many of us. In small societies there is
> no government per se. Small groups are self-governing, and for the most
> part everyone takes care of everyone else -- no one is allowed to fall by
> the wayside, and no one is allowed to get too greedy.
I.e., government is the most efficient means of accomplishing certain
tasks that benefit the common good. And of balancing the conficting
interests in society.
> Now (to bring this around again) if Libertarians think that charity will
> happen in the absence of government, do they also think that government
> will happen in the absence of government? Are Libertarians really
> Anarchists in disguise?
> As a test we could, say, do away with speed
> limits, right? We'll all self-regulate; everyone knows speeding is
> dangerous and wastes fuel. In the absence of speed limits everyone will
> drive sensibly anyway, right? (That's an oversimplified example; don't
> take me too literally.)
No, that's not an oversimplification.
> Anyway, my point is that we should all do well by each other, but there
> are too many of us to be trusted in mass; so we need Government to step in
> and offer a helping hand.
Where's Matusiak with the Kumbaya lyrics? Seriously, I agree with this
> And, just to round it all out and really make this a mess of a discussion,
> I'd like to add that I'm all for less Federal Government and more State
> Government (states' rights), but what I'd very much like to see is for the
> real power in the country to be handed down to local or regional
> governments (getting back to that Anthropological, small-society
Oh no, another can of worms! Not now, I'm going to bed.
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