The 2020 summit: views, stray, considered and otherwise

This post accompanies, and is explained by the post  immediately above it.

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Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

Personally, I think that as presented it is the worst idea Ruddy has had and I can only assume that the real purpose is to make the lefty latte crowd sigh with satisfaction at what a ‘real’ government we have, and distract the circus, whilst actually getting on with policy.

I cannot think of any other purposes served by inviting actors, artists and media people to opine on public policy. Not to mention the absurd and offensive but oh-so-leftist bias towards the self-appointed cognoscenti that Howard so rightly ignored.

So there’s my moderate view on it.

Mind you if they made these sort of standing committees or something, with essentially random memberships, or something closer to those lines, I would probably be more impressed.

George
George
13 years ago

Any credibility the summit had, which was little, flew out the door once Cate Blanchett got an invite. I mean seriously?

James Farrell
James Farrell
13 years ago

When the day arrives when I no longer have to read about the ‘latte left’ and ‘luvvies’, my enjoyment of this blog, and blogging in general, will increase immeasurably. What a bloody bore.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

Sauce for the goose, James, I could have done without gratuitously offensive references to John Howard as a rat or rodent, myself. Indeed their absence would have vastly increased my enjoyment.

Although I recognise that you were not an offender there yourself – well, this is probably the third time I write ‘latte’ on this blog, and one of the previous was to admit that I drink soy lattes myself :)

As it was I stopped reading roadtosurfdom because Tim’s readers produced so much of that sort of drivel that I did stop enjoying it.

Brendan Halfweeg
Brendan Halfweeg
13 years ago

Why don’t we break Australia up into regions and then let people in those regions appoint representatives to go to Canberra to debate the future role of the government? You could do this every 3-4 years so that the representatives stay in touch with their communities concerns.

Oh yes. We already do this. It is called federal parliament.

If the Labor Party want assistance with policy formation, they should get their supporters to pay for think tanks, not use the public purse to subsidise such self-agrandising public relations activities.

James Farrell
James Farrell
13 years ago

It’s not that so much that I find it insulting, Patrick. It’s just that I don’t know what these terms are supposed to mean, or whether, for example, they’re supposed to apply to me. When someone says that Howard is a rat, at least you know they mean he’s dishonest and sneaky, and you are free to argue that the term is misapplied. If you for your part referred to my views as Leninist or Maoist, I could either accept the label or argue that it was misapplied. I know that ‘latte leftist’ is meant to be a put-down, but I have no basis on which to (1) defend latte leftism, (2) argue that you’ve misapplied it in a given case, or (3) join in your condemnation — and who knows, I do agree with you occasionally! As for ‘luvvies’ (which you didn’t use yourself) I actually have no idea at all what it’s supposed to signify (beyond the fact that the same people use it who talk about the latte left, and in the same kind of context), despite having repeatedly asked for a definition and derivation, and ventured my own hypotheses about what it means.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

From the bottom up, I don’t know what luvvies are either, so I can’t help you there!

I do admit that the imprecision of ‘latte lefty’ is a major weakness and probably why I don’t use it very much.

Given my views of language, I shall try and explain it by example.

1) Some years ago the Age published an incredibly defamatory story about a large private girl’s school in Victoria. It was the largest item on the front page for two days. On the third day a small second-page correction admitted that once they had spoken to the school, it appeared that the article was almost wholly wrong. The people who wrote that article without even thinking to call the school ‘because it just sounded so right’ would fall within my definition.

2) Traceeeee and Terry Lane and Tim Palmer.

3) anyone who thinks that vegetarianism is morally superior.

4) anyone who thinks that free trade is inherently bad for poor people.

Broadly, I guess you could reduce that to/

– people who adopt perverse ‘comfortable’ leftist positions because they ‘feel’ good to adopt and all their friends do so but don’t actually stop to think whether their position actually makes things worse or is at least vaguely rational.

So I guess you wouldn’t be one. If this blog has one it is probably Rex.

Maybe you should focus on thinking of the right-wing equivalent. Bear in mind that a large amount of lefties actually do> drink lattes in inner-city cafes.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
13 years ago

As far as I’m concerned, Nicholas’s longstanding proposal to implement a cyberversion of TQM, with permanent ongoing channels created whereby everyone (not just an anointed elite) would be able to have input to shaping policy and practice, would be immeasurably superior to Rudd’s talkfest.

The only value I can see in the talkfest is an entirely narrow partisan one, namely that it will massage the egos of the invited cognoscenti, and consolidate their support behind Labor. The chance of such a gathering achieving anything meaningful in policy or practice terms is miniscule, although of course the Rudd script will assert otherwise. If they were truly serious about listening, they’d set up processes to do so on an ongoing basis, not stage an expensive one-off stunt for the Labor elite who need to be reassured that their mob is back in control and that they’re going to get due recognition from now on. One of Australia’s 1,000 best and brightest. What an honour! Can more tangible carriages of the patronage gravy train be far behind?

James Farrell
James Farrell
13 years ago

Jacques,

That’s how I understand latte left, too. The problem is, unless the policies is question are actually prejudicial to the working class, I don’t see why there should be anything wrong with, or comical about, middle class people having leftwing views. If some yuppy opposes university fees without realising that subsidised tertiatry education redistributes income from the working to the middle class, or opposes land release on the urban fringe on the grounds that it will spoil his picnics, I can see why you would look for a label that captures this hypocrisy. But if an educated, middle class person opposes whaling, capital punishment, the Iraq war, and the incarceration of child refugees, or wants to decriminalise marijuana and permit gay marriage, why is it relevant, one way or the other, that he is middle class and educated? Would these views be somehow more authentic or noble if they were held by working class people or self-employed tradesmen?

As for luvvie, yes I understand the actor connection. But what’s that got to do with left wing views? If someone is a luvvy, does that mean his views are fake and inauthentic? That he is sentimental if not histrionic in advocating them? That he he is a bit of a pansy, and therefore not worthy of respect? Or what?

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
13 years ago

Jacques

I’m not likely to get invited, but if I was I’d certainly decline.

Let me explain in a bit more detail. Hawke’s Tax Summit at least had a specific focus and some particular options on the table for discussion (the famous A, B and C, C including a GST). It didn’t achieve anything very concrete, but arguably it created an impetus for economic reform that Hawke and Keating grasped decisively to their credit (and that the Coalition didn’t oppose too vociferously, though possibly only because Peacock and Howard were busy knifing each other in the back).

However, Rudd’s summit has no apparent agenda or focus whatever. It’s just “let’s get together and brainstorm big ideas and feel important, and maybe somehow magically we’ll think of something exciting, new and workable”. It isn’t going to happen. Anyone who has been involved with large bureaucracies (public or private) for more than a few minutes knows that an agendaless talkfest is just a recipe for wasting enormous amounts of time and energy that could be better spent on more focused activity. It’s a window-dressing wank.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

James,

I hope we can avoid shouting! I’ve seen you make great efforts not to shout previously, so I’m quite hopeful.

why is it relevant, one way or the other, that he is middle class and educated?

It probably is, because in my experience, which is far greater than I would like, they have no inkling of how someone with different experiences could feel differently, and indeed assume that only mental deficiency or lack of ‘caring’ could explain it.

Which is quite ironic given their professed beliefs in understanding and tolerance and what have you. That irony (ok, unintended hypocrisy) merits the contemptuous label, in my opinion.

Also, ultra-topically since I think this summit almost epitomises latte-lefty wanking, what do you think of this summit?

Mike Pepperday
Mike Pepperday
13 years ago

I think latte left is a reference to all talk, no manning of the barricades.

I take luvvie to be the antithesis of right wing death beast. The left has a benign view of human nature: people should / could all love one another and help one another. The right thinks human nature immutably bad, necessitating the invisible hand and small government.

Vee
Vee
13 years ago

My local town had an event like this and I imagine this is a scaled up version or ours was a scaled down version.

It was all about the plan for the future 2030 I think in our case.

There was a week or a weekend of meetings I forget exactly and all that came out of it was “objectives”. No plan to meet said objectives. Just the targets themselves. I was disappointed. I was looking forward to see some of the plans so I could critique them. My town allegedly is going to have other meetings like this in the future to come up with the “plans” but thats what I thought the first, one and only conference was to be about.

So if this 2020 thing turns out the same it’ll be an absolute waste of time. It’ll collect a bunch of people who will then have a self important sense of worth and then nothing. I can’t recall them right now but even a couple of the “objectives” were silly.

I long to be wrong. I wish to see comprehensive plans come out from this event.

Joshua Gans
Joshua Gans(@joshua-gans)
13 years ago

Since you ask, Patrick, I think it’s a good idea, but I don’t see why the ten topics couldn’t be dealt with one at a time — say at fortnightly intervals. That would give th public more time to digest the ideas. I’d also like to see some kind of accountability mechanism: say, a website where all proposals are available to read, but more importantly where widely endorsed recommendations are presented, with an undertaking by the relevant minister to respond in detail to the recommendations by a certain date.

At the risk of being deleted and banned by Nicholas for straying recklessly off topic: I just wonder what is the point of consolidating metaphyiscal ideas about eathing meat on the one hand, and demonstrably false empirical claims about trade and income distrbution on the other (are there really inner city professionals who believe this?), into a single concept of latte-leftism. But even if these positions were somehow connected, neither vegetarianism nor protectionism is my idea of a left wing attitude.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Mike Pepperday, oddly, I think quite the opposite. I’m all for smaller government, but am skeptical it would work precisely because human nature is so flawed. If humans were always perfectly ethical, kind and charitable, we wouldn’t need any government at all.

Mike Pepperday
Mike Pepperday
13 years ago

NPOV

If humans are not to be trusted, those who govern will exploit the rest of us so the fewer of them the better. This is the standard libertarian position and is a very widespread logic in the US.

Yes, if men were angels we wouldn’t need governing and the general will would prevail. But the left knows that some people are not quite perfect. The reason is they had deprived childhoods so the govt should therefore be large and redistribute resources to help the underprivileged. (Then when everyone is equal the state can wither away.)

Saving whales, vegetarianism, protectionism, and income redistribution are logically connected too, via the left’s basic theme of egalitarianism, meaning equal outcomes.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

To add to your wondering, James, I would happily lump anyone who thinks this in too:

The left has a benign view of human nature: people should / could all love one another and help one another. The right thinks human nature immutably bad, necessitating the invisible hand and small government

More seriously, I don’t use the term very often, and I am happy to admit that it has substantial drawbacks. Maybe it is best synthesised as ‘people I don’t like who don’t like me‘.

I am intrigued. Do you think it has a hope in hell of producing useful outcomes? You don’t think it is basically just a distraction?

Politically, sure, it works. If he likes any outcomes, he endorses them and claims a special mandate (unlike merely being elected, for example), if he doesn’t, they get lost in a committee. Meanwhile the base loves it, and in addition, it buys him a few months time off from the circus.

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Mike, humans aren’t to be trusted – the only reason government works is because of the checks and balances (including democracy) that we’ve invented to make it work.

And BTW, very few on the “left” still believe in equal outcomes. Equal opportunities, definitely, and to some degree that requires a certain amount of income redistribution to avoid significant wealth disparities.

Dave Bath
13 years ago

Jacques said:
“Would it be fair to say that you think the big improvement on the big talkfest would be to have small improvements in every day chatter?”
Big yes from me.
That’s what AGIMO/DoFA was trying to push with continuous consultation, and which (apart from Jacques, Bob Merkel and myself and 17 others) the blogosphere missed and/or ignored. (I guess it’s easier to bitch about not being invited to a party than putting something together to say when you ARE invited).

If I do write anything, it’s that these AGIMO efforts are pushed, and that due attention be given to metadata quality in all government documents, then everything not explicitly labelled as non-public would be free to be googled. (And an annual audit showing the percentage of documents labelled “non-public” across departments).

Does that seem a far reflection of your ideas JC?
(From double-strength flat white two sugar lefty)

Mike Pepperday
Mike Pepperday
13 years ago

“…humans arent to be trusted…” Well, NPOV, we know where you stand.

Few still believe in equal outcomes? Tell that to the people chasing the Japanese whalers. But I gave the logic, not an empirical survey. They won’t really change their spots. For instance the educated left might intellectually accept that trade protection is bad but they do it with reluctance. For example they support “Fair trade” which is anti-free market.

“Equal opportunities, definitely…” Definitely not. This is pure right; the left must object. Equal opportunity is good for just one thing: to compete. The right insists upon it as it is a pre-requisite for genuine competition. Competition is something awful to the left which wants us to live in harmony.

Brendan Halfweeg
Brendan Halfweeg
13 years ago

Mike,

Fair trade isn’t anti-free trade, anyone who purchases it is voluntarily paying more in the hope that their voluntary subsidies will do some good. Because the subsidy is voluntary, the trade is free. No one is forced subsidise coffee growers.

But just like involuntary subsidies, fair trade will distort the market place, promoting inefficient production methods, potential environmental destruction as clearing of marginal land becomes profitable through the subsidies, misallocation of resources (higher profits in coffee production driving out other agricultural production). Fair trade growers have been accused of paying below minimum wage, and although I disagree with minimum wage laws, this ethical problem isn’t unique to fair traders, since they operate in markets of weak legal frameworks and few legal outlets for workers. The other concern for fair trade advocates is the overhead expense of maintaining fair trade standards, the marketing of fair trade products, which means that around half of the ‘premium’ is consumed by white collar Westerners well before the farmer gets any benefit, but again this is a problem faced by any charity, and not unique to fair trade.

The good that fair trade does is an illusion largely and has led to unintended consequences in the markets, but to say it is anti-free trade is wrong, unless fair trade premiums are forced upon the consumer by the government.

Brendan Halfweeg
Brendan Halfweeg
13 years ago

Trust is a prerequisite for an open society and a capitalist economy. Libertarians don’t mistrust people, but understand that people do have frailties and will act on the incentives placed before them. Big government gives some individuals big incentives to use the state towards their own ends, enforcing trade restrictions on competitors through licensing, building regulations, environmental requirements, planning laws, which secure markets for established players, restrict access to new players, and leads to a slowing of innovation and productivity improvements. To claim that libertarians have an ungenerous image of their fellow man is disingeneous. Just as we see the welfare state as being a disncetive for people to benevolence, an absence of the welfare state will prompt people into more charitable works, the higher percentage of income given to charity of the United States.

Mike Pepperday
Mike Pepperday
13 years ago

Brendan – point taken. Thank you for the concise economic analysis. My “anti” was too strong.

But undermine, distort, whatever – the Fair trade movement is very left, very egalitarian. It disapproves of the free market as do the people* who buy (make a point of buying) Fair trade goods. I was describing a psychological logic, not intending to assess Fair trade. The point being that people don’t change their spots, that though the left has to accept that “we’re all free marketeers now”, it grumbles and tries to mitigate the perceived bad effects.

*They’d be those latte left, yes?

Mike Pepperday
Mike Pepperday
13 years ago

“Libertarians dont mistrust people, but understand that people do have frailties and will act on the incentives placed before them.”

Well… What does “trust” mean?

“Big government gives some individuals big incentives to use the state towards their own ends”

Well now… What would be an “ungenerous image” of one’s fellow man?

Nabakov
Nabakov
13 years ago

“Equal opportunity is good for just one thing: to compete. The right insists upon it as it is a pre-requisite for genuine competition.”

And yet leveling the playing field from the abolition of slavery to extending the franchise to beyond white male property owners to anti-trust laws to regulating stock markets was furiously resisted by the conservatives (right wingers?) of the time.

“Big government gives some individuals big incentives to use the state towards their own ends, enforcing trade restrictions on competitors through licensing, building regulations, environmental requirements, planning laws, which secure markets for established players, restrict access to new players, and leads to a slowing of innovation and productivity improvements.”

Damn right! On the other hand too small a government allows big players to abuse others’ trust, often shatter communities and families and take lives and then get away with it.

So we need to strike a happy medium here. Just look for a spirit talker chuckling over their Ouija board and clock ’em one.

OK back OT. You know what would be fun for this 2020 talkfest? At least 10% of the attendees chosen by lottery – like jury duty. That’d certainly spice things up a bit.

Brendan Halfweeg
Brendan Halfweeg
13 years ago

Mike,

Trust means entering into contracts or agreements openly and freely with the expectation that the person you are cooperating with will reciprocate in meeting your expectations. If you don’t trust someone to do as they say, then free trade between individuals isn’t possible.

It is not ungenerous to recognise that individuals will act in their own self-interest, which if they have the ability to will include acting contrary to their fellow man’s self-interest. It simply means that libertarians recognise that in any situation where compulsion can be used through legal means, those with greater access to the tools of state will use them. They may not be doing it maliciously, like the advocates of minimum wage trying to promote low paid worker welfare, but failing to recognise the unintended consequence of pricing unskilled workers out of the employment market. and restricting their ability to gain skills and experience.

The number of true sadists and pyschopaths in the community is small, but through acting in your rational self-interest, you may unintentionally do harm to others. The state facilitates legal and defacto-legitimate compulsion, in a truly free market, malefactors would lose reputation and find the currency of their fraud diminished as their reputation precedes them and individuals learn to recognise fraud. Even if this doesn’t perfectly eliminate acts of bad faith, the cost of regulation to the majority can exceed the benefits of preventing fraud to the minority. Crime doesn’t pay (unless you can convince the state to endorse it).

Brendan Halfweeg
Brendan Halfweeg
13 years ago

Actually Nabakov, big government promotes the creation of big business, because regulation prevents new players. Small government would mean that big business would find it more difficult to become the dominant player in any industry. Libertarians aren’t pro-big business either, and recognise that the interests of business can and do conflict with those of consumers, suppliers and third parties, but that the only way they can act on them is generally through complicity with the state.

Nabakov
Nabakov
13 years ago

“Trust means entering into contracts or agreements openly and freely with the expectation that the person you are cooperating with will reciprocate in meeting your expectations.”

But supposing they betray that trust? It sounds unlikely but humans have been known to not keep agreements. Okay, you won’t do business with those pricks again. But what happens if that betrayal completely wrecks your means of livelihood at best and at worst literally poisons you and your family.

I agree with you Brendan about big business as I have already pointed out.

“Small government would mean that big business would find it more difficult to become the dominant player in any industry.”

Umm…no. Quite the opposite. In the absence of a vigorous, engaged and reasonably mutually appointed commonweal, who is gonna stop the biggest gang on the block from fucking you over if you threaten their turf? From the Magna Carta to patent laws, the history of Western prosperity has hinged on collective initiatives to reign in the bullies and give everyone a fair shot.

The trick is not to go too far the other way and end up with the kind of sclerotic command economy that turned the USSR into the idiot son of modern civilisation.

My point is who do you trust to be the honest brokers and enforcers of explicit and implicit contracts between business, consumers, suppliers and third parties, often found in million plus groupings?

Human nature?

Jc
Jc
13 years ago

But supposing they betray that trust? It sounds unlikely but humans have been known to not keep agreements. Okay, you wont do business with those pricks again. But what happens if that betrayal completely wrecks your means of livelihood

So, is your inference that a contract is not worth the paper its written on because it is not enforceable in a court? That there is way to find redress against breach of contract, fraud or personal injury? Am I understanding you correctly?

Personal injury? There are law firms that make a living out of PI and actually are listed on the ASX. There is a firm to whom you can sell you case. Literally.

In the absence of a vigorous, engaged and reasonably mutually appointed commonweal, who is gonna stop the biggest gang on the block from fucking you over if you threaten their turf?

I disagree. Microsoft is a case in point. They weren’t exactly around in Jay Goulds day and Apple was started in a garage to become the best brand name in the world. They were competing against the almighty IBM!

Or how about Google vs Yahoo? Google wasnt known 7 years ago in any big way. They were just a struggling search engine that was paying its people in stock at the height of the tech crash hoping a few would stay despite receiving very little salary.

What you are confusing is contestable and uncontestable markets, Nabakov. Our media market for example is basically uncontestable because the Federal authorities make it illegal to transmit over the air without a license, which they will not give out.

Contestable markets can have even one player and not be a problem.

From the Magna Carta to patent laws, the history of Western prosperity has hinged on collective initiatives to reign in the bullies and give everyone a fair shot.

Really? I would have thought the outgrowth amongst many other things was the freedom to peruse legal activities to the best of your abilities under the protection of the rule of law.

If your referring to the ACCC, which I think you are you, ought know that entity is based on faulty economics. It is based on a perfect competition model that possibly exists only in the wheat markets and even there I have my doubts.

The most interesting thing I found to come out of the whole Pratt saga was that both companies were unable to reach any lasting agreement and were cheating almost from the day the agreement was made. More amusing was that Pratt paid a fine for a crime his firm committed that actually didnt happen. They actually tried but failed to collude.

Brendan Halfweeg
Brendan Halfweeg
13 years ago

But what happens if that betrayal completely wrecks your means of livelihood at best and at worst literally poisons you and your family.

There is not a lot of profit in killing people or robbing them unless you can be sure that you can’t be caught. The only way to ensure you can’t get hurt is to hide behind the government.

If it happens to you, it is a tragedy, but if it only happens to you and the perpetrators go out of business and get prosecuted for criminal negligence, then that is a demonstration that markets and the courts work.

Using individual instances of tragedy to determine policy is to assume that government policy can eliminate fraud without causing unintended consequences or excessive bureaucracy that outweigh the benefits.

In the absence of a vigorous, engaged and reasonably mutually appointed commonweal, who is gonna stop the biggest gang on the block from fucking you over if you threaten their turf?

I don’t advocate an absence of civil institutions to reign in violent thugs, nor do I rule out individual self-defence against criminals. The rule of law and strong property rights prevent bullies from illegally “fucking you over”. A business run along mafioso lines can only occur when legitimate trade is restricted, see prostitution, tobacco smuggling to avoid duty, illicit drugs, medical drugs (approved in one constituency, but restricted in another, or subsidised in one, not subsidised in another), guns, incandescent globes, in fact anything that is restricted will continue to be traded illegally and without the protection of contract law. Where products and services are restricted to either protect favoured individuals and groups or protect consumers, black market trade will establish itself. When the activity is illegal, stand-over tactics will be used to ensure contracts are upheld and property rights observed, and associated violent crime will increase.

Tight building codes don’t prevent people using cheaper illegal contractors, but it does prevent them from having legal protection of contract law.

Jc
Jc
13 years ago

A business run along mafioso lines can only occur when legitimate trade is restricted,

Not sure that true either Brendan. Truck hijacking, stand over tatics agaisnt shop owners etc.

Brendan Halfweeg
Brendan Halfweeg
13 years ago

JC,

Fair point, but that is a break down of law and order where by the police are either unwilling or unable to uphold the law or complicit in the operation. I could argue that failure of the local police is a market failure induced by enforced monopoly in law enforcement and the closed shop transportation industries whereby union members cooperate with the mafia.

Is racketeering and theft organised crime expanding out of the control of prostitution and gambling? Did these restricted activites enable criminals to corrupt the local law enforcement and lead to other crimes, and thus place the criminal networks in prime position to take advantage of new opportunities, some already illegal, some newly illegal, such as prohibition in the US during the 20s, followed by drug prohibition later on? Racketeering and truck jacking don’t generally operate in isolation to any great extent without corresponding drug and prostitution crime.

Jc
Jc
13 years ago

no issues, Brendan.. all fair points.

Nabakov
Nabakov
13 years ago

So who sets the laws, runs the courts and enforces their decisions? With as mimimal fear and favour as possible?

Why, you’d have to organise large groups of people into choosing representatives and raising funds in order to deliver such a scenario. For which you’d need formal structures based on somewhat more resonant and community-binding authority than just the anything goes marketplace. Esepcially when this shit has to go international and deal with billions of people.

So now then who sets the laws, runs the courts and enforces their decisions? I’m fairly certain that even you guys don’t want to privatise that tried and tested engine of Western civilisation.

So then we’re all agreed on such basic principles right? That there are certain inalienable factors that go into building a modern and prosperous community. And that now what’s we’re fencing over is just a matter of degree and process.

For example JC’s one real job, as a Forex bookie, would not have been possible without kilos worth of printouts of national, international and industry sector laws, regulations and protocals both governing and opening up his business opportunities.

And I don’t know what you do for a crust Brendan, but I’m willing to bet you can’t make a living out of it without heaps of both immediately visible and apparently invisible structures supporting it, made workable, transparent and challengeable by Government regulation.

Really you libertarians are just like classical Marxists. You all believe in one central pure ideology that will deliver the promised world if only executed right at last. Unlike real life which is an ongoing and messy series of compromises to just make things work day to day while casting an occasional eye over the shoulder to the future.

Basically, libertarianism and communism (as are most other isms) are built on the same fallacy. That it would be a perfect world if only everyone else thought just like the true believers.

Jc
Jc
13 years ago

Nabs:

You seem to be moving the goal posts here a little by turning this into some sort of indictment on libertarian philosophy. My comment was basically focused on what I saw as weaknesses in your argument (against libertarianism) with Brendan. I’m not trying to catch you out here or anything: just trying to figure it out.

So who sets the laws, runs the courts and enforces their decisions? With as mimimal fear and favour as possible?

I presume you mean in Libertaria? A government. Some libertarians believe is no government, but most don’t. I believe a constitutional republic for Australia, with a limited centre and most taxing power moving towards the states: perhaps even having more states than we do now. Laws would still be enforced by the state (or states in my example) through the courts and the police. Why not have a system where we elect senior judges and senior police officials at the local level?

Why, youd have to organise large groups of people into choosing representatives and raising funds in order to deliver such a scenario. For which youd need formal structures based on somewhat more resonant and community-binding authority than just the anything goes marketplace. Esepcially when this shit has to go international and deal with billions of people.

As I said we would still have a federal government whose jobs is to take care of foreign policy.

So now then who sets the laws, runs the courts and enforces their decisions? Im fairly certain that even you guys dont want to privatise that tried and tested engine of Western civilisation.

We have privatised a few parts of the court system such as some forms of mediation etc. and I think we could move a little more towards privatising areas such as contract law.

So then were all agreed on such basic principles right? That there are certain inalienable factors that go into building a modern and prosperous community. And that now whats were fencing over is just a matter of degree and process.

Could you elaborate on this a little more please?

For example JCs one real job, as a Forex bookie, would not have been possible without kilos worth of printouts of national, international and industry sector laws, regulations and protocals both governing and opening up his business opportunities.

You mean like such things as the national accounts as there few laws or regulations governing currency trading. In fact I can’t think of any right now. Currency trading is actually the freest market in the world in terms of the big economies. National accounts could easily be bought on the open market from a service provider such as a large accounting firm. The government could pay for it instead of owning a large office to handle these things. You may even find that banks could do a lot of the work for free as they do some now for publicity sake.

Really you libertarians are just like classical Marxists. You all believe in one central pure ideology that will deliver the promised world if only executed right at last.

Believing in less statism (libertarianism) is hardly the same thing as believing in hardcore statism where state laws are always sanctioned through the threat of violence.. Maximizing freedom and figuring out ways to deliver services such as education through vouchers etc. is not the same as believing in tooth fairies like Marxists and other statists do.

Basically, libertarianism and communism (as are most other isms) are built on the same fallacy. That it would be a perfect world if only everyone else thought just like the true believers.

Not true as it can’t ever be a perfect world as humans aren’t perfect. However letting human beings figure things out for themselves, allowing markets to work and allocate with limited intervention is hardly something we ought to fear. In fact we should welcome it.

Let me ask you.. It would be unthinkable for you to believe the government could nationalise our food supply and offer better quality, cheaper prices, great variety and delivered fresh to the store where you don’t have to line up.

Why is it such an intellectual leap of faith to think the market can’t offer similar benefits in such sectors as education or healthcare through a voucher system? Why isnt the market able to do that in such a vital area as healthcare yet you are satisfied in the market supplying you food?

Brendan Halfweeg
Brendan Halfweeg
13 years ago

Nabakov,

The growth of the state has coincided with huge leaps in standards of living. It seems that socialists and conservatives believe that their is a causal relationship between growth of the state and the growth in GDP per capita and the improvement in living conditions, however no proof is tendered that the government is responsible for the improvement of living conditions. In Australia, the lving conditions of those who rely almost entirely on the state for their welfare have not improved to the same extent as those who rely on private enterprise to earn their living. Does this tell you a story on the success of the state to delivery improvements in people’s circumstances?

The PM just apologised for the Stolen Generation the other day, individuals who were removed by the state in order to improve their lives, even if there was in some cases a racist motivation for doing so, and malign intent. For those Aborginials that weren’t stolen and remained in their remote communities, has life improved in line with the rest of Australia? No. The state has taken responsibility for their welfare and failed them, and yet those that look to their own initiative and the private sector, have prospered.

The argument I make is that it is the private sector that have improved life in Australia, and the growth of the state is caused by the growth in prosperity, not the other way around. Prevent the state from growing, and prosperity would continue to rise, even if it does so unevenly. A trademan today is much better off than a tradesman 20 years ago, even if the ratio of his income to that of the top 5% income earners has decreased, his standard of living has improved absolutely.

So who sets the laws, runs the courts and enforces their decisions? With as mimimal fear and favour as possible?

The parliament, the courts, the police. Have I said any differently?

The need for new laws is questionable. Common law has a good record of adapting to technological changes and is much better at assessing individual circumstances than any legislation can.

If government stopped sitting in parliament so regularly, stopped passing any new laws except for budgets, what would happen? Would Australia stop working? Would lawlessness break out? If current government services only expanded with population growth and no new government services were introduced, just what would happen? Are there that many pressin gissues that we can’t work out our selves with the need for the state?

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Mike, may I humbly suggest you’re opinion of what the “left” thinks is rather outdated.

I’ve never heard saving whales be linked to “equal outcomes”. In fact, everyone I know seems to have quite different opinions on whale hunting, some of which are very nuanced (e.g. hunting Minke whales is surely better environmentally than farming cows – provided that a) more is done to reduce kill times and b) the Japanese stop lying about why their doing it)

“the educated left might intellectually accept that trade protection is bad but they do it with reluctance”

Only because they recognise that as long as other countries maintain some form of market distortion (e.g. agricultural subsidies by the U.S., or currency pegging by China), then many Australians stand to lose from us being the first to allow the market to operate unhindered.

Equal opportunities, definitely Definitely not. This is pure right; the left must object.

“Pure right” says that equal opportunities are bad – that everyone should simply take whatever circumstances they’re lumped with and deal with it.
It is very much a “leftist” position that exactly because people can’t choose their parents or avoid the discrimination and divisions that already exist in society that the disadvantaged need extra help to give them the same opportunities as those born into better circumstances.

“Competition is something awful to the left”

Some on the far left may believe that, I’ve never personally met anyone who does. Friendly competition is not at all incompatible with living in harmony.
What the left I know tends to accept is that cooperation is just as important as competition in creating economic wealth.

Mike Pepperday
Mike Pepperday
13 years ago

#31 Nabakov yet levelling the playing field from the abolition of slavery to extending the franchise to beyond white male property owners to anti-trust laws to regulating stock markets was furiously resisted by the conservatives (right wingers?) of the time.

Yes. The right has two forms. One is the hierarchical, right-chap-in-the-right-job conservatives, looking to custom and tradition. To them equal opportunity is absurd. The other is the go-getting, entrepreneurial, individual life-negotiator whom we were talking about. Using one word for two utterly different worldviews causes endless confusion. These two types make up a right party in every modern country (except Switzerland) and they are perennially squabbling. The only thing they have in common is their socialist (!) enemy. The modern form is as wets and dries. I think a fundamental reason the Liberal Party has collapsed in Australia is that it has too few communitarian traditionalists and too many opportunistic individualists.

Mike Pepperday
Mike Pepperday
13 years ago

#32 Brendan If you dont trust someone to do as they say, then free trade between individuals isnt possible.

No, no. You cant hold a market without a policeman. In uniform. Big bloke with a truncheon. Standing where everyone can see him. Free trade without government (monopoly of coercive power) and law courts isnt possible and that is because you dont trust people to behave without them. (Policemen and governments and courts are psychologically those hierarchical right wingers.)

Your whole post, and also post #28, says in effect (several times) that people cant be trusted. Never mind this ungenerous. The free marketeer is generous. To succeed as an individual life-negotiator you must look like success which is aided by generosity and glad-handedness. But trust? Check that reputation! Get the lawyers to check the contract!

Mike Pepperday
Mike Pepperday
13 years ago

#43 NPOV
Outdated? Possibly, but I was trying to be timeless. Saving whales is linked to equal outcomes by the left. If the same people (by and large) believe in both then either there is a link or people believe things arbitrarily which they dont. I am not talking nuances. (voguish social science weasel word) The equal outcome reasoning would be: whales have the same right to live as humans.

The reason the left are reluctant to relinquish trade protection comes from within them, from compatibility with their worldview. Your reason may be a good one, but it is not the lefts.

Children are a special circumstance. Not even the most extreme libertarian says a newborn child should independently negotiate its life. Everyone knows children are disadvantaged and the most dedicated individualists agree that children cannot be held entirely responsible for their actions. It is neither left nor right to look after children.

What the left I know tends to accept is that cooperation is just as important as competition in creating economic wealth.

Funny leftists you know. The left I know doesnt give creating economic wealth a thought.

Jc
Jc
13 years ago

It is neither left nor right to look after children.

But who looks after them sure is, Mike

Jc
Jc
13 years ago

I think a fundamental reason the Liberal Party has collapsed in Australia is that it has too few communitarian traditionalists and too many opportunistic individualists.

Really? I would have thought the opposite

Mike Pepperday
Mike Pepperday
13 years ago

#47 I don’t understand this.

#48 But you have no argument?

Round the world the right is, and has been for 200 years, a mix of hierarchical Burkean right and the free market Adam Smithian right. Is it a coincidence that the wets have been purged and the Liberal Party is shattered? The same will surely happen with the federal party, perhaps has already happened.

You see more wets to eliminate? And this will help the party?

Jc
Jc
13 years ago

You see more wets to eliminate? And this will help the party?

Mike, most of the cabinet didn’t understand workchoices according to the 4corners program (I dont mean the 600 pages of crap that went with it). They didn’t understand what it meant to move to a market based system. You could hardly accuse the Libs of having billions free markets types in there.
The media laws are basically a unchanged from Keatings reforms as we still have a protected spectrum.

Where are all these free markets types in the party? Theres quiite

It is neither left nor right to look after children.

My point was that it’s the level of state intervention that differentiates

Mike Pepperday
Mike Pepperday
13 years ago

So, Jc, you don’t agree the wets are gone? I hadn’t expected anyone to argue with that. You think the Liberal Party is still a mix of equal opportunity individualists and supporters of hierarchical authority?

Perhaps I am blind and the mix of both kinds of right which has been, round the world, an effective opponent to the left for a hundred years (or more) is still extant. Then no worries: the Libs have a viable future.

But I think a dominance of the self-regarding go-getting right is crippling the state parties and will cripple the federal party.

“It is neither left nor right to look after children.”
“My point was that its the level of state intervention that differentiates”

Sorry, I can only guess at your meaning. Perhaps you should spell it out with reference to equal opportunity (at #43).

Jc
Jc
13 years ago

So, Jc, you dont agree the wets are gone?

Not really, mike. In fact I think the opposite is the case.

Brendan Halfweeg
Brendan Halfweeg
13 years ago

You cant hold a market without a policeman.

Most trades are done on trust alone, with reliance on contract law and the courts only when things go tits up. The fact that the legal system exists increases the trust between individuals, since they know that if things go wrong, they have somewhere to turn to. Most disputes are not about deception and fraud, but misunderstandings about what was contractually agreed.

In any case, I’m not going to argue about semantics of whether trust is required between trading partners or whether the threat of legal action keeps traders in line. We both seem to agree that free trade is good and that civil institutions like courts and police facilitate trade.

Mike Pepperday
Mike Pepperday
13 years ago

The “trust” is there because the authorities are there.

Without the coercive civil infrastructure there will be no market. There will be a Hobbesian free for all, warlordism, like Somalia.

Commerce occurs to the extent there exists a structure of respect populated by people of the (non-luvvie, non-RWDB) hierarchical, order-and-propriety mentality. (The same mentality that, until recently, always made up a large proportion of the political right.)

There is a notion of a minimum two-person trading society. It is illusion. The minimum society is three: the two traders plus a man with a gun. And the man has to be paid, hence tax.