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 Post subject: Free Markets and Environmental Regulation.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 1:43 am 
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The Case of Peter and Paul

Economic conservatives rant against redistribution of wealth as being both unwise and immoral. It is unwise because it skews economic incentives. According to their argument, if people can get paid for laziness and are penalized for their productive efforts, the effect is to purchase more laziness and discourage those productive efforts.

It is immoral, according to these individuals, because nobody has a right to move in and take, without consent, the goods and services produced by another, or the profits generated from them. The goods and services themselves, or the profits, belong (by natural right) to those who created them. Whenever somebody comes along -- even the government -- and says, "Give me your money, or else", this is theft, and this is wrong.

However, these advocates tend to ignore that there is a second way for governments to redistribute wealth. The government could force Peter to cough up some money, which he turns around and gives to Paul. Or, the government can stand passively while Paul simply takes what he wants from Peter's bank account or home. The government's role in this theft is to stand watch over Peter and makes sure that he does not do something rash, while Paul sifts through Peter's property for what he wants.

This is as much of a wealth distribution scheme as welfare.

The moral issue does not change if, instead of taking property or money, the Paul destroys Peter's property instead, or forces Peter to take poison that either makes him ill or kills him. If we assume that Paul is doing this for a profit, because this will make it easier for him to collect money from Patrick, we are still seeing a redistribution of wealth. Peter suffers a loss he does not consent to, so that Paul can make himself wealthier.

A consistent capitalist cannot be against the first type of wealth distribution scheme, while he argues in favor of the second.

I am talking about the practice of poisoning the air and water that cause others to suffer sickness and death, and putting soots and acids into the air that destroy property of others, all to collect a profit from customers who buy his products. I am talking about those who enrich themselves by means in which others suffer the effects of arsenic in their drinking water and the health and property damage associated with global warming and ozone depletion.


The "Capitalist" Recommendation

Those who defend this form of "capitalism" argue that the government should not concern itself with these issues -- that the market will take care of them. If people do not like the effects of pollution, they should arrange for those who inflict this harm to suffer damage through the market, through boycotts and other expressions of economic power. If the people are sufficiently concerned, they will express it through their purchases. If they are not willing to express their concern through their purchases, then they are not truly being hurt very much.

We could take this argument and apply it to the situation between Peter and Paul. This argument states that there should be no government regulation to prohibit Paul from entering Peter's house, destroying his property, and forcing him to consume poison. Instead, Peter should be limited to using whatever market influence he has to persuade Paul not to do him harm. He should attempt to arrange a boycott of Paul's businesses. If he is not willing to take strong enough action to discourage Paul through this economic activity, then he is not truly being hurt very much.

At this point, we must ask why Paul gets to force his way into Peter's house, destroy his property, and force him to injest poison, where Peter is restricted to using economic means only against Paul. This is the hypocrisy that is being sold under the brand name "capitalism" in the marketplace of ideas these days.

In fact, the government has every right to say, in defense of those whose lives, health, and property is put at risk. Instead of standing by to warn Peter not to try anything funny as Paul threatens his life, health, and property, the government, even by capitalist principles, has a duty to tell Paul that his commercial rights end where Paul's life, health, and property begin. At that point, whether Paul is putting arsenic in the drinking water, contributing to global climate change, damaging the ozone, or any countless other activities that may be harmful to others, his right to engage in those activities ends. If the government participates in protecting Paul while he does this damage, this itself is a wealth-transfer scheme, an example of 'corporate welfare' at its worse.


The Point

My point here is not to argue that capitalism is bad. In fact, I am saying the opposite, that capitalistic principles, consistently applied, make a lot of sense. However, there is a difference between defending capitalism, and defending those with capital. "Capitalism" is not a theory that gives those with capital special rights to inflict harm on others. It is a theory that states that whatever life, health, and property you own are to be protected, and others will not be allowed to freely threaten them.

Unfortunately, those with captial have been able to use their wealth and power, and their control of the media, to mass market a perversion of capitalism that turns these principles on their head. Instead of defending the right to life, liberty, and property, they have marketed a different form of "capitalism" that protects mainly those with capital, and leaves the lives, health, and property of everybody else vulnerable to attack. The government's role is changed from preventing Paul from doing harm to Peter, to making sure that Peter does not try anything funny while Paul is at liberty to do as he pleases. It works to make sure that Peter is powerless while Paul poisons the water Peter drinks, poisons the air he breathes, and takes actions that threated to destroy Peter's property, all without Peter's consent, and all without offering a dime in compensation.

In fact, if Peter should ever protest that Paul has no right to threaten his life, health, and property, he gets branded a "liberal", he is insulted and denigrated for holding such opinion, and held up as an example to others, "Do not dare suggest that the government should be protecting your life, health, and property, or this will happen to you."


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 8:44 am 
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Alonzo...understanding of economics has not been one of my strong attributes, but you have done a good job of putting it into perspective for me.

It's like I'm walking down the street, and someone darts out, quickly slashes my arm with a knife, and then whips out a bandage and names its price.

Catherine

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:37 pm 
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Catherine wrote:
Alonzo...understanding of economics has not been one of my strong attributes, but you have done a good job of putting it into perspective for me.

It's like I'm walking down the street, and someone darts out, quickly slashes my arm with a knife, and then whips out a bandage and names its price.


I agree, Cathering. Alonzo explained the corporatocracy (fascism) very well.

But I think your analogy could go further. It is as if a corporation spends millions of dollars to get favorable legislation passed. Then they hire somebody to kill you, remove your vital organs, and sell them on the black market. When your estate goes to court with proof that this was done and by whom, they find that the law says that your estate does not have the right to sue for compensation and that the corporation cannot be held liable for the actions of its employees under direct orders from the corporation itself. Further, your estate is penalized by the court for bringing a frivolous lawsuit and the corporation sues them for further damages for impairing the brand name. In other words, nothing exists on earth, including the air, the air waves, the water, the earth, all natural resources, and all people and property, that cannot be legally confiscated and destroyed by a corporation for corporate profit without compensation to anyone. Then the corporation fires the guy who killed you because they've found someone to do the same job cheaper, and then they fire that person because they've managed to find someone who will do the same job for free in return for food, shelter, and the hope of surviving another day.

And if anyone dares to protest, the corporation will pay the government to send military and police officers to slaughter these insurgent terrorists.

The two top groups on the FBI's domestic terrorism list are environmentalists and animal rights activists. If you want to protect our country and its trees, water, and air, you are a danger to national security. If you want to destroy our country, you are a patriot.

On this 60th anniversary of Hiroshima, this is the world I live in.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:53 pm 
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Okay, to be honest, my argument was meant to illustrate the results of consistently applying a certain set of principles, nothing more.

Plus, I do consider the activities of certain animal-rights groups and environmentalists to count as terrorist activities. If your actions risk. If your actions result in a working parent laying in a puddle of blood on the forest floor, or an elderly couple's life savings sitting as pile of ash on a mountainside, you earn no moral points in my book.

But, I suppose, those specific topics may fit into another essay.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 3:22 pm 
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[quote="Alonzo Fyfe"]
Plus, I do consider the activities of certain animal-rights groups and environmentalists to count as terrorist activities. If your actions risk. If your actions result in a working parent laying in a puddle of blood on the forest floor, or an elderly couple's life savings sitting as pile of ash on a mountainside, you earn no moral points in my book.
[quote]
Well, there are going to be extremists in any group. But deforestation doesn't just destroy individuals--it has destroyed whole nations and entire civilizations. The Maya are a prime example of this. As for that elderly couple's savings, the way today's corporations have been defrauding investors and underfunding pension plans, it is indeed a shame if some of the lucky few to have any savings should lose them, but it is only a small part of a much larger picture. Most environmentalists would never cause any harm to anything--their purpose is to prevent harm, not to cause it. Similarly most animal rights activists would never harm a living thing--that is their ideology: to not harm living things, including people.

To pick out a radical few and label an entire movement terrorist because of them is very unfair. Just because this country has more serial killers than any other country, doesn't mean we're a nation of serial killers, although some people do think that of us.

When you compare the loss of lives due to unsafe workplaces, toxic pollution, and other corporate crimes, to the loss of lives due to those opposing such atrocities, you'll quickly see who the real terrorists are. There are many thousands of deaths attributable to nuclear weapons, tests, accidents, and experiments, but I do not know of a single death caused by those opposed to nuclear proliferation. Yet, as environmentalists, they are the ones who are labelled terrorists.

As your ozone layer disappears, your watershed shrinks and becomes polluted, and the courts rule that it is okay for local government to use eminent domain to give your home or business to a large corporation, it is very convenient for you to concentrate your fears on the occasional tree-spiker or deranged arsonist. The logging industry has always been a notoriously unsafe place to work. Try comparing the number of deaths in routine logging accidents to the number of injuries blamed on environmentalists--it might give you a more realistic perspective.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 6:10 pm 
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Plus, I do consider the activities of certain animal-rights groups and environmentalists to count as terrorist activities.


Oh, my...you stepped in deep doodoo with that statement, Alonzo. :x My estimation of your character just went through the celler and into the ground several feet! That's a pretty broad brush you're painting with there, and an incredibly unfair one.

How dare you make such a generalized statement at a board where animal rights and the environment are grave concerns among the membership.

If you want to continue to have any semblance of credibility with any of the posters at TVNL, you really need to walk your talk and back up that statement or retract it....immediately.

Next thing we know, you'll be writing an editorial about the "terrorists" who post at TVNL because we've got both an Animal and Pet Forum and an Environment Forum. :evil:

Sheesh...I'm extremely disappointed in you.

Catherine

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 6:54 pm 
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Catherine wrote:
Oh, my...you stepped in deep doodoo with that statement, Alonzo.


Notice: I said "certain" (as in "a specific subset') of these groups. I specified those actions that result in bloodshed or the destruction of property.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 6:58 pm 
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Quote:
Notice: I said "certain" (as in "a specific subset') of these groups.


Then name them, and give specifics as to just what they've done, and then I'll decide if I wish to agree or disagree with you as to their "terrorist" intentions.

Catherine

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 8:40 pm 
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[quote="CatherineThen name them, and give specifics as to just what they've done, and then I'll decide if I wish to agree or disagree with you as to their "terrorist" intentions. [/quote]
Right on, Catherine. Alonzo might do well to remember that hundreds of landlords in this country have been convicted of burning down their homes or businesses in order to collect the insurance, and some of those arsons resulted in the deaths of tenants, yet the FBI has not labelled landlords a terrorist group. And that people have been convicted of abortion clinic bombings that resulted in death, yet the FBI has not labelled pro-lifers a terrorist group. Even the groups with whom Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh associated have not been labelled terrorist groups.

FBI guidelines seem to say that just because members of a group have committed terrorist acts that resulted in deaths, does not mean that the entire group should be labelled terrorist. So exactly what have environmentalists and animal rights activists done that does put both groups at the top of the FBI watch list as suspected domestic terrorists?

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 9:37 pm 
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This irks me no end.

Perhaps it's time to call those parents who neglect their children, torture them, starve them, and otherwise "terrorise" them as "terrorists."

Perhaps it's time to call those who don't "worship" as the prez does "terrorists."

This reminds me of that ignorant Secretary of Education (forgotten his vile name) who said the National Education Association) was a "terrorist" group. :roll:

Methinks Alonzo has drunk from the kool-aid vat today.

Catherine

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 10:35 pm 
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i think alonzo was only refering to the end violence that happens..the hurting of people's lives...this is what he said he didn't like.

in that regards, i may have to agree.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 10:49 am 
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I would like the opportunity to either agree or disagree, also.

Perhaps you can help Alonzo out, since he's not showing any signs of coming back and giving specifics as to what he means by "certain groups."

Terror is an emotion...a feeling of imminent, overmastering fear, a sense of shock at a danger that is also evil. We need to watch how those emotions become implanted within our minds, and cause us to distort what is simply resistance to certain happenings, and not an actual "act of terror."

Are you and I "terrorists" because we are doing what we can to resist and spread the truth about the dangers of most of the Bush adminsitration's policies? I think not. Am I a terrorist when I donate funds to the National Humane Society? I think not. Am I a terrorist when I say that the war in Iraq is wrong and our troops should be brought home NOW? I think not. Am I a terrorist because I don't think drilling for oil in the AWR is acceptable? I think not.

We have to be ever cognizant of how FEAR can cause otherwise sensible people to make bad decisions, and to use the term "terrorist" in the wrong way.

Catherine

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 12:02 pm 
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Terror is an emotion...a feeling of imminent, overmastering fear, a sense of shock at a danger that is also evil. We need to watch how those emotions become implanted within our minds, and cause us to distort what is simply resistance to certain happenings, and not an actual "act of terror."


i agree with you about the use of "terrorists". it seems anyone who resists any type of government edict or corporate policy is now labeled a "terrorist" in america.

the problem is, it appears that the ones who use that term actually don't know what a terrorist is. the government likes to toss that around frequently, and the public eats it up. i have asked many people exactly what a "terrorist" is and i get answers from both ends of the spectrum.

i consider the tobacco farms as "terrorists" because they kill americans, and some think that animal rights activists are terrorists....go figure.

again, i don't think anyone knows what a terrorist really is, so they use that term to describe anyone who they feel opposes their beliefs.

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 Post subject: Don't give up on us yet.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:38 pm 
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Alonzo-
Don't run away because we get tough. This is how we get to the issues about the problems of this world. I believe that to discuss democracy and capitalism as intertwined is a conundrum and a mistake that should be corrected. The seriousness of overpaid/underpaid is a universal mistake tha thas produced the problems that we live with ,not just here in North America, but is a global concern.

When you look for terrorists in this world, it isn't the ELF movement, it isn't the animal rights advocates who may inadvertantly cause the deaths or destruction of property that affects a few corporate swine, and their rights to chop up and divide the world for profit, it is the policies of capitalism itself that causes the deaths and abuse of millions of people yearly in the world because of its unfair wage disparity for work to pay ratios that advantage the few and oppress the many. Why just look at the trees and miss the forest? This kind of injustice, protected by governments , laws and enforced by the police and military is the real cause of injustice and wars in the world.

There is so much to discuss about real issues here and you have opened pandora's box when you mention the rights of animals and plants who have no voice to protect them. This is a problem on TVNL as we love our flora and fauna more than most people, and see the capitalist ideal as the drawback to peace and equality in this world.

Come back and lets talk. We have enjoyed what you've said already. Come and explain it more clearly. That is all we ask.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 9:47 pm 
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Well said, DO.g's!

I wish Alonzo would come back and explain further, too. All I want him to do is to be specific about who and what he's talking about.

Alonzo made a serious accusation in a deliberately vague way against organizations that care about this planet and its inhabitants. He's a writer and that makes it even more important that he have the courage to stand and deliver. He seriously used THAT word no one at this board uses lightly, especially without some serious evidence as backup.

All I want is an explanation...nothing more, but definitely nothing less. I like Alonzo...admire him...and agree with him on all facets of everything he's written here except for this one instance...but if he can't come back and defend himself, how can I continue to do that?

Catherine

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