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9.21.2005

Pledge of allegiance | Samizdata.net

I pledge allegiance to the curve
Of supply and demand in equilibrium
And to the principle for which it stands
Market pricing, with low transaction costs
Yields utility and profit for all
original posted by Ivan @ 1:53 PM

This thread is so radioactive that I think it warrants a resurgence. --josko

28 Comments:

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

Um, you are aware that reciting platitudes about markets is really weird, right?

This will only take a few minutes for you to read. You won't agree with all of it, but you will agre with some ("it is hard to imagine a free market in a real world, and certainly not in Washington where 35,000 corporate lobbyists work hard to make sure the market is anything but free") and it should give some helpful perspective as to why even Republicans don't take samizdata.net and the like very seriously.

 
At 3:19 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

It's funny too.

That article is so emotional and childish that I'm surprised you posted it Miguel.

Do you seriously think it is a market mentality that causes ills in housing, healthcare, and pensions? Aren't those three areas some of the most government-intervening aspects of society?

Note that those 35K lobbyists are there because people AREN'T listening to those preaching a market mentality and limited government.

It is exactly because politicians have chosen to forgo the limits of government intervention into rightfully market practices that the number of lobbyists have grown.

In fact, you could easily use the same tools of economics that describe why market pricing is optimal in almost every application to show why the power of corporations and lobbyists is stronger because there is such an incentive in unlimited government.

"why even Republicans don't take samizdata.net and the like very seriously."

Wow, the evidence you present for such a bold claim is mind-blowing. Yes, I'm sure most politicians take lobbyists more seriously than even their constituents...

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

Actually, under the current administration, i think most of the lobbyists do recite platitudes about markets, in service of getting special treatment for specific businesses/ industries.

As far as health care goes, I think we have a particularly insidious socialist system in the US, where government protected providers protect their rent-earning position claiming that they're delivering a market solution.

I thought my last statement was self-evident, actually... do you believe otherwise? I can't really tell what you mean by your last two senences.



I posted the article because I thought it was a very well stated case that in politics, free market rhetoric is unconvincing - it sounds cultish and has in fact been hijacked repeatedly for other purposes. Also posting a "pledge" to the market just reminded me of this passage: the economic evangelists share an arrogant certainty, single factor fetishism, missionary mania, belief in intelligent design, an unlimited desire to impose their myths on others, and a rhetoric that is only meaningful if you already accept their premises.

 
At 4:30 PM, Blogger hexod.us said...

hey, this is the first time i have visited samizdata.net and i noticed "The Future and its Enemies" perched in the upper left corner. Great fricking book, but why the gun?

 
At 4:42 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

I think they need firepower to fight the Enemies of the Future.

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

They are strong believers in the right to own guns and use them in self-defense.

I think one reason is that the likelihood that a totalitarian society is formed in the presence of a well-armed society is smaller. Making guns illegal was one of the first steps in Nazi Germany and soviet Russia.

 
At 4:55 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

"the economic evangelists share an arrogant certainty, single factor fetishism, missionary mania, belief in intelligent design, an unlimited desire to impose their myths on others, and a rhetoric that is only meaningful if you already accept their premises."

I'm sorry, but this is simply not an argument against free market principles. We both agree that health care is not acting without government intervention in numerous ways.

Other areas he says are tainted by market mentality are in fact tainted by a statist mentality.

The point is that to call something like a market mentality a 'cult' is to say people believe something insane or supernatural. To then go on to give some of the weakest arguments I've seen as to why that something is bad, means to invalidate the cult claim.

Put another way: why listen to this boob if he doesn't know what he's talking about?

I'm not interested in comments about the attitudes of free-marketers if they are totally ignorant about the content in free-market ideas.

Feel free to make the same claims. Please show why certain ideas are myths before claiming those that spread them are spreading myths.

"thought my last statement was self-evident, actually... do you believe otherwise?"

By "samizdata.net and the like", I think you mean "bloggers". Or is it just free-market bloggers?

Either way, the influence of the blogging community is nothing but growing. Saying certain politicians are ignoring this is only to say they are not going to be successful for long. Exhibit A: Tom Daschle.

 
At 4:58 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

I should stress that the pledge is a joke. I in no way advocate the adoption of this pledge in any public sphere.

Reciting these platitudes was intended to be on par with posting a funny limerick.

That they are referring to very valid, time proven ideas, well, that's just a plus.

 
At 5:03 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

I meant hard-line economic libertarians, blogger or otherwise.

 
At 5:18 PM, Blogger oded said...

Ivan, if market forces are so great why has there been a market failure in creating a truly captalist state? Why havent you moved to New hamshire with millions of your ilk and started a comunity based on these ideals. I have theories about this but I am interested to hear how you feel about the subject when placed in this context.

 
At 5:28 PM, Blogger oded said...

I agree with the premise that totalatarian states flurish when the populace has no way of defending itself, but I dont think it in and of itself will offset the loss of freedom that will ensue if we turn over control of environmental controls over to Merk, or social security over to Anderson Accounting. Those enemys of the people aren't going to be so scared of guns.

 
At 5:31 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

Welcome to Hong Kong. There are many examples of free societies. Unlike those who believe in socialism, believers in the free market can actually site examples of countries with proper rule of law, limited government, and free markets which validate, rather than invalidate, our ideas.

Note that failures to create a free-market society are GOVERNMENT failures, not market failures.

Also, I've signed-up with the FSP, but they haven't met their goal. My location isn't very liquid, considering I just bought I house. I don't find it too unreasonable to buy a house in NH in 6-7 years.

By the way, your line of questioning is akin to my asking, "if you don't like Bush, why are you still in America?"

Finally, you all know I would fancy starting my own nation. I give it 15-20 years. A vague understanding of the process:
1) succeed in business and become wealthy.
2) create a coalition of like-minded backers
3) Buy a large portion of land -- enough for a city-state, prefferably with a sea port, in a country where land is cheap.
4) Negotiate/declare independence.

 
At 5:34 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

I don't think you quite understand privatization Oded. In social security, it means forced savings, generally, and not the granting of authority to an individual company.

As for environmental controls, I should repeat for the 30th time that the government should regulate pollution with strong neighborhood conditions. Often, this is not the case. Yet another example of governmental over-reach.

 
At 5:47 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

The privatization proposals I heard were for a very limited number of mutual fund options; Oded's description was on the money.

Also, you're wrong about Oded's question: it's not about why aren't you registered with FSP, it's why no one else is interested in the idea. Market failure?

 
At 5:51 PM, Blogger oded said...

"I don't think you quite understand privatization Oded. In social security, it means forced savings, generally, and not the granting of authority to an individual company"


Ivan I dont think you know the meaning of hyperbole

hy·per·bo·le Audio pronunciation of "hyperbole" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (h-pûrb-l)
n.

A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton.


[Latin hyperbol, from Greek huperbol, excess, from huperballein, to exceed : huper, beyond; see hyper- + ballein, to throw; see gwel- in Indo-European Roots.]

I dont think its too big of a streach to think that investing public money in private intrests turns control over the money over to intrests who might not have their shareholders best intrests in mind. Ex: anderson, Enron, et al.

 
At 6:06 PM, Blogger oded said...

Ivan, you state:

My location isn't very liquid, considering I just bought I house.


what other qualities of markets arent liquid? The environment you have already conceded isn't very liquid.I think we should shift our conversation away from name calling WRT socialists and Capitalists and discuss relative views on liquidity of variables. Pointing me towards books that claim that "freeMarkets" (tm) are the second comming of christ arent going to convince me about how resistant to change these problems are. and behaveing as though theses variables aren't solid is I believe foolharty.

In short I think you have far too much faith in the free exchange of goods and information. It is your belife in liquidity that I find fallacious not that markets are wrong. You have water on the brain as it were :)

 
At 6:16 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

"social security over to Anderson Accounting" - Oded

"Ivan I dont think you know the meaning of hyperbole" - Oded

"Oded's description was on the money." - Miguel

It looks like I'm not the only one with a problem understanding hyperbole.

There is nothing about a set of mutual funds that hints at universal control by a single corporation.

If anything, the entire debate about social security really doesn't belong in a debate about free market principles. There is nothing free about goverments forcing savings.

I would advocate Forbe's plan: all interest on savings in un-taxed. Basically everything from a mutual-fund to a ING savings account becomes like a 401K. That alone is the incentive needed to guarentee savings for retirement. An inverse income tax is then the solution for the poor, rich or old.


"I dont think its too big of a streach to think that investing public money in private intrests turns control over the money over to intrests who might not have their shareholders best intrests in mind. Ex: anderson, Enron, et al."

I agree. Good government programs either fill a void left by a market (courts, military, police) or influence the market in the right direction (e.g. savings are not taxed). If necessary, spend money directly on things like private research, but do it in a distributed fashion, to many bodies.


"Also, you're wrong about Oded's question: it's not about why aren't you registered with FSP, it's why no one else is interested in the idea. Market failure?"

Most people try to change the country they are in. Democracy means a minority has a hard time getting things done. It's that simple. We aren't talking about a large, diverse market here. By definition, government has a monopoly on laws in that nation.

In the past, certain groups have broken off from a parent country for a number of reasons. The unlimited government of King George III spawned the (at the time) utopian country of limited government called the US of A.

Also, many people choose alternatives in government by moving.

 
At 8:25 PM, Blogger oded said...

america + slaves - bill-o-rights = utopia

got it, thanks for clearing that up.

 
At 8:12 AM, Blogger Ivan said...

can't have it both ways, oded, living in two eras.

it is difficult to argue the bill or rights is gone TODAY. Probably not. Certainly not at the founding of the country.

it is impossible to argue there is slavery today. Slavery in America was common at the founding, lost much of the entire world.

I don't think you appreciate how significant the founding of this country was. Feel free to reply with sarcasm.

History - content + slogans = today's politics.

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger joško said...

On guns: In California, in Bakersfield, my pop had a colleague that eventually let it be known that he had a plethora of guns. I mean, like, over forty. Dirty-Harry hand guns, semi-automatic handguns, rifles, civilian versions of the M16, etc. He told my dad that it was to prevent the government from taking over everything.
My dad made the point to him (and I think of this every time somebody suggests gun ownership can stop totalitarian takeovers): do you actually think forty guns, manned by, say, you, four buddies, and your teenage kid behind the brick walls of your suburban house can stop the likes of: SWAT Team, Apache Helicopter Gunships, Abrams Tanks, Smart Bombs, Cluster Bombs, etc.?

It is so seriously absurd an idea that I think that fool's been wasting away his hard earned dough.

...Shooting guns for fun, on the other hand, is a pursuit that can be fun, I reckon (I still haven't done so).

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger joško said...

Miguel, I thought the article you posted was funny and I liked it, and the 35k lobbyist comment was a zinger, but overall the writer had a funny idea and just ran with it till its feet fell off. As my favorite politician, the esteemed Rev. Al Sharpton once said, he "ride dis mule all da way da Washington."

I don't really like politics anymore, and it's mostly cause people of all stripes accuse people of all other stripes of being fundamentalists. Comparing libertarian minded people, like me, to anti-Darwinists is funny to a point, but kinda dumb beyong that.

I agree with Ivan that the presence of 35k lobbyists in D.C. is not a market failure.

I'm not an advocate of anarcho-capitalism. I think generally but not universally speaking that a goverment action is more efficiently done by private entities; that there ought to be a flat, inverse income tax (in all cases it's been implemented, such a tax has INCREASED a government's tax revenue); that NSF and NASA should continue existing and have ten times the funding; the FCC should only have the job of helping radio stations, TV, and cell phones share the EM spectrum (none of this Powell aversion to tit shit); drugs and prostitution should be legal; all subsidies---farm and otherwise---must stop; etc. etc. etc...

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger oded said...

I was just pointing out that i didnt think colonial america was such a utopia cause we didn't have civil rights and promoted slavery. thats all. I don't even understand your post.

 
At 1:27 PM, Blogger hexod.us said...

"History - content + slogans = today's politics."

Truer words have never been spoken(is that a hyperbole?).

 
At 1:42 PM, Blogger joško said...

"History - content + slogans = today's politics."

I'd say this is true for any era's politics. It just feels worse today because that's when we feel it.

 
At 2:01 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

"didn't have civil rights"

You can't go back to the Roman empire and say, "DAMN! you dumbasses didn't even have cable!"

Complaining about the lack of civil rights in the adoption of the most generous protections from government EVER TO DATE is taking the context out of history.


I tend to agree with Josko on politics. I enjoy it to a degree, but there are way too many dumb people to make it really gratifying.

I will continue reading economics books and thinking about policy recommendations. I will shortly stop trying to convince people that the sky is blue.

 
At 2:12 PM, Blogger oded said...

Great!

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

"I'd say this is true for any era's politics. It just feels worse today because that's when we feel it."

The real problem is that communication is so easy that there is no real excuse. That demagogues are still successful is mind-blowing. John “Class-Warfare” Edwards jumps to mind. Clearly almost all politicians fit the formula pretty snugly.

 
At 2:38 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

"Great!"

Congrats!

maybe now we can focus more on gambling. I was about to recommend some books as a parting gift, but who needs that?!

 

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