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Justification for government intervention in the economy

Discussion in 'Debate Hall' started by eschemat, May 4, 2011.

  1. eschemat

    eschemat Smash Debater

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    So, basically this is an argument about whether or not it's right for government intervention in an economy. I'll provide an example - renewable energy sources - as kind of a model for my arguments.

    I guess I'll start it off by talking about externalities. Externalities are the thing that harm a third party in a transaction; in standard transactions, there are the consumer and producer that are affected. In situations where third parties are affected, I think that the government is justified to intervene by taxing or subsidizing. In the example of renewable energy, we understand that being unenvironmental creates tangible harms to society, and that it's really the government's role to intervene.

    Now, you go. I'm hoping ballin, battlecow, ocean, dre, BPC etc. come into this debate because this is a real key theme in a national level debate tournament I'm entering in a week and a half lol.
  2. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    Pro side - Economics identifies "market failures" - like natural monopolies, public goods, positive externalities (often overlaps with public good) and negative externalities (often overlaps with public good). Government can use force to fix these.

    Con side - Government itself is a monopoly, and thus is inefficient - it won't solve any of the above problems efficiently due to problems of incentives. There is no perfect way to set up a government so that the leaders will have incentives to always do what is best - there are always abuses of power by those in charge. In a Republic, politicians primarily care about getting elected, not about doing what is best in the long run. The most incentive based system I can think of is monarchy (since you know your children are going to get the Kingdom, you will try to govern well so that the Kingdom is prosperous for your children), but this runs into a problem when you get that one King that is stupid and runs the Kingdom into the ground (also absolute power can be pretty corrupting, and you might not care enough about how prosperous the Kingdom is for your children).

    Also, most of the market failures are overblown anyway. I can expand on market solutions to the above "market failures" if necessary - there are very few pure cases of the above economic theories, and there are theoretical ways for the market to solve the problems (or at least make them not AS bad).
  3. rvkevin

    rvkevin Smash Debater

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    If that were true, then we would be able to have a nationwide class action law suit against companies that pollute. However, I don't think that is going to happen soon.

    This would be a good example for the case that intervention is warranted.
  4. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    Well, in this example, why don't the individual people each take out additional insurance policies against the plant blowing up?
  5. rvkevin

    rvkevin Smash Debater

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    Because an insurance payoff is of little use if you and your entire family dies.
  6. Ocean

    Ocean Smash Debater

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    if the government doesn't intervene, there is nothing to stop big business from completely running the show. a free market isn't perfect; it can't perfect competition and prevent natural monopolies and other market failures.

    and businesses care about profit, not about doing what is best in the long run.
    if it isn't government that is intervening/protecting, then it is big business, and I trust government more than I do big business.

    why can't a monopoly be efficient?

    the problem of incentives isn't an issue with the government itself: it's an issue with the people. people elect people to office because they share a similar set of ideas and priorities that they do; in this way, the people in office reflect the people that voted for them (to an extent). if the ideas and the interests of the majority of the people are either uneducated or skewed, it's going to be reflected by those who hold office. the person holding office does want what is best for the people (just like the people do) but the ideas on what is best for the people are flawed. once the majority is educated, the candidate will reflect that.
    there are more variables that goes into someone getting elected, but this is just the basic root of incentive for running. it isn't this pretty in real life, but this is just the simple idea of why a republic is good.

    however, the incentive for being a big business is not what is (what you believe to be) best for the people, but what is best for yourself. why bother trying to help the economy, or the general public, if it isn't going to help you? it's much more satisfying to make a load of money, possibly at the expense of others, so you can buy huge yachts, rather than use that energy, time, and resources trying to better the public. even if government isn't aimed to help, big business isn't any better.
  7. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    Think about what profit is. Profit means that someone paid you for your stuff - i.e. you have made that person better off (otherwise they wouldn't have been willing to pay). In a free market it is basically impossible to make money at the expense of others - they wouldn't be willing to pay for your products unless they think your products are good. Making profit IS making things better for consumers.

    Truly big business also is massively subsidized by the government because they can afford to lobby the government and get laws passed in their favor. So solving the "problem" of big business with government isn't really the best idea due to regulatory capture.

    Also, you ask why a monopoly can't be efficient, yet earlier in your post you imply that monopolies are a problem. So which is it? The government is inefficient due to incentives and the lack of competition (you can't really decide to spend your tax money on another government).

    On voting: Sure, most of the population is "uneducated", but that's due to rational ignorance. Your single vote makes no difference in the grand scheme, so there is no reason to become educated. Also, the people in office are going to primarily reflect the people who donate to their campaigns (i.e. the big businesses).
  8. Ocean

    Ocean Smash Debater

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    I agree that profit helps the business and the consumer, but it isn't a trump card. just making profit can't solve every issue in the economy. the main thing it can do discourage economic downturns.
    think of the 20s. profit was widespread, and times were prosperous, and businesses were thriving more than ever; granted the wealth was maldistributed. even with all this profit and lack of government intervention, things took a huge wrong turn in 1929. profit couldn't prevent this: there needs to be something more.

    you've never felt like you've been ripped off before?

    indeed, lobbying plays a huge role. I feel that it's easier to extricate the problems of government than the problems of big business though. it would require preventing corruptible politicians from holding office, which is an unrealistic idea, but not as unrealistic as getting all businesses to act in ways that benefit more than just themselves and the people immediately buying their goods.

    good monopolies exist. I wouldn't say that government is necessarily a good monopoly, but I would not say that it is a bad one. what is bad about the incentives of the government? their incentive is to gain power to better the country (even if what they believe doesn't actually better the country, but no one is perfect), rather than the incentive of personal profit in a monetary sense. in a way, government competes with itself, in the sense that people are constantly be challenged within government and people come in and out of office.
    you may not be able to spend your tax money on another government, but you can affect who runs the government, by voting or campaigning.
  9. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    1920s boom/bust were caused by Federal Reserve interest rates. If your argument is 100% based on preventing boom/bust cycles, then take it to the Keynesianism thread :) I'd rather focus on other issues.

    I've felt ripped off before I suppose, but it's pretty rare.

    Businesses generally only affect the people who are buying their goods, so I'm not sure why that is an issue. Governments affect EVERYONE. Having a few "bad" businesses seems much better than having a bad government.

    The incentives of a government politician are to make things look good in the short run (to get reelected) while totally ignoring the long run. The profit incentive is a good thing, so I don't know what you're talking about there.

    Also, I have literally no impact on who runs the government. The chance that my vote will affect the election is billions to one. Even if I were to spend my entire life campaigning/etc, my efforts still probably wouldn't be the ones that swing an election at the national level.


    One additional reason why profit is good: profit is a signal to potential competitors. If a company is making tons of profits, that's a signal to potential competitors that they may be able to come in and undercut the company and steal market share. For example, I know that private tutoring companies generally charge $80-$100 per hour, and they are making lots of money. So I came into this market at $40 per hour, providing cheaper service to customers while also making some money for myself.
  10. Ocean

    Ocean Smash Debater

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    I wish I could. I don't have posting rights in the main hall yet, so I can't post in the keynesianism thread. I'll leave this alone though so we can talk about other things.

    they affect a whole lot more than just the people buying their goods. they can effect the environment, the economy, other businesses, the government, etc. they essentially can affect everything government can, directly or indirectly. businesses are really strong, and can do just as much damage as the government, and I was arguing earlier that they have incentives with worse possible intentions than government (profit vs getting elected).
    that's assuming that we have a bad government, which I don't think we have.

    politicians don't always ignore the long run. when times are really bad, they aim for the short run, such FDR's new deal, or jackson's killing of the bank. most politicians do have plans for the long run though, especially second term presidents. congress has less of an incentive of the long run because their terms are so short.
    profit isn't always a good incentive. if I do something at the costs of others, or something such as the environment or the economy, profit is still an incentive, but it's no longer good.

    every individual vote counts. even if 1,000,000,000 people vote, you are helping make up that billion, your vote counts just as much as everyone else in that billion.
  11. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    Oh. Dumb Debate Hall system.

    Businesses MAY affect other things (most still probably don't - I don't think the sandwich shop down the street really affects anyone significantly besides its customers).

    The government is 100% guaranteed to affect everything drastically.

    Look, if monopolies are OK, then why did you list them amongst the problems government can solve?

    I still don't see what is wrong with the profit incentive. If you are simply trading with consumers to make profit, then you have to satisfy them. You can't use force to get profit. So what's wrong with profit incentive?

    Politicians generally do ignore the long run though. Unintended consequences of government policies abound.

    I don't see how you can make profit at the cost of the economy. The environment is an externality, which could be "fixed" by a perfectly acting government. I can talk about market solutions to externalities, but I'd rather not focus on that while we still have other points to talk about.

    And they all count for nothing individually. It's like the Heap Paradox. One vote doesn't count, but a few million together do count.

    But in the market, EVERY individual vote counts. Because if I stop buying sandwiches from that sandwich shop, then a) I have more money and b) the sandwich shop has less money. So there is a definite effect. Whether I vote or not, the outcome will be the same. So there is no effect.
  12. Battlecow

    Battlecow Play to Win

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    Booooooooooooring

    Na but f'realz yo you can misrepresent products or whatever in the free market, leading to you cheating people and taking their money for products that they didn't really want at that cost.
  13. eschemat

    eschemat Smash Debater

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    Debate hall is truly a god among men. Thanks guys lol.

    Just to clarify though, the debate style we do is Lincoln Douglas and in Canada the main focus is usually on what should be done, not whether or not politicians will actually get it done >_<
  14. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    Well, that's called fraud and it's, you know, illegal.

    But even if it weren't, how long do you really think your snake oil sales are going to continue? Word will get out and then that won't work any more.

    And what is the government really going to do to prevent this anyway? I don't see how introducing government is going to solve this supposed problem.

    Well, the question of what should be done is should we leave it to the politicians or should we leave it to the free market.

    And generally the free market will be better.

    If that doesn't work then could you explain more what you mean by "what should be done"? What "should be done" depends on what situation you are talking about.
  15. eschemat

    eschemat Smash Debater

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    lol ok. my arguments are just about how the free market is self-correcting and the government can't arbitrarily tamper with it and how getting rid of important economic staples within small communities affects those small communities and job loss caused in general.
  16. 1048576

    1048576 Smash Master

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    The Jungle - Upton Sinclair
  17. Ocean

    Ocean Smash Debater

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    well, we aren't talking about the mom & pop cornerstores. we are talking about big business: where the money really is.

    and the free market doesn't?

    because both good and bad monopolies exist.

    greed can lead to people doing things that hurt others (or externalities) simply for the sake of making money. people liking to make money is good, but when people's only incentive is to profit, it leads to issues.

    do you have any examples of this?

    people were profiting off the housing bubble and thus feeding into it, but it only eventually hurt the economy.

    it's illegal because of government involvement. ;)

    considering the meat market has been getting away with it for a really long time, I don't think this always happens.

    force companies to reform, or fix their issues, that they wouldn't in a free market.
  18. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    Small businesses make a lot of money too.

    Uh, what? Most businesses don't have a large effect on anyone besides themselves and their customers.

    Define good and bad please.

    Yes, greed can lead to people doing bad things, and that's exactly what happens with politicians. You see, businesses have to get your money VOLUNTARILY. Politicians can TAKE your money.

    Pretty much every policy ever. Also

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintended_consequences

    Housing bubble was a result of Federal Reserve interest rates.

    Even if it weren't how exactly could the government have fixed this problem with knowing in advance exactly what would happen? Sure, in hindsight one might say "the government could have done this that and the other" to fix the problem, but NO ONE could see these things in advance. Hence all the politicians/Federal Reserve people insisting that there was no housing bubble, right up until the crash. And when the government does try to fix problems, what if it's "fix" isn't the right one? Usually this winds up being far worse than the problem itself.

    You can't just assume the government is going to act perfectly when my whole argument is that they CAN'T and DON'T WANT TO act perfectly.

    I'm assuming a market exists here. Fraud is a form of breaking a contract. Fraud is automatically illegal so long as we assume a free market exists.

    No idea what you are referring to here. But unless you have some secret knowledge that no one else has about that market then you are wrong. People buy what they want to buy.

    And how does the government know exactly what to do? How do you know they will do the right thing? How do you know they will even want to do the "right" thing?
  19. 1048576

    1048576 Smash Master

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    Business with market power can sell at anti-competitive prices. This creates inefficincies, so the govt.'s role is to provide incentives for WalMart to act right.
  20. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    WalMart is like the worst possible example of inefficient pricing ever.

    WalMart consistently has really really low prices.

    Market Power means you can have high prices.
  21. Bob Jane T-Mart

    Bob Jane T-Mart Smash Debater

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    To be honest, I believe that the ultimate example of a corporation in an anarchist free-market economy is the mafia. It runs on profit and greed and consequently does whatever it needs to, to protect that. That's why government regulation is necessary.

    The corporation is a beast motivated almost entirely by the desire for profit; that's the way it's built, and in the process of this it will do whatever it can to increase those profits. If a Tobacco company wants to make addictive and dangerous cigarettes because it'll make more money, it will in, the absence of any regulation. One needs at least some measure of government intervention in the economy to make sure that corporations don't get out of hand and start screwing people over like they used to before regulation was introduced.

    Let's examine slavery. In the absence of government regulation there was slavery in the USA. People were treated like property and the free-market didn't do anything about that. And really, the reason was that the farmers were profiting from owning people; when you have free labour, you aren't going to give it up, if you are sufficiently selfish. It took the government to free the slaves. And it takes the government to provide things the free-market is incapable of, justice, law, a military, a system of universal healthcare, social security, a minimum wage, workers rights and universal education.

    And sure it takes away tax-dollars from people in our society, but I believe that it would be better to have a slightly poorer society with a small disparity in wealth, with healthcare for all and education for all - the interventionist society - than a rich society with a massive rich-poor divide and lacking arguably essential services - the free market society (although Ballin will probably say that they aren't because the market didn't put them there, which seems a little circular.).

    And although the government has its failings, it is accountable to more than just its shareholders - there is a wonderful thing called democracy, a government is accountable to the general public; everyone and the free-market is not.
  22. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    The mafia is a perfect example of a government actually. They offer protection service, like the government, but they also use violence to get what they want.

    Free Market => no violence. As long as the Mafia isn't being violent, then I'm totally fine with them.

    How are people getting screwed over when they are VOLUNTARILY buying the products?

    Have you ever thought about how regulations screw people over? Regulations are by definition NON-VOLUNTARY.

    Lulz. Government 100% supported slavery, so this makes no sense.

    In fact, slavery ended in nearly all developed countries before the US. You know why? Because it's expensive to hold slaves. Without government support of slavery (i.e. tracking down runaway slaves, subsidizing the rich plantation owners, etc), slavery would have ended earlier.

    So slavery has nothing to do with the free market. In fact, slavery is by definition a violation of the free market since it involves violence against the slaves.

    Ok, but what gives YOU the right to make that decision? What if your numbers are off? What if all future people are going to be much much worse off due to your policies?

    This why I always emphasize that people in the US today have GREAT lives relative to nearly everyone who has ever existed. Go talk to the serf from the 1600s about how poor you are. Heck, go talk to the rich people then. You're probably better off than they are too.

    Yes, there are people who are less fortunate in the US and other developed countries today. But there is NO way you can argue morally to help those people over starving people in developing countries. So let's at least get that straight. Anyway, I think that private charity and the free market can do a fine job of helping out these people. They could work in factories or restaurants or at many other positions - but if you are just handing them money for free, there is little incentive to work. Some small number of people truly can't work - these people should be helped out by charity/relatives/etc.

    Corporations are accountable to their consumers, since the consumers must VOLUNTARILY choose to do business with the corporation. This is not the case with the government.

    What gives 51% of people the right to tell the other 49% what to do? What do you think about the fact that Hitler was democratically elected? Were his policies ok because the "people" supported him? You're going to have to do a little better than just "democracy is good", methinks.

    lol Godwin's law by the way.
  23. Bob Jane T-Mart

    Bob Jane T-Mart Smash Debater

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    A government is not necessarily motivated by greed. A corporation is.

    I guess you're okay with people being exploited then aren't you.

    Okay, so passive-smoking, premature death and the increase in healthcare costs due to tobacco related illnesses are all justified because people want to buy cigarettes? Even though if they were not addicted they wouldn't?

    Yeah, they're important. You need them. But gosh-dammit, they screw over those innocent conmen and guys running sweatshops. They'll now have to treat their workers humanely.

    Is it cheaper to feed someone and keep him in a shed or pay that man a wage that he can live on? Slavery is cheap.

    I'm pretty sure that slavery disappeared from other countries because they abolished it. They did it in Lithuania in the 1500s and in Portugal in 1624, that was a whole 200+ years before they did it in the USA.

    I'm just pointing out the fact that the free-market has now morals and in the absence of appropriate regulation will perform atrocities such as slavery.

    Okay, lets take a look at Scandinavia. They're comparatively socialist. And they're doing quite well. Look at Norway, or Sweden, according to the Human Development Index, a crude measure for how developed a society is, their doing quite well, and better than the US when it comes to inequalities.

    In fact Australia, which is actually more socialist than the USA, and where I happen to live, is ranked above the USA, with and without adjusting for inequality. (I think it's fairly obvious to see that I'm the cause of its goodness, if an interventionist government isn't.)

    Yes, but that is because of technology, a large portion of which came from government funded research.

    Private charity and the free market helping these guys out? Why hasn't private charity already done that? And why haven't all these countries been able to develop then? I believe that they hold some of the freer markets, especially when it comes down to environmental and safety regulations.

    Sure, China's developing, but I wouldn't say it's a free market, far from it, state-sponsored capitalism appears to be driving the economic growth in part.

    Yes, but only to their consumers and shareholders, nobody else. If they're doing fine, then the corporation is untouchable, even if they cause serious and adverse social/environmental consequences.

    However, although democracy is flawed, there appears to be no other method of governance that reliably works to ensure freedom, accountability, economic growth, development etc. It's the best we've got and for a government to be elected it must gain a majority of votes and convince the majority of people that it's doing a good enough job. The corporation only needs to convince shareholders, and they appear only interested in their return on investment, while the general public is interested in ALL issues that may concern them.
  24. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    But there's nothing wrong with greed if the only way to get money is through voluntary means.

    Also let's not kid ourselves: politicians are motivated by greed and power.

    Define "exploited" please.

    Yes.

    You know what else causes premature death and massive increase in healthcare costs? Cars. Should we ban cars too?

    As long as people are deriving some benefit from a good and they know about the health risks, then that's their choice to use it.

    Really, how many conmen are there, and how many are really getting screwed over by regulations? As I said, fraud is already covered by my assumption of a free market. I really don't think "conmen" are an issue.

    As for sweatshops, it looks like you misunderstand the economics of the situation. Regulations against sweatshops don't result in workers being treated humanely. They result in workers losing their jobs - jobs that they voluntarily chose to take.

    There are large costs of enforcement.

    Free workers are generally more profitable than slaves.

    Check this link

    "even without emancipation ... slavery would soon have disappeared ... slavery would slowly have become unprofitable"

    That's not a free market though. The free market by assumption contains a lack of violence. Slavery is violence. So it's not a free market.

    Those countries actually have quite a lot of economic freedom. Anyway, I don't really want to get into a point by point comparison of these countries and the US.

    The US is NOT a free market. It is corporatist, meaning that the corporations partner with the government to ensure that regulations favor the large corporations.

    Also, this is just some arbitrary metric. But once again, I am NOT arguing for the US. I am arguing for the free market.

    Uh, government funded research didn't lead to the Industrial Revolution.

    There is an argument to be made that the market will underproduce research. However, I don't think government is the solution here, because the government does not necessarily know what research will be beneficial. Much of government funded research is purely academic anyway.

    Technological growth will surely continue with or without government funded research.

    One other important factor in improving human lives though is capital accumulation, which is a result of market processes (indeed, I would argue that research itself is impossible without accumulated capital). People invest savings into projects which lead to new products and new technologies.

    Private charity does help poor people currently. But it's important to note that there is less private charity because the government is already imposing charity on people.

    Also, the reason that developing countries have low growth is because of the lack of free markets. They are run into the ground by bad governments/dictators.

    China is probably more of a free market than the US. Taxes are lower and there are definitely far fewer regulations.

    How many businesses really have severe negative externalities?

    I could also talk about market mechanisms for internalizing externalities (e.g. pollution as a form of vandalism).

    Ok, democracy may be "the best we've got". But don't its flaws indicate that we should use it as little as possible?

    Also rational ignorance/self interested voters make it clear that "the people" aren't going to make the right decisions.
  25. 1048576

    1048576 Smash Master

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    They make their suppliers inefficient, but w/e better examples exist. Ticketmaster?
  26. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    Is there evidence for Wal-Mart having this level of Monopsony power? Anyway, it's still not a good example because that's actually good for consumers ...

    I'm not really sure how ticketmaster works, but I don't think ticketed events are a good example. If you define the good as "tickets to the event" then there is no way to not have a monopoly there. If you define the good as "entertainment" then there is TONS of competition. One interesting thing I know though is that ticketed events usually underprice their tickets, hence scalpers step in. This is actually making the market a bit more efficient, since the tickets wind up going to the people who are willing to pay a lot for them. It does suck though when you are paying for a marked up ticket.
  27. eschemat

    eschemat Smash Debater

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    OK, so what about big things such as the environment? How can we justify that when every individual purchase done is a harm to all of society? The environment is a major thing, and damaging it just creates great harms to society, so how could someone justify not regulating the market in major situations such as those where there are legitimate solutions like renewable energy?
  28. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    To the extent renewable energy is a legitimate solution it will be researched by the market. If we are running out of oil for example, the market price of oil will slowly increase until it is unaffordable, and then other energy sources will be cost effective.

    Externalities can be a problem, but most negative externalities can be internalized. Pollution in particular shouldn't even be treated as an externality - it's literally just a form of vandalism. If I come and drop all my trash on your lawn, that's vandalism. It's no different if a company drops their trash on your lawn. Part of the problem there is that companies aren't as accountable when they pollute areas that no one owns - e.g. most rivers. If someone were the owner of the river they would sue pretty quickly, but the government might not pay enough attention to the river pollution otherwise.
  29. eschemat

    eschemat Smash Debater

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    It seems like a change has to be put in place right now though, cause of how bad fossil fuels are just in terms of deaths from air pollution etc. though right?

    And at the same time, isn't it the government's responsibility to try and change that altogether?
  30. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    I don't trust the government to do it right though. What if the government overfunds one area of research that actually isn't very productive?

    Air pollution should also be considered vandalism.
  31. eschemat

    eschemat Smash Debater

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    well the government should ban it seeing as vandalism is illegal.

    the government should probably know to spread it out; if now, they could go into hydroelectric, which is a very consistent energy source. it provides 59% of canada's electricity.
  32. Bob Jane T-Mart

    Bob Jane T-Mart Smash Debater

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    No. I'm pretty sure that greed is a negative aspect of one's personality.

    Yes, but not entirely, as the free market and the corporation necessitate. They do have ideologies to further and they presumably do actually care a little about the state of the country.

    Treated in an unfair manner. This could take the form of being swindled or underpaid, working in dangerous conditions etc.

    Firstly, I don't believe that when one purchases a cigarette, the Tobacco company would voluntarily tell you that they cause adverse health effects and are addictive, yet cigarettes are addictive and dangerous to one's health. Without regulations such as false-advertising laws or mandatory health-warnings consumers would not have the right information to make the correct decision when it comes to buying products. I don't think that is a good thing.

    How is fraud covered?

    They take these jobs voluntarily because they cannot find work elsewhere, so, if all working conditions were raised to a reasonable standard as mandated by the government, working conditions would have to improve or nothing would be produced. And businesses need production if they wish to make profit.

    True, but it's far cheaper in other areas.

    Okay, even if slaves would have become unprofitable, it is far quicker to enact legislation to make the practice illegal and note the use of the word "slowly".

    That is an assumption however. The free market exists in the absence of regulation, without regulation there would be little to prevent this sort of practice.

    Okay, that's fine then but I would argue that those countries have less economic freedom than the USA and more government intervention than the USA.

    True, however, the US would be considered freer than those countries would it not?

    No, it measures average life expectancy, educational attainment and GDP per capita. It's not entirely arbitrary, although I would agree that it is rough.

    Okay, what about the internet? Or the computer?

    Though academic research will become useful down the track. I'm sure when Quantum mechanics was first being theorised it had little practical application, but it now is what allows for the construction of computers.

    Though, government increases this growth though, you must admit.

    Yes, but I assure you that compulsory charity would be able to raise more money than private charity.

    Although they often have poor governments, I'm pretty sure that not all of them do, and that at least some have relatively free markets, especially because they have fewer regulations.

    I disagree. China is a communist country. Public ownership of assets is common and the government plans the economy.

    Lots. Environmental pollution is extremely common and adverse health effects from produce are common as well.

    Yeah and who would implement them? The government?

    I believe that the free market's flaws should mean that it shouldn't be trusted with total management of the economy. You've got to try and balance these two things.

    Well, neither are greed fuelled share holders.
  33. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    What I'm asking is why it even matters if the only way to satisfy your greed is to HELP OTHERS?

    Yes, and those lead them to make more bad decisions ...

    Ok, now define unfair, define underpaid, define dangerous conditions, etc. Are NFL players exploited? They work in VERY dangerous conditions. It seems like this is all going to come down to your opinion of what "fair" is.

    I have a non-arbitrary criterion for determining whether something is fair, and that's whether it was voluntary. Sometimes one might change one's mind later, but the vast, vast majority of the time when you voluntarily agree to something you're better off.

    C'mon. No one reads those labels, and everyone knows that cigarettes are harmful anyway.

    My only point is that it's perfectly fine for people to choose to do things that are harmful to their health like cigarettes, fast food, driving, etc.

    Fraud is a form of breach of contract. I agree to buy something from you, but you actually deliver something else - that's fraud/breach of contract.

    "Reasonable standard" is decided by whom? It looks like the workers themselves decided that wherever they chose was already a reasonable standard.

    And if you raise the wages/etc of all the workers, then perhaps the business won't be able to make a profit at all and will go out of business. It's pretty simple economics - if you put in a price floor on wages, then there will be excess supply of workers, i.e. unemployment.

    And one of the beauties of the market is that IF the workers are really getting underpaid, another company will have an incentive to set up a factory there, pay the workers a little bit more, and steal away all the cheap labor from the old company. That's competition. That's why the market leads to workers getting paid the marginal product of their labor (i.e. they are paid exactly how much their labor produces for the firm).

    Is it? I don't think that they were paying sharecroppers much even after slavery was done...

    Yes, and I 100% agree that slavery should never have happened. My only point was that slavery was STRONGLY supported by the government of the time.

    Lack of violence IS an assumption of the free market. If there isn't lack of violence, then it is not a free market. It's a whole other topic what the government needs to do (or not do) to ensure that a free market exists at all (one that we could debate, but I'd like to stick to this topic while it's still going). I'm assuming that the free market already exists and comparing market solutions and government solutions - i.e. government regulation in excess of whatever is required to ensure the existence of the free market.

    They were actually above the US in some areas of economic freedom IIRC. There are also demographic issues to consider - the US is larger and more diverse, etc. And I think those countries have plenty of problems too (using only some UN index doesn't really tell you anything about the health of their economy). Anyway, the US has strayed far away from the free market so I don't really think it's a worthwhile comparison.

    I don't know. The US is pretty messed up. I guess it depends on what you mean by freer. The free market exists to some extent in some areas of the US markets (technology?), but many of them are dominated by government (financials). So I guess it depends on the product? I don't know enough details to make a good comparison.

    I'm not saying it's totally useless, but it's not like it's the perfect thing to capture economic health either. Certain things in there might have little to do with the economy.

    It's a real stretch to say those are products of the government. The roots of the internet can be traced back to a project to create a network that would function in the even of nuclear strike, but the internet as we know it has had little government involvement in its propagation. There's a big debate going on now about how much the government should get involved in the internet, implying that the government has had little to do with the internet up to today. Anyway, I really don't think it's the case that the internet only exists because of government.

    Computers obviously would have been produced whether the government were involved in research or not. Is the government involved in all the current advances in computers that we have? (like the massive increases in memory/CPU speed/etc?). I'd say that was driven by the computer companies.

    Wait, what? What does quantum mechanics have to do with computers?

    Also there is a large amount of scientific research that hasn't had any practical application as well.

    No way. Maybe if the only thing the government did was fund research and it somehow knew all the right things to invest in. All the other stuff the government does slows economic growth by a ridiculous amount.

    Also, if the government weren't investing in research and instead left that money in the hands of private citizens, maybe it would have gone towards other research that is more applicable to the wants of consumers. That's one of the things about counterfactuals: all we see is what actually happened, so we can't even imagine what might have happened otherwise.

    Obviously. But it's likely to raise too much charity.

    I really doubt it, but even if they did, they are going to be worse off just because they are so far behind developed nations already. If centuries of horrible government give way to a totally free market, it's not going to instantly make them equal to a developed nation. They don't have the accumulated capital and technology that developed nations do.

    China is communist in name only. Government is involved in some aspects of the economy but there is a lot of room for entrepreneurship and very few regulations on businesses.

    I'd still argue that MOST businesses don't have either of these. Also health effects from produce aren't an externality - that's just an example of a bad product.

    Environmental pollution should be treated as vandalism IMO, and the people whose property is getting polluted should come to some agreement with the company about what to do.

    Well, most see the government as the enforcement mechanism for the free market, so I suppose yes. The key difference between general government environmental policies and what I propose is the focus on the victims - the people whose property is getting polluted. These are the people that should come to some agreement with the company about what to do, and the government should just enforce that agreement.

    As I said, greed is good if the only way to satisfy greed is to help others. Also the market doesn't have centralized decision makers, so the greed fueled share holders can only really affect the market for their own product, rather than messing things up for everyone the way the government can.
  34. Bob Jane T-Mart

    Bob Jane T-Mart Smash Debater

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    Yeah. Okay.

    Oh really? Is all ideology necessarily bad?

    That is actually a very hard question. The definition of unfair and underpaid would depend upon the context. I guess underpaid would have to mean, that they perform work for an unusually low amount of pay; possibly not enough to live on.

    Dangerous would have to be posing an unnecessary risk to one's health. Dangerous conditions are okay though, so long as the workers are aware of it and are paid extra for it/gain extra health insurance or some other form of compensation. It has to be relatively fair.

    No. That doesn't determine whether its fair at all. People are capable of making poor decisions; very capable. Sometimes they do not understand all the information, or do not have access to it all.

    A. Imagine a world where people did not know that cigarettes were addictive.
    B. Imagine a world where people were unaware of the health affects.

    I think its pretty easy, considering that B actually occurred (there was a time before the link between cigarettes and lung-cancer was established), and quite possibly A as well, but that is beside the point. If these two conditions were in place, and the government were not to warn people of the health consequences or the addictiveness of cigarettes; people would be making a bad decision without their knowledge if they purchased cigarettes. No Tobacco company would tell the consumer that their product was dangerous or addictive if they did not have to, which would be the case in the absence of regulation. Thus, government intervention is necessary here, to protect the consumer, to make sure that he is aware of all of the facts.

    I'm guessing government intervention is needed to prevent this breach of contract. Without the force of the law this would not be possible.

    Not necessarily, there could be a lack of competition.

    Yeah, and you cover that problem with unemployment benefits, so everyone in society can afford a square meal and a roof over their head.

    Um... you do know that there are monopolies right?

    Yes, but you don't just buy them food and keep them in your shed. You actually have to pay them enough to make them work for you.

    Well, that would be a consequence of property rights arguably, because slaves were considered property then.

    Okay, well then with that assumption then Free markets by their very definition cannot result in "violence" or anything like that. Then again, the idea of a free market creating violence would be retorted with the "No True Scotsman" Fallacy.

    I'm arguing that government intervention is necessary whether or not the free market exists.

    Okay, I guess this debate is largely confined to theory then.

    Yeah, although economic health, I would argue would not be the only indicator of the health of a nation.

    Well, the internet was invented in a government research project, before the market invented it. Without the government to invent this, internet technology would be far behind what it is today.

    I'm crediting the government with the initial development of the computer or at least the transistorised computer. Without that, we computer development would be far behind what it is today.

    I'm pretty sure its extremely important in the ensuring semi-condcutors used in microchips behave the way we want them to.

    The scientific research may have a practical application in the future, in fact it probably will.

    I was referring to technological growth.

    Yes, but projects like ARPANET (the precusor of the internet) would probably not have occurred then, neither would advances in physics or biology, that now are beginning to have practical use.

    Too much? Explain.

    True, but we should see them improving drastically. Yet, it is the economies with government intervention; the Asian "Tigers" that are developing quickly.

    I would say heavily involved. It is a centrally planned economy.

    No, but the loss production, and cost of treating those health effects would be.

    In this case, do you think the company would even agree to fix the problem if it didn't have to?

    That's government intervention. Although, that sort of government intervention is probably required in the creation of the free market.

    Well, greed fuelled shareholders will only care about the money they receive, and have not the slightest worry about negative externalities, unless something is there to internalise those externalities.
  35. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    How do YOU know the right answers to these questions? How do you know that you won't place criteria that are too strict - causing unemployment, underproduction, etc? What's wrong with letting people decide for themselves?

    I can give an actual example by the way. I did some contracting work for a company. I got paid an hourly wage. Now, a government regulation states that any worker who is paid an hourly wage MUST get paid 1.5 times as much for every hour in excess of 40 hours per week. Because of this, the company that I worked for refused to allow me to work more than 40 hours in a week. I would have been perfectly happy to work 45 hours some weeks, but I would always get kicked out at 40 hours even if I still had stuff that needed to be done.

    It's a very dangerous, slippery slope to start saying that the government KNOWS better than the people. Like in the above example - the government claims to know better than I do how many hours I should be able to work at a given wage.

    Not all information comes from the government. People would certainly have found this stuff out through media.

    Serious question: when did all those tobacco warning labels/etc start going onto every cigarette pack? I've heard that my grandparents quit smoking in the 60s when they found out it was unhealthy. I would presume that this predates warning labels.

    Assuming free market exists, etc.

    How often is there really lack of competition for unskilled labor?

    And you do that by putting a gun to the head of everyone who is working?

    Not to mention that this gives those people little incentive to work.

    Monopoly purchaser of unskilled labor?

    Sure, it's possible, but unlikely. And even so, the workers are still agreeing to do the work. It's not as ideal as the situation where there is competition for labor, but at least there's no violence.

    I've lost track of what you're trying to argue here. The government is needed to prevent slavery ... even though slavery only existed due to government enforcement of it.

    That's not a No True Scotsman fallacy. The DEFINITION of the free market includes a lack of violence. No True Scotsman is when you use something that's NOT in the definition of Scotsman.

    Ok, that's a whole other can of worms. Many people believe that the purpose of government is to ensure that the free market exists. Whether the free market requires a government to establish it is a whole other question.

    For simplicity I wanted to stick to the scenario where we already have a free market and then decide whether additional government involvement is necessary.

    Doing research is boring anyway :laugh:

    See, I 100% disagree with this. No one knows how the counterfactual situation would have turned out.

    Also, to say the internet was invented in a government research project is still dubious. A precursor to the internet was invented. The internet as we know it ... not so much. It would be like crediting the government with the invention of the automobile because the tire was a government invention or something.

    Again I don't know how you can say this. Computers pretty clearly make tons of money, so a private company would have a big incentive to make a computer.

    And again, I'm pretty sure 99% of the development of computer technology has been by private companies making better CPUs/RAM/software/etc.

    Do you have a link? Just curious. I'd never heard that before.

    Some definitely will. Some almost definitely won't.

    All the taxes/etc. that harm economic growth certainly impact technological growth as well.

    But maybe the advances that would have come about in that counterfactual would be EVEN BETTER than whatever they're coming up with now.

    Distorted incentives since you are subsidizing people who don't contribute to the economy and taking money away from people who do contribute.

    China had very little economic growth for like 50 years. Then it started to open its markets up more and more, and what do you know?

    Also I don't know anything about the current situation in Africa. I'm guessing that they still have oppressive governments there.

    I don't know the details, but I have heard that this is not the case.

    Whatever enforcement mechanism the market contains (government or whatever else) will enforce a solution.

    True.

    But what's the biggest monopoly, with the most externalities of them all? The government.
  36. Bob Jane T-Mart

    Bob Jane T-Mart Smash Debater

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    We don't know the answers to those questions, they depend on the context. People should be able to decide for themselves but their choices should be limited to those that guarantee their rights.

    Well that's overtime payments it's kinda different to the idea of minimum working conditions/wage. However, it does provide a disincentive for companies to overwork people, to force or coerce workers into working longer than they probably should.

    The government probably knows more than a lot of people. It's job is to inform the people and ensure that they are aware of the consequences of their actions, in this context. The free market is unlikely to do such a thing and much of the health research, I would imagine is funded by the government.

    I wouldn't know, however it is true that without the warning labels, the consumer does not have access to a large amount of the relevant information to this transaction unless they do research for themselves. And who would do that, if they can't be bothered to read a warning label?

    I mean a lack of labour providers.

    That language is most definitely too harsh to describe the reality of the issue. We are merely taxing the rich more than the poor and using that to support (read keep alive) those who do not have work. Yes, it diminishes the incentive to work, but it is still there, so long as unemployment benefits are less than the minimum wage.

    But in that instance, do they really have any other choice?

    I'm saying that as a consequence of property rights, slavery would be maintained in a free market, unless government regulations ban it.

    I guess I'm wrong there then.

    Okay. That's fine with me.

    Well, by definition if someone invents something, they invent it first, so we would know that without the government research in that field, the internet would have been invented later. Unless for some reason extremely visionary companies decided on it, though I doubt any company could have been that visionary.

    And that analogy is completely flawed. It's actually like crediting the government with the invention of the car, if they invent a crude prototype for the car.

    I'm pretty sure that companies do not have that kind of foresight, when the computer was in its infancy, nobody would have bothered to invest in that if they had the desire to make a profit.

    I'm saying that governments kick-start this research, companies then can improve on them.

    Yes.

    How do you know?

    Yes, but the funding is more concentrated than it would otherwise be. I think technological growth is enhanced by extra government funding.

    Yeah, maybe. But on the contrary, imagine if they had received even more funding, imagine how much better the advances would be then!

    Right...

    Yeah, there is a balance to be had between the market and government intervention. I believe that the government has a role as well.

    True, but I'm sure that at least some have extremely lax regulations.

    Yeah, but can you think of any other reliable enforcement mechanism than the government?

    Again, the government is a democracy and to a greater extent than a stock corporation, the externalities have to be considered, because everyone in that country votes.
  37. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    What if I don't want to exercise a particular "right"? What about my right to LIBERTY - to CHOOSE what I want to do?

    The principle is ridiculously similar. Some lawmaker, trying to be benevolent, passed a law that would supposedly help workers - but actually hinders them. The minimum wage is almost exactly analogous to the situation I presented by the way. It PREVENTS people from CHOOSING to work for a low wage.

    If the minimum wage is such a good idea, why not raise it? Let's make it $10/hour. How about $20/hour? How about $100/hour?

    The government knows what's best for me better than I do?

    The free market gives us media, consumer reports, etc. When you want to buy a new car, do you need the government to tell you which cars are good and which aren't? No, you can look that information up in various consumer reports.

    Most health research is funded by big pharma, I thought ...

    I would, and my doctor would. Just like I don't buy a car without knowing whether it is good or not, I'm not going to use some medication unless I have some reason to think it works.

    Yes, that's what I meant. Since unskilled work is unskilled, that means that there will be many companies willing to purchase that unskilled work. I could see your argument a little better actually for skilled workers: if I am an automobile engineer and there is only one car company in the area, I'm stuck with that company. But for unskilled work, I could work at that car factory, or as a cashier, or in a stockroom, etc. Obviously the wage will be lower for the unskilled worker, but it's unlikely that the unskilled worker will get "exploited" and paid less than the value of his labor.

    Really, what is inaccurate about that description? You might think it's justified, but let's call a spade a spade here. If someone doesn't pay these taxes, they will have violence used against them, and if they resist they may even be killed.

    Diminished incentives will have an impact ...

    If they aren't forced by someone else to make the choice, then obviously there is a choice. Yes though, most people prefer doing some difficult job to being hungry.

    ONLY IF one assumes that one can have property rights over slaves, i.e. that they do not have self ownership, i.e. that they are not people. When the government was setting up its "market" back then, they enforced slavery. That's why slavery occurred.

    My definition of a free market would assume that those slaves are, you know, PEOPLE, so holding them as slaves would count as violence.

    But maybe without the government investing in that particular research project, those resources would have gone towards something even better. You don't know.

    Remember for the internet in particular there is a big time gap between this government project and the actual internet as we know it. Maybe the internet would have been opened up to the public sooner and would have expanded earlier. We don't know, but it's foolish to just assume that the way it played out was automatically the optimal way.

    Ok, do you really want to debate technical differences between ARPANET and the internet today?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arpanet

    A quick look there shows that it talks about shutdown of ARPANET, indicating that it no longer exists. ARPANET is only important because it was the first example of a packet-switching network.

    The idea of packet switching came about as a solution to this nuclear strike problem, and it was later implemented in the current version of the internet. It was ISPs trying to make money that made the Internet accessible to people.

    Except companies did do that ... and how is the government supposed to have foresight? Ok, if we assume that the government is perfect then you're right, but there's no way the government can know what are the right things to invest in.

    There is even an issue of "too much" foresight as well. At some point in the future commercial spaceflight will likely be viable, but surely it was a waste of resources to spend so much researching spaceflight decades ago. The results were of little importance to consumers (Tang not withstanding).

    Some things have turned out that way; plenty of things haven't turned out that way.

    I don't know ... but neither does the government.

    Possibly, but the overall effect is going to be negative regardless when you factor in all the other things government does. That's what I'm trying to say.

    But in that case, maybe all the resources would go into that area of research, and we would never have invented cell phones or something.

    My point is that we don't know and neither does the government. The market, though, has the benefit of distributed knowledge. An expert/entrepreneur in a particular field might know that product X or technology Y will be great for consumers and is feasible to make, and that person will try to bring that product or technology to market to make a bunch of money. The government can't possibly have knowledge of every possible market, and that's one of the reasons that the distributed knowledge of the market leads to better allocations of resources to meet consumer demand. I think the same will be true of technological research.

    I don't really know, but regardless lax regulations aren't the only component of a free market - you need low taxes, low levels of violence, etc.

    Yes, but it's probably too much to explain right now.

    According to public choice theory, none of the voters are going to care about externalities, etc. They will only care about their own well-being, so they aren't necessarily going to vote for the optimal solution. Throw in rational ignorance (it's not worth learning about the issues since your vote isn't going to swing the election anyway) too.
  38. Bob Jane T-Mart

    Bob Jane T-Mart Smash Debater

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    They still retain a large degree of liberty, they still have the choice, but the choices are limited to ones that maintain their rights. Liberty, can't be all encompassing, otherwise anarchy results.

    Yeah, it also means that all workers are paid enough to live, and with unemployment benefits, the unemployed people are paid enough to live as well, although not as much.

    Well, because presumably a minimum wage is supposed to guarantee that a worker has enough income so that they can buy basic necessities. Anything above that would be superfluous, and would be excessive. It would also be bad for businesses, unnecessarily.

    It knows more about the health-effects of Tobacco than you do. Note that I wasn't actually saying that it knew better than you about yourself, I'm saying that it probably knows more about certain issues, and that that knowledge should be disclosed.

    Well, that only works if the information already exists. The adverse health-effects from cigarettes remained hidden for some time. Consumer reports and media organisation cannot uncover this unless they actually scientifically investigate an issue like that. And the government does that well, while the free market has yet to prove itself in this arena.

    And it should be noted that health research by big pharma would mainly involve drug-manufacturing, which is quite different from that of determining whether a certain product has adverse health-affects. Where's the money in that?

    Tobacco is not a form of medication, nor is it a large purchase like a car. Do you honestly think that there are people too lazy to read warning labels, yet they're quite willing to do the research through other means? The warning labels are there to protect the consumer, so that they can know what the risks are.

    Okay, that scenario could occur in developing countries. And furthermore, price-fixing on the side of the business can occur. Although, for some reason I get the feeling that you're going to assume that the free market can't have this sort of thing.

    It's damn well important that they pay their taxes. It's necessary for the functioning of a government, and arguably society at large.

    Yeah, but the alternative I believe is worse.

    Yes, they have no other choice. They HAVE to work for that company, otherwise they die. The government is there to make sure that they do get a decent wage.

    Yes, but slaves were not really considered people at that point in time, instead property, hence the violence aspect would not be an issue to them. Without the government to enforce the fact that the slaves are actually people, they would not be treated as such, provided that property rights exist.

    True.

    Okay, I'm just saying that, you have credit the government with that.

    Yes. ARPANET is different to the internet, however, the internet was based off ARPANET. In short, the original invention of this kind of system was could be attributed to the government. The ISPs took this idea and ran with it. It does not invalidate the fact that the government produced a damn useful idea, before the private sector did it.

    Well, because the government is not motivated by quarterly profit reports, their terms are longer, and presumably they actually want the country to be in good shape next time they return to power. Funding research makes sense, if you want a better future, but businesses and their shareholders are more interested in short-term monetary gains.

    True.

    I'd wager that most research will have a practical application at some point in the future, assuming our civilisation lasts long enough and that the research is not about the interior of black holes or something like that.

    How do you know? This all rests upon the theory that the free market will produce the best outcome for all. Indeed, the free market may, but the practical side of it is actually rather interesting, because what level of government involvement is necessary to produce a free market is up for debate, and if it is wrong, it is not a free market. In short, free market economics is not particularly useful when determining the appropriate level of regulation in an economy.

    If a free market cannot be attained (I believe that it can't, the definition is too narrow, even with laws, violence will still occur), what would the next best thing be?

    True.

    Well... I have the feeling that these entrepreneurs only consider the short-term outcomes of this research. I can't imagine anyone possibly would see the money that quantum mechanics brought to society, before it was discovered. In short, research for research's sake produces benefits in the long-term, benefits that the free market cannot provide.

    True, but I'm sure they have low taxes as well.

    Sure, they are selfish in nature, but the nature of democracy is that everyone is involved, and that if the externalities affect anyone, they will be internalised to some extent.
  39. ballin4life

    ballin4life Smash Debater

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    Liberty can't be all encompassing, but that's only with respect to how your actions impact others (e.g. can't kill other people). I should have liberty over my own decisions. As long as I'm not hurting anyone else, what's the problem?

    It actually means that many workers are unemployed and have no reason to contribute.

    1) The minimum wage isn't really enough (in the US at least) to raise a family on

    2) Define basic necessities etc

    3) Would you really work if it didn't allow you to get basic necessities? If I'm going to starve whether I work or not, then I probably will choose to not work lol.

    Economists agree that the minimum wage causes unemployment.

    It's kind of funny since it should be obvious that smoking kills you (duh smoke kills you in fires).

    Seriously though, people do have incentives to find out whether things are healthy regardless of the government. "The free market has yet to prove itself"? Really? Why is it that I can get insight about nearly any product on the internet, for example? Because of government regulations? Clearly we must need the government to tell us which cars are good, right?

    And once again, you're ignoring costs and regulatory capture.

    Part of that process is determining the health effects of a drug, but anyway I was just making a statement that I really don't think most health care research is done by the government ...

    Also, "where's the money in that"? Uh, you do tests to find out things are harmful and then sell that information to consumers. You can also charge companies to get a "seal of approval" from your company, which is good for their advertising. That's just off the top of my head ... who knows what else an entrepreneur may come up with for monetizing.

    And we see this happen in other markets - product reviews, for example.

    What? I was talking about medications.

    Do you know why I don't smoke tobacco? I'll give you a hint: it's not because of warning labels on the box. I'd think it's pretty obvious that those labels do nothing (you have to buy the cigarettes before you can even see the label).

    And yes, people do often do research before buying something ...

    What do developing countries have to do with anything?

    I'm not sure what you mean by price-fixing ... do you mean all the companies are going to make an agreement to keep wages low and not compete? That's technically possible, but won't happen in reality with more than 1 or 2 companies since each has an incentive to pay slightly higher wages and take all the workers away from the others.

    I'm getting a bit tired of bringing up basic economics though.

    I'm sure the mugger thinks it's really really important that you give him your money too. I don't see why that changes the situation.

    Like I said, you might say it's justified, but realize what you are proposing.

    In the absence of coercion, you always have a choice.

    I'm tired of this point. Slavery would not have existed without government support. In fact, this is an excellent example of the problem of government: when the government gets something wrong, it's really hard to change.

    You might say that we need government to prevent violence and ensure a free market, etc, and that's fine.

    The government (technically it was a nonprofit firm that happened to be working on a separate government project - and really only a few really smart people at that firm) produced a useful idea ... 30 years before it really became useful. What's the point again?

    And seriously, all the things that actually make the internet useful come from private individuals making websites and so forth. The internet is often pointed to as one of the shining examples of how something can prosper without government interference.

    The government is motivated by election cycles. Shareholders at least care about long term profits because those affect the price of their shares.

    How do you know that the government will fund the right research?

    But what if money is going to those "black hole" projects (lol) that aren't going to matter for tons of years rather than projects that will actually help us out in the near future?

    Well, there's something called the "First Welfare Theorem" in economics which says that in a given model of the economy the market process of trading will produce a Pareto efficient result.

    Anyway, market economics is important because we want the minimum level of regulation that will produce a free market. That's my argument at least.

    The closest approximation - i.e. minimize violence and allow people to trade freely.

    Hard core scientists research in large part because they just enjoy it. I see no reason why this wouldn't continue. There may be less of it due to reduced funding, but that really just means that all those brilliant scientists would be put to work doing things that have immediate benefits for consumers, rather than possible benefits for consumers in the far future.

    But the truth is that I am not involved. My vote is meaningless, because there is no chance that it will decide the election.
  40. Bob Jane T-Mart

    Bob Jane T-Mart Smash Debater

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
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    878
    Location:
    Somewhere

    To be honest, I am getting sick of these economic debates. I'm not particularly brilliant at the subject, and we seem to keep repeating ourselves, and I thought that the PG was for non-DH members, to duke it out, rather than for DH members to debate amongst themselves...

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