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RE: [LandCafe] RE: The law of supply and demand

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  • Harry Pollard
    Paul, You must excuse my delay. A rather serious illness in the family is a problem. I speak for myself. This is not the Georgist creed, or something. A
    Message 1 of 52 , Sep 28, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      Paul,

      You must excuse my delay. A rather serious illness in the
      family is a problem.

      I speak for myself. This is not the Georgist creed, or
      something.

      A problem arises when we ask what a word means. A word can
      mean anything its user wishes - and generally does! (See
      Humpty-Dumpty in 'Alice'.)

      So, several people talking about justice, for example, may
      be using several different meanings for the word. Then they
      wonder why they cannot come to an agreement.

      Your questions are:

      - what is a (any ?) free market system ?

      People have been freely exchanging goods since the dawn of
      history. Trade multiplies production providing more return
      for less labor. People freely exchanging goods and services
      is not really a political policy. Stopping this natural
      behavior is definitely a political policy.

      - why can it not produce justice ?
      - what is justice ?

      First, what is Justice and what is Liberty - for they go
      together?

      Liberty is an individual concept. You can't really have a
      'free society' - only free people. If you use free society,
      you mean the people within the society are free. Does that
      mean they can do as they wish? Not quite. People living
      together adopt rules of behavior. Essentially, they are
      homely agreements not to harm each other. Leonard Read's
      advice says it well. "Do as you wish, but harm no-one."

      Some people have too much bitter and do things that are
      likely to harm other people, so something stronger than a
      rule is required. So, rules are made into laws.

      A 'law' is a rule of behavior which is enforced and to which
      is attached a penalty for non-compliance. If you don't obey
      the law, you must accept the penalty. The best laws are
      negatives - "You shall not harm another" - rather than
      positives - "You shall behave this way."

      Good laws possesses certain obvious characteristics. They
      should be needed, they should be sensible, and most
      important, they should apply equally to everyone.

      Justice is a societal concept and means that the laws of
      that society are the same for everyone. Essentially, it
      establishes a societal environment that offers no-one an
      advantage. That is what I mean when I use the term
      "Justice".

      However, there is a step further which leads to the
      breakdown of the just society, and that is a special kind
      of law. It is called a private law, or a privilege (privi -
      lege).

      A privilege is legislation that gives an advantage to one at
      the expense of another. Legislatures of all political
      persuasions tend to concentrate on enacting privileges
      rather than laws. As I've said about the US - it's a country
      with too many 'laws' and not enough justice.

      As you see, privilege is the exact opposite of justice.

      The free market is all too often the victim of privilege.
      The US Sugar Quota is a privilege granted to fewer than
      11,000 sugar-beet growers in the North-East. It enables them
      to charge 2 to 3 times the world price to American
      consumers. So, the local supermarket is marketing sugar that
      is already tainted with privilege.

      Congress appears unable to see the consequences of their
      actions. Candy manufacturers have been fleeing the country
      because of high priced sugar. The union leader at that
      American institution "LifeSavers" which has gone to Canada,
      said "if we worked for nothing, it would still be cheaper to
      produce LifeSavers in Canada".

      LifeSafers are 95% sugar, which costs 7 cents a pound in
      Canada, 27 cents in the US. This privilege is legislation
      that benefits 11,000 sugar producers at the expense of 290
      million Americans.

      That's just one privilege and no-one seems to care about the
      consumer - or the damage it causes to employment elsewhere.

      Freeing the market would occur if privileges were ended, but
      the market cannot do it. Privileges must be attacked
      directly.

      - why does it produce a big cake ?

      The action of a price mechanism controlled market is
      constantly to produce better quality goods at a lower price.
      That's the way it works. That's why most American
      corporations - perhaps all - are anti-free market.

      This market sounds awfully good, but one should note that
      the market controls wages too - working constantly to get
      the best labor at the lowest price - perhaps why the
      left-wing are nowadays usually lined up against it (and if I
      may say so, in cahoots with the corporations).

      Of course privileges including that major privilege - the
      land monopoly - have already had their cuts, leaving the
      dregs to be fought over by labor. The price mechanism works
      on a market where unemployment is usual, labor plentiful,
      and wages at rock-bottom.

      Yet, no one asks the question so well posed by Henry George:

      "Why are people looking for jobs. Why aren't jobs looking
      for people.

      - and how does it produce a big cake for all ?
      - why is that not (enough) justice ?

      It produces the biggest cake but those with privilege take
      the largest helpings, leaving far less for everyone else -
      the people who produce the cake..

      - why is that not (enough) justice ?

      Because there is too much privilege. The first test of
      ownership uses labor. If you produced it, it's your
      property. In a privileged society, it's your property less
      the cut to privilege. Thomas Carlyle said it well:

      "The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a
      perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging at the Oeil de Boeuf,
      hath an alchemy whereby he will extract from her the third
      nettle, and call it rent."

      In fact, half the crop often goes in Rent. In very fertile
      areas, such as the Mekong Delta, the peasants paid up to 90%
      of their crops in rent. In other words, this meant 10% went
      to the peasants families for working hard all year. The rest
      went to the landholder.

      - why would anyone then want alternatives - like socialism ?

      Look at Carlyle's remark. The free market simply doesn't
      work justly unless privilege is removed and the major
      privilege is the private collection of Rent.

      Early socialists were well aware or the land problem, but
      with ascension to power they may have forgotten it. The
      financial provisions of the original Town and Country
      Planning Act (ca 1947?) were intended to collect
      land-values. However, the whole thing was such a mess, they
      were dropped.

      The present labor movement toward land-value taxation is a
      return to their roots and is much to be applauded.

      - why does (only ?) socialism mess with the market ?

      They don't. As I said in another post, the capitalists also
      mess with the market - boy do they ever! Perhaps the left
      does it with good intentions. The right does it purely for
      profit.

      I think the socialists may look at markets tainted by
      privilege and assume the market is responsible, when it's
      actually privilege they should be fighting. But, they must
      tell you themselves.

      - why does (only ?) socialism reduce the size of the cake ?

      The market presents the optimum at a given time. Any
      interference with the market takes it below optimum - below
      the best quality at the cheapest price.

      As I say, it's not just the socialists. The right wing have
      a history of intensive meddling that goes way back and the
      socialists fought them.

      - can justice be a part of the cake - is only materialism
      good ?

      Of course not - but you need to get in the harvest before
      you spend time at the ballet. A basic rule of human nature
      is "People seek to satisfy their desires with the least
      exertion".

      This doesn't mean they are lazy - it does mean they find a
      better mousetrap.

      Once the chores of living are finished, one would hope you
      can go for a hike on the mountain. So, getting the chores
      finished quickly may mean more hiking - or simply lying on
      one's back in a meadow, looking at fleecy clouds in a blue
      sky.

      The 19th century condition of labor in which the proles
      might never have seen a blue sky was perhaps the incentive
      for people to look at socialism, communism, and other groups
      wanting to change things.

      If they were really lucky, they might have discovered Henry
      George's analysis.

      Sorry for the length of this.

      Harry

      ****************************************
      The Henry George School of Social Science
      of Los Angeles
      Box 655 Tujunga CA 91042
      Tel: 818 352-4141 *** Fax: 818 353-2242
      ****************************************

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Paul Metz [mailto:metz@...]
      Sent: Monday, September 20, 2004 8:13 AM
      To: 'Mason Gaffney'; 'pollard'; 'LandCafe'
      Subject: RE: [LandCafe] RE: The law of supply and demand


      Dear Mason,

      I do not know how you can be so absolute in this statement
      as this quote is quite multi-interpretable - and you seem to
      agree with it.

      Earlier I believed that Harry just wanted to be
      provocative....

      > > Although I completely support a free market system, such
      a system
      > > cannot provide justice. What is does is produce a big
      cake for all.
      > > A completely free market will provide all the food,
      clothing,
      > > shelter - and the rest - that people need - and cheaply
      at that. The
      > > trouble with socialism is that they mess with the market
      and reduce
      > > the size of the available cake.

      My questions are:
      - what is a (any ?) free market system ?
      - why can it not produce justice ?
      - what is justice ?
      - why does it produce a big cake ?
      - and how does it produce a big cake for all ?
      - why is that not (enough) justice ?
      - why would anyone then want alternatives - like socialism ?

      - why does (only ?) socialism mess with the market ?
      - why does (only ?) socialism reduce the size of the cake ?
      - can justice be a part of the cake - is only materialism
      good ?

      Not all of this is relevant for LVT, but it was tabled and
      now it is even supported without any supporting argument or
      remark.

      I am very confused so far. Should a CapitalismCafé be
      started ?

      Paul Metz




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Harry Pollard
      Paul, You must excuse my delay. A rather serious illness in the family is a problem. I speak for myself. This is not the Georgist creed, or something. A
      Message 52 of 52 , Sep 28, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        Paul,

        You must excuse my delay. A rather serious illness in the
        family is a problem.

        I speak for myself. This is not the Georgist creed, or
        something.

        A problem arises when we ask what a word means. A word can
        mean anything its user wishes - and generally does! (See
        Humpty-Dumpty in 'Alice'.)

        So, several people talking about justice, for example, may
        be using several different meanings for the word. Then they
        wonder why they cannot come to an agreement.

        Your questions are:

        - what is a (any ?) free market system ?

        People have been freely exchanging goods since the dawn of
        history. Trade multiplies production providing more return
        for less labor. People freely exchanging goods and services
        is not really a political policy. Stopping this natural
        behavior is definitely a political policy.

        - why can it not produce justice ?
        - what is justice ?

        First, what is Justice and what is Liberty - for they go
        together?

        Liberty is an individual concept. You can't really have a
        'free society' - only free people. If you use free society,
        you mean the people within the society are free. Does that
        mean they can do as they wish? Not quite. People living
        together adopt rules of behavior. Essentially, they are
        homely agreements not to harm each other. Leonard Read's
        advice says it well. "Do as you wish, but harm no-one."

        Some people have too much bitter and do things that are
        likely to harm other people, so something stronger than a
        rule is required. So, rules are made into laws.

        A 'law' is a rule of behavior which is enforced and to which
        is attached a penalty for non-compliance. If you don't obey
        the law, you must accept the penalty. The best laws are
        negatives - "You shall not harm another" - rather than
        positives - "You shall behave this way."

        Good laws possesses certain obvious characteristics. They
        should be needed, they should be sensible, and most
        important, they should apply equally to everyone.

        Justice is a societal concept and means that the laws of
        that society are the same for everyone. Essentially, it
        establishes a societal environment that offers no-one an
        advantage. That is what I mean when I use the term
        "Justice".

        However, there is a step further which leads to the
        breakdown of the just society, and that is a special kind
        of law. It is called a private law, or a privilege (privi -
        lege).

        A privilege is legislation that gives an advantage to one at
        the expense of another. Legislatures of all political
        persuasions tend to concentrate on enacting privileges
        rather than laws. As I've said about the US - it's a country
        with too many 'laws' and not enough justice.

        As you see, privilege is the exact opposite of justice.

        The free market is all too often the victim of privilege.
        The US Sugar Quota is a privilege granted to fewer than
        11,000 sugar-beet growers in the North-East. It enables them
        to charge 2 to 3 times the world price to American
        consumers. So, the local supermarket is marketing sugar that
        is already tainted with privilege.

        Congress appears unable to see the consequences of their
        actions. Candy manufacturers have been fleeing the country
        because of high priced sugar. The union leader at that
        American institution "LifeSavers" which has gone to Canada,
        said "if we worked for nothing, it would still be cheaper to
        produce LifeSavers in Canada".

        LifeSafers are 95% sugar, which costs 7 cents a pound in
        Canada, 27 cents in the US. This privilege is legislation
        that benefits 11,000 sugar producers at the expense of 290
        million Americans.

        That's just one privilege and no-one seems to care about the
        consumer - or the damage it causes to employment elsewhere.

        Freeing the market would occur if privileges were ended, but
        the market cannot do it. Privileges must be attacked
        directly.

        - why does it produce a big cake ?

        The action of a price mechanism controlled market is
        constantly to produce better quality goods at a lower price.
        That's the way it works. That's why most American
        corporations - perhaps all - are anti-free market.

        This market sounds awfully good, but one should note that
        the market controls wages too - working constantly to get
        the best labor at the lowest price - perhaps why the
        left-wing are nowadays usually lined up against it (and if I
        may say so, in cahoots with the corporations).

        Of course privileges including that major privilege - the
        land monopoly - have already had their cuts, leaving the
        dregs to be fought over by labor. The price mechanism works
        on a market where unemployment is usual, labor plentiful,
        and wages at rock-bottom.

        Yet, no one asks the question so well posed by Henry George:

        "Why are people looking for jobs. Why aren't jobs looking
        for people.

        - and how does it produce a big cake for all ?
        - why is that not (enough) justice ?

        It produces the biggest cake but those with privilege take
        the largest helpings, leaving far less for everyone else -
        the people who produce the cake..

        - why is that not (enough) justice ?

        Because there is too much privilege. The first test of
        ownership uses labor. If you produced it, it's your
        property. In a privileged society, it's your property less
        the cut to privilege. Thomas Carlyle said it well:

        "The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a
        perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging at the Oeil de Boeuf,
        hath an alchemy whereby he will extract from her the third
        nettle, and call it rent."

        In fact, half the crop often goes in Rent. In very fertile
        areas, such as the Mekong Delta, the peasants paid up to 90%
        of their crops in rent. In other words, this meant 10% went
        to the peasants families for working hard all year. The rest
        went to the landholder.

        - why would anyone then want alternatives - like socialism ?

        Look at Carlyle's remark. The free market simply doesn't
        work justly unless privilege is removed and the major
        privilege is the private collection of Rent.

        Early socialists were well aware or the land problem, but
        with ascension to power they may have forgotten it. The
        financial provisions of the original Town and Country
        Planning Act (ca 1947?) were intended to collect
        land-values. However, the whole thing was such a mess, they
        were dropped.

        The present labor movement toward land-value taxation is a
        return to their roots and is much to be applauded.

        - why does (only ?) socialism mess with the market ?

        They don't. As I said in another post, the capitalists also
        mess with the market - boy do they ever! Perhaps the left
        does it with good intentions. The right does it purely for
        profit.

        I think the socialists may look at markets tainted by
        privilege and assume the market is responsible, when it's
        actually privilege they should be fighting. But, they must
        tell you themselves.

        - why does (only ?) socialism reduce the size of the cake ?

        The market presents the optimum at a given time. Any
        interference with the market takes it below optimum - below
        the best quality at the cheapest price.

        As I say, it's not just the socialists. The right wing have
        a history of intensive meddling that goes way back and the
        socialists fought them.

        - can justice be a part of the cake - is only materialism
        good ?

        Of course not - but you need to get in the harvest before
        you spend time at the ballet. A basic rule of human nature
        is "People seek to satisfy their desires with the least
        exertion".

        This doesn't mean they are lazy - it does mean they find a
        better mousetrap.

        Once the chores of living are finished, one would hope you
        can go for a hike on the mountain. So, getting the chores
        finished quickly may mean more hiking - or simply lying on
        one's back in a meadow, looking at fleecy clouds in a blue
        sky.

        The 19th century condition of labor in which the proles
        might never have seen a blue sky was perhaps the incentive
        for people to look at socialism, communism, and other groups
        wanting to change things.

        If they were really lucky, they might have discovered Henry
        George's analysis.

        Sorry for the length of this.

        Harry

        ****************************************
        The Henry George School of Social Science
        of Los Angeles
        Box 655 Tujunga CA 91042
        Tel: 818 352-4141 *** Fax: 818 353-2242
        ****************************************

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Paul Metz [mailto:metz@...]
        Sent: Monday, September 20, 2004 8:13 AM
        To: 'Mason Gaffney'; 'pollard'; 'LandCafe'
        Subject: RE: [LandCafe] RE: The law of supply and demand


        Dear Mason,

        I do not know how you can be so absolute in this statement
        as this quote is quite multi-interpretable - and you seem to
        agree with it.

        Earlier I believed that Harry just wanted to be
        provocative....

        > > Although I completely support a free market system, such
        a system
        > > cannot provide justice. What is does is produce a big
        cake for all.
        > > A completely free market will provide all the food,
        clothing,
        > > shelter - and the rest - that people need - and cheaply
        at that. The
        > > trouble with socialism is that they mess with the market
        and reduce
        > > the size of the available cake.

        My questions are:
        - what is a (any ?) free market system ?
        - why can it not produce justice ?
        - what is justice ?
        - why does it produce a big cake ?
        - and how does it produce a big cake for all ?
        - why is that not (enough) justice ?
        - why would anyone then want alternatives - like socialism ?

        - why does (only ?) socialism mess with the market ?
        - why does (only ?) socialism reduce the size of the cake ?
        - can justice be a part of the cake - is only materialism
        good ?

        Not all of this is relevant for LVT, but it was tabled and
        now it is even supported without any supporting argument or
        remark.

        I am very confused so far. Should a CapitalismCafé be
        started ?

        Paul Metz




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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