May 28, 2008 at 3:36 pm #533
Lots of chatter here about how great it’ll be not to pay taxes.
- Well, that kinda sorta depends on if you can actually get out from under the thumb of the man, doesn’t it? Paying fees for flying a flag of convenience is a tax.
- Who says that the offset from not paying official taxes to a government wouldn’t be less than the entry and maintenance costs of a seastead? In fact, I suspect that a sea stead lifestyle vs a land-based lifestyle will be more expensive than paying taxes by a good bit.
You’ll either do it because you want the challenge, or because principle is more important than money (perhaps because you already have enough), or because there is literally no other alternative- maybe the People’s Republic of Shithole where you live is going to kill your second child for population control, or they’re purging redheads this year, or just stealing so much you’re going to starve anyway.May 28, 2008 at 4:27 pm #2587
May 28, 2008 at 4:31 pm #2588
- It’s not tax if you get your money’s worth and can decline if you don’t.
- Freedom is not about money, but what you do with it, so you’re onto something. I suspect that many people will bear the cost of seasteading in exchange for the higher quality of life, instead of migrating to the cheapest developing country they can find.
- I correspond to the third case (government stealing so much we’ve got hundreds of thousands of people in the street even when they have a job, old people looking for food in the trashcans because the nationalized retirement system is so totally bankrupt they cannot afford to feed themselves anymore, unemployment rate nearing 20%, and above all no glimpse of any possible improvement on the horizon because the only solution every single politician in the country sees is coercing citizens some more). Moving out is litterally a life or death issue for me in the mid-term.
Well, things can be paid for without taxes. Most libertarians don’t like taxes (in their current form) because payment of them is mandatory. If money needed to be raised for something in the public interest, donations could be taken or money could be raised by a system of lotteries. Both of these options are voluntary and efficient enough to pay for something like a fla of convenience. As for maintainence, private companies would be there to fix things up if they break, and they will do it more efficiently than governments would. In early seasteads, this stuff would likely be done by people living on their seastead. As for what you say about it costing significantly more, of course it will at first, resources are limited and hard to get; but as seasteading communities are developed, entrepreneurs will see an opportunity to make some money and will jump on it, creating an industry. But even in the end, plumbing done underwater is going to be more expensive than its land based alternative. But that is going to be a small price to pay when compared to having over half your income stollen by governments every year. The bonus comes when you consider that said plumber, due to his or her living on said seastead, will be more likely to charge less, to come up with better, less costly, more efficient ways to do things which in the end will result in better products.May 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm #2591
Fees paid for service will be lower than government taxes even if you live on the dark side of the moon. Pull up a breakdown of US federal expenditures. Almost the entire budget is either “defense,” social programs, or interest on the national debt. The fraction that any sane person would willingly pay for amounts to — at most — 10% of the budget. State governments spend huge chunks of cash on education — which you shouldn’t have to pay if you don’t have children — and more social programs. So basically if you are a productve member of society and pull your own weight, 90% of what you pay in taxes is directly transferred to some other person or goes to feed the war machine. Very little of it is anything that benefits you directly that you would pay for if given a choice.May 28, 2008 at 9:13 pm #2615
People, thigs don’t magically get better without a geovernment.
May 28, 2008 at 11:42 pm #2625
- Private businesses fail through mismanagement too
- Some things are difficult to scale or find a business model that makes a profit. There will probably be some services you take for granted now that simply will not be available through private enterprise. It is likely, but by no means CERTAIN that private enterprises will step into fill the gap
- Certainly, some things that are requierd services now would not be without a nanny-state enforcing mandatory levels of “safety” uniformly across individuals with differing risk tolerance.
- fees paid for services MAY be lower than the entire burden of government taxation, but MANY things we all bitch about paying for now are benefiting from hidden subsidies by tax. There will be surprises in how much certain thing cost when provided entirely by private industry rather than government. There will be other, more pleasant surprises about how cheap some things become.
- Even a tax that “goves you your money’s worth” is a tax. Not all taxation is bad, it just tends to be. Keep your weasel words in mind and make explicit when trying to convince people, that yes, there are downsides as well, and there are sometimes market failures . You canmake the point that market failures are usually the result of poor information, rather than an inability to provide a comparable service, but the more rabid we are about defendig our position without pointing out and conceding the “cons” the less serious people take us.
- Some environments are so expensive that even zero taxation will cut your lifestyle more than heavy taxation in other places. Particularly a “frontier” environment like the sea or space.
May 29, 2008 at 9:48 am #2639
- Taxes are coercive. That´s the defining characteristic.
- Yes, there are no free lunches. Everything still needs to be paid for. But:
- A lot of the things that the government does are rubbish. Nobody needs them.
- The things that government does that people actually need will be done more efficiently by the free market.
- The biggest factor for driving down costs and increasing quality is competition. Government is, by definition, utterly deprived of this factor.
- Yes, frontier environents are more expensive. The point of seasteading is to decrease the frontier factor of living on the ocean,
- When you say that things will be more expensive with private industry (I am assuming this term to mean a free market for the sake of the discussion), what do you count as the cost of the government version? The total tax money spent on the service or the tax (or fee or whatever they choose to call it) the government labels as ear-marked for this purpose? Again, there are no free lunches. What possibly might increase in a free market is the visible cost. Not the actual cost.
- Yes, private companies screw things up too. The difference is that people have the possibility to choose another company if they do not like the first one´s record. Thus bad companies eliminate themselves automatically, making this an exception rather than the rule.
- When comparing the performance of government vs the free market It is also worth keeping in mind that most national markets are not actually very free. Regulation and taxation kills most potential companies even before they are born, as well as holding them back if they survive, thus decreasing the competition, decresing the quality and increasing the cost.
- Not all taxation is bad? Well, this depends on how you define “bad”. If you think coercion is bad, then all tax is bad.
May 29, 2008 at 1:51 pm #2646
- I’ll buy that definition.
- Yes, we’re in agreement
- again, no argument
- here’s where we diverge a bit. Yes: MAYBE. Most of the time. On average. but most importantly NO GUARANTEES.
- Yes, and not quite. government has all kinds of competition. What is has is never a complete monopoly, even on force. what it has is an overwhelming advantage.
- I agree with you largely about visible costs being what increases in a free market rather than totl actual costs. But there’s also the factor of scale. Small pruivate armies cost more per unit than large national armies. You may be able to “right-size” to achieve a better balance between cost and result. Maybe.
- Bad acompanies don’t always eliminate themselves. The free market depends on information. Sometimes information lacks lead to market failures. And business screw up a LOT. the difference is the incentives are more important and not election-cycle-driven. Although corporate profits are often quarterly- or yearly-report-driven, in publicly traded corporations, which make them short-sighted as well.
- Free riders can be an issue. I prefer voluntary cooperation by far. I don’t think unanimous sytems are pratical in all cases, and not possible once you get a large population.
May 29, 2008 at 2:40 pm #2648
- No guarantees that market will be better than government – well, this can be said about anything so it´s not much of an argument. I´d argue that looking at the empirical evidence the government beats the market only in rare exceptions, if ever.
- What competition does government have? Cases where government leverages the free(ish) market obviously does not count.
- No complete monopoly? Only what? 99 percent? Speaking of force, does that last percent really make a difference considering that clients hiring their own protection still has to pay for the government cops, as well as risk being attacked by them for abusing what the government itself calls… … their monopoly on force. Technically you are probably right that there is no absolute monopoly. But for practical purposes that doesn´t really matter.
- Yes, with big armies there is the possibility of paying less per unit and leveraging economies of scale. But nobody really needs big armies to begin with. If all citizens has a rifle in their closet their country is safe from invasion. It may not be safe from annihilation, if an attacker is intent on that. But the only one capable and crazy enough to try something like that is… …another government.
- Bad companies always eliminate themselves in the long run (unless government bails them out). Obviously a company that does one bad thing does not cease to exist that very second. But the more it fails the closer to bankruptcy it will slide. And no, everyone in the market does not have perfect, immediate information on everything. Luckily there is no need for that. The market still does it´s job. If you are in the market for a new television set there is no need to find out everything about all models. Comparing the prices and features of just a handful of well-known brands is likely to get you a deal that is close to the very best possible. Because everyone competes.
- Free riders are an issue, but not a very big one. Most people are more than able to chip in towards common goods like buying slightly higher priced but environmentally benign products.
May 29, 2008 at 5:48 pm #2659
- I’m taking government and nonprofit accounting right now. I’m gaining a whole new understanding of government that is only loosely related to accounting. In the municipality model, property tax is the primary tax base. The government usually has a debt limit that is based on a percentage of the taxable, assessed property under it’s jurisdiction. That prevents confiscatory tax rates like you see in Mexico for example (according to the movie “Bordertown”).
- What’s the difference between a property tax and a condo or homeowner’s association maintenance fee. Let the HOA incorporate, start a fire and police department and there you are. On a seastead, if someone declines to pay the “maintenance fee” (potatoe, potatoe) what would be the outcome?
- Many of the wealthier bear the cost of a gated community “in exchange for the higher quality of life”. They’ve got their own police forces, governments, etc. Fischer Island in Biscayne Bay comes to mind.
- Government based support system. Will the government of a seastead provide health insurance/medical care?
- What will happen to a loyal citizen who’s provided years of participation who gets sick and can no longer perform their job or occupation?
- What about service workers like servers and wasteplant workers? Will these jobs pay enough to provide for a retirement?
- Some knotty problems I think.
“Yes, private companies screw things up too. The difference is that people have the possibility to choose another company if they do not like the first one´s record. Thus bad companies eliminate themselves automatically, making this an exception rather than the rule. “
I am going to have to disagree with this statement. The best example, in my mind, of the error of the above statement is found in the software industry. This is especially true with operating systems. Here are some os stats going back to 2003. http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_os.asp
We see that windows variations have dominated the market since at least 2003 with gnu/linux and mac os growing roughly 1 and 2% respectively. Yet it can easily be argued that Windows in its many flavors makes Microsoft a “bad” company due to its issues with software bloat, security holes I can drive my car through, malware abundence, and poor memory management. In comparison with mac os and gnu/linux(and to a lesser degree BSD) distros, Microsoft’s products are clearly the bad choice. Yet due to agressive marketing techniques, skirting many monopolization policies, and simply being quickest to the draw; Microsoft still controls roughly 90% of the market with its inferior products.
My question for you is, when the “free market” lets a company employee these tactics without the restrictions Microsoft has had placed upon them(and they have had many) gain a general dominance of a given field(food, water, military, and gods forbid medicine) what do you intend to do? When contaminated water spreads e. coli through the community like wildfire and the company responsible still has such a presence in the market that it is not going anywhere nor the incentive to change its policies for the bottom dollar are you just going to say, “shucks, well I guess that’s the free market”?May 29, 2008 at 7:25 pm #2662
This is why, rather than looking at the simple private/public axis, I analyze things using competition (barriers to entry) and choice (cost of switching). The OS market has very high barriers to entry and costs of switching, thus it has low competition and low choice. Governments are the same, except even worse. To start a new country on land is even harder than writing a new OS. And to move between countries is even harder than switching OSs.
Hence, government is even less of a free market than OSs. But OSs are a good example of a not-very-free market.May 29, 2008 at 7:50 pm #2663
A very high barrier for OS’s? If you mean entirely from scratch, then I am inclined to agree as it takes a good deal of programing expertise. But open source software kernels and utility libraries reduce this barrier to nearly nothing. It is for exactly this reason there are so many GNU/Linux distributions out there with each operating system catering to different needs or different tastes. And the costs of switching are also very low as most Linux distros(even heavy-duty server quality distros) cost nothing to purchase if one downloads themselves and the cost of a blank cd and shipping if someone else downloads for you. Many linux distributions also use software libraries where I simple search download tool downloads and installs whatever software you may need, again at no charge. Doing this it is possible to run or edit most windows file formats and what it does not pick up can typically be edited with windows software run in WINE. Again, low entry barrier, and low cost to switch.
One need only look at the vaiety of open source distributions out there to concede that the operating system market is as free as it gets. Yet that free market has failed in terms of quality with a poor clunking operating system having the most use.May 29, 2008 at 8:43 pm #2664
May 29, 2008 at 9:11 pm #2666
- Windows is certainly not perfect. But it´s good enough. It gets the job done, in spite of security holes and bloat. If it didn´t most companies would grind to a halt, no?
- Your claim that Microsoft is rubbish seems to lack backing in reality, considering what people and companies choose. If you were right that would mean that you knew better than the owners and operators of millions of businesses all over the world what is best for them. And I don´t think you do.
- Linux may very well be technically and theoretically superior to Windows, but that is not what matters to most people. They want something that just works, has the most hardware and software support and gets the job done. An OS that is bloated and insecure, but gets the job done, is still infinitely better than one that is ultra-optimized and super-hardened, but where you can´t even set the screen resolution without diving into archaic text files and googling for hours for the right commands (Which you inevitably end up doing every time you decide to test one of the new “super-user-friendly” Linux distros.).
- Please clarify what you mean by “skirting monopolization tactics”. Also, what is “aggressive marketing tactics”, and how is this bad?
- What do I intend to do? In Microsoft´s case, nothing. It would be nice if governments (often so-called “competition commissioners” who actually spend all their time destroying the market rather than helping it) stopped harassing them I guess, but otherwise people and bsiness seem to like their products. Otherwise they wouldn´t buy them. Since you brought up the military and medicine I would abolish these areas as far as the governments involvement anyway. Whether that would lessen Microsofts “stranglehold” on the market I do not know.
- If my water supplier sold me bad water I would buy my water elsewhere. If the municipal water grid was taken offline because of this there would suddenly appear a great big market for water trucks that many companies would fill in order to make a buck, assuming a free market. And the reason that there is only one water grid in the first place is due to government regulation and/or meddling in the market.
“Windows is certainly not perfect. But it´s good enough. It gets the job done, in spite of security holes and bloat. If it didn´t most companies would grind to a halt, no? “
With Vista this may eventually become the case. Many people are uncertain of switching to Vista for just the reasons I mentioned and Microsoft has been successfully petitioned more than once to extend its XP support. With the Vista/XP divide we also get to see plenty of commonly upgraded software not working on top of the other mentioned flaws. Microsoft can only extend XP for so long and if Windows 7 has the issues Vista had, what then of all the people dependent upon Microsoft’s operating systems?
“Your claim that Microsoft is rubbish seems to lack backing in reality, considering what people and companies choose. If you were right that would mean that you knew better than the owners and operators of millions of businesses all over the world what is best for them. And I don´t think you do.”
That is wholly dependent upon the company one examines. Software development, for instance, is typically prototyped in a unix-like system. Web development is the realm of Linux and Apache. The problem is not in businesses using linux it is in home users who seem somehow befuddled into expecting linux to be more difficult than Windows which brings me to…
“Linux may very well be technically and theoretically superior to Windows, but that is not what matters to most people. They want something that just works, has the most hardware and software support and gets the job done. An OS that is bloated and insecure, but gets the job done, is still infinitely better than one that is ultra-optimized and super-hardened, but where you can´t even set the screen resolution without diving into archaic text files and googling for hours for the right commands (Which you inevitably end up doing every time you decide to test one of the new “super-user-friendly” Linux distros.). “
“Please clarify what you mean by “skirting monopolization tactics”. Also, what is “aggressive marketing tactics”, and how is this bad?
As for how is aggressive marketing(in the case of Microsoft marketing and cutting deals with pc manufacturers so that their os is preinstalled.) a bad thing. I will say that there is nothing, at its core, wrong with it. If your company has a high quality product, get out there and market the seven hells out of it in anyway you can. Windows, however, is not a high quality product owing to issues we have already discussed. But owing to its licensing agreements with oem’s many people are unaware that options to Windows exists, let alone have ever been given the choice to use one.
“What do I intend to do? In Microsoft´s case, nothing. It would be nice if governments (often so-called “competition commissioners” who actually spend all their time destroying the market rather than helping it) stopped harassing them I guess, but otherwise people and bsiness seem to like their products. Otherwise they wouldn´t buy them. Since you brought up the military and medicine I would abolish these areas as far as the governments involvement anyway. Whether that would lessen Microsofts “stranglehold” on the market I do not know.
You are incorrect in otherwise people would not buy them. The fact is that most people are unaware that alternatives exist, let alone are given choices to use those alternatives when buying their pc because the pc vendors have arranged otherwise. If a seastead’s military or medicine corporations used the same tactics(cutting deals with seastead manufacturers to include their medical team or their private military for instance) the results could be either very benefitial or very detrimental. But without multiple, that benefit or detriment can never be made clear. So tell me, in the “free market” how would you stop private corporations from going directly through the spar producers? Or through some core aspect of the seastead’s community? When its not merely software bloat as in the example of operating systems I used, but your very safety and health, what do you propose? Its easy to claim the free market will prevail, but without restricting whom can cut deals with one another to an extent, you may as well grab your ankles and ask them to be gentle.
“If my water supplier sold me bad water I would buy my water elsewhere. If the municipal water grid was taken offline because of this there would suddenly appear a great big market for water trucks that many companies would fill in order to make a buck, assuming a free market. And the reason that there is only one water grid in the first place is due to government regulation and/or meddling in the market. “
And if your water supplier who sold you bad water had through its business dealings more than its quality driven off or into obscurity your options, what then?May 29, 2008 at 10:15 pm #2671
Switching countries doesnt need to be constly money-wise either, but I think cost should be interpreted more broadly here.
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