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Old 03-06-2012, 06:31 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I'm being totally serious here. How can a population which is too ignorant to democratically elect a leader within the constraints of a mature and well-defined electoral system be expected to suddenly become enlightened as to the vast and manifold benefits of a "de-centralized" system of government, especially given that many would be functionally incapable of distinguishing such a proposal from actual anarchy, and that this belief would undoubtedly be reinforced by the more sensationalist elements of the mainstream media?
I will be curious to hear what the definition of decentralized power is in this hypothetical, but ultimately, power never stays truly diffused. If it's not concentrated in the wealthy or political, it's concentrated on the best armed warlord.

This is true of nations, tribes, villages, HOAs, etc.

For me, I'd rather deal with elected politicians (most of the time) rather than Somali warlords (or pusha and his boys).





[Edit: I assume his response will be more nuanced (and less naive?) than actual anarchy.]

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Old 03-06-2012, 07:09 PM   #82
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I will be curious to hear what the definition of decentralized power is in this hypothetical, but ultimately, power never stays truly diffused. If it's not concentrated in the wealthy or political, it's concentrated on the best armed warlord.
Well, that's absolutely true. And I don't seriously expect that any such utopia can actually arise out of a mature and economically developed nation, but for the moment I'm willing to hand-wave over the potential long term ramifications (such as a return to the pre-RICO era in which politicians and LEOs at the state and city level exercise near-feudalistic power while being openly bought and sold by whichever corrupt business organization happens to most appeal to their interests) and simply ask how might you (Jason) realistically hope to transition a country of 300 million people, half of whom feel that they are entitled to an unending stream of financial handouts and social services from the Federal government, away from a strongly centralized system of government.

(Ain't that the longest sentence yet?)
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:16 PM   #83
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I have mixed feelings about this result. My wife expected me to be much further to the right, but because of my left-leaning stances on issues like abortion, marriage equality, and religion, I plot to the middle of the X axis.
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:10 PM   #84
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^Im sort of the same way.

My economic views make republicans look like communist (especially considering the watered-down definition applied to Obama) but my social views go way left.
I guess thats what you get from an open-minded, atheist, who believes in Austrian capitalism.
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:12 AM   #85
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I think you summed up a lot of people here, Boogs, even myself.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:01 AM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
So, up to this point, we've mostly discussed ideals and abstract hypotheticals. Not a bad thing, but you raise a specific call-to-action here, so I'm going to posit a practical dilemma.

We'll accept as read that "No (or few) voters are educated and rational."

Given that, is it realistic to expect those same ignorant and irrational people to suddenly "realize that a free society solves numerous problems which they think only gov't can solve"?

I'm being totally serious here. How can a population which is too ignorant to democratically elect a leader within the constraints of a mature and well-defined electoral system be expected to suddenly become enlightened as to the vast and manifold benefits of a "de-centralized" system of government, especially given that many would be functionally incapable of distinguishing such a proposal from actual anarchy, and that this belief would undoubtedly be reinforced by the more sensationalist elements of the mainstream media?

In other words, I predict that the first "leader" who proposes that America's government be "de-centralized" will likely find himself at the working end of a hangman's noose,
Nah, such a proposal will be completely at odds with all the other politicians and he will be discredited by the media and fought by the Establishment politicians. Wait, that resembles Ron Paul...

-------------

Firstly let's set this aside:

"Anarchy" is not the same as "chaos". Before "anarchy" became associated with the ridiculous "black bloc anarchists" (or the Clash), it is/was a political theory of a stable society with no *monopoly* government. (NOT the same as "no law/rules" nor "Somalia") There are variations of this, the main ones (that I know of) are:

- AnarchoCapitalism aka Agorism (the one I like)
- AnarchoSyndicalism aka Libertarian Socialism (I know less about this but AFAICT it's less believable and has serious contradictions)

AC/Agorism proponents include Lars (Shuiend), Murray Rothbard, David Friedman (NOT Milton), Brad Spangler, and Stefan Molyneux. The closest system that I know of that resembled this was the Icelandic Commonwealth of ~950-1300 A.D. IIRC. It lasted longer than the USA has been around.

That aside.............

The system of de-centralized power that most are familiar with is MINARCHY. This is the system the Founding Fathers designed. Gov't is limited by a Constitution to merely protecting property and individual rights and enforcement of contracts. The principle of SUBSIDIARITY is important here. That is, laws are written and enforced at the most local effective level. Laws enforced by a more central authority are only those which the local governments agree to give up. De-centralized power. The States got together and ratified the Constitution and wrote the 10th Amendment listing the 20-odd items the Federal Gov was allowed to take over from the States (e.g. National Defense, etc). Today IMO the closet there is to this is Switzerland. Having said that, they are very "democratic" and have bad, intrusive laws voted in, such as ridiculously low speed limits and speed cameras (I know firsthand). There's an example of the majority believing in unjust laws (very low speed limits) and criminalizing safe (but faster) drivers.

There is another system of de-centralized power that in theory seems to resemble AC/Agorism but with very localized elected government. It is called COMMON LAW LIBERTARIANISM system. I know less about this but it it intriguing. The closest society was that of the 13 colonies before the Revolution. (Slavery aside)

Anyway that aside...

The Founders have said the truism that power tends to concentrate, centralize, and grow over time.

So now to the original question. How will power get de-centralized?
Here are a few scenarios that may unfold:

1) The Internet (and folks like Ron Paul) wake a bunch of people up and educates them and a significant minority get active and change things. Slowly, over time, the pendulum swinging the other way, so to speak. Note the following:
--- It doesn't take a majority to make things change, the majority are passive. A significant vocal minority can effect great change (Gandhi's words)
--- Sometimes ideas (and philosophies) only need to reach a certain critical mass (accepted by a small minority), then it reaches a Tipping Point (see Malcolm Gladwell's book), and it spreads among the above significant vocal minority. No army can stop an idea whose time has come (I forgot who said this)

2) Foreign Gov't's will unwind their U.S. Treasury Debt (as they become less dependent on the USA to be a trading partner), move away from the USD as the reserve currency, the Fed Gov deficit and debt increase due to Keynesianism, the USD devalues, the economy does a downward spiral as the Gov't controls more and more of it, and finally the Fed Govt does a soft default a la Greece ( reneges on entitlements). See China's very recent announcement. (I can hear Scrappy Jack screaming about his MMT now). The Fed Gov operating budget shrinks, and laws which don't have an enforcement budget may as well not exist. De-centralization of power by default. People come to terms with this and the above pendulum swing occurs.


3) Scenario #2 plays out among all the Western powers. They are all welfare governments and the vast majority are operating at a deficit.

4) Some combo of the above 3 happens and then Keynesianism, its symbiote State Monopoly Central Banking Using Fiat Currency, and Welfarism will be discredited in the same way that Communism was discredited when the Berlin Wall fell. A paradigm shift follows, akin to the Industrial Revolution or the Age of Enlightenment.

5) A major collapse happens in the USA and the country breaks up into smaller countries (which by definition is de-centralization of power)

6) AnarchoCapitalism takes hold

There is a new book out that describes a plausible future history of the USA (#6 above) due to an economic collapse, entitiled "Welcome to Free America".

-------------
I'm a fan of AC/Agorism, at least due to the ideas I learn from its proponents. The philosophy is the logical endpoint of libertarianism, doesn't have contradictions, and is morally correct, even from a Utilitarian point of view. I cannot say it is "correct", due to 2 main questions. How and how plausible is it to get there from here, and how stable is it once we get there?
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:41 AM   #87
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I'll pass on the operational aspects of Scenario 2 for now but can you speak to population?

That is, of the three examples you gave and the only one having existed as recently as the 19th century, the most populous is Switzerland. It is the ~96th most populous nation on Earth as of 2011 with a population that is ballpark 2% of the USA's (or about 18% of California's or less than half of Florida's, etc).

Said another way, all of the examples you gave seem to have been smaller than the average US state in terms of economic output and population.
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:57 PM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
(long definition of anarchy and related concepts)
You know, it's funny. I spent a fair amount of time deciding on how to specifically word the sentence "...especially given that many would be functionally incapable of distinguishing such a proposal from actual anarchy," knowing that a response such as yours was probable. As such, I attempted to very carefully qualify what I wrote, and yet it was still interpreted as "I have no idea what the word anarchy means, and am using it improperly. Please correct me and also give me a long history of both anarchy and related forms of government."



Quote:
1) The Internet (and folks like Ron Paul) wake a bunch of people up and educates them and a significant minority get active and change things. Slowly, over time, the pendulum swinging the other way,
Ok, so we can all see that this is clearly not going to happen. The only thing swinging is Ron Paul's political career, from the end of a rope. I am going to violate my own standing order with an absolutist statement: no political candidate will ever be elected President in the US, within the context of the current electoral system, while standing on a platform of ideas which are perceived to be radically libertarian or otherwise a strong departure from conventional contemporary political thinking.



Quote:
2) Foreign Gov't's will unwind their U.S. Treasury Debt (... US defaults ...) De-centralization of power by default. People come to terms with this and the above pendulum swing occurs.
Short of sudden and absolute destruction as by coup or defeat in war (eg: Rome, Soviet Union), a large federal government will always tend not to collapse. The US, in particular, is not Yugoslavia. It has sufficient military and economic leverage to bend / break / create whatever national and international laws are required to ensure its ongoing existence. Additionally, the major "new industrial" nations (China, India, South Korea, etc) all have a vested interest in ensuring the continued existence of the US in its present form, as the dismantling of the US federal government would have a severe negative impact on their ability to produce and export goods. Taken to an allegorical extreme, one might draw a parallel to the obsolete Truck System (company store model) in which it is in the best interest of "the company" (foreign export nations) to hold the worker (the US) in a state of perpetual debt which is not so severe as to disallow him from continuing to work for the company and purchase goods from the company store.


Quote:
3) Scenario #2 plays out among all the Western powers.




Quote:
4) Some combo of the above 3 happens and then Keynesianism, its symbiote State Monopoly Central Banking Using Fiat Currency, and Welfarism will be discredited in the same way that Communism was discredited when the Berlin Wall fell. A paradigm shift follows, akin to the Industrial Revolution or the Age of Enlightenment.
Again:




Quote:
5) A major collapse happens in the USA and the country breaks up into smaller countries (which by definition is de-centralization of power)
For the reasons expressed in #2 above, this will not be allowed to happen by creditor nations.


Quote:
6) AnarchoCapitalism takes hold
I'm not aware of a single example of this occurring in any nation which was a major economic and military power of its day, over pretty much the entire record of human history.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:23 PM   #89
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It just struck me that Joe is the guy in The Patriot arguing that things really aren't so bad and that we should just go along to get along with the British government.

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Old 03-07-2012, 01:32 PM   #90
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Joe,

Long definition of anarchy was more directed at others.

---------------

All empires end, and AFAIK the majority if not all, due to destruction of their fiat currency.

The USA's government is eating a larger and larger percentage of GDP. There is a point beyond which this reduces tax revenue. (Laffer Curve) Politicians have demonstrated an inability to reduce spending. Thus the deficit and debt will accelerate. This cannot be sustained unless the gov't maintains spending below the % of GDP of the inversion point of the Laffer Curve. I will repeat, politicians have demonstrated zero ability to reduce spending.

Foreign governments will continue to buy Treasury debt only for as long as they believe the US Gov't has the ability to raise taxes to pay for them.

Starting mid last year China has been unwinding US debt at about 10% every 6 months:



Quote:
Additionally, the major "new industrial" nations (China, India, South Korea, etc) all have a vested interest in ensuring the continued existence of the US in its present form, as the dismantling of the US federal government would have a severe negative impact on their ability to produce and export goods.
I believe that if you look at the exports of other nations, their exports to the USA as a percentage have been decreasing. Their exports to countries other than the USA has been increasing. Over time they are becoming less dependent on the USA as a trading partner.


That empires end suddenly, due to destruction of fiat currency, is Niall Ferguson's thesis. The way they fall he says, can be quite sudden
He's an economic historian and is a major figure in the CFR. (Semi secretive bunch of movers and shakers comprised of politicians, editors in chief and ) He wrote about this within the CFR's magazine "Foreign Affairs" and there have been no challenges to his thesis.


http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb...on28-2010feb28
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articl...y-and-collapse

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Old 03-07-2012, 02:13 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
It just struck me that Joe is the guy in The Patriot arguing that things really aren't so bad and that we should just go along to get along with the British government.
I haven't seen The Patriot, so I don't totally follow the reference, but I should be clear on one thing:

I am not making judgement on the hypothetical merit of one form of economic / governmental organization versus another.

I am instead judging the credibility of ideas which espouse the transformation of a large nation from one model of government to another, significantly different model of government, with specific regard to whether said ideas involve a plan for implementing said changes in a manner which is plausible and likely to succeed.



In other words, stating "Maybe a large portion of the population will just suddenly decide to educate themselves" is not a realistic plan, because:

1: It has a low probability of occuring. (Remember, we've accepted as read that "No (or few) voters are educated and rational.") and

2: It has a low probability of success- too much money and power (both economic and military) is vested within the "establishment," such that a popular call to dismantle the existing structure of the government would more likely be met with reprisal in the form of authoritarian fascism than by said aforementioned powers saying "Ok, you're right. We'll give up our interests and dismantle ourselves", and

3: The hippies already tried this. It didn't work.



What about a more radical transfer of power, then?

Consider the Russian October Revolution (1917) which began with the dismantling of the Russian Provisional Government (aka, the US Federal Government) and the distribution of economic and political authority to the regional councils (aka, the US States). It ended, of course, with civil war followed by the establishment of one of the more well-known (and corrupt) totalitarian states in recent history.

"Look, truth!"



Etc.



Jason is not the first person in the history of the Internet to say "Hey, if we all just did X then everyone's life would be better," without even attempting to address either the primary difficulties inherent in convincing any large group of people to reach consensus on an idea which is both new and scary to them (particularly in the face of strong entrenched opposition closely allied with a media known for effective fear-mongering) nor the secondary effects which would be likely to arise from either a successful or an unsuccessful attempt at implementing said idea.



So, I don't think I'm the guy saying "Let's just be friends with the British," I'm the guy saying "It doesn't sound like you've thought this through. The King is not likely to just say "Ok, go be a sovereign nation, don't forget to write" and I'm not going to support this concept until you have explained to me how your plan differs substantially from mass suicide."
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:18 PM   #92
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I haven't seen The Patriot, so I don't totally follow the reference [...]

So, I don't think I'm the guy saying "Let's just be friends with the British," I'm the guy saying "It doesn't sound like you've thought this through. The King is not likely to just say "Ok, go be a sovereign nation, don't forget to write" and I'm not going to support this concept until you have explained to me how your plan differs substantially from mass suicide."
Actually, I think you just summed up that guy's position pretty well.

Don't bother watching the movie, though. It's schlock.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:31 PM   #93
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how could you say that about Mel?!
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:35 PM   #94
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Joe, did you give the King of England a different font to indicate his British accent and lordly manner?
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:53 PM   #95
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Joe, did you give the King of England a different font to indicate his British accent and lordly manner?
Of course. Non-American accents must always be denoted in a suitable font when quoted within a US-based web forum.

I proposed this as part of RFC1855 as an addendum to the <sarcasm> tag, however the IETF ignored me.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:35 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
That empires end suddenly, due to destruction of fiat currency, is Niall Ferguson's thesis. The way they fall he says, can be quite sudden
[...]
He wrote about this within the CFR's magazine "Foreign Affairs" and there have been no challenges to his thesis.
I think that last part is incorrect, but if so - allow me to be the first.

It's been a while since I looked, but I do not recall having seen an instance that Ferguson uses to illustrate his point that uses a sovereign, fiat, free-float currency issuer. As another writer once said, it's a good thing Niall is an academic and not a fixed income trader or he'd have been fired a decade ago instead of continuing his rise to prominence on apparently flawed models.

Speaking of...

Here is a chart that goes with your China graph above:

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Old 03-07-2012, 05:06 PM   #97
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Here is a chart that goes with your China graph above:

(chart)
Wait, are you implying that the propensity of one country to purchase Treasury Debt issued by another country might be related to the yield of said financial instruments?

Utter hogwash. And here's a link to an obscure and seemingly irrelevant article which I claim proves that I am right and you are wrong: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ed-racist.html
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:18 PM   #98
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"Zbig" Brzezinski, another CFR bigwig and perennial technocrat insider, has announced that US Hegemony is gone:

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis...#ixzz1mZ1JAgtu


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
I think that last part is incorrect, but if so - allow me to be the first.

It's been a while since I looked, but I do not recall having seen an instance that Ferguson uses to illustrate his point that uses a sovereign, fiat, free-float currency issuer.
I meant no challenges within the CFR movers and shakers.

What I would like to understand is how politicians increasing gov't spending as a % of GDP is sustainable.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:41 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonC SBB
I meant no challenges within the CFR movers and shakers.
Gotcha. Of the movers and shakers, how many different universities are they graduates of?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonC SBB
What I would like to understand is how politicians increasing gov't spending as a % of GDP is sustainable.
I'll try to circle back on this one later although I feel like we should be in a different thread at this point...
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:55 PM   #100
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(...)US Hegemony is gone:
Economically? Yeah.

Militarily? Nope.

Culturally? Ha!
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