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Monday, December 31, 2007

Market Anarchist Blog Carnival - December 2007 Edition

This is the December 2007 edition of the Market Anarchist Blog Carnival. There are two ways your article could have made it to the carnival. The first way is if you made a submission through the submission form. The second way is if I read your blog and liked the post.

Submitted through the Carnival Submission Form

These posts are ordered by "How much I thought they were relevant to the carnival topic."

Overall, I thought that the quality of submissions was poor. If this is the best that market anarchists have to offer, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done. I thought that the "submitted by FSK" content was better than almost all the "submitted through carnival form" content.


Tiffany presents Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal! posted at Natural Family Living Blog.

This was the only submission I characterize as being on-topic. It is a book review, "Everything I Want to Do is Illegal" by Joel Salatin. It is about excessive government regulation of the food industry.

That is one problem that the agorist community will have. You need food! It's hard to grow food off-the-books, because food must be grown outdoors! Agorists will need to invest their surplus wealth buying and operating small farms.

I liked this bit:

In chapter 8 Salatin discusses organic certification and how the word has become illegal for him to use. Salatin actually stood in opposition to organic certification because he felt government regulating organic food would be a bad thing and his opinion was not a popular one.

His logic is amazingly clear though and by allowing government to regulate organics we have shot ourselves in the foot. Now the small, ethical, organic farmer has to compete with industrial organic and run the risk of getting smooshed when we all know that industrial organic goes against everything that the word “organic” used to stand for.

One of my favorite anti-FDA stories was not mentioned in this book review. A small farmer wanted to test *ALL* his cows for "mad cow" disease. This way, people would know his cows were safe. The FDA *DISALLOWED* the small farmer from testing all his cows for "mad cow" disease, even though the farmer was going to pay for the cost of the test himself. A farmer may *NOT* test his cows without FDA approval! I don't see how that regulation can be justified, except that the FDA wants to protect large corporations that *MAY* have some dirty cows.

I also liked this bit:

Chapter 11 discusses the fear that people have learned to have toward any food that is not inspected and certified and the government LOVES it. If you don’t see USDA inspected on your food you should rightly expect that it could kill you.


People are brainwashed to believe that they need the government to protect them. Government violence and government monopolies have prevented free market consumer protection groups from evolving.

I found this bit also interesting:

Any one worker at a food processing plant can taint the food or contaminate it in some way and they are protected by their money and their army of lawyers. A small local farmer does not have that protection or that safety net, so who really has more incentive to turn out a safe product? It makes you think.


This is the "sovereign immunity" problem. Government employees are immune from suffering negative consequences if they misbehave while working. This immunity also extends to large corporations. An individual or small business has no such protection.

Michael Bass presents Do we have Private Property in the USA? posted at Debt Prison.

He didn't make my favorite argument. Property taxes mean that American's don't own their land. Property taxes and eminent domain mean that you really have a perpetual transferable lease for the property you thought you "owned". Very few Americans have full allodial title to their land.

It was a decent submission overall.

Francois Tremblay presents Our hope for the future. posted at Check Your Premises.


This was also somewhat on-topic. Francois Tremblay is the carnival organizer, so his submission is on-topic by definition!

I'm getting tired of reading "The State Sucks!" posts. I'm much more interested in the "What are you going to do about it?" aspect. I don't need further convincing about the evils of government. I'm more interested in figuring out how to prepare people for the economic and political collapse of the US government.

David Z presents The Conundrum posted at ...no third solution.

This is a summary of the dirty and invalid debating techniques mainstream media sources use when attacking libertarianism or market anarchism. This article was written from a "libertarian" viewpoint, which is different from a "market anarchist" viewpoint.

I'm not interested in reading "The State is evil!" posts anymore.

Aaron Kinney presents Federal Reserve: Currency Communists posted at The Radical Libertarian.

This post doesn't contain any information about the Federal Reserve that I didn't know already. This post barely qualifies as being on-topic. The Federal Reserve is indeed one of the key planks of the Communist Manifesto, along with the income tax.

The video posted was about the Liberty Dollar and the FBI Raid. The main thing I don't like about Liberty Dollars is that they sort of look like government-issued money. A naive person could think a Liberty Dollar was actual US government money. If they clearly printed "THIS IS NOT LEGAL TENDER" on them, I wouldn't find it objectionable. Further, if you're going to use silver as money, you're better off using generic 1 ounce rounds that trade for spot, rather than paying a premium for Liberty Dollars.

I'm pretty sure that in order to have a sustainable anarchist economy, an underground monetary system and banking system is a HIGH PRIORITY.

Wenchypoo presents The Scam That is Global Warming and How it’s Making People Rich (L-O-N-G) posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket.

I don't see what this has to do with Market Anarchism. Global warming is an excuse for more government regulation and more government power. Global warming is going to funnel even MORE money to large corporations. Guess who's going to own most of the "carbon credits"? Large corporations.

Wenchypoo doesn't mention how Global Warming is part of the "Problem! Reaction! Solution!" paradigm. You create a problem (global warming). You overreact (OMFG, the world's temperature is going to rise a few degrees!). Then, you create a solution, which typically involves EVEN BIGGER GOVERNMENT. Of course, bigger government naturally leads to EVEN MORE PROBLEMS and it's a self-sustaining cycle.

The only FAIR way to allocate carbon credits is that each person living on the planet gets an equal allocation per year. Currently, the carbon credits are being allocated directly to large corporations, based on how much carbon they generate in the present! WTF? The biggest carbon generators in the present get the biggest credits?

How would a market anarchist society handle carbon pollution? First, it isn't even clear that global warming is BAD. Some areas will benefit and some areas will be harmed. People who own property that benefits from global warming, such as beachfront property in north Canada, should PAY people who burn carbon fuels. People who own property that would be damaged by global warming would have a tort claim against people who burn carbon fuels. However, the total value of the claim, per unit of carbon burnt, IS PROBABLY NEGLIGIBLE.

"Government is needed to prevent pollution to the environment" is false reasoning. Government actually allows corporations to pollute and get away with it, most of the time.

Off-Topic But Interesting

Some submissions were off-topic for the Carnival, but still worth reading.

Charles H. Green presents Ben Stein vs. Goldman Sachs: Market-Makers, Brokers, and Trusted Advisors posted at Trust Matters.

I liked this sentence from the Ben Stein NY Times article linked in that post:

From what I have observed over the years, Goldman has a fascinating culture. It is sort of like what I imagine the culture of the K.G.B. to be.

What else would you expect from one of the leading financial institutions in a Communist country?

Another problem is that there's a revolving door between working at a large bank and working for the government or the Federal Reserve. If the government is supposed to be providing oversight for the financial industry, isn't it a problem if the same people keep moving back and forth between government jobs and banking jobs? That's the "captured regulators" problem. The regulators start identifying with the needs of the industry they're regulating, instead of with the needs of the average person. This is true of all government regulatory agencies, but the abuse in the financial industry is the most serious.

The concern in the blog post is that Goldman Sachs was simultaneously selling mortgage-backed bonds to its customers, and taking a huge short position in those same bonds. That's a conflict of interest.

According to that article, Goldman Sachs is doing 3 things at the same time in mortgage bonds. Goldman Sachs is:
  • a market maker. They are providing a liquid market where people can buy and sell mortgage-backed bonds.
  • an investment adviser. They were providing advice to their customers about what sorts of investments were best
  • a broker. They make a commission whenever everyone buys and sells. A broker is not supposed to be providing advice. A broker is merely trying to get the best possible price for you.
  • a prop trader. (This was not mentioned in the blog post.) Goldman Sachs was making a specific bet on the future prices of mortgage-backed bonds. They had a huge short position! This is a conflict of interest with their role as investment adviser, when they are supposed to be looking out for the best interest of their customers.
The fundamental issue is trust. I don't trust the official financial system at all!

Besides, mortgage-backed bonds are a lousy deal for someone taking an unleveraged long position. A 6% return is insufficient compensation for inflation.

People are intentionally kept ignorant about finance, so they'll use "trusted investment advisers" instead of thinking for themselves.

Unfortunately, this post has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH MARKET ANARCHISM! It's relevant for my discussion in my blog, but inappropriate for a "Market Anarchist Carnival".

I have an interesting personal anecdote. I was riding in a cab and I mentioned that I work in the financial industry. The cab driver said that he once lost all his savings in the stock market. His broker advised him to put 100% of his money in a speculative tech stock, and the company went bankrupt. Obviously, that was horrible advice. NOBODY should be advised to put all their savings in one stock. Obviously, the broker (or someone at his firm) knew that stock was a turd and was trying to unload it by convincing customers to buy it. Personally, I think that cab driver had a valid claim against his broker, but the corrupt legal system makes pursing such a claim expensive and impractical.

For someone whose level of financial literacy is low, you can put your savings 100% in a stock index fund and you'll outperform 95+% of the population. My individual stock purchases have outperformed my index fund investments by a wide margin.

Objects of Scorn

The rules of the blog carnival say that I'm supposed to make fun of people who submit posts that are off-topic. I wasn't expecting that to be a problem, but Shaun Connell pretty much forced me to do this. He submitted *4* posts, all of which are off topic or not worth reading at all.

There weren't that many ACTUAL submissions, so I might as well show you all the rejects.

Alex Merced presents #17 - A Parable of Foreign Policies posted at Cause of Freedom.

This story was barely interesting and it had nothing at all to do with Market Anarchism.

Shaun Connell presents Coercion and the Free Market posted at Reason and Capitalism.

I don't see what this has to do with the topic of the Carnival. It seems like a "Isn't Reagan wonderful!" post. I don't consider Ronald Reagan to be a prime example of an anarchist, or even a libertarian/minarchist. On the other hand, the current crop of candidates (except Ron Paul) make you miss Reagan, don't they!

The video clip included with the post was an advertisement for Ron Paul, comparing him to Ronald Reagan. That's insulting to Ron Paul; the size of the Federal government increased substantially under Reagan, as it has under pretty much every President.

A Ron Paul advertisement has *NOTHING* to do with the topic for this Carnival, although Ron Paul is the only interesting candidate for President in 2008.

Shaun Connell presents Free Minds Support Free Markets posted at The Rebirth of Freedom Foundation.

Shaun Connell's idea of a good blog post is "Quote a bunch of famous authors, without actually understanding what they're saying."

Shaun Connell presents Capitalism posted at Reason and Capitalism.

This post sure was lousy. It didn't have enough content for me to be able to write a sharp criticism.

Shaun Connell presents Stop Legislating Morality posted at Reason and Capitalism.

This post wasn't as bad as his other submissions. Arguing for anarchism from a Christian perspective seems silly to me, because Christianity is a pro-State religion.

Erich Engelbrecht presents Extreme Customization – Back To The Roots? posted at Innovation Politics.

I don't see what this post had to do with market anarchism, or even why this post is worth reading at all.

Submitted by E-Mail

This is the only submission that occurred directly by E-Mail instead of through the carnival submission form.

Daniel D'Amico says by E-Mail:

I would like to be included in next months Anarchist Carnival.

Here is my post:

http://austrianaddiction.rationalmind.net/archives/2007/10/dont-tase-me-la.html

It's a *MARKET* Anarchist Carnival. Technically, that doesn't have anything to do with market anarchism, but neither did any of the other submissions.

The tasering of a student at a Florida John Kerry speech is old news. That specific post didn't have any information I haven't read about in MANY other locations already.

I agree that police seem to be overly taser-happy nowadays. The solution, from a market anarchist perspective, is that police SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO MARKET COMPETITION. Why should the government get an absolutely unaccountable monopoly?

Submitted by FSK

If I read your blog, liked it, and it's on-topic, you were submitted to the Carnival.

FREE MARKET POLICE PROTECTION

I liked this article on Lowercase Liberty, in reference to an article on lewrockwell.com. The subject is "How much would it cost to provide free market police protection?"

The article estimates a cost of $8/year for protection against murder, $21/year for protection against rape, $3/year for protection against assault and battery, and $126/year for protection against robbery and burglary.

The total cost is about a day's wages for someone earning $20/hour. In real-money terms, that's 10 ounces of silver per year.

The estimated cost is calculated by estimating the damage caused by the crime, multiplied by the # of occurrences according to FBI statistics, and dividing by the population. For example, an economic cost of $1M was assigned to murder, which is IMHO low, and the others are similar.

The analysis on lewrockwell.com is interesting, but wrong. The article UNDERSTATES the true cost!

That analysis assumes that the police you hire spend *NO* effort catching the criminal, and merely pay out the value of the claim.

Under free-market justice, with a "criminal pays costs" principle, the actual cost would be LOWER. Suppose the police were facing a $1M payout for a murder. The police would be *VERY* motivated to catch the criminal and make him (or his insurance company) pay their fair share. Even for petty crimes, it would pay for the police to investigate, because the criminal would be expected to pay the investigation and apprehension costs. Of course, if the crime was small, the police/insurer might just pay out the claim and forget about it. In the current political system, if a crime is small the police might ignore it altogether.

The free market would provide police with an incentive to solve crimes. Further, a serious unsolved crime can be bid out to contractors. Suppose the police can solve 95% of the serious crimes on their own. For the remaining 5%, they might hire specialists who handle difficult crimes. In the current system, if solving a crime is too hard, the police will move on to something else.

Under the current system, if the police don't try too hard to solve a crime, the victim is SOL. The police have *NO* obligation to protect you. The police don't even have an obligation to restore your damaged property. However, free market police *WOULD* have an obligation to protect you.

In a free market, police protection and insurance would probably be bundled together. You would buy theft insurance and police protection from the same source.

TAX RESISTANCE

I'm submitting the blog the Picket Line as being worth reading. It has a bunch of neat stuff on tax resistance. Their attitude is "tax resistance in protest of the Iraq war", rather than "tax resistance because we don't like other people stealing from us".

IS WAL-MART EVIL?

I liked this article on GrimReader. Is the management of Wal-Mart evil? The underlying economic and political system is the true evil. People who blame Wal-Mart are really placing the blame in the wrong place.

Wal-Mart is incredibly efficient at exploiting the current corrupt system for its own benefit. If it wasn't Wal-Mart, it would be some other corporation doing the same thing. Don't blame Wal-Mart for exploiting the corrupt system most efficiently; blame the corrupt system.

He also talks about electricity. The idea that "electricity is most efficiently provided by a state-sponsored monopoly" is pure propaganda. Electricity is provided pretty well by the current system, but a true free-market system would be far more efficient.

Government-subsidized roads and transportation are actually corporate welfare. Large corporations get the primary benefit of advanced transportation networks, but the costs are distributed among everyone via taxes.

He also talks about how to help poor third-world countries. I disagree with the author on this point. The best way to help a poor third-world country is to help them set up a TRUE free market. Usually, "industrializing" third-world countries means installing a corrupt system similar to that in the USA, a system that the USA's leaders can exploit for their own benefit.

I really disliked this piece of advice for developing third-world countries:

ban the payment of taxes with in-kind payment (force a switch to a cash economy)

In other words, force everyone to use a corrupt monetary system? That sounds like enslaving people instead of freeing them.

I liked this list of suggestions for cutting back population growth:

1. Increasing the duration of education which increases the costs of having children
2. Providing social security which reduces the benefits of having children
3. Better public health so that people can be confident their children will survive
4. Peace (same reason as above)

If you increase the economic costs of children and reduce the economic benefits of children, then people will have fewer children! At least, those people who aren't able to steal via state power have fewer children.

I like the way that "subsistence farming" is denounced when it's really "individual farmers own their land and control it". It's far inferior to "industrial farms, raising crops for export, to pay off debts incurred due to the Compound Interest Paradox.".

I also liked this article on the Military Origins of Quality Control. In the military, strict control is needed to get soldiers to do things against their rational self-interest, such as risking their lives for the benefit of leaders back home. Similarly, in a corporation, the interests of management and the interests of workers are usually not aligned. Therefore, military discipline is needed to extract any useful work out of them at all. A true free market system would be superior.

ARE EXPORTS GOOD?

I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. The USA as a whole benefits from being net importer of goods. The USA imports manufactured goods and it exports a piece of paper with a number printed on it. China as a whole loses from being a next exporter. They export tangible goods and they import a piece of paper.

The problem is that money is not a safe store of value. China holds foreign fiat money and loses ground to inflation. Citizens in China experience inflation. They are paid for their labor with newly printed money, but there aren't more goods circulating in China. When a Chinese company gets dollars, it turns them over to the Chinese government for newly printed yuan.

Another problem is that the benefits of importing aren't uniformly distributed across US citizens. The benefits are concentrated in the US financial industry, who get to print all the new paper dollars that are exported. The average person has to compete with foreign laborers who are working for, literally, nothing.

ANARCHO-CAPITALISM VS. AGORISM

I liked this post on Brad Spangler's blog. I always thought that anarcho-capitalism and agorism were variants of the same idea, with agorism being more refined. Brad Spangler says that anarcho-capitalism is still a statist idea. Anarcho-capitalists say that the state should gradually shrink and eventually be replaced. Anarcho-capitalists say that the state is still temporarily needed.

Agorists say that the state has no legitimacy whatsoever. We should avoid supporting the evil state as much as we can, starting NOW. I like this phrase:

“killing the cop in your head”

In other words, you need to get rid of that little voice in your head that says "The state is good! You should obey all the arbitrary laws! You should pay taxes willingly and let others steal from you."

In other words, anarcho-capitalists are really just Libertarian red market agents. Anyone who says "The legitimacy of the government is greater than zero." is part of the problem and not part of the solution. Anyone who ascribes any legitimacy at all to any form of monopolistic government, even temporarily, is not truly an anarchist.

There are two stages to become a true agorist. The first is the mental shift where you understand the philosophy. The second is when you actually find trading partners and start doing productive and useful work without supporting the bad guys. I've overcome the first hurdle, and I need to help others overcome the first hurdle so I can have trading partners and move on to the second phase.

OTHERS

I also like Zhwazi's new blog, Anarchist Without Objectives.

THE LABOR THEORY OF VALUE IS TRUE!

My post on the Labor Theory of Value has attracted more troll responses and hate mail than any other post. First, focus on the definition I gave. People who have been disagreeing with me strongly have been essentially disagreeing with my definition. Second, it's obvious that this is a hot-button brainwashing issue.

I say that "The Labor Theory of Value is false" is a Communist idea! "The Labor Theory of Value is false" is a pro-State idea! Why would a person's salary be different from the true economic value of their work? The ONLY REASON this does not happen is due to massive government interference in the marketplace. The Labor Theory of Value holds ONLY IN A FREE MARKET.

5 comments:

Francois Tremblay said...

Yes, the Market Anarchist Carnival is still in its infant phase and the word needs to be propagated. This is generally a slow process. We just need to keep going at it and keep linking to it and make it known.

David_Z said...

Great carnival despite the content...

Expect a "Labor Theory of Value" post of my own in the near future, in which I think I can reconcile our earlier disagreement.

- cheers.

Zhwazi said...

Woot, I didn't even enter and got my whole blog pimped. Thanks!

Will said...

Exports are indeed good, the political backlash comes from trade deficits, but we tend to not get a good idea of what trade deficits are.

I run a trade deficit with Wal Mart--I've never exported any good to them. Big crap. The trade is beneficial.

The US has run a deficit all but 30 something years of its existence. Hasn't hurt us much.

Eric H said...

I think you misread part of my piece. The idea of banning the payment of taxes with in-kind payment and forcing people to use cash was a method used by the French occupation in Algeria to drive the indigenous population out of their traditional means. It wasn't a recommendation, it was a statement of historical fact, and I do not approve of the policy.

The four-point list which you liked was also something I was quoting and with which I was disagreeing. The author of that was essentially saying, "Build a welfare state." It seems to me that welfare states and corporatist states go hand-in-hand. In fact, the only point with which I would have agreed would have been 4, Peace.

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