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SMQ
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #75 on: Dec 21st, 2007, 5:21am »
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on Dec 20th, 2007, 3:10pm, ecoist wrote:
We humans determine value, and the wiser among us use economics to maintain and enhance our values.

While I, too, have been enjoying this conversation, that statement is just so ... presumptuous ... that I don't know how to continue.  Setting aside for a moment my experience that very few people who lay claim to wisdom actually have it; setting aside as well your seeming to claim some sort of power over Smith's invisible hand; even setting aside the fact that by equating the use of economics with wisdom you're imbuing it with value while still vehemently claiming it and its laws are valueless; the implication that those of us who lack the power/creativity/desire to manipulate the invisible hand somehow deserve to have our values eroded staggers me.  I have nowhere to go from there that looks the least bit fruitful.
 
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #76 on: Dec 21st, 2007, 10:27am »
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How about overworking (which is obviously what he meant)?  

Would have given the same answer, ThudanBlunder.
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Meh, their lack of being alive "makes the goods and services [..] less scarce for others. "; surely an economic boon.

Contemptible zinger, towr, but it has some merit.  My comment is most likely wrong (at least for the current population level).  As Julian Simon has so powerfully shown, people are the greatest economic resource!
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your seeming to claim some sort of power over Smith's invisible hand
by equating the use of economics with wisdom

It is wise to use what helps, but not necessarily unwise to use other things.  Nothing to do with "equating the use of economics with wisdom".
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you're imbuing it with value while still vehemently claiming it and its laws are valueless

The law of gravity has no inherent value or purpose; it just is.  When we exploit it by shaking the apple tree, we get apples.  When we try to fly without wings, we fall on our faces.  Humans alone determine value.
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the implication that those of us who lack the power/creativity/desire to manipulate the invisible hand somehow deserve to have our values eroded staggers me.

Such an absurd view staggers me too!  Even more stunned by what I could have said that equates to such nonsense!
SMQ, since you seem sincere in your belief that I have said such clearly ridiculous things, I must agree, reluctantly, that further discussion between us is fruitless.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #77 on: Dec 21st, 2007, 10:43am »
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I did/do indeed have that strong impression (of your having implied something you apparently didn't mean to), but I'll be the first to admit that my impressions can (and often are) mistaken -- especially where such a slippery medium as an internet message board is concerned.  I hope to find the time to go back and sort out where my impression is coming from, but realistically I probably won't be able to for a week or so...  In the mean time please accept my apology for having misconstrued your intentions.  I still think we have a fundamental disagreement over the proper role of economics in society, but perhaps the discussion (which probably belongs in another thread) can continue to be fruitful.
 
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #78 on: Dec 21st, 2007, 3:02pm »
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SMQ, you not only have integrity, you are also unafraid of humility!  No need to apologize, though.  I see several places where misunderstanding can occur.  I disputed your definition of "economic value".  I shouldn't have!  I suspect that your meaning is akin to what Adam Smith meant by "wealth of nations".  The terms "weak economy" and "strong economy" are meaningful, but difficult to pin down precisely, especially in just a few words.
 
And confusion could have easily developed in the use of "value" applied to economic law.  When I implied that knowledge of economics is valuable, I meant that such knowledge can help man make good decisions where economics plays a role.  But one could easily interpret this comment as economics can teach us proper values.  I mean no such thing (however, there are those who take a utilitarian view of morality: if it works, it is moral)!
 
Perhaps we can continue this discussion here by limiting the discussion of "the role of economics in society" to the role of economics in war.  Historically, many wars were fought to obtain wealth.  I believe that economic theory has shown that war is one of the worst ways to obtain wealth; the best being through voluntary exchange via division of labor and comparative advantage.  Nowadays, many believe that wars stimulate the economy and so are beneficial, at least in this respect.  I, along with many economists, totally reject this assessment.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #79 on: Dec 23rd, 2007, 9:53am »
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on Dec 21st, 2007, 10:27am, ecoist wrote:
Contemptible zinger, towr, but it has some merit.
It seems, overall, there's very little I can say on this subject you don't take offense at.  
 
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As Julian Simon has so powerfully shown, people are the greatest economic resource!
People are the economy, so that's unsurprising; they are ultimately both the producers and the consumers.  
Nevertheless, if they can be replaced by machines, they typically are. So in many individual cases machines prove a greater economic resource than the people, as far as the employer is concerned.
 
on Dec 21st, 2007, 3:02pm, ecoist wrote:
Perhaps we can continue this discussion here by limiting the discussion of "the role of economics in society" to the role of economics in war.  Historically, many wars were fought to obtain wealth.
In as far as wars were fought to obtain wealth (or power), they were typically started and fought on behalf of a small elite that often did quite well by it.
States as a whole on the other; well, it depends a lot on how well matched the two sides are. We in the west did well enough by imperialism/colonialism; our opponents were no match. Fighting with our peers on the other hand was a much more hazardous undertaking.
 
And of course there are far better ways to profit by war than fighting it. E.g. selling weapons to either, or both, sides. Obviously being neutral has great advantages in that respect.
Fun fact, during the 80-year war, the dutch provinces sold weapons to Spain to fund their war with Spain. (And the war led us, coincidentally or not, into our golden age; but to be fair that age ended with war too).
 
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I believe that economic theory has shown that war is one of the worst ways to obtain wealth;
I think it's more experience that might say that.  
I'm rather skeptical economic theory can say about war. What model of war do they have to work with?  
Certainly you'd first have to recognize there are many different types of war, different goals, different (types of) parties. A blanket judgment is unlikely, and suspect at the very least.
 
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Nowadays, many believe that wars stimulate the economy and so are beneficial, at least in this respect.  I, along with many economists, totally reject this assessment.
Of course; ultimately, I believe the question was whether war was good or bad; not whether it was economically beneficial.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #80 on: Dec 23rd, 2007, 10:50am »
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It seems, overall, there's very little I can say on this subject you don't take offense at.

I apologize!  I am taking this topic perhaps too seriously.  I assumed that some of your remarks were more designed to needle than to inform.
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So in many individual cases machines prove a greater economic resource than the people, as far as the employer is concerned.

So, how do you explain the fact that employers are hiring illegal immigrants, and outsourcing jobs overseas?
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I think it's more experience that might say that.  
I'm rather skeptical economic theory can say about war. What model of war do they have to work with?  
Certainly you'd first have to recognize there are many different types of war, different goals, different (types of) parties. A blanket judgment is unlikely, and suspect at the very least.

Works both ways, towr.  What about your "blanket judgement" about the economic superiority of machines over people?  And,  since you seem to know so little about economics, it is only natural and proper that you are skeptical of what economic theory can say about war.  I'm no expert on economics either, but I do receive a monthly education on the subject from Reason Magazine and The Freeman (published by the Foundation for Economic Education).
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #81 on: Dec 23rd, 2007, 3:38pm »
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on Dec 23rd, 2007, 10:50am, ecoist wrote:

So, how do you explain the fact that employers are hiring illegal immigrants, and outsourcing jobs overseas?

Because the employer's focus is on making profits. Most of the time machines are cheaper than people in the long run, but if you have a whole supply of illegal immigrants or can outsource to a country that will tolerate wages so low they are even cheaper than running machines, why would the employer purchase machines? (And going to machines isn't exactly a bad thing... people have to make the machines in the first place so that creates some jobs)
 
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Works both ways, towr.  What about your "blanket judgement" about the economic superiority of machines over people?  And,  since you seem to know so little about economics, it is only natural and proper that you are skeptical of what economic theory can say about war.  I'm no expert on economics either, but I do receive a monthly education on the subject from Reason Magazine and The Freeman (published by the Foundation for Economic Education).

How much classical schooling Towr and everyone else has had I can't speak for, but his comments ring true in practical experience. And that is far often more reliable than the "classical theory" of what could/should/would happen. The theories for the most part deal with what would ideally happen, so they are a useful tool, but by no means rock solid when you add in the variables of life. And if you want to make yourself more educated on the topic of economics, pay particular attention to Allen Greenspan. He's not always right, but I can't think of anyone who understands macroeconomics better.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #82 on: Dec 23rd, 2007, 7:45pm »
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Because the employer's focus is on making profits.
 
You make it sound like "making profits" is a bad thing!  How else would you get the goodies you enjoy, charity or theft?  Would you rather pay higher prices for your goodies than let the world's poor obtain the wherewithal to enjoy some of those goodies?
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his comments ring true in practical experience. And that is far often more reliable than the "classical theory" of what could/should/would happen. The theories for the most part deal with what would ideally happen, so they are a useful tool, but by no means rock solid when you add in the variables of life.

When you learned scientific theories, did those theories leave out what actually happens?  When you learned basic economic theory, did this theory omit "the facts on the ground"?  Or, are you confusing the physical and natural sciences with arts and philosophy, where ideals are not restrained by reality?
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #83 on: Dec 23rd, 2007, 10:56pm »
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on Dec 23rd, 2007, 7:45pm, ecoist wrote:

 
You make it sound like "making profits" is a bad thing!  How else would you get the goodies you enjoy, charity or theft?  Would you rather pay higher prices for your goodies than let the world's poor obtain the wherewithal to enjoy some of those goodies?

I never said making profits was a bad thing, I answered you question as to why if humans were not the greatest resource, companies outsourced or paid illegal immigrants. Labor is a pivotal resource for an economy, but as SMQ pointed out, the business doesn't care who does the labor so long as it gets done (via machine or human) and as cheaply as possible. So in some instances machines are the more profitable alternative, and in others, outsourcing or hiring illegals.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #84 on: Dec 24th, 2007, 4:30am »
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on Dec 23rd, 2007, 10:50am, ecoist wrote:
So, how do you explain the fact that employers are hiring illegal immigrants, and outsourcing jobs overseas?
They're cheap. But as soon as they can be replaced by machines that do the work at lower cost they typically are. They are not the better economic resource because they are people, but because they are (for the moment) cheaper.
 
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Works both ways, towr.  What about your "blanket judgement" about the economic superiority of machines over people?
I didn't make a blanket judgment, I very specifically said "in many individual cases". In some situations people are the best resource, in others machines.
Once we don't need people to run the machines anymore, perhaps humanity can keep themselves busy with more worthwhile things, well, more entertaining things at least.
 
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And, since you seem to know so little about economics, it is only natural and proper that you are skeptical of what economic theory can say about war.  I'm no expert on economics either, but I do receive a monthly education on the subject from Reason Magazine and The Freeman (published by the Foundation for Economic Education).
Well, without knowing more about economics I can't really say how little I know about it; but considering my education in philosophy and ethics and how little mention there is of Adam Smith as moral philosopher, or in general of economic theory as either a guide, explanation or justification of morality, I tend to think it has little to say about the matters of good and evil.
Frankly, I'd hope there's a better justification for not killing people than that it's not in one's economic interest.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #85 on: Dec 24th, 2007, 4:49am »
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on Dec 23rd, 2007, 7:45pm, ecoist wrote:
You make it sound like "making profits" is a bad thing!
You make it sound like it's, in itself, intrinsically, a good thing. It is neither intrinsically good nor intrinsically bad. Making profit to the detriment of others is bad; making a profit to the advantage of everyone (or to the advantage of some but detriment to none) is good.  
Typically it's not as clear cut and there are both good and bad effects which need to be weighed against each other.  
 
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Would you rather pay higher prices for your goodies than let the world's poor obtain the wherewithal to enjoy some of those goodies?
I might be willing to pay a bit more to see the poor get a fairer pay; but obviously not to see them get less (I'm not sure how that would work either). Making a profit should not entail an okay for exploitation. Sure, they might get something instead of nothing, but better that they get not just something, but their fair share.
Of course, these days, as you undoubtedly know, there are businesses that have such a fair trade business model. They make less of a profit, and consumers pay more; but, with the luxury to do so, enough consumers like to buy some peace of mind along with their coffee.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #86 on: Dec 24th, 2007, 5:51am »
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on Dec 24th, 2007, 4:49am, towr wrote:
I might be willing to pay a bit more to see the poor get a fairer pay.

 
Unfortunately, there is not enough money in the world to help alleviate the situations of every single poor man. Even if there was, no one would be willing to give up more than half of their money helping the poor. For example, look at Bill Gates. Yes, he does have a very large-scale charity running. However, a lot of the money in it is not his, and he only gives about 1/10 - 1/5 of his money, not assets, to the cause.  
 
Also, consider China. Currently, the population is well above 1.3 billion people. Yes, the rich is much, much, richer than the poor, and yes, the government could do anything they wanted to, but you must consider 2 things:
1. If the government tries to intervene with China's capitalism, total chaos would ensue.
2. There is not enough money in China to distribute to everyone.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #87 on: Dec 24th, 2007, 9:27am »
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on Dec 24th, 2007, 5:51am, Ghost Sniper wrote:
Unfortunately, there is not enough money in the world to help alleviate the situations of every single poor man.
There is in principle as much money as there are goods, because that's what the money represents. Now, of course, it depends on what you count as alleviating the situation of the poor, whether there are enough goods to go around. But clean water and education for a start should be possible. Plasma screens and internet for all might be a bit much.  
Certainly there isn't currently enough of earth to go around for everyone to live on the western level of consumption (but you can be not-poor on a much lower level then that).
 
I don't think it's really an issue of money in the first place. Not having money is the symptom, not the cause, of being poor. It's also a matter of education, infrastructure and organization. The whole "teaching a man to fish"-shtick.
 
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Even if there was, no one would be willing to give up more than half of their money helping the poor.
Few people, granted, but there's always a few.
If memory serves me right, there was a guy in Texas(?) that won the lottery and gave it all away to charity, and then years later he won it again, and gave it away again.  
 
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For example, look at Bill Gates. Yes, he does have a very large-scale charity running. However, a lot of the money in it is not his, and he only gives about 1/10 - 1/5 of his money, not assets, to the cause.
As I understand it, in his will pretty much all he owns is left to his charity.
 
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Also, consider China. Currently, the population is well above 1.3 billion people. Yes, the rich is much, much, richer than the poor, and yes, the government could do anything they wanted to, but you must consider 2 things:
1. If the government tries to intervene with China's capitalism, total chaos would ensue.
??
Are you suggesting the government of China does not in fact interfere with the Chinese economy? Everything is still very much government regulated there.
There would be chaos if they tried to reverse their capitalist policies entirely, but there are plenty of ways to intervene besides reversing course.
 
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2. There is not enough money in China to distribute to everyone.
I'm not sure what you're trying to get at here; or in general with that redistributing money thing.  
But, in any case, the US debt to China alone is already over a trillion dollars, so at the very least every family could get a thousand dollars (or that plasma screen mentioned earlier).
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #88 on: Dec 24th, 2007, 10:31am »
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Sorry, guys, that my clumsy discourse fails to convince you!  The profit motive is "intrinsically" good for the economy is a well-established fact!  So, too, is the primacy of human beings as the greatest natural resource!  Sure, some people's profit motive, and other actions, lead them to do things detrimental to the economy.  However, the net effect of profit-seeking and human beings doing their thing is overwhelmingly good for the economy!  Sort of like you guys, overall correct with your comments, just wrong in this rare instance.
 
(And let me clear up another thing.  The economy is distinct from love and hate, peace and war, spirituality and hedonism.  However, they are all parts of the human condition which greatly influence each other.  In particular, the economy improves not only prosperity, it contributes to peace and harmony.  That's why marxism, socialism, and fascism are no match against the power of freedom.)
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #89 on: Dec 24th, 2007, 4:22pm »
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on Dec 24th, 2007, 9:27am, towr wrote:
As I understand it, in his will pretty much all he owns is left to his charity.

 
Notice that he gave his money in his WILL, not when he is alive. EVERYBODY is greedy to some extent, and obviously he lived as at least a middle-upper class citizen. Personally, my favorite example of giving to the poor but being poor yourself is Jesus.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #90 on: Dec 24th, 2007, 4:27pm »
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on Dec 24th, 2007, 10:31am, ecoist wrote:
The profit motive is "intrinsically" good for the economy is a well-established fact!

 
The profit motive is intrinsically good for the currently prescribed economic model.  This is true.  But there are many assumptions made in this model that are not true in practice.   Some of these assumptions entail treating all humans in the way a machine is treated.  I’m sure you view your fellow humans as more than a source of labor.  Yet you state to the other members that profit is intrinsically good and that maximizing one entity’s profit moves us closer towards maximizing the potential of the society.  Before applying any theory to an entire worldview, shouldn’t we examine it fully before declaring its motives intrinsically good?  If you really question whether economics alone can be used to describe the health “goodness” of the global situation I believe you will see that it fails at the very foundations.  It does not take into account the overall good.  Just as there is no “free lunch” there is also no “free goodness,” if that makes any sense at all.  In order for one thing to become better, some other thing will become worse.
 
I realize you are quoting sound economic theory.  It is a useful tool but like all theories it is not a singular basis for analyzing how good any one thing is.  Those disagreeing with you, especially towr, seem to be consistent in this stand.
 
on Dec 24th, 2007, 4:30am, towr wrote:

... considering my education in philosophy and ethics and how little mention there is of Adam Smith as moral philosopher, or in general of economic theory as either a guide, explanation or justification of morality, I tend to think it has little to say about the matters of good and evil.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #91 on: Dec 24th, 2007, 9:24pm »
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Since you are a new voice in this debate, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, I'll do something I've avoided until now, point out certain errors several posters make.
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The profit motive is intrinsically good for the currently prescribed economic model.

Talk about an issue assumed to have been raised but no one actually raised.  We are talking about the actual economy, not some model.
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Before applying any theory to an entire worldview, shouldn’t we examine it fully before declaring its motives intrinsically good?

Absolutely!  That's what Adam Smith did, and all those economists who tested and refined his theory.  Also, you repeat the above error: no one has suggested "applying any theory to an entire worldview"!  That is what some posters assumed other posters were saying!
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If you really question whether economics alone can be used to describe the health “goodness” of the global situation I believe you will see that it fails at the very foundations.  It does not take into account the overall good.

Of course economics "does not take into account the overall good!  You seem compelled to say this because you, yet again, commit the error of assuming someone said the equivalent of "economics alone can be used to describe the health "goodness" of the global situtation".
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In order for one thing to become better, some other thing will become worse.

Here you make the gross error that economics is a zero-sum game!  Nothing can be further from the truth!  Yes, there are winners and losers in this game, but, more typically, when you buy your latte from Starbucks, both you and Starbucks win!
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It is a useful tool but like all theories it is not a singular basis for analyzing how good any one thing is.

Again with the same error!  No one said economics is "a singular basis for analysing how good any one thing is".  Bottom line: human ecology is an intricate complex of nature, social interaction, and market forces.  To maximize peace, harmony, and prosperity, it is very useful to understand all components of the human condition.  We ignore the effect of market forces to our peril.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #92 on: Dec 25th, 2007, 2:33am »
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on Dec 24th, 2007, 10:31am, ecoist wrote:
The profit motive is "intrinsically" good for the economy is a well-established fact!
"intrinsically good for" is somewhat a contradiction in terms. That it is good for the economy does not make it intrinsically good, nor vice versa. It's the difference between being a means to an end or an end in itself.
Profit is "good" by virtue of promoting the economy (which for the moment we'll assume is good, because otherwise it can't support profit's status as "good"); but not in it's own right.
 
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Sure, some people's profit motive, and other actions, lead them to do things detrimental to the economy.
Then, if on those occasions they didn't let themselves be led by the profit motives, it might be better for the economy, might it not? If instead they were lead by something that was beneficial to the economy (which economic theory should have no trouble pointing out if it does what it claims).
Unless you're proposing there isn't always a course of action available that's not detrimental to the economy.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #93 on: Dec 25th, 2007, 3:09am »
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on Dec 24th, 2007, 9:24pm, ecoist wrote:
Talk about an issue assumed to have been raised but no one actually raised.  We are talking about the actual economy, not some model.
Theories apply to models; how well the model corresponds to reality is what makes it useful. The economic model does not in fact fit reality that well, because people are a lot more irrational than it accounts for. e.g. People hold on to stocks at their peak, and get rid of them at the bottom, while economics suggest they'd do the opposite.
 
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Also, you repeat the above error: no one has suggested "applying any theory to an entire worldview"! That is what some posters assumed other posters were saying!
Err.. Why, then, are we talking about economy?  
If economic theory can't say whether war is good or bad, other than that it's (usually) not beneficial to economy (of warring nations) itself, why have we spend so much time on it? Throughout the thread there has been the very strong sense of you suggesting economic theory is the end all and say all of morality.
 
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Of course economics "does not take into account the overall good!
Great. Then we agree on this point after all.
 
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You seem compelled to say this because you, yet again, commit the error of assuming someone said the equivalent of "economics alone can be used to describe the health "goodness" of the global situtation".
I'm not sure what you had expected us to assume from saying things like, e.g.
on Dec 19th, 2007, 9:53am, ecoist wrote:
The beauty of Adam Smith's idea is that despite this fact, man's self-serving actions often result in overall good for society, "as if they were led by an invisible hand"!
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #94 on: Dec 25th, 2007, 11:40am »
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Glad that you illustrate your point with actual data, towr!  You write
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I'm not sure what you had expected us to assume from saying things like, e.g.  
on Dec 19th, 2007, 12:53pm, ecoist wrote:The beauty of Adam Smith's idea is that despite this fact, man's self-serving actions often result in overall good for society, "as if they were led by an invisible hand"!

Did you miss where I said "often result in overall good for society"?  How can you compare this with what what WTF said?
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"economics alone can be used to describe the health "goodness" of the global situtation".

There seems to be a tendency to translate my saying "generally true" into "universally true" and to convert "look at things this way" to "this is the 'singular' way to look at things".  Adam Smith wrote that market forces tend to serve the good of society.  Moreover, economics is not the only factor influencing the good or ill of society.  War and big government are major factors contributing to society's ills.
 
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #95 on: Dec 26th, 2007, 4:58am »
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on Dec 25th, 2007, 11:40am, ecoist wrote:
Did you miss where I said "often result in overall good for society"?
Possibly; I didn't miss where it says "resulting in the overall good" instead of "contributing to the overall good", though; the former suggest a sufficiency, ignoring other factors.
 
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How can you compare this with what what WTF said?
Very easily; there is a general tendency in what you wrote that had everyone fooled into thinking what WTF also thought.
 
A few other examples
on Dec 18th, 2007, 9:20am, ecoist wrote:
However, it is Adam Smith's invisible hand that minimizes the harm caused by the evil ones among us
on Dec 20th, 2007, 3:10pm, ecoist wrote:
the solution lies with we humans, exploiting market forces as best we can.  
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We humans determine value, and the wiser among us use economics to maintain and enhance our values.

Of course it's inherently unfair to present someone's points like this, because they're out of context and open to interpretation.
Perhaps I haven't read things as well as I should have, or missed the interpretation that was intended. But this is pretty much how it struck me; and I daresay many others. So I hope you can understand how I may have come to think you were promoting economic theory as the answer to all of society's ills.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #96 on: Dec 26th, 2007, 5:04pm »
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I commend the quality of your analysis, towr, although I disagree with it.  It just dawned on me today that my quibbling about what I said and what some of you think I said is just silly!  This thread is about war - good or bad!  You are expressing your opinion about issues, and that's good, whoever you think is the source of the issue!  I shouldn't care that it was not an issue that I raised!  I should simply express my opinion on war, or whatever else comes up, and not let miss-interpretations bother me.
 
However, one last quibble, since it can be thought to apply to Adam Smith's theory rather than to me.
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I didn't miss where it says "resulting in the overall good" instead of "contributing to the overall good", though; the former suggest a sufficiency, ignoring other factors.

The word "overall" in "resulting in the overall good" implies that the result of Adam Smith's "invisible hand" is more good than bad, not all good without exceptions.  And yes, the phrase does imply "sufficiency, ignoring other factors".  Sufficiency for the good it creates, not all good.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #97 on: Dec 27th, 2007, 3:14am »
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on Dec 26th, 2007, 5:04pm, ecoist wrote:
The word "overall" in "resulting in the overall good" implies that the result of Adam Smith's "invisible hand" is more good than bad, not all good without exceptions.
Well, I'm not a native English speaker, but shouldn't it then be phrased more like "resulting, overall, in good" or "resulting in good, overall"? I don't see how to parse it in the way you explain it. For that the "overall" should modify "resulting", not "good".
 
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And yes, the phrase does imply "sufficiency, ignoring other factors".  Sufficiency for the good it creates, not all good.
The way you seem to be explaining it lately suggests the contrary. It isn't enough by itself to achieve good. So it's not sufficient; you can't ignore the other factors.
Naturally, anything is sufficient for the good it creates solely by itself. But a lot of good only comes out of the combination of factors (and a lot of bad as well, for that matter).
« Last Edit: Dec 27th, 2007, 3:16am by towr » IP Logged

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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #98 on: Dec 27th, 2007, 9:37am »
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The way you seem to be explaining it lately suggests the contrary. It isn't enough by itself to achieve good. So it's not sufficient; you can't ignore the other factors.

You are absolutely right, towr, that economics by itself isn't sufficient to achieve good!  Who cares that someone may, or may not, have said otherwise?
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But a lot of good only comes out of the combination of factors (and a lot of bad as well, for that matter).

Again, correct!  As I have done before, and repeat now, I confirm the validity of some of the views you all have expressed.  The view of Adam Smith, and most modern economists, is that market forces, remarkably, are responsible for what is called "spontaneous order".  I am perhaps too excited about how economics helps (but not exclusively) make sense of the world.  Mark Skousen, and economist and born-again christian, says "economics is the theory of everything!".  An obvious exaggeration, but it shows his fascination with his profession.
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Re: War - good or bad  
« Reply #99 on: Jan 11th, 2008, 8:58pm »
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I just returned today to see this ganglion of economic activity completely dormant.  While it seems to have culminated benignly I should also say that I viewed the recurrent disagreement more as result of word choice than ideology, as towr said.  The response I supplied was also poorly worded and tactless.  For that I apologize.  It was a late night, under-composed shard of a thought and I should have retained it until the following morning.
 
Happy New Year.  (Late, I know.  But better late...)
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