Re: Beggars in Spain

Jeff Bone (
Thu, 08 Jul 1999 03:37:53 -0500

> Ok, so clearly to assume that this is a direct link is stupid.
> Spending more on crime & punishment is just masking a
> greater problem that I would are is created by the very
> same inequities you seem to think are just fine by you.
> And that is the point entirely.

Okay, I'll be stupid. Huh? Is there an argument here, or am I just
missing it because of parse errors?

I would think my point would be obvious. All this self-righteous
spending --- "put 100,000 more police on the streets," etc. ---
obviously doesn't fix the problem. One big problem, in this country
anyway, is that the law is out of obvious sync with the wishes and
morals of society at large. Take the drug problem: attacking the
supply side will never address the problem as long as there is a
demand. Taking down one drug dealer simply clears the way for another
to step in and service the market demand. We criminalize behavior that
is market- motivated and fail to adequately address the problem. We
spend tons on band-aid solutions, and end up in a worse mess than when
we started.

> Regardless, you do have to buy food, and I guarantee you
> it doesn't cost $2.97 to produce and ship a box of Nabisco
> Stoned Wheat Thins. And it's not like there is some other
> form of "raw" stoned wheat thins that does not have all of
> the associated taxation bundled into its cost.

Sure there is. There's no reason I need to buy Nabisco Stoned Wheat
Thins. There are numerous choices for food out there, including buying
from local growers / ranchers, etc. There're lots of ways to avoid
those built in costs you seem so perturbed about --- as I said, commerce
is *always* a choice --- including the choice of opting out by growing
my own. With gov't, you can choose which party you pay, but you've
essentially got to pay somebody. You can't opt out.

> I think that social programs within a democracy are living
> proof that such societies still believe that you as an individual
> do not know what's good for you.

You and I are in absolute agreement here. You seem to regard this as a
truism, though, while I regard it as the height of arrogance in
political philosophy.

> You can't (and I don't either) possibly understand the grander
> social effects of opting out of social programs en masse.

<Humbly> You are certainly correct. </Humbly> However, I can say for
certain that the absolute best judge of the social effects of opting out
of social programs, uh, on me *is* me. (Did that parse? ;-) It's
interesting to speculate about this, though. I don't see it as such a
dire thing; in fact, I think there are good arguments *for* this kind
of choice.

> Freer economies lead to more narrowly distributed wealth and
> diminish the middle class, both of which force population distribution

> out to both edges, with a vast majority at the bottom of the spectrum.

I'll see your theory and call. There're plenty of other economists and
theorists out there that have very well-defined quantitative arguments
to the contrary, that support the notion that purely free markets
provide the "best" (i.e., flattest) distribution of resources throughout
a population.

> Dave Barrett, Canadian

Ah, you're from CANADA, Ian? Well that explains a lot, you BLEEP BLEEP
BLEEP... what the BLEEP? Not this BLEEP again! Aw, BLEEP!