Interesting: providing your own writing as the source to support an argument. Never saw that one before, lol.
This data shows that it is fundamentally impossible for any country to bring prosperity to their people if they do not protect private property rights. Not just difficult- impossible. The data proves that adopting a communistic view of property is the surest way to cause socioeconomic collapse for any country.
- Well I wish you were right, but actual statistics and market trends say something very different: [link][link][link]
I'm not sure what those links were supposed to show. The absolute GDP of a country doesn't describe the comparative wealth of the citizens. You need to look at per capita GDP on a PPP basis to get that information: [link][link][link]
"This data shows that it is fundamentally impossible for any country to bring prosperity to their people if they do not protect private property rights"
I agree. What I am going to disagree with you, is on what gets to be private property, and how property is defined. I think we all agree to some extent that somethings cannot be owned. What we disagree on is what.
"too much capitalism is bad, just like too much socialism." this whole idea that politics is 2 dimensional is terrible. both capitalism and socialism fail. Capitalism fails eventually, because it has no means to prevent power from being massed centrally. It works pretty well in the early stages, but once larger organizations show up, and hierarchically bureaucracies take form, the bottom falls off, and it fails.
Socialism is pretty apt at identifying this, but fails hard from the gate, because central planning clusters economic activity in the same way, in a more expedited fashion, and fails because group think grinds rational voices to bits, and the system fails.
The systems are similar in the regard, that they both eventually allow a small clique of insiders to rise to the top and control everything. A large bureaucratic government in effect is little different than a large corporation, if large enough that starts enforcing its will as a government.
They are also pretty apt at identifying the others obvious problems.
My solution is to make all groups of people democratic, willfull, small, and when possible, local.
"This data should make it clear that anyone who cares about the prosperity of the people should treat private property rights as absolutely sacred."
There are no such thing as absolutes. In fact they are dangerous in every regard. All rights have natural limits. Those limits are when they start infringing on the rights of others.
Never in the history of any country has private property even been a de facto absolute, regardless of what any law has said.
I also agree with you we should be limiting the size and role of the government. What I think you fail to realize, is we also need to be limiting the size and role of any organization that gets big enough to have the same effect, because the difference is semantics.(be that corporation, labor union, street gang, cartel, etc...)
You make some good points. There certainly are plenty of definitions of private property.
However, each of those different definitions of private property is going to have a different type of correlation with state failure. So, what's important in determining the implications of this data is not so much how you or I define private property, but how the Heritage Foundation defines it. Whether you agree with their definition or not, it's their definition that has generated these extremely close correlations. I'm not ruling out the possibility that my definition or your definition of private property may have stronger correlations, though the more ways in which those alternate definitions contradict with Heritage's definition, the less likely it is that the alternate definitions would generate that sort of strong negative correlation with state failure.
So, what is Heritage's definition of "Property Rights"? Their scoring system is here: [link]
In Heritage's definition, property rights include efficient enforcement of contract law, an inability for anyone (including the government) to confiscate property without due process, an absence of expropriation for the public interest, and an absence of political influence on the judiciary.
Basically, if we want to improve our property rights score and thereby decrease our level of state failure, we could do so by eliminating eminent domain, depriving executive agencies like the EPA of the power to confiscate lands and other property "for the public good," eliminating all of the laws funneling portions of people's paychecks into union pockets, making it an impeachable offense for politicians to threaten the judiciary (*COUGH*OBAMA*COUGH*), eliminating the executive power to impose fees and fines outside of criminal court, banning the nationalization of companies through any means, and reducing regulation that negatively impacts the value of companies and properties.
It would be really nice if we had a constitutional amendment that would bring about those policy changes by explicitly protecting property rights in the definition Heritage has used.
"However, each of those different definitions of private property is going to have a different type of correlation with state failure" have my ideas been tried...ever?
the closet thing to my ideals on property was probably the pre-revolutionary US of A. Things like houses and shops were private, but they had the concept of "commons", i.e. common area. Its not that close even.
"So, what is Heritage's definition of "Property Rights"? Their scoring system is here:" Don't like it. It doesn't address the fundamental question of what can and cannot be property, only that property rights should be enforced.
In addition to private property, I believe in "common" property, as in town parks, squares, and mostly infrastructure should be held in common, and administered by democratic vote.
In a geo-libertarianesque view, I think that the only solid ownership claims are to man made goods, as ownership starts with economic productivity.
Everything else, you have a similar, but more case specific "right to occupy/inhabit"(no relation to the movement)", "right to use", "right to use exclusively",
For example, you don't have the right over a living think like you do an inatimate object. While you can call it "yours, mine, etc.." in the common sense, you don't have the right to torture(or more perversely have sex with) an animal you "own", like you would a machine. While you certainly have rights to the animal, just as strong as you'd suggest "ownership", there are some things which are not allowed. you have a "right to control, exlusive usage", or something similar. Its still "yours", but you don't "own it".
Same with land. Right to occupy it, and right to build on it, use the natural resources.
You don't have the right to use it for things that harm others.
" depriving executive agencies like the EPA of the power to confiscate lands and other property "for the public good,"
what about local town governments, who've been taking people's houses for years. A house certainly can and will continue to be private property, its manufactured goods, people are living there.
This has been a problem for years, back when I was a libertarian, libertarians used to hark on this big. Real people getting kicked out of real homes they owned, simply because it was inconvenient for government, or they could make more in tax money handing their homes off to developers.
Actually the data to counter this view is so overwhelming as not to really be necessary, the PRC is sustainably the second largest economy in the world [link] while the fastest growing economy is Brazil.
1. The USSR became a fascist state after the death of Lenin. 2. American capitalism did not beat Russian socialism. American militarism and an oppressive, neoliberal foreign policy beat Russian fascism.
2. the USA was not a free market capitalist society in WW2. It was a carefully managed top down beurocracy with many major industries like the telephone system (AT&T), being given an exclusive government sponsored monopoly with competition banned.
Taxes were high, and social programs where everywhere. Before 2008/10 there were no free market idealists in mainstream politics.
"Superior military tact did." for all intents and purposes correct.
I am just trying to hammer home some points for everyone else following the discussion.
Clear up any myths people still have about the "cold war" and "communism" vs "capitalism". The cold war was about neither. It was about the nationalist interests of the USA vs the USSR. That is is. "Communism" and "Capitalism" were justifications for foreign policy, not systems that where followed.
I don't have time to read your entire blogposts, and skimming over the bias of the Heritage Foundation, I question the worth of these statistics. Most likely, a lot of these countries are ranked highly because a lot of rich people moved their businesses there. These countries, as you say, have less regulation and so encourage these large, wealthy investors. These investors then skew statistics by adding their wealth. I look at Hong Kong, said to be the most economically free "country". Hong Kong also has one of the largest income gaps in the industrial world. 8.5% of the population are millionaires! That's a huge percent. It's vastly unrealistic for most any country to expect such success.
I'm also skeptical of what sacrifices would be made just for more economic freedom. Capitalism is not perfect, and certainly pure capitalism does not need to be the only way to a prosperous, well-off country.
I used two sources for the data. The State Failure data is not from the Heritage Foundation. That's from the The Fund For Peace, an organization which doesn't hold any Libertarian or conservative connections.
Basically, the Heritage Foundation's idea of economic freedom brings about The Fund For Peace's idea of national prosperity. That includes reducing income inequality, reducing poverty, reducing entrenchment of elites, and reducing violence. You're welcome to click through the links and see all of this for yourself.
Capitalism doesn't need to be perfect. It's merely the best available system. And the best part is, it gets better as time goes on, economies grow, and innovative new solutions make living and trading with each other more and more efficient. That is why these correlations exist.
I don't have time, again, to click through all the links. I can only say that it does nothing to convince me of the merits of completely free market. It does not solve income inequality or poverty. Such problems will always exist under capitalism because it innately requires inequality.
There is also no reason to believe that capitalism is the best system available. There are many of other theories and systems of government that have never been tried. Unfortunately, because capitalism is so entrenched in our society, it becomes difficult to attempt alternatives. It's arrogant to believe it's the best system with its many flaws. Some capitalism is not necessarily bad, but as even the wealthiest countries show, it does need regulation and adjustments.
It depends entirely on the situation. In well off nations like the US, Europe and elsewhere, it does seem to be the case because these countries have always been wealthy and relatively stable in recent times.
Problems arise when capitalism is forced on nations that are traditionally local in scale. This has been evident throughout eastern Europe, some African states, Latin American states and others. What happens is that these countries join the global market and are forced to compete. Unfortunately, their local goods stand no match against the strength of massive multinational businesses. As a result, poverty spreads as people lose their lifestyles when businesses usurp their industries.
Then, the people and government become disgruntled. They implement policies that might be counter to a free market because the free market destroyed their economy. As a result, they end up on these data charts as states with less economic freedom despite the fact that they did try capitalism, but it failed to satisfy the people.
There are thus many cases where open, free market capitalism might not be the best idea. Many countries would be even better off if trade was less free, such as restrictions on imports, as it would boost the competitiveness of their local industries. For me, one of the major problems of capitalism today is it's scale; it's just too big. Globalization unfairly benefits some states while killing others. Local, smaller business is more effective at maintaining stability.
In addition, if capitalism solves inequality, then why has inequality grown and worsened in the US for the past 30-40 years? After all, your data shows that the US is 10th in economic freedom, certainly not bad and mostly a free market. The US is a perfect example of capitalism gone awry. Public corporations bent on milking every penny of profits increase their production through technological advancement and innovation; however, they rarely if ever spread that increased profit to their workers. The result is that the wealthy become wealthier while the poor stay right where they are.
This has nothing to do with government regulation. The businesses are simply so profit driven that have no incentive to spread profits to employees. The rich CEOs continue to pocket more money every year while everyone else gets nothing.
If what you say is true, then there would be a lot of countries in the top-right corner of Figure 7, who had private property rights force upon them, but didn't manage to reap the benefits that wealthier nations reap. Yet, there are no countries in that region. The most extreme outlier in that direction is Israel (70, 82.2), and we both know their high levels of state failure come more from external genocidal threats than from internal policies.
There's literally no evidence of this phenomenon you discuss of "trying capitalism" and having it fail. Certainly, there are plenty of countries like Argentina (20, 46.5) that tried capitalism, but later moved away from it and suffered the consequences of abandoning protection of private property, but those countries are prosperous while they're capitalist, and only start losing that prosperity once they adopt socialism. If there were any evidence at all of countries becoming more prosperous as a result of socialism, then there would be a lot more points in the bottom-left corner of that chart.
Herbert Hoover also thought the people would be better off if trade were more restricted, and look where it got our country. [link] He started an international trade war that brought the whole world into a major economic depression.
The inequality situation has recently worsened in the US because the US has grown less capitalist. I mean, the last year we had a president who truly believed in capitalism was 1988. Before that, the last time was 1928. If you look at the trajectory the US is taking in economic freedom [link] we've dropped 5 ranks in just 4 years, with income inequality rising faster than ever before through it all.
Businesses spend plenty on their employees. In fact, they spend far more on their employees than their employees actually take home as paychecks, precisely because of regulation. All those health benefits and 401k's and other benefits employers are required to provide come out of employees' paychecks. That may be the entire source of the slowed income growth of the lower classes.
You hinge too much on this notion of failing states. I am not talking about only states that failed, and it's also ambiguous as to what failure means. States such as those in Eastern Europe, such as Ukraine, Russia, etc, have not failed; they still are very much intact. Nonetheless, they were forced to try capitalism, and it ended up creating more problems than solutions. Perhaps some people became wealthy such as the oligarchs, but as the economy suffered, the countries tried new policies that deviated from capitalism. Their markets simply could not compete globally.
Hoover's attempt failed because the US relies heavily on imports and exports from other nations, especially at the time. But many countries are capable of surviving on their own.
Inequality has not grown because of less capitalism! The gap has been growing since about 1982 when Reagan was president. There is no regulation that says businesses should pay their workers less or hoard money. No added benefits have occurred during that time. Those all started beforehand. In addition, the CEOs make more money each year! Clearly, they're not losing money on these employee benefits and could easily pay more. There is no reason for this other than pure greed and profit mongering.
The meaning of state failure in my data is defined very clearly: [link] It's basically just the loss of prosperity. Russia isn't in full failure. Their failure score is 77.1, ranking as #83 out of 177 countries in failure. They're in the middle of the pack these days. That's a lot better than they used to be at the height of their communism.
Inequality started rising in the 1970's (at the height of American union power), not in the 1980s. The data across all the different countries in the world shows a trend of decreasing inequality with increasing property rights (Figure 8): [link]
Hey Creamstar, ever taken the time to be grateful that there are people out there who know more about plumbing, electricity, medical care, farming, etc than you do? That, my friend, is inequality, but I'm sure even you can appreciate the benefits of other people knowing more than you do about certain things, and I'm also sure you can understand why they should be paid more for such knowledge.
People are equal in that they all have the same right to be free from the use of force against them. There is no right to equality in outcomes.
I'm not talking about that inequality, am I? I'm talking about the massive deficit between the rich and the poor, in which skill level is not necessarily a factor. Obviously perfect equality is impossible, but at least moving the impoverished closer to the top would be useful.
Also, this might come as a surprise to you, but everyone looks out for themselves, whether they admit it or not. Even you, by simply providing for yourself, is acting selfishly. The only difference is that some people, like you, server their interests through the looting of other people's property.
At least you're honest about caring more about taxation than saving people's lives. See, whereas I'm self-interested, I'm also interested in the well-being of others. Don't project and assume that others only care about the former like you do.
Chum, I'm a firefighter and an EMT and I'm willing to bet I've done more for my fellow man in the last five years than you have your entire life, so don't presume to lecture me on helping others simply because I'm honest about a fact of life. And I was able to do all that without resorting to the use of force or violating anyone else's rights.
And so what if I do? It affects me first and foremost doesn't it, no one else? And do kindly explain to me how it makes all the other stuff I've done for others somehow nonexistent. Would you have preferred I do them against my will, with no real selfish interest in doing so?
A smaller debt is much better than a larger debt, is it not?
Considering the size of the natural disasters we've had in the past few years (6 year long drought, covering nearly all of australia, Black Saturday, '11 floods, Cyclone Yazi etc etc etc)
But that's Australia for you. You beg for rain, and then it comes and ravages you just as hard as the drought.
A stanza from a very famous Australian Poem comes to me in situations like these.
...I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of rugged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding plains I love her far horizons, I love her jewel-sea, Her beauty and her terror - The wide brown land for me!
'Her terror', as the poet puts it, can definitely be problematic, both for people and economy.
hate to tell you but Australia is MUCH more social than the US. from their pension programs to national healthcare )who's system is virtually identical to Germany's), to the mandated 4-6 weeks of vacation for everybody, to the national rail system, to the national broadcast of televisions which has more than 4 channels, to 9 months PAID maternity leave, They parallel European countries on social issues to the core. I am not sure why on earth you think they are less socialist than America but that is very much wrong.
You have yet to mention a policy that we don't already have in the US. Now here's something we have that they don't have in Australia: The government is allowed to use taxpayer dollars to buy out companies, fire the board of directors, and redistribute the company's assets to the unions.
Single payer healthcare, another way in which it is more socialist. Also Australia ranks lower in the "ease of doing business" index. Let's also not forget that Australia has a higher tax rate for the highest earners than the USA and does not tax people on incomes up to double that of the USA. Damn look at all these "socialist" things Australia does that you hate? How about scoring better on the Gini index? How about that Australia has a higher tax burden as it's % of GDP? Infact it taxes it's people MORE whilst spending LESS, something you don't advocate. Europe went for austerity of higher taxes and lower spending and you treat that like dirt. Yet Australia does it and you praise them as being freer?
Your cherry picking is laughable. Australia does many things you argue against yet you still praise it.
Australia was in surplus before the crisis and is returning to it. I find it funny how you are desperate to spin it in a bad way. Australia is predicted to return to surplus and you make up a possible scenario where it could lose it. Yes it is foolish to base thing on what happens yet so why are you doing it? They had the financial crisis yet their economy never even went through contraction, it carried on growing.