great diavlog with Lindsey and Frum

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Freddie

Freddie deBoer used to blog at lhote.blogspot.com, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

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49 Responses

  1. Avatar Mark Thompson
    Ignored
    says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t have audio right now, so I can’t listen to Lindsey’s comments. But, to the extent you want something relevant from a committed libertarian, I give you one of the more radically leftist things I’ve ever written:
    http://publiusendures.blogspot.com/2008/08/college-liberaltarian-take.html

    I’ll admit it’s short on policy solutions, but the critique is pretty much polar opposite of Lindsay’s position (at least as you are describing it). At a minimum it’s an argument for a cultural de-emphasis on the necessity of college.

    Reviving vo-tech programs would be useful, although the death of vo-tech is more a result than a cause of this problem.Report

  2. Avatar ESC
    Ignored
    says:

    Although I am not a “committed libertarian” I do tend to agree with Lindsey’s arguments. Because corporations are focused on the bottom line, they will cut costs in any way they can. For many corporations, this means moving their manufacturing overseas to places like China where the low production costs outweigh the increase in shipping costs. Unfortunately, most of the jobs that can be exported are blue collar jobs. This exportation is inevitable, because if the US government forces local production, the costs of American goods will soar, and America will lose the market, yielding it to overseas companies that are exempt from protectionist manufacturing regulation. Thus, there will be a shift in the availability of jobs to white collar positions. However, some blue collar jobs, including many that pay well, cannot be exported. Those that wish to avoid college can become plumbers, electricians, salespeople, or construction workers.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    “the mainstream libertarian economic agenda seems to me to offer a very bleak outlook for uneducated workers in America, and that’s most of our citizenry”

    Let’s say you get someone with an IQ of 90 (there are about as many of these folks as there are folks with an IQ of 110, after all). What degree do you think would be appropriate for libertarians to provide this person? What job should libertarians give him or her? What pay rate should this person be entitled to and how often should he or she get a raise? Should the libertarians have a dress code? How much harassment training should libertarians provide in order to ensure a tolerant and comfortable environment for everyone?

    Out of curiosity, would you describe the last 20 years as an example of, ahem, “the mainstream libertarian economic agenda” being put in practice? Or, hell, the last 10?

    I suspect that you might, actually… but let’s assume that you don’t.

    How’s that non libertarian economic agenda workin’ out for ya?Report

  4. Avatar Freddie
    Ignored
    says:

    Jaybird, look– you can decide to be taken seriously, or you can be a troll, and either is fine with me. But I’m not gonna play this game with you where you jump back and forth, one foot to the other, whenever you feel like it. It’s not worth my time.

    I’m not asking libertarians to provide anything. I’m pointing out that the way they would structure the economy– no social safety net, no unions, total fealty to globalization, no government guaranteed access to health care, no pensions, no collective bargaining, none of it– leaves uneducated workers in a very, very precarious situation. We’ve had decades of moving towards a more laissez faire system, and the result has been stagnated wages for most people and incredible growth for the richest strata. All of the gains that people attribute to the boom 90s and 00s (hey, people must be better off! they have iPods now!) have come from debt– that is, imaginary money people didn’t have to spend in the first place.

    Certainly, the last 10 years don’t amount to any kind of a “pure” vision. But they are absolutely the product of 1) deregulation and 2) a total credulous and noncritical view of globalization. And it’s resulted in a complete hollowing out of the American economy, with a collapsed manufacturing base, and a combination of a culture of consumption and flatlining wages that guarantees a credit bubble.

    But hey– I asked you, man. So tell me, what way forward do libertarians offer for uneducated workers? The fact that you try to spin it back to me just demonstrates that you can’t answer. Because they offer nothing to the large majority of American workers.Report

    • Avatar Freddie in reply to Freddie
      Ignored
      says:

      And note, please, that I am genuinely asking. I want to know, if there’s some grand scheme that I’m missing. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong if it results in better lives for better than 2/3s of our workers. But I keep not hearing it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Freddie
      Ignored
      says:

      “Jaybird, look– you can decide to be taken seriously, or you can be a troll, and either is fine with me. But I’m not gonna play this game with you where you jump back and forth, one foot to the other, whenever you feel like it. It’s not worth my time.”

      Jump back and forth, one foot to the other? Um, I’m the libertarian who pretty much argue the libertarian position. What is the other foot I jump back to?

      “I’m not asking libertarians to provide anything. I’m pointing out that the way they would structure the economy– no social safety net, no unions, total fealty to globalization, no government guaranteed access to health care, no pensions, no collective bargaining, none of it– leaves uneducated workers in a very, very precarious situation. We’ve had decades of moving towards a more laissez faire system, and the result has been stagnated wages for most people and incredible growth for the richest strata. All of the gains that people attribute to the boom 90s and 00s (hey, people must be better off! they have iPods now!) have come from debt– that is, imaginary money people didn’t have to spend in the first place.”

      “no social safety net”
      Libertarians are not necessarily opposed to social safety nets.

      “no unions”
      If you think that libertarians are opposed to freedom of association, freedom of speech, and freedom to engage in peaceful assembly, you have *ZERO* idea what libertarians support and do not support. I fully support the right of people to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. 100%.

      “total fealty to globalization”
      Imagine, if you will, my asking you the following question (really, a statement): “What is the human cost of the policies you are supporting, Freddie? I’ll tell you! 100,000,000 dead. Pick up _The Black Book Of Communism_ by Stephane Courtois and Jean-Louis Panne and you’ll see the human cost of your proposed policies!!!”

      Because that’s what you’re doing here. You don’t seem to understand what libertarianism actually is. What it actually believes. You are wrestling with a caricature of libertarianism that is as grotesque as caricaturing your position as Stalinism (done right this time).

      “no government guaranteed access to health care”
      I believe in government *PROTECTED* access to health care, 100%. Your definition of “access” and mine may be different, however.

      “no pensions”
      My lord, has there ever been a libertarian who opposed the idea of companies offering pensions? Ever?

      “no collective bargaining”
      I already covered this with “no unions” but what view of libertarianism do you have that doesn’t believe that libertarians support freedom of association, freedom of speech, and freedom to engage in peaceful assembly? You aren’t even beating up a straw man of libertarianism at this point, Freddie. You’re beating up a strawman of something that I don’t know what it is.

      “We’ve had decades of moving towards a more laissez faire system, and the result has been stagnated wages for most people and incredible growth for the richest strata. All of the gains that people attribute to the boom 90s and 00s (hey, people must be better off! they have iPods now!) have come from debt– that is, imaginary money people didn’t have to spend in the first place.””

      “We’ve had decades of moving towards a more laissez faire system”

      We have? Because I see nothing but increasing statism, increasing protectionism, increasing crony capitalism, increasing barriers to entry in the market, increasing centralized power, and increasing nannyism.

      I’m getting the idea that you see that we’re moving away from your ideal and, therefore, we must be moving toward the ideals of people who don’t agree with you. It’s not a dualistic world we live in, dude. It is, in fact, possible to move away from both my ideals *AND* yours at the same time.

      “Certainly, the last 10 years don’t amount to any kind of a “pure” vision. But they are absolutely the product of 1) deregulation and 2) a total credulous and noncritical view of globalization. And it’s resulted in a complete hollowing out of the American economy, with a collapsed manufacturing base, and a combination of a culture of consumption and flatlining wages that guarantees a credit bubble.”

      If I ask if regulations have increased or decreased in the last 10 years, which do you think it would have been?
      From the “libertarian” perspective, the corporations are colluding with the government in creating regulations that create barriers to entry to stifle innovation, keep competitors out, and make themselves the only game in town… until they go to Singapore and get tax breaks that they paid lobbyists to include in omnibus bills that no Representative has read that then gets voted on and passes by a 90% margin.

      This is *NOT* deregulation, for the record.

      “But hey– I asked you, man. So tell me, what way forward do libertarians offer for uneducated workers? The fact that you try to spin it back to me just demonstrates that you can’t answer. Because they offer nothing to the large majority of American workers.”

      What way forward would *I* offer? Well, I’d get rid of the barriers to entry to the marketplace. How much paperwork is necessary to do so much as open a bar? After that, how much is necessary to hire so much as one barmaid/bartender? How much easier is it to just say “screw it” and get a job at Global Conglomerate as assistant sub-lackey to the lackey’s henchman (leaving the one barmaid/bartender still unemployed) and then find oneself out of a job when Global Conglomerate decides to outsource to Costa Rica, now that the people in Singapore are no longer willing to work for 6 bucks an hour (demanding 7! The nerve!).

      The barriers to entry to create one’s own small business are onerous to the point where it’s easier to just give up and become a cog. Whether it be a bar, a used book store, a card stock paper shop, or a bead store. What way forward would *I* offer? I’d make it easier to create and operate small, independent businesses that would have to hire locally rather than making certain that the only businesses that had the muscle to operate in the marketplace were the ones who have the lobbyists to write laws to make it tough for competitors to show up and compete while, at the same time, were shipping jobs overseas.

      What foot am I jumping back to, again?Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Freddie
      Ignored
      says:

      I realize I am falling more into standard libertarian tropes the last two days or so, but they seem like the only way of responding to mischaracterizations of libertarianism and laissez-faire. For instance:

      “I’m pointing out that the way they would structure the economy– no social safety net, no unions, total fealty to globalization, no government guaranteed access to health care, no pensions, no collective bargaining, none of it– leaves uneducated workers in a very, very precarious situation.”

      But the number of libertarians this set of positions describes is exceedingly few. Many Cato-type libertarians are perfectly ok with social safety nets – they just think that the way existing social safety nets are structured is asinine. Minarchist/Mises types aren’t terribly big fans of globalization. None (or almost none) are in favor of legislation abolishing unions (keep in mind that before there was any union-related legislation at all, the US private sector had a significantly higher rate of unionization than currently exists). And so on.

      You might not like the idea of a negative income tax as a form of social safety net, but the fact is that it’s a proposal made in good faith. Same thing with vouchers, which would exist exclusively for the poor and lower middle-class.

      Second: “Certainly, the last 10 years don’t amount to any kind of a “pure” vision. But they are absolutely the product of 1) deregulation and 2) a total credulous and noncritical view of globalization. And it’s resulted in a complete hollowing out of the American economy, with a collapsed manufacturing base, and a combination of a culture of consumption and flatlining wages that guarantees a credit bubble.”

      But of course all these things have myriad causes – it just makes no sense to lay them solely at the feet of things like deregulation, etc. There is an argument, even a good argument, that laissez-faire policies have contributed to these problems, but let’s not pretend that every problem we face is a result thereof – problems this big are terribly complex, and it’s not as if there aren’t alternative theories that blame government interventions for everything (which I think are equally guilty of oversimplifying complex problems).Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        On top of that, I agree with Jaybird.

        And entry barriers can be a big problem. If CPSIA demonstrates anything, it’s that regulations often serve to make it more difficult for small businesses to compete while big businesses, with their huge economies of scale, can relatively easily adjust. Yet this doesn’t mean that liberals are shills for corporatism.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mark Thompson
          Ignored
          says:

          “Unwitting shills”, maybe?

          There’s definitely a “baptists and bootleggers” thing going on.

          (I’m trying to limit myself to one Stalin reference a day so I can’t go with the other (exceptionally unfair!) term that jumped to mind.)Report

          • Avatar Freddie in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Yes, because libertarians– historically opposed to environmental regulation, historically opposed to high corporate tax rates, historically opposed to workers health and safety regulation, historically opposed to the minimum wage, historically opposed to government-mandated pensions– why, that couldn’t possibly be seen as shilling to corporate interests.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Freddie
              Ignored
              says:

              The libertarians I hang out with hold the opinion that corporations are the *ONLY* entities that should be taxed. “Health and safety regulation” is something that libertarians aren’t opposed to, but demanding that the restrooms on the fifth floor in a building without an elevator be handicapable-accessible is a regulation that libertarians hold up as “useless legislation” which should not be confused with opposition to the legislation in the first place. As a matter of fact, the majority of “opposition” that I’ve seen is the argument that the laws don’t do what they are advertised as doing and we’d be better off without them. This is different from opposing handrails. “Historically opposed to the minimum wage”… let me turn that around for a second. Let’s say that I’m a grocer and a kid shows up and asks for an odd job. Can I put him to work stomping boxes in the back for two bucks an hour for a couple hours’ work? The next summer, and he shows up asking for work, can I put him to work sweeping for three bucks an hour for a few hours’ work? When the kid is 16, I now have an established relationship with him and might hire him as a stocker, or bagger, or even cashier! You, apparently, are opposed to this relationship and wish it to be illegal. Libertarians, on the other hand, think that it should totally be an option. “historically opposed to government-mandated pensions”… hey, those goalposts didn’t used to be there!

              “why, that couldn’t possibly be seen as shilling to corporate interests.”

              Given that we’ve got environmental regulation, workers health and safety regulation, an ever-increasing minimum wage, and government-mandated pensions… (and are we getting more and more of these things or less and less (fewer and fewer?) of them?)

              Well, I would have just focused on the corporate tax rate thing.

              Those battles have been long-fought and long-won for your side, my man.

              And yet… the corporations seem to be more powerful than ever…

              Must be the fault of “de-regulation”.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The problem I see it is two-fold:

                1) Libertarianism may stand for all these things and may even work in all the ways Jaybird and Mark are describing it if it were ever allowed to exist in a “pure” sense. But it won’t. Ever.

                2) Because libertarianism can’t work in a pure sense, it will manifest itself in a false iteration – a cherry-picked variety which the powers that be can use to their advantage. This means the libertarian policies, however theoretically sensible they may be, will typically be transformed into power-entrenching policies by large corporate entities.

                Which is to say I find many of these arguments compelling until I hold them up to the glass of the real world.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to E.D. Kain
                Ignored
                says:

                When I look at the glass of the real world, I see corporations colluding with the government and gaming the system. I then see people arguing that if only the right people were using a somewhat more powerful government, this wouldn’t happen.

                This tends to result in the corporations colluding with the (now more powerful) government to game the system.

                Surely, with the right people in charge, this wouldn’t happen.Report

              • Avatar Freddie in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You know I’m not unsympathetic to what your saying, Jaybird, and if I’ve been intemperate I apologize. Sincerely.

                But I agree with Erik. I think certain strains of libertarianism, like Marxism, have such specific criteria for being enacted that they are essentially impossible, and thus (like Marxism) not genuine ways forward.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Jaybird – so the idea is to reduce government so that it can’t collude with big business. I get that. I think public/private partnerships are hugely flawed which is why I often argue in favor of government programs rather than government-subsidized programs. The merger is dangerous.

                But, now that these massive corporations and interests are there, will reducing government do anything but create a void into which they can expand? Do you think that reducing government would actually reduce the power of these institutions?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to E.D. Kain
                Ignored
                says:

                If they knew that they couldn’t rely on Uncle Sugar to save their hind ends when they failed, it might create better behavior through such things as “negative externalities”.

                The bailout, for example, was a *BRILLIANT* example of corporations gaming the system.

                I assure you, there isn’t any such thing as “too big to fail”.

                There is, however, such a thing as “unsustainable”.

                You’ll get to watch that one in real time, however.Report

              • Avatar Freddie in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s say that I’m a grocer and a kid shows up and asks for an odd job.

                Let’s say, instead, that like more than half of minimum wage earners, the worker is an adult, and the minimum wage job is his only job. He’s making that $6.55 an hour. He works 45 hours a week. He’s grossing less than $1200 a month.

                He rents a small studio apartment. That’s $500 a month if he’s very lucky and he lives in an area with particularly low real estate values. He buys a $30 a month bus pass to get to work. It costs him, on a very conservative basis, $50 a week to feed himself. His work requires him, as many do, to have a phone. He pays $30 a month for a prepaid cell phone. His electricity bill is $40 a month. He buys $40 a month worth of clothes. Let’s say he’s the model of discretion and thrift and pays only $100 a month on incidentals– a magazine here or there, a trip to the movies, maybe even a video game.

                Hope he doesn’t get sick! No health insurance; even the “free” clinic costs $100 for a visit. Hope he doesn’t want to go to college! Even if he takes out loans that will have him beginning his professional life with crippling debt, books, fees and expenses make it an impossibility for him, all while assuming he’s bright enough and had a good enough home life to make him academically prepared for college. Hope he doesn’t want to have kids! Hope he doesn’t want to materially improve his life!

                He might be able to sock away a couple hundred dollars a month. It takes discipline but it’s possible. But it just takes one little hiccup, one week of missed work or one unexpected payment of the kind that crop up all the time, and his savings are wiped out.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Freddie
                Ignored
                says:

                Right – and then take someone who makes two or three times that much but has a wife and a kid or two to provide for. Let’s say that the wife chooses not to work because daycare is expensive and anyways, spending time with young kids is important – so now we have a guy making three times that amount but it’s divied up three or four ways. This describes a lot of Americans who are considered “lower middle-class” even though, when it comes down to it, given the mouths to feed, they’re making very little more than minimum wage. Without health care benefits this family would be screwed if anything came up. Royally.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to E.D. Kain
                Ignored
                says:

                So now I have to worry about someone making 20 bucks an hour?Report

              • Avatar Freddie in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                ? No? Again– it says only a quarter of those making the minimum wage or less are between the ages of 16-19. Which is perfectly in keeping with my comment above.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Jaybird – the point is that we don’t have a viable option for someone with a family making $15 or $18 or $20 an hour. There is employer-based health insurance and beyond that any other “private” option is too expensive. If you take $18/hr and break that into expenses for an entire family you’re running pretty thin, and so far the market hasn’t provided anything other than the really, really bad employer-based health insurance. So my argument in my latest post is that I think we should put together some sort of public option for the lower end of earners and then deregulate the private markets to make them more competitive. That way choice doesn’t negate safety net.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Freddie
                Ignored
                says:

                “Let’s say, instead, that like more than half of minimum wage earners, the worker is an adult, and the minimum wage job is his only job.”

                Hrm. I went to the google and found this when I put in “minimum wage earners”. (It was the second link, the first link went to heritage.)

                http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2003.htm

                Minimum wage workers tend to be young. Slightly over half of workers earning $5.15 or less were under age 25, and about one-fourth were age 16-19. Among teenagers, about 10 percent earned $5.15 or less. About 2 percent of workers age 25 and over earned the minimum wage or less. However, among those age 65 and over, the proportion was 4 percent. (See table 1 and table 7.)

                It also said:

                Never-married workers, who also tend to be quite young, were more likely to earn the minimum wage or less than persons who are married.(See table 8.)

                My hypothetical was a situation that you would want to remain illegal. Your situation that you claim is representative… well, according to the government, isn’t.

                If, however, you want to say “screw the government, you can’t trust anything they say”, I would be down.

                At that point, however, I’d have to ask you where you got your stats from. I got mine from the second link that popped up when I put “minimum wage earners” into the google (as I said, I ignored the first link because it came from a right wing think tank… but we could discuss that link too, if you wanted).Report

              • Avatar Freddie in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                According to the national bureau of labor statistics, in 2006 (the latest available figures), one quarter of minimum wage earners were between the ages of 16-19

                http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2006.htmReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Freddie
                Ignored
                says:

                “Minimum wage workers tend to be young. About half of workers earning $5.15 or less were under age 25, and about one-fourth of workers earning at or below the minimum wage were age 16-19. Among employed teenagers, about 8 percent earned $5.15 or less. About 1 percent of workers age 25 and over earned the minimum wage or less. Among those age 65 and over, the proportion was about 2 percent. (See table 1 and table 7.) ”

                That’s what I saw at the link you posted.

                I find the idea that kids starting out (yes, they are adults in the legal sense of the term and I fully support their rights to buy alcohol, guns, and, ahem, gentlemen’s magazines) making minimum wage less troubling than you do… certainly since, and let me quote this again, “About 1 percent of workers age 25 and over earned the minimum wage or less. Among those age 65 and over, the proportion was about 2 percent.”Report

              • Avatar Freddie in reply to Freddie
                Ignored
                says:

                about one-fourth of workers earning at or below the minimum wage were age 16-19.

                That supports my above statement though, right– that more than half of minimum wage earners are adults?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Freddie
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, absolutely.

                I find the idea of “adults between the ages of 19-25” making minimum wage significantly less troubling than adults over age 25 making that.Report

              • Avatar Freddie in reply to Freddie
                Ignored
                says:

                Me too– maybe a minimum wage exception for those 16-21? Or something?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Freddie
                Ignored
                says:

                I go back and remember when I was 23… fresh out of college and unskilled. Well, I had worked in a restaurant. My resume was empty.

                By the time I hit 30, I was no longer unskilled. My resume was no longer empty.

                Looking at the numbers, it seems that my experience is not only not unique, it seems to be representative.

                I don’t see the whole kids (yes, I know, they’re legally adults) making minimum wage as a problem that requires solving.

                The numbers demonstrate that it solves itself.Report

  5. Avatar Freddie
    Ignored
    says:

    You guys don’t spend enough time in the comments section of Megan McArdle’s blog.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Freddie
      Ignored
      says:

      Well….I wouldn’t say that McArdle’s commenters are not typical of mainstream libertarianism. For some reason – and I really don’t know why since she’s usually one of the more interesting writers around – she attracts an unbelievable number of trolls, left, right, and otherwise. Half the time, even many of those who agree with her on a given post don’t have a clue what she actually said. There are exceptions, obviously, but there’s a reason I rarely comment there any more.Report

  6. Avatar Freddie
    Ignored
    says:

    More seriously, I’m sorry, but to suggest that mainstream libertarianism as it exists now doesn’t contain ferocious antipathy to unions is simply untrueReport

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Freddie
      Ignored
      says:

      Are you sure you’re understanding the nature of the opposition? I assure you, it has *NOTHING* to do with the attitudes that unions should be forbidden from existing and that collective bargaining ought to be banned.

      OH! I am, however, opposed (adamantly!) to unions when it comes to government workers. You got me there. (I make distinctions between private citizens and people paid with tax dollars… when you say “unions”, I immediately think “UAW” and not that thing that Postal Workers have. UAPW or whatever.)Report

      • Avatar Freddie in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        If you’re cool with private union, that’s good news as far as I’m concerned. But my sense is that you are far from in the mainstream of your ideology in that. I could be wrong.

        I’m with you for lowering the barrier to opening new businesses, by the way.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Freddie
          Ignored
          says:

          I, 100%, support the right of laborers to meet peacefully.

          I, 100%, support the right of laborers to say whatever they wish at these peaceful meetings.

          I, 100%, support the right of laborers to not show up for work… or call in sick. Or even to slow down on the job. 100%.Report

          • Avatar Bob in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            This is the entire Libertarian Party Platform statement from 2008 regarding employment/unions. “We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment. We oppose government-fostered forced retirement. We support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and an employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union. We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.”

            Jaybird, do you 100% support the right of the “employer” to have the final say? Do you 100% agree with the last sentence?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Bob
              Ignored
              says:

              The Libertarian Party? You mean those folks who ran the guy who wrote the Barr Amendment and pushed DOMA through when Clinton was the executive? That party?

              Look at the “Boston Tea” platform. That’s the platform I agree with.Report

              • Avatar Bob in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, forget the source. Do you agree or not? And another question, not addressed in my original comment. Do you think workers have the right to strike?

                Mark, thanks.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Bob
                Ignored
                says:

                “We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.”

                I do oppose such things. Because you probably think of the government taking the side of the workers, I think of such things as Colonel William Eubank in West Virginia.

                As for “Do you think workers have the right to strike?”, I thought that saying “I, 100%, support the right of laborers to not show up for work… or call in sick. Or even to slow down on the job. 100%.” would cover that. Should I say again that I support peaceful assembly and freedom of speech? I do, for the record. I’m kinda nutty in my absolutism on such things.Report

            • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Bob
              Ignored
              says:

              I know this isn’t directed specifically at me, but as someone who was actively involved in pushing for a compulsory arbitration law, I can say that I 100% disagree with that last sentence.Report

  7. Avatar Freddie
    Ignored
    says:

    By the way– the people I blame most for our current economic situation certainly aren’t libertarians. They aren’t even conservatives. It’s neoliberals. I’ll be talking about that with Scott when we do our live thing in an hour or so.Report

  8. Avatar Chris Dierkes
    Ignored
    says:

    Whenever we get into these arguments it’s hard to separate out somethings and then stuff doesn’t go anywhere.

    I think Freddie’s referring to libertarianism as a political force within the Reaganite coalition. And even if the libertarians in that coalition didn’t like what the GOP was doing, it was their only ticket to any real power.

    Jaybird/Mark are talking about libertarianism as the philosophy–noting that there camps and sub-camps within this broader frame.

    So it’s back the realism/idealism thing.

    Then that gets compounded by throwing out terms like de-regulation which by themselves are pretty meaningless. Lots of dumb rules should de-regulated. And as even an Yglesias would note, de-regulation in that sense started with Dems (Carter). But I think Freddie is talking more about de-oversighting which in the banking industry caused massive problems.Report

  9. Avatar Mark Thompson
    Ignored
    says:

    “The problem I see it is two-fold:

    1) Libertarianism may stand for all these things and may even work in all the ways Jaybird and Mark are describing it if it were ever allowed to exist in a “pure” sense. But it won’t. Ever.

    2) Because libertarianism can’t work in a pure sense, it will manifest itself in a false iteration – a cherry-picked variety which the powers that be can use to their advantage. This means the libertarian policies, however theoretically sensible they may be, will typically be transformed into power-entrenching policies by large corporate entities.

    Which is to say I find many of these arguments compelling until I hold them up to the glass of the real world.”

    The problem with this critique of libertarianism is that it is identical to the libertarian critique of politics in general, specifically public choice theory. The implication of this statement, albeit unintentional, is that public choice theory is correct – but only when the people supporting the policy are libertarians. This is strange, amounting to a claim that the very philosophy that lies at the center of public choice theory is uniquely naive, whereas other philosophies which reject public choice theory are uniquely clear-headed.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Mark Thompson
      Ignored
      says:

      Not at all. This is more akin to saying “Marxism is a great theory but in practice simply won’t work.”

      My critique of libertarianism is that it requires, to function, a severe level of “purity.” In the real world, when you’re working with state, federal, local government, interest groups, different branches of government, multi-national corporations, criminals, puppies, etc. this simply doesn’t allow for “purity” in any ideological sense.

      I would also say that pure libertarianism is wholly untested as a theory. So who knows if it works or not.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to E.D. Kain
        Ignored
        says:

        This is simply not the case, though, at least not unless you caricature libertarianism. If you’re going to compare libertarianism to Marxism, then you have to provide a clear definition of what you mean by “libertarianism.” Because there are any number of strains of libertarianism, and virtually none of them are utopian in nature. In fact, to my knowledge, most strains of libertarianism short of anarchism explicitly reject utopianism of any sort.

        But libertarianism cannot require a level of “purity” to function if no two libertarians can agree on what “pure libertarianism” is!

        And for what it’s worth, I could make that exact same critique about any political philosophy whatsoever.Report

  10. Avatar Pithlordu
    Ignored
    says:

    Freddie,

    Let’s say it’s true that freer trade meant (a) more overall wealth for America; (b) more overall wealth for Newly Industrializing Countries; (c) a greater proportion of wealth for Americans who have intellectual skills; (d) a greater proportion of wealth for labour in Newly Industrializing Countries. After all, that’s what traditional economics would predict if you allowed greater trade in labour-intensive goods.

    Are you really willing to say that (c) outweighs every other benefit in this trade off? Is Detroit’s pain a bigger deal than hundreds of millions of Chinese peasants having a shot at a future? What about the transformation of the American South in the same time? You want to give that up?

    After all, Detroit’s glory days were also a product of an earlier episode of globalization.

    Yes, market capitalism means business cycles. Yes, it means that some industries will decline. But do you really understand what the alternative is?

    If your alternative is social-democratic forms of capitalism, you should note that the Nordic countries that embody it are the ones that most embraced the neoliberal formula.Report

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