Wednesday, December 1, 2010

California's Krugman Solution: A Modest Proposal

In his best seller The Return of Depression Economics (which I had my MBA students read this past year), Paul Krugman writes: “Recessions, in other words, can be fought simply by printing money—and can sometimes (usually) be cured with surprising ease.”

Indeed, as I read his latest string of columns that increasingly are laced with partisan invective and personal attacks, there is one constant theme: government needs to fight this downturn by churning out new money and quickly spending it. There are problems, however, when political bodies like Greece and Ireland fall into crisis because their currency, the Euro, is created by the European Central Bank.

In Krugman's view, the solution always lies in creating more money, and since he thinks that Europe is being stingy, he has been writing that the real shame is that Ireland, Greece, and Spain cannot "devaluate" in the way that Iceland has done. As I see it, if printing money would work for Iceland, then it would work for the biggest banana republic in the USA (which increasingly is becoming a banana republic, itself), California.

Yes, debt-and-deficit-riddled California, the once-Golden State now has become a prisoner not only of its mismanagement of prosperity, but also of the leftist ideology that is its governing philosophy. The state that gave us Apple Computer and Google now gives us bloated government worker unions, high tax rates, ridiculous regulations, a swarm of bureaucrats, and Nancy Pelosi.

California now is at the end of the line. It is driving out businesses, criminalizing and demonizing entrepreneurship, and things only will become worse. What to do? Why, there is only one thing to do: print money.

Of course, California is part of the big political union called the USA, but it seems to me that a "Krugman solution" already has been reached: government scrip. Yes, the outgoing Guhvuhnatuh, Ahnuhld Himself, used IOUs to pay California workers, and if Krugman is to be believed (and he IS a Nobel Prize winner, after all), then California really has no budget problems at all.

Yes, the Ultimate Chartalist Solution is at hand, and I hope that Krugman will recognize it, since he already has supported the concept of the idea. California can stop paying its workers in USD and use its own scrip. Given the state legislature's penchant for passing law after law, it can declare the scrip to be California legal tender and ORDER state businesses to accept it, on pain of workers and business owners going to prison.

(This would be quite appropriate, since one of the fastest-growing areas of criminal prosecution in this country has been the category of "economic crimes," as the USA borrows from the legal past of the USSR.)

Granted, there might be a showdown from Washington, although I figure that since Democrats control the executive branch of the U.S. Government and the U.S. Senate, and children in California DID sing praises to Obama ("Obama's gonna save us"), perhaps the god in the White House will relent and let California carry on its Krugman scheme.

Everyone would be happy, I guess. California would not be "budget constrained," the state could multiply its bureaucracies, authorities could arrest and try more business owners, Google could be used to spy on capitalists and other evil-doers, and there would be enough money for all!

Furthermore, California could enjoy an "export boom." (I'm sure Krugman would like that.) True, the only thing the state could export would be bureaucracy and videos of children singing praises to Obama, but that should be enough to entertain the masses. (California would NOT be able to use "Yes, We Can!" as its state slogan, since Obama already took that one. Maybe the incoming Gov. Moonbeam might employ "Accept our money -- or else" as the state slogan.)

So, all it takes is guts, I suppose. Make Paul Krugman California's secretary of the treasury and the country will take off. Moonbeam, you have a mission!! (It cannot be a "mission from God," however, as California intellectuals are godless.)

70 comments:

AP Lerner said...

“as I read his latest string of columns that increasingly are laced with partisan invective and personal attacks,”

This blog is no different.

“In Krugman's view, the solution always lies in creating more money”

Not always. But yes, when it’s in high demand.

“then it would work for the biggest banana republic in the USA (which increasingly is becoming a banana republic, itself), California”

See my first comment.

“California, the once-Golden State now has become a prisoner not only of its mismanagement of prosperity, but also of the leftist ideology that is its governing philosophy”

See my first comment.

“Yes, the Ultimate Chartalist Solution is at hand”

Not sure why Utlimate Chartalist Solution is capitalized, but I’m glad to see you have expanded your reading list. However, you may want to study harder :)

“This would be quite appropriate, since one of the fastest-growing areas of criminal prosecution in this country has been the category of "economic crimes," “

If you would have spent the last 10 years on Wall St then you would know criminal prosecutions of ‘economic crimes’ are not growing fast enough.

“I figure that since Democrats control the executive branch of the U.S. Government and the U.S. Senate, and children in California DID sing praises to Obama “

See my first comment.

“the state could multiply its bureaucracies, authorities could arrest and try more business owners, Google could be used to spy on capitalists and other evil-doers, and there would be enough money for all!”

See my first comment.

“the only thing the state could export would be bureaucracy and videos of children singing praises to Obama”

See my first comment.

“Moonbeam, you have a mission!! (It cannot be a "mission from God," however, as California intellectuals are godless.)”

See my first comment.

Jim said...

I found your blog via a pinback link to "The Moral Liberal" on my recent post having to do with Krugman. I've read your last three posts and loved them all. I personally think that Paul Krugman is one of the most dangurous men in America because so many of our political class justify their actions based on what Krugman says.
Your blog is providing a great service to all conservative bloggers as well as to all America. I've added Krugman in Wonderland to my blogroll.

Maybe this California idea can work for all of us. We just send the IRS an I.O.U.

Keep-up the good fight.

Cheers!

Bob Roddis said...

I have to admit to a morbid fascination with this Chartalist stuff. Their basic theme is that the Fed is far less constrained by law or basic concepts of morality in passing out funny money than even long time Fed haters had reason to believe. They celebrate their understanding that social security will never go bust because the Fed and the Feds can simply pay their obligations with unlimited funny money.

They have no conception or understanding of basic Austrian principles whatsoever such as Cantillon effects or economic calculation but which are just as applicable to exposing the wacky Chartalist vision as the Krugmanite. Their solution always remains “The Printing Money” by “The Ben BerNANK”.

Always.

Just like Krugman, the Chartalist’s perpetual avoidance of basic Austrian principles demonstrates their implicit acknowledgement that we are right. They sure don’t want to go there.

Anonymous said...

"In his best seller The Return of Depression Economics (which I had my MBA students read this past year)"

What exactly do you do with this book? Do you have them read it and tell them "Everything in this book is wrong. Here's why." I'm having trouble understanding how you teach macroeconomics when you think it's all nonsense.

Anonymous said...

"There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: The bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen. … The bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil." -- Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850)

Early 19th century wisdom. Nothing changes only the clowns in charge.
MM

Mule said...

Great blog. I second Jim's statement that this blog is a must-read and that Krugman is one of the most dangerous men in America.

Oh, and pay no attention to AP Lerner. He's just another one of those crackpots and/or societal misfits who spouts gibberish hoping to get attention. Better to just ingore him...

Anonymous said...

California receives 75 cents for every 1 dollar it pays in federal taxes out its 2 trillion dollar economy while Maryland receives $1.30 for every dollar it pays in federal taxes. California's problem isn't that its budget is out control, but that it's subsiding the salaries of professors like Mr Anderson here.

William L. Anderson said...

Well, if the government were to cut income tax rates (since very wealthy people live in California), then I am sure the 75 cents/$1 ratio would change a bit.

However, I suspect that the 3:42 believes taxes are not high enough. Hey, California's voters put the people in office who believe that is a good deal, so who are we to question the arrangement?

Lord Keynes said...

Indeed, as I read his latest string of columns that increasingly are laced with partisan invective and personal attacks, there is one constant theme: government needs to fight this downturn by churning out new money and quickly spending it.

Money doesn't have to be "newly printed".
The government can borrow (1) idle money or (2) money doing virtually nothing when used in asset price speculation.

leopardpm said...

Please, Mr. Lord Keynes, please tell me what and where all of this 'idle money' is hidden?!!!

and, yes, please tell us the evils of speculation.. how utterly worthless the job of a speculator is (is that even a job title?)! Do you even know what speculation is and why it is very important to the whole price system?

Lord Keynes said...

please tell me what and where all of this 'idle money' is hidden?

The vast amounts of money (and not just QE created reserves) being held as excess reserves at the central banks around the world??

please tell us the evils of speculation.. how utterly worthless the job of a speculator is

Nice straw man.
Some speculation is useful (e.g., futures markets for commodities, while other speculation isn't (e.g., massive housing bubbles).

Lord Keynes said...

Bob Roddis said...
Their basic theme is that the Fed is far less constrained by law or basic concepts of morality in passing out funny money than even long time Fed haters had reason to believe. They celebrate their understanding that social security will never go bust because the Fed and the Feds can simply pay their obligations with unlimited funny money etc


Your "understanding" of modern monetary theory (MMT) is laughable.

Modern Monetary Theory says that, even though deficits or spending are not “financially” constrained, they face real constraints in available resources, capacity utilization, the unemployment level, the exchange rate, the external balance, and inflation rate.

The tax money used in government spending/deficits does not "finance" that spending. Taxes allow a space for government consumption of resources and are necessary to control inflation, particularly at full employment.

When central banks issue bonds to the private sector $ for $ matching deficits, this is to control interest rates and inflation.

Money printing and injection of credit money into the economy via a private banking system is very different process from the deficit spending of MMT.

As for your comment about "basic concepts of morality", Austrian economics is about as morally depraved as you can get: (1) a system were private property rights take precedence over human life, and (2) where it is immoral for governments to provide basic support for human beings who are starving, even when the society in which they live is one of astonishing abundance.

Petar said...

"As for your comment about "basic concepts of morality", Austrian economics is about as morally depraved as you can get: (1) a system were private property rights take precedence over human life, and (2) where it is immoral for governments to provide basic support for human beings who are starving, even when the society in which they live is one of astonishing abundance."

Again, this is your subjective understanding of morality, placing human life as the most important value.
The fact that you claim that this is an universal proposition is ridiculous.
Even more ridiculous is that you fail to comprehend that in purely utilitarian terms, the social democratic system will be a complete failure at providing decent (or even bearable) living standarts in the long run.

All, in all, your thesis is an utter failure.

Petar said...

And, just to make sure:
"Austrian economics is about as morally depraved as you can get: (1) a system were private property rights take precedence over human life, and (2) where it is immoral for governments to provide basic support for human beings who are starving, even when the society in which they live is one of astonishing abundance."

Austrian economics does not say any of that. (Right-)libertarianism does.
The fact that you fail to distinguish between the two again proves your utter ignorance.

William L. Anderson said...

I find it interesting that the critics claim that private property rights are the reason that people go hungry and are poor. Yet, the poorest countries in the world make it almost impossible for there to be clear title to property.

For example, Ethiopia does not permit private property,and to get anything done there requires that one work through a huge and corrupt bureaucracy. Yet, according to the logic of the critics, Ethiopia should be wealthy.

Guess that as long as Ethiopia can find a way to confiscate "idle money," everything will be fine!

Bala said...

Professor Anderson,

LK (a.k.a. the bandit) is a troll who sees no reason to stop spreading his falsehood. Not even the fact that everything he has to say has been soundly refuted on these very pages is going to stop him. The only option I can see is to ignore him completely till he gets bored and goes back to his cave.

Just take what he has said out here

"idle money" - Refuted thoroughly. It has been shown that there is no such thing as idle money because all money always serves the ends of its owner.

"asset price speculation is not useful" - "Use" can be understood only from the perspective of the buyer of an asset. He persists in using this word to denote that which HE finds useful. He wants the world to live by HIS preferences (he is a totalitarian after all).

Anonymous said...

Ethiopia has always been poor. How about a country like France which does value its citizens living standards above property rights. They have a better standard of living, have reasonably high productivity (About the same as the United States), and 45,000 of their fellow citizens don't die yearly because of lack of healthcare.

Bob Roddis said...

Warren Mosler explains how “The printing money” will solve the social security “crisis”:

Here’s how the payments system actually works. When a senior citizen receives a social security payment, it is either directly credited to his bank account or he is sent a check that, when deposited, also results in a credit to his bank account.

If, for example, he had $2,000 in his account, and the new payment is $1,000, all that happens is the Fed changes the balance in his bank’s account at the Fed, which at the same time changes the senior’s bank account balance from $2,000 to $3,000.
Payment consists of the Fed changing a number.

Operationally, there are no constraints (other than self imposed constraints) to this process. The Fed can just as easily credit $1,000, $10,000, or $10,000,000 regardless of federal tax collections or borrowings. This process is not constrained by revenue.
That’s why government checks never ‘bounce,’ and why there is NO solvency issue.
So in the future, should some such government ‘reserve fund run out’ social security checks will not bounce. Yes, there may be an increase in ‘inflation’ but that is a totally separate issue. All federal payments will always be met when due.

No one should be frightened by those fear mongers telling us the government is bankrupt or insolvent, or that the money won’t be there when we retire.

And when you hear terms like ‘printing money,’ ‘money finance,’ debt finance,’ and ‘monetization’ as well as ’sterilized vs. unsterilized intervention’ and all the rest of that type of talk, rest assured that these have NO APPLICATION WHATSOEVER. They are throwbacks to the days of gold standards and do NOT apply to the US today.


http://mosler2012.com/?page_id=29

These recipients of monthly $1500 shots of funny money expect that it will purchase for them what they perceive to be $1500 worth of stuff. Where does all this stuff come from?

Anonymous said...

They don't die because of lack of healthcare, they die because of bad healthcare.

Anonymous said...

No..... they die from lack of insurance
http://us.mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE58G6W520090917?ca=rdt

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year -- one every 12 minutes -- in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday."

burkll13 said...

no, they die because of inflation in the healthcare market, driven by government intervention.

Bob Roddis said...

There is no way that 45,000 people would die each year in the US due to bad and/or unaffordable care if the US had an unregulated free market in medical care where breaches of medical care contracts could be enforced.

burkll13 is right.

Anonymous said...

Bob - could you show one real life example of that being true?

burkll13 said...

anon, do you want an example of government interference, or an example of the free market providing it better? because the former is pretty easy to provide examples. the latter, not so much.

the importance of healthcare to each of us, does not excuse that sector from scarcity, or the laws of supply and demand.

Another Anonymous said...

Yes, it is funny how the more the big bad government "intervenes in the health care market", by making health care a right of citizenship, the cheaper and more efficient health care becomes, and the longer and healthier the lives of the people become. Doesn't help the health of bloated parasitic "health" care businesses though. Oh, but this is a mere empirical fact, and not something deducible from first principles from unchallengable axioms. :)

Another Anonymous said...

Yes, and it is funny how that evil Hayek guy thought well of big bad gubmint provided health care. Guess he didn't understand Austrian arguments about how the market works vs statist regulation, or how The Capital L Laws Of Scarcity & Supply and Demand show here, as everywhere, the government does thing worse than the holy private sector. Vote him out of the Austrian club!!!

Bob Roddis said...

Even uber-progressive Matt Yglesias understands that regulation helps the rich in medical care:

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/11/tales-from-the-dentists-cartel/

Anonymous said...

Bob said: "This is so self evident that I'm not going to waste my time arguing"

what he really means is: I don't know the answer, I have no clue what the answer is, and I have little desire to learn anything that may resemble an answer.

You're a gentleman...and a scholar.

Bob Roddis said...

I think comments are disappearing again.

Re: You're a gentleman...and a scholar.

The essence of the Austrian School is economic calculation by individual human beings. IF YOU AREN'T FAMILIAR WITH THAT CONCEPT, WHY THE HELL ARE YOU TRYING TO "DEBATE" WITH AUSTRIANS?

Anonymous said...

Is there a special program or badge given to Austrians? If so, could you display your credentials please? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Anyone can get medical care in the USA - No one is denied. I suggest that if you want to go to the doctor for non emergency things you either - Pay for them yourself or buy health insurance - just as millions of others do every day. You don't do those things - I could care less if 45 billion die early - their choice. the can't afford it - tough - they should have gotten an eduaction instead of screwing off

Bob Roddis said...

I think the most satisfying thing about reading comments and articles by anti-Austrians is the perpetual demonstration that they have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the way of substantive criticism of the basic Austrian principles.

And they are so proud and smug in their ignorance.

Bala said...

Anonymous 2:55,

Extremely well-said. This attempt to play on sympathy by bringing up a "45000 die" card is truly laughable. These are people who are dying because of THEIR OWN failure to provide for themselves. The provision should have been made in advance, which they have failed to, much like the grasshopper in the story "The ant and the grasshopper". They were prancing around when they should have been working hard and saving for a rainy day. No one else has an obligation to provide for them now.

Those who claim that government should provide healthcare (or anything else for that matter) to those who are unable to afford it need to remember that government produces nothing and its only means to gather the resources needed to deliver healthcare (or whatever else) is to rob those who have those resources. That automatically qualifies these proponents of government provision of healthcare (or whatever else) into the moral equivalent of bandits. That a person is cheering for someone to be robbed in order to benefit someone else does not make that person any less of a bandit.

Lord Keynes said...

Petar said...
Again, this is your subjective understanding of morality, placing human life as the most important value.


Wrong. Rule utilitarianism is an objective theory of morality.
If you believe that morality is “subjective,” there is no reason at all to take anything that you say seriously in any moral argument.

William L. Anderson said...
I find it interesting that the critics claim that private property rights are the reason that people go hungry and are poor.


Wrong. I said that ethical systems that place the rights to use of private property above human life in an economy of abundance can be a reason why people go hungry.

Nobody said that hunger would disappear without private property, so all your comments are a red herring.

And your claim that “Ethiopia does not permit private property” is quite bizarre and obviously wrong:
The constitution protects private property. Investment Proclamation No. 15/1992 and the revised Investment Proclamation No. 37/1996 also provide investment guarantees against measures of expropriation and nationalization, except when required by the public interest. Where such measures are taken, the government guarantees to provide adequate and prompt compensation based on the current market value.
Investment permits may be suspended or revoked for good reasons specified in the Investment Proclamation. Disputes arising between a foreign investor and the government may be settled amicably or failing that by the competent court in Ethiopia or through international arbitration. Since 1995, there has been no instance of expropriation, nationalization, revocation or suspension of any investment.

http://www.fdi.net/unctad/investmentguide/ethiopia/v.htm

Privatization in Ethiopia:
http://nazret.com/blog/index.php/2010/01/12/open_bid_to_privatize_ethiopia_hotels_en

Medarian said...

"Extremely well-said. This attempt to play on sympathy by bringing up a "45000 die" card is truly laughable. These are people who are dying because of THEIR OWN failure to provide for themselves. The provision should have been made in advance, which they have failed to, much like the grasshopper in the story "The ant and the grasshopper". They were prancing around when they should have been working hard and saving for a rainy day. No one else has an obligation to provide for them now."

Lets make up a hypothetical situation. A man has a job paying 20,000$ a year. He develops brain cancer which will cost 100,000 to treat. His health insurance company drops him for some bogus reason or they have a maximum payout. He is completely unable to raise the money himself and only has savings of 15,000. Under your morally and intellectually bankrupt belief what should the government do? (If anything)

burkll13 said...

"Lets make up a hypothetical situation. A man has a job paying 20,000$ a year. He develops brain cancer which will cost 100,000 to treat. His health insurance company drops him for some bogus reason or they have a maximum payout. He is completely unable to raise the money himself and only has savings of 15,000. Under your morally and intellectually bankrupt belief what should the government do? (If anything)"


well, the first, obvious thing is sue the insurance company for breach of contract. if they voluntarily enter into an agreement with you, they are, and should be completely liable for that cost. the morally bankrupt system is one where insurance companies have the ability to weasel out of contracts. that wouldnt happen in a libertarian society.

the problem with a hypothetical, though, is its often not rooted in reality. this is a perfect example.

Anonymous said...

"the problem with a hypothetical, though, is its often not rooted in reality"

Kind of like Austrian economics...hypothetical, not rooted in reality.

Lord Keynes said...

These are people who are dying because of THEIR OWN failure to provide for themselves.

A statement of pure ignorance.

If you get declined for medical insurance because of a preexisting condition, this is not your own "failure", it's a failure of a morally bankrupt system where medical treatment is for-profit and access to insurance based on how likely you are to yield profit to the medical insurer.

Another prize example of Austrian/libertarian idiocy.

Lord Keynes said...

Those who claim that government should provide healthcare ... to those who are unable to afford it need to remember that government produces nothing and its only means to gather the resources needed to deliver healthcare ... is to rob those who have those resources.

Taxes to provide basic services like health care are fully moral.

And in fact the majority of voters don't think progressive tax for social services is robbery, so you're just back to your old admission that libertarians are in a morally degenerate minority.

E.g., there are people who wish to make slavery legal again, but there is no reason why we should listen to such morally debased people.

burkll13 said...

"Kind of like Austrian economics...hypothetical, not rooted in reality."

...says a guy who believes scarcity and S&D can be suspended in certain conditions.

do you know why small government systems arent prevalent? because people like you who are tempted to believe in something for nothing, and that there are no such things as negative consequences when it comes to government action. its a nicely wrapped gift. but dont open it up, cause its just a 'dook' with a bow on it.

"And in fact the majority of voters don't think progressive tax for social services is robbery, so you're just back to your old admission that libertarians are in a morally degenerate minority."

tyranny of democracy. doesnt make me wrong. doesnt make you right.

Bala said...

medarian,

Continuing from where I left off (I was told I had typed out too much for 1 comment :) )

That raises the question "What should the unfortunate guy do?"

The answer is simple - Appeal for charity. In India (where I live), newspapers carry ads of this kind almost every day. The ads typically say "I am 15 years old. I hail from a poor family. I am afflicted with this ailment which costs Rs. xxx to cure. My father who is employed as so-and-so does not have the means to pay for my treatment. I earnestly request benevolent souls to donate money to save my life. I shall be eternally grateful to you if you do so."

Frankly, in a free market, such situations would be handled by what is called "private charity". Misfortune can befall anyone. The reason private charities are usually brought into existence is to help those in misfortune. Some kindred soul feels that such-and-such situations are misfortunes that can befall anyone. I have the urge to help such people. I will appeal to like-minded people, gather the resources and create an organisation that can help such unfortunate people".

So there are your answers. I hope they satisfy you. If you still insist that robbing Peter is alright if it saves Paul's life, just bear in mind that that is the basis of the moral philosophy of the bandit. I will then be left with no option but to conclude that you are no different from LK out here.

burkll13 said...

yeah, i just saw 2 comments vanish :( that sucks.

Bala said...

I have to agree with burkll. Here is my comment which vanished.

medarian,

First, let's get the unjustified value judgements out of the way.

"Under your morally and intellectually bankrupt belief"

Firstly. it is not a belief. That you call it one only reflects your complete ignorance of Austrian Economics. Secondly, the phrase "morally and intellectually bankrupt" is an assertion for which you have provided no justification whatsoever. Hence, I have no option but to ignore it.

"Lets make up a hypothetical situation."

Yes. Let's do. I like hypothetical situations because they expose intellectual failures very well.

"A man has a job paying 20,000$ a year. He develops brain cancer which will cost 100,000 to treat.
what should the government do? (If anything)"

This could happen to anyone. We ordinary people call it misfortune.

"His health insurance company drops him for some bogus reason or they have a maximum payout."

Now we come to something interesting. There are 2 possibilities.
1. "for some bogus reason" - Assuming it is truly some bogus reason, the guy should be able to proceed legally against the insurer (I see someone else has already covered this part). Of course, a lot depends on what you mean by "bogus". As I see it, if it was in the print or the fine-print or the ultra-fine-print and the guy signed on without reading it, it's his fault. He can't hold the insurance company responsible.
2. "they have a maximum payout" - I guess that would be part of the contract. So what are we complaining about? The guy AGREED to it, didn't he? I fail to see what's the insurer's fault in all this.

"He is completely unable to raise the money himself and only has savings of 15,000."

Once again, ordinary people like me would call it misfortune.

"what should the government do? (If anything)"

This is a very interesting question that opens up a number of lines of discussion. However, it is important to understand that government "does" nothing. Frankly, government cannot "do" anything. It is only some PEOPLE who carry the label "government employee" that act. It is just that government, with its monopoly over the initiation of force, chooses to treat the acts of initiation of force by THESE people alone, provided they are initiated in the "line of duty", as not amounting to initiation of force.

Secondly, how does government "do" anything"? What needs to be done is to generate the resources to pay for the guy's treatment. But then government does not have any resources of its own. It produces nothing. So, the only thing it can do is to initiate force against the current owners of the necessary resources to take possession of those resources. This taking possession through the initiation of force by agents of government is what is called "tax".

At this point, simple souls like me say "Hey! Take a pause. How is the initiation of force to grab the resources that belong to one person (a.k.a. robbery) justified by the argument that it would save the life of another person?"

So, the answer to your question is that government should do nothing. There are 2 reasons for that.
1. Firstly, government has nothing of its own to offer
2. Secondly, it would have to engage in robbery to gather the requisite resources.

Lord Keynes said...

the guy should be able to proceed legally against the insurer

In many life threatening diseases, he’s likely to be dead or well past the point when treatment can save him by the time the legal system does anything.
Some **** solution.

I guess that would be part of the contract. So what are we complaining about?

A private system, where access is based on wealth and on how “profitable” you will be for the insurer, is fundamentally and immorally bankrupt.

It is just that government, with its monopoly over the initiation of force, chooses to treat the acts of initiation of force by THESE people alone

The voting public can abolish all taxes easily. They don’t. They don’t regard progressive taxes and basic welfare by the state as immoral. It’s the morally bankrupt libertarian minority who do. And both taxes and basic welfare are moral by quite clear principles in many ethical theories.

How is the initiation of force to grab the resources that belong to one person (a.k.a. robbery) justified by the argument that it would save the life of another person?"

By all convincing objective ethical theories: Kantian ethics, rule utilitarianism, Rawls’ ethics and contractarianism.

Bala said...

Hey bandit,

"In many life threatening diseases, he’s likely to be dead or well past the point when treatment can save him by the time the legal system does anything.
Some **** solution."

Why is it my responsibility to offer a "solution"? I am only identifying what THAT person can do in a free market where the initiation of force by one individual on another is never considered justified. Some @#$$#^-&* objection.

"A private system, where access is based on wealth and on how “profitable” you will be for the insurer, is fundamentally and immorally bankrupt."

Ha Ha Ha!! Only if you view "rights" as entitlements. Since you do and I don't there is no scope for us to agree.

"They don’t. They don’t regard progressive taxes and basic welfare by the state as immoral."

ROFLMFAO. This still does not address the point that a choice is being made to desist from treating the initiation of force by some individuals as not an initiation of force and that the criterion is that they carry the labels "government official" and "acting in the line of duty".

So the mere force of numbers transforms an act of initiation of force into a non-initiation of force, does it? You are truly hilarious beyond description!!!!

"By all convincing objective ethical theories: Kantian ethics, rule utilitarianism, Rawls’ ethics..."

I have told you I am an Objectivist. That means I reject all these as moral relativism and attempts to detach morality from reason and the individual. So that leaves us with no scope of agreement.

Happy robbing!!

Lord Keynes said...

So the mere force of numbers transforms an act of initiation of force into a non-initiation of force, does it?

Nope.
It's moral because it can be justified by objective moral theories, like Kantian ethics, rule utilitarianism, Rawls’ ethics or contractarianism.

Objectivism relies on natural rights based arguments that are pure fantasy.

We already had this argument and you lost - badly.

Bala said...

Hey bandit,

"It's moral because it can be justified by objective moral theories, like Kantian ethics, rule utilitarianism, Rawls’ ethics or contractarianism."

This is why I call you "bandit". I am a person who considers ALL initiation of force as unjustified. All Austrians and Libertarians (to my knowledge) would agree with me on this. So how about ceasing to pollute these pages and taking your sh1t elsewhere?

"Objectivism relies on natural rights based arguments that are pure fantasy."

This coming from a person who thinks "rights" are entitlements is especially hilarious to read.

"We already had this argument and you lost - badly."

ROFLMFAO. We never had an argument on this.

Lord Keynes said...

I am a person who considers ALL initiation of force as unjustified.

You have already refuted yourself.
If "ALL initiation of force" is unjustified, then you cant even use force in self defense.

You couldn't use force to, say, protect a person from being attacked and killed by a murderer or escaped lunatic.

You couldn't use force to break into a burning house to save a person or infant.

... We never had an argument on this.M

LOL!:
http://krugman-in-wonderland.blogspot.com/2010/11/paul-krugman-was-against-death-panels.html

Congratulations on more nonsense, loser.

Bala said...

Hey bandit,

How quickly you make a fool of yourself!!

"If "ALL initiation of force" is unjustified, then you cant even use force in self defense."

Force used in self-defence is classified as RETALIATORY force. It is called "Initiated" if it was not a response to another "Initiated" force that was exerted in the other direction prior to it.

"You couldn't use force to, say, protect a person from being attacked and killed by a murderer or escaped lunatic.

You couldn't use force to break into a burning house to save a person or infant."

I could. It is hilarious to see you fail to see the difference between the metaphysical possibility of an action and the legal treatment of that same action, thus making your vacuousness visible to one and all.

Keep claiming victory. That's your ultimate tactic; the tactic of those who cannot argue rationally.

Lord Keynes said...

Force used in self-defence is classified as RETALIATORY force. It is called "Initiated" if it was not a response to another "Initiated" force that was exerted in the other direction prior to it.

And my example of the burning house shows this is pure rubbish.

And the example of the village deprived of water also refutes this rubbish:

If a village of 100 people has one well which is in the possession of one man, who suddenly refuses to give water to anyone else, and there is no rain or any other water and people are dying of thirst, the dying people would be morally justified in using force against the man (but not kill or wound him) to take what water they need to survive.

The man has not "initiated" any force against the villagers: he has simply chosen to exercise his property rights and not sell water.

Your position lies in ruins.

Bala said...

Hey bandit,

"And my example of the burning house shows this is pure rubbish.'

It does not. In the example of the burning house, there is a violation of property rights (trespass). However, the choice is of whether or not to take legal action is left to the owner of the property. Therefore, your example only shows that people may not treat all acts of trespass identically. Instead, they treat it differently depending on what it means for them.

"And the example of the village deprived of water also refutes this rubbish:"

It does not.

"Your position lies in ruins."

More chest thumping.....

Lord Keynes said...

n the example of the burning house, there is a violation of property rights (trespass). However, the choice is of whether or not to take legal action is left to the owner of the property.

Your knowledge of law is a joke.
As in the previous thread, you totally fail to see there is a huge DIFFERENCE between morality and law.

A judge would throw out such a "legal action" as **##$* idiotic.

Why?
Because in any moral society, violating property rights to save a life IS considered moral, you idiot.

The "necessity defense" is a part of common law of most countries, and excuses an act technically unlawful done for the higher purpose like saving life:

The necessity defense has long been recognized as Common Law and has also been made part of most states' statutory law ... The rationale behind the necessity defense is that sometimes, in a particular situation, a technical breach of the law is more advantageous to society than the consequence of strict adherence to the law. The defense is often used successfully in cases that involve a Trespass on property to save a person's life or property...

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Necessity+defense

Therefore a judge would rule that the violation of private property in the case of the burning house to save life was justified, and that the action not a crime.

The person would be hailed as a hero.

The parent who wanted to persecute for property damage the person who saved their child would be rightly condemned as a morally depraved idiot.

Bala said...

Hey bandit,

"Because in any moral society, violating property rights to save a life IS considered moral, you idiot."

I had earlier asked you some basic questions about morality. You didn't answer them then. I am not going to ask those questions again, but the utter vacuousness of your answer will be exposed completely by the answers to those questions.

Anonymous said...

Hey bandit,

A short post to show why your reply is meaningless. There is no such thing as a "moral society".

Bala

Mike Cheel said...

@Bala

"A short post to show why your reply is meaningless. There is no such thing as a "moral society"."

You should also explain that there is no such thing as a moral government.

Petar said...

"It's moral because it can be justified by objective moral theories, like Kantian ethics, rule utilitarianism, Rawls’ ethics or contractarianism."

I see that the idiot LK is again appealing to Kantian moral theory of which he had absolutely no knowledge till a week ago. LK, take it from a guy who has studied Kant's theory for years, the ONLY logical conclusion stemming from the initial premises of the theory that Kant develops is libertarianism. The fact that Kant makes a great deal of logical errors while developing the propsitions is paramount to understanding his theory in its entirity.

And as for that
"If you believe that morality is “subjective,” there is no reason at all to take anything that you say seriously in any moral argument."

What an idiotic leftist thinking. So, if I do not believe a proposition, I am not supposed to debate it.

Thank you for proving on this blog once again that you are a pathetic ignorant fool.

Petar said...

Mike: "You should also explain that there is no such thing as a moral government."

Probably because morality is a subjective construct that has absolutely no objective value whatsoever. Thus, any type of government may appear subjectively moral to a group of people (or to the majority of people), but that has absolutely no objective meaning.

Bala said...

@Mike Cheel,

"You should also explain that there is no such thing as a moral government."

I agree. The very term "moral government" is an oxymoron.

@Petar

"Probably because morality is a subjective construct that has absolutely no objective value whatsoever."

Actually, if one understands that morality is a code of values guiding man's (man as in the individual) actions in the face of choices, things become much clearer. Morality is simply the framework used the answer the question "What should I do?" when faced with choices. It is an entirely individual construct. The most that can happen in a social setting is that a number of people may share a particular moral framework. That does not make the society "moral".

To use the phrase "moral society", one needs to understand morality as something that is defined independent of the individuals that a society consists of. It also needs to ignore the point that it is actions and choices of individuals that can be moral or immoral, not an individual or a society. These errors indicate a warped notion of morality, one that ought to be rejected by any rational individual.

The bandit has just revealed why he is worth just being chased away.

Petar said...

"It also needs to ignore the point that it is actions and choices of individuals that can be moral or immoral"

This, however, does not change the fact that they are moral or immoral only from a subjective perspective. If Nietzsche was alive today, he would have a rather contrasting opinion about whether foreign aid (no matter public or private) was actually moral.

The quest to objectify morality via public opinion and laws is fundamentally no different from the quest to objectify faith via organized religion - both are totally void of objective meaning and serve no absolute purpose. However, the latter was firmly rejected in the developed world and substituted with the former. Kinda makes me wonder when it will be adandoned.

Lord Keynes said...

Probably because morality is a subjective construct that has absolutely no objective value whatsoever. Thus, any type of government may appear subjectively moral to a group of people (or to the majority of people), but that has absolutely no objective meaning.

Priceless!
This is self-refutation so devastating that no one needs to take you seriously at all.

Just make the requisite changes to your comments:

(1) Thus, any type of libertarian ethics may appear subjectively moral to a group of people (or to the majority of people), but that has absolutely no objective meaning.

(2) Thus, Murray Rothbard's ethics may appear subjectively moral to a group of people (or to the majority of people), but that has absolutely no objective meaning.

(3) Thus, Ayn Rand's ethics may appear subjectively moral to a group of people (or to the majority of people), but that has absolutely no objective meaning.

Since none has any "objective meaning", there is no possible way you could defend any ethics, so any libertarian system justifying itself by appeal to an ethical like Rothbard's is pure rubbush.

Well done!

Bala said...

@Petar,

"This, however, does not change the fact that they are moral or immoral only from a subjective perspective."

I have to agree. Individuals and only individuals make judgements like "right" and "wrong". There is no universal "right' and "wrong" divorced from the individual. The only method open to an individual to judge anything at all is reason, a faculty of the human mind. All judgements are based on the body of knowledge possessed by the individual. Hence, it is indeed a subjective assessment.

However, to the extent that it is possible to have a shared "standard of value" and to the extent that people are rational, it is possible for people to share a sense of "right" and "wrong". I would just submit that the only standard that is capable of being consistently and universally (by every individual) as the "standard of value" in making moral judgements is the individual's own life (to each his own life). A person who chooses something else is indeed putting his own life and hence his own existence in jeopardy.

It is this possibility of a shared sense of "right" and "wrong" that @the bandit is guilty of misrepresenting as an "objective morality". He however completely ignores the point that morality is the subjective assessment of "right" and "wrong".

Lord Keynes said...

Individuals and only individuals make judgements like "right" and "wrong".

That's what all moral philosophers believe. Only an entity capable of understanding right and wrong can be a moral agent, as I have said elsewhere.

Hence, it is indeed a subjective assessment.

So now you say morality is subjective??

However, to the extent that it is possible to have a shared "standard of value" and to the extent that people are rational, it is possible for people to share a sense of "right" and "wrong".

And the majority of people think progressive taxes, basic welfare and universal helath care are moral.

So you are in minority that thinks otherwise. Since morality is "subjective" (in your view) the majority must be right in their own minds if they really subjectively think these things are moral.

You have NO argument to refute them at all.

You best moral course of action if you "subjectively" think the majority is wrong is to leave and live in your own society.

Congratulations on exposing the total intellectual bankruptcy of your views of ethics.

Bala said...

Hey bandit,

Did you notice this line in my reply to @petar?

"I would just submit that the only standard that is capable of being consistently and universally (by every individual) as the "standard of value" in making moral judgements is the individual's own life (to each his own life). A person who chooses something else is indeed putting his own life and hence his own existence in jeopardy."

If you do, you would realise that from this point on...

"So now you say morality is subjective??"

you are talking utterly irrelevant nonsense. What is exposed is that even jelly fish have greater intellectual capabilities than you do.

Morality is subjective because it is a code of values and values are subjective. However, morality is also rational. Further, the standard of value is objective. That you can't grasp this simple point shows how much superior to yours is the intellect of any common jellyfish.

Lord Keynes said...

Morality is subjective because it is a code of values and values are subjective. However, morality is also rational. Further, the standard of value is objective.

Your self-contradiction is mind blowing.

If there is an "objective" standard of value that can determine right and wrong, then ethics CANNOT be subjective.

Bala said...

Hey bandit,

You are indeed very quick to demonstrate what I said about you - that you have intellectual capability lower than that of a jelly-fish.

"If there is an "objective" standard of value that can determine right and wrong,"

If you read what I wrote, I did not say that the objective standard of value DETERMINES right and wrong. I said man determines right and wrong using his freaking MIND. The method he uses is REASON. The objective standard enables the evaluation of the choices open to man, thus helping him compare available options and make his choices. Thus, it is man's MIND that determines right and wrong following the method of reason and taking his own life as the objective standard of value.

It does take a very very special moron indeed to read this claim that the objective standard on its own and without the intervention of the individual human mind determines right and wrong.

"then ethics CANNOT be subjective."

What I have said above should now explain why this statement indicates that jelly-fish possess greater intellectual prowess than you do.

Lord Keynes said...

Thus, it is man's MIND that determines right and wrong following the method of reason and taking his own life as the objective standard of value

If there is a "method of reason" this must be some system that has consistent principles. You've already thrown subjectivism overboard by having a "method of reason".

Watching you try and dig yourself out of this hole will be amusing.

And didn't' you say you subscribe to Ayn Rand's objectivist ethics?

Randian objectivism is vehemently opposed to all forms of ethical subjectivism:

When it comes to one of the most controversial areas of human knowledge, namely, ethics or morality, Rand insisted that she was an objectivist here as well, The promise of liberty: a non-utopian vision By Tibor R. Machan

Your contradictions just keep on coming.

Bala said...

Hey bandit,

"If there is a "method of reason" this must be some system that has consistent principles."

It has, you jelly-fish brain.

"You've already thrown subjectivism overboard by having a "method of reason"."

"Reason" is a tool of the human mind.

"And didn't' you say you subscribe to Ayn Rand's objectivist ethics?"

I did. Looks like you do not realise that Ayn Rand mentioned that the "objective" part of Objectivist ethics is the standard of value. Check out "The Virtue of Selfishness" if you can.

"Randian objectivism is vehemently opposed to all forms of ethical subjectivism:"

Wrong. It is opposed to moral relativism and places reason at the centre of its ethical system. It strongly opposes any choice other than the individual's own life as the standard of value in developing an ethical framework.

"Your contradictions just keep on coming."

What actually keeps coming is your cr@p. Your "ethical" system is a monstrosity because it places society rather the individual's own life in the role of the standard of value. You are just a collectivist pig.

Anonymous said...

As usual, I am still astonished by the lack of manners and civil debate shown by Bala and Lord Keynes, especially by Bala.

The lesser problem is that these people will never ever address the issue at hand, and will instead work with fictional hypothetical situations like burning houses and their arbitrary ethics debate.

Petar said...

"Priceless!
This is self-refutation so devastating that no one needs to take you seriously at all.
"

LK, have I already mentioned that you are an idiot that is uncapable of organized thought? If you find a single instance in which I have said that I follow Rothbardian or objectivist ethnics, I will give you a gold medal. You again equate people who follow Austrian economics with certain sorts of libertarianism. Again, you are just a pathetic idiot.

"So you are in minority that thinks otherwise. Since morality is "subjective" (in your view) the majority must be right in their own minds if they really subjectively think these things are moral."

This is one of the most stupid things uttered ever. There is no right or wrong is subjective matters. Idiocy again. I wonder how you succeed in brushing your teeth without poking your eye out? WIth this kind of intellectual ability, it is highly surprising you can use a PC at all.


"You have NO argument to refute them at all."

On the contrary. If I can point out that their argument internally contradicts itself, I have already refuted them. It is indeed the case as they simultaneously want both welfare states and the greatest possible prosperity for everyone. Since these two propositions contradict themselves, the utter foolishness and cognitive dissonance of the leftists is exposed... once again.

"Congratulations on exposing the total intellectual bankruptcy of your views of ethics."

Congratulations of again exposing your inability to comprehend what ethics is all about. Should you again mention that till very recently, you had no knowledge on the most important moral philosopher in human history? Continue commenting however - that only exposes your ignorance for the better...

Bala said...

Anonymous 2:05 am,

You are free to have your opinion and skip my rambling. However, please note the following points

1. I reserve my strong language for LK because I don't think he, the troll that he is, deserves any better. Please do go through my replies to anyone else to check if this claim is false.
2. I do not open up the hypotheticals. That's LK's and the other whatever-Keynesian apologists' approach. I try to address them because I believe that not dealing with them does not help the discussion and gives room for fence-sitters who come over to make the mistake of getting swayed by these hypotheticals, especially if they are not tackled.