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Fishing Problem(IE the problem with capitalism)
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Author Topic: Fishing Problem(IE the problem with capitalism)  (Read 11303 times)
wodan46
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« on: January 06, 2009, 17:42:36 EST »

Let's say there is a big lake, with lots of fish in it.  The more fish there are, the more fish are born, though once you hit a certain point, they start dying of crowding and the population reaches a maximum.

There are several fishermen.  Their objective is to obtain fish and sell them.  The more fish they obtain, the cheaper they can sell them for and still make a profit, and the more likely it will become that people will buy fish from them and not one of the more expensive fishermen.  So as a result, the fishermen will keep fishing as much as possible.  However, eventually, the amount of fish they catch will exceed the rate that they reproduce, and the population will decrease.  As the population decreases, the less fish they will be able to catch, and the less profit they will make, and they will be compelled to try even harder to catch the fish to still make profits.  Eventually, they'll push the population too far, and all the fish will be wiped out.  The fishermen that caught the most fish will have made a good profit, and can use that money to move to the next lake.  In the mean time, there are less fish for the overall community.

This is the problem with unbridled capitalism.  Capitalists are motivated to obtain short term profits at the consequence of long term costs, because for the most part, those costs will not end up applying to them, but if they do not work as hard to obtain the short term profits, they will be driven out of business by those who do, which will be a negative cost that is applied to them.  As a result, Capitalists inevitably will push sector of the market to its limits before it finally collapses, whereupon the Capitalists use the profits they've earned to escape, if not outright shift the cost onto other people.

That is why Capitalism must be controlled.  Without restrictions Capitalists inevitably cause damage to society.  What the society needs is for the fishing to happen, but to be done within limits so as to keep the food production rate as high as possible indefinitely.
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2009, 18:18:22 EST »

Read about The Tragedy of the Commons.

What you have rediscovered is why property rights are so necessary and important to the functioning of capitalism.
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wodan46
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2009, 18:40:44 EST »

Read about The Tragedy of the Commons.

What you have rediscovered is why property rights are so necessary and important to the functioning of capitalism.
Three things.  First, I just established that capitalism is a non-functional system, whether or not property rights are granted.  Your statement fails to explain why I should support unbridled capitalism, in fact all it does is say that it should be advocated.  Second, when did I say that property rights need to be undermined?  Third, there is a reason it goes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not life, liberty, and the pursuit of property.  Please tell me when the constitution specifically indicates property ownership to be a natural right, not a privilege that is granted under most circumstances.
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2009, 18:55:57 EST »

Please tell me when the constitution specifically indicates property ownership to be a natural right, not a privilege that is granted under most circumstances.

You will not find it, because of the fact Eminent domain is in the constitution.
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wodan46
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2009, 19:33:48 EST »

Please tell me when the constitution specifically indicates property ownership to be a natural right, not a privilege that is granted under most circumstances.

You will not find it, because of the fact Eminent domain is in the constitution.
Current's pocket constitution probably has a gaping hole where Eminent domain is.
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Ihlosi
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2009, 02:49:00 EST »

What you have rediscovered is why property rights are so necessary and important to the functioning of capitalism.

That leaves the question: How are property rights for things like Earths atmosphere and oceans going to work? And even if they are instituted (a scary thought all by itself - did you get your license to breathe yet?), it leaves issues like "How big a detrimental effect from others' use of their property does one have to tolerate?".

Property rights are fine and dandy, but there are plenty of goods for which they just don't work.
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2009, 06:29:56 EST »

Three things.  First, I just established that capitalism is a non-functional system, whether or not property rights are granted.  Your statement fails to explain why I should support unbridled capitalism, in fact all it does is say that it should be advocated.  Second, when did I say that property rights need to be undermined?
The scenario you have outlined depends upon there not being property rights.

What you said was:
Quote from: wodan46
There are several fishermen.  Their objective is to obtain fish and sell them.  The more fish they obtain, the cheaper they can sell them for and still make a profit, and the more likely it will become that people will buy fish from them and not one of the more expensive fishermen.  So as a result, the fishermen will keep fishing as much as possible.  However, eventually, the amount of fish they catch will exceed the rate that they reproduce, and the population will decrease.  As the population decreases, the less fish they will be able to catch, and the less profit they will make, and they will be compelled to try even harder to catch the fish to still make profits.  Eventually, they'll push the population too far, and all the fish will be wiped out.  The fishermen that caught the most fish will have made a good profit, and can use that money to move to the next lake.  In the mean time, there are less fish for the overall community.
The problem here is clear no one owns the fish or the sea.  As Hardin points out in the article which I linked too.  This is why if you go to a British Fish and Chip shop the fish are now expensive.

The chips though are cheap, much cheaper than they were in the past.  Why?  Because property rights apply to land.  A farmer can only gather potatoes from his own land.  What he does with that land determines if he prospers or does not.

Third, there is a reason it goes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not life, liberty, and the pursuit of property.  Please tell me when the constitution specifically indicates property ownership to be a natural right, not a privilege that is granted under most circumstances.
Well, I don't really believe in "natural rights".  And I understand that there are some cases for limiting property rights in some specifics.  But I think the general idea is valid.

What you have rediscovered is why property rights are so necessary and important to the functioning of capitalism.

That leaves the question: How are property rights for things like Earths atmosphere and oceans going to work? And even if they are instituted (a scary thought all by itself - did you get your license to breathe yet?), it leaves issues like "How big a detrimental effect from others' use of their property does one have to tolerate?".

Property rights are fine and dandy, but there are plenty of goods for which they just don't work.
I agree.
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wodan46
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2009, 13:34:44 EST »

Screw this post, I like Heq's summary better.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 23:23:53 EST by wodan46 » Logged

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Heq
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2009, 14:16:32 EST »

Actually, the cycle is more like

1.  Niche
2.  Capitalist invests
3.  Trend-suckers invest
4.  Government invests
5.  Niche folding becomes apparent to intelligent people
6.  Capitalists move to another niche
7.  Niche collapses
8.  Trenders ditch and/or bitch
9.  Government buys off trenders (Joe Best-Pal who bought houses because they couldn't possibly go down) and gets stuck with the mess

The problem is that in a rapid market, the government (and most casual investors) is unable to respond with appropriate timing or skill.  Casual invests respond quicker then the government though, who almost invariably hemmorages money once it starts investing.
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wodan46
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2009, 23:33:33 EST »

Actually, the cycle is more like

1.  Niche
2.  Smart Capitalists invest
3.  Stupid Capitalists invest
4.  Government invests
5.  Niche folding becomes apparent to intelligent people
6.  Smart Capitalists move to another niche
7.  Niche collapses
8.  Stupid Capitalists ditch and/or bitch
9.  Government buys off trenders (Joe Best-Pal who bought houses because they couldn't possibly go down) and gets stuck with the mess

The problem is that in a rapid market, the government (and most casual investors) is unable to respond with appropriate timing or skill.  Casual invests respond quicker then the government though, who almost invariably hemmorages money once it starts investing.
I modified your cycle
There are 2 problems:
1. No matter how many times it happens, there are an endless supply of Trendsuckers/Stupid Capitalists that lose their money and as a result rapidly lose their capacity to be productive and useful members of society.  Society would be better off if we could prevent them from being sucked into such trends, because for all their stupidity, under different circumstances they could have been a net plus for society rather than a minus.  Ditto for the government
2. The destruction of those niches tend to have negative consequences that extend beyond the costs on the trendsuckers.  For example, the collapse of the housing market resulted in a loss in liquidity, which has lead to a chain reaction of fail that is causing things like stores at Shopping Malls to go out of business.
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Heq
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2009, 03:39:20 EST »

Which shouldn't happen if people actually were aware of what was going on.

I think we're saying the same sort of language, only with radically different consequences, I would propose that what we need is to get these people out of the dark so they stop getting blindsided or buying into the idea of "It is the age of all, we shall all be wealthy, FOREVER!" which happens with disturbing regularity.

The housing market collapse only became a big problem because, well, people were doing things with houses that they really shouldn't have, and no-one told them "Yeah, that's a really bad plan."  Everyone knew it was, just like everyone knew the tech bubble was a buncha-buncha shell games, and arguably the first oil shock was just people running in circles screaming "Motherfucker!"

The question isn't how does one stop capitalism, it's how do you make people less dim about it.  The government, which consists of the dimmest bulbs combined with vast ego, is clearly going to be the hardest to educate.
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2009, 08:20:58 EST »

There is another thread, the "I love Blagojevich".  I'll reply to this there.
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Ihlosi
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2009, 08:28:01 EST »

The question isn't how does one stop capitalism, it's how do you make people less dim about it.

Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. Part of human nature is that greed quite often overrides intellect (even university professors have fallen for the Nigeria scam, for example). It requires a fundamental change in how humans operate, not just more education.
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wodan46
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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2009, 12:05:15 EST »

There is another thread, the "I love Blagojevich".  I'll reply to this there.
You know, I was creating this thread in part because the other thread was covering way too many things at once.
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« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2009, 12:25:52 EST »

There is another thread, the "I love Blagojevich".  I'll reply to this there.
You know, I was creating this thread in part because the other thread was covering way too many things at once.
OK, I'll reply here then.  But tomorrow, not today.
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