I'm currently in a discussion with a friend in Germany who's arguing that mixed economy is the best way to go. Me being just a millwright at a sawmill, I have a hard time with economics and explaining my position. Sometimes I even have questions about my own free market beliefs.
His arguement is pretty much, some industries should be socialized because it would be more environmentally friendly, safer work conditions, fairer living standards for the poor and provide much needed services to "all" people. He believes that too much free market takes advantage of people out of greed and socialism should have the advantage.
or should I just stay away from economic discussions?
Unfortunately your concern is very general, and thus it cannot be answered with a few sound bites. There is a wealth of literature on this site: When you get some free time I highly suggest you read it.
As for your friend, the burden of proof is on him. Ask him to explain how, in very precise terms, a bureaucracy is more capable of determining what a man should do better than the man himself.
Just as a start, you could explain to him that desiring "environmental friendliness", "safer working conditions", "fair living standards for the poor", and "provision of much needed services to all people" is also being greedy -- just about different things.
In other words, we're all self-interested, but that doesn't mean our self-interests are all the same.
The keyboard is mightier than the gun.
Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.
Property rights take care of environmentalism. If you pollute my air space you are violating my property rights. See "free market environmentalism"
Your friend likely doesn't have a theory of property rights or a free market. If you ask him what a free market is, and he says "its a lack of regulation", ask him if he thinks anarcho communism is free-marketism.
On a broader note, do not debate policy. Do not debate whether there should be minimum wages, safety regulations, or speed limits. What's the optimal speed limit? Don't know. Doesn't matter. Its HOW policies are chosen that is the pertinent question. Your friend is subscribing to the "floating bill" theory of civics. He needs to drop the assumption that legislators will automatically pick all the right policies, and instead ask what policies are likely to be made given the rules of the political system.
He will advocate democracy. SMASH HIM.
Thanks for your help and advice, guys!
oh and like I've said already, I'm not that bright when it comes to economics but to me "social market economy" sounds like an oxymoron and I can't quite see how socialism and capitalism could coexist under the same roof. It seems to me that one would only devour the other.
I'm trying to learn though and I'll definately start reading literature from this here site.
When people talk about "social capitalism" or "social market economy" they are really just being intellectual cowards. They don't want to bite all the arguments against socialism, and they don't want to have to defend capitalism. So its basicaly "I support capitalism when it works, and socialism or state intervention when it doesn't work". Your response is twofold: first, when does capitalism not work? second, why should we expect empowering a violent monopoly to improve things?
If you don't feel comfortable handling him, you might just claim you are in ideological education and suggest that he come and have a 1v1 debate with some of the veteren mises.org members. Grayson has done it a couple of times, and its never converted anyone but they certainly came away with a lot more respect for the austo-anarcho-libertarian position. I'm available at debate.org for some rounds too ;) http://www.debate.org/Sieben/
Yeah, I really appreciate those debates, Sieben. It's handy to see the free market in the context of some real debates.
"safer working conditions", "fair living standards for the poor (plural)", and "provision of much needed services to all people"
(commas go inside the quotations, just to let you know [not tryin to be a grammar na*i]
I fail to see how any of those are self-interested, except maybe safe working if you are only talking about where you work.
In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!
Property rights take care of environmentalism.
I have always thought this was a great argument in favor of the market. But I wonder, what would be done in the case that all poluted property owners are ok with the degradation, but it is later found that the problem will spread to other properties. Would the whole town be sued? This is just a beside the point, just something I was hoping to get clarified.
He will advocate democracy.
Besides anarchy (really just the full expression of self-governance), what has been more productive and protective of free-expression than democracy/republicanism on Earth, in your opinion?
Epicurus Ibn Kalhoun:I have always thought this was a great argument in favor of the market. But I wonder, what would be done in the case that all poluted property owners are ok with the degradation, but it is later found that the problem will spread to other properties. Would the whole town be sued? This is just a beside the point, just something I was hoping to get clarified.
Epicurus Ibn Kalhoun:Besides anarchy (really just the full expression of self-governance), what has been more productive and protective of free-expression than democracy/republicanism on Earth, in your opinion?
Middle of the Road Policy Leads to Socialism - Mises
@ LibertarianCowboy - Welcome to the forum! My research indicates that Mises.org ranks #1 in the world as the premiere source of literature regarding how the economy actually works. (source: Chloe732).
A Critique of Interventionism - Ludwig von Mises. Published in 1929, written in the early 1920's when socialism was considered to represent the future of economic policy by the intellectual elite.
"The market is a process." - Ludwig von Mises, as related by Israel Kirzner. "Capital formation is a beautiful thing" - Chloe732.
Ultimately you cannot and do not want to enforce all property rights. It will be uneconomic.
I am of the opinion that sometimes, in order to maintain a progressive society (in terms of civilization and technology) we just have to eat the costs of some things. And yes, this is entirely possible with private regulatory agencies.
Democracy is good for free-expression because its founded on the myth that free speech is the bees knees and will solve everything
Let's say free expression, speech is just one minor part of that.
Outside of total state collapse, I'm hoping that China will be the great economic force of the next century
They will be, if they continue to democratize their country
Their government is essentialy an oligarchical dictatorship
It would seem to me that the more they move away from that (like setting up "special economic zones") the more their economy has grown.
I wish we had a world or even just US monarchy so the king could take a 1% cut of the economy for 1 year and then be the richest man on earth 3x over. Leave us alone
You really think that is what would happen?
If you have never read this, prepare to be shocked into reality. The power of capitalism will become clear.
I, Pencil - Leonard Read, 1958
Have him watch this video. Very articulately explains greed versus socialism. It sounds like this is a general argument, so the video might help a bit. Tell him how socialism is a collectivist ideology and literally dehumanizes people into a unit of production.