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Old 05-27-2011, 10:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The problem with the "analogy" you are trying to project is that protection rackets and extortion involve coercion and duress. Speculation does not. People CHOOSE to buy and sell on exchange trades and choose to sell assets through option contracts Speculation is only possible because of the greed of asset holder, not just the speculator. Fudamentalist preachers provide an intangible service to a party who willingly gives their cash.

What do you suggest by "tempering" the idea of minimal government with "enough government"? For example, snowboarding doesn't provide any tangible benefit to the patron. It provides the same "good feeling" dispersed by a fundamentalist clergyman. Yet millions of dollars are spent every season and damage is caused to real tangible assets through injury and patronization medical services we'd otherwise not need. It is very arguable that snowboarding is no more necessary than any of the other indescretions people choose to engage in that could be said that society could be so much better without. It doesn't benefit you whatsoever by your argument. Since it doesn't benefit anyone, it's obviously hurting our society. And no, there isn't an eocnomic boon provided by spending in the snowboarding industry; do not ignore the opportunity costs of spending our earnings on a leisure activity.

How "fair" a transaction is brokered is irrelevant. The function of a free market is one of resource allocation. Since resources (material resources and physical labors) are scarce, they must be allowed to be put to their greatest use. It's not "fair" that unproven businesses and people can't obtain the same quality credit as someone who is proven, but this allocation mechanism is what creates the flow of resources to their best potential. It doesn't allocate things instantly, but given enough sufficient time, the "invisible hand" can navigate intra-market complexities far too complicated for centralized economic planning to deal with.

If gasoline is indeed marked up 40% by speculation, why don't the distributors just buy the gas wholesale from refining companies, cut the speculation markup in half, give one half to the customer and one half to the refining and make more money in higher volumes (due to their cheaper prices since they are giving the speculation mark up to the customer)?

What does exchange traded futures and speculation have to do with the government doing it's job?
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Old 05-27-2011, 12:25 PM   #12 (permalink)
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There's only a problem with the analogy if you decide to ignore the point and concentrate on an irrelevant detail. The point was that "benefit" is a slippery slope. You can widen the net enough that anything can be considered a benefit, if you're willing to squint and look sideways.

Last time I looked, snowboarding wasn't causing measurable problems for people who don't snowboard. Speculating in petroleum futures (just to name a specific example) does. Again, if you're willing to widen the net enough, any form of personal entertainment can be seen as being damaging to society in general. And again, the problem is defined as a comparison of personal benefits (for those involved) vs societal benefits and damage. Anti-trust laws (just to give an example) exist because someone at some point thought that unrestrained monopolistic activities caused more damage than the ideal of "market freedom" could justify. My point, and I hope we don't stray too far from it, is that adhering rigidly to "market freedom" as the only measure of a society and/or economy is both simplistic and potentially damaging.

As to the last sentence in your post, since I live in Kanada, the land of Government Programs, I get to watch the ebb and flow of privatization vs de-privatization of services and ministries over time. Each has its strenths and weaknesses, and the only people who I really consider idiots are the ones who are up against the pegs on one side or the other, standing on "principle". The futures trading benefits that you mentioned (for the farmers, for instance) are handled in some cases here by marketing boards, i.e. government oversight. I'm not sure it's necessarily better, but it is more stable. This of course begs the question of whether it's better to have a stable but not "best" price for an item vs a wildly fluctuating price for an item that may occasionally be dirt-cheap but may also occasionally cost you a body part.
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Old 05-27-2011, 12:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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How is that irrelevant? Then by your logic, a prostitute is a sex slave because since the prostitute needs income, patronage of a prostitute perpetuates this "slavery".

Racketeers and extortionists don't provide a "benefit" because the benefit they provide is simply a lack of a harm. It's hardly the same as a speculator providing an immediate means through which to transact a sales.

Ask yourself this, would someone willingly sell to speculator? Would someone willingly choose to have criminals entrap them into extortion rackets?

Why would speculation of petroleum assets cause people not involved in snowboarding harm? Furthermore, the people "harmed" by petroleum speculation are those who choose to purchase petroleum (whether directly for use or by purchasing products that require use of petroleum). If you don't want to be subject to petroleum prices being affected by speculation, don't purchase or minimize purchase petroleum. I didn't want to pay more for gas, so I sold my gas guzzling toys and bought a hybrid. It sucks, but it's my choice as to much I want petroleum to affect my life.

And yes, any leisure activities can be considered "harmful". They aren't capital formation to fund actual growth. I'm not making a case that entertainment should be banned because it's deemed harmful, I'm demonstrating that by your reasoning limiting speculation because it's "harmful" will necessarily be inclusive of leisure activities.

Besides, I already made the point that if petrol prices are so ridiculously high, then someone could easily undercut them by selling direct to distribution bypassing speculation. Why doesn't this happen? It would make more money for distribution, petrol and save the consumer money, resulting in greater volumess of purchase (price demand equilibrium). They don't because speculation provides a price assurance mechanism and likely because there ARE trade laws that force them to sell to speculation. The latter, I don't agree with, but it is also the unintended result of market regulation.
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Old 05-27-2011, 01:18 PM   #14 (permalink)
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How is that irrelevant? Then by your logic, a prostitute is a sex slave because since the prostitute needs income, patronage of a prostitute perpetuates this "slavery".
WTF????? I ran this through every which way I could, and I couldn't even come close to that conclusion. Does the phrase "straw man argument" ring a bell?

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Why would speculation of petroleum assets cause people not involved in snowboarding harm?
I assume you didn't mean 'snowboarding' here

The rest of that paragraph is the usual "if you don't like it, don't buy [whatever]" rationalization. That's only one of my options, and you don't get to artificially limit me to that. My other option, which is perfectly legal and ethical, is to attempt to bring about change to the process that is causing me what I perceive to be harm. If that causes the "free market at any cost" people to shit their pants, tough!
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Old 05-27-2011, 01:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Snowboarding..as ALL western sports if you want is absolutely superfluous. WE can afford doing it because we built a world and a market around it..then created the need for it trough marketing, and convinced people that to be "cool" they had to do it.
Of course I adore it..as I love climbing and other sports, they are "games" we play because we have time.
If we had to truly live as a "fair" society we would have to radically change out habits.
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Old 05-27-2011, 01:37 PM   #16 (permalink)
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WTF????? I ran this through every which way I could, and I couldn't even come close to that conclusion. Does the phrase "straw man argument" ring a bell?
Actually, strawman is exactly how I would summarize your postulation about what I am calling benficiary.

Ask yourself this, would someone willingly sell to speculator? Would someone willingly choose to have criminals entrap them into extortion rackets? One of these thiings is not like the other. Since it's pretty obvious that one ivolves two or more willing participant where the other involves at least one unwilling participant, it's pretty distinct it isn't beneficiary. Therefore, trying extend my argument to be inclusive of such scenarios is quite ... well, it's a strawman.

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The rest of that paragraph is the usual "if you don't like it, don't buy [whatever]" rationalization. That's only one of my options, and you don't get to artificially limit me to that. My other option, which is perfectly legal and ethical, is to attempt to bring about change to the process that is causing me what I perceive to be harm. If that causes the "free market at any cost" people to shit their pants, tough!
Why do you specify my limitations as artificial? Any limitation I would postulate is by definition, artificial.

Not buying "rationalization" isn't a rationalization, it's more or less, natural law. Even if you were able to invoke some sort of regulatory change for trading petroleum assets, you'd still be subject to petroleum prices, whatever they might be. You just want to put in price ontrols and regulatory limitations so it comes out favorably for what you preceive to be "the good of society".

As to it being ethical, I'm not sure about that. If I managed to get the Emancipation Proclaimation overturned and bought slaves, I don't think just because I used legal force to do so would make it "ethical".
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Old 05-27-2011, 03:24 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Actually, strawman is exactly how I would summarize your postulation about what I am calling benficiary.
That's only because you are bound and determined to miss the point, no matter how slowly I move my lips. The point of the racketeering comment is that the racketeers would define it as a "benefit" to the shop owner to sign up. The point of that is that if you define "benefit" widely enough, you can show that anything can be thought of as a mutually beneficial transaction. That doesn't mean all parties would agree that it is so. Likewise, your comment that futures trading is a "beneficial" transaction may be only as such from the point of view of certain people, i.e. the people who are benefiting from it. I can't explain that any more clearly, or use any smaller words. if you insist on thinking of it as straw man or irrelevant, then I don't think we're actually having a conversation.

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Ask yourself this, would someone willingly sell to speculator?
I wouldn't. A lot of people wouldn't.

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Why do you specify my limitations as artificial? Any limitation I would postulate is by definition, artificial.
Because you gave me the choice of buying gas or not buying gas, and that's it. There are other options, as I mentioned. It's a political rhetorical device that's used all the time. "Vote for us or move to another country!" (Federal Liberals, about 10 years ago). Well, no, there's a third choice -- not vote for you and not move out of the country. In this specific case, I have a third choice -- try to modify the system that's creating the ridiculous price swings.

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You just want to put in price ontrols and regulatory limitations so it comes out favorably for what you preceive to be "the good of society".
Was that not the point I was making? Phrasing it dismissively doesn't constitute a counterargument.

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As to it being ethical, I'm not sure about that. If I managed to get the Emancipation Proclaimation overturned and bought slaves, I don't think just because I used legal force to do so would make it "ethical".
So, you're saying that me trying to execute my constitutional rights to influence the way society is run (i.e. by voting for the politician that seems to be leaning the same way) is equivalent to repealing constitutional rights and keeping slaves? Riiiiiiight. You just went off the deep end.
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:51 PM   #18 (permalink)
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That's only because you are bound and determined to miss the point, no matter how slowly I move my lips. The point of the racketeering comment is that the racketeers would define it as a "benefit" to the shop owner to sign up. The point of that is that if you define "benefit" widely enough, you can show that anything can be thought of as a mutually beneficial transaction. That doesn't mean all parties would agree that it is so. Likewise, your comment that futures trading is a "beneficial" transaction may be only as such from the point of view of certain people, i.e. the people who are benefiting from it. I can't explain that any more clearly, or use any smaller words. if you insist on thinking of it as straw man or irrelevant, then I don't think we're actually having a conversation.
If you buy the last carton of orange juice before I do, I might see this transaction is not beneficial to me. However, I still derive some benefit from it because it's a trade of liquidity (your money) to the retailer who is in the business of providing quality OJ at a price point you yourself couldn't.

They key point is though, both the transacting parties did so willingly (definition, to their benefit). In the scenario you postulated, one or more parties directly involved in the transaction find benefit. It could be argued the police benefit from the existence of crime, but it doesn't matter since the parties directly affect aren't doing so willingly (beneficially).


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I wouldn't. A lot of people wouldn't.
But a lot of people would (and do). Can you posit that any party would willingly enter into an extortion scheme with a protection racket?

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Because you gave me the choice of buying gas or not buying gas, and that's it. There are other options, as I mentioned. It's a political rhetorical device that's used all the time. "Vote for us or move to another country!" (Federal Liberals, about 10 years ago). Well, no, there's a third choice -- not vote for you and not move out of the country. In this specific case, I have a third choice -- try to modify the system that's creating the ridiculous price swings.
Yes, but that's a false dilemma (voting or getting out of the country) because those actions are not antithetical. Buying gas or not buying gas are. Either you do or you don't. One cannot exist in both states and choosing one necessarily negates choosing the other. Even if you DO enact what you call a third choice (it isn't a third choice since it's independent to the binary choice I posit), you still have to choose to purchase gas or not purchase gas.

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Was that not the point I was making? Phrasing it dismissively doesn't constitute a counterargument.
I'm not being dismissive, I am implying that the current state of affairs is just a different subset of the population doing what is in their best interest. It makes light of the fact that the only real argument I've read that you've made about speculation is that you don't find it to be directly and personally beneficial.

Quote:
So, you're saying that me trying to execute my constitutional rights to influence the way society is run (i.e. by voting for the politician that seems to be leaning the same way) is equivalent to repealing constitutional rights and keeping slaves? Riiiiiiight. You just went off the deep end.
Stop being intentionally daft. I didn't equate either in an ethical sense whatsoever. The point was that no conclusion about the ethical implications of either of these actions can be derived from the fact that they are both Constitutionally possible. Now you're just grasping at things to be offended about.
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:48 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Stop being intentionally daft. I didn't equate either in an ethical sense whatsoever. The point was that no conclusion about the ethical implications of either of these actions can be derived from the fact that they are both Constitutionally possible. Now you're just grasping at things to be offended about.
Are you kidding me? Shall we look again at what you said?

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As to it being ethical, I'm not sure about that. If I managed to get the Emancipation Proclaimation overturned and bought slaves, I don't think just because I used legal force to do so would make it "ethical".
That was in direct response to me suggesting that it was perfectly legal and ethical for me to attempt to pursue changes to the current system. I don't know what language you are speaking, but in English, I took that exactly the way you said it. If you didn't intend that meaning, then next time choose your words more carefully.

Cheese, you seem to have a problem where the speech you make in your head never gets to the printed word. You're berating me for not reacting properly to words you never actually put down, while ignoring that what you actually said is (apparently) completely different. This conversation is as pointless as an italian and a frenchman yelling at each other, because you just can't be pinned down, and you refuse to actually read what I wrote.
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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That was in direct response to me suggesting that it was perfectly legal and ethical for me to attempt to pursue changes to the current system. I don't know what language you are speaking, but in English, I took that exactly the way you said it. If you didn't intend that meaning, then next time choose your words more carefully.

Cheese, you seem to have a problem where the speech you make in your head never gets to the printed word. You're berating me for not reacting properly to words you never actually put down, while ignoring that what you actually said is (apparently) completely different. This conversation is as pointless as an italian and a frenchman yelling at each other, because you just can't be pinned down, and you refuse to actually read what I wrote.
I think you are completely taking for granted what was actually written and reading things implied into it that aren't there. It's a comparison between two things which could be undertaken Constitutionally. One is an extreme example which most would agree isn't ethical. It's specifically that way to demonstrate that Constitutionality doesn't lead to an ethical result. It doesn't necessarily equate either action in ANY manner other than the fact that both can be done Constitutionally. What words demonstrate anything more?
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