The Institutional Answer To Bleeding Heart Libertarianism

From Econlib

RE: “they insist that social justice ought to be part of libertarianism but are unwilling to tell us what it means.”

Thats right. They have no program, no argument, no artifice. Only a sentiment. This is why they’ll fail.

But libertarianism, or at least propertarian reasoning within libertarianism, provides the solution to ‘social justice’ — if that term has any meaning other than ‘redistribution’. The solution arises from insight is that the ethic of voluntary exchange does not require unanimity of belief in anything. It only requires institutions that provide a means by which we can construct exchanges between groups that are not possible to construct by alternative means due to pervasive ‘cheating’. Cheating which is expressed as competition, is beneficial in a market for consumer goods, but a form of privatization or corruption when applied to infrastructure or services (commons). Institutions are necessary for creating those exchanges free of ‘cheating’– private appropriation of common investments.

The problem for us lies in constructing the institutions that allow exchanges between groups. Even assuming representative government is a good, if for no other purpose than to divide the labor of decision making, the classical liberal model of multi-class government should have been expanded and reinforced so that classes could conduct exchanges, most of which are inter-temporal borrowings from one another. Instead we undermined that feature of the classical liberal government with fully democratic solutions disconnected from the material differences in interests in the population.

Furthermore, institutions of all forms are under attack by ideological libertarians. Rothbardian Anarchism has stolen the libertarian movement. But, we don’t need to give up on institutions. We need to give up on creating institutions that depend on a unanimity of belief in ends, means and virtues. A requirement that does not pass the most casual scrutiny.

Most ‘justice’ is simply accounting for and settlement of differences in production cycles. There is no reason we cannot bring forward to the disadvantaged the benefits of the difference in production cycles between the classes, in the same way we bring forward productivity through borrowing and interest between capitalists and entrepreneurs.

There is no reason that is, other than we lack the political institutions to accomplish in politics what we accomplish daily in banking as a matter of course.

That’s the answer to bleeding heart libertarianism: institutions.

But we have to understand Rotbardianism as all but a prohibition on organization first.

Curt

Is Facebook Making A Strategic Error, Or Is Their Current Problem Just A Matter Of Timing?

1) Yes, FB is trying to pump its share price via advertising in anticipation of the IPO. We should expect advertising higher costs as the public awareness of FB’s income limitations increases.

2) Even if FB produces only 1B a quarter in revenue or only $5 per user, the costs of running that company are small in practice, and marketing expenses are controllable. It can be a profitable business. The question for investors is, can it be a GROWTH business?

3) If FB solves mail and search and duplicates the Google advertising tools, it can improve its value to advertisers even if its knowledge of customers is not as thorough as they hope, because customers will prefer less noisy searches to Google’s noisy and dirty searches. This is probably the strategic internal error they are making. They are very likely overvaluing the data about the individual in pursuit of mass advertising dollars instead of accurately valuing the desirability to the user of the interface and the protection from ‘noise’.

FB will not become another Google. Google profits from the fact that its results are BAD. Because its results are bad, it can sell advertising to small business. FB however, can profit from the fact that its search results CAN be GOOD by narrowing acceptable results and narrowing advertising and therefore increasing advertising rates over those of Google. The problem Google has is that it CANNOT ATTRACT TOP BRANDS. The virtue of FB is that it CAN if it creates a walled garden. FB can strategically create a flight to quality for good brands just as Google has created a flight to opportunity for small and weak brands. “FB is television, and Google is the yellow pages.”

4) THE QUESTION FOR INVESTORS THEN is whether FB will pursue the short term trend, and continue to overvalue customer information — which looks bad but may not indicate anything other than an issue of timing — or whether FB will pursue the long term opportunity, of creating a less cluttered garden on the internet which converts their perceived weakness into a strength that is both desirable for users, consumers and for brands, and one which can rival google’s revenue, but rival it with UPMARKET revenue. The important point here, is that investors can INFLUENCE THAT STRATEGIC DIRECTION.

I have no idea whether this strategy is commonly understood inside the company or without. But as one of the few people who has built a large scale technology and marketing company (Top 25 Digital Agency), and who has worked with other strategic Fortune 100 technology leaders to try to solve this problem, the business opportunity is obvious to me since Google’s challenge at attracting top brands due to its all-encompassing aspirations is legion. Google helps small business. FB can help large brands. And advertising large brands requires a bit of a garden. And FB has it. But the client interface for that business model is not Google’s. It’s more intimate. It has to be.

That is what I suspect FB’s strategic error is: they’re looking in the wrong direction. That direction can be fixed however. And investors should invest in the OPPORTUNITY to create that wealth even if FB’s numbers look depressed because of timing.

Curt Doolittle

Answers To John Fensel’s “Ten Questions For Conservatives”

I loosely follow Mitchell Powel on FontWords.com. In a recent posting he commented on John Fensel’s ten Questions For Conservatives. He was having a bit of fun with it, and I”m trying to avoid finishing my chapter on Ideology, so I had a go at it.

Dear David. Here is a lengthy and detailed response to your Questionnaire for Conservatives.

THE MEANING OF THE WORD “CONSERVATIVE”
First, “Conservative” means simply “reaction to the status quo”. One must be conservative about something. In the case of americans, they are conservative about the anglo classical liberal institutions, the most important of which are rule of law that limits the actions of the state, and a division of labor and knowledge between the classes that are represented by two houses in an institutional arrangement that allows procedural exchange between groups (classes) with different interests (and abilities). They are conservative about the aristocratic manorial system (and therefore its modern instantiation in the corporation) because it is a meritocratic organizational structure. They are conservative about the nuclear family, since that is a unique institution that gives each man and woman leadership of the smallest tribe possible, and by dong so makes them visibly accountable for its success and failure. The nuclear family system with prohibition on near-breeding, is a bottom-up means of organizing society so that the fewest involuntary transfers are created, in an institution that trains people to be personally responsible due to the perfect transparency of the family. They are conservative with regard to human nature in that conservatism is first and foremost a warning against pervasive human hubris. They are conservative with regard to external threats, for which a hierarchy is necessary since it allows rapid response to threats and opportunities. They are conservative for good reason: they invented the one and only high trust society in the world with those traditions.

THE THREE TECHNOLOGIES OF COERCION NEEDED TO COMPOSE A SOCIAL ORDER
But even with that shared background, American conservatives fall into three camps, each of which favors using one of the three possible social forms of coercion:

1) Ostracization/inclusion at the cost of obeying norms: Social conservatives (The church, farmers and peasantry) give higher priority to the enforcement of the social order by way of norms which are indoctrinated by pedagogy and ritual under penalty of ostracization from the geography and the market.

2) The institution of property/honesty (law) under the threat of violence: Classical liberal conservatives (The Aristocracy and the military) prefer meritocratic rotation of a hierarchy whose membership is determined by demonstrated service of others in the market, where their only purpose is to maintain rules that apply equally to all, but where punishment rather than ostracization is the means of coercion.

3) Benefits from voluntary exchange under the treat of lost opportunity: Commercial conservatives (The bankers, small business owners and trade craftsmen) prefer anarchic market orders where commerce alone serves those according to their contribution.

ALLEGORICAL VS RATIO-EMPIRICAL LANGUAGE
The fact that conservatives speak in allegorical language rather than ratio-empirical language is immaterial other than the fact that it obscures the content and reasoning of their arguments. This unfortunately makes their arguments useless with liberals. And it is a convenient way of avoiding a meaningful conversation on the part of conservatives who themselves may not understand the content of their own traditions. (And who rarely do, actually.) Allegorical language is perfectly effective. It just isnt’ as useful in debate as it is in pedagogy. And it is demonstrably more effective in pedagogy than ratio-empirical language. So the test of any philosophy, regardless of its linguistic construct as either allegorical, ratio-empirical, is not its form – it’s the result of using it. It is pretty hard to argue against the European aristocratic achievement. Passing asian from far behind is pretty impressive.

THE CHURCH HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN ALLIED WITH PROGRESSIVES
The alliance between religious conservatives, and the martial and commercial conservatives has been highly effective, but it is uncommon. The church tended to err on the side of progressives. So there are two conservative traditions: the aristocratic martial classical liberal, and the common and religious groups. WHile it serves the left to cast conservaties as religious, it is simply an argumentative device for the left.

THE OTHER LINGUISTIC TRADITIONS – CONSERVATIVE HISTORICISM AND PHILOSOPHICAL LIBERTARIANISM
The other tradition is the pragmatic aristocratic. Aristocratic Conservatives failed to develop a language capable of moral argumentation with the left. They stayed with historical analogy as their main form of argument. The libertarians developed that language that the conservatives failed to, which is why the libertarians have taken over all of conservative thought leadership. It is that libertarian language I”m using to discuss these topics. So the three movements use three languages: religious mystical allegory, conservative historical reasoning, and libertarian analytical philosophy supported by ratio-empiricism. The problem for the entire right, is that the extremist anarchists have appropriated the libertarian movement so conservatives have not adopted the lines of reasoning. (That’s what I’m doing for them.) Now, back to aristocratic manorialism.

THE DIRTY LITTLE SECRET OF THE ARISTOCRATIC MANORIAL MODEL
But there is a dirty little secret to the aristocratic model, that is not very tasteful. By requiring a man demonstrate his ability to perform in order to obtain a lease on the land from the landholder, where that lease was necessary to wed and support children, a natural eugenics program was put into place by delaying marriage and childbirth and preventing access to land to the lowest of the underclasses. There is a current argument that the nuclear family, prohibitions on inbreeding by the church, and property-manorialism is what created the higher IQ distribution among northern europeans that led to the enlightenment. There is a further argument that our IQ distribution has declined since 1850, taking europeans from parity with the ashkenazim, to a five point disadvantage. If this argument is true, and the dirty little secret is confirmed, there is even more to argue in support of the conservative model than we had thought. As distasteful as it may be to our current perceptions.

THE MANORIAL MODEL’S INABILITY TO PREDICT DARWIN AND THE IMPACT OF WOMEN
The other failure in conservatism has been the inability to predict the combination of the loss of the church as a separate entity responsible for norms, and the transfer of the management of norms to the state. As well as the unanticipated impact of women on the voting process and the consequential impact that women’s decidedly non-meritocratic preferences have had on those institutions, and the institution of property rights. Conservatives did not anticipate that the differences between female and male mating strategies, which was masked by the nuclear family, would be written large under democracy and the ability to legislatively and financially obligate males. As such, our political arguments are absurd, since the distribution of sentimental voting patterns between the genders guarantees that all decisions are merely reflections of gender participation in the voting process. Nothing more. Our arguments are tilting at demographic and biological windmills.

WE FUSS AND FUME BUT ITS JUST DIFFERENCES IN GENDER MATING STRATEGIES
Again, we would love it if all our political pontifications and justifications were of substance, but when aggregated by a process of voting they are no longer obscured by verbal artistry and are revealed as mere reflections of our primate past. And the difference in distribution between men and women — with men having wider and women having narrower distributions — and the difference between the majority male concept of creating a meritocratic tribe that can persist over time, and the majority desire of each woman to have her offspring persist regardless of merit to the tribe, are natural conflicts that our system does not account for. And perhaps cannot account for.

So with those definitions and contexts in mind, here are the answers to your questions articulated with greater granularity and precision than you will find among most conservatives. Which isn’t always a good thing. :)

THE TEN QUESTIONS FOR CONSERVATIVES

QUESTION 1. “Do first world societies have a moral obligation to help its poor, elderly, and disabled?”

This question like most moral puzzles is a fallacy of composition. Is unintentionally a trick question. I’ll try to fix that by answering it completely.

a) Institutional responsibility. First, caretaking is the responsibility of the church. Conservatives would prefer that caretaking were as separate from the legislature as is the judiciary or the army. THe conservative concept of society sees the purpose of the state as proviging a means for the resolution of disputes. Moving charity into the state opened it, and society to corruptoin. People are not invested in the society becausthey do not act in order to be invested in it. There are planty of modern options for breaking out caretaking services from the legislature, and putting it back into civic hands, so that we could recreate civic virtues. Even if service were compulsory. And conservatives would prefer it that way. (they use the word church but anything outside of politics would be fine with them.)

b) Moral Obligations. No. First world citizens have a moral obligation only to refrain from involuntarily harming the poor, elderly and disabled. “Do nothing unto others that you would not have done unto you”. Moral obligations cannot be positive only negative. But this statement is only true because of how the question was phrased.

So, if phrased differently, then conditionally Yes. If the INDIVIDUALS who are poor, elderly and disabled eschew fraud theft and violence, which is necessary to create the institution of property, then they have contributed to the society (market) by forgoing opportunities for self benefit by way of theft, fraud and violence, then it is an involuntary transfer (theft) from the poor, elderly and disabled, not to provide them with the food, healthcare and shelter necessary for survival, since they paid the minimum cost of entry for the social order that everyone else profits from.

But that care must be limited to food, health care, shelter and training (education), and cannot not extend to pleasure, entertainment status-signaling and the right of reproduction, since at that point, they deprive the productive without providing anything in exchange. That would be a theft, and dissolve the obligation for care taking. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

c) Religious obligations can be positive. Legal obligations can be positive. But moral obligations must be exchanges, even if that exchange is an act of charity for which our compensation is the improvement of our ‘soul’.

d) Preferences and Luxuries. We can provide for the poor, elderly and disabled if we are able to, and we prefer to. In that sense, like a charity, charity is a luxury good.

e) Behavioral practicalities. Human beings instinctually demonstrate social behaviors:
i. NURTURING. Care Taking and Nurturing. The difference between conservatives and liberals is that liberals think ONLY in terms of harm and care. and conservatives think in terms of the long term competitiveness of the tribe in relation to other tribes. Again, this is just female versus male breeding strategies expressed large.

ii. ANTI-CHEATING. The two necessary sides of the coin of cooperative behavior: reciprocity, and punishment for cheating. The problem for conservatives is that it’s pretty hard to tell who is cheating. Or rather, the definition of cheating (poverty) is arguable, and therefor we are creating a malincentive. Conservative responses to immigration are driven by the same issue: it’s cheating. (Theft).

And human beings are much more active about cheating than they are about any other human behavior. THe difference between the left and right is that the right views transfers as cheating and the left views prohibition on transfers as cheating. WHich is just how men and women look at propagating their genes. Something which is also true for male ‘betas’. If we mix rent-seeking transfer-seeking women and beta males together we have a slight majority of the population (approx 47%) versus the conservatives (approx 37%) with the rest of the people ambivalent but slanting conservative because of established norms, and who vote their pocketbooks rather than sentiments.

Summary
Given these different actions, we have a limited moral obligation to protect the poor, elderly and disabled as long as our protection does not encourage others to cheat at being dependent citizens. WE have a RELIGIOUS obligation to do more than that. But practicaly speaking, all reasons above feed into our behavior, with the most important today being that the ‘poor’ can afford to breed, have an air conditioner, two televisions, a car, and their own apartment or home, and eat enough calories that the greatest threat to their health is obesity. Furthermore, we do not ask fair compensation from them: which is to refrain from childbearing until you are capable of doing so, rather than exporting your preferences and costs onto the middle class who must under-breed in order to pay for your luxury.

QUESTION 2. “Can all religious beliefs, including ones not shared by you, justifiably be used to influence public policy and law?”

This question is more challenging than the first because of its assumptions. Lets see if I can fix that.

a) It assumes that unanimity of belief is possible or desirable in a body politic. This is false on its face if only because we have evidence that unanimity of belief is possible, and we finally know why: beliefs are genetic in origin.

b) The inverse must be asked, “Can laws and policy be used to influence religious beliefs?” Essentially this nullifies the question as meaningless, and solved only by who possesses the greater violence with which to compel the others.

c) Religious beliefs are a form of law, coded in allegory, reproduced by repetition, under the threat of ostracization from the group, its security, and its opportunities. This process creates norms. The question is not whether the narratives are expressed in rational or empirical terms, but whether the economic and organizational content of those narratives when they are acted upon by human beings, produces a material outcome. Once reduced to economic an organizational principles, it is irrelevant which language is used to express them. The question then becomes the debate over the results produced by the content not the form. As such, arguments over allegorical thinking versus rational and empirical thinking is part and parcel either eristic or a process of deception or oppression.

d) The answer is, to the extent that any group can enact policy for any reason over the will of others, the reasoning for doing so is immaterial. The difference is that religion ostracizes because it is independent of geographic monopoly and law oppresses because it is defined by geographic monopoly. The profundity of that statement may not be readily apparent.

QUESTION 3. “How should people be taxed: in terms of dollar amount, percentage, or capability? Why?”

The question of taxation cannot be asked intelligently outside of a context for the method of government. In the sense conveyed by our democratic republican form of government, there is no known optimum system. However, there are two extremes. The first is that we do not tax at all, but simply ‘print’ the money needed to cover spending, thereby diluting everyones real wealth without the need to distort the economy with multiple perverse incentives. No country has had the courage to try this, but various forms are discussed by theorists under the heading “Modern Monetary Theory”. The second is to tax income as a five year rolling average against balance sheets, rather than straight income, combined with mandatory retirement savings, and healthcare accounts, and publicly register the contributions of individuals, so that there is a status associated with their paying for government. This model forces the government to think in terms of creating a competitive economy for all classes.

QUESTION 4. “Would Jesus want to spend federal income on programs for the poor, healthcare, or military?”

Jesus was a rebel using the allegorical language of the Persians by way of Abraham to criticize his local group for their surrender to the romans. Paul did most of the work. Jesus doesn’t appear to have said very much other than that the common people should take care of one another as a means of resisting corruption on all levels. So I have no idea what he would say. If you read greek text from that era it borders on incomprehensible because ideas from that era were pervasive with violence, poverty, ignorance and mysticism. So I do not know. Later writers altered his ideas sufficiently, and later philosophers augmented it. But it remains a personal religion of rebellion. And that is how christians use it today: as a means of rebellion against the modern ‘Rome’.

QUESTION 5. “Was Reagan justified in raising taxes on wealthy Americans multiple times? Why or why not?”
The question is meaningless outside of the context. The way it is asked, implies the thinking of the left — a narrowness of thinking that is alien to conservatives who tend to be broad and historical in their thinking. Reagan was attempting to correct the mistakes of the Johnson thru Carter era which had proven the failure of the idea of the great society and it’s incorrect concept of human nature. He wanted to put an end to the world communist movement outside the country, and he wanted to direct money away from the state and to private industry within the country so that he could reverse the collectivism that had impoverished the country and its culture. In that sense, his actions were pragmatic not ‘just’.

QUESTION 6. “Should the existence of poverty be a moral concern for first world societies?”
WHy isn’t this a repeat of the first question? It is, isn’t it? That said, it is not a moral concern, it is a practical concern.

QUESTION 7. “In what way does homosexual marriage infringe upon your rights, or the rights of anyone else?”
This question is predicated on a false premise. For a conservative rights are not involved, only a leftist would consider this topic a question of rights. Instead, the question is why do you oppose homosexual marriage? The answer is that conservatives oppose all threats to the nuclear family, and treat the nuclear family as a ‘sacred’ institution that society grants special privileges, and which solves very complicated problems. Secondly, it is an assault on traditional gender roles and the ‘peace’ that has been made between the genders by traditional gender roles. Thirdly, it produces unknown affects upon children, which takes a person’s preference and transfers the cost of that preference to children who do not have a choice whether they do so.

Until recently, and throughout all of history, it was believed that homosexuality was a choice — a form of selfishness that could corrupt the young and ruin their chances at a successful (nuclear family) life. We now are fairly certain that it is the byproduct of an in-utero process, possible related to an immune reaction (and therefore at some point preventable) but it is not voluntary. So the fourth argument has been eliminated by science. But it is unlikely that the damage to the nuclear family will be disproven. We seem to be reverting to our ancestral relationships: serial monogamy and migratory males.

QUESTION 8. “If society is left with only two options: let uninsured patients who need life-saving surgery die, or pay for their surgeries through taxpayer money, which would you choose?”

False dichotomy. The question is whether we mutually insure people for catastrophic illness outside of the last year of life, and ask them to pay for their own prescriptions and maintenance like canada does. This is the solution that we need to adopt. Framing the question otherwise is argumentative deception.

QUESTION 9. “Should tax cuts only be accompanied by equal spending cuts?”
This question only makes sense in current context. The republican argument is that they want ‘dangerous’ political institutions dismantled in excahgne for tax increaes and they see this as an opportunity that rarely arises to transfer power back to the states by eliminating the DOE, Energy, and HUD organizations that are the remnants of the great society.

QUESTION “10. Ultimately, how do you judge the “success” of a society? Ie, what indicator is the best way to judge the progress of a developed society (possible answers: gdp, happiness of its citizens, freedom, rights)?”

That it persists in relation to other societies by developing technology that allows a minority to resist conquest by a larger majority. That is the essence of conservatism. The manorial west was a poor and backward minority that through discipline and technology held back the superior numbers of the autocratic east.

In other words, as a hierarchy:
Persistence.
–Excellence
—-Innovation in all things including the arts.
——Prosperity.
———-Order.
Notice that equality is not in that list, because conservatism is conversationally allegorical, but procedurally scientific: humans are unequal in ability and survival of the group depends upon competitive excelence.

The Meaning of “Utility” In The Context Of Philosophical Inquiry

I keep running into questions over the meaning of ‘utility’. It means only that all actions are in the pursuit of ends. The end might be just the emotional reward that comes from an experience like learning, or a flavor, or the elegance of a composition, or the pleasure of interacting with others. This approach, the analysis of actions and ends, avoids any number of errors in casual philosophizing. Not the least of which is confusing reactions to arbitrary norms with objective truths.

Philosophy is a process. It can be constructed an aesthetic religion as if our tastes are a truth rather than a learned response. It can, and usually is, used to construct a religion of norms: a means of coercing others to adopt the same values under the presumption of equality of abilities and desires. It can be used as a means of constructing institutions and processes so that people can cooperate despite having different abilities, desires, and norms.

(I’m avoiding the term knowledge and use the term norms, since I break knowledge into aesthetic/experiential, prescriptive/how and propositional/what categories, and it’s communicability into tacit, explicit and normative — which is why our arguments get lost: assuming it’s just one state rathe than a spectrum. Likewise, philosophy can be used to describe the spectrum of ethics from the aesthetic to the personal to the political.

But spectra emerge only in the context of action. I am never sure whether the desire to define a philosophical concept as a state rather than a spectrum is a means of coercion — of either the self or others — or as a means for AVOIDING UNDERSTANDING AND AVOIDING ACTION. Which is, for example the purpose of most religions. Hinduism, buddhism and Islam have all succeeded in calcifying because of this error.

So I am not relying on ‘utilitarianism’ as an aesethetic philosophy, which Is what I think a few people hear. I’m relying upon action as a means of avoiding errors in reasoning that come from the desire to create states rather than spectra. Where states are largely the regurgitation of static norms, and spectra allow us access to the aesthetic, normative and political. And where my interest is the political, because I do not believe it is possible to create a universal set of norms.

Not that anyone cares. But that’s why use or utility is important: as the object of action, where action is a test of our philosophical reasoning, as something other than the coercion of the self or others in order to avoid the problem of gaining knowledge by which to improve our actions, which in turn improve our experiences. Arguably this is a matter of time preference but that’s another topic altogether.

– Thanks

We Need A Very Different Government

While we use it as such, Government is not a synonym for a bureaucracy that wields law with which it coerces others by the threat of violence. It is not government itself that people disagree with. It is government whose actions they disagree with. And those actions are only possible because we believe government must consist of a bureaucracy. Everything we disdain about government is a criticism of bureaucracy, and the iron law of oligarchy that is the unavoidable consequence of bureaucracy. We don’t need a bureaucracy. We dont need majority rule. We need a government where groups and classes can exchange with one another. We need something entirely different from what we have.

Pew Research: Republicans are More Informed And Open Minded Than Democrats

(From Pew Research.)

If Republicans skew male, and Democrats skew female, and men accumulate more economic and political knowledge than women, and women have fewer and less diverse friends than men, then isn’t the fact that Republicans are better informed and more open minded than Democrats simply an artifact of the distribution of men and women between the parties?

The classical liberal system was designed to create separate houses for different classes of males. It has not survived the addition of females to the electorate. We should not have eliminated the class division of houses, we should have added to it. Then we could compromise rather than conduct ideological warfare, class warfare, and gender warfare.

And the results of these polls would be obvious.

Why Does The Left Alliance Of Economists Fail? (Krugman, DeLong, Yglasias, Thoma, Smith)

Why does wall street resist QE for example?

Wall Street staff are in the business of planning and policy interferes with their plans, both by uncertainty and by impact.

Like any specialization with a defined methodology and therefore a limited scope of understanding, Wall Street’s opinion is irrelevant (as @Richard Williamson says above) as their opinions are too unsophisticated to have meaning.

WS is a mob not a hierarchy. WS is only material in how they REACT to change. How they react to change in the short term will be negative — to anything that interferes with their existing plans. Where ‘plans’ in this case are vague heuristic assumptions. But because they have the highest liquidity and most flexible liquidity of any industry in the market, their cost for changing plans is lower than the cost of changing plans for anyone else in the market.

So, the problem with advancing QE/Spending policy is not wall street. It is politics, of which WS is just one constituency.

And the problem of politics is the failure of the four groups of ECONOMIC IDEOLOGISTS to compose an economic program that PREVENTS INVOLUNTARY TRANSFERS between groups and instead BORROWS FROM AND REWARDS GROUPS. Where groups profit from different temporal positions on the human production cycle, and where that production cycle manifests itself as time preference.

Your assumption is instead, that it will ‘trickle through’ the economy, making you no different from any one of the OTHER groups of economic ideologists who want to rewards to ‘trickle up’ or ‘trickle down’ or ‘trickle out from the entrepreneurial middle’. ‘Trickling’ produces all sorts of involuntary transfers, of status, of risk, of opportunity, and of wealth. We are not children, we do not have to play one note. we can compose a chord of solutions.

The fantasy of the egalitarian community of common interest, for some reason, blinds left-economists and moderates alike to the inequality of function and therefore inequality of methods and incentives that different functional groups have in the economy,and by consequence the incentives of the political groups that represent them.

As Kahneman argues, people fight MUCH harder to prevent involuntary transfers than they do for their own reward. This behavior MANDATES that the four major schools, each of whom represent four groups, who represent four periodicities of human planning, conduct processes of voluntary exchange between the groups rather than attempt to support one ‘team’ winning.

For this reason I find the left’s position somewhat humorously hypocritical: a pot calling a kettle black. The methodology and incentives of WS are narrow and self serving, and the methodology of Keyensians is narrow and self serving.

I will be proven right in time — certainly more right than the Keynesians. I look at that group the way they look at wall street: myopic because of methodologically enforced ignorance, all of which is preceded by a cognitive bias, a cognitive bias which is the product of biology not wisdom. As is evidenced by their failure to grasp the principles of human cooperation that are common sense to conservatives. The conservatives are offering compromises, and have been doing so consistently (DOE and HUD). And you don’t want to pay those compromises, so they fit and fuss over creating a distraction to avoid the fact that they just want what they want regardless of the costs to others.

DEAR PROGRESSIVE ECONOMISTS. THE PROBLEM IS YOU, NOT WALL STREET, BUT YOU.

THE PROBLEM IS YOU.

You’re supposed to be smart. Try to be. Otherwise, if possessed of this knowledge you are just another person seeking involuntary transfers from others under the pretense that outcomes are kaliedic. But they are only kaliedic because of your ignorance. Ignorance others do not possess.

In that event, you are either just another fool or just another thief.

The question is whether you want to refrain from being both, and become a statesman instead.

We need some. Heck, one would do.

Cheers

The Village Voice Calls Me A Conservative (Right) And A Racist (Wrong).

I supposed I should know better, but the Village voice is attacking me, and every other ‘right wing blogger’ for defending John Derbyshire.

Curt Doolittle  … allowed as how “racism is just plain stupidity.” Nonetheless he explained that “African Americans FACTUALLY demonstrate African American distributions of IQ are FACTUALLY almost a full standard deviation lower than that of their white counterparts,” and that “whites used to be racist but the wars ended their comfort with self confidence. Blacks are racist at the bottom.”

Doolittle also noted that black people are disproportionately represented in crime statistics. He did not consider their disproportionate representation in poverty statistics to be connected — that sort of thinking, we suppose, would conflict with the Austrian Libertarian tradition — but suggested that “aberrant behavior among minorities” in the U.S. is “tolerated under the principle of diversity and freedom of self expression.”  — The Village Voice

To which I replied:

Thank you for quoting me on this issue.  I was pretty reluctant to write about it.  It strikes me as odd that if I write something on fashion or gender relations, or racism, that it gets a lot of attention — my most popular article was when I stated that tattoos had gone out of style in the middle class.  But if I write something meaningful about political theory you can hear crickets.  So, I guess this kind of thing goes with the territory.

But I have a few nits with your quote:

1) Racism is just plain stupid. One cannot judge an individual by the properties of his class. Although one can judge a class by the properties of its individuals.

2) Denying that we in the states have a racial issue is not stupid. It’s obvious, or we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I’lll avoid the detail of why we have a greater problem with race than our English and Canadian counterparts, but the fact that we do, is indicative of the problem. They can enforce behavioral norms, and our society has forbidden such pressure to conformity as the French impose.

3) Denying that poverty is a symptom is not stupid either. You imply that I do not seem to appreciate this issue.  Acknowledging that the reason for poverty is not racism but IQ is not stupid either. It’s just what it is.  Acknowledging that the distribution of IQ varies among groups isn’t stupid either.

5) I’m not advocating racism – that is an emotional construct. I”m saying that the suite of policy solutions that seek to solve the problem through educational commingling, and treating racial groups as homogenous in ability is simply HARMFUL to those at the bottom,  40% of whom are black. Even the genders are not homogenous. If we look at the data we should not start boys in school for a year after we start girls, and perhaps two years. That’s just one aspect of the Finnish model.  Instead, those troubled demographics need special attention. I’m appealing for special attention — ie: schools designed to teach something other than middle class whites and asians.  I can forgive you for not knowing my broader political position, and leaping to the conclusion you did. I’m just not sure I want to let the error go unanswered. And a look at the complexion of my family, which is a rainbow, should be enough to convince anyone of my personal disposition.

6) Derbyshire was fired for speaking the truth in order to draw attention to the problem.  I”m not sure I think his argument is particularly useful. I am sure I don’t agree with his reasons or his solutions. But he was speaking the truth. If you are one of the deniers that thinks human IQ distributions are environmental rather than genetic, then you can get together with climate deniers and have a celebration.  But the matter is settled in the data. It’s settled in the profession.  And the dirty secret of the Human Genome project: we now know why. Social classes are genetically determined too. And capitalism’s fast meritocratic rotation makes these differences rapidly visible.

So lets move beyond name calling and solve this problem.  We can solve it by throwing welfare money at it, or do what we’re doing and continue to see little progress, or we can understand that a very different school system is needed with far more support for a demographic that needs special care in order to fit successfully into society.  Because what we’re doing isn’t working.

The race and class warfare prevents us from “Getting To Denmark” and building an egalitarian society. I don’t believe that society can be created with a 300M+ population like it can in a 5M population if  we have to rely on a government where consensus of belief is needed and where  the winner takes all.  And reorganizing our political institutions to accomodate for our impossibly complex diversity of opinion, desire, visions AND abilities, is what I work on full time.

I don’t expect thanks for it. On the other hand, I have many faults, but I don’t think the one you’re attributing to me is one of them.  :)

Thanks

Curt Doolittle

Mises On Determinism: An Agnostic.

His argument is that the human mind must determine action or the human creature cannot survive as an acting animal, And the human mind therefore is incapable of seeing the universe as anything other than a sequence of causes. It is a criticism of the tendency of the human mind to err.

Quote: “It is impossible, … for the human mind to think of any event as uncaused. The concepts of chance and contingency, if properly analyzed, do not refer ultimately to the course of events in the universe. They refer to human knowledge, prevision, and action. They have a praxeological, not an ontological connotation.”

Propertarianism
The universe cannot observe itself, predict it’s own movements, and construct a plan by which it may alter events. It consists of constant categories. The categories used by human beings are limited only by their desired actions, and their desired actions, in collective permutation, are less limited than those of the physical universe.

In other words, any notion of determinism is an artifact of the human mind. He goes on to give examples of how different fields err. He summarizes by saying we just don’t know whether it is or not, and that we may be prevented from understanding whether it is or not, simply because we cannot conceive of it otherwise.

He’s agnostic. He’s not a determinist. He says we just don’t know, and in all the examples that we have tried so far, none of them survive critical analysis. He argues that the use of numerical aggregates and statistics only reinforce that issue.

I can see how someone would not understand his argument if they didn’t read it carefully. But his first paragraph makes the entire argument:

Quote “Whatever the true nature of the universe and of reality may be, man can learn about it only what the logical structure of his mind makes comprehensible to him. Reason, the sole instrument of human science and philosophy, does not convey absolute knowledge and final wisdom. It is vain to speculate about ultimate things. What appears to man’s inquiry as an ultimate given, defying further analysis and reduction to something more fundamental, may or may not appear such to a more perfect intellect. We do not know.”

He’s an agnostic, not a determinist: “WE DO NOT KNOW.” And any illusion that we can know is a byproduct of the structure of the human mind. Therefore by occam’s razor, it’s more likely that we’re simply WRONG whenever we have deterministic ideas.

So Mises was not a determinist.

Since his time, we have learned enough, that it is possible to defeat the argument to physical determinism in human action, if not the physical world. What arguments to Determinism that remain, are artifacts of religious mysticism and the structure of our minds.

1) Causality Exists
2) Determinism doesn’t. (Unless there is a god who determines everything.)

“RE: “Like “Existence”, “Causation” is, as Gian-Carlo Rota might have said, a folie. There is only direction of entropy as measured by gradients of correlation. It is one of those dirty secrets of philosophy of science.” – A Critic

This view of causality is only true in the abstract, special case of relations in the physical universe which exist independently of human action. When instead, we consider that category of relations which are the result of human action, and where such action requires information necessary to plan, and where such information is of necessity a generalization of the complexity of the physical universe, and as such where a loss of information is necessitated by such acts of generalization, and where such a loss of information is necessary in order to compose an action which will alter the existing course of events using a process of heuristic calculation, where that calculation is made with fragmentary information, and where actions are limited to the possible scope of human actions. Then by necessity causation consists of a set of actions that are observable, and categorically definable both individually, and in the aggregate, by observation of those actions. Actions which produce patterns of outcome which are distinguishable from the entropic limitations of the physical universe. A physical universe to which calculation and aggregation are impossible concepts. The universe cannot observe itself, predict it’s own movements, and construct a plan by which it may alter events. It consists of constant categories. The categories used by human beings are limited only by their desired actions, and their desired actions, in collective permutation, are less limited than those of the physical universe.

Anyway, I think I might understand the suggestion that mises was a causal determinist at this point as saying:
a) State t1 is the product of prior states tn{..}.
b) each state in tn{} is the product of human naming and identity.
BUT
c) this is not to say that tn{} is complete.
d) this is not to say that tn+1 must occur, only that tn+1 can be described by tn+1{…}
In this sense, human action is not deterministic, it is however causally determinable.

If the question of determinism is metaphysical, then:
a) Mises has made no statements to metaphysical determinism, only that humans think in deterministic terms and are incapable of doing otherwise. This is a statement about human beings, not the physical universe.
b) If instead of a metaphysical question, it is a question of praxeological action, then all human actions have causes, moreover, all actions are rational (in the broader sense of the term).
c) causality is separate from determinacy. That all events have enumerable causes is separate and distinct from the assertion that all causes produce fixed ends.

In this sense, the term causal (praxeological) determinism can have meaning separate from Fatalism, Predeterminism, or Predictability, as well as causal (metaphysical) determinism. Mises may have ben a praxeological determinist but not a metaphysical determinist.

Clear as mud I’m sure. :)

The Four Academic Political Parties Of The Economic Apocalypse

The Four Academic Parties Of The Economic Apocalypse
The 1) Keynesian Spenders, 2) Chicago Monetarists, 3) Classical Liberal Industrial Policy Advocates and 4) Austrian Human Capital Advocates, will not put aside ideological differences and work together to propose a suite of solutions that will both stimulate the economy, and provide each ‘economic political party’, and each ‘governmental political party’ and their respective constituencies, with compensation for the involuntary transfers that will occur, and the negative externalities that will be brought about, if we borrow and spend.

Blame Krugman And The Left
I blame this set off affairs on on Krugman in particular, but the entire mainstream movement in general, whose ‘party’ is currently in power. And who, like all parties in power, seek to push their agenda independently of compromise rather than the agenda of the collective through artful compromise. Unfortunately, the people in government do not have a sufficient grasp of the different schools to think of them as the adjuncts to political parties that they are. When Obama called a meeting of ‘top economists’, there oval office contained only left wing economists – none of them white or christian either. Thereby demonstrating his preference, and in doing so guaranteeing that a broad based solution was impossible.

Exchanges Build Permission To Spend
It would be entirely possible for the left to ’spend’ in exchange for wiping out the DOE, HUD and public education tenure. That would be a fair exchange. It would be entirely possible to ’spend’ in exchange for a new immigration policy. That would be a fair exchange. But all efforts at exchange have failed. Polarization continues. And you simply seek economic dictatorship, so that you can remove the means by which the population can rebel against the state.

The Reincarnation Of The Devil Himself: The Cashless Economy
I agree with the MMT crowd, and Yglasias, that the elimination of paper currency will allow forcible redistribution across the entire economy by way of monetary policy alone, which will allow the Left/Statist/Keynesian alliance to overwhelm the Monetarist, Industrial and Human Capital parties, and each of their supporters, in the domesticl economic legislature of intellectual opinion.

The Resistance Movement
The other Political/Economic party coalitions object to spending, because they object to further empowering the left/state/keynesian party. This is the opportunity that the moderate and right side coalitions are using to punish the state for over reaching. The conservative strategy is to starve the beast and bankrupt the state before it can bankrupt them, and entirely destroy their culture. (Albiet, it’s probably too late now.)

It appears to most of us, who focus on productivity instead of consumption, that both increases in spending, and a cashless society, simply remove the constraints on destruction of productivity, and further encourages the creation of catastrophic bubbles that will not be able to be ‘fixed’ by market corrections, but instead, will be solved only by revolution, economic irrelevance and poverty, or military conquest.

Yes People Prefer Depression To Revolution, Civil War, Economic Impoverishment, and Conquest.
So yes, people clearly prefer this ‘state of affairs’ to those where the state is further empowered to expose them to risk.

And in that sense, it is a rational choice, a fair trade, and it is currently being purchased at a discount.

Economics is inseparable from politics. Because economics is a subset of politics.

And politics prevail. Politics prevails because the material economy lives at the service of the status economy.  It always has and it always will.