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(The New York Times)   Evidence shows that libertarianism is flawed in practice. But it's still perfect in theory, so it has that going for it. Which is nice   (nytimes.com ) divider line
    More: Obvious, social viewing, Robert Draper, social liberalism, market failure, tort law, Erick Erickson, economically liberal  
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1405 clicks; posted to Politics » on 13 Aug 2014 at 8:09 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-13 04:29:07 AM  
Large-scale, long-term Libertarianism has been tried once in modern times.  Kowloon City, effectively an independent state entity with 30,000+ residents within Hong Kong, had essentially no government from the 1950's until 1994.

Here's a picture of it from 1989.  See if you can tell which part is Kowloon and which part is Hong Kong:

upload.wikimedia.org

In 1994 they bulldozed it and built a park there.
 
2014-08-13 05:35:49 AM  
FTA:

"For example, Milton Friedman famously called for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. But in that case, how would consumers know whether their food and drugs were safe? His answer was to rely on tort law. Corporations, he claimed, would have the incentive not to poison people because of the threat of lawsuits."

It isnt Libertarians that limit Corporate liability.  Both parties, Democrats and Republicans have passed or signed legislation that limit corporate liability.  Theoretically Freidman is correct; except under current tort laws, profits can surpass liabilities.

'your right to swing your fists ends at my nose' -libertarian mantra

It's not hard to extrapolate from that, if a business is polluting a stream it effects everyone and is not acceptable.
 
2014-08-13 06:52:02 AM  
Libertarianism also depends upon the innate greed of people and doesn't account for altruism.

Actually, Libertarianism would work if a) all people had perfect knowledge about every economic transaction they were involved in, and b) they could act perfectly rationally upon that information at all times. But people are inherently irrational, with our emotions driving us just as much as our intelligence. So no, Libertarianism won't work in practice.
 
2014-08-13 07:16:23 AM  
Ever since Milton Friedman died, Paul Krugman has been winning every editorial argument against him. It's like Milton isn't even trying anymore.
 
2014-08-13 07:19:07 AM  
Absolute monarchy is perfect in theory too.  Lets try it!
 
2014-08-13 07:29:27 AM  
Even in theory, libertarianism has problems large enough to sail the Queen Mary through.  It's only perfect if you just ignore all those problems, like most Randians do.
 
2014-08-13 07:53:30 AM  

Frederick: It's not hard to extrapolate from that, if a business is polluting a stream it effects everyone and is not acceptable


And how would a libertarian system stop it?

No system to check. No laws ahead of time specificially about it.

You are looking at years if not decades of lawsuits to get companies to pay, nevermind it woudl be simple to make ashell company to take th fall and handle all disposal.
 
2014-08-13 07:57:27 AM  

Frederick: FTA:

"For example, Milton Friedman famously called for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. But in that case, how would consumers know whether their food and drugs were safe? His answer was to rely on tort law. Corporations, he claimed, would have the incentive not to poison people because of the threat of lawsuits."

It isnt Libertarians that limit Corporate liability.  Both parties, Democrats and Republicans have passed or signed legislation that limit corporate liability.  Theoretically Freidman is correct; except under current tort laws, profits can surpass liabilities.

'your right to swing your fists ends at my nose' -libertarian mantra

It's not hard to extrapolate from that, if a business is polluting a stream it effects everyone and is not acceptable.


Because we have time to wait for the courts to decide that a company is selling E. coli- tainted meat and must pay a penalty. Oops, they were just a shell company. No judgment for you and someone new is selling bad meat.
 
2014-08-13 07:58:23 AM  

liam76: Frederick: It's not hard to extrapolate from that, if a business is polluting a stream it effects everyone and is not acceptable

And how would a libertarian system stop it?

No system to check. No laws ahead of time specificially about it.

You are looking at years if not decades of lawsuits to get companies to pay, nevermind it woudl be simple to make ashell company to take th fall and handle all disposal.


*shakes fist*
 
2014-08-13 08:01:37 AM  

enry:
*shakes fist*


I will let you tackle it when they say in libertarian wonderland shell companies will be stopped...by ron Paul or soemthing.
 
2014-08-13 08:12:36 AM  

Frederick: FTA:

"For example, Milton Friedman famously called for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. But in that case, how would consumers know whether their food and drugs were safe? His answer was to rely on tort law. Corporations, he claimed, would have the incentive not to poison people because of the threat of lawsuits."

It isnt Libertarians that limit Corporate liability.  Both parties, Democrats and Republicans have passed or signed legislation that limit corporate liability.  Theoretically Freidman is correct; except under current tort laws, profits can surpass liabilities.

'your right to swing your fists ends at my nose' -libertarian mantra

It's not hard to extrapolate from that, if a business is polluting a stream it effects everyone and is not acceptable.


We tried that, then the Cuyahoga was on fire. Turns out the EPA is way more effective.
 
2014-08-13 08:13:58 AM  
Just in case someone interested:
Milton Friedman on the FDA (Youtube)
 
2014-08-13 08:18:38 AM  
Can't wait for self professed libertarians show up to tell us nobody understands what libertarianism is and decline to explain any of their positions.
 
2014-08-13 08:20:27 AM  
Evidence shows that libertarianism is flawed in practice. But it's still perfect in theory


That's how it worked out for communism too.  I wonder if that means it is myopic to base an economic policy on an unproven dogma as opposed to proven pragmatic policies.
 
2014-08-13 08:23:30 AM  

dookdookdook: See if you can tell which part is Kowloon and which part is Hong Kong:

img.fark.net


Ha!  That pic reminds me of this:

2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-08-13 08:29:16 AM  
So it's like every other form of government?
 
2014-08-13 08:30:09 AM  
Flawed in practice means imperfect in theory.
 
2014-08-13 08:32:14 AM  

Frederick: FTA:

"For example, Milton Friedman famously called for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. But in that case, how would consumers know whether their food and drugs were safe? His answer was to rely on tort law. Corporations, he claimed, would have the incentive not to poison people because of the threat of lawsuits."

It isnt Libertarians that limit Corporate liability.  Both parties, Democrats and Republicans have passed or signed legislation that limit corporate liability.  Theoretically Freidman is correct; except under current tort laws, profits can surpass liabilities.

'your right to swing your fists ends at my nose' -libertarian mantra

It's not hard to extrapolate from that, if a business is polluting a stream it effects everyone and is not acceptable.


Other people have addressed this, but I want to go at a different angle.

Companies also take into account the amount of possible lawsuits and continue forward. If they make a faulty product, but the cost of recall+other factors is more than the cost of potential lawsuit payouts, then they just accept the potential cost rather than correct their mistake. This has happened several times with car companies for instance putting out a model with a faulty part that caused a number of deaths. Even when replacing the individual part would be very, very inexpensive, companies just decided to eat the potential lawsuits.

Even without legislation limiting tort, companies would still likely do this cost-benefit analysis on whether they can afford the lawsuits before deciding to do something about it.
 
2014-08-13 08:32:40 AM  

Nurglitch: Flawed in practice means imperfect in theory.


In theory, theory is practice; in practice, it's not.
 
2014-08-13 08:33:49 AM  
So it's just like communism then?

That explains a *lot* about certain farkers' insistent reliance on fallacious arguments and propagandistic attacks. To say nothing of their slavish devotion to a small set of thinkers who are utterly discredited outside of their narrow sphere.
 
2014-08-13 08:37:11 AM  

enry: Frederick: FTA:

"For example, Milton Friedman famously called for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. But in that case, how would consumers know whether their food and drugs were safe? His answer was to rely on tort law. Corporations, he claimed, would have the incentive not to poison people because of the threat of lawsuits."

It isnt Libertarians that limit Corporate liability.  Both parties, Democrats and Republicans have passed or signed legislation that limit corporate liability.  Theoretically Freidman is correct; except under current tort laws, profits can surpass liabilities.

'your right to swing your fists ends at my nose' -libertarian mantra

It's not hard to extrapolate from that, if a business is polluting a stream it effects everyone and is not acceptable.

Because we have time to wait for the courts to decide that a company is selling E. coli- tainted meat and must pay a penalty. Oops, they were just a shell company. No judgment for you and someone new is selling bad meat.


Also this reliance on lawsuits is kind of silly, since what government apparatus will remain strong enough to enforce them?
 
2014-08-13 08:39:21 AM  
I thought that said Librarian fantasy.
 
2014-08-13 08:40:01 AM  
In order for Libertarianism to have a chance at working you would have to remove the corporate veil.  Make the people at the company personally liable for everything the corporation does. That way there is actually some self preservation motivation.
 
2014-08-13 08:41:11 AM  

Frederick: FTA:

"For example, Milton Friedman famously called for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. But in that case, how would consumers know whether their food and drugs were safe? His answer was to rely on tort law. Corporations, he claimed, would have the incentive not to poison people because of the threat of lawsuits."

It isnt Libertarians that limit Corporate liability.  Both parties, Democrats and Republicans have passed or signed legislation that limit corporate liability.  Theoretically Freidman is correct; except under current tort laws, profits can surpass liabilities.

'your right to swing your fists ends at my nose' -libertarian mantra

It's not hard to extrapolate from that, if a business is polluting a stream it effects everyone and is not acceptable.


I seem to recall tort reform as yet another one of those issues that was pushed by the Republicans in the 1990s and eventually accepted by the Democrats.  The idea that the Democrats are still in the pockets of trial lawyers is still a common complaint from the right.


The "Common Sense" Legal Reform Act

An act to institute "Loser pays" laws (H.R.988, passed 232-193, 3/7/95), limits on punitive damages and weakening of product-liability laws to prevent what the bill considered frivolous litigation (H.R.956, passed 265-161, 3/10/95; passed Senate 61-37, 5/11/95, vetoed by President Clinton [3]). Another tort reform bill, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act was enacted in 1995 when Congress overrode a veto by Clinton.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract_with_America
 
2014-08-13 08:41:47 AM  
It's like Communism... Meaning, pie-in-the-sky idealism that would fail the first test of human nature.

What's funny is, Libertarians can be some smug, condescending motherfarkers for a group of people who support a philosophy that has never been tried on a large scale and can, at best, barely garner 5% of the vote in a nationwide election.

Personally, there's far too much of the stink of Republicans on Libertarians for my taste.

In short, a great philosophy for naive, immature people with delusions of grandeur.
 
2014-08-13 08:42:00 AM  

Frederick: FTA:

"For example, Milton Friedman famously called for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. But in that case, how would consumers know whether their food and drugs were safe? His answer was to rely on tort law. Corporations, he claimed, would have the incentive not to poison people because of the threat of lawsuits."

It isnt Libertarians that limit Corporate liability.  Both parties, Democrats and Republicans have passed or signed legislation that limit corporate liability.  Theoretically Freidman is correct; except under current tort laws, profits can surpass liabilities.

'your right to swing your fists ends at my nose' -libertarian mantra

It's not hard to extrapolate from that, if a business is polluting a stream it effects everyone and is not acceptable.


The FDA got its power as a result of unregulated drugs killing people.

Massengil was sued out of existence in the 30s because they killed people with Elixir Sulfanilamide. That's why you've never heard of them.

Tort was never enough to prevent people from taking the risk that their product will kill and result in a lawsuit. And tort is little consolation to the families of the victims. No, we tried libertarianism in the pharmaceutical market for 100 years and it didn't work. The half-assed regulations that happen now (all ya gotta be is "homeopathic" and you can still shill bullshiat that is dangerous) are STILL better than the libertarian alternative.
 
2014-08-13 08:43:19 AM  

machoprogrammer: So it's like every other form of government?


When I was in college in those poli sci classes, we would read all the arguments for/against a theory and point to someplace on the planet or in history that tried it. They all look like they suck in practice.
 
2014-08-13 08:43:58 AM  

liam76: Frederick: It's not hard to extrapolate from that, if a business is polluting a stream it effects everyone and is not acceptable

And how would a libertarian system stop it?

No system to check. No laws ahead of time specificially about it.

You are looking at years if not decades of lawsuits to get companies to pay, nevermind it woudl be simple to make ashell company to take th fall and handle all disposal.


Libertarians believe that externalities exist and are willing to admit that sometimes regulations are the only way to mitigate them.

They just don't believe in any SPECIFIC externality, so nothing ends up getting regulated by the time you're done having a conversation with them.
 
2014-08-13 08:44:31 AM  

Lackofname: Frederick: FTA:

"For example, Milton Friedman famously called for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. But in that case, how would consumers know whether their food and drugs were safe? His answer was to rely on tort law. Corporations, he claimed, would have the incentive not to poison people because of the threat of lawsuits."

It isnt Libertarians that limit Corporate liability.  Both parties, Democrats and Republicans have passed or signed legislation that limit corporate liability.  Theoretically Freidman is correct; except under current tort laws, profits can surpass liabilities.

'your right to swing your fists ends at my nose' -libertarian mantra

It's not hard to extrapolate from that, if a business is polluting a stream it effects everyone and is not acceptable.

Other people have addressed this, but I want to go at a different angle.

Companies also take into account the amount of possible lawsuits and continue forward. If they make a faulty product, but the cost of recall+other factors is more than the cost of potential lawsuit payouts, then they just accept the potential cost rather than correct their mistake. This has happened several times with car companies for instance putting out a model with a faulty part that caused a number of deaths. Even when replacing the individual part would be very, very inexpensive, companies just decided to eat the potential lawsuits.

Even without legislation limiting tort, companies would still likely do this cost-benefit analysis on whether they can afford the lawsuits before deciding to do something about it.


www.zuguide.com

Unavailable for comment.
 
2014-08-13 08:49:05 AM  
You mean just refusing to pay for anything is not a viable economic policy?

well duh...
 
2014-08-13 08:51:26 AM  
There are some people that think "Gosh, remember robber barons and child labor?  Those were the days!"
 
2014-08-13 08:51:42 AM  
Pure Libertarianism = no public infrastructure

Pure Communism = No private property

Pure Capitalism = Sweatshops and poverty

Nothing is good in its purest form, the trick is to take aspects from all of them that work and can strike a balance beneficial to all
 
2014-08-13 08:53:42 AM  

SoupGuru: There are some people that think "Gosh, remember robber barons and child labor?  Those were the days!"


Of course. They think they'll be the robber barons and the ones exploiting the child labor.
 
2014-08-13 08:55:29 AM  
"For example, Milton Friedman famously called for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. But in that case, how would consumers know whether their food and drugs were safe? His answer was to rely on tort law. Corporations, he claimed, would have the incentive not to poison people because of the threat of lawsuits."

BTW Friedman's wiki page claims he died of food poisoning heart failure.

Now with Corporations required either to adopt a religion or follow federal law, I'm sure each office of chief counsel is particularly attracted to FriedRandianism. After the honeymoon period, when the living heir to the throne is needed, some will chose the wrong cousin or father-in-law, as is explained in the Economist.
 
2014-08-13 08:57:34 AM  

Frederick: Theoretically Freidman is correct; except under current tort laws, profits can surpass liabilities.


Well, there's also the issue that the bigger a corporation is, the more resources they have to defeat lawsuits or delay the enforcement of any decisions against them until the plaintiffs are forced to settle.
 
2014-08-13 08:57:45 AM  

Snarfangel: Just in case someone interested:
Milton Friedman on the FDA (Youtube)


Nice hypothesis, but the problem is that Friedman treats corporations as an individual person. Corporations don't make decisions, people inside those corporations do, and corporations remove liability from those people, removing a huge incentive to reduce risk. The risk is you'll lose your job. The reward is fat bonuses and promotions for getting a product to market regardless of its safety. An individual is willing to take the risk because a) the product might not hurt anyone, b) even if it does, the victims or their families might not sue, c) if they sue, they might not win, d) if they win, it might not be so much it loses the company as much money as it made, e) if it loses the company money, it might not mean their job.

"But wait," one might be tempted to protest, "a corporation is a person in that its entirety has an incentive not to get this wrong." True, but that didn't keep Friedman from reducing the FDA down to a single bureaucrat. FDA decisions are not in the hands of a single person. It's in the hands of a group of people, half of whom are industry employees, not government employees. And the industry people have an incentive to approve.

Friedman also makes an assertion that isn't even remotely possible to prove, because we have no idea how many drugs were never approved that would have killed people but went back into development and came out later and were effective. If one believes in zero tort limits and the economic fact that companies will include the expected costs of tort into the drug price, Friedman's also not counting the number of deaths that would have occurred because it pushed the price of the drug out of reach.

And, finally, if tort wasn't limited and companies could be sued out of existence, then companies would set for themselves the same standards of proof of safety that the FDA demands, saving us zero time and not saving any lives vs. having an FDA.
 
2014-08-13 09:03:33 AM  

lefthanded bastard: I thought that said Librarian fantasy.


3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-08-13 09:04:56 AM  
4 words to counter any libertarian economic argument: tragedy of the commons.
 
2014-08-13 09:05:40 AM  
Nonsensical in two respects.  1) How could they possibly say that when there are no modern examples of libertarianism being implemented on a wide scale?  2)  So, since there are no real world modern examples, they are theorizing about what would happen in practice as opposed to theory, which is...whoa  3)  No one running for major office is preaching pure libertarianism.  For example, while we could debate the utility of the FDA (drug companies would conduct efficacy tests on their own as would get sued out of existence if they ever released a drug that caused harm to the public), no one is seriously advocating the cannibalization of the FDA.   We are talking about limiting the government where it makes sense and wont cause the most outrage  4) socialism has been implemented on a wide scale and has failed at every turn.  Maybe, just maybe, a massive government structure is not the answer.
 
2014-08-13 09:06:21 AM  

BitwiseShift: "For example, Milton Friedman famously called for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. But in that case, how would consumers know whether their food and drugs were safe? His answer was to rely on tort law. Corporations, he claimed, would have the incentive not to poison people because of the threat of lawsuits."

BTW Friedman's wiki page claims he died of food poisoning heart failure.

Now with Corporations required either to adopt a religion or follow federal law, I'm sure each office of chief counsel is particularly attracted to FriedRandianism. After the honeymoon period, when the living heir to the throne is needed, some will chose the wrong cousin or father-in-law, as is explained in the Economist.

Bad link above. Good Link here.
 
2014-08-13 09:09:04 AM  

Lackofname: Companies also take into account the amount of possible lawsuits and continue forward. If they make a faulty product, but the cost of recall+other factors is more than the cost of potential lawsuit payouts, then they just accept the potential cost rather than correct their mistake. This has happened several times with car companies for instance putting out a model with a faulty part that caused a number of deaths. Even when replacing the individual part would be very, very inexpensive, companies just decided to eat the potential lawsuits.


/oblig
2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-08-13 09:10:21 AM  
The problem with libertarianism is that there is a nonzero percentage of humans who are lazy slobs and/or/ greedy sociopathic assholes who are perfectly content/willing to ruin it for everyone.  With communism, it is the other way around.
 
2014-08-13 09:11:05 AM  

miscreant: lefthanded bastard: I thought that said Librarian fantasy.

[3.bp.blogspot.com image 752x1024]


paging Wellon Dowd to the thread, stat!
 
2014-08-13 09:11:15 AM  
My brother is an anarcho-capitalist libertarian, and I always ask him the same thing, and he's never come up with an answer. It's now my stock question for all libertarians.

If libertarianism is such a great governing system, can you name one nation currently using it? I mean after all, communism at least lasted a while, so if libertarianism is awesome, clearly at least one first or second world nation is libertarian. Right?

/no, oddly most of the decent countries are socialist
//funny how that works
 
2014-08-13 09:14:46 AM  

keylock71: Personally, there's far too much of the stink of Republicans on Libertarians for my taste.


Most declared Libertarians I know would be Republicans if only they could convince them to be bigger arseholes.  Alot of them were on board with the Tea Party until they figured out where the dirt under the astroturf came from.
 
2014-08-13 09:16:31 AM  

Pumpernickel bread: So, since there are no real world modern examples,


There are assloads of post-industrialization examples.  It was a major, formative phase in the history of most first-world nations, in fact, notably the UK's late imperial age and the US's gilded age.

If you genuinely think the absolute nonsense you just typed and aren't just being disengenuous I think we're going to have to downgrade your status form historically ignorant to functionally illiterate, because there's no way that anyone who can read well enough to put a sentence together and old enough to post things on the internet doesn't know about the goddamned robber barons, the gilded age, or the roaring 20s, all of which involved straight-up libertarian social structures.

Libertarianism predates Communism by like five centuries, man, just because you give it a new name doesn't make it a new  thing.

And it farking  sucked.  You had to basically be a peasant in pre-revolutionary France for shiat to suck any harder than under one of the free-market-based nations like Italy and industrial great Britain.
 
2014-08-13 09:17:02 AM  
Unfortunatly, corporations will need to be disolved as they interfere with the free market. said no libertarian ever
 
2014-08-13 09:17:33 AM  
So basically Krugman is doing the "blame the Holocaust and communism on atheists" argument?
 
2014-08-13 09:20:42 AM  

SurfaceTension: Libertarianism also depends upon the innate greed of people and doesn't account for altruism.


i'd actually argue the exact opposite

it depends on people acting in such a way as to encourage competition by not using all the tools at their disposal. the basic idea of a corporation adding regulation to a market to discourage small business competitors is an alien threat to libertarianism, and the only solutions to such a problem run contrary to their stated intent
 
2014-08-13 09:21:05 AM  

Thank You Black Jesus!: The problem with libertarianism is that there is a nonzero percentage of humans who are lazy slobs and/or/ greedy sociopathic assholes who are perfectly content/willing to ruin it for everyone.  With communism, it is the other way around.


Okay, that's confusing. Do you mean there are lazy sociopathic assholes and greedy slobs or that everyone is willing to ruin it for them or who are unwilling to ruin it for them?
 
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