Friday, July 14, 2006

Analogies against Democracy

Aaron Kinney instructs us on using analogies to argue against the democratic process.

One analogy I like to use is soft drinks.

I compare the soft drink market to the government.

I ask them: "what if there was only one soft drink brand available to purchase? And what if you didnt like the taste of it? Do you think it would be fair for the soft drink manufacturer to 1) force the market to only offer its product and no others? and 2) force you to buy their soft drink either at a flat rate every week (say one six pack) or as a percentage of your income?"

The answer to this is always "no". I then ask: "isnt the competitive nature of the soft drink market wonderful? You can choose from so many flavors, and prices are low and flavors are great because of competition. Do you agree that competition is Superior?" 99% of the time, the answer I get to this question is "yes".

Then I shoot for the goal: "So wouldnt it be better if the "government" were replaced by competing companies that were 1) unable to force you to buy their product, 2) unable to prevent competitors from entering the market, and 3) totally reliant on consentual consumer purchasing of its products for its market share?

While at this point they often stammer and are reluctant to admit the logic, I have already won anyway. They have hung themselves with their own noose. And its all thanks to soda pop.


As a comment, I always find it weird that people are so adamant against monopolies, and yet see nothing wrong with the existence of the state or "state companies" (or as we call them in Canada, Crown companies). Once again, people are able to reason perfectly rationally about scenarios until they hit the state, towards which they have a total blind spot. All monopolies are bad, but a monopoly of FORCE, the worst thing possible ? Ah, that one's all right.

21 comments:

ryan e said...

The monopoly fallacy is actually my favorite argument made by statists. It's impossible to even tyr to rationalize such a ridiculous argument.

doinkicarus said...

Economists, pretty much since A.A. Cournot wrote his "Principles" in 1830-something, have agreed on the effects of monopoly - i.e., a significant amount of dead-weight loss, less output at higher prices to consumer, and lack of choice. His example, of course was the proprietor of a unique mineral water spring, but the theory is applicable to any industry providing goods and/or services.

Except for some very rare naturally occurring monopolies, everyone agrees that a monopoly is bad, especially when that monopoly is imposed by the force of government, as they historically have been. So - if we don't tolerate monopoly in aspects of our life that are utterly trivial (i.e. soda pop, toilet paper, beef jerky) what possibly justification is there for accepting monopoly in government?

None.

Aaron Kinney said...

Ryan and Doinkicarus,

Good observations. Thanks for the input!

Franc,

Awesome, I forgot I wrote that out, although very much recall pushing the soft drink analogy. Thanx for posting it!

I think its very helpful in showing people different perspectives to help them see the underlying principles to different instances of the same basic equation. And using something trivial like soft drinks and comparing it to something of huge importance like government, takes two extremes and illustrates how the principles are the same throughout.

God bless Government soda pop.

dlkjdfsa said...

POP meet the 1%

I am not pleased with the current state of the state. What government provides is not the same as a normal company. The reason is because the "customers" are different. Governments provide services regardless of who is paying. Two years ago I was a line cook in New Orleans. I made well below the poverty level and therefore received all of my taxes back at the end of the year in effect paying $0. It's no fun being poor and some would claim I'm irresponsible and should get a "better" job. Unfortunately the only other thing I do well in make paintings.

I was threatened by a person that was so out of there mind I had to phone the police. Within a few minutes the were police standing outside my door with guns drawn. If your vision of anarchy was true I would not have had that service because I could never afford to hire my own protection agency. I'm quite familiar with private patrol, the type you think would replace the police force. They are only found in the rich neighborhoods of New Orleans and the reason they're their is because of the higher rate of theft. They are similar to the police but have much less authority. If there were no government I would be forced to live in a neighborhood that had no protective service and don't think it would be very pleasant.

I listened to the show with Mark Stevens. He clamed that the state is not the land. I had a hard time understanding what he was talking about. The state is nether the land or the citizens, it is the combination of both. He claims that government is not here to protect us and used an analogy with leaches. He states that we used to think leaches cured disease. We saw that leaches didn't work so we stopped using them, just like what we should do with government. This is a bad analogy because leaches are stagnant if form while government can change with the will of the people that create it.

I don't think the system is even close to being the way it should be. If people think that religion is out of government they are delusional. Religion is saturated in nearly every government I can think of. Another big source of corruption I see is the party system. People that run for anything need to run as the individuals they are. I think if government was stripped of these two things many of our problems would be solved. I believe the only way to get religion out of government is to get it out of the people. Individualism-Humanism-Atheism = Enlightenment = Peace.

"Isnt the competitive nature of the soft drink market wonderful?".... VOTE!

Francois Tremblay said...

Er, just two little comments on your diatribe there... Government does not provide a "service". It is a monopoly that forces you to pay to fulfill its values, not yours. Secondly, voting is not accountability. Voting accomplishes nothing. I have entries coming on the nature of accountability.

dlkjdfsa said...

Sorry for the length. I know I get to breezin sometimes. The government settles disputes, provides protection, standardizes currencies, protects wilderness areas etc. How are these not services?

dlkjdfsa said...

And you're in Canada aren't you. Don't you guys have socialized medicine?

Francois Tremblay said...

"The government settles disputes"

Huh? Do you mean with its costumed play courts with 12 morons presiding and a king on his throne?


"provides protection"

Huh? Protection from what?


"standardizes currencies"

Making constantly-inflating Monopoly money that everyone is forced to use is not a "service".


"protects wilderness areas"

yea, the Forest Service is doing a great job *sarcasm*

Francois Tremblay said...

"socialized medicine"

Yea, I love to wait months for sub-standard "service" that I am forced to finance. You get what you pay for.

dlkjdfsa said...

Do you mean with its costumed play courts with 12 morons presiding and a king on his throne?

I'm not saying it doesn't need massive improvement but it's better than the wild west.

Huh? Protection from what?

From mad men like in my story for one example.

Making constantly-inflating Monopoly money that everyone is forced to use is not a "service".

I would love to go back to a gold coin trading system. However with the advent of the "digital money" I don't see how that is possible.

yea, the Forest Service is doing a great job

In America I believe the State Wilderness area are funded by the government.

dlkjdfsa said...

Yea, I love to wait months for sub-standard "service" that I am forced to finance. You get what you pay for.

In America we are not as advanced as socalized nations. If I get sick I'm shit out of luck. I Haven't seen a doctor for nearly 10 years. I guess you want the poor to simply die off?

Hellbound Alleee said...

You gotta look at how well "the government" "protects" wilderness areas, SRS. It doesn't. Private interests have always done enormously better jobs at protecting wilderness. What happens when hundreds of thousands of people tromp through forests? Have you read about "the tragedy of the commons," SRS? You really should check it out. It's sort of an important truth.

The problem here, SRS, is that you need to justify the state not only forcing itself on these so-called "services," and show that it can do any kind of job at all on these things, but you need to justify that a monopoly force can shoot you if you don't pay for them to "provide the services." You don't really think that the state is doing these things well, and for free, do you, SRS?

If you had a choice, what would you choose: a superior organization or individual (or yourself) doing the job, or a group you are forced to use, and if you don't use them for the "service," they shoot you? What other group besides the state does this, SRS? The Mafia.

Francois Tremblay said...

"I'm not saying it doesn't need massive improvement but it's better than the wild west."

Do you actually know anything about the "Wild West", or are you just talking about the movies?


"From mad men like in my story for one example."

You haven't really explained why you wouldn't get a better service without a monopoly...


"I would love to go back to a gold coin trading system. However with the advent of the "digital money" I don't see how that is possible."

Private currencies wouldn't have to be based on gold only.


"In America I believe the State Wilderness area are funded by the government."

It's well known that American forests are mismanaged. USDA Forest Service has the biggest budget in the world and is involved in scandal after scandal... So what is so special about forest management that it can't be done by private individuals?

Francois Tremblay said...

Southside, stop for a minute and don't be a fucktard. You know very well that is not the fucking point, and you are being insulting. The state is doing NOTHING to help the health of the least fortunate here- we are all stuck with this sub-standard system, and the rich either get preferential treatment or go to the US. They will not let a concurrent private system relieve the burden of our system.

Now stop posting comments for a while, read Allee's comment, read my comments again, and come back tomorrow. All right?

ryan e said...

"Governments provide services regardless of who is paying."

The government does not provide a service. It extorts money to supposedly provide a service (to claim legitimacy) with the use of a gun. How many times do you go to the grocery store, and have the clerk tell you "buy our food or else we will encarcerate you"? If that happened, would you go back to that grocery store?

"I made well below the poverty level and therefore received all of my taxes back at the end of the year in effect paying $0."

Interesting, you haven't been subject to the theft from the state. I' curious, what is the minimum wage in New Orleans? I'd also like to know how you would compare yourself to a citizen of Cuba. Would you live there (if permitted) to recieve the great saftey nets?

"I was threatened by a person that was so out of there mind I had to phone the police."

Really, I'm threatened every day by the state. No difference from the psychopath on the street and the psychopath with a badge.

"Within a few minutes the were police standing outside my door with guns drawn. If your vision of anarchy was true I would not have had that service because I could never afford to hire my own protection agency."

There are alternatives. There are many incentices for a free society to educate, employ, and help those who are poor. In the absence of compulsory(and coercive) charity, voluntary charity will flourish. Because private charities have incentive to help the poor, they will!

Also, as Aaron discussed in an article a long time ago, reverse insurance is a viable alternative; especially for protection from criminals.

"If there were no government I would be forced to live in a neighborhood that had no protective service and don't think it would be very pleasant."

No one forces you to do anything. Just because you think it is impleasant is irrelavent. Once again, a free society has many incentives to keep people alive. Even the poor. High unemployment is bad for business.

"He states that we used to think leaches cured disease. We saw that leaches didn't work so we stopped using them, just like what we should do with government. This is a bad analogy because leaches are stagnant if form while government can change with the will of the people that create it."

Can you name one good thing the government has done?
The analogy is fine. Government changes, only for the worse. It only grows.

"I don't think the system is even close to being the way it should be. If people think that religion is out of government they are delusional. Religion is saturated in nearly every government I can think of. Another big source of corruption I see is the party system. People that run for anything need to run as the individuals they are. I think if government was stripped of these two things many of our problems would be solved."

In the previos paragraph, you outline how :government acts on the will of the people but yet: we have religious indoctrination and a two party system. How then is the will of the people functioning? Terribly. We argue against voting and democracy because it tarnishes individual freedom.

And how would we strip government of these things?

"I believe the only way to get religion out of government is to get it out of the people. Individualism-Humanism-Atheism = Enlightenment = Peace."

???alright, that doesn't actually mean anything. Just appears to random words.

"The government settles disputes, provides protection, standardizes currencies, protects wilderness areas etc. How are these not services?"

It monopolizes dispute resolution, monopolizes protection, monopolizes currency, destroys wilderness and species with acts such as the "endangered species act" all with the gun. Again, this is not a service. It is theft.

"In America we are not as advanced as socalized nations. If I get sick I'm shit out of luck. I Haven't seen a doctor for nearly 10 years. I guess you want the poor to simply die off?"

Are you serious? Socialized nations are not advanced. They are a transition into failed economic theories, which encourage unemployment, destroy incentive, destroy competition, and in turn make more people poor. I'd like to refference to you that many socialist countries have double the unemployment rate of the "unadvanced" U.S.

You know, a lot of people are shit out luck. Why does that justify you stealing from me? Even though you haven't seen a doctor in ten years, you are apparently living.

You underappreciate the capabilities of the market and it's really insulting to those who only want you to be free and prosperous.

If your worldview actually was correct or worked, it wouldn't have to be enforced with a gun. Which is why it's not about helping the poor, or making the streets safe again. It's about state power, and only when you realize this ,maybe you'll understand why we seem so hostile.

dlkjdfsa said...

Sorry for being a fucktard (that's a first in name calling for me :) I don't get offended easily. Most people can't stand me. People that have known me for a while call me a button pusher? I'm running for King of the World soon so I guess it is appropriate.

What happens when hundreds of thousands of people tromp through forests?

I just went on a trip through Mojave desert. In the past before it was protected public land, private individuals would take there piece of shit cars and tear up the landscape for cheap kicks. Now when people hike through the land you have to stay on trails, not touch the plants or disturb the animals. The people that go there now are there for the beauty and don't tolerate other people braking "the law." Granted a private individual like Trump or Gates could by the land and offer the service of "Their Land Tours" and would probably do a better job than is being done now. But since it is their land they could in actuality do what ever they want with it. Maybe it would be more profitable to put up walls and build a few condos. Money would be driving them and eventually they would succumb to the best price in your wonderful free market. Obviously Bush and his Christian cronies are not the most environmentally friendly people. They want to take wilderness in Alaska and drill. There are environmentalists like myself protesting that and threatening with the only thing we have, our vote.

dlkjdfsa said...

"I' curious, what is the minimum wage in New Orleans?"

I think the minimum wage law is wrong. Employers should be able to pay whatever they want for the job offered. If the wage is too low no one will do it. I also believe that income tax is wrong. There should only be one tax and that is sales on merchandize or services. Food and essential clothing should be tax exempt.

"Sin" items should have a fluctuating tax that balances the increased demand the "sins" cause in the hospitals and rehabs.

Woozie said...

Just curious, what would a sin item be?

dlkjdfsa said...

Anything that is detrimental to life such as driving without a seat belt or shooting heroin.

dlkjdfsa said...

let me rephrase that..... being in an accident without a seatbelt.

Aaron Kinney said...

Is being alive a sin item?

Living is 100% fatal, you know.

FYI shooting heroin and getting into accidents without seatbelts (or living for that matter) are not "items" but are actions.

Actions.