Options

Why Are So Many "Nerds" Libertarians?

1161718192022»

Posts

  • Options
    Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    I'm not a Libertarian. I'm a moderate Democrat with an inclination towards free market solutions.

    Hi5! My too!

    Me too. I should update my Facebook profile.

    Loren Michael on
    a7iea7nzewtq.jpg
  • Options
    Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Shinto wrote: »
    I'm not a Libertarian. I'm a moderate Democrat with an inclination towards free market solutions.

    Hi5! My too!

    I'm torn between the obvious pragmatism of this position and the overwhelming desire to crush the wealthy and privileged under my heel.

    I really don't mind the existence of extremely wealthy individuals.

    Loren Michael on
    a7iea7nzewtq.jpg
  • Options
    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    forbis316 wrote: »
    I, for one, am amazed to see an editorial supporting Libertarianism in such an esteemed place as the Wall Street Journal editorial page. What's next? Rants of Crazy Homeless People on Street Corners Monthly?

    Thanatos on
  • Options
    Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    I'm not a Libertarian. I'm a moderate Democrat with an inclination towards free market solutions.

    Hi5! My too!

    Me too. I should update my Facebook profile.

    I had it at Libertarian for a while. Now it just says moderate.

    I finally found that gold standard quote I was looking for.
    It [gold] gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head."

    This is very much my position.

    Mithrandir86 on
  • Options
    Not SarastroNot Sarastro __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2007
    I finally found that gold standard quote I was looking for.
    It [gold] gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head."

    This is very much my position.

    Well that applies to any currency. A million $10 notes have about the same intrinsic value of a small tree, judging by the materials. But since we assign a currency value of $10,000,000 to them, people will kill for it. Then again, in some places around the world, people will kill over a tree too.

    Few things have intrinsic value beyond that which we give them, and few things have intrinsic utility beyond that which we make.

    Not Sarastro on
  • Options
    shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Thinatos wrote: »
    forbis316 wrote: »
    I, for one, am amazed to see an editorial supporting Libertarianism in such an esteemed place as the Wall Street Journal editorial page. What's next? Rants of Crazy Homeless People on Street Corners Monthly?

    I thought that the rest of the WSJ wanted nothing to do with the batshit crazies working in Editorials. I'm pretty sure it came up in something I was reading about after WSJ got bought.

    shryke on
  • Options
    Alexan DriteAlexan Drite Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    I'm not a Libertarian. I'm a moderate Democrat with an inclination towards free market solutions.

    Hi5! My too!

    Me too. I should update my Facebook profile.

    I had it at Libertarian for a while. Now it just says moderate.

    I finally found that gold standard quote I was looking for.
    It [gold] gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head."

    This is very much my position.

    It's also wrong. Gold is valued as a currency over say, lead, because it's easily stored, is not exactly poisonous, and is easy to manipulate. It's also rare and attractive.

    A good intro work on this subject is Greenspan's Gold and Economic Freedom. But if you want to get into better details you should probably go to Von Mise's Theory of Money and Credit (Check your library) as he spends a bit of detail on the nature of money and banking and a bit on gold. There are other more relevant modern writers though.

    There basically is three issues going on in the appeal to the gold standard.
    1: Government Monetary Policy is either unnecessary or inadequate to meet with the demands of the system. In a great many cases monetary policy is harmful, and has not really resulted in that much of a better situation then if we didn't have it
    2: The current monetary system is insecure and generally risky.
    3: Gold is pretty great.

    The first gets into complex historical, economic, and various other things. It's generally the strongest argument, and gets into points that shows that the Federal Reserve is no more capable of helping the economy as if we didn't have it, and is just as likely to cause damage as help. I think one of the best arguments would be looking at Europe, which while it's not perfect, the Euro system pretty much denies individual nations the right to monetary policy. France and Germany can't manipulate their currency, and while it sucks, it's not a requirement.

    The second is a much harder argument to argue for. At the moment America is pretty dang wealthy, and we currently have a culture where savings are non-existent. But one only needs to look at other nations of the world where their monetary systems due to poor planning or corruption, or incompetence, or even good intentions... and inflation gets out of hand and everything is destroyed.

    Now the American Federal Reserve has the most intelligent economists and bankers in the world working for it, with access to all of the information on the planet. If there is to be a planned monetary system, you can not ask for a better planner. And for the most part, these people have resulted in longer distances between recessions, and shorter recessions. It is a fact that after monetary policy was implemented we've gone from a 5 year recession cycle to about one every 10 years, and we've cut down the length of those recessions.
    It's also a fact that we've had a ton of inflation. Now modern economic theory is starting to come to grips with how moderate destruction of current savings is a good thing. Really that's only happened since the early 90s and it was a very controversial theory then, but I understand the rational behind it and it coincides so very much with the cultural phenomenon of unsavings that dominates the American population.
    Because, really, which would you rather have, all the money in your wallet destroyed, or lose your job? (Although it's more complex then just a savings versus job security issue). As long as the money in wallet is lower then your expected revenue stream adjusted, then yeah secure the job.

    But even when the Fed has access to a lot of data they can get blindsided and make a terrible mistake. In 2000 the federal reserve was thinking about the Asian Crisis, they were thinking about stuff happening in Russia, and so they failed to tighten up excess liquidity and failed to see warning signs in the stock market. And as such a bubble popped rather harshly and hundreds of billions of dollars were lost.

    The Feds not Perfect, in fact they're probably pretty cautious and down right silly at times. "Our response will be measured..." as opposed to all the other times when it was unmeasured? (And yes I know why they say stuff like that to stop the day traders from shifting the market 500 points, but it's still dumb).

    But where the crux of the argument comes down to is that basically at this point the fed has to chose between employment and inflation, that's their one job to keep unemployment and inflation low. They are under constant pressure from the government to keep employment high and constant pressure from the banks to keep inflation low. If one of these forces gets out of balance it can be devastating.

    The last argument, that gold is pretty great... well they usually are two things. Either they're gold bugs (These people are dumb and should be ignored), or they're saying that we know the gold standard, as a system, despite its failures, is pretty dang secure and has a lot of things going for it, and for the most part worked for about 10k years. We've only been on the current monetary system for about 30 years, and it's doubtful it will be sustained. We've actually only been off the gold standard for about 80 years anyways, and so we're not even too sure if the current model is better.

    I mean, yeah, under the current model you'll never ever have a repeat of the 1871 depression, it's impossible. But you can get depressions like the 30s. You can get stagflation like the 1970s. And in the worst case scenario you can get hyper inflation, which is the utter destruction of current savings.

    I think the support for the gold standard has very little to do with gold bugs, and how much better that model is, and more to do with how terrible the current model is. They're basically saying "we should change the current model so that it's not arbitrary"

    Alexan Drite on
  • Options
    YarYar Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    But using a currency as a representation of value will always be necessarily arbitrary. Be it Gold or a Greenback, it only has value because people tend to believe it does.

    I could stumble across a huge gold boulder tomorrow. Not likely, but I could. How is that an objective value?

    Yar on
  • Options
    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2007
    Yar wrote: »
    But using a currency as a representation of value will always be necessarily arbitrary. Be it Gold or a Greenback, it only has value because people tend to believe it does.

    I could stumble across a huge gold boulder tomorrow. Not likely, but I could. How is that an objective value?

    Exactly. Just be careful not to go crazy now and say that just because it's pretend we should ban currency or something.

    ViolentChemistry on
  • Options
    poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    We've only been on the current monetary system for about 30 years, and it's doubtful it will be sustained. We've actually only been off the gold standard for about 80 years anyways, and so we're not even too sure if the current model is better.

    How have we been on the gold standard for 10,000 years? If we had been, how would that be good? We believed fire was caused by spirits in the wood for quite a long time too.

    If we've been on the fiat system for 30 years but we've been off the gold standard for 80 years, what was inbetween?

    poshniallo on
    I figure I could take a bear.
  • Options
    Alexan DriteAlexan Drite Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Yar wrote: »
    But using a currency as a representation of value will always be necessarily arbitrary. Be it Gold or a Greenback, it only has value because people tend to believe it does.

    I could stumble across a huge gold boulder tomorrow. Not likely, but I could. How is that an objective value?

    You will find that when you apply that standard it applies to everything, because there are no intrinsic values in this world. Money is merely a unit of conversion. A way of exchanging the subjective values and labor and time and creativity of one person into another person's.

    Gold is just a really really good unit of conversion for a lot of reasons based on its divisibility, practicability, rareness, and universal appeal. It's also hard to make more arbitrarily, so you're locked in. You can't inflate the currency just because short term or temporary demands require it.
    poshniallo wrote: »
    We've only been on the current monetary system for about 30 years, and it's doubtful it will be sustained. We've actually only been off the gold standard for about 80 years anyways, and so we're not even too sure if the current model is better.

    How have we been on the gold standard for 10,000 years? If we had been, how would that be good? We believed fire was caused by spirits in the wood for quite a long time too.

    If we've been on the fiat system for 30 years but we've been off the gold standard for 80 years, what was inbetween?
    In answer to your first two questions, Gold, with a few exceptions, has always been money across most human civilizations. It was the basis of most monetary systems in fact.

    How would that be good that the system lasted for 10k years? If something has lasted for so long, across so many human civilizations, across so many languages, cultures, times, demands, everything without facing too many problems? It's probably a very valid necessary human thing. Most cultures of sufficient complexity need money.

    Do not be so foolish as to believe that what was past was broken. Many of the foundations of modernism promote the wrongful belief that what was done before was usually through ignorance, when in reality there are extremely valid reasons why people do things. We shouldn't be slaves to the past, but we shouldn't reject it immediately either. When something lasts for a very long time, it usually because it's extremely important and sustaining.

    Between 1944 and 1971 we lived in the Bretton Woods System
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bretton_Woods_system

    Basically instead of Gold being the international standard by which currencies were weighed against, it was The American Dollar. Which is an OK idea if the American Dollar is mostly a fixed asset and doesn't inflate.

    There actually were some minor agreements between 1920s (when the west started to fall off the Gold Stanard) and Bretton Woods, but they're irrelevant. Pretty much from around WW1 to Bretton Woods you get most nations falling off the standard due to the fact they couldn't sustain their war efforts while staying on the standard, with the US finally getting off the standard around 1927. Several nations tried to get back on in the 1920s, but almost all of them had massively inflationary standard that drove gold away from their nations.
    We say that we've been off the gold standard for 80 years because American citizens could not trade gold for dollars from 1927 through 1971 (only foreigners could do that), and there a lot of restrictions on buying trading and owning gold currency.

    Prior to that you could trade dollars for gold. There was a ratio determined by market forces or was fixed, or both.

    It's not just a hard asset thing, or a conversion thing. It's not just saying the dollar should be backed by something other then nothing. This is a banking phenomenon.

    Please do not make this into some sort of Voodoo thing, it's not. The current monetary banking system is merely an attempt to emulate the gold standard. The difference is that when the Fed wants to do something that is inconsistent with what we'd normally do with the standard, the fed can do it.
    It usually doesn't work out too well, in my opinion. In fact one neat thing you can do with the market is follow the direction of gold (and various gold factors) and track it against federal reserve interest rates. When the two aren't in sync it's usually a sign that there will be inflation or a recession. Such as in 2001.

    I'm going to use a terrible gaming analogy.
    Like, I think Masters of Orion 3 serves as a good example of this.
    In Moo3 you have the power to manipulate the development of planets. You can get in really micro and manage infrastructure even.
    It has been shown with very convincing evidence that in Moo3; however, most of the time messing with these things is generally not worth it because the AI is already optimized perfectly for the conditions of the game and or has access to information you do not. This is part of the reason the game is retarded, since a lot of times the best decision is to just set a macro policy and be keep clicking next turn or moving fleets around.

    Planned Monetary policy is like playing Moo3. Yeah you can maybe get some tweaks or performances in, especially if you take the time to look at every single thing and come up with some amazing strategies. But most of the time intervening doesn't result in any gains, and a lot of the times is worse. The difference is that it makes you feel like you're having an impact and you get to change things in the direction you want. But really, there is no point.

    Planned monetary policy is like playing moo3 in that Moo3 is a shit game and disappointing. It should have been so much more awesome. At least, in theory it was a good idea.
    ==
    I think the crux of the libertarian argument should not be the return TO the gold standard, it should be that the US has currently no need for monetary policy and that monetary policy is not really worth it, and we'd get so many more better options if we tried something else. I know that's a bit silly of an argument "Well what would you replace the federal reserve with?"... but whatever.

    This is an INCREDIBLY important economic theory relating to international currencies. As in, people have won noble prizes for their work in explaining why countries abandon monetary policy in favor of transnational currencies. Gold is like the ultimate transnational currency. If, as some economist predict, the future is towards a 3 or 4 currency world (Euro-Yen-Dollar, or Euro-Dollar-X), or even a one currency world... it probably is going to be based off of something hard and scientific.

    Think of it like this, if someone proposed that the US/Canada/Mexico should all go to ONE currency, and that the price of doing so is that none of the three nations could use monetary policy anymore, there actually would be a legitimate argument for that. The benefits of the transnational currency might outweigh the benefits of a monetary policy. It certainly was the case in the Euro, and it might be the case America as well.

    Alexan Drite on
  • Options
    Not SarastroNot Sarastro __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2007
    I don't really have time to get into all the gaping holes in your argument Alexan, but this one:
    In answer to your first two questions, Gold, with a few exceptions, has always been money across most human civilizations. It was the basis of most monetary systems in fact.

    How would that be good that the system lasted for 10k years? If something has lasted for so long, across so many human civilizations, across so many languages, cultures, times, demands, everything without facing too many problems? It's probably a very valid necessary human thing. Most cultures of sufficient complexity need money.

    Do not be so foolish as to believe that what was past was broken.

    Iron was the metal of choice across most human civilizations for over 20k years, and then we made Steel. Wood was the construction material of choice across most human civilizations for over who knows how many k years, and then we made Plastics.

    Don't be so foolish as to believe that what was past was better. Some things are, some things aren't. How about you start dealing in specifics and detail rather than generalised comparisons and metaphors?

    PS Oh, and your grasp of facts central to your argument is appaling.

    For example, stop using the Euro as an example of transnational countries abandoning monetary policy. The Euro has a monetary policy. It is run by the European Central Bank.

    Not Sarastro on
  • Options
    poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I think there's a massive difference between using gold as money (as well as precious metals, rice, shells, and just about any other crap you want) and a paper/notional system based on a gold standard.

    I really don't understand why you think the fiat system (or credit or fiduciary or whatever you want to call what we do now) is bad.

    poshniallo on
    I figure I could take a bear.
  • Options
    itylusitylus Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    poshniallo wrote: »
    I think there's a massive difference between using gold as money (as well as precious metals, rice, shells, and just about any other crap you want) and a paper/notional system based on a gold standard.

    I really don't understand why you think the fiat system (or credit or fiduciary or whatever you want to call what we do now) is bad.

    He thinks it's bad because he doesn't like the government having the power to whimsically decide to increase the money supply. The government printing more money in order to pay for things they want to do is a cause of inflation and acts as a "hidden tax" on holders of existing currency.

    IMHO, a gold standard doesn't really change that, it just means that printing money is effectively a lot more expensive because you have to pay to dig it out of the ground from mines of ever-decreasing efficiency. The effort spent on this expensive "printing" process is a clear Pareto loss as I see it.

    itylus on
  • Options
    Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Fiat money allows banks to do this thing I forget the name of, but it allows them to effectively multiply the amount of money available in the system. It generates lots of economic growth and is good.

    Professor Phobos on
  • Options
    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2007
    So if we were to go back to the gold standard, seeing as we'd be the only country in the world operating on it, what good would it do us, exactly? And how do we buy all the gold we need in order to increase the supply of money in the market to account for economic growth from quarter to quarter without spending the extra value (goods/services) we generated to result in said growth? Because we're going to need to do that, since all the other countries are most assuredly going to be dicks about "oh but you switched back to the gold standard, are you sure you have enough gold for your dollar to be worth more than the Euro?"(and rightfully so).

    ViolentChemistry on
  • Options
    Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator Mod Emeritus
    edited September 2007
    Seeing that Alan Greenspan is a lunatic who endorses the gold standard and makes broad pronouncements about why monetary policy is invariably bad explains noting about why he felt the need to continue the expansion of the money supply under Clinton w/r to the tech boom, and explains less about why he sought to expand government deficits via tax cuts under Bush.

    Basically, as much as I think that Bernenke is kind of a chode, I'm coming think that Greenspan was a first-rate douchebag who did nothing but that which was politically expedient.

    Irond Will on
    Wqdwp8l.png
  • Options
    Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator Mod Emeritus
    edited September 2007
    Also, why would we consider someone who believes that monetary policy is useless for the position of Fed Chairman? I mean it's kind of like appointing a flat-earther to NASA chair.

    Irond Will on
    Wqdwp8l.png
  • Options
    Not SarastroNot Sarastro __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2007
    ...or appointing John Bolton to be UN ambassador, or electing creationists to guide science policy in local schools. Yeah, these things never happen.

    I think the answer to your queston is 'idiocy' or 'madness'.

    Not Sarastro on
  • Options
    Alexan DriteAlexan Drite Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Seeing that Alan Greenspan is a lunatic who endorses the gold standard and makes broad pronouncements about why monetary policy is invariably bad explains noting about why he felt the need to continue the expansion of the money supply under Clinton w/r to the tech boom, and explains less about why he sought to expand government deficits via tax cuts under Bush.

    Basically, as much as I think that Bernenke is kind of a chode, I'm coming think that Greenspan was a first-rate douchebag who did nothing but that which was politically expedient.

    The federal reserve is not just its chairman. It's actually a complex system that involves a board of directors and is comprised of great economists with access to the best economic and fiscal ideas of the time, as well as all the heads of the national banks.

    In the really early 1990s one of the members of the board, I forget her name, proposed an idea that a very minor inflation in the economy is actually healthy. Now this was 15 years ago, before the Japanese deflation (or about the time it was about to start), and and it was a radical idea then. Despite Greenspans objections, the reserve voted to go with minor inflation, or it might have been the other way around, and this became the dominate policy of the 90s.

    At this time the federal reserve is NOT a political office, despite the fact its positions are assigned by the President with consent of congress. The decisions behind the policies of the 1990s were not whimsical, but rather grounded on the existing information at that time.

    Even Thomas Sowell teaches a class on the economics of Karl Marx. It is possible to separate ones political beliefs from ones job. Greenspan, despite his personal beliefs about the necessity of a managed money supply, is possibly the most qualified person on the planet to fill the position he did. Greenspan probably could have made a hojillion dollars off of his genius understanding of banking and money. You should be glad he was in that position instead of a complete tool.

    Alexan Drite on
  • Options
    AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    You should be glad he was in that position instead of a complete tool.

    Yes, because I support backstabbing bastards. /sarcasm

    And I've pointed this out several times.

    AngelHedgie on
    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
Sign In or Register to comment.