Brexit: what say ye?

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JasonL
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by JasonL » 27 Jun 2016, 11:21

Part of our difference in viewing this situation and many others is the degree to which you think the distribution story is really about thumb on the scale and also the degree to which you think people would be at all interested in any version of the story that doesn't promise them any goodies per se.

A low skilled person in a country where low skill manufacturing doesn't make any economic sense is not really being screwed by interventions. It just doesn't make any sense for them to do what they used to do in this country. Small entrepreneurs are being screwed, globally poor people are being screwed, but neither of those groups are relevant to the big story here. In fact if you remove barriers that crap on the poorest people on earth, you are doing it at the expense of low skilled americans.

I just feel like if we are being honest all we can say is, we will work to get government barriers out of your way if you want to try something new, but we do not offer promises.

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thoreau
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by thoreau » 27 Jun 2016, 11:49

JasonL wrote:A low skilled person in a country where low skill manufacturing doesn't make any economic sense is not really being screwed by interventions. It just doesn't make any sense for them to do what they used to do in this country.
Obviously. A Gini coefficient of 0 is not in the cards, nor should it be.

When we look at countries with wealth distributions less equal than ours we see a lot of places that are hardly free market utopias and tend to be pretty corrupt*. When we look at countries with wealth distributions flatter than ours we might see a lot of countries with regulatory states but they nonetheless have robust, competitive private sectors. We can either respond to that by scolding anyone who looks at that sort of data and rationalizing all existing outcomes as the results of efficient markets, or we can wonder if the people who see the system as rigged against them have a point. The nice part about the second approach is that we can maybe try to steer them toward some remedy that involves getting the government off of their back and out of the business of propping big guys, instead of the Bernie remedy (put the government on someone else's back while it props up those who felt they were getting screwed).

If your reflex is to use market efficiency to deflect any questions about the status quo, you are validating every narrative that populists have ever offered about libertarians and the term "free markets." If you're more willing to consider the possibility that some people are struggling because The Man is keeping them down, you might be able to show people a version of libertarianism that is more than just a rationale for comforting the comforted.

*e.g. https://repository.library.georgetown.e ... _12119.pdf
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thoreau
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by thoreau » 27 Jun 2016, 11:53

Ian Welsh posts a lot of things that make my eyes roll, but this is spot-on:

http://www.ianwelsh.net/leave-won-becau ... ter-story/
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Eric the .5b » 27 Jun 2016, 13:02

thoreau wrote:I agree that we can't summon ponies, but I think we have the potential to be good at identifying the ways in which governments distort markets in favor of the already-advantaged. Alas, we also have the potential to be really bad at that, if we are too committed to arguing the efficiency of existing markets (as opposed to the efficiency of markets with less meddling).
It doesn't matter. When people are unhappy, three things - ponies, hate, and fear - always have the best "story".

Frickin' market distortion? That story envies the snowball's chance in Hell.
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Eric the .5b » 27 Jun 2016, 13:12

thoreau wrote:Ian Welsh posts a lot of things that make my eyes roll, but this is spot-on:

http://www.ianwelsh.net/leave-won-becau ... ter-story/
Yes. Note that all three of hate, fear, and ponies come up in the Leave message. They even claimed they'd throw more money into the NHS.

The only time free market economics had anything like a counter-story is when the interventionists lost all credibility with the American public. That last happened when I was in grade school.
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by tr0g » 27 Jun 2016, 13:13

Eric the .5b wrote:
thoreau wrote:I agree that we can't summon ponies, but I think we have the potential to be good at identifying the ways in which governments distort markets in favor of the already-advantaged. Alas, we also have the potential to be really bad at that, if we are too committed to arguing the efficiency of existing markets (as opposed to the efficiency of markets with less meddling).
It doesn't matter. When people are unhappy, three things - ponies, hate, and fear - always have the best "story".

Frickin' market distortion? That story envies the snowball's chance in Hell.
The story works better if you frame it "The man is keeping you down to give favors to his buddies" because that rings instinctively true to most people.
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Aresen » 27 Jun 2016, 13:19

Eric the .5b wrote:
thoreau wrote:I agree that we can't summon ponies, but I think we have the potential to be good at identifying the ways in which governments distort markets in favor of the already-advantaged. Alas, we also have the potential to be really bad at that, if we are too committed to arguing the efficiency of existing markets (as opposed to the efficiency of markets with less meddling).
It doesn't matter. When people are unhappy, three things - ponies, hate, and fear - always have the best "story".

Frickin' market distortion? That story envies the snowball's chance in Hell.
Image

I'd go for the ponies. :lol:
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by thoreau » 27 Jun 2016, 13:51

tr0g wrote:
Eric the .5b wrote:
thoreau wrote:I agree that we can't summon ponies, but I think we have the potential to be good at identifying the ways in which governments distort markets in favor of the already-advantaged. Alas, we also have the potential to be really bad at that, if we are too committed to arguing the efficiency of existing markets (as opposed to the efficiency of markets with less meddling).
It doesn't matter. When people are unhappy, three things - ponies, hate, and fear - always have the best "story".

Frickin' market distortion? That story envies the snowball's chance in Hell.
The story works better if you frame it "The man is keeping you down to give favors to his buddies" because that rings instinctively true to most people.
This.
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JasonL
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by JasonL » 27 Jun 2016, 13:52

thoreau wrote:
JasonL wrote:A low skilled person in a country where low skill manufacturing doesn't make any economic sense is not really being screwed by interventions. It just doesn't make any sense for them to do what they used to do in this country.
Obviously. A Gini coefficient of 0 is not in the cards, nor should it be.

When we look at countries with wealth distributions less equal than ours we see a lot of places that are hardly free market utopias and tend to be pretty corrupt*. When we look at countries with wealth distributions flatter than ours we might see a lot of countries with regulatory states but they nonetheless have robust, competitive private sectors. We can either respond to that by scolding anyone who looks at that sort of data and rationalizing all existing outcomes as the results of efficient markets, or we can wonder if the people who see the system as rigged against them have a point. The nice part about the second approach is that we can maybe try to steer them toward some remedy that involves getting the government off of their back and out of the business of propping big guys, instead of the Bernie remedy (put the government on someone else's back while it props up those who felt they were getting screwed).

If your reflex is to use market efficiency to deflect any questions about the status quo, you are validating every narrative that populists have ever offered about libertarians and the term "free markets." If you're more willing to consider the possibility that some people are struggling because The Man is keeping them down, you might be able to show people a version of libertarianism that is more than just a rationale for comforting the comforted.

*e.g. https://repository.library.georgetown.e ... _12119.pdf
But, straight talk, do you think this is really what's happening to wages in western democracies? I don't.

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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by thoreau » 27 Jun 2016, 14:04

At the lowest end I think there's a certain "death by a thousand paper cuts" effect on the lives of the poor, but that's more a matter of high level indifference rather than high level corruption or conspiracy. In the middle I sort of agree with you. At the higher end I think it is likely that corrupt games play a role in compensation being as high as it is rather than getting leveled by competitive forces, and that can have ripple effects if decision makers are shielded from consequences for bad decisions. (C.f. the article on executive pay being decoupled from shareholder interests in the latest issue of noted left wing rag _The Economist_.)
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by thoreau » 27 Jun 2016, 14:12

I agree with what Daniel Larison has to say about Brexit, democracy, and elites.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/ ... e-failure/
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Aresen » 27 Jun 2016, 14:20

thoreau wrote:I agree with what Daniel Larison has to say about Brexit, democracy, and elites.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/ ... e-failure/
Daniel Larison wrote:The point here is not that popular judgments are necessarily better or more reliable (in some or all of these cases political leaders initially had popular support for their disastrous choices), but that the political and media classes in the West have had a very bad track record since at least the start of the century. More important, they have presided over one failure after another largely without being held to account.
My only quibble is the timeline. The 'bad track record' goes back much further than that. A few of us can remember the Vietnam War. Almost all the powers that be were for it before they were against it.
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by thoreau » 27 Jun 2016, 14:55

Aresen wrote:
thoreau wrote:I agree with what Daniel Larison has to say about Brexit, democracy, and elites.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/ ... e-failure/
Daniel Larison wrote:The point here is not that popular judgments are necessarily better or more reliable (in some or all of these cases political leaders initially had popular support for their disastrous choices), but that the political and media classes in the West have had a very bad track record since at least the start of the century. More important, they have presided over one failure after another largely without being held to account.
My only quibble is the timeline. The 'bad track record' goes back much further than that. A few of us can remember the Vietnam War. Almost all the powers that be were for it before they were against it.
The degree to which Western elites, and especially US elites, have been shielded from shame and sanction for their failures might explain a lot of discontent, especially in the US. It's easy to sit here and explain that punishing elites would be a silly and unserious populist gesture, but accountability matters for social stability, both in disciplining the elite and getting buy-in from the rest.
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Highway » 27 Jun 2016, 15:02

Do libertarians really have an issue with saying that elites shouldn't be punished for misdeeds? It doesn't seem that way to me, although it could seem that there is more pointing to process as well, in that "a bad person is an elite because the system is set up to reward bad people with promotion, and punishing this one bad person will just let the next bad person who used the system get his spot", and that can muddle the clear message of "That guy right there failed." Or are you talking about imagined misdeeds such as "they got rich, they shouldn't be able to, let's punish them!"
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by JasonL » 27 Jun 2016, 15:48

People who commit crimes should be punished. Overall I think the over punishment of the poor through institutions is a far greater issue than the under punishment of elites. We get into arguments all the time about what it means to punish the wrongdoing rich but in general I'd just observe that you are not going to make poor people better off through shareholder actions against exec pay or increased fines or any go after them policy I can think of. The root issue is skills, specialization, trade and technology.

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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Aresen » 27 Jun 2016, 16:31

Highway wrote:Do libertarians really have an issue with saying that elites shouldn't be punished for misdeeds? It doesn't seem that way to me, although it could seem that there is more pointing to process as well, in that "a bad person is an elite because the system is set up to reward bad people with promotion, and punishing this one bad person will just let the next bad person who used the system get his spot", and that can muddle the clear message of "That guy right there failed." Or are you talking about imagined misdeeds such as "they got rich, they shouldn't be able to, let's punish them!"
Your caveat about imagined misdeeds is a valid point. There will always be those who resent those who do better than they do (or upper class twits who resent parvenus).

I doubt that anyone here would dispute that a misbehaving member of the elite should notbe exempt from punishment. But sometimes the punishment would only make things worse: Chapter 11 reorganizations (and their Canadian equivalent, the CCAA) frequently leave the same management that caused the failure in charge of the reorganized companies for the reason that only they have the knowledge to get the company back on its feet. (That's the theory, anyways.)

Edited to correct missing negative. Thanks to TIO for spotting it.
Last edited by Aresen on 28 Jun 2016, 01:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Mo » 27 Jun 2016, 20:58

The interesting thing to come out of this is to see how many people all of the sudden love simple majoritarianism and direct democracy.
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Fin Fang Foom » 27 Jun 2016, 21:01

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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by thoreau » 27 Jun 2016, 21:22

Here's one of the immigrants in that article:
Image
I think he immigrated from Williamsburg.
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Kolohe » 27 Jun 2016, 21:50

Mo wrote:The interesting thing to come out of this is to see how many people all of the sudden love simple majoritarianism and direct democracy.
Though 70+% participation is pretty good (and would overwhelm the polling places in most of the US)
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Painboy » 27 Jun 2016, 22:12

Fin Fang Foom wrote:Man, fucking Boston.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/oliviaharris/w ... .du04oYVeM
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Eric the .5b » 27 Jun 2016, 22:30

thoreau wrote:
tr0g wrote:
Eric the .5b wrote:
thoreau wrote:I agree that we can't summon ponies, but I think we have the potential to be good at identifying the ways in which governments distort markets in favor of the already-advantaged. Alas, we also have the potential to be really bad at that, if we are too committed to arguing the efficiency of existing markets (as opposed to the efficiency of markets with less meddling).
It doesn't matter. When people are unhappy, three things - ponies, hate, and fear - always have the best "story".

Frickin' market distortion? That story envies the snowball's chance in Hell.
The story works better if you frame it "The man is keeping you down to give favors to his buddies" because that rings instinctively true to most people.
This.
The problem is that's already the statist story, especially on the left. People accept the story that whenever anything bad happens, it's because there's a damn-near complete lack of relevant regulation and law. Everything's the Wild West, whether it's American gun law or British capitalism. In the narrative that wins, the Man is kicking your ass in the "free market", and your only hope is to get the government in there.

Libertarianism's counter-story has been a left-wing laugh line for longer than this site or Hit & Run have been around.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Aresen » 27 Jun 2016, 22:31

Mo wrote:The interesting thing to come out of this is to see how many people all of the sudden love simple majoritarianism and direct democracy.
?

I think most of us would be small-r republicans, where the popular vote is constrained by a bill of rights and a strong limitation on government powers.

TBS, if you are going to grant any power to your government, it is probably better if that government represents at least a majority of the demos.
If Trump supporters wanted a tough guy, why did they elect such a whiny bitch? - Mo

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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Eric the .5b » 27 Jun 2016, 22:34

Mo wrote:The interesting thing to come out of this is to see how many people all of the sudden love simple majoritarianism and direct democracy.
Or absolutely despise it. Dipping into threads on the subject, apparently the British majority is a bunch of literal Nazis about to start up the rally scene from The Wall.

I'm not even exaggerating, I've seen people post that video.
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Re: Brexit: what say ye?

Post by Hugh Akston » 28 Jun 2016, 00:21

Aresen wrote:
Mo wrote:The interesting thing to come out of this is to see how many people all of the sudden love simple majoritarianism and direct democracy.
?

I think most of us would be small-r republicans, where the popular vote is constrained by a bill of rights and a strong limitation on government powers.

TBS, if you are going to grant any power to your government, it is probably better if that government represents at least a majority of the demos.
A number of people on H&R in particular are celebrating Brexit as the Will of the People smashing the faces of the prog elitist central planners. Even after you point out that populism is a fickle and unpredictable weapon (an unguided missile, as someone aptly put it), they're fine because it landed on the other guys this time.

For my part, it's not clear that living under the thumb of the great unwashed is any different from, much less better than, living under the thumb of the technocratic elite.
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