I think a lot of people have already made some very good points here, but I'd like to try to make one more. The problems of the late 19th century were not problems with Laissez-faire. They were problems with a developing nation that was technologically and educationally primitive relative to where we are now. A 21st century libertarian nation wouldn't look exactly like a 19th century one, because free economies grow and develop new innovative solutions to their problems over time.
On the other hand, socialist economies tend to stagnate. Can you imagine where our country would be now if we had abandoned laissez-faire at the start of the 20th century the way Argentina did? Americans were poorer than Argentinans in 1900, and we still would be.
Why do a lot of the libertarians I talk to want a laissez-faire system? Short answer, they see many regulations hinder innovation and economic progress. The main reason that Libertians prefer the system is that it freely allows people to start a company with very little red tape or waiting. They also see regulations as ineffective or just slow down the process of economic progress. What did the libertarians response when you asked them this question, if you asked? Are they fully aware of how bad that would be? Depending on which Libertarians and how much of laissez-faire approach they want. Different Libertarians have different views on economic policies. So which one do you think would make things bad? Why policies would make things 'bad'? What standards would need to be violated to be considered bad?
Have they not forgotten about the terrible conditions that prompted The Jungle by Upton Sinclair? That would imply that you couldn't or didn't ask the libertarians you talked to in your first question. What libertarian polices would cultivate an environment such as The Jungle? Do all Libertarians think like this and agree on that type of method that would make a Jungle-like economy?
"Why do a lot of the libertarians I talk to want a lazze-faire system?"
I think all libertarians would want a lazze-faire system.
"Are they fully aware of how bad that would be?"
That question assumes that it would be a bad system regardless of the current culture and economic climate of the area where it was implemented.
"Have they not forgotten about the terrible conditions that prompted The Jungle by Upton Sinclair?"
Most of the have read or heard of that book. I think the situation is more complicated than you're giving it credit. Governments do not necessarily prevent situations like the Jungle from happening due to corruption and other issues. Simply stating "let's regulate it" is a non-answer because poorly implemented regulations can cause other problems. Also, you're assuming that a Lazze-Faire system does not have built-in mechanisms to prevent situations like this from happening.
Yes, I think property is theft if not all people have the same starting position in life. Now I don't have a better solution, but that doesn't mean I can't have the idealistic view that all men, and women, should be born equal.
Alright, you will kindly give up your home, your car, all of your food, all of your clothes, every piece of property you have, including the shirt off your back. You might have spent forty hours a week to make the money to purchase it all, but tough shit; you're stealing it from those who didn't have the same start in life as you (and even you should know there will always be such people).
Nope, I don't see a contradiction there. Because apparently it doesn't matter that my t-shirt and my food were made by people who work 60 hours a week and still can hardly afford to feed themselves. Because that's fair, isn't it? Why should they not be allowed to have the luxuries we have? So that we get what we think we're entitled to after a whopping 40 hours of extremely brutal work. Probably in the office sitting our ass off all day. Poor us.
Do you own a product by Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Motorola, Nokia or Toshiba? Do you own a PS3? If yes google foxconn controversy. Yes, I know this has changed since then, but that's because it became high-profile, and many other companies have worse conditions. Did you buy fireworks? The people making them get 10$ a day. (Source: 'Der Spiegel January 2013)
Lazy Fare (Laissez-faire) is the second biggest truck load of bullshit right after creationism/(un)intelligent design.
Lazy fare is a day dream for the unfortunate poor slobs who don't know any better & think it's a viable system and a wet dream for the wealthy who know how awesome it'd be to just totally ass rape everything unopposed and without consequence.
Lol... pretty much everything you said shows that you know almost nothing about economics. Do you really think its possible for the wealthy to exploit without being opposed, with or without a government?
Do you know anything about history?
Can you have a coherent thought without parroting propaganda?
To my fellow capitalists: Do not waste your time in this topic, as few non-capitalists have even half a grasp of what Laissez-Faire is, as evidenced by the OP's starting post, and you can't teach it to them in the little time their meager attention spans allow.
Laissez-faire is good on paper, but bad in practice. People who are fortunate enough to move up the socioeconomic ladder have a bad habit of kicking it down once they've reached the top. Uncontrolled and unregulated business practices are arguably what led to the Great Depression, and the government giving carte blanche to business in terms of regulation led to horrific abuses of the workforce.
Perhaps some libertarian principles would work in practice, although it would be really difficult to implement across such a large and culturally diverse nation as the US. However, Laissez-faire is rather extremist, and only a hopeless idealist would think that it would work for anybody but the most inherently successful.
Also, that's a loaded question; I can't answer in the negative without looking bad. It's like asking a liberal what they "hate about freedom;" it's a tactic more suited to a Fox News pundit than yourself.
Let me just emphasize that the charts at those links show very consistent trends. If pure capitalism were just as bad as pure communism, we could expect the data there to form parabolas, not straight lines and monotonic sigmoidal progressions. Those lines and sigmoids suggest that the more economic freedom, the better for prosperity. Communism failed not because it's not moderate enough, but because it's not capitalist enough.
Except from what I read on your sublinks implied it wasnt regulations that was the issue but the lack of simplicity, an out dated tax code, corruption and lack of transparency. This can be seen with a comparison between the US, Canada and Australia.
BTW its normally not accepted practice to link to one's own site as a source.
You'll notice that the United States has much lower scores in Trade Freedom, Investment Freedom, Financial Freedom, Fiscal Freedom, and Monetary Freedom, all of which relate to regulation. Additionally, the US has a lower ranking in Property Rights, due to the capability of regulators to engage in cronyism.
Linking to my own site is a way to convey research that I have previously done, and arguments that I have previously made. When people are doing real original work, they often cite previous work that they have done so that they do not have to reformulate those arguments all over again. It is very much an accepted practice in the research world, where authority means less than a strong argument. You'd have a hard time finding a scientific paper that doesn't cite a previous paper published by one of the authors.
The economic system that arises out of Libertarianism is one of mutual exchange, not one of "trickling down."
As a scientist, I am eternally dependent on investments from others in my ideas. Right now, my entire profession is dependent on the government for sustenance. If I succeed in bringing about my favored system, and it ends up working the way the progressives believe it does, then I'm ruined.
Don't pretend we have nothing to lose in promoting our own philosophy. I'm willing to bet my livelihood on Liberty because I know it works. [link]
I think you will find the basis of the trickle down system was supposed to be mutual exchange. People at the top need goods and services. These will be provided by people with less income so wealth trickles down the tree as people higher up utilise the services of people lower down.
The thing about science is businesses will invest only if they think they could generate a profit from it, either directly or indirectly. Stuff that looks like it has little profit potential will get little investment. Take something like the LHC, I couldn't see private enterprise funding that by itself. If it turns out anything like lasers then government funding will actually be beneficial for markets. Government invests in leading edge science that has no apparent application and suddenly as we understand it better, we find new ways to utilise it. Now lasers are everywhere. For this reason I say that science funding is an area that shouldn't be given over entirely to private enterprise. However I feel if government wishes to invest in projects it should submit the idea to the market first to see if private enterprise will fund it and then fund it if there are no takers. The government would then hold the rights to the results of the research.
Already seen that and as I said, people who promote any ideology do so because they think they will be better off under it. Few people promote ideologies they think will leave the worse off. Liberty is all well and good but I don't accept any ideology that is willing to call government evil but then call a company a bastion of goodness. Government will screw you over and companies will too. I believe in a system of proper liberty where more wealth does not equate to more direct power. Too many Libertarian minded people treat the market as a magic pill that can cure all problems. The thing about markets is they reflect us as humans. They are not entirely logical, they are not infallible and they are driven by emotion as well as statistics. If you want to make a ideology that revolves around markets then you have to make sure you first understand what markets are and what they aren't.
Related to that, how realistic do you think the concept of perfect competition is and what sort of competition would you say currently exists?
Laissez-Faire*. Also, wait for Schemer's responses about how regulation is tyranny and how oppressed rich businesses are and how Obama giving healthcare is the first step to a communist dictatorship. Fuckin' classic mate.
Slaves don't get to choose how to trade their labors. Businesses in a free market don't enslave people. They employ people through mutual, voluntary contracts. On the other hand, the government takes significant portions of people's income, representing their labors, and spends it on anything 51% of people want. Democratic socialism is literally slavery to the majority.
Why do you favor slavery to the majority over liberty, individual rights, and freedom?
Their justification is that government regulations to prevent depressions have not been effective, and that we might as well go back to a completely free market economy. It isn't so much about food regulations and monopolies as it's about economic growth.