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Is libertarianism a fantasy?

Paul Krugman, columnist for The New York Times and all around coercion-loving madman, wrote an op-ed in the NYT yesterday where he mocked libertarianism as a “foolish fantasy.” Krugman pulled out a few common strawman arguments in order to fortify his position as a believer that governments can only work when they operate without the consent of the people they govern.

Krugman used government regulations on phosphorus that are intended to prevent water contamination as an example that he claims proves unequivocally the need for intrusive, coercive government.

Paul Krugman on phosphorus and freedom in The New York Times:

… But I’d like to ask a different question: Is libertarian economics at all realistic?

The answer is no. And the reason can be summed up in one word: phosphorus.

As you’ve probably heard, the City of Toledo recently warned its residents not to drink the water. Why? Contamination from toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, largely caused by the runoff of phosphorus from farms.

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"A Government Ban on Phosphates in Detergent"...

That is Krugman's reasoning?

The government banned phosphates and therefore, "far more often" than you would believe, "Government Interference" is completely appropriate and Libertarian Economics is "unrealistic".

Would you believe THAT is a demonstration of Ivy-League logic?

Libertarians aren't against laws - and the "Libertarian Law" being broken in this instance would be a destruction of property.

In a libertarian society, you can't go buy a barrel of poison and dump it into the water - that is a Violation of Property Rights.

I've been reading lately that more and more people are distancing themselves from Krugman - and at this point it's becoming patently obvious why that is. His paper-thin arguments are easily exposed and actually help Libertarians Prove their Case.

"If you always lean on your master, you will never be able to proceed without him." - Jefferson to his daughter Martha. March 1787

We Need To Grow The Remnant

I'm sorry but I totally agree with Micha~ael Nystom. We need to get informed, educated and enlightened before we can accomplish the dream that was America.

I'm not sold on the commune. The early pilgrims tried that and it failed. We need everyone to be their own person, an iconoclast, if you will..

We need to rejuvinate the old rugged individualism, and the independent spirit that made america great...

I'm not sure what i just said...

lol..

Krugman is too stupid

Krugman said we need an alien invasion for economic recovery.

So, Krugman is too stupid to read.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Without reading anything but the headline...

Yes, I think probably at this point it is.

A libertarian society requires a well educated populace, and I'm sorry to say that at this point, we just don't have it.

Ironically, what I would suggest is libertarian communes. There are so few libertarians, that we need to stick together and help each other.

He's the man.
Cyril's picture

I hear what you say about the "libertarian society", Michael

I hear what you say about the "libertarian society", Michael (and its requirements), but I'd still point out :

guess what! Turns out "we" might be on to something with the "libertarian ideals", at least. Yup.

PROOF POSITIVE clue:

how come Mr. Paul Krugman (and others) keep attacking either or both (the ideals or such society's idea) more frequently than ever?

Mere coincidence, you think?

Ahah!

;-)

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Hey Krugman...

what is realistic? Please enlighten us as to what is realistic? ASS!

Father - Husband - Son - Spirit - Consciousness

Cyril's picture

Is Mr. Paul Krugman a fraud, yes or no?

Is Mr. Paul Krugman a fraud, yes or no?

If you think "yes" (as I do) - feel free to move on!

That fraud isn't even funny to bust anymore.

Seriously, no matter what you do for a honest living, if you understand money - believe me, your time is infinitely more precious than this idiot hypocrite (or would that be hypocrite idiot? oh well, whatever) :

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/be-ready-to-mint...

'HTH,

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

So if you've followed Krugman

So if you've followed Krugman with an unbiased mind, you will see that at heart, he is a pragmatist...IMO, to him, what factually works is what is best. In their hearts, people like Woods/Hayek/Rothbard/Paul are moralists...what is moral is what is best.

IMO, while Krugman will give moral reasons that support his views and the others will give facts/math to support neoclassical and Austrian economics...these are usually poor explanations. How Krugman can justify the violations of liberties his ideal government makes is beyond me. And I constantly laugh at how the Austrian view on currency, money, and metals has no basis in math or reality.

My overall point is, is that try and understand where each side is coming from, and you'll get less frustrated.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Doctor, have you seen this

Doctor, have you seen this criticism of Austrian economics by Bryan Caplan? He's a truly excellent libertarian economists who I respect very much, and I agree with many of his criticisms.

http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/whyaust.htm

I agree with a lot of them.

I agree with a lot of them. However, a lot of those issues (plus others) apply to neoclassical economics as well.

Same with Keynesian economists.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Laughing is good for when you don't comprehend something.

It makes you feel better, and it's much less work than reading.

Perhaps you could share with us on what specific Austrian economic assertions give you such a chuckle?

This could be fun!

It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. - Murray Rothbard

So, for example, Austrians

So, for example, Austrians will cry and cry about the correlation between gold and the money supply. Yet there is no connection. There is no correlation between gold and the supply of base money, of M3, or of inflation. For heavens sake, there is no correlation between the price of gold and SILVER!

Austrians have no understanding of how fiat money works, of how the US central bank currently works, and how principles of accounts balancing between the private, public, and foreign sectors of the economy. See how Ron and Rand Pauls budgets laughingly do not account for this.

Austrians don't understand how reserve banking works at all (which is why they are so scared of QE). They are convinced that fractional reserve banking explains everything.

Austrians are so worried about hyperinflation, despite evidence time after time that there fears are WAAAAY overblown.

Austrians are so convinced that control fraud doesn't exist, yet time after time it happens. Point it out, and they blame government, even if it takes a huge logical leap to come to that conclusion. In short, when fraud is perpetrated that the government misses, Austrians assure us that the private market would have caught the fraud...because it would, because it would, because it is the private market, and the private market is always right, because it is always right, because it is always better, because it is!

Austrians are sure that all regulations are superfluous, even though experience and facts have taught us otherwise.

Austrians for the most part believe that prices are empirically set using continuous supply-and-demand curves, yet in reality, administered pricing is the reality for the vast majority of businesses.

I can go on and on!

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Cyril's picture

Proponents of Austrian economics perfectly understand it

Proponents of Austrian economics (which I personally prefer to call simply "natural economics", because, seriously, that's all it is) perfectly understand how fiat money works - at the opposite end (the dishonest) of the spectrum :

it's THEFT thru SCAM.

Downright indefensible, except by frauds, observably. (Because, well, we usually don't hear from thieves bragging to be so, they usually prefer to hide or disguise - that's understandable, too)

If you defend fiat money, even if only in the principle:

then, apparently, you have also never experienced the reaction of your family or friends as your opponents in the game of Monopoly (Hasbro) where you'd be playing BOTH the bank AND as a regular player printing any amount of new bills for [the "regular" player side of] you, at any time you need / see fit.

Just try it some time, and then come back to tell us how many other times you found them willing to play with you again.

We will be very curious to hear from you! (or from them directly, for that matter...)

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Describe the monopoly version

Describe the monopoly version with Austrian Economics rules. Should be funny.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Cyril's picture

Sure.

Sure.

In the Austrian/natural version, the Monopoly bank has no fiat money (no paper), it's just a regular business with vaults just safer than average, for whoever wants - voluntarily, NOT forced - to deposit their real money there, instead of keeping it at home.

So, basically, no player absolutely needs the bank to go on with their business, if they're also smart and modest enough to not need loans, ever.

In YOUR version of Monopoly (the one which I described and you seem to be fine with**), the central bank with fake money forces itself onto everybody, gets to depreciate the money at will, and has only a few insider buddies making profit of its fiat unit-printing power, and everybody else is screwed, because they never get to see the real books, either - they just see the houses and hotels disappear before their eyes, no matter how hard they can save***, as they're always more incapable to afford buying any, ANYWAY.

Happy?

Cheers,

** http://dotxml.brinkster.net/2012/Misc/G4_Charts.pdf

*** (assuming they even try - as the destruction of fiat money precisely discourages them to do so - hint, hint: got the idea?)
...

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

"In the Austrian/natural

"In the Austrian/natural version, the Monopoly bank has no fiat money (no paper), it's just a regular business with vaults just safer than average, for whoever wants - voluntarily, NOT forced - to deposit their real money there, instead of keeping it at home."

So, where does the money come from? There is no central bank.

"So, basically, no player absolutely needs the bank to go on with their business, if they're also smart and modest enough to not need loans, ever."

How could the bank make a loan? It has no money.

Your version of the game is assuming in essence a single sector economy without any possibility for outside wealth.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Cyril's picture

Can you read English?

Can you read English?

"Where does money come from?"

FaithKills answered it eloquently and yet so simply that a 12 year old - TOPS - could understand AND relate to it by empirical evidence. Apparently, you can't.

But I'm not going to paraphrase him. Because your dishonesty - i.e, your purposely ignoring previous answers which are nothing new and are backed by millenia of History, btw - is just too annoying.

Goodbye.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

I am talking about your

I am talking about your monopoly game. You know, the post I replied to?

Where does the money come from?

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Cyril's picture

Do you know poker?

I heard you can play poker with symbolic tokens (for fun) or (for real) with your own and/or your spouse's jewelry, if you're daring enough - that is: serious about it. Aka... the imaginary vs. reality.

Oh, coincidence, that jewelry which is made out of the same divisible, portable, recognizable, etc precious metals, rather than out of plastic or of cotton + ink, more often than not, btw!

You could do the same with Monopoly or in most multi-player games, I suppose.

Now, bye for good, because I have work in a few hours.

Cheers,

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Your criticism of Austrians is they don't understand fiat money?

That is awesome!

Austrians are sure that all regulations are superfluous, even though experience and facts have taught us otherwise.

You are restating what you said. What specifically are you talking about?

Yes of course regulation is necessary. For example, if banks weren't able to socialize their losses onto taxpayers that would be some effective regulation! Sadly we have regulators who do nothing useful, because they have no incentive to and cannot ever have any incentive to, who when they fail, just ask for more taxpayer money.

You want macroprudential? End the FDIC and FSLIC. Then you get instant macroprudential.

Banks no more screwy uppy.

administered pricing is the reality for the vast majority of businesses.

Yes because most markets are government cartels.

That was the point after all. Remove the monopolies and again, you don't have administered pricing because there are no guns to do so.

Best for last!

Austrians will cry and cry about the correlation between gold and the money supply

What Austrians 'cry' (and cry) about the correlation between gold and the money supply? And what is it they are crying about?

The one thing Austrians definitely know, which you clearly do not, is fiat money.

Beyond that if you don't understand the difference between gold and money or what the relation is, you really have no business talking.

Gold was a good money because it can't be counterfeited.

That's it.

ASE has nothing magical to say about the price of gold or pork bellies or Pokémon or pet rocks or anything else. Gold isn't money now, because it's outlawed.

The reason it's outlawed is because it's the best money, at least as of the time it was outlawed.

We know it was the best money because it was the money people chose when they were free to do so. One reason they chose it is because it can't be counterfeited, unless you have a supernova handy.

Gold is outlawed as a money so it's a commodity. The relationship between any commodity and money is a factor of four things, supply, demand, subjective value, and government protection/intervention (ie guns).

As a commodity gold has speculative value because the current fiat money system will collapse in an inflationary manner, whether controlled or not. Since the supply of gold is fixed on the planet and currency keeps being inflated, gold bugs know something you don't.

Whether gold will appreciate against ever inflating currency may be a mystery to you, but it's not a mystery.

If you disagree, please, by all means, help out with the gold shorting crowd:) Short short short I say!

What goldbugs don't know is whether gold will resume it's historical money status. Should this happen an investment in an inflation hedge would make gold holders instantly wealthy.

"You are restating what you

"You are restating what you said. What specifically are you talking about?"

I don't want to get into a long discussion, but read any of the works of Hayek or Rothbard.

"You want macroprudential? End the FDIC and FSLIC. Then you get instant macroprudential."

Because in the era of free-banking, financial fraud was completely unheard of...

"Yes because most markets are government cartels.

That was the point after all. Remove the monopolies and again, you don't have administered pricing because there are no guns to do so."

Your definition of administered pricing is different from mine. I'm not talking about government-set/mandated prices.

"What Austrians 'cry' (and cry) about the correlation between gold and the money supply? And what is it they are crying about?"

The inflation/hyperinflation hawks. This is why they push gold.

"The one thing Austrians definitely know, which you clearly do not, is fiat money."

From what I have observed, Austrian/neclassical/modernist economists understand fiat money as it used to be: at a fixed exchange rate, and convertible on demand. Since 1971, the US dollar does not fit that billing. It has a floating exchange rate and is not convertible.

"Gold was a good money because it can't be counterfeited."

Electronically? Gold actually can be counterfeited. Not the physical gold, but the perception that one has gold.

"The reason it's outlawed is because it's the best money, at least as of the time it was outlawed."

Proof?

"We know it was the best money because it was the money people chose when they were free to do so. One reason they chose it is because it can't be counterfeited, unless you have a supernova handy."

What do you mean "it is what they choose when they were free"? I can easily say that once the technology and global situation made it possible, people "chose" fiat money. After all, they all accept payments in US dollars.

The US experienced more growth during a period of fractioned and full-fiat money that it had in years of having gold-backed money.

"As a commodity gold has speculative value because the current fiat money system will collapse in an inflationary manner, whether controlled or not."

As I said, the inflationary hawks.

Tell me, why will it collapse?

"Since the supply of gold is fixed on the planet and currency keeps being inflated, gold bugs know something you don't."

So you are implying that there is a connection between the supply of gold, the supply of currency.

"Whether gold will appreciate against ever inflating currency may be a mystery to you, but it's not a mystery."

The monetary base has exploded in recent years. There has been moderate inflation as well. Yet gold as dropped in dollars...

"What goldbugs don't know is whether gold will resume it's historical money status. Should this happen an investment in an inflation hedge would make gold holders instantly wealthy."

Just an analogy. Slavery has been the historical norm for much of human history. So would you be wise on betting on slavery returning its historical status/presence in the US economy? Because that is at least part of your argument for why gold will resume its historical money status....

Also, why would it make gold holders wealthy? Yes, they have gold that is priced insanely high in US dollars...but as you mention, those dollars would be worthless!

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Cyril's picture

^^^ BUMP.

^^^ BUMP.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Cyril's picture

I admire how candid you are in good will

This is a great comment, imo. Thanks for putting it even better than I wish I could.

I admire how candid you are in good will to try fix stupid, also. (Or, are you? ;-)

Just FYI, if that helps, I have never seen someone posting - so consistently - comments as intellectually dishonest as this "Dr. No" has been posting for years now, on these forums.

You could go back to small rocks and prove him/her that 1 + 1 = 2 in the physical world, he/she'd still find a way to argue that "it's best for everybody" that 1 + 1 = 3 instead.

Quite amazing.

'HTH,

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Continue to disregard all

Continue to disregard all facts and reality, Cyril. I am not going to get into another debate with you, because from my POV, you don't really care about facts. Anything that proves you right is completely credible from a great source, and anything that proves you wrong comes from a conspiratory cahoots involving the federal government.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Cyril's picture

Right. I don't care about facts. Nor logic, probably?

Right. I don't care about facts. Nor logic, probably?

Maybe that's why I make a living out of both - almost exclusively, btw! 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year - sanctioned (or rewarded) by private sector employers who only care about my performance with those, data facts and logic (a deal with which, thank goodness, I am perfectly fine - I only hope that can continue).

Right. Try again. Suggestion: you should take my job.

You'd do great, with YOUR fact-caring!

I'd love to see it.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

The last conversation we had,

The last conversation we had, I showed you how inflation wasn't at 10% per year, how purchasing power had gone up, compared the growth of the American economy under fiat money vs. under the gold standard, explained in detail the idea of sectoral balances, showed you that there is no to little correlation between base money, price inflation, or the price of gold and silver, and explained the difference between convertible and non-convertible currency.

Among other things.

From my POV, you just decided to ignore all I presented. You upheld Shadowstats as relevant and factual data (not even close to being true). You insisted there was a correlation between the money supply and the value of metals (not at all true). You insisted that the US would go bankrupt because they didn't have the means to pay back their debt (even though they freaking-print the money)...among other things.

Those are just some examples.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Cyril's picture

You have chosen to be in the camp of THE LIARS

I don't recall specifically about the point re: the 10% inflation or not -

- but, breaking news: I couldn't care less, because all you do is to defend a SCAM-based, vast system of plunder that officially makes the claim that it's "under control" at ~ 2.x % / year - and which is a gross lie FORCED upon us - including yourself, btw

get a FREAKING CLUE some day :

http://www.dailypaul.com/323254

WHERE are your/their 2.x % / year, there?

You have chosen to be in the camp of THE LIARS - (I've no idea why, but, whatever) - who CAN'T produce SH:T but their WORTHLESS spreadsheets and FAKE money to steal from THE PRODUCERS with the help of perverted laws, secret meetings, and federal goons with guns, to enforce all of the above, as the cherry on top -

- instead of letting people just enjoy sound money (tangible, which doesn't have to be gold only) and which worked for millenia, and, surprise, surprise, has always been the first target by the money debasers, precisely.

You are tiring.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Check out the million prices

Check out the million prices project done by MIT, which found that the Fed calculation of inflation is more or less correct.

I like how your chart only looks at some of the things, that might be on the high end of the inflation scale, and forgets just everything else, and then calls it fair data. Doesn't that make your alarm sound?

Plus, think about all those things on the list...for the most part, we are doing/buying more than we did 14 years ago. we use more oil, consume more gas, probably eat more eggs, definitely have superior healthcare and live longer, definitely consume more ground beef, watch more movies, attend college at a higher rate, use more energy, buy more cars, drink more coffee, probably. Even home ownership rates and mail volume are up...

Secondly, we were talking about the boost of the average American's buying power since the implementation of fiat money. That was not in the year 2000.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

You can go on...

You can go on and on, but you are simply wrong about at least one thing. Austrians specifically reject the notion of prices being determined by supply and demand curves. I think this is almost part of the fundamental definition of Austrian economics, that "consumer expectations, which are fundamentally irrational and cannot be captured by a deterministic Jenkin diagram, are the primary determining factor for prices."

If you want to start to understand Austrian economics, I would recommend you listen to some lectures by Israel Kerzner.

Experience has taught me that, far from being superfluous, regulations are fundamentally evil.

But that is a separate part.

But that is a separate part. Yes, regulations are evil! How dare you use the force of the collective to tell me that I cannot cheat my customers! If they smart customers, they will figure me out!

But Austrians will often say that one or all of:

1) Regulation never works
2) Private regulation can replace government regulation
3) Regulation is not needed (no bad things are happening, like control fraud).

These are all patently false. There are many government regulations that do precisely what they intend to do. There are many cases, both real and theoretical, where private regulation would not work (that is how public regulation occurred in the first place). And of course, there are many many many many many direct examples of control fraud.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a