Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pol. Ideology 46: Misunderstanding Adam Smith

Last Monday, July 08, I posted Pol. Ideology 45: Left Intellectualism Means Abandonment of Socialism in my facebook wall. It attracted another round of long discourse. Thanks to fellow UP ETCer (younger batch) Mel, Mike, Shakaru, for that long exchange from July 08-10, 2013.

While the debate still focuses on whether we should have a BIG or small/limited government, one source of confusion is a misunderstanding of some quotes from  Adam Smith’s book, The Wealth of Nations.

This is 12 pages long, 6,100+ words, so grab a can of your favorite drinks and enjoy.

Mel Lorenzo Accad Interesting sir! I'm reading it
 cc: Sir Gerry, May I know your comment on this? 

Sir Nonoy, how sure are you that you have defined socialism accurately? as pointed out by sir Gerry in one of my previous posts. What are your sources po para naman maiwasan natin ang strawman arguments. 

Nonoy Oplas It's there. "Things should be socialized always -- education, healthcare, housing, pension, transpo, agri, etc. Including your own pockets, savings, they should be socialized. Diversity and inequality, spontaneity and innovation, should be restricted if not controlled whenever possible. Things should be harmonized, standardized, uniformized, monotonized, in order to prevent inequality, massive and scary inequality."

Mel Lorenzo Accad Sir Nonoy, here are my comments (I also posted them in the main blog):

"Let me be clear with my assumptions:
1. Every political rule is a "dictatorship" in one way or another.
-Example, democracy is dictatorship of the majority over the minority, capitalism is dictatorship of those who are economically-abled over those who are not economically-abled, socialism is the dictatorship of the "people" over all (I really hope that I defined them very well so as to avoid strawman arguments. I hate strawman arguments, BTW)

2. So if we say that socialism is machine that creates dictatorship, what then can we call capitalism?

3. I believe that capitalism and socialism have advantages and disadvantages (we should only be aware of their SIDE EFFECTS and how do we minimize them).

4. Capitalism has created so wide inequality to the extent that everyone has differing in their competitiveness, hence there's a long run possibility of rise of monopolies (even those that are not natural monopoly due to technological advantages).

5. Final question, what then are these side effects of every political rules that we should be aware of? How should we minimize them? WHAT IS OUR COMMON GOAL AT THE END OF THE DAY?

6. I don't have the monopoly of truth. There are grave consequences of assuming that we have monopoly of truth.


Nonoy Oplas Thanks Mel. First of all, I think you should start blogging. Just copy-paste those that you already posted in fb, they are long blog articles already.

To your points:
1. Yes, All forms of pol rule is dictatorship and coercion. The free market philosophy, the minarchy libertarin especially does not rule out lhaving coercion in our lives, hence the advocacy for "limited government" vs the "zero government" position of libertarian anarchy.

2. Free market capitalism is based on voluntary exchange. I sell you tomatoes at this price. If you like them, you pay and go home. If you don't like them, you just walk away and find another seller. Then I go to another buyer and offer my tomatoes. Zero coercion in a voluntary exchange set up.

3. Yes they do. It depends on what you wish to achieve. If you want to respect diversity and spontaneity, free market capitalism is the way because under capitalism, diversity is not allowed. YOu cannot be very efficient then be very rich, the state will confiscate your extra income, your extra cash, your extra car, extra land.

4. Free people are not equal, and equal people are not free. There is no limit to what the super-efficient, super-hard working, super-ambitious people can achieve. Meanwhile, some people have zero ambition, just have a party as often as possible, get subsidies from siblings or from the state. As time passes by, the inequality between these two extremes widen. Some in the middle class join the super rich later. Inequality is necessary if you want a free society.

5. Common goal at the end of the day is -- individual liberty. Individual responsibility. One's stupidity and irresponsibility should not be blamed to anyone else. One's efficiency and fruits of hard work should not be confiscated to be given to everyone else.

6. The only absolute truth in this life are change, death and government/taxes.

Perez Michael Bautista we should also adhere to the ideals of socialism! that we are all created equal and the rule of law should be applied to all no exemptions. 

Mel Lorenzo Accad Sir Nonoy,
I really wish that I can write full length blogs. However, there are costs to doing it. First, many "ordinary" people won't bother to read long blogs because of the seemingly high opportunity cost of their time (in other words, they want convenience. :P). Secondly, I don't have enough time to fully substantiate my fb posts because of my MA Econ errands (They are very many. Going online and posting some musings are just done in my spare time. Maybe in the future when I have enough time, I'll post a lot of things. Hehe)

1. That's the beauty of free market, no one SEEMS to be coerced. I say "seems" because it's true on the face value. Consider this, will a very talented poor lady in the very far-flung area will be discovered by market system? Definitely, there's possibility that she'll be discovered with very low transactions costs, transportation costs, living costs, etc. She can go to manila and join auditions. However, she's economically constrained compared to those well-fed anak-ng-mayaman in manila who can easily attend auditions for no costs already. Where is the value of equality of opportunity there? If we give the talented lady from the far-flung area, an equal chance to be discovered as those anak-ng-mayaman in manila, WILL THE SOCIETY BE BETTER OFF? Of course, yes! Because we have already discovered a very talented promdi who could give huge positive externalities from her talent. BUT HER ECONOMIC CONSTRAINTS have left her almost without value.

2. My example has justified to give equal chances to everyone. Equivalently, it justifies leveling the playing field for HIGHER SOCIAL GOOD. Meaning, if we were able to equate the opportunity cost of anak-ng-mayaman and the promdi, we are able to TRULY measure their talents (instead of their chance to be discovered is determined by their background economic constraints.). Should we say then to tax the rich so that there's equal opportunity for all (and be measure not in terms of economic constraints by our innate abilities?

3. My previous question begs for deeper and nitty-gritty analysis that no simple example can capture. Hence, the role of academics (assuming they are fully equipped with tools to solve the problem. ASSUMING, they have also the same goal which is HIGHER SOCIAL GOOD.)

4. Did we invalidate Adam Smith's invisible hand theory? Definitely not. We actually gave him justice for he had assumed institutional equality for all where he established his conclusion about invisible hand. WE SHOULD BE REMINDED ABOUT THIS.

THEREFORE, we cannot proceed to big policy implications without being aware of the institutional backgrounds our analysis can only work in.

Shakaru Macht “Free market capitalism is based on voluntary exchange. I sell you tomatoes at this price….”

Well, the same goes for defense: You opt to be a member of a certain militia, and it decides that military training must be done by all members every six months. Either you influence them to get your way (whether you want it more or less frequent); otherwise, you are always free to leave the group, find another or even found another one... You can also opt for a private defense (similar to how we have security guards at big offices and establishments including that of the government's), and if you don't want the price, find for another... In fact, you want neither the policies of a militia or the payment schedules of a defense agency??? So well you're always free to make your own defense!!! Tell me, where is coercion in any of these cases when everything in these cases is purely voluntary??? At the very same time, where is coercion when there are many alternatives that you can mix and match??? Do you think you are forced to swallow low-quality service (which is coercion!) in a free-market when in fact, you can opt for another??? Just tell your big government to coerce people unto swallowing the "one defense agency, one arbiter" monopoly system...

I'm just really asking myself how come you can't trust the market to be a provider of defense, arbitration and certification of doctors and medicines... Claiming to be for free markets sir??? Well, I'm a true-blue socialist - and real, authentic socialists support the free market...

Perez Michael Bautista Let us set things straight, may dalawang uri ng tao sa bansa natin. Ang una ang mga tao na natututong mag survive independent and focused on quality offspring. Ang isang uri naman ay ang continuously dependent focused on quantity of offspring and early reproductive capacity.

Shakaru Macht “That's the beauty of free market, no one SEEMS to be coerced. I say "seems" because it's true on the face value…”

In a free market, many people are so free that they can construct roads, provide welfare, regulate social affairs and even make their own defense systems and legal mechanisms out of their own pure initiative... (These activities happened all throughout all places across human history!) But since we don't live in a free market (we have a government whose monopoly on defense, law and road and rail construction is absolute) the promdi is only so sure to be powerless - even if government helps her (which means she becomes dependent on government) instead of working it out all by herself... Well, what if you yourself help her??? If I were in your position - and assuming no government where I need to apply for some "permits and licenses" lest that same government take the fruits of my labor - I myself would've gone there making a road connecting them towards a more accessible place... or at least I would've gone to their place and introduce them to certain talent scout...

I'm only amazed at how you regard the society must be better off - but individuals must never be given attention... Guarantee to individuals a chance to do it by themselves instead of making them dependent on "society"... The COMMON GOOD is in the INDIVIDUAL himself - society won't do that for you...

Perez Michael Bautista continuing my point, the given subjects and the kind of environment you want to implement for example socialism you are creating an environment hostile to the independent type in favor of the r-types and eventually out competes the other. My point is simple, socialists should acquire more knowledge and embrace science (they never did), what they do is to pick a particular variable and generalize the whole system with 2-bit equations (i.e. helping the poor = more taxes on the rich. juan will be fed = take away food from pedro).

Mel Lorenzo Accad Hi Mr. Macht, you have a very huge faith on individual to the extent that you are not aware of the tendency of underprovision of public goods (non-excludable, non-rival goods) (assuming self-interested individuals). Your faith is possible, but reality is far from it. No offense meant.

Have you read the wealth of nations of Adam Smith? I have not yet read the whole book as of the moment, but some part of it are explicit of the dangers of a MINIMAL GOVERNMENT:

Book 5, chapter 1, part II, v. 1.55 (last sentence of the paragraph):
"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is IN REALITY instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."

I would very much appreciate if you can give me your critique on it.

The first duty of the sovereign, that of protecting the society from the violenc...See More

Perez Michael Bautista You can easily identify that using the lens of socialism in solving the problem of humanity doesn't in anyway reflect or atleast a tiny amount of reality.

Mel Lorenzo Accad Who can say what is reality then? I am very explicit to say that I don't have the monopoly of facts. Neither is Adam Smith, nor Karl Marx, nor Engels, Hegel, what have you. Should you say that you have the monopoly of reality?

We only differ in faith in facts. That's it. 

Perez Michael Bautista No my friend, neither of us partake in the mind of God. 
These are all ISMs, its all theories when implemented resulting to different outcomes.
But life is not simple that can be simply represented by a simple idea like capitalism, socialism, other isms.

Shakaru Macht Public goods??? If there are "public goods", people will provide it out of their own initiative... In fact, you can provide it for free (the only rule is simple reciprocity in the form of the golden rule)... For example, I expect that others defend me whenever my house is to be taken over by marauders; so when a marauder is doing his act, then I myself would come to rescue the victim... (History will prove you this; people have formed militias whose members are the residents of the community...)

And the quote you just said is the reason why we should never have governments, period... Instead, take responsibility for defense, welfare and even law... That's the beauty of the FREE MARKET - each and everyone is truly accountable for his actions...

Mel Lorenzo Accad Yes Mr. Bautista, but not to the extent that we become indecisive at the end of the day. We should have goal in mind. For me, that is to broaden higher level of social good. What are your objectives? so that we can measure our means. Hehe  (cool heads, warm hearts)

That what I am talking about Mr. Macht, you have huge faith in individualism, but how far are your faith from the "real" nature of human being today?  Hehe

Perez Michael Bautista nice one. hehehe

Mel Lorenzo Accad Again, let me be clear that we differ in our faiths in individualism, in state, in reality, in facts. BUT LET US NOT TOTALLY invalidate the possibility of other's faith in individualism, in state, in reality, in facts. 

I am aware of the side effects of social-ism (for lack of a better term), like dependence, nannyism, what have you. I concede to that, so please let's move on to the higher debate, are there also good side of social-ism that we can incorporate to the good sides of capital-ism, so that we can have higher social good? That's the better debate I think instead of totally ignoring the other side of the bench. PLEASE ENGAGE THE POINTS NAMAN (yun lang naman gusto kong sabihin).

Perez Michael Bautista Shakaru Macht, When you use a hammer, everything will just look like a nail. Individualism is very very important and should be at priority one. But individualism is not the silver bullet that will solve our problems.

Mel Lorenzo Accad Hear hear to that Mr. Bautista 

Shakaru Macht Well, I support the free market because I'm a socialist... The free market enables us to share our resources to get other resources we can't get by our own labor... At the same time, it guarantees our right to the fruits of our own labor (thereby avoiding alienation of labor!)... Sounds like socialism as stated by Karl Marx, right???

And what government does??? Steal through taxes, claim absolute claim over all land (which nobody produced) and yes, regulate and legislate all remedies to all the problems they create and perpetuate...

Mel Lorenzo Accad Are you aware of the labor theory of value and SURPLUS VALUE of marx? That's the critique of capitalism, that justifies redistribution. PLease critique that, and it's always my pleasure to hear your points. 

Perez Michael Bautista My point is that in every problem you come up with a good idea like these isms and it looks like it can change the outcome lets call it the dependent variable, but reality doesn't operate like that because your independent variable isms are all dependent on many other variables to many other codependent variables as a function of time.

Mel Lorenzo Accad But have I said the dangers of minimal government (as also stated by Adam Smith)? "Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."

 I agree to that Mr. Bautista.

Perez Michael Bautista You must also agree that our expansion of government that we have now a big government is not a product of careful analysis.

This is the very reason why we must support the cause of liberty.. to reboot our society so that we can properly set things in harmony.

Mel Lorenzo Accad I also agree to that to some extent, including lack of self-interest of the bureaucrats to serve the people, MISMANAGEMENT of tax revenues. I JUST WANT TO INCLUDE RELEVANT (and more productive) provision of public goods (that will also lessen dependence) Teach the people how to fish.

Shakaru Macht The free market redistributes that, and how??? If I notice that the capitalist doesn't give me my due (the surplus value), I am always free to team up with other workers and set-up our own enterprise by pooling our resources, or by forming a labor union that would either negotiate for the surplus value... (In fact, I can do all these individually!) That's why I advocate for a free market - the only system where all surplus value is taken by the producers themselves in the long run... In Spain during their civil war (1936-39) the anarchist workers themselves controlled the means of production and the capital... (If our economy is composed primarily of small enterprises and worker coops, we would approximate this ideal - the free market that existed three years despite the ravaging.)

Besides, may I ask what happened to those "redistribution schemes" (social security, universal health insurance, welfare programs, etc.)??? Maybe it only accumulated debt that continues to this day (worse, they pass it on to others to be paid by their own labor!), or even killed people sometime in the 1930s... In short, these experiments on big government that you shout out here are all dismal failures, and we the INDIVIDUALS who never had the decisions in the first place paid the price of these stupidities!!!

Socialism would only come true if we enable the workers to become capitalists and consumers... Capitalists would become workers and consumers, and consumers become workers and capitalists... The free market enables all these by its mechanism of free allocation of resources, all in accordance to the wishes and preferences of the participants...

Besides, the nature of the individual is that he is a worker, capitalist and consumer all at the same time...

Mel Lorenzo Accad EMPOWER the CONSUMERS, equate their political power to the power of the firms. EMPOWER THE WORKERS, equate their political power to the power of the capitalists. THIS IS THE INSTITUTIONAL DESIGN WHERE Adam smith's invisible hand will lead to higher social good.

Perez Michael Bautista Exactly... the goal of government is not to expand or to become big.. the proper goal of government is SELF-GOVERNANCE.
That can only be achieved if people value their freedoms and liberties.. Welcome to the club!

Shakaru Macht Exactly... the goal of government is not to expand or to become big.. the proper goal of government is SELF-GOVERNANCE.
It's just stage one... The last leg is to dissolve this government altogether... Therefore, we need minarchy first - then anarchy...

Perez Michael Bautista In your dreams man. LOL.

Mel Lorenzo Accad Haha! Ayan na, here comes our differences in faiths in different MEANS pano aachievin yan. 

Perez Michael Bautista We just hit the wall. Lets discuss how to become great public speakers!

Nonoy Oplas Hi Mel, to your comments yesterday stamped 3:11pm.

1 and 2. You are implying that because there is "market failure" in discovering that talented promdi to be discovered in the cities, there should be government intervention to correct that "market failure." Maybe you are suggesting the creation of another govt bureaucracy called "Promdi Talent Discovery Authority" with regional and provincial offices, regional and provincial, even municipal bureaucrats, so that every talented probinsyana/syano will be given equal opportunity to compete with those from the big cities. If so, it is such a lousy proposal. You are definitely aware that even in the absence of such and other bureaucracies, the national govt is already borrowing about P300 B a year just to make ends meet yearly. It is a lousy and irresponsible proposal to further bloat such annual borrowings and the huge public debt stock.

3. Most or majority of academics hate inequality and capitalism. I wrote here two years ago,
"i...ntellectuals expect that they are the most highly valued people in society, they expect they are entitled to great rewards. But a capitalist society does not honor its intellectuals this way, not distribution "to each according to his merit or value." The market distributes to those who satisfy the perceived market-expressed demands of others, and intellectuals resent this...."

4. Adam Smith's "invisible hands" concept advises people to become individualistic. If you are a farmer or fisherman or computer programmer in a competitive society, you produce goods and services as efficiently as possible so you will have big surplus, you become economically well off, you can provide more for yourself and your family. In the process, you are "led by indivisible hands" to produce something very useful to society even if it is not part of your original intention.

Nonoy Oplas Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, Book 5, chapter 1, part II, v. 1.55 (last sentence) is saying that statism and worship of BIG state is wrong. Big government means big cronyism and big arbitrary power of government officials who will get more and who will get less or nothing, from the big tax money, big borrowing capacity, big public land and other resources at their disposal.

1. "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages."
-- A.Smith, The Wealth of Nations, I. ii.2.

He is saying that it is in people’s nature to engage in reciprocal exchange for mutual benefit. He calls this “an inherent tendency to truck and barter”.

2. "According to the system of natural liberty, the sovereign has only three duties to attend to, three duties of great importance, indeed, but plain and intelligible to common understandings:
first the duty of protecting the society from violence and invasion of other independent states;
secondly, the duty of protecting…every member of society from the injustice or oppression of every other member of it, or the duty of establishing an exact administration of justice;
and thirdly, the duty of erecting and maintaining certain public works and certain public infrastructure which it can never be in the interest of any individual or small number of individuals to erect and maintain."
-- A.S., The Wealth of Nations, IV.ix.51.

He is referring to the minimal state, or what is sometimes called the “night-watchman state”

A. Smith was never a fan of BIG government and big stupidity.

Mel Lorenzo Accad Wow Sir Nonoy, is that how you UNDERestimate market failure that NO AMOUNT of government intervention (EVEN those interventions that are efficient NAMAN) can solve?

Wow Sir Nonoy, is that how you UNDERvalue differentiation? I used a very very simple talented promdi example and yet you easily BRUSHED IT OFF as if it's very trivial AND EASILY GENERALIZED THAT THERE SHOULD BE NO GOVERNMENT? I CONCEDE THAT SUCH EXAMPLE IS RELATIVELY TRIVIAL. HOWEVER, the framework of that example can be used to high social return investments like UP education.

INSTEAD OF TALENTED PROMDI EXAMPLE, what if I USED THE "SUPPLY OF PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS" like what the state-subsidized UP (where we came from)? Where would HIGHLY COMPETENT "intellectual" like YOU and the rest of UP intellectual cohorts would have been trained? Where would be the majority of senators in the Philippine History had come from? IF NOT FOR THE COLLECTED TAX FROM THE PEOPLE, WHERE CAN WE EDUCATE THE NEXT NATIONAL SCIENTISTS/ARTISTS WHO CAME FROM EXTREME POVERTY AND FROM FAR-FLUNG AREAS? Imagine there was no UP at all in the the Philippine history. HOW UNEQUAL WOULD BE THE DISTRIBUTION OF PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE? How about the poor who has very brilliant mind yet has no financial competence against those anak-ng-mayaman in the city? Should you assume that such extremely poor person can compete against those anak-ng-mayaman? Are you aware of the increasing cost of private tertiary education in the USA? Should we wait to happen that in the Philippines?

Are you aware of Gary Becker's analysis of underinvestment in human capital?

Akala ko po ba gusto nyo ng diversity pero MARKET SYSTEM and your MINIMAL GOVERNMENT have been very harsh against the POOR (as also pointed our by Adam Smith:
"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is IN REALITY instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."


1. With very unequal distribution of political power between the consumers and the big firms, between the workers and the capitalists, between the poor and the rich, CAN INDIVIDUALISM LEAD TO HIGHER SOCIAL GOOD? Kung gugustuhin na lang ng mga capital owners mag-hire ng napakaraming bata sa factory DAHIL MURA labor nila, IS THAT JUSTIFIABLE? If these children are hired at a very young age, can the society still benefit from their POTENTIAL GREATNESS IN THE FUTURE? What if one of those child will be the next Einstein, Newton, what have you? ARE YOU AWARE OF MARX'S SURPLUS VALUE coming from the labor theory of value?

That's why I STILL HAVE HOPE FOR INDIVIDUALISM DRIVEN SOCIAL GOOD SIR, but the problem is that THE INSTITUTIONAL SETTING CONSTRAINS THE WHOLE SYSTEM TO ACHIEVE THAT. ONLY A VERY EFFICIENT and social-good driven GOVERNMENT can mix the good side of CAPITALISM and SOCIAL-ISM (for lack of a better term). There's unequal distribution of political power between the consumers and the firms, between the workers and the capital owners.

Nonoy Oplas Ouch. Back to econ theory.
market failure attracts market solutions.
market failure is only a necessary but not sufficient condition for government intervention.
for it might be a case where govt intervention will only worsen a bad condition, a case of government failure worsening market failure.

the only justified govt intervention are somehow the 3 functions enumerated by Adam Smith, above.

I made zero suggestion, explicit or implicit, that government should be abolished, and that there shoulod be zero govt intervention in all market failures.
Thus, all your succeeding statements are invalid. I am not anarchist.

Mel Lorenzo Accad I'm attacking the minimal government din sir. 

Nonoy Oplas Fine, and I am attacking the BIG government philosophy. You want more of my money? How much of it belongs to you and your super bright plans and why?

Wiill blog this exchange again, am sure ok with you. So... how much of my income belongs to you and your great ideas to solve the problems of other people, including self-inflicted problems and poverty?

Mel Lorenzo Accad Your point: Market failure is only necessary (but not sufficient condition) for government intervention.

How about those interventions that are effective (such that the social benefit OUTWEIGHED all sorts of costs)? Should we not let these interventions?

My point is, there are still government interventions that cost-effective in terms of social benefit. Why should we not count them good?

Nonoy Oplas market failure is only a necessary but not sufficient condition for government intervention -- it is a theory in public finance, Econ 151,
Certain govt interventions (educ and books for the poor, health and medicines for the poor, seeds and AR for the poor, housing and lots for the poor, cash transfer for the poor, condoms for the poor, iPad for the poor, what else...) are "effective" to central planners but distortionary and idiotic for non-believers of central planning.

Mel Lorenzo Accad Even if we calculated that the social benefit outweighing the costs, hindi pa rin palalagpasin? Grabe naman sir, lagpas-lagpasan na sa economic theory yun. Nalaman mo na ngang higher yung social benefor kesa sa cost, hindi mo pa rin palalagpasin?

Nonoy Oplas Which costs did you include and which ones you did not include?
A person working hard to give healthcare to a terribly sick family member, pays personal income tax (32% of his monthly income) and many other taxes, is paying for the university education of SUCs students, including those who are regular flunkers, including those who immediately fly abroad to join some family members or work there. This cost to that person, are they included? Definitely not. Bureaucrats and central planners can never, never, identify priorities of each individual and each household. What is very important to one individual can be considered as trivial or useless in the mind of a central planner.

So again, to my question above. Since you will never, never, ever know what are the priorities in life of Nonoy Oplas and the rest of the nearly 100 M Filipinos -- how much of my income belongs to you and other central planners for their various bleeding heart programs where "benefits outweigh the cost"? How can you quantify the personal cost to me of those programs that I do not even support in the first place?

Mel Lorenzo Accad We have to pay tax the moment we use the public roads when we go to our work or fetch your children from school. We have to pay tax because we gained public education from UP. Syempre sir nagcompound na yang utang na yan, so mas malaki ang future payments kesa sa natanggap noon. My mother and father were educated in public school also. Peace and order sanana dulot ng public lights, police system. maraming marami pang iba.

Nonoy Oplas Ehem. Nothing, zero, nada, explicit or implicit, did I suggest above and elsewhere, that we should have zero government, zero taxes. I am no believer of anarchy, a lousy formulation.

As I stated above, I support the minimal government functions as articulated by Adam Smith: (a) protecting society from violence and invasion of other independent states; (b) protecting every member of society from injustice or oppression of other people, establishing administration of justice;
and (c) erecting and maintaining certain public works and public infrastructure*.

Beyond those three, all other government functions are secondary if not unnecessary or useless.

* I would include here or support public health spending to fight the spread of infectious or communicable diseases for adults (but not non-communicable diseases, NCDs), fighting common pediatric diseases, both infectious and non-infectious.

Mel Lorenzo Accad Where is public education in those three? you don't want to fund public education for the poor right?

Nonoy Oplas I would grant to support public education -- up to elementary level only. And it can be done with zero government elementary school, a govt voucher system will work.

Btway, I have been rather active in "minimal government" movement and philosophy since 2004. And in most cases, even MAs and PhD guys would normally and defensively quip, "zero government? that's impossible!" They cannot distinguish minimal or lean govt from zero govt. I think this confusion, repeated confusion, is one clear indicator of "Why many intellectuals oppose capitalism",

Mel Lorenzo Accad Where is public education in those three? you don't want to fund public education for the poor right?

Nonoy Oplas I would grant to support public education -- up to elementary level only. And it can be done with zero government elementary school, a govt voucher system will work.

Btway, I have been rather active in "minimal government" movement and philosophy since 2004. And in most cases, even MAs and PhD guys would normally and defensively quip, "zero government? that's impossible!" They cannot distinguish minimal or lean govt from zero govt. I think this confusion, repeated confusion, is one clear indicator of "Why many intellectuals oppose capitalism",

Mel Lorenzo Accad how will a minimal government address economic "injustices" like repression of the poor as stated by adam smith sir?
Nonoy Oplas #2 refers to economic, political, cultural injustice; hence, justice administration function or simply the rule of law. The law applies equally to unequal people. Thus, it refers more to the injustice of stealing -- petty or large-scale stealing and plunder especially by those in government.

Perez Michael Bautista Intellectual heavy-weights boxing match! 
step 1. Minimize government.
step 2. optimize government functions.
step 3. expand only when the need arises. this should be based on proper analysis as opposed to gaining votes!

Reboot government now, analyze and revise the constitution, allow the voices of both of pro-capitalism ant pro-socialism by driving away fascism in government!

There is a way in helping poor people while making our society prosperous the first step is economic liberty that starves fascist tendencies of capitalists by pressuring them through massive competition! No wonder why technology prices are dropping, the evidences are right under our own pockets!

Try to go to poor remote places, walang makain tong mga kapatid natin pero nakabili ng celfone at may pang bili ng load! LOL

Nonoy Oplas O kaya butas ang bubong, tumutulo pag umulan, pero may pambili ng ginebra or tanduay or lambanog.
O kaya kulang ulam sa mga anak pero may pambili ng bitamina ng manok na pangsabong.

Mel Lorenzo Accad Good morning Sir Nonoy. I am sorry for the rash assumptions yesterday. I should've been more careful in my assumptions about your position. However, I'm still not comfortable of the three points of minimal government. My gut feel is that those three are dependent on how society defines justice, and in one or another, they will be contradictory. I'm still thinking about them. I'm glad that I learned those three points from you. 

Nonoy Oplas Ganito na lang Mel. A poor person gets free healthcare and medicines, free education, free housing, etc. from government. But his house can be easily ransacked by thieves, his kids/wife can be easily abducted and raped, his small investment like a motorcycle or irrigation pump can be easily stolen. Govt is into all types of bleeding heart welfarism including running casino, lotto, etc. The 3 minimum core functions of govt is diluted or neglected. Would that person and central planners be happy?

Perez Michael Bautista The capitalists who where awarded the contracts profit from that project and of course happy! at the expense of our tax money.

Privatization of profits and socialization of loses. We are not a socialist nor capitalist state, lets admit it we are practicing fascism.

Nonoy Oplas Privatization of profits and socialization of loses, that's crony capitalism aka government bail-outs, govt selection of winners and losers. When govt becomes big, drifting away from those 3 core functions, such cronyism can happen in all sectors -- in education and universities, hospitals and healthcare, electricity and water, airlines and shipping lines, mining and quarrying, etc. When govt becomes big, rule of law becomes a joke and morphs into clear rule of men. There are exemptions to rules and penalties and govt officials can grant such exemption while impose rules and penalties to non-friends.

Perez Michael Bautista Fascist-proof government mechanism, i can't find a better way than to maximize free market closely guarded by people dedicated to enforce the rule of law.


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