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Sandy as election spoiler excuse

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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby wack wack » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:59 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:
fisticuffs wrote:Sad? This is essentially how the free market works in the US in 2012.
You've got to be kidding. If you go to Target and don't like the high price of something, you think it's "essentially how it works" to assault the manager?


What are the chances the Target manager is gouging a dying man for water? Pretty damned close to zero, I'd bet.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby jman111 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:01 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:How is this any different that in a government-run system based on coercive resource distribution?

Through legislation, we can direct altruistic use of our resources.

What's sad is that you think the system should operate on exactly the same principles whether we're discussing life-saving supplies or 100 ft yachts. You treat "needs" and "wants" interchangeably in defending your "free market".
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby jman111 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:03 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:
jman111 wrote:But when a water-hoarder deprives a dying man of water because the margin is too slim, well, that's life (for some).
True. But you haven't described under what conditions the margin is so slim. I would appreciate an ingenuous response.

When your previously mentioned water hoarder decides that he isn't gonna take 9 bucks from the dying man 'cuz he knows he can get 10 bucks from the wealthy neighbor whose hoard has been somewhat diminished.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:04 pm

wack wack wrote:What are the chances the Target manager is gouging a dying man for water? Pretty damned close to zero, I'd bet.
Read what fisticuffs said. Different issue.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby rabble » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:04 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:
fisticuffs wrote:Sad? This is essentially how the free market works in the US in 2012.
You've got to be kidding. If you go to Target and don't like the high price of something, you think it's "essentially how it works" to assault the manager?

Arturo, you do understand that conditions immediately after a major disaster is a different sort of environment than what you just described, right?

Having said that, I will readily admit that if one is selling water to crowds of injured, grieving people, one would probably want a few guards with shotguns around and so the price would have to go up to reflect that.

Or you could just explain to them how you're not behaving unethically and that your process maximizes distribution while allowing you a fair profit.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:09 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:As empirical evidence of this I present to you the 20th century in the United States - an unparalleled rise in material wealth brought on in no small part by profit-seeking behaviors.
Nobody is suggesting there's NO place for profit-seeking or that it's inherently a bad thing. It's just not ALWAYS the best thing. In the early 20th century United States, profit-seeking drove electrification, but it was the government that forced electric companies to expand into rural areas and the poorest parts of big cities. I personally believe that every American citizen is entitled to electricity. The people who owned the power plants certainly didn't think so, however, and they only expanded to many areas where the profit was less-than-desirable because they weren't given a choice. The same is true for phone lines and internet access, two more things I believe every American should have some amount of access to regardless of their financial situation. If we only let profit determine who gets what, a whole lot of people get left behind and I think that is morally unacceptable.

ArturoBandini wrote:Profit... is the best mechanism for allocating scarce resources. If you disagree with this statement, please indicate which alternative resource allocation mechanism you prefer, how it works, and why it is superior.
First of all, the notion that one cannot criticize a position without providing a better alternative is ridiculous. Secondly, you yourself admit that perhaps one solution isn't as good as multiple solutions acting in concert, which means there's plenty of room for profit as well as more humanitarian methods. Finally, I did suggest an alternative: The government collects taxes so that when disaster strikes, they can buy up needed resources at non-disaster-gouging prices and distribute them where needed. There is no shortage of bottled water in the country as a whole, there is only a shortage in places where disaster has struck. In this modern world, it is a relatively simple thing to purchase water in places untouched by disaster and deliver it to those in need, no price-gouging necessary.

ArturoBandini wrote: You are basing your rejection of a market system on feelings about fairness...
Fairness? No. I have no expectation that the world is fair. But yes, I do have feelings. I can empathize with those in need. You should try it sometime.

ArturoBandini wrote: ...but in reality, this system produces the best material results.
That's because the deck is stacked in favor of runaway profit and greed. It doesn't have to be that way, however. I can envision a world where nobody lacks basic necessities because, contrary to your statements, there really aren't very many actual shortages in the world, it's just that people and the stuff they need aren't in the same location. As of right now, there is more than enough food, water, and energy to go around if everyone would just remember what they learned about sharing in kindergarten.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:16 pm

Thanks for piling on, everyone. Some of you even appear to be arguing in good faith, so that's a bonus. I'll look forward to responding a bit later, but for now I've got to run.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:19 pm

Also, this relevant articlepopped up in a search, but I cannot access the entire article, because I don't have a subscription. Maybe I'll deploy some of my monetary resources a bit later to obtain this good that I value more than the nominal amount of money required.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby fisticuffs » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:22 pm

Thanks for piling on, everyone.


I don't think we're the ones who turned this thread into a repeat of one of your dozens of other libertarian circle jerks.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:25 pm

fisticuffs wrote:
Thanks for piling on, everyone.


I don't think we're the ones who turned this thread into a repeat of one of your dozens of other libertarian circle jerks.


Sure, but many of us chose to pull our pants down.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:06 pm

Liberal economics commentator Matt Yglesias on price gouging.
The basic imperative to allocate goods efficiently doesn’t vanish in a storm or other crisis. If anything, it becomes more important. And price controls in an emergency have the same results as they do any other time: They lead to shortages and overconsumption. Letting merchants raise prices if they think customers will be willing to pay more isn’t a concession to greed. Rather, it creates much-needed incentives for people to think harder about what they really need and appropriately rewards vendors who manage their inventories well.
Well said, Matt.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:09 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
fisticuffs wrote:I don't think we're the ones who turned this thread into a repeat of one of your dozens of other libertarian circle jerks.

Sure, but many of us chose to pull our pants down.
And if anyone is circle-jerking, it is the opponents of the application libertarian concepts. I am the only one here defending them, so I'm not sure how I can form a circle all by myself.
Last edited by ArturoBandini on Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby rabble » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:10 pm

That works for building materials, cigarettes, and twinkies. I believe we're talking about basic life necessities.

And I believe you're saying it's up to the seller to determine if it should be given away.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Ned Flanders » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:30 pm

Staten Island officials trash the Red Cross. Where's FEMA? Where's Obama?
Another New Orleans?

"At a press conference this morning on Staten Island, a host of local officials, including Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, gathered to highlight the needs of the hard-hit borough in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. And, although many pols spoke, no one was more impassioned than Borough President James Molinaro, who called the Red Cross an “absolute disgrace” and even urged the public to cease giving them contributions.

“Because the devastation in Staten Island, the lack of a response,” Mr. Molinaro said to explain his comment to NBC after the press conference. “You know, I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm. People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need. Their housing was destroyed. They were crying. Where was the Red Cross? Isn’t that their function? They collect millions of dollars. Whenever there’s a drive in Staten Island, we give openly and honestly. Where are they? Where are they? I was at the South Shore yesterday, people were buried in their homes. There the dogs are trying to find bodies..."

http://politicker.com/2012/11/staten-is ... red-cross/
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Talon Newsman » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:01 pm

That is WONDERFUL news!

In light of that, I fully expect Mayor Bloomberg to stay true to his Republican roots and deliver a persuasive endorsement for Mitt Romney, probably any minute now!
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