Free market?

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eumaas
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Free market?

Post by eumaas » 30 Sep 2008, 12:50pm

Consider, for example, the process of running a small, informal brew pub or restaurant out of your home, under a genuine free market regime. Buying a brewing vat and a few small fermenters for your basement, using a few tables in an extra room as a public restaurant area, etc., would maybe require a small bank loan for at most a few thousand dollars. And with that capital outlay, you could probably make payments on the debt with the margin from one customer a day. A few customers evenings and weekends, most of whom probably could be found mainly among your existing circle of acquaintances, would enable you to initially shift some of your working hours from wage labor to work in the restaurant, with the possibility of gradually phasing out wage labor altogether or scaling back to part time, as you built up a small customer base. In this and many other lines of business (for example a part-time gypsy cab service using a car you own anyway), the minimal entry costs and capital outlay mean that the minimum level of custom required to stay in business would be quite modest, and even a low level of turnover would be sufficient to pay the overhead. In that case, a lot more people would be able to start small businesses for supplementary income and just scale back their wage labor a bit, maybe gradually shift to complete self employment, all with minimal risk or sunk costs.

But that’s illegal. You have to buy an extremely expensive liquor license, as well as having an industrial size and strength stove, dishwasher, etc. And that level of capital outlay can only be paid off with a large dining room and a large kitchen-waiting staff, which means you have to keep the place filled or the overhead costs will eat you alive–IOW, Chapter Eleven. These high entry costs and the enormous overhead are the reason you can’t afford to start out really small and cheap, and the reason restaurants have such a high failure rate. It's illegal to use the surplus capacity of the ordinary household items we have to own anyway but remain idle most of the time. RFID chip requirements and bans on unpasteurized milk make it illegal to trade the small surpluses generated by ordinary household subsistence production. High fees for organic certification make it prohibitive to sell a few hundred dollars worth of surplus organic produce at a temporary roadside stand. You can't do just a few hundred or a few thousand dollars worth of business a year, because the state mandates capital equipment on the scale required for a large-scale business if you engage in the business at all.

So it's employers, as well as big competitors, who have a vested interest in keeping these entry costs so high. It’s a way of erecting an enormous toll gate between you and the possibility of self-employment, without a boss cracking the whip over you.]
http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2008/09/c ... -peer.html

What I like about Kevin Carson is his ability to express those objections I have (to contemporary capitalism) but cannot express in a systematic form.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

Dr. Medulla
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Re: Free market?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 30 Sep 2008, 1:10pm

What's curious about that is that it describes, in part and crudely, Gilded Age capitalism, before Progressive Era legislation to protect consumers. That description leans more to anything-goes and little recourse for consumers who are harmed by fly-by-night operations. I'm not saying that the excess red tape currently in places makes everything hum perfectly, but I don't find a complete lack of regulation especially appealing either.
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Re: Free market?

Post by eumaas » 30 Sep 2008, 1:12pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:What's curious about that is that it describes, in part and crudely, Gilded Age capitalism, before Progressive Era legislation to protect consumers. That description leans more to anything-goes and little recourse for consumers who are harmed by fly-by-night operations. I'm not saying that the excess red tape currently in places makes everything hum perfectly, but I don't find a complete lack of regulation especially appealing either.
That's just an excerpt. Read the whole piece.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Free market?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 30 Sep 2008, 1:42pm

eumaas wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:What's curious about that is that it describes, in part and crudely, Gilded Age capitalism, before Progressive Era legislation to protect consumers. That description leans more to anything-goes and little recourse for consumers who are harmed by fly-by-night operations. I'm not saying that the excess red tape currently in places makes everything hum perfectly, but I don't find a complete lack of regulation especially appealing either.
That's just an excerpt. Read the whole piece.
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Re: Free market?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 30 Sep 2008, 5:04pm

I'm admitting defeat. Mr. Carson's writing has bested me. I'm just not the intended audience, as the jargon and prose sent my mind wandering after about 1200 words. I obviously don't have the background to appreciate what he's doing.
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Re: Free market?

Post by eumaas » 30 Sep 2008, 5:49pm

He's basically doing for anarchism what Marx did for statist socialism--building up the theory. What I wanted you to get from reading the full chapter was the context of the quote contra the vulgartarian twist you got out of it. The difference between anarchist socialists on the one hand and state socialists like you on the other is that while we both recognize the same problems, anarchists prefer fraternalistic solutions while state socialists prefer paternalistic solutions.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Free market?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 30 Sep 2008, 6:09pm

eumaas wrote:He's basically doing for anarchism what Marx did for statist socialism--building up the theory. What I wanted you to get from reading the full chapter was the context of the quote contra the vulgartarian twist you got out of it. The difference between anarchist socialists on the one hand and state socialists like you on the other is that while we both recognize the same problems, anarchists prefer fraternalistic solutions while state socialists prefer paternalistic solutions.
And, I regret, I just don't have the background and, I suppose, glossary to figure out what he's saying in any kind of meaningful way. I mean, I appreciate your interpretation that if there is a shared view of honest exchange for goods and services between both purchaser and seller then the free market works to everyone's advantage, but as it stands the mentality we have is more predatory. So I read that passage from the standpoint of how free markets have operated and do operate. Which is to say for the benefit of the few. So it all comes back to a massive overhaul in how people regard each other—change the nature of our socialization and everything else follows. And I'm too cynical at this stage in my life to thing it'll ever happen.
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Re: Free market?

Post by eumaas » 30 Sep 2008, 6:16pm

Carson is building up some pretty good arguments. I'll try to take time and reduce some of them one of these days. And of course my standard response to your argument that we're essentially competitive applies here: can't have a society without cooperation.

EDIT: and the second prong: if people ARE naturally evil, why is vesting more authority in a given person compared to others a good idea?
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Free market?

Post by KokaKola » 30 Sep 2008, 6:21pm

Sorry.... Not to ruin this conversation with the low-brow, but I can't help it.... Doc's last post made me think of this:


Homer (fishing around in a gutter with his hand): Hmmm.... OW! Pointy! ...Eeeeuw, slimy.... Uh-oh! MOVING! ...Ah-HA! -- awwww, twenty dollars..... I wanted a peanut!

Homer's Brain: Twenty dollars can buy many peanuts!

Homer: S'plain how!

Homer's Brain: Money can be exchanged for goods and services.

Homer: WOOHOO!


Alright. Carry on. (I actually am reading this, so please do. :))
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Re: Free market?

Post by eumaas » 30 Sep 2008, 6:24pm

Damn broads, interruptin' men talk!




(kidding, Kokes. Glad you read my scribble.)
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Free market?

Post by KokaKola » 30 Sep 2008, 6:31pm

eumaas wrote:Damn broads, interruptin' men talk!




(kidding, Kokes. Glad you read my scribble.)
I do. :) And I read your myspace message in its entirety.... just haven't had a chance to write back. Thoughtfully, anyway... :P
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eumaas
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Re: Free market?

Post by eumaas » 30 Sep 2008, 6:38pm

KokaKola wrote:
eumaas wrote:Damn broads, interruptin' men talk!




(kidding, Kokes. Glad you read my scribble.)
I do. :) And I read your myspace message in its entirety.... just haven't had a chance to write back. Thoughtfully, anyway... :P
Thanks!

Now everyone is speculating on what I wrote you. :shifty:
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Free market?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 30 Sep 2008, 7:18pm

eumaas wrote:Carson is building up some pretty good arguments. I'll try to take time and reduce some of them one of these days. And of course my standard response to your argument that we're essentially competitive applies here: can't have a society without cooperation.
Of course, but the degree of cooperation and the realms where it is seen as desirable vary according to ideology. And the social illness we suffer is due to undue competition in both degree and realms. While I have hopes that things will be scaled back considerably, I'm doubtful that it'll get anywhere near

EDIT: and the second prong: if people ARE naturally evil, why is vesting more authority in a given person compared to others a good idea?[/quote]

Two responses, last part first:
(1) Better one tyrant than ten thousand?
(2) I don't think people are naturally evil, in no small part because notions of evil are relative and thus unnatural. That aside, I think people are still governed much by more primal survival instincts that make us more susceptible to fear and the idea that others are out to get us. A desire for security borne of that fear both inhibits competition and places faith that external structures will keep us safe. Much has changed about human beings since we forged the first societies, but that basic fear and insecurity still governs us in varying degrees. How do you overcome that in billions of people?
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Re: Free market?

Post by Howard Beale » 30 Sep 2008, 7:30pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:
eumaas wrote:Carson is building up some pretty good arguments. I'll try to take time and reduce some of them one of these days. And of course my standard response to your argument that we're essentially competitive applies here: can't have a society without cooperation.
Of course, but the degree of cooperation and the realms where it is seen as desirable vary according to ideology. And the social illness we suffer is due to undue competition in both degree and realms. While I have hopes that things will be scaled back considerably, I'm doubtful that it'll get anywhere near

EDIT: and the second prong: if people ARE naturally evil, why is vesting more authority in a given person compared to others a good idea?

Two responses, last part first:
(1) Better one tyrant than ten thousand?
(2) I don't think people are naturally evil, in no small part because notions of evil are relative and thus unnatural. That aside, I think people are still governed much by more primal survival instincts that make us more susceptible to fear and the idea that others are out to get us. A desire for security borne of that fear both inhibits competition and places faith that external structures will keep us safe. Much has changed about human beings since we forged the first societies, but that basic fear and insecurity still governs us in varying degrees. How do you overcome that in billions of people?
Man, you're still talking about this? Booooorrrrriiiiing. Can we just move on to speculating what Gene wrote to Kokey in that Myspace message? ;)

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Re: Free market?

Post by Wolter » 30 Sep 2008, 7:44pm

Howard Beale wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:
eumaas wrote:Carson is building up some pretty good arguments. I'll try to take time and reduce some of them one of these days. And of course my standard response to your argument that we're essentially competitive applies here: can't have a society without cooperation.
Of course, but the degree of cooperation and the realms where it is seen as desirable vary according to ideology. And the social illness we suffer is due to undue competition in both degree and realms. While I have hopes that things will be scaled back considerably, I'm doubtful that it'll get anywhere near

EDIT: and the second prong: if people ARE naturally evil, why is vesting more authority in a given person compared to others a good idea?

Two responses, last part first:
(1) Better one tyrant than ten thousand?
(2) I don't think people are naturally evil, in no small part because notions of evil are relative and thus unnatural. That aside, I think people are still governed much by more primal survival instincts that make us more susceptible to fear and the idea that others are out to get us. A desire for security borne of that fear both inhibits competition and places faith that external structures will keep us safe. Much has changed about human beings since we forged the first societies, but that basic fear and insecurity still governs us in varying degrees. How do you overcome that in billions of people?
Man, you're still talking about this? Booooorrrrriiiiing. Can we just move on to speculating what Gene wrote to Kokey in that Myspace message? ;)
Remember, this is the same guy that needs a qualifier to imagine boobs properly.
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