Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

Territoriality and Monopoly

This post has 62 Replies | 5 Followers

Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,914
Points 70,630

Sage:

As I see it, libertarianism is a theory of justice. Natural law is a conception of justice. So natural law is the core of libertarianism.

That's a good definition.

"Do not put out the fire of the spirit." 1The 5:19
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 752
Points 16,735
Sage replied on Mon, Dec 7 2009 10:53 AM

Merlin:
Protracted disagreement on an issue, in which one of the parties assumes to be speaking of something that is “self-evident” and “inherent”, is proof enough that it isn’t.

We have to distinguish between psychological and logical self-evidence. Something is psychologically self-evident if its truth is graspable simply by thinking about it, whereas something is logically self-evident if its truth can be ascertained by reasoning. Logical self-evidence does not entail psychological self-evidence; people could make errors in their reasoning.

So if there is protracted disagreement on an issue, that proves that it isn't psychologically self-evident; but that doesn't prove that it isn't logically self-evident.

AnalyticalAnarchism.net - The Positive Political Economy of Anarchism

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Mon, Dec 7 2009 11:21 AM

Sage:
Again, I think Long's point is that we don't need a fully elaborated theory to justify our belief in natural law. People just need to understand that there are immutable moral principles that transcend culture and preferences; why can be left to the philosopher. So if our ordinary moral practices (e.g. condemning Nazism) commit us to believing in natural law, the burden rests with the opponents.

What you say here seems practical, but how does this jive with what you posted in response to Merlin:

Sage, responding to Merlin:
We have to distinguish between psychological and logical self-evidence. Something is psychologically self-evident if its truth is graspable simply by thinking about it, whereas something is logically self-evident if its truth can be ascertained by reasoning. Logical self-evidence does not entail psychological self-evidence; people could make errors in their reasoning.

So if there is protracted disagreement on an issue, that proves that it isn't psychologically self-evident; but that doesn't prove that it isn't logically self-evident.

This distinction is useful and elucidating. However then, it seems you and/or Long are implying on the one hand that condemning Naziism comes fairly naturally to us and is instituted in our social practices...so therefore the burden rests with the opponents of natural law. But on the other hand this sounds a lot more like psychological self-evidence than logical self-evidence.

To put it concisely, if the burden of proof lies with opponents of natural law because natural law is psychologically self-evident, why is there protracted disagreement on the matter?

Sage:
I think the upshot is that each culture's ordinary practices would be on the good side of the burden of proof. Now these practices may be different and even incompatible, but this doesn't show that there are different conceptions of natural law. Presumably after applying the method of reflective equilibration we would be left with a single, unified theory.

Reflective equilibrium...I'll have to look into that.

Sage:

AJ:
Can I ask what you see as the role of natural law (and/or the benefit of advocating it) for libertarianism?

This is a peculiar question. As I see it, libertarianism is a theory of justice. Natural law is a conception of justice. So natural law is the core of libertarianism.

I see. I was more wondering, what do you see as the benefit of advocating it, versus just advocating against monopoly, for secession, etc.?

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,914
Points 70,630

AJ:

I see. I was more wondering, what do you see as the benefit of advocating it, versus just advocating against monopoly, for secession, etc.?

there isn't a difference in the end.  Justice is anti-monopoly.  Liberty (the outcome of justice for liberty is the absence of initiated coercion) is inclusionary of secession.  do you see a difference?

edit:  I'd rather wait for Sage's comment since this was directed towards Sage, but this is what I think.  If you want to wait for what Sage says that probably is more appropiate in keeping to the spirit of who you directed this question towards in the first place.

"Do not put out the fire of the spirit." 1The 5:19
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 752
Points 16,735
Sage replied on Mon, Dec 7 2009 5:31 PM

AJ:
To put it concisely, if the burden of proof lies with opponents of natural law because natural law is psychologically self-evident, why is there protracted disagreement on the matter?

Well, in some sense there is no protracted disagreement on the matter: who would disagree with our condemnation of Nazism?

Moreover, I'm not certain that natural law is psychologically self-evident. I would just say that our ordinary practices and beliefs seem to rest on it (and that the burden of proof rests with opponents of our ordinary practices and beliefs).

AJ:
Reflective equilibrium...I'll have to look into that.

See this.

AJ:
I see. I was more wondering, what do you see as the benefit of advocating it, versus just advocating against monopoly, for secession, etc.?

I see natural law as the main reason to oppose monopoly and support secession. I oppose monopoly because it violates natural law. So advocating natural law and opposing monopoly basically amount to the same thing.

AnalyticalAnarchism.net - The Positive Political Economy of Anarchism

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,209
Points 35,645
Merlin replied on Tue, Dec 8 2009 1:19 AM

Sage:

We have to distinguish between psychological and logical self-evidence. Something is psychologically self-evident if its truth is graspable simply by thinking about it, whereas something is logically self-evident if its truth can be ascertained by reasoning. Logical self-evidence does not entail psychological self-evidence; people could make errors in their reasoning.

So if there is protracted disagreement on an issue, that proves that it isn't psychologically self-evident; but that doesn't prove that it isn't logically self-evident.

 

Good point. Touche!

The Regression theorem is a memetic equivalent of the Theory of Evolution. To say that the former precludes the free emergence of fiat currencies makes no more sense that to hold that the latter precludes the natural emergence of multicellular organisms.
  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 51
Points 615
Wade replied on Tue, Dec 8 2009 9:31 AM

Sage:

AJ:
I see. I was more wondering, what do you see as the benefit of advocating it, versus just advocating against monopoly, for secession, etc.?

I see natural law as the main reason to oppose monopoly and support secession. I oppose monopoly because it violates natural law. So advocating natural law and opposing monopoly basically amount to the same thing.

I assume by monopoly you mean something where only 1 system or product is allowed and limited to by means of force.  So if we agree on this, then this type of system violates natural law.

Clearly, there are people in this world who are employing force as a means to achieve such a system.  Is there any part of natural law that shows how employing force actually causes unhappiness for the person employing the force?  Or is there just a general statement that force should not be employed, because it violates natural law...

Only ideas can overcome ideas...

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Male
Posts 342
Points 6,665

Sage:

Sam Armstrong:
This isn't necessarily true. Some people may very well may have as the goal of their life be that other people die. I would not be able to say to the person who is trying to set off a nuke right next to him in the middle of New York that he is objectively immoral, since his objective is to kill as many people as he possibly can.

Long argues here that rational agency requires language, which contains agent neutral values, which must be incorporated into our ultimate end (eudaimonia). So any action commits you to eudaimonia. So all actors (i.e humans) are committed to eudaimonia.

From what I can tell, long seems to be arguing that there are utilitarian reasons for acting on principle. Acting as a utilitarian morally will lead to you to destruction and adverse consequences (e.g. the doctor who harvests the healthy person's organs to give to the sick). This all makes sense, but it only makes sense if you're talking about someone who wants life. What I'm talking about is someone like the Joker. Someone who wants absolute chaos, doesn't care for their own life, and is only living so that they can bring about as much chaos as they can. At the end of that movie, he wanted batman to kill him so that he could bring batman off of his moral grounding. I know, it's a comic, but some people are sociopaths. Some people do kill themselves along with others (murder suicide's such as columbine school shootings). What can I say to those people? "You should want to live. It is moral for you to want to live. You shouldn't kill yourself along with other people"? I don't think so. There is no foundation for it. The justification Long put forth for agent neutral value was in fact agent relative value. If those base values aren't there, neither can the morals.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Wed, Dec 9 2009 2:34 AM

Sage:

AJ:
To put it concisely, if the burden of proof lies with opponents of natural law because natural law is psychologically self-evident, why is there protracted disagreement on the matter?

Well, in some sense there is no protracted disagreement on the matter: who would disagree with our condemnation of Nazism?

But natural law is more than just condemnation of Naziism. In fact it is in a sense "much" more: I don't even need to believe in objective ethics to condemn Naziism - I can just subjectively disapprove.

Sage:
Moreover, I'm not certain that natural law is psychologically self-evident. I would just say that our ordinary practices and beliefs seem to rest on it (and that the burden of proof rests with opponents of our ordinary practices and beliefs).

Our ordinary practices and beliefs...like, Statism?? It's true that Statist ideas don't fly so well in small groups, like a group of hikers setting up a tent (unlikely that they will try to kill the hiker who refuses to help), but they do in large groups. This is a tough call...which is why I think it's sort of premature to brush aside burdens of proof - which generally fall on those making a proposal, whatever it is.

Sage:

AJ:
Reflective equilibrium...I'll have to look into that.

See this.

Thank you for that. I took a look at it. I found two problematic ideas in the run-up.

1. "Yeager endorses the Humean doctrine that it is impossible to derive normative conclusions from positive premises (pp. 17–19). He recognizes, however, that this doctrine is not strictly true, since, e.g., “2 + 2 = 4” logically entails “Either 2 + 2 = 4 or Smith ought to pay Jones $5.00.” But Yeager objects that this counterexample, while containing a normative term, expresses no normative judgment, because it is not incompatible with any contrary normative judgment (p. 25). Perhaps not; but the example can easily be cleaned up: “Smith pays Jones $5.00” logically entails “Either it is morally permissible for Smith to pay Jones $5.00 or Smith does something morally impermissible”—and that conclusion is not normatively vacuous, since it is incompatible with the (empirically falsifiable) judgment “It is morally impermissible for Smith to pay Jones $5.00, and Smith never does anything morally impermissible.”  "

The bolded part contains a false dichotomy. Besides "(objectively) morally permissible" and "(objectively) morally impermissible," there is also the possibility that objective morality does not enter the equation at all. Importantly, in Mises's utilitarianism it would not. So his conclusion, that normative  conclusions can be drawn from positive premises, doesn't hold.

2. Long uses the concept of constitutive means ("Once the possibility of constitutive means is recognized, the door is then open to nonutilitarian theories..."), which has been thoroughly critiqued here.

Besides that, it still seems that the reflective equilibrium reached by a Muslim will still be quite different from that reached by you or me, so I don't see that this solves the matter.

Sage:
I oppose monopoly because it violates natural law.

Do you mean that a monopoly on force actually, in and of itself, violates natural law? Or just that it inevitably leads to (a greater number and magnitude of) violations of natural law?

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,939
Points 49,110
Conza88 replied on Wed, Dec 9 2009 3:21 AM

AJ:
I don't even need to believe in objective ethics to condemn Naziism - I can just subjectively disapprove.

Except it is a personal objection / disapproval, and has nothing to do with political ethics what so ever.

And since your "objection" / disapproval is personal, the Nazi's personally approved - so where the hell does that leave your disapproval when it comes to justice & the law (as is always normative)? It is thus completely meaningless.

Rothbard:

For we are not, in constructing a theory of liberty and property, i.e., a "political" ethic, concerned with all personal moral principles. We are not herewith concerned whether it is moral or immoral for someone to lie, to be a good person, to develop his faculties, or be kind or mean to his neighbors. We are concerned, in this sort of discussion, solely with such "political ethical" questions as the proper role of violence, the sphere of rights, or the definitions of criminality and aggression.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Male
Posts 342
Points 6,665

AJ:

Sage:
I oppose monopoly because it violates natural law.

Do you mean that a monopoly on force actually, in and of itself, violates natural law? Or just that it inevitably leads to (a greater number and magnitude of) violations of natural law?

It violates it in and of itself. For the only probable way to achieve a monopoly on force is to use it against other innocent force users. Unless of course it is a natural monopoly, because that company got the cost of using force so low that no one else could compete.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,914
Points 70,630

Sam Armstrong:

A:  It violates it in and of itself. For the only probable way to achieve a monopoly on force is to use it against other innocent force users.

B:  Unless of course it is a natural monopoly, because that company got the cost of using force so low that no one else could compete.

A and B conflict while reasoning. 

A is innocents harmed.

B is happening in the free market (no innocents harmed). 

"Do not put out the fire of the spirit." 1The 5:19
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Male
Posts 342
Points 6,665

Yeah, that's what I was getting at. Sorry it was unclear. To have a forced monopoly is to violate innocents rights, which is a violation of natural law. I was assuming by monopoly, he meant forced monopoly, so I wanted to distinguish natural monopolies from that.

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 51
Points 615
Wade replied on Wed, Dec 9 2009 9:43 AM

Sam Armstrong:

Yeah, that's what I was getting at. Sorry it was unclear. Too have a forced monopoly is to violate innocents rights, which is a violation of natural law. I was assuming by monopoly, he meant forced monopoly, so I wanted to distinguish natural monopolies from that.

I think that this is a meaningful distinction, however I wish academia wouldn't have called it a monopoly.  The Austrian School typically only uses the term monopoly when referring to a state of affairs where only 1 product, service, or system is allowed by means of coercion.

I wanted to reiterate also that it is still unclear what a violation of natural law entails.  In other words, what is the causal nature or relationship between employing force in order implement a monopoly and the well being of the person employing force versus say employing voluntary economic action in order to arrive at something like a "natural monopoly".  Clearly, the difference here is the means employed.

Only ideas can overcome ideas...

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Dec 10 2009 1:33 AM

Conza88:

AJ:
I don't even need to believe in objective ethics to condemn Naziism - I can just subjectively disapprove.

And since your "objection" / disapproval is personal, the Nazi's personally approved - so where the hell does that leave your disapproval when it comes to justice & the law (as is always normative)? It is thus completely meaningless.

This really isn't that complicated: I would certainly patronize private courts that were against Naziism, and I assume you would do the same. Does the fact that you purport to objectively condemn Naziism and I purport to subjectively condemn Naziism make any difference whatsoever as to the effect of your patronage of those courts versus my patronage of those courts?

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 527
Points 8,490

AJ:
This really isn't that complicated: I would certainly patronize private courts that were against Naziism, and I assume you would do the same. Does the fact that you purport to objectively condemn Naziism and I purport to subjectively condemn Naziism make any difference whatsoever as to the effect of your patronage of those courts versus my patronage of those courts?

The effect is the same because they are both the same. What is the objective condemnation of naziism? Naziism leads to genocide, state control, degradation, war, economic/scientific/philosophic impotence... and on and on. The subjective condemnation is, those things are bad and should not occur. The objective condemnation doesn't come down on the side of good or bad, but it does not allow human beings to continue to flourish under those conditions. The choice to survive/flourish objectively railroads you into the subjective valuation that naziism is bad.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 11,343
Points 194,945
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

Wade:

I think that this is a meaningful distinction, however I wish academia wouldn't have called it a monopoly.  The Austrian School typically only uses the term monopoly when referring to a state of affairs where only 1 product, service, or system is allowed by means of coercion.

I wanted to reiterate also that it is still unclear what a violation of natural law entails.  In other words, what is the causal nature or relationship between employing force in order implement a monopoly and the well being of the person employing force versus say employing voluntary economic action in order to arrive at something like a "natural monopoly".  Clearly, the difference here is the means employed.

I prefer to use privilege.  Something which is not universal.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 11,343
Points 194,945
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

Nazism.  So we didn't stay on territoriality and monopoly for more than 6 or 8 posts?

Many of the discussions here are a form of groundhogs day.  It can be very hard to advance new ideas and topics.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 527
Points 8,490

liberty student:

Nazism.  So we didn't stay on territoriality and monopoly for more than 6 or 8 posts?

Many of the discussions here are a form of groundhogs day.  It can be very hard to advance new ideas and topics.

Someone put forth a conjecture that in any internet debate, there is a limit that is reached and the nazis must be brought up :)

 

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 100 Contributor
Male
Posts 853
Points 17,830

AJ:
With the rise of the Internet, the idea is occurring to more and more people that social organization needn't necessarily be territorial.

AJ - I don't see anything profound in the article you linked to.  I can't see any reason to seperate "territorial goods" from "non-territorial goods" - in fact I think it only adds confusion.  It plays into the minarchist position that there are two classes of goods - those the free market can handle, and those governments must provide.  Is this your position as well, or am I missing something?

AJ:
For what reasons does the legal system need to be universal across the enter span of a given territory?

I take it your answer to this would be 'no reasons whatsoever'?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,939
Points 49,110
Conza88 replied on Tue, Dec 22 2009 6:43 PM

AJ:

Conza88:

AJ:
I don't even need to believe in objective ethics to condemn Naziism - I can just subjectively disapprove.

And since your "objection" / disapproval is personal, the Nazi's personally approved - so where the hell does that leave your disapproval when it comes to justice & the law (as is always normative)? It is thus completely meaningless.

This really isn't that complicated: I would certainly patronize private courts that were against Naziism, and I assume you would do the same. Does the fact that you purport to objectively condemn Naziism and I purport to subjectively condemn Naziism make any difference whatsoever as to the effect of your patronage of those courts versus my patronage of those courts?

You assume the context of a stateless society. Ahh.. why? I'm talking about historically, back in that period. Where are your objections, that are all the more important - from a statist context?

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Dec 24 2009 1:17 PM

trulib:

AJ:
With the rise of the Internet, the idea is occurring to more and more people that social organization needn't necessarily be territorial.

AJ - I don't see anything profound in the article you linked to.  I can't see any reason to seperate "territorial goods" from "non-territorial goods" - in fact I think it only adds confusion.  It plays into the minarchist position that there are two classes of goods - those the free market can handle, and those governments must provide.  Is this your position as well, or am I missing something?

The link was not meant to be profound, just meant as a striking example of people of a more mainstream persuasion questioning the assumption that social organization needs to be entirely territorial. It's not my position, no. My position is simply anti-monopolism (monopoly of force, not monopoly in the Austrian econ sense), which I think entails panarchism. I was just surprised to see ideas leaning toward panarchism (although indeed not fully reaching it) couched in language and a general attitude that seemed so mainstream.

This gives me some optimism for the future, because it hints at an unexpectedly short path from mainstream thought to full-on libertarianism that I had not seen talked about before, and because it seems to signify an growing level of questioning the status quo in this area.

trulib:

AJ:
For what reasons does the legal system need to be universal across the enter span of a given territory?

I take it your answer to this would be 'no reasons whatsoever'?

Although I definitely lean toward "no reasons whatsoever," I can think of arguments for both sides. For now I am simply interested in eliciting people's ideas on the subject.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,551
Points 46,635
AJ replied on Thu, Dec 24 2009 1:31 PM

Conza88:
You assume the context of a stateless society. Ahh.. why? I'm talking about historically, back in that period. Where are your objections, that are all the more important - from a statist context?

I don't see the reason for the question, but here is an answer just for clarity's sake.

In the statist context, where "objecting" would only have useful meaning in terms of the state's laws, I think my answer is even less surprising. If I wasn't allowed a lawyer but was allowed to speak in my defense (or the defense of others) on trial and had time to prepare, I would learn the ins and outs of the law as best I could and try to object in the way most likely to get me the results I want within the legal system.

If it wasn't a court trial, I would try to persuade people not to support the Nazi regime. I would only try to couch my "objections" within a normative context if I believed my audience was agreeable to the norms referenced by such objections. It's common sense that you appeal to people's values when trying to make a value-based argument or objection. Or I may just base my "objections" on consequences.

  • | Post Points: 5
Page 2 of 2 (63 items) < Previous 1 2 | RSS