What the Right is right about

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Re: What the Right is right about

#21  Postby epepke » Apr 27, 2013 5:11 am

epete wrote:2. Why is it necessary to cut entitlement programs, and not solely increase revenue from the better off in society?


Increasing revenue from the better off in society does not provide anywhere near enough money.

Actually, I don't think that cutting entitlement programs provides enough money, either.

What does provide enough money is taxing the rich and then allowing them to reduce their taxes by doing things that benefit the economy at large.

Money is only useful when it is flowing, like electrons. The more and better you can get it to flow, the more good it does. Governments are not good at making money flow, but private businesses are. Unfortunately, without any reason to do so, the people who can fund businesses would much rather just keep the money and let the rest of the economy go to hell so that real estate prices go down and they can buy more land.
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Re: What the Right is right about

#22  Postby UtilityMonster » Apr 27, 2013 7:21 pm

epete wrote:
Also, just FYI, the U.S. spends more per pupil on education than any other nation in the world. This is all the evidence you need that the problem is not one of funding.


True. But it's also, like most sectors of our society/economy, about how the funding is used and where it is directed.


Right, allocation is important. Many on the left say U.S. education is underfunded, though. This is only true if they think all public education everywhere is underfunded, which is probably not true. The problem, though, is that we waste a lot of the money we spend on education. Money should be spent on attracting more talent to teaching. So long as teaching is a low risk, low pay profession, we are depriving our students of top notch talent that could really improve their lives.

epete wrote:
Hang on. YOU haven't provided any evidence that this is accounted for by administrators, so why would you chastise me for not providing evidence to counter it? I've seen and read reports on this, as it's been quite a big issue here in Australia for the last decade at least. When I get time, I'll see if I can google some reports.


If it wasn't accounted for by adminstrators, teachers at low income public schools would be being fired left and right, because student educational outcomes are so horrendous at these schools. This is not the case, so clearly administrators are taking this into account. I would concede that this is not always the case, but there are few absolutes when it comes to teaching. No doubt some teachers at top notch schools are held to higher standards because they are expected to not just keep their students at grade level, but have them blow everyone else out of the water.

epete wrote:
You need to ban yourself for continually raising idiotic strawmen.


It isn't a strawman - you said:
epete wrote:
I think the real debate is around rewarding "good" teachers and essentially punishing those seen to be not as good. I think it's an impossible metric to determine while ever there are so many other critical factors determining how well kids do


If your conception of "impossible" is more nuanced then the word impossible implies, you should have clarified your meaning more precisely. As it stood, my interpretation that you were saying it was impossible to gauge teacher quality was correct. I'm glad you agree it is possible to determine teacher quality, at least to some extent. Do you also agree that this information should be used to determine stuff like tenure, pay, and whether teachers should be fired?

epete wrote:
But as you can probably guess, even if it was properly "free", I wouldn't support it for the same reasons I don't support a fully free market.


And what are these reasons?

epete wrote:
I definitely agree that they have benefited. The problem is as I highlighted with the slavery analogy. Just because they are better off, does that mean what we are doing is moral? Particularly in light of the fact that it doesn't have to be a 'race to the bottom'. It could be a race to cheaper production in the west, while providing a solid living wage and employment conditions in the much cheaper third world.


I think we should do more for the world's poor. I think people are incredibly selfish and give far too little of their income to charity. I think a much larger share of the U.S.'s government spending should be directed to effective means of alleviating poverty. That being said, I'm not going to oppose something (free trade) that helps the poor just because there are other things we should do to help the poor as well.

epete wrote:
Ok, I don't actually know what Walmart sells. I just thought it would be equivalent to the giant big box stores we have here. And as a general rule, they sell cheap chinese crap. It's a conundrum, and I'm not really sure on what the best answer to it is. The problem I think we have as western societies, is that we are driven by marketing and advertising to always strive for more bling and more "stuff". Somehow we need to train ourselves to be more content with less. This would also help alleviate the massive personal debt problem most of our western countries face.


Cheap products are oftentimes better than no products at all, which is frequently the alternative when the poor do not have access to stores like Walmart. I do agree that people are far too obsessed with consuming things they don't need.

So, in conclusion: it seems like we actually agree quite a bit on these issues. My positions are as follows; let me know where you disagree and tell me what exactly your problems are, because if there is still disagreement I'm failing to spot where it lies.

1. Tenure for teachers is detrimental to students.
2. Metrics that show that teachers are doing a bad job should be used as justifications to fire teachers.
3. Teachers should be paid more to attract more talent.
4. Free trade is beneficial for developing nations where corporations outsource production facilities.
5. Markets are often, but not always, useful in allocating goods and services efficiently.
6. Developed nations bear responsibility for reducing their environmental impact because they are the primary contributors.

Loren Michael wrote:At least with respect to America, I think there should be a much clearer line separating what the Right apparently desires politically given legislative pushes and successes (its actions), and what the right supports in words. The right in America doesn't support freer markets or freer trade except insofar as those policies benefit its relatively narrow constituency of established businesses and their owners.


Yes, but my OP referred to the right globally. When I was referring to the Right in the US specifically, I said so, as in 2 and 4.

Loren Michael wrote:
I do like the emphasis on free trade, but the right are terrible boosters for it. They boost freer trade to the extent that it, again, supports their narrow interests, and no further.


Do you have any examples to back this up? I've actually been under the impression that Republicans are pretty consistently pro free trade with few if any caveats, which may be completely wrong. I can think of the Cuban embargo...

Loren Michael wrote:
I would argue that the right in America does a disservice to the eminently worthy cause of free trade because it sets free trade as the opponent of a lot of left-of-center ideals, so the relatively economically-illiterate-but-moneyed-left opens itself to exploitation by marketing schemes like "fair trade", "buy America" and the local food movement and such.


Can you elaborate further on this?

Loren Michael wrote:
I can think of a lot of things the left (as it were) gets wrong. I don't know that necessarily overlaps with something the right gets right. I see that the OP has at least taken the approach of noting a few occasions where an ideal on the right has been overshot into being problematic.


True. In the case of Charter Schools, for instance, the right is typically more pro-charter school than the left, but many on the right also want to do away with public schools entirely and replace them with tuition vouchers (although I am open to persuasion on that issue). Many on the left want to make college education universal, which strikes me as utterly asinine, but the right has no more intelligent position on higher education, and often undervalues education generally.
Last edited by UtilityMonster on Apr 27, 2013 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What the Right is right about

#23  Postby Steve » Apr 27, 2013 7:57 pm

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Re: What the Right is right about

#24  Postby chairman bill » Apr 27, 2013 9:09 pm

UtilityMonster wrote:I don't see what practical policy implications are derived from this.


It's quite simple. Resources are unfairly & unjustly apportioned. This gives some people an advantage that they would not usually have, and one that many can exploit to their benefit, without those denied that advantage having an opportunity to do similar. Capitalism is predicated on some having ownership & others not, yet the disparity in ownership is based on unfairness & often historical illegality and/or acts of power over others.

The practical policy implications are for a society that seeks to right these historical wrongs & provide a fairer society. That will not be a capitalist society.
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Re: What the Right is right about

#25  Postby iamthereforeithink » Apr 27, 2013 10:07 pm

Bookmarking this for later :coffee:
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Re: What the Right is right about

#26  Postby Macdoc » Apr 27, 2013 10:15 pm

Capitalism is predicated on some having ownership & others not,


That's a bit misleading....there is a broad cross section of people that do not want to take the risks that owners/operators aka capitalists undertake. An unfair society restricts access to ownership. There is nothing in capitalism that automatically makes restricted access a reality.
One role of government is to ensure that consolidation and trusts do not occur that prevent access. It's why we have competition watchdogs etc and regulations to at least attempt a fair playing field.
( see the history of MIcrosoft for a clear example of abuse of a standard and some remedy by regulation ).

based on unfairness & often historical illegality and/or acts of power over others.

that is predation...it has nothing to do with capitalism .....it can be applied to ANY group or person or system that is granted or takes unfair terms of practice that lead to their enrichment at the expense of others.

A capitalist or corporation can predatory.
Union leadership can be predatory
Government can be predatory
An individual or gang can be predatory.
A "religion" can be predatory

all of the above can be predatory based on

unfairness & often historical illegality and/or acts of power over others

Regulation attempts to prevent predation ( ie minority shareholders rights )
Product safety
Laws against criminal activity in many arenas.
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Re: What the Right is right about

#27  Postby Loren Michael » Apr 28, 2013 3:22 am

chairman bill wrote:
UtilityMonster wrote:I don't see what practical policy implications are derived from this.


It's quite simple. Resources are unfairly & unjustly apportioned. This gives some people an advantage that they would not usually have, and one that many can exploit to their benefit, without those denied that advantage having an opportunity to do similar. Capitalism is predicated on some having ownership & others not, yet the disparity in ownership is based on unfairness & often historical illegality and/or acts of power over others.

The practical policy implications are for a society that seeks to right these historical wrongs & provide a fairer society. That will not be a capitalist society.


That's all entirely doable in the context of a capitalist system.
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Re: What the Right is right about

#28  Postby Loren Michael » Apr 28, 2013 3:46 am

UtilityMonster wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:At least with respect to America, I think there should be a much clearer line separating what the Right apparently desires politically given legislative pushes and successes (its actions), and what the right supports in words. The right in America doesn't support freer markets or freer trade except insofar as those policies benefit its relatively narrow constituency of established businesses and their owners.


Yes, but my OP referred to the right globally. When I was referring to the Right in the US specifically, I said so, as in 2 and 4.


There may still be a deep divide between words and action. I'm only less sure of that outside of America, not saying that it's only an American thing. My wholly unstudied impression is that there's still a protect-the-insiders, advancement-is-dependent-on-connections dynamic that the right protects in a lot of other places.

Loren Michael wrote:
I do like the emphasis on free trade, but the right are terrible boosters for it. They boost freer trade to the extent that it, again, supports their narrow interests, and no further.


Do you have any examples to back this up? I've actually been under the impression that Republicans are pretty consistently pro free trade with few if any caveats, which may be completely wrong. I can think of the Cuban embargo...


This book is a tome of right wing hypocrisy in America. Here is one example on trade:

A conscious goal of trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is to make it as easy as possible for U.S. manufacturers to relocate their operations to Mexico and other developing countries. This has the effect of putting U.S. manufacturing workers in direct competition with low-paid workers in the developing world. The predicted and actual result of this policy is to eliminate jobs in manufacturing in the U.S. and to put downward pressure on the wages of the workers still employed in the sector. It is important to realize that these deals have nothing to do with free trade, even though all the pacts are called free trade agreements to make them sound more appealing to the general public, or at least to the pundits who like to think of themselves as supporters of free trade. These agreements do little to undermine the legal and professional barriers that protect highly educated professionals from competing with their lower-paid counterparts in the developing world.

Just as trade models show that U.S. consumers can benefit from having work performed by low-paid manufacturing workers in the developing world, the same models show that U.S. consumers can benefit from having access to low-paid professionals from the developing world. The developing world has an enormous pool of highly educated workers, some of whom are already trained to U.S. standards, and many more of whom could and would be trained to U.S. standards, if there were a reason. Because these workers live in countries that are much poorer than the United States, they would be willing to work for wages that are far lower than their professional counterparts here, just as in the case of manufacturing workers in the developing world.

However, free-trade agreements are not designed to free trade in professional services. In drafting NAFTA, U.S. trade negotiators eagerly sought out the opinion of manufacturers, asking them to identify obstacles that prevented them from relocating operations to Mexico and other developing countries, but there was no comparable outreach to hospital administrators or law firms to determine the barriers that prevented them from hiring low-paid (but highly qualified) doctors and lawyers from India or Mexico.


[...]

The irony of free trade is that the market actually favors progressive outcomes. If the barriers that protect the most highly paid professionals can be weakened or eliminated, the bulk of the population will benefit. Essentially, progressives should want a free market.

While it is simple to envision policy changes that would ensure that trade benefits the bulk of the population rather than simply redistributing income upward, as a practical matter such policies have no chance in Washington for the foreseeable future. There is no organized constituency arguing for a forward-thinking trade policy that would benefit those at the middle and bottom, and the debate is completely controlled by people who benefit from the status quo.


Loren Michael wrote:
I would argue that the right in America does a disservice to the eminently worthy cause of free trade because it sets free trade as the opponent of a lot of left-of-center ideals, so the relatively economically-illiterate-but-moneyed-left opens itself to exploitation by marketing schemes like "fair trade", "buy America" and the local food movement and such.


Can you elaborate further on this?


See the last two paragraphs quoted from the book above. Right wing upper-income protectionism is taken for granted, which means there's an assumption that the status quo is something akin to free trade. It's not. It's upper class protectionism, free(ish) trade for other sectors.
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Re: What the Right is right about

#29  Postby Macdoc » Apr 28, 2013 4:23 am

I really detest the term free trade as there is no such thing as a free market either - the latter is an oxymoron.

Transparent trade or fair trade is fine.
Lowering trade barriers as well and reducing protectionism tho I think the latter ha gone too far.

The right in the US has traditionally been insular and against American participation in foreign involvement

The radical and religious right in the US are a bunch of hooligans currently with no relation to progressive centrists that are fiscally conservative and yet socially responsible.
Unfortunately Karl Rove's brand of obstructive and negative campaigning and policy initiatives has spread elsewhere.

The US - especially under Bush was slipping toward fascism.

"If Mussolini defines fascism as "the merger of corporate and government power" what does that make the Republican party?"

1.) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

3.) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

4.) Supremacy of the Military

5.) Rampant Sexism

6.) Controlled Mass Media

7.) Obsession with National Security

8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined

9.) Corporate Power is Protected

10.) Labor Power is Suppressed

11.) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

12.) Obsession with Crime and Punishment

13.) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

14.) Fraudulent Elections


Here it is expanded with specific examples

14 Points of fascism

In his original article, "Fascism Anyone?", Laurence Britt (interview) compared the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet and identified 14 characteristics common to those fascist regimes. This page is a collection of news articles dating from the start of the Bush presidency divided into topics relating to each of the 14 points of fascism.


http://lege.net/blog.lege.net/redirect/ ... arkiv.html

The US right is off the charts in all except a few military juntas worldwide.

The US left would be considered right wing most everywhere else tho Herr Harper in Canada is doing a good imitation of the anti-democratic activity of the US right. Perhaps in some ways even worse.
A google on Herr Harper produces lots of information in that regard and subverted democracy is now and issue with over 60% of Canadian voters.

Fortunately in the US stupid white men ala Michael Moore are now outnumbered. - Shrinking pool of predators fighting to maintain their privilege.

Obama is a pretty decent centrist as the rest of the planet recognises.
The right wing in the US currently bears little relation to the GOP of the past.
That was why Nancy Eisenhower resigned the party of her father and why Colin Powell voted for Obama ( Powell might well have won for the Repubs but wisely refused to run for fear of being assassinated. )

This about sums up the current "right" in the US.

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Arguing that they have some "good points" is fruitless as the radical whackos are the policy makers and the centrists MIA. :coffee:
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Re: What the Right is right about

#30  Postby Loren Michael » Apr 28, 2013 4:28 am

Macdoc wrote:I really detest the term free trade as there is no such thing as a free market either - the latter is an oxymoron.

Transparent trade or fair trade is fine.
Lowering trade barriers as well and reducing protectionism tho I think the latter ha gone too far.


What is "transparent trade"? What is "fair trade"? Free trade is simple enough, the lowering of barriers to trade. It's difficult if not impossible to realize perfectly, given the existence of physical and temporal barriers for many things (in addition to legal ones).

What has gone too far and how do you figure that it has gone too far? What is optimal policy to you?
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Re: What the Right is right about

#31  Postby Macdoc » Apr 28, 2013 2:50 pm

No it's not - free trade implies no oversight and that is never the case as you acknowledge. ( it's a code word the right uses to escape oversight ).
Free trade implies buying banana's from a Brazilian supplier and loading up a ship and sailing them into Toronto with no oversight at either end.
Lowering the barriers is not free trade....it's simply lowering the friction in the trading structure - an admirable thing.

Transparent trade reduces the physical barriers and paper work barriers and makes the decision system open to scrutiny say as to bidding decisions.

Fair trade is a somewhat different issue - as it seeks to make trades between nations equitable or agreeable to both ( instead of coercive ) and in common usage seeks to reward the producers of the goods equitably...ie child labour, indentured coffee farmers etc.
It can be a strong policy tool to encourage reductions in human abuse.
Simply limiting or eliminating the barriers does nothing to achieve those goals and opens the door to laissez faire abuses.

Reducing the barriers to open trading ( say as does not exist between US and Cuba but does with Canada and Cuba ) leaves oversight in place.

I do think national governments have some responsibility to local industry when dumping etc and predatory practices result in an uneven playing field.

Norway does a sterling job of protecting it's local industries while still being a vibrant trading nation.
I want to see pragmatic solutions in trade that reduce the friction of national ( and even local state ) barriers while still maintaining oversight.

The introduction of state capitalism is problematic tho it's always been around ( Boeing and military contracts for instance ).

China's failure to let it's currency float is an example of unfair trade practice as is Japan's ridiculous barriers to foreign vehicles.
Even things like Canada's bilingual rules can be an impediment to trade.
The US and Europe's agriculture subsidies are another unfair trade position.

••••

Re my comment on the GOP being non - interventionist historically

Old Right (United States)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Old Right is a branch of American conservatism that was most active in the early 20th Century and opposed both New Deal domestic programs of the 1930s and U.S. entry into World War I and World War II.

Many members of this faction were associated with the Republicans of the interwar years led by Robert Taft and Herbert Hoover. Some were Democrats. They were called the "Old Right" to distinguish them from their New Right successors, such as Barry Goldwater, who came to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s and favored an interventionist foreign policy to battle international communism.
Many members of the Old Right favored laissez-faire classical liberalism; some were business-oriented conservatives; others were ex-radicals who moved sharply to the right, like the novelist John Dos Passos; still others, like the Southern Agrarians, were traditionalists who dreamed of restoring a premodern communal society.[1]
The Old Right's devotion to anti-imperialism were at odds with the spreading of progressive culture and global democracy, the top-down transformation of local heritage, social and institutional engineering of the political Left and even some from the modern Right-wing.

The Old Right per se has faded as an organized movement, but many similar ideas are found amongst paleoconservatives and paleolibertarians.


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Re: What the Right is right about

#32  Postby epete » Apr 29, 2013 3:29 am

UtilityMonster wrote:
epete wrote:
Also, just FYI, the U.S. spends more per pupil on education than any other nation in the world. This is all the evidence you need that the problem is not one of funding.


True. But it's also, like most sectors of our society/economy, about how the funding is used and where it is directed.


Right, allocation is important. Many on the left say U.S. education is underfunded, though. This is only true if they think all public education everywhere is underfunded, which is probably not true. The problem, though, is that we waste a lot of the money we spend on education.


I agree, but I don't necessarily think it is any worse in teaching as it is in any other bureaucratic funding area.

epete wrote:
Hang on. YOU haven't provided any evidence that this is accounted for by administrators, so why would you chastise me for not providing evidence to counter it? I've seen and read reports on this, as it's been quite a big issue here in Australia for the last decade at least. When I get time, I'll see if I can google some reports.


If it wasn't accounted for by adminstrators, teachers at low income public schools would be being fired left and right, because student educational outcomes are so horrendous at these schools. This is not the case, so clearly administrators are taking this into account.


What's "clear" is that you aren't following your own argument. A couple of posts ago you were telling us it is basically impossible to fire a teacher. So which is it? Is it impossible, or are administrators protecting rubbish teachers? :coffee:

epete wrote:
You need to ban yourself for continually raising idiotic strawmen.


It isn't a strawman - you said:
epete wrote:
I think the real debate is around rewarding "good" teachers and essentially punishing those seen to be not as good. I think it's an impossible metric to determine while ever there are so many other critical factors determining how well kids do


If your conception of "impossible" is more nuanced then the word impossible implies, you should have clarified your meaning more precisely. As it stood, my interpretation that you were saying it was impossible to gauge teacher quality was correct. I'm glad you agree it is possible to determine teacher quality, at least to some extent. Do you also agree that this information should be used to determine stuff like tenure, pay, and whether teachers should be fired?


Do you make it a habit of quote mining? This is what you said, and was WHAT I was responding to: "You have not addressed the point that teachers can be watched in class by experts to determine their competency. By your logic, we should just hire people who are qualified and then, unless they commit some crime or violate some important rule, just say "fuck it" and not try anything to determine who is doing their job well and who is doing it poorly. It is patently ridiculous to draw such a strong conclusion from the few points you made."

That is a fucking giant strawman and has nothing to do with the "impossible" argumentj or any view that I hold. And further, I addressed the "impossible" argument DIRECTLY after this in the next paragraph, by stating that it ISN'T impossible. Why did you not respond to that? :ask: Cut the bullshit debating tactics out.


epete wrote:
But as you can probably guess, even if it was properly "free", I wouldn't support it for the same reasons I don't support a fully free market.


And what are these reasons?


In any market that doesn't protect the weak from the strong, then it by far will favour the strong. That's why inequality grows the more protective/redistributive regulations disappear. In terms of trade, the West has the strength due to their economic size, military power, and mature productive industries. That's a massive power imbalance. The weak need sheltering from this overpowering imbalance.

epete wrote:
I definitely agree that they have benefited. The problem is as I highlighted with the slavery analogy. Just because they are better off, does that mean what we are doing is moral? Particularly in light of the fact that it doesn't have to be a 'race to the bottom'. It could be a race to cheaper production in the west, while providing a solid living wage and employment conditions in the much cheaper third world.


I think we should do more for the world's poor. I think people are incredibly selfish and give far too little of their income to charity. I think a much larger share of the U.S.'s government spending should be directed to effective means of alleviating poverty. That being said, I'm not going to oppose something (free trade) that helps the poor just because there are other things we should do to help the poor as well.


Why not fight for the better option? The strong advocates of "free" trade over "fair" trade only come across as supporting a selfish system where the West gets the absolute optimum out of the deal, and the developing world gets the scraps. That's great for the West, and better than the status quo for the developing world, but not particularly fair, and not anywhere near the best for the developing world.


So, in conclusion: it seems like we actually agree quite a bit on these issues. My positions are as follows; let me know where you disagree and tell me what exactly your problems are, because if there is still disagreement I'm failing to spot where it lies.

1. Tenure for teachers is detrimental to students.


I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "tenure". I think job security is important for all employees, as a matter of both fairness and good social practice. That's why I support Unions, as without them we would all be working 14 hour days for scraps. I do think, however, we need to find the right balance between giving job security and good support to our employees, and being able to let the underperforming ones go.

2. Metrics that show that teachers are doing a bad job should be used as justifications to fire teachers.


Depends on the metrics. As I said, it seems that most of the metrics are not necessarily the best things to teach the students. And doing a sort of pre- and post- comparison of achievement of a certain teacher's students will run into statistical challenges due to the small numbers involved and the large number of confounding factors.

So, in principle, I agree with you, but in practice I'm yet to be convinced how this would work.


3. Teachers should be paid more to attract more talent.


Definitely. But I think every worker should be paid more too. :mrgreen:

4. Free trade is beneficial for developing nations where corporations outsource production facilities.


Yep. But fair trade is more beneficial.


5. Markets are often, but not always, useful in allocating goods and services efficiently.


Haha, well it depends where we draw the line between "often" and "not always". In general, I guess I would agree with you. But I suspect I would think there area lot more "not always's" than you would think.

6. Developed nations bear responsibility for reducing their environmental impact because they are the primary contributors.


Definitely.

Loren Michael wrote:
I would argue that the right in America does a disservice to the eminently worthy cause of free trade because it sets free trade as the opponent of a lot of left-of-center ideals, so the relatively economically-illiterate-but-moneyed-left opens itself to exploitation by marketing schemes like "fair trade", "buy America" and the local food movement and such.


Can you elaborate further on this?


Yeah, I'd like to hear more elaborating on this too.
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Re: What the Right is right about

#33  Postby Loren Michael » Apr 29, 2013 3:36 am

Macdoc wrote:No it's not - free trade implies no oversight and that is never the case as you acknowledge. ( it's a code word the right uses to escape oversight ).
Free trade implies buying banana's from a Brazilian supplier and loading up a ship and sailing them into Toronto with no oversight at either end.

Lowering the barriers is not free trade....it's simply lowering the friction in the trading structure - an admirable thing.


Reducing tariffs and quotas doesn't constitute "free trade", but I'm not sure how one would argue that they're not freeing trade.

What "free trade" implies depends on who one asks. That people so frequently overlook labor mobility/migration when considering freedom of trade for example, that's a massive oversight I think.

Transparent trade reduces the physical barriers and paper work barriers and makes the decision system open to scrutiny say as to bidding decisions.

Fair trade is a somewhat different issue - as it seeks to make trades between nations equitable or agreeable to both ( instead of coercive ) and in common usage seeks to reward the producers of the goods equitably...ie child labour, indentured coffee farmers etc.
It can be a strong policy tool to encourage reductions in human abuse.


Are these your terms, or are you thinking of some movement/organization(s) in particular? I'm familiar with various understandings of "fair trade", which typically either involves no trade until high, rich-country standards are met, and I'm familiar with the labeling scheme. I view both of these as being bad for poor people, and not very good for rich people.

Simply limiting or eliminating the barriers does nothing to achieve those goals and opens the door to laissez faire abuses.


I disagree, but perhaps that's because of my understanding of free trade that includes labor.
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Re: What the Right is right about

#34  Postby epete » Apr 29, 2013 3:39 am

Loren Michael wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
I would argue that the right in America does a disservice to the eminently worthy cause of free trade because it sets free trade as the opponent of a lot of left-of-center ideals, so the relatively economically-illiterate-but-moneyed-left opens itself to exploitation by marketing schemes like "fair trade", "buy America" and the local food movement and such.


Can you elaborate further on this?


See the last two paragraphs quoted from the book above. Right wing upper-income protectionism is taken for granted, which means there's an assumption that the status quo is something akin to free trade. It's not. It's upper class protectionism, free(ish) trade for other sectors.


That's not much of an elaboration. Why is "fair trade" a "marketing scheme" and why is it presumably an economically illiterate strategy? And the same goes for the local food/product movements (although, in their case, there definitely is a marketing movement involved; but this doesn't negate any possibly benefits from it).
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Re: What the Right is right about

#35  Postby Loren Michael » Apr 29, 2013 3:59 am

epete wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
I would argue that the right in America does a disservice to the eminently worthy cause of free trade because it sets free trade as the opponent of a lot of left-of-center ideals, so the relatively economically-illiterate-but-moneyed-left opens itself to exploitation by marketing schemes like "fair trade", "buy America" and the local food movement and such.


Can you elaborate further on this?


See the last two paragraphs quoted from the book above. Right wing upper-income protectionism is taken for granted, which means there's an assumption that the status quo is something akin to free trade. It's not. It's upper class protectionism, free(ish) trade for other sectors.


That's not much of an elaboration. Why is "fair trade" a "marketing scheme" and why is it presumably an economically illiterate strategy? And the same goes for the local food/product movements (although, in their case, there definitely is a marketing movement involved; but this doesn't negate any possibly benefits from it).


It depends on which "fair trade" we're talking about. There's the labeling scheme, and you can read some criticism at that link, or at this one:

Coffee farms must not be more than 12 acres in size and they are not allowed to employ any full-time workers. This means that during harvest season migrant workers must be employed on short-term contracts. These rural poor are therefore expressly excluded from the stability of long-term employment by Fairtrade rules. Indeed, The International Development Committee declared in 2007 that "Fairtrade could have a deeper impact if it were to target more consciously the poorest of the poor".

We might think of sub-Saharan subsistence economies when we think of Fairtrade, but the biggest recipient of Fairtrade subsidy is actually Mexico. Mexico is the biggest producer of Fairtrade coffee with about 23% market share. Indeed, as of 2002, 181 of the 300 Fairtrade coffee producers were located in South America and the Caribbean. As Marc Sidwell points out, while Mexico has 51 Fairtrade producers, Burundi has none, Ethiopia four and Rwanda just 10 – meaning that "Fairtrade pays to support relatively wealthy Mexican coffee farmers at the expense of poorer nations".

Another criticism is over institutional inefficiencies. The vast majority of the money from Fairtrade sales remains in the west – with only about 5% of the Fairtrade sale price actually making it back to the farmers. As Philip Oppenheim says, "any intelligent person will ask why I should pay 80p more for my bananas when only 5p will end up with the producer".
[Marketing scheme. -LM] Fundamental to the failure of wealth transfer are issues such as the fact that while 90% of the world's cocoa is produced in the developing world, only 4% of the chocolate is produced there. Developing countries remain locked in the primary sector commodities market, while the west cashes in on their value-added conversion.

Or, are we talking about more general notions like the ones espoused here in response to the West, Texas explosion and the recent Bangladesh factory collapse:

I argue that we should apply U.S. labor law to all American corporations, no matter where they site their factory. If a worker dies in a factory that makes clothing for your company, the company is responsible. In my mind, this is the only way to fight the outsourcing epidemic that provides a cover for irresponsible corporate policies. The injured workers and the families of the dead deserve financial compensation. The American corporations who buy the clothes produced by this factory should be required to pay American rates of workers compensation. Ultimately, we need international standards for factory safety, guaranteed through an international agency that includes vigorous inspections and real financial punishments. Of course, we are a long ways from any of this. But we have to begin at least talking in these terms, demanding accountability for workplace deaths, whether in the United States or in Bangladesh.

This has the problem of essentially banning sweatshops by raising the cost of entry into the global market such that poorer nations are locked out, which means that people in poor countries are stuck doing non-sweatshop work. This sounds great until one realizes that non-sweatshop work alternatives in undeveloped/developing nations is typically much, much worse than sweatshop work. Consider the flocking of Chinese people from the hinterlands to the coast, frequently overwhelming internal migration quotas and creating a market for illegal migrant labor of Chinese people in China. They're are and have been going to where conditions and opportunities are better than before.

Or is there something else you have in mind?
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Re: What the Right is right about

#36  Postby epete » Apr 29, 2013 4:25 am

Ok, that makes sense (re the marketing thing). No, I'm talking about something that would reflect the concept of "fair". That is, the balance between the relative benefits to the developed and developing nations would be more even, i.e. fair.

I didn't read the article that you linked for the last quote, but it's not clear from the quote when they talk about "American rates" if they mean an absolute rate or a relative rate. I.e. a set sum of money, or a set number of days at the local pay rate.

Either way, this is often the simplistic dismissal you hear from people. I don't know whether you are a conservative or not, but conservatives always couch things in false dichotomies. It's either "race to the bottom" or it's "pay western wages in a third-world countries". There is an in-between. The developed world companies will not make as much money (given the exact same market) if they pay the developing world employees more. But that does not mean that they will cease to make money (which is what the false dichotomy is). This is basically the same argument you hear against rises in minimum wages and corporations tax here in the West. There's always a scare campaign that people won't be able to afford to do business. Well, no. It actually turns out that they are only arguing this line as it is not in their interest to earn less than they maximally could. But the economic world continues to function when minimum wages and/or taxes go up. As I expect it would be if western countries were forced to pay more for labour and safe working environments/practices in the developing world.
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Re: What the Right is right about

#37  Postby Loren Michael » Apr 29, 2013 5:16 am

epete wrote:I'm talking about something that would reflect the concept of "fair". That is, the balance between the relative benefits to the developed and developing nations would be more even, i.e. fair.


I'm not sure how that could even begin to be calculated. With many people who aren't from rich countries, extremely marginal benefits from the perspective of the rich person translate into watershed events from the perspective of someone from an undeveloped or developing country.

But the economic world continues to function when minimum wages and/or taxes go up. As I expect it would be if western countries were forced to pay more for labour and safe working environments/practices in the developing world.


"...continues to function" isn't what people are concerned about except in hyperbolic terms. "Continues to function" is the minimum standard, not the standard. An economy can continue to function with a system that redistributes income to the top 1%. That's hardly optimal or desirable except for possibly the people at the top.
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Re: What the Right is right about

#38  Postby epete » Apr 29, 2013 8:10 am

Loren Michael wrote:
epete wrote:I'm talking about something that would reflect the concept of "fair". That is, the balance between the relative benefits to the developed and developing nations would be more even, i.e. fair.


I'm not sure how that could even begin to be calculated. With many people who aren't from rich countries, extremely marginal benefits from the perspective of the rich person translate into watershed events from the perspective of someone from an undeveloped or developing country.


That's why I said "relative". I think from what you've written in this thread that you'd agree with me that "free" trade favours the developed countries more or less maximally, while only provided only slightly more than minimal benefits to developing countries. While we can probably never pre-specify the mix, I think even you would agree that we can qualitatively change the mix to be more favourable to the developing countries while still being favourable to the developed world.


But the economic world continues to function when minimum wages and/or taxes go up. As I expect it would be if western countries were forced to pay more for labour and safe working environments/practices in the developing world.


"...continues to function" isn't what people are concerned about except in hyperbolic terms.


Hyperbolic terms is what we hear in the standard political debate, and certainly from the more anarcho-capitalistic economists.

"Continues to function" is the minimum standard, not the standard. An economy can continue to function with a system that redistributes income to the top 1%. That's hardly optimal or desirable except for possibly the people at the top.


That's nice. That does nothing to address what I actually said. The point is that the current system is designed to be optimal for the developed world, while somewhat better (than status quo) for the developing world. The developed world can afford to sacrifice a bit of the gains it gets from a rigged "free" trade system, and thereby benefiting the developing world more, and still gain great advantages over a non-globalised system.
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Re: What the Right is right about

#39  Postby Strontium Dog » Apr 29, 2013 10:50 am

Macdoc wrote:I really detest the term free trade as there is no such thing as a free market either - the latter is an oxymoron.


It's not helped by the fact that there seems to be several competing definitions of "free market". When I talk about a free market, I mean a market in which competitors are free to operate, where barriers to entry are low and nobody can rig the game. When Leftist critics talk about a "free market", they seem to believe it's a market that is entirely free from regulation, a laissez-faire free for all in which anything goes. I think the latter is a straw man that doesn't really exist outside the wet dreams of anarcho-capitalists or the nightmares of socialists.
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Re: What the Right is right about

#40  Postby Macdoc » Apr 29, 2013 11:19 am

Then why use a foggy term??

And you ists do nothing to further the conversation other than point out your lack of grey scale and us and them mind set.

Discuss the level of market regulation and reduction in friction rather than some meaningless sound bite like free market which IS an oxymoron. :coffee:
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