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Friday, November 24, 2017

What do you do with a libertarian?

A: If you're one of those Singaporeans who criticises the PAP for not providing social welfare benefits but at the same time criticise the recently suggested higher tax rates, you most definitely fit into the definition of a hypocrite. That is unless of course you subscribe to an economic theory of how wealth can be created out of thin air - in that case, please share.

Students for Liberty - Singapore - Posts

Dislike tax increases? Then learn about this thing called “libertarianism”

B: Many libertarians nowadays appear to be former liberals that are fed up with the current arc of overbearing progressivism, but haven’t shed idealistic notions about human nature yet.

C: "Former liberals" could have just read economics.

A: You sound like you have no idea what you are talking about. The whole idea of free markets (and libertarianism in general) is built on the basis that human nature IS flawed, that's why we need trial & error discovery processes through markets, instead of holding the truly idealistic notion that benevolent government politicians work in bureaucracy and interest group-free environments of politics. Read a classical liberal book, please.

B: Classical liberals aren’t really what liberals are when we talk about them nowadays, are they?

Me: Those who understand economics won't be libertarians

Because they'll know about things like risk pooling, positive externalities from education, hyperbolic discounting, the power of compound interest, public goods and the tragedy of the Commons etc

B: Maybe they focus more on the error side of trail and error.

C: Trail and error happens in the market place, not in government policies if you must know.

A: ?? It's precisely because libertarians know about the tragedy of the commons that allows them to have such a strong stance on property rights. Also, positive externalities from education? You mean positive POLITICAL externalities from education, my friend. Why do you suppose most of our citizens grow up believing in the great deeds of our leader? ;)

Me: The market place doesn't have the data to review past trials

Not sure why only libertarians believe in property rights. I believe pretty much everyone believes in property rights. There are very few communists nowadays

D: Alamak, knowledge does not exist in a single consolidated entity, Gabriel. You think governments have the data to review all past trials meh? Government is not more omniscient than you and me la bro. I strongly suggest you to read I, Pencil by Leonard Read:

Read, I, Pencil | Library of Economics and Liberty

And hor, if people believe in property rights, then they will be like the American Founding Fathers what - that time Britain want to tax them they already revolt liao. People nowadays don't even know what "property rights" really mean, how to say that they "believe in it"? Like a bit weird right

Me: Positive externalities

Positive externalities from education is quite an established view in economics

Not sure what the pencil supply chain has to do with data collection and consolidation

No one ever said government was omniscient but most people know governments have more data than virtually all private entities

Big Data and Analytics in Government

And the American revolution is???

A: "Those who understand economics won't be libertarians
Because they'll know about things like risk pooling, positive externalities from education, hyperbolic discounting, the power of compound interest, public goods and the tragedy of the Commons etc"

Almost every single concept you mentioned stems from the neoclassical school of economics, which is the favourite target dummy by economists (both Left and Right) from across the discipline. You throw terms like Tragedy of the commons around but I bet dollars to doughnuts you haven't read a single word of Ostromnian research on common resource pool governance where Hardin's concept has been proven both theoretically and empirically false. Nope, those who have little to no background in economics tend to be the most vociferous critics of markets.

Me: You don't have to think markets are a bad idea to think libertarianism is naive

You might as well say only fascists are against communism

Not sure what tossing around the big words is supposed to mean

If you have a point please make it instead of trying to confuse people

A: Yep you've made my point. The fact that you consider these "big words" just speaks volumes about your ignorance on economics. You're like the uni student that sits through 1 econs class then carries those 101 beliefs with them through their whole life. It's just amusing how you're so steadfast in your anti-libertarian views. And here I thought you New Atheists love to preach on and on about "rationality"

Me: Actually I have a first class honours degree in economics

Which is more than I suspect most of you can say about yourselves

A: That doesn't mean anything. Most mainstream econ degrees are applied quantitative mathematics in the positivist vein. They neglect theory, and they neglect the critques of the foundations that this school of economics is built on. So of course if you're holed up in your neoclassical assumptions, then Akerlof and Stiglitz's market failure theories is your biblical truth. If you're educated in economics, then formulate an argument on why free markets are "naive", stop throwing broad sweeping statements around.

Me: Here we go

The Tragedy of the Commons: How Elinor Ostrom Solved One of Life's Greatest Dilemmas - Evonomics

"groups are capable of avoiding the tragedy of the commons without requiring top-down regulation, at least if certain conditions are met (Ostrom 1990, 2010). She summarized the conditions in the form of eight core design principles: 1) Clearly defined boundaries; 2) Proportional equivalence between benefits and costs; 3) Collective choice arrangements; 4) Monitoring; 5) Graduated sanctions; 6) Fast and fair conflict resolution; 7) Local autonomy; 😎 Appropriate relations with other tiers of rule-making authority (polycentric governance)."

This is very different from "Hardin's concept has been proven both theoretically and empirically false"

So much so that you are grossly misrepresenting Ostrom's research

Shame on you

A: Did you even understand the article? The author is saying that Ostrom's research DISPROVES the commonly-held notion that the commons will automatically lead to a tragedy, given that certain conditions are present. This is exactly what in line with what I said, that Hardin's concept is false. Goodness gracious.

And in case you haven't realised, the findings of the scholars working in this tradition actually imply an anti-statist position.

E: Don't call the burn unit. Call the farm. We're gonna need a whole pig to replace the skin on this one.

F: Yea Gabriel was my NUS batch mate. I can attest to his expertise in economics.

I would like to suggest that people don't try to claim expertise and dress down others here unless you possess real expertise. There are a lot of real experts here who don't act all-knowing.

B: Libertarianism is rational?

The proponents often seen to be somewhat religious in their belief of it.

A: "unless you possess real expertise". Nice argument from authority. Fallacies 101. I would like to suggest you don't try to judge others by their accolades and certificates but to actually address their arguments (which in that case would require you to actually possess some knowledge of the argument at hand).

E: eh fist you say Gab must not have an Econs background. Then when he explains he has, you say it is irrelevant. Which is it?

Me: You're behaving like a creationist who finds something Darwin said that was wrong and proclaims that this means evolution is a scam

While Hardin was pessimistic about the possibility of the Commons not being ruined without intervention, the concept has been used by many since Hardin, and given that 8 conditions must apply for the Commons to be self-regulating it is hardly proof that the tragedy of the Commons has been proven empirically false

Furthermore Hardin does not say government is the only solution:

"Education can counteract the natural tendency to do the wrong thing, but the inexorable succession of generations requires that the basis for this knowledge be constantly refreshed."

And might I note that it's hilarious how you first go on about how economics proves you are right, then mock me for not knowing economics, and end up by proclaiming that mainstream economics is rubbish (ironically econs 101 and most libertarian arguments rely on neoclassical assumptions)

Make up your mind, won't you?

G: I'm not an economist... But i would love to suggest that someone here not keep deflecting and changing the argument.

But then again, this is definitely entertaining like the last time the liberty boys posted here

B: That's why it's a niche market, possibly for people who want to have some kind of modern religion to feel more advanced than others.

Me: Actually even for libertarians these people are fringe. For example most libertarians believe the government needs to provide public goods like roads (D: "are you saying that without the government, these things won’t exist? Private parks and roads do exist, you know.")

As Slate notes (What Is Austrian Economics? And Why Is Ron Paul Keep Obsessed With It?),

"“Austrians” in Paul’s sense refers to something narrower, specifically the thought of Ludwig Von Mises and his student Murray Rothbard. It is a form of capitalism that is even more libertarian and anarchic than that espoused by many libertarians. Rothbard‘s followers, most prominently longtime Paul associate and founder of the Mises Institute Lew Rockwell, have been waging a decades-long war against the Koch brothers and the more mainstream form of libertarianism the Kochs represent."

(the article also mentions several of Austrian Economics's failures in explaining several economic phenomena)

Although these jokers name drop the Nobel Prize Winner Friedrich Hayek, I will add that even Hayek disavowed some libertarian concepts (for example he accepted government spending on certain causes as an articulation of society's ideals)

Wikipedia gives a good summary:

Austrian School - Wikipedia

"After the 1940s, Austrian economics can be divided into two schools of economic thought, and the school "split" to some degree in the late 20th century. One camp of Austrians, exemplified by Mises, regards neoclassical methodology to be irredeemably flawed; the other camp, exemplified by Friedrich Hayek, accepts a large part of neoclassical methodology and is more accepting of government intervention in the economy"

So these people are even misrepresenting the Austrian School of economics

B: The whole right to personal nuclear weapons thing is somewhat of a giveaway for being fringe.

Keywords: economics useful nobel, mainstream economics
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