Friday, May 21, 2010

255: The Ways of Liberalism 2

Society is a group of people, where everybody is born with his or her own set of skills. These skills are used to gain an income. The more skillful you are the higher your income can become.

Everybody is absolutely free to do with his income as he pleases. Any attempt to order the individual to spend his money on well defined targets is an infringement on personal freedom.

This means that every institution in society should be contract based. Those who pay for it, will benefit from it. Nobody is obliged to pay. Such an obligation is regarded as TAKING money from a free person and spending it against his will on issues he doesn't agree to.

A free market helps to select those who are good at different enterprises and those who are not. Any attempt to interfere with this process will disrupt the market.

From my Ayn Rand lecture"
"3.Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.

4.The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism."

You find the Ayn Rand Lectures under May 2009, nr. 17a and 17b. Watch out, 17b also contains the more important ones 17c and 17d.

I think that this comes close to the views of TDDiscovery (participated in the discussion of the former lecture [254]), or at least he will agree with it. This is absolute liberalism. Maybe it is even a stronger version of liberalism: Libertarianism.

The origin of libertarianism is interesting, as it is inspired by the ideas of Bernard Mandeville, born in the Netherlands, Rotterdam in 1670, but most of his life he lived in England where he died in 1733.

Mandeville arrives at a very contemporaneously vile conclusion: vice as a necessary condition for economic prosperity. His viewpoint is more severe when juxtaposed to Adam Smith's.

Both Smith and Mandeville believed that individuals’ collective actions bring about a public benefit . However, what sets his philosophy apart from Smith’s is his catalyst to that public benefit.

Smith believed in a virtuous self-interest which results in invisible cooperation. For the most part, Smith saw no need for a guide to garner that public benefit.

On the other hand, Mandeville believed it was vicious greed which led to invisible cooperation if properly channeled.

Mandeville’s qualification of proper channeling further parts his philosophy from Smith’s laissez-faire attitude. Essentially, Mandeville called for politicians to ensure that the passions of man would result in a public benefit.

It was his stated belief in his book " Fable of the Bees" that "Private Vices by the dextrous Management of a skilful Politician may be turned into Publick Benefits”
Mandeville has nice examples to underpin his point of view that "private vices are public benefits." A libertine, for example, is a vicious character, and yet his spending will employ tailors, servants, perfumers, cooks, and prostitutes

Well, like the communist system has collapsed as a not working model of a society, also Mandeville's idea that greed leads to public benefits doesn't seem to make it. Our present crisis seems to demonstrates that.

So we have to continue our quest to gain moor insight in Liberalism. Is it a working model for society or not and in what way. At least we have to prevent that the world turns into a Tea Party…..

The Discussion

[13:21] herman Bergson: The reference to the Tea Party may not be understood by everyone ㋡
[13:21] Gemma Cleanslate: OMG!!!
[13:21] Gemma Cleanslate: omg yes
[13:22] herman Bergson: But the Tea Party is a very strong ultra libertarian movement in the US today
[13:22] herman Bergson: Gemma understands...I expected that
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:22] Kiki Walpanheim is googling tea party
[13:22] Repose Lionheart: hehe
[13:23] herman Bergson: The Movement is more Republican than all Republicans together
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: hmm checking too
[13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: yes it is and with no real leadership
[13:23] herman Bergson: and I have a feeling it is in its ideology appealing to Mandeville's truth: greed
[13:23] herman Bergson: and self-interest
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: aaa ok now i get it
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: :)
[13:24] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks..plz feel free ㋡
[13:24] Repose Lionheart: well, stupidity too...hope politicians can channel stupidity toward good ㋡
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: oh gosh i doubt it
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:24] Repose Lionheart: so do i ㋡
[13:25] herman Bergson: Well stupidity is an improper word,Repose...
[13:25] Repose Lionheart: ignorance, maybe
[13:25] herman Bergson: It obscures the true reasons of this kind of political behavior
[13:25] Repose Lionheart: ahhh...
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: one winning candidate backed by the tea "party" has already put his foot so far down his throat yesterday he may not be able to get it out!
[13:25] herman Bergson: have to ask for the motives of this behavior
[13:25] Repose Lionheart: i see
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: tried to take apart the civil rights law of the land
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: in some words
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: sometime i feel that politicans and organisations like those just read the rules and act like a computer on them with no feelings or own logic thinking
[13:26] herman Bergson: What does that mean Gemma?
[13:26] Kiki Walpanheim: but when everyone is acting on the self interest is not always beneficial to the society as a whole...
[13:27] herman Bergson: In my lecture on Rand I already analyzed the concept of self-interest...
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: he stated that if he were around at the time of passage, there would have been a discussion on where it should apply to private businesses
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: one of the saddest examples here is the immigration society, they sometime send back people to a certain death or torture because " there are no circumstances in the rules that say they can stay"
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: make me really sad
[13:28] Repose Lionheart: yes
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: should the government prohibit private business from keeping certian people put of the place
[13:28] herman Bergson: Well clear libertarianism in that Tea PArty movement then I guess
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: we will see how far it goes
[13:29] herman Bergson: But about self - interest....
[13:29] Repose Lionheart: yes, there is, i think
[13:29] herman Bergson: It is a word and seems to describe a property of the human being
[13:29] Kiki Walpanheim: it's about whether motives define morals, ,or consequence defines it
[13:29] herman Bergson: However...what does it denotes...?
[13:30] herman Bergson: point at behavior...ok....but behavior includes motives
[13:30] Repose Lionheart: libertarians have a very narrow understanding of "self-interest"
[13:30] herman Bergson: yes you have to look for the motives of behavior
[13:31] herman Bergson: and then the word self - interest becomes void...
[13:31] Repose Lionheart: they usually buy into the romanticism of hyper-individualisism
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: never really thought of that as the basic motive
[13:31] Kiki Walpanheim: self-interest might not be moral based on the intent, but based on the consequence, could be
[13:31] Repose Lionheart: yes ㋡
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: interesting
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: now i can see it lolol
[13:31] herman Bergson: for there is no such quality like self interest in humans
[13:31] herman Bergson: there are motives for actions...
[13:31] Repose Lionheart: oh, yes, i see
[13:32] herman Bergson: so to understand what it is all about we have to bring these motives to the surface and discuss these motives
[13:33] herman Bergson: Then we are talking politics
[13:33] Repose Lionheart: hmmm....
[13:33] Kiki Walpanheim whispers: on how self interest is restrained and guided?
[13:33] herman Bergson: One of the motives was greed....Mandeville believed it would lead to public benefit when channeled properly
[13:34] herman Bergson: It makes no sense to discuss something like self-interest...
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: hmm that can never lead to something good
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: as u said before thats what we see today
[13:35] herman Bergson: So it did...Bejiita..
[13:35] herman Bergson: The financial crisis is motivated only by greed....
[13:35] Kiki Walpanheim: just a synonym for greed...
[13:35] herman Bergson: maximizing the profits....for what good?
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:35] herman Bergson: not a social good..that is clear
[13:35] Repose Lionheart: well, when the powerful are greedy, they are able to corrupt the system for their own benefit
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: very
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: and in greece today, and Dubai, think they just can use money like water with no thought at all and look what have happened
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: totally crashed the economy now
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes REpose...but how much sense does it make?
[13:36] Kiki Walpanheim: in game theory, as in the case of prisoner's dilemma, it could lead to problems collectively...
[13:36] Repose Lionheart: libertarianism does not take such human frailty into sufficient account, i think
[13:36] Repose Lionheart: oh...sense
[13:36] herman Bergson: doesnt....
[13:36] herman Bergson: But what I dont understand....
[13:37] herman Bergson: You get a bonus of 10 million dollar...
[13:37] herman Bergson: the next year another one...
[13:37] herman Bergson: what to do with all that money?
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: regardless of performance
[13:37] herman Bergson: Even that Gemma yes
[13:38] Repose Lionheart: ahhhh...maybe greed, and vice more generally, introduce irrationalities into the system
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: hmm yes they want more and more even they cant make use of it
[13:38] herman Bergson: Why are people so attacted by huge sums of money...
[13:38] herman Bergson: You havent the lifetime to spend it all for instance
[13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:38] Repose Lionheart: the irrationalities undercut those like Mandeville who are ethically attempting to square the circle
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: i use top say money is worhless untill u buy something good for it
[13:38] herman Bergson: Bill Gates is giving away lots of his billions to charity purposes…
[13:39] Gemma Cleanslate: oh he is great at giving money
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: and the worth is in that thing cause that is useable for something while money is just money
[13:39] herman Bergson: yes...but the amount he posses is so absurd Gemma
[13:39] Gemma Cleanslate: I know and so does he
[13:39] herman Bergson: Property and the free accumulation of property...that is what our society approves
[13:39] Repose Lionheart: yes
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: too much money in few hands and the others can barley afford food for the day
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: his foundation gets MOST of it
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: thats not right
[13:40] herman Bergson: But I think a given moment you pass the limit of rationality...
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: I agree
[13:40] Repose Lionheart: yes
[13:40] Zinzi Serevi: yes
[13:40] Zinzi's translator: yes
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: that is why there is a huge oligarchy emerging here in the USA
[13:40] herman Bergson: That is what all these financial guys lack...rationality...which leads to ethics
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: most do not give
[13:41] Repose Lionheart: but that shows the system is not simply rational
[13:41] herman Bergson: It is not , indeed Repose...
[13:41] herman Bergson: That is the weak point of liberalism....
[13:41] Repose Lionheart: the libertarian flaw is just there
[13:41] Repose Lionheart: yes
[13:41] Kiki Walpanheim: in cases of public goods, natural monopoly, market might not work that well
[13:41] herman Bergson: it presuposes a rational being, but the financial world shows proven irrational behavior
[13:42] Repose Lionheart: yesss
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:42] herman Bergson: No are right....
[13:42] herman Bergson: What we have to find out is what is the public good
[13:42] herman Bergson: and how does it relate to private property
[13:43] herman Bergson: and what is the right balance between the two
[13:43] Kiki Walpanheim: like...public roads.. which benefit ppl in a society as a whole
[13:43] Repose Lionheart: yes, and not at all sure...
[13:43] Repose Lionheart: agree Kiki
[13:43] Kiki Walpanheim: electricity, water supply....
[13:43] Repose Lionheart: yes
[13:44] herman Bergson: Yes..and these public roads..they offer individuals private property...
[13:44] Kiki Walpanheim: which is...built once in a large scale, then used for a long time
[13:44] herman Bergson: the trucking company which makes profits by using these roads
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: hmm one example of that is a power company we have here in sweden called Vattenfall ( Waterfall)
[13:44] Repose Lionheart: oh
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: the bosses take bonus after bonus and give the consumers horrible bills to pay for those bonuses
[13:45] herman Bergson: our reseauch goes define the public good....
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:45] herman Bergson: and bonus for what Nejiita?
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: also we have a strange system where the price is set after tle most expensive power which means that of one single coal plant wich is most expensive and have high environmental tax
[13:46] Kiki Walpanheim: and problems environment generally dont effect the firms' benefits unless they are more or less regulated
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: then it dont matter if we have 1000 hydrolants with cheap power running, the price is set after that last coal plant and also go to the bosses pockets
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: at least as i understand it
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: sounds familiar
[13:47] herman Bergson: I know that system the price of electricity is connected to the price of oil I think
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: no good thing
[13:48] Kiki Walpanheim: also in the case of health insurance....i am still not sure if it is wise if it is entirely private..regarding adverse selection..
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: factories that produce base stuff like paper steel and so have to close because of that
[13:48] Repose Lionheart: all very interesting...high prices though assure conservation
[13:48] herman Bergson: no...absurd because the power plants use cola of gas
[13:48] Repose Lionheart: and energy efficiency
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: that need lot of power but make stuff that are absolute neccesaru for society to function
[13:48] herman Bergson: coal...I mean...the employees use cola
[13:49] Repose Lionheart: lol
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: :)
[13:49] herman Bergson: powerd by cola
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: hehye
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: damn now u got me thirsty
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: :)
[13:49] Abraxas Nagy: haaaahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaa
[13:49] herman Bergson: Well I think it is clear that extreme liberalism doesnt work and that private vices dont lead to public benefits
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:50] Repose Lionheart: ㋡
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: more Tuesday?
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:51] herman Bergson: Oh yes Gemma....we still have a long and winding road ahead...
[13:51] Repose Lionheart: ㋡
[13:51] Repose Lionheart: yay
[13:51] Gemma Cleanslate: i guess lol
[13:51] herman Bergson: that may lead to your door...but that is another story ㋡
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: this was some good stuff for sure
[13:51] Kiki Walpanheim: i used to think intentions determines if something is moral.....
[13:51] Abraxas Nagy: yep it always is m8
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: this is precisley those things im mad about every time i open a newspaper
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: now i got to vent that a bit
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:52] Abraxas Nagy: same here
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: lolol
[13:52] herman Bergson: I understand Bejiita...
[13:52] herman Bergson: Me too
[13:52] Abraxas Nagy: I better not start
[13:52] herman Bergson: Exactly Abraxas...
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: and look for something better
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: :)
[13:53] herman Bergson: But we will continue our quest into the realms of Liberalism....
[13:53] Abraxas Nagy: mmmm human nature plays a role
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: aah
[13:53] herman Bergson: So thank you for you great disussion again
[13:53] Kiki Walpanheim: Thank you professor and all
[13:53] Zinzi Serevi: thank you for the lecture
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:53] Daruma Boa: thank u herman
[13:53] Kiki Walpanheim: see you next week
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: see you tuesday
[13:53] Abraxas Nagy: ah thank YOU professor
[13:53] herman Bergson: Yes..Abraxas...what is human nature...we might find out
[13:53] herman Bergson: class dismissed ㋡
[13:53] Saint Back: thanks a lot
[13:53] Repose Lionheart: Thank you, Professor ㋡
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: aa hope so
[13:54] Abraxas Nagy: mmm yes looking to politics shows a lot
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: bye all
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ok cu all
[13:54] Daruma Boa: hope 2 be here next week.
[13:54] Abraxas Nagy: c ya Bejjita
[13:54] Abraxas Nagy: I hope so to Daruma
[13:54] herman Bergson: You are welcome Daruma
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: going to OKm now
[13:54] Daruma Boa: have a great weekend;-)
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: OM
[13:54] herman Bergson: What message did you send?
[13:54] Zinzi Serevi: bye bye
[13:54] Zinzi's translator: bye bye
[13:54] Abraxas Nagy: you to Daruma :D
[13:54] herman Bergson: Your notice?
[13:55] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thanks herman and class :-)) see u tuesday
[13:55] herman Bergson: Ok Bergie... xxx
[13:55] bergfrau Apfelbaum: :-)+y
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