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Libertarian solutions to the CO2 problem?
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ShadowCell



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i...don't think you're getting the point of this thread
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ShadowCell wrote:
i...don't think you're getting the point of this thread


Which could be said of Thy in any thread, ever.
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Sojobo



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
So the topic for now is how would a Libertarian society deal with the issues surrounding human CO2 emissions?

Some producers will choose to make their products using green technology. The extra expense they incur will be offset by their increased market share due to people choosing to buy green products. Those producers become wealthier, and expand their production, or are mimicked by other companies who want the market share, and voila, CO2 emissions plummet.

My answer is of course based on your precondition 2. If it is a given that people agree that letting pollution play out is unacceptable and that action must be taken, those who can afford the green products will buy them, despite the unselfishness of such an action.

If you're looking for something more real-worldly, I think that Libertarians should agree that it is a government responsibility to gather and disseminate accurate information related to market choices. One cannot make a free market decision to buy something if one does not know exactly what one is buying, which includes details about environmental impact of production.

The surgeon general's warning is a very timid example of this (in Australia they make cigarette companies display photos of clogged arteries, mouth cancers and gangrenous flesh in their packaging). Similar advertisement requirements could be made for products with heavy carbon footprints.

Sam wrote:
it fundamentally is a market failure (and would be a free-market failure even moreso) in that people are not necessarily able to intelligently determine the personal economic value of all things. The free market won't make it magically so that 'liberated free market consumers' can be trusted to value things correctly, even in their own self-interest.

A free market is as efficient as its consumer information is perfect.
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Sam the Eagle



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sojobo wrote:

Sam wrote:
it fundamentally is a market failure (and would be a free-market failure even moreso) in that people are not necessarily able to intelligently determine the personal economic value of all things. The free market won't make it magically so that 'liberated free market consumers' can be trusted to value things correctly, even in their own self-interest.

A free market is as efficient as its consumer information is perfect.


instinct reply: So no advertisment at all?.

If perfect information is to be achieved, it imply that consumers benefits from unbiased and accurate source, the most obvious being a government sponsored one. The question becomes who can guarantee information' impartiality and perfection?. Examples abound where information cornering is a must for industry, drugs and chemicals comes to mind.
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Bart



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm quite sure libertarians would say that disseminating good information about products should also be left to the free market. Why force people to pay taxes for information a private firm could also provide.

The voluntarily choosing to buy green products doesn't sound like the libertarian answer either. It assumes that consumers believe the damage to themselves caused by their marginal contribution to emissions is greater than the increased price of more expensive products for them. Best case scenario every single consumer cares about everyone else in the world (obviously untrue and not even a libertarian would argue that) and will pay increased prices as long as they are lower than the cost of their marginal contribution to emissions, then the problem could theoretically be solved.

I think it'd be more along the lines of; those emitting pollutants have to pay compensation to those being hurt by the pollution. (So a Bangladeshi farmer whose fields are being flooded will be paid by every single polluter in the world proportional to their share of emissions) Completely in the line of efficient markets, personal freedom, etc. Of course it's completely unrealistic.
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Eiden



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
Thanks for the input everyone.


nathan wrote:
That said, I think you've negated the primary argument. It's the indeterminacy of outcomes that gives a libertarian perspective the teeth with which it would prefer to gnaw off its own leg. When the future is indeterminate, psychology takes over - and that's the fatal flaw of libertarianism.

Exactly the issue I wanted to avoid, too. From what I understand of the ideology the issue of individual liberty is paramount and compromising it for anything less than certain threats is considered an unnecessary evil. There'd be no sense in proposing a solution if the problem is imaginary, so in order to wring out possible Libertarian solutions we have to assume the problem is real. I'm looking for any answer besides the obvious "government action unnecessary, every man for hisself!" response, since this isn't a case of one person's actions affecting just that one person.
If Libertarianism wants to claim any legitimacy as a social philosophy it will have to deal with society-wide issues like pollution.


Libertarianism (or the several other names it goes under for those too uncomfortable to associate themselves by that most common title for Liberalism) has already claimed legitimacy as a socioeconomic philosophy. It makes its stand, defines its axioms, and paints a picture of what it considers the role of government and how society should (and would) function under a truly libertarian government.

However, the principles are so wholly ridiculous that it will never have its 'day in court' to be tested. Libeertarians will never have their libertopia. That's a good thing, because it would be disasterous to the ideology to show the world how it works out in practice, messy externalities and organized crime and all. Instead, all they will accomplish is what most extremists accomplish - they will push a tiny portion of that extremism into a government, credit any successes to that portion, and blame any failures on the rest.
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Eiden



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
Thanks for the input everyone.


nathan wrote:
That said, I think you've negated the primary argument. It's the indeterminacy of outcomes that gives a libertarian perspective the teeth with which it would prefer to gnaw off its own leg. When the future is indeterminate, psychology takes over - and that's the fatal flaw of libertarianism.

Exactly the issue I wanted to avoid, too. From what I understand of the ideology the issue of individual liberty is paramount and compromising it for anything less than certain threats is considered an unnecessary evil. There'd be no sense in proposing a solution if the problem is imaginary, so in order to wring out possible Libertarian solutions we have to assume the problem is real. I'm looking for any answer besides the obvious "government action unnecessary, every man for hisself!" response, since this isn't a case of one person's actions affecting just that one person.
If Libertarianism wants to claim any legitimacy as a social philosophy it will have to deal with society-wide issues like pollution.


Libertarianism (or the several other names it goes under for those too uncomfortable to associate themselves by that most common title for Liberalism) has already claimed legitimacy as a socioeconomic philosophy. It makes its stand, defines its axioms, and paints a picture of what it considers the role of government and how society should (and would) function under a truly libertarian government.

However, the principles are so wholly ridiculous that it will never have its 'day in court' to be tested. Libeertarians will never have their libertopia. That's a good thing, because it would be disasterous to the ideology to show the world how it works out in practice, messy externalities and organized crime and all. Instead, all they will accomplish is what most extremists accomplish - they will push a tiny portion of that extremism into a government, credit any successes to that portion, and blame any failures on the rest.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually it might not be so far off.

At least until the splicers show up.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

or an average winter storm.
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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:57 pm    Post subject: why would you solve technical problems with sociology? Reply with quote

ShadowCell wrote:
i...don't think you're getting the point of this thread


Feel free to be more specific at any time.
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CTrees



Joined: 21 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:18 pm    Post subject: Re: why would you solve technical problems with sociology? Reply with quote

Thy Brilliance wrote:
ShadowCell wrote:
i...don't think you're getting the point of this thread


Feel free to be more specific at any time.


Laughing

Pot, kettle, epic hilarity Laughing
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Snorri



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
I think the major difference is that charities are totally voluntary, whereas using the government to correct iniquities involves coercion.


Yes sure but what the fuck do they mean by that? What is coercion in this context?

What is the fundamental difference between government coercion and market coercion?
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Snorri



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sojobo wrote:


Sam wrote:
it fundamentally is a market failure (and would be a free-market failure even moreso) in that people are not necessarily able to intelligently determine the personal economic value of all things. The free market won't make it magically so that 'liberated free market consumers' can be trusted to value things correctly, even in their own self-interest.

A free market is as efficient as its consumer information is perfect.


But even correctly informed consumers make the wrong choices. People are not always rational actors.

Edit: Also, tragedy of the commons and prisoners dilemma and such. Even with perfect information acting in your own self interest could still result in problems.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Snorri wrote:
WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
I think the major difference is that charities are totally voluntary, whereas using the government to correct iniquities involves coercion.


Yes sure but what the fuck do they mean by that? What is coercion in this context?

What is the fundamental difference between government coercion and market coercion?

The government gets its funds by taking them from everybody, see? Taxes. A charity gets its funds only from the individuals that are willingly donating, explicitly showing their support for whatever instead of having some representational government decide what to do with their money even if they personally disagree. It's a significant distinction for the Libertarian philosophy.
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andrew



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Snorri wrote:
Yes sure but what the fuck do they mean by that? What is coercion in this context?

What is the fundamental difference between government coercion and market coercion?

I'm pretty sure you understand the difference, but I'm also assuming you're asking honestly, so forgive me if this is an unnecessary amount of detail and/or comes across as patronizing.

Wheels is alluding to the difference between voluntary and compulsory behavior. Coercion is the use of power to do something. In this context, Wheels is talking about legal and taxation systems: the government has the power (through threat of force) to compel its citizens to surrender part of their income for its own uses. Those uses include public assistance & wealth redistribution programs, the kinds of inequity that charities help address.

The fundamental difference between these things is—wait for it—freedom. It's the difference between you choosing to donate $100 to a food bank and a food bank threatening you with violence if you do not give them $100.

There is no such thing as market coercion.

Edit: scooped by Wheels.
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