Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A refutation of "Exploiting a Tragedy, or Le Rouge en Noir" by Daniel Singer

" My objection to the corpse-counting  historians is not that they tell a horrible story. It is that they are reducing a major tragedy-- revolution in a backward country failing to spread and the terrible result then presented to the world as a model--to a grand guignol. And these historians are not doing it to prevent the repetition of horrors in future transformations. They are doing it to destroy the very idea of radical change. They are painting the East in black to whitewash the West."
First of all how do you know their intentions?  For a start many of those who support this work have also attacked totalitarianism of the "right".  But even assuming they're " not doing it to prevent the repetition of horrors in future transformations" but to "destroy the very idea of radical change." why shouldn't that idea be destroyed? After all it's piled up 100 million corpses.  One way "to prevent the repetition of horrors in future transformations" is to prevent future transformations.  Now sure people like you, who denied the existence of such horrors for DECADES might say "There's a better way to prevent the horrors.".  But given the 100 million corpses, it's reasonable to tell you to prove your case.  Even if they are trying to "destroy the very idea of radical change" it's up to you to prove and your ilk to prove that idea is worth saving.  
As it happens I am in favor of radical change, just not the kind your kind likes.  I became aware of the "corpse-counting historians " solely through the writings of those who favor radical change.  So it seems strange that those trying to destroy the very idea get some much free, positive publicity from those who espouse it.
"The basic weakness of both The Black Book of Communism and The Passing of an Illusion is their incapacity to explain anything. If you look at Communism as merely the story of crimes, terror and repression, to borrow the subtitle of the Black Book, you are missing the point. The Soviet Union did not rest on the gulag alone. There was also enthusiasm, construction, the spread of education and social advancement for millions; when this momentum was lost in the Brezhnev years the system was close to the end of its tether. Similarly, it is impossible to grasp the fascination of outsiders for the Soviet myth and their reluctance to see the reality if you don't view them in their own environment. If you ignore the Great Depression, the strikes and other struggles against exploitation, the colonial oppression and deadly poverty, the wars in Algeria or Indochina--in short, if, like these authors, you idealize the Western world--you cannot comprehend why millions of the best and brightest rallied behind the red flag or why a good section of the Western left turned a blind eye to the crimes committed in its name. History is understanding, not just propaganda."
Why is it a "basic weakness" of a history book to not explain why people supported something?  I don't need to explain why people supported slavery to make a book on the inhumanity of the slave trade worthwhile.  It is no more a "basic weakness" of  The Black Book of Communism that it doesn't deal with why communism has supporters than it is a basic weakness of Darwin's Descent of Man that it doesn't deal with the evolution of the Kangaroo.  A book was needed that explained, clarified and listed the crimes of communism.  This book did that.  Where is the "weakness"?  
"The Soviet Union did not rest on the gulag alone."
But it did rest on the gulag right?  Because if the Gulag wasn't needed to keep the USSR afloat then it was an even worse crime.  
" Similarly, it is impossible to grasp the fascination of outsiders for the Soviet myth and their reluctance to see the reality if you don't view them in their own environment. "
But surely the first step is to show that such reluctance to see reality was present?  Surely the first step to examining the pretense that millions were not being murdered is to acknowledge and prove that they were murdered.  An examination of why people ignored evidence of Soviet and other communist atrocities would be valuable, but you don't provide it any more than they did.  
To claim that "the Great Depression, the strikes and other struggles against exploitation, the colonial oppression and deadly poverty, the wars in Algeria or Indochina" caused people to ignore these crimes makes no sense.  The primary concealers of communist reality (the intellectuals) never starved, were never exploited, never went on strike, and didn't live in Algeria or Indochina.  Even if they did there's no reason why these things would cause someone to ignore communist crimes.  Yes if you view the world as a fight between communism as practiced by brutal dictators and capitalism then you must ignore the crimes of the former to continue that fight.  But if you genuinely believe that communism or other radical change is possible without massive killing then you need to know why the killings happened.  Simply ignoring them means the same "mistakes" are repeated.  But more than that, using the Great Depression as an excuse to ignore the gulags is like using Jim Crow as an excuse to ignore the Holocaust.  One is far worse than the other, and to gloss over the one in your preferred system because of the far smaller crime in the other is morally bankrupt.   

Monday, March 10, 2014

None of the arguments against raising the minimum wage have fallen apart.

  This is a critique of the Joshua Holland article in "Nation of Change" entitled "All of the arguments against raising the minimum wage have fallen apart.".
  The first argument that allegedly "collapsed" was that a higher minimum would cost jobs.  "We also have real-world experience with higher minimums.".  We do, but they reference only one, the Washington State experience.  They don't analyze what might account for Washington State's better employment growth other than higher minimum wages.  With at least thousands of major factors, making a claim of causation from ONE factor from ONE location is absurd.  If that's the best he's got, then either he does not understand science at all, or he's being deliberately dishonest.
  It gets worse though.  His refutation of the argument “It will hurt mom-and-pop businesses” is that small business owners favor it.  So what?  Since when do small business owners know microeconomics?  Argumentum ad populem is a classic logical fallacy.  This man is a idiot, or thinks we are.
  But even assuming they knew enough economics to make the judgment only and that judgment determined their opinion only 57% to 43% favored it.  What if the ones the 43% that believed they would be harmed by it would be harmed by it much more than the 57% who favored it?  Note that 82% of them "say they already pay their employees more than the minimum".  So at least 25% of the small business owners wouldn't have to pay their own employees any more, but still didn't support the raise.  Note that at least some are COMPETING against people who employ people at minimum wage.  So in other words among people who definitely don't pay extra direct costs and possibly have their competitors pay higher costs, at most 69.5% * support it.  This is weak sauce indeed, even for argumentum ad populem.  Additionally at least 5% of those who said that "“people will have a higher percentage of their income to spend on goods and services” and small businesses “will be able to grow and hire new workers.”" didn't support it.  Pathetic.
  So how about the argument that “Major costs will be passed along to consumers”, fallen apart?  Not exactly.  The argument here is based on the effects of increasing wages at _2 companies_.  That's not even 0.0001% of the companies out there.  To pretend that everyone buys everything from Walmart and McDonald's is an insult to his reader's intelligence.
  But that's his job.  To insult his readers intelligence by telling them exaggerations and lies, and obvious one at that.  You see when an intelligent argument can be made for a leftist cause, you don't need the average Nation of Change writer.  Their job is to take up the baton when no rational argument can be made.
25% of the total don't support it and pay more than the minimum.  Divide that by the 82% of the total pay more than the mimimum and you get 30.48% of those who pay more don't support it.  Which means that at most 69.51% of those who pay more than minimum support it.    

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"Woman is the nigger of the world."

This quote was originally by Yoko Ono, and was made more popular by a song by John Lenon her husband.  Mr. Lennon justified his and his wife's use of the term "nigger" by reference the following to John Dellums quote:

"If you define "niggers" as someone whose lifestyle is defined by others, whose opportunities are defined by others, whose role in society are defined by others, then Good News! You don't have to be black to be a "nigger" in this society. Most of the people in America are "niggers"."
Yoko Ono's quote was in 1969, John Lennon's justification was made in 1972.  Both were made in America.  Quick question; Who in American between 1969 and 1972 had their lifestyle most "defined by others"?  I'll give you it a hint, it wasn't women.  If you want another hint they wore a lot of green, learned to duck fast and got called murderers by Mr. Lennon's friends (arguably correctly).

Women are the whingers of the world more like.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The economic wisdom of the Pope, ironically a long post.

This is an analysis of the economic commentary in the pope's little document.  Evangelii Gaudium.

"I. Some challenges of today’s world

52. In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history, as we can see from
the advances being made in so many fields. We can only praise the steps being taken to improve
people’s welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time
we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day,
with dire consequences.A number of diseases are spreading."

Which diseases and why are they spreading?  The fact that "His Holiness" doesn't mention a certain retrovirus and why it is spreading as much as it is doesn't bode well for forthrightness in this analysis.

" The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades,"

Frequently?  How frequently?  More frequently than previously seems to be the implication, but there is no evidence, let alone statistics to support that.

"lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise,"

Again, not sure what he bases this on or even the time-frame. Historically violence has been going down for centuries.

"and inequality is increasingly evident.  It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity. "

This has always been the case for many, why is the Church suddenly concerned about it?

"This epochal change has been set in motion by the enormous qualitative, quantitative, rapid and cumulative advances occuring in the sciences and in technology, and by their instant application in different areas of
nature and of life. "

Note the reference to an "epochal change" directly after the reference to the struggle to live and live with little dignity.  Is the pope actually claiming this is a "change"?  Because if he is he is horribly ignorant of economic history.

"We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power."

Actually what's led to new and often anonymous kinds of power is government.  It wasn't simply knowledge and information but their gathering by secret intelligence organizations for instance that led to enormous numbers of people's emails being surveilled.

"No to an economy of exclusion

53. Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not Kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the
value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and

And how is such an economy defined?

"Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"

Well because when the stock market loses two points that can mean that many, many people are poorer and therefore cannot spend or invest the money that would save the lives of many such women.

Also because the first thing happens every day, disproportionately in areas where the Catholic Church was influential in economics and politics, I might add.

"This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving?"

Food being thrown away by who?  In any case the cause of starvation isn't food being thrown away, it's government interference in the economy that has historically led to starvation, not people not
finishing their dinner.

"This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest,"

Really?  Because last I checked huge areas of the economy were not only not under those laws but were being actively preserved from any "survival of the fittest" test.  The banking system for instance
is full of firms that survive due to government action, despite their lack of fitness.  In fact due to the expansionary monetary policy of most of the Western world (especially the USA) many firms are
surviving only due to government largess.

"where the powerful feed upon the powerless."

And how do the powerful "feed upon the powerless"?  Is it a market process or one initiated, supported and continued by government?  Is it competition or the lack of it, guaranteed by government, that is allowing the powerful to feed on the powerless?  Look at the most egregious feeding and the answer is clear, where government is powerful, the predation is worst.  This is true in terms of geographic area (e.g. Africa), and area of industry (e.g. finance).

" As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and

And what maintains this exclusion?  Why are not people able to find a way to include themselves in the economy?  Blank-out.

"without work, without possibilities, without any
means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered
consumer goods to be used and then discarded. "

By who?

"We have created a 'throw away' culture which is now spreading. "

Who is "we" how does this supposed "throw away" culture differ from
any other culture and where is the evidence that it is spreading?

"It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but
something new. "

I don't suppose he's going to define "exploitation" at any point is he?  It's always used as an expression meaning something bad, but I never know what bad it represents.  It is simply an "anti-concept" a word designed to make it impossible to tell what the speaker means, and therefore impossible to dispute the condemnation implicit in the phrase.

"Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the 'exploited' but the outcast, the “'leftovers' "

So who is doing this exclusion?  Who is making them not a part of society?  How would that even be possible?  Well of course it's not. These people aren't being rejected from society but merely from being paid.  And the reason they're being rejected from that is because they don't generate productivity, that is they don't make things others want.  This is not exactly new.

"54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts,"

I see, and where exactly does the Pope, who is so ignorant of economic history he doesn't know what's happening NOW get that knowledge?  How is it that he can confidently proclaim something on such a profound and controversial topic?  Well let's look at the bibliography, the cited references.  Oh wait there are no cited economic texts, only citations of the bible and church documents. Needless to say they weren't peer-reviewed.

" expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power"

Oh god, is it really possible that he is that ignorant of economic theory?  Surely even he has heard that the whole point of economics is that incentives can ensure good results without anyone wanting good for others.  "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." Adam Smith.  No?  Well what can you expect.

"and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system."

The prevailing economic system is not the free market, and anyone who even casually follows the news knows this, or has deliberately avoided the knowledge.  Note that he nowhere talks about exclusion that results from anything other than the market.  There is no mention of trade walls, immigration restrictions or anything else that might cause someone to be excluded.  This is highly significant given the Church's support of highly interventionist governments that excluded people very effectively.  An honest review of the situation would require a few "mea culpas" in the form of apologies for all the victims of governments that deliberately enriched the rich and impoverished the poor, and which the Church was all in favor of.  Various fascist regimes for instance.

"Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed."

Has developed?  Since when?  There has been a large amount of indifference towards the poor of other countries for as long as I can remember, and the Catholic Church can fairly be pointed to not only as participating in it, but in actively courting governments that made things worse for the poor.

"Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. "

Compared to what?  When exactly has compassion and charity been so much more than now?  Because it certainly wasn't when the Church and it's friends were in power.

"The culture of prosperity deadens  us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us."

Prosperity has been a greater promoter of concern for others than
anything else in the history of the world, including the Church.

"No to the new idolatry of money

One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies."

I'm not sure what this means.  We accept that we have to pay people to get them to do lots of things for us.  Not sure how that means we "accept it's dominion" over us.

"The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person!"

No it originated in governments monkeying around with the money supply and lying about their accounts.

"We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose."

Again I have no idea what this means.  I don't know about you but my purchases have a truly human purpose, to fulfill my needs as I perceive them.  Calling a process that allows millions of choices a "dictatorship" is hardly accurate. You choose what you want and how you want to pay for it, within constraints of productivity.  That's reality not dictatorship.

 "The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption."

Wow, consumption is "one need" rather than thousands.  All right, fine.  The
problem is that the crisis doesn't reduce him to one need, it simply means one
set of needs is difficult to satisfy right now.  That doesn't mean he suddenly
becomes inhuman just because people are focusing on that need right now.  It
simply means that there is such a thing as Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

"56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation."

Really?  Who holds these ideologies and how are they imposing their will on the economy?  Because I know of not one believer in the "absolute automony of the marketplace and financial speculation" that has any position of power.  Blaming it all on "market fundamentalists" may have flown back in 2007, when some people might not have noticed Bush, Greenspan and Paulsen were highly interventionist and always had been.  Now after the bailouts, QE I, II, and III, trillions of dollars in secret government loans, only a complete fraud or ignoramus would go that route.

"Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the
common good, "
A charge for which there is no evidence and which can be dismissed.

"to exercise any form of control."
Yeah states have been exercising quite a bit of control.  In fact an overwhelming

"A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and
relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules."

Nope, same old tyranny, government.

"Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. "

Yeah and who's debt is that?

"To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion,
which have taken on worldwide dimensions. "

Again "taken on", since when?  How is this different from what always happened?

"The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits."

Indeed, and who is statisfying that thirst most effectively and most harmfully?

"In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits,"

Government stands in the way of many people's profits, in fact it stands in the way of people even keeping their own money, like in Cyprus.  Yet I do not see it being devoured.  Note the weasel words here "tends to".

"whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule."

Again the market is hardly the "only rule", if he had bothered picking up a paper he would have found quite a lot of rules regarding many things including greenhouse gases, monetary policy, and regulations on practically everything.

"No to a financial system which rules rather than serves"

And what sort of financial system is that?  Is it based on government control of
the money supply, or private?

"Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. "
By who?

"It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative."

Seen by who?  And since when were power and money not relative?

"It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person."

And what does this "debasement" consist of?  Again who feels this?

"In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside the categories of the marketplace."

Firstly ethics don't lead to any god, capitalized or not.  Ethics lead to conclusions about what is appropriate behavior, not whether or not there is a "God" to witness it.  I understand you have no knowledge of real morality but you should do some research.  Not every moral system is based on your imaginary friend.

But what does the phrase "outside the categories of the marketplace" mean?  The marketplace includes all who are capable of trading and they have different categories.  Some of those categories include benefits to others.  People trade in the marketplace with the aim of benefiting others all the time.

"When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement."

Actually God was fine with enslavement, read your bible.

"Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. "

A non-ideological ethics, and what exactly does that mean?  How can ethics NOT be informed by what you believe to be true?  And why would such an ethics, even if possible lead to a more human, rather than more insane, social order?

"With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: 'Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs'.55

I'll ponder it for them.  It's bullshit.  The fact that you don't give someone something that they did not create, did not pay for, and you have not in any way promised them or obliged yourself to give to them, doesn't mean you stole from them.  The fact that you continue to breathe doesn't give you the right to all my stuff.  Note that the church was OK with lots of ACTUAL theft for centuries.

"58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. "

Why yes, and we've seen the results of such a "change of approach" a number of times.  It's not pretty.  Fundamentally it's an approach where no man can count on a single hour of his effort remaining his, a slavery of all to all.

"I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case."

Note the weasel words here.  If disaster happens when following the Pope's advice it's because they ignored "the specifics of each case".

"Money must serve, not rule!"

Money by definition has only the power of consent, you cannot be ruled by money,
since you can choose to ignore what it offers.

"The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and to the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings."

As opposed to what, favoring lizardmen?

"No to the inequality which spawns violence

Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence."

Of course he offers no evidence that this is true or that once "exclusion and inequality in society" is reversed the violence will abate.

" The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence,"
Note "accused" without any comment on the accuracy of the accusation. Whether someone accused is guilty or not is significant to me, but then I don't have ethics that lead to God.

"yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode."

And how are "equal opportunities" defined?  Are we talking "everyone gets an education"  or "everyone's parents get the same income"?  No indication.

"When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility.  This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root."

By what definition of justice?  Who is doing the "excluding" and in what does it consist?  Is he saying that not giving people stuff is "unjust at it's root" without any reference to whether they created any value?

" Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear."

Note that the Church tolerated far worse evils than merely not giving people free stuff.  They were OK with slavery, serfdom and racial and other discrimination in economic matters.  There is no mention of this, yet we're expected to take their criticisms as valid?  Sorry, if you're not prepared to acknowledge your own mistakes I don't have to listen to your theories of what is right.

" If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. "

And when is this fraud going to get to the the actions of governments?  When is he going to say "Oh and there are bad things done by governments too, and here they are."?  Never.

"It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called 'end of history', since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized."

He's right they haven't.  Certainly not in this pile of offal.

"Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption,"

Which mechanisms and how?

"yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric."

Oh yes it is evident.  I can see that in the imaginary peer-reviewed research papers you cited.
Oh course what "unbridled consumerism" actually means I don't know.  Since 2007 it's been fairly
bridled, certainly compared to before.

"Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. It serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts."

And your own solution of dissolving property rights, how has that worked out for solving violence?  Not well IIRC.

" Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves
for their troubles;"

Again, no mention of whether these accusations are accurate.

"indulging in unwarranted generalizations, "

Yes, I hate it when people indulge in unwarranted generalizations.  Particularly for 190 goddamn pages.

"they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. "

Who claims this?  What are you talking about?  And since when is this a stone the Church should cast?  They've been "educating" the powerless to be accepting of tyranny for a long time now.

"All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders. "

Finally a mention of government evil.  Note that he doesn't draw any conclusion from the presence of evil in government, it ignores the implications for his own plan of giving governments power. This is this part of the statement's real function.  Not to deplore exclusion and inequality but to selectively excuse and hide it.  When someone says they hate the harms of usury, but mention only Jewish usury, you know they really hate Jews.
When someone mentions that they hate totalitarianism but only mention either fascist or communist crimes and not the other, you know they hate fascism or communism, not totalitarianism.  When someone says they hate inequality and exclusion and they ignore the centuries of such enforced and encouraged by government, you know the do not hate inequality and exclusion, they hate the market.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Hooray for underinsurance.

Recently Obama tried weasel out of his lie that "You can keep your plan, period." by claiming that he was helping the "Underinsured" by making them lose their crappy plans.  Allegedly there are all these people in America that haven't bought enough insurance and he'll fix that by making them buy enough.  Yes it's the standard paternalist claptrap, we know better because you're a five year old.  However because these people can't actually imagine someone else's situation I'm going to give them a theoretical understanding of why.

To understand why underinsurance makes sense for a lot of people let's look at why people want insurance at all.  People want insurance because the financial loss from a disaster causes more dissatisfaction per dollar than the financial losses from paying premiums.  We know this is true because policy holders pay more on average than they receive in claims (absent idiotic government mandates to insure people at a loss).  So they don't expect more money, yet they expect more value (otherwise they wouldn't do it) on average.  So why would some dollars be more valuable than others?  This is due to the "Law of Returns" that says the more you have of a resource the less valuable each additional unit of it is.  Consequently the LESS you have the more valuable each unit of that thing is.  In the event of a catastrophic event like your house burning down, a health problem that requires expensive surgery etc. you have lost things worth a lot of $, so you effectively lack a lot of $.  Therefore each $ is worth more.  While before that you have (relatively) a lot of $ so each one is worth less.  Therefore it makes sense to sacrifice a lot of $ in premiums for a small average number of dollars in post-disaster dollars.

Consider the accompanying graph.  Point A is your income without paying premiums.  Point B is your income minus partial premiums and point C is your income paying full premiums that make good all losses in the event of whatever you're insuring against.  Point D is where you are if you have a disaster and are only partly covered, "underinsured" in Obama's terms.  Point E is where you are if you are totally uncovered in the event of a disaster.  Notice how the majority of the benefit of being covered (the dark blue area under the curve from D to E) is provided by only partial insurance.  The benefits from being fully as opposed to partly insured is the light blue area.  Notice also that the pink area representing the additional cost of full premiums is larger than the red area of paying partial premiums.  That's because what you give up to pay the extra premiums is more valuable than what you give up to pay the basic premiums.  That's because you give up buying less valuable things first, that's how you know you consider them less valuable.

So say you insure your house would cost $100,000 to replace it it burnt down.  Suppose also that you could afford to pay for $50,000 of the cost of rebuilding your house, either from savings or from making loans at reasonable rates.  You no premiums and if your house burns down you have to spend money on rental accommodation until you scrape up the money.  Maybe you even give up on owning a house and sell the land (maybe in a buyers market, since you don't know when your house will burn down).  Or you could pay for a $100,000 policy and if your house burns down the cost is minimal (other than the sentimental value of heirlooms etc).  I'm assuming here everyone gets out safely BTW.  Or you could get a $50,000 policy and if your house burns down you can rebuild, but you have to work overtime to pay off the loan, the holidays for the next few years are at your sister's place etc.   The middle course obviously avoids the majority of the harm of a fire, while only costing half the cost of full insurance.  That doesn't mean that everyone is better off underinsuring, it depends on how you value the various outcomes.  It does mean that it is possible to want insurance and not full insurance, so "under-insurance" can make sense for some people.

Of course there is additionally the fact that people who underinsure are sometimes lower risks on average.  For instance if you know that you are unlikely to have a car crash (because you don't drive much) you might be more likely to underinsure.  If this is true in a market then under-insurers might get a better deal from insurance firms who know the risk of insuring them is lower.

However whenever I've heard of "under-insurance" on the news it's always presented as a bad thing, whether by the Obama team who criticize other's healthcare choices or in bushfire season, where fire insurance executives will often warn of under-insurance.  Don't listen to them.  If you want to under-insure, do it.    

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Another series of lies from the liar.

Idiot: "You've dodged my question, why is it important to measure oppurtunity costs with a monetary cost?""
Because dumbshit, there is no other way to measure them, at least none that you or I know of.

Idiot :  "I've shown you examples of how we'd "measure" those costs in an RBE,"
No fucktard liar you haven't.
Idiot :  "And stop building strawmen. We don't assume infinite resources, we say that resources on the planet are finite in pretty much the first sentence when we describe a resource based economy to people."
Yes TVP does assume infinite resources, it has no mechanism for limiting anything liar fucktard and I didn't strawman.  The fact that you SAY something means nothing, because you're a liar. Me:  "So then you don't tell them what they're doing is consuming too much resources and you run out of resources. You lose."Idiot :  "Learn how to read, i said "there is no forcing people...", not that there's nothing at all suggesting people not to overconsume. "
Yeah dumbshit, that's my point.
Idiot :  "And another thing, people don't normally overconsume. Only when they feel the pressures of society and are conditioned to overconsume, when being ABLE to overconsume is a status symbol. All that is gone in a RBE."
Bullshit asshole, people have overconsumed when given the opportunity in pretty much every society and your claim that it will disappear in RBE is just your moronic wishful thinking.Me:   "No dumbshit, none of that will work because you don't have a system to assign values to resources."
Idiot:  "What?? You... you mean there will be no common sense, education, no wish to contribute, no interest in wellbeing, just because there is no monetary value attached to things? Wow. You just... no, nonono. Prove some of what you say, seriously. You make outrageous claims like this, you back your words up."
As I said "Common sense won't tell you that what you're consuming is worth less than what could be made out of it. Nor will education without a means of measuring value which you don't have.".
Look shithead it's not my job to repeat everything to you like you're a fucking dog that needs to have a command repeated 30 times before he gets it.
Me "Common sense won't tell you that what you're consuming is worth less than what could be made out of it. Nor will education without a means of measuring value which you don't have."Idiot :  "I've explained to you that we have a means to measure VALUE, just not a MONETARY value... Just return to the first question and show me why exactly you believe money is so important."Yes dumbshit, I get that.  I get everything you tell me the first time, because as retarded as it is, it's simple.  Common sense doesn't measure value.  You can't tell how much someone wants or needs something by "common sense".
Me:  "Learn to read dumbshit. A vote can't measure how much you want something. A vote simply says you want it, not that you want it enough to sacrifice something else."Idiot :  "Aaahh... an example then. You survey a group of people and ask them how much, on a scale of 1 to 10, they want something. Done. I think i was clear about this when i said there would be surveys."
Note that you just abandoned "common sense" as a measurement of value.  So dickhead would you like to admit that you were full of shit on that point?  If you don't in your next reply, don't make one.  I don't see why I should have to put up with your shit if you don't admit when you're wrong. In any case what stops someone setting all their priorites to 10 and getting everything they want?  What do these values even mean?  Does it mean that if you rate something as a 10 it's worth 2 5s?  How do you compare people's values if they don't vary their scores as much as each other.  Hey I've got an idea, everyone has a limited number their scores can total.  The system's success is determined by how much the total of everyone's scores is satisfied.  There's just one problem, that's money.

Me:  "Great and how are they told what they have to do without to get what they want? If they want, say a new bridge between the town of Ketchikan, Alaska and Gravina Island how are you going to tell them what they can't have if they build it? There is no mechanism for doing this in TVP. In fact TVP can be seen as being specifically designed to avoid the question.""A survey doesn't establish priorities, it establishes what people would do if it could be done without compromising any other goal. This information is worthless."Idiot:  "OK so if people want a new bridge to be built next, they will have to understand that the construction operators will be busy for a time, and that other projects will have to come after the one they think is a priority."
No dumbfuck, in RBE the builders don't decide one resources allocation.  They don't just decide that they'll use thousands of tonnes of materials, fuel, electricity on their own.  It's all allocated by computer remember?  God dumbfuck it's hard enough to explain economics without explaining your moronic system.

"The costs of such things in an RBE are measured just as the name suggests... in resources. And in time, obviously. The people can be given no more than there is to give, and no faster than those things can be produced."
There are millions of resources dumbfuck, you can't simply say "they're measured in resources", how do you compare using 1,000 tonnes of coal with 500 of wheat?  Or 10 megawatt hours versus 2 hours of the time of skilled programmer?  If you want to measure you need ONE UNIT you loathsome, retarded, loser shithead.  Learn the basics of fucking science before you talk again.

Me:   "No dipshit, asking people whether they want something doesn't measure value. All it measures is whether value is positive."Idiot:  "You must really think before you write. "

Fuck off, you're the one who is incapable of thinking.

Idiot:  But as i already said, you CAN measure value with surveys...

Yeah but you're a shithead liar.

"when is the last time you've had a company survey how satisfied you were with their services? Well, they had specific questions, like "how satisfied are you with our delivery time?" and you had many options to answer, like "not pleased at all" all the way up to "very pleased". Life isn't in black and white... and so aren't economies, and so isn't the RBE... too many people think there's just capitalism and communism, and that's it. Things aren't that simple... and that's why i understand why RBE's are difficult to grasp. But we'll get there.
Yeah dumbfuck that's not good enough.  What does "very satisfied" mean in terms of how much I'd give up to have something?  You don't know fucktard so stop pretending you do.  Businesses use HOW MUCH YOU'RE PREPARED TO PAY, to measure value, because it involves a choice and choice is the only way to compare values.  You can't compare values unless someone gives up one for another.

Me:  "No there isn't. Unless you mean literally needs like "This person will die if they don't get this.". But unless you're going to have everyone live just over starvation you're going to have to determine a lot more than that."Idiot;  "This is exactly what i mean! But knowing what are the minimum necessities for life doesn't mean we would have people live on the minimum - that's just what you assume,"

No shithead I didn't assume anything.  I pointed out that unless you mean "This person will die if they don't get this" you can't determine "needs".  And you did mean that.  So now you're saying that people will have more than the minimum, that means that what I said, that if you're going to have everyone live just over starvation, you're going to have to determine much more than "needs".  And you agreed dumbfuck so don't call what I said a strawman.

Idiot:  " because you really really love to build strawmen"
Appologise for that lie or not another comment of yours get's published.

Idiot:  " and because you really really can't grasp that we're not commies :)"

You are commies.

Idiot:  "I think i told you - the aim of the RBE is to make all people live healthy lives... "

I know, and it's a lie.

Idiot:  "so finding out what the recommended intake of calories, certain amino acids, vitamins, minerals, etc... it's simply the scientific method applied in real life economics."

No dumbfuck it's not.  What you propose has no measurement and I suspect you know it.  That's why you've been lying and dodging and being an idiot.
Me:   "And is that all you're going to determine? Nobody gets to eat what they actually want? You see dumbshit, this is what happens when you assume you can just determine what people should be given without a price system. You look like a dumbshit."
Idiot:  "And again, this is what happens when you assume we'll have people living on rice. When did i ever say we'll prevent people from getting what they want? "

Hey fucktard you said that what people "needed" would be used to determine what they ate, and you agreed that "needed" means "they will die if they don't get this" so why are you NOW saying that's not how food is distributed?

"You were complaining earlier IN THIS POST that we assume infinite resources because of this exact reason, not forcibly preventing people from getting what they want. Try to be coherent when you attempt to make counterarguments."
Look dumbfuck, I'm arguing against your incoherent claims.  You claimed that what people needed would determine what they would be given.  Now you admit that isn't how it's going to be done.  So fucktard, kindly appologise for this fucking lie.  Again, no appology no more comments.
Me:  "And how do you determine whether to put resources into fighting cancer or diabeties? Or rheumatoid arthritis?"Idiot:  "I believe i can pretty much copypaste what i wrote in the first place: Do we have a great number of certain diseases in the population, and what can be done to reduce those?So we again SURVEY the population, see how many people there are afflicted with certain diseases. How many new cases are there in a time period. How debilitating is the disease. How could it be treated? Professionals assess all those factors, and focus on the greatest problems as the greatest priority."

But retard that doesn't tell me how you determine what to spend resources on.  You have to decide whether 100,000 cases of arthritis are worth 5 cases of leukemia.

Me:   "...If your system was interested in human wellbeing it would have a price mechanism of some sort."
Idiot:  "Returning to the main question. WHY is it so important to have a monetary value assigned to everything? Value can be measured in different ways. "

No it really can't.  You've tried to make that case and failed.  You can't answer a single question honestly.

Idiot:  "Sure, we would use what the monetary system taught us! Capitalism, all that - it was very important in human development! We won't just throw out all the numbers and speculate on what's more common: dirt or diamonds. But we will abandon those numbers and currencies we're used to today."
You can't compare values unless someone gives up one for another.  Your system doesn't do that, and you admit it.  So you can't compare values.

Idiot:   "Alright, that would be all for now. I hope you'll read this with an open mind, and not just try to disagree with me. Disagreement makes sense if there is a genuine wish for understanding behind it. Later!"
Ok shithead, as of now you're blocked.  When you apologize for your lies about me that's I've listed you can comment again.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My further response to the anonymous cunt

I told you, my blog. Or yours or anywhere that is actually likely to be seen.  BTW my blog is working fine, you lying cunt.
Practically everything you say is a lie.  By the way, I'll keep swearing at you until you stop lying and wasting my time.  That is far more rude than calling you a waste of sperm that would best help society by getting cancer and taking part in a drug trial.

"I think i've explained how an RBE would determine values of materials.:
Well then you're an idiot aren't you?  What you've said is that you will collect a bunch of data and somehow put it all together to determine opportunity costs and value.
" It would be calculated out of two parameters: the available amount of the material, and the need for that material in society."
The first is a meaningless measure, what does it mean "the available amount of material"?  Do you mean all of the material that could possibly be extracted no matter what the cost in other materials?  Because that would be fucking stupid.  No you'd have to consider how much materials would be extractable given certain resource limitations which wouldn't be able to ennumerate because you don't have a measure of value.  To have a measure of value of the resources used to extract the material you'd have to have a measure of value of the material itself, which you can't have until you measure the value of the resources used to extract it.

The second measure is also meaningless, all it tells you is that a certain product has positive value not how much value it has.

" And if you can show me a flaw in our system, i'll be happy, because we try to learn from criticisms, not ignore them or get mad about them"
No you fucking won't because I already showed you a flaw in your system you ignorant cunt.

"-you said we have no mechanisms to determine value, right?":
Yes and I was right.  The shit you brought up is not a fucking mechanism.  It's the fucking specifications for what the mechanism has to do, with NO way to do it.

" I'll visit it if you stop with the namecalling, i believe i can at least expect that tiny bit of common courtesy"
No you fucking can't expect that tiny bit of common courtesy, fucktard.  What you can expect is for me to be pissed off that you wasted my time after I specifically told you that your shit was shit.  Now either get some real information or FUCK OFF.
" But until then, you're welcome to copy this exchange over there, if you're not too ashamed of your rude behaviour."
Thanks but I don't need your permission.  I'm not ashamed of my behaviour, although you should be ashamed of yours.  You wasted my time with lies fucktard.

"OK what public place would be good enough for you to have a conversation with me? You keep saying that i'm lying to you. I'd be happy to have people around us to verify i'm not lying, i'm just trying to explain what i know about TVP.

I think i've explained how an RBE would determine values of materials. It would be calculated out of two parameters: the available amount of the material, and the need for that material in society. We have no money, so there would be no monetary value associated with it. That is just a short answer, but ask a more detailed question and i'll answer that too, as good as i know! And if you can show me a flaw in our system, i'll be happy, because we try to learn from criticisms, not ignore them or get mad about them.

"That someone will collect data and smart people will use it decide what to do."
-a slight bit different. Most of that data collecting will be automated, and deciding what to do won't be arbitrary, it will also follow from what data we collect from society, what people need, want, what is needed to improve life. So in a late phase of a resource based economy, most of this will be automated, no human bias or corruption involved.

"There is NOTHING, NOTHING I said about TVP that isn't true."
-you said we have no mechanisms to determine value, right? I'm just saying that we do have it worked out, so if you're attacking a system that doesn't know how to find out values and costs, you're not criticising TVP.

Ooooh, you've got a blog? I'll visit it if you stop with the namecalling, i believe i can at least expect that tiny bit of common courtesy. But until then, you're welcome to copy this exchange over there, if you're not too ashamed of your rude behaviour.

PS: i tried to reach your blog page but it didn't work."

Anonymous247n tried to give me shit again.

So that little coward tried to accuse ME of running away, despite me putting up a complete refutation of his bullshit.

Here's what he said:
"I commented on your site, in the discussions section. So it's public. Now i've explained what i could, if you're just going to continue with your strawmen i won't bother with you anymore... but it will be you who retreated from this, you who would choose ignorance. You bothered with namecalling, why not bother asking questions normally? What are you so angry about anyway, have i been rude with you like that?

I'm giving you another chance. Ask your question about TVP, i'll explain. Here, in private messages, or on your page under discussions, where it's public. Your choice, talk to me or retreat."

And here's what I said in reply:
"I don't consider the comments section on a channel with NO original videos to be all that public. 

You've explained what? That someone will collect data and smart people will use it decide what to do. You haven't told me how TVP determines values. You can't determine the value of something from someone requesting it, only that the value is greater than zero. 

What strawmen did I use? There is NOTHING, NOTHING I said about TVP that isn't true. I gave you a chance to explain and you gave the standard TVP shit that tells me nothing. 

I'll give you a chance, fuckwit, either post a comment on my blog, credible.blogspot.com.au (where I will be posting this exchange) or on your own PUBLIC blog. I didn't retreat from anything you posted the same useless shit and I completely destroyed it. That's why you haven't actually looked at my post."

So it's up to him.  Actually man up or run away like the dog he is.