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Ian Yamamoto How do I know that there is an over supply of national defense? Because of the obvious duplicated, excessive, and unnecessary spending mix with unnecessary defense of foreign countries and foreign intervention. I do understand what you are saying and I realize that without market forces it is impossible to know where equilibrium is, but it does not change the underlying fact libertarian ideology demands the protection of individual liberties and that privatized defense would under supply that protection. Will there always be an inefficient supply of national defense under a tax and supply model? Yes. Will rent seekers ever allow it to be and under supply? No.
Ian Yamamoto Cato definitely isn't going away as long as the Kochs don't win the lawsuit. It has over a $23 million budget, a brand new expanded facility, and a growing base of supporters. Btw, Cato has not accepted Koch money for years.
Ian Yamamoto I understand that taxation and supply does not rely on market forces. What we have gotten is a major over supply of national defense. This needs to be trimmed dramatically which is a large part of the noninterventionist stance. Obviously, not an ideal situation. However, over supply of national defense is preferable to under supply, especially from a libertarian viewpoint because national defense is a defense of all liberties.
Ian Yamamoto Definitely not Koch Brothers LTD. Yet at least. If you find Cato's analysis so sub par then why do you have an entire section dedicated to it on your website? Cato is the best libertarian think tank in the world regardless of your opinion of it.
Ian Yamamoto That is a mischaracterization. The premise of my article is to show the distinct difference between libertarianism and AnCap ideology. Libertarians and Ancaps do agree on many issues and it is no surprise that libertarian think tanks publish these works. I should know being employed by the Cato Institute and all. Finally, I never claimed to be speaking on behalf of all libertarians. That being said however, many libertarians agree with my position. Many of my coworkers here at Cato have complimented the piece, and the PM users among them have mic'd the article. You on the other hand constantly mix AnCap and libertarian ideology together, which in my opinion, contorts the libertarian brand (see discussion below) especially on this site.
Ian Yamamoto I'm not convinced that competition in the market and competition in natural selection are as similiar as you out it. In the market, competition produces not only goods of higher quality and lower price, but also a range of goods suited to consumer preference. Natural selection only produces the highest quality (better adapted to survive). Your argument is based of the idea that these two forms of competition operate the same way and achieve the same end goal, but I just don't see it that way.
Ian Yamamoto I would say that that AnCaps do need to have their voices heard in the debate, however, I see them as a separate ideology from libertarians. As David mentioned, libertarians have a branding problem. This may partially be because Ancaps have tried to use the libertarian brand to promote their ideology. I agree that they play an important role in debate and I am sympathetic to some of their ideas, but as a libertarian, I'm tired of carrying them.
Ian Yamamoto Seamus, Thanks for commenting. I would like to debate the free-rider issue with you. As I stated in the article, my concern is that there would be an under supply of national defense. If you want to characterize it as opportunity cost, that's fine, but the problem remains. People who have the most to lose will always pay for national defense (e.g. people with large assets that need to be protected). Many others will decide not to pay for defense because they can rely on those who need the protection most to do so. Less money total is being spent on defense because relatively few people are paying for it. This results in less defense being provided in total, especially when compared to an invader with a tax base.
Ian Yamamoto David, Thanks for the comment. I agree completely, but I believe that if libertarianism continues to become more popular, this will become less of a problem. Libertarianism is actually a very consistent ideology, it just isn't as thoroughly understood by people who claim to be libertarian. There will always be some things libertarians disagree on, as with all ideologies, but once the ideology moves more mainstream, i expect the spread to decrease.
Ian Yamamoto Paul, Thanks for commenting. This is a pretty layout of people who claim to be or are popularly labeled libertarian. I don't consider AnCaps libertarians at all because they are Anarchists (see Jed's comment below). I consider pragmatic and actual libertarians the same. They have the same ideology, but have different understandings of how much of it can actually be implemented at this time. I don't consider paleos libertarians either, but rather conservatives that lean more libertarian than most on some issues. As an ideology, libertarianism is very consistent, but it is not well known by all who claim to be libertarian which makes it seem inconsistent. If it becomes more popular, I expect this to change.
Ian Yamamoto Jed, Thank you for commenting. Although the purpose of this article was to illuminate the distinction between libertarian and anarcho-capitalists ideology, I will entertain debate as well. I completely agree that those with power always seek to expand it, but I see it as something we have to live with, limit, and combat because it will always exist (even in the AnCap world). A non-interventionist military would have very limited leeway to "initiate" force. As for the free-riders. Everyone paying for their own private defense does not create adequate protection from national threats. In fact, "national" defense wouldn't exist at all, just localized area defense.
Ian Yamamoto Nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists is a legitimate concern, but it would be naive to think that any action that will secure loose nuclear weapons should be taken. I can imagine instances where more harm would come as a result of attempting to secure the nukes then good. Iraq is the obvious example. Although I support securing 100% of the world's loose nuclear weapons, I also understand that this goal can be used as an excuse by governments to do many horrible things. The U.S. has shown that this is true. I would hate for the leaders who meet at Seoul to leave with the same mindset.
Ian Yamamoto I intended people to take away different messages depending on what they already believe. If you're free market/free trade like I am, this is an example of how China's policies of subsidization can benefit US consumers at the cost of Chinese taxpayers, and that tariffs on Chinese imports are unnecessary and harmful. See my other article I linked for further clarification. If you're an environmentalist, but also buy into the popular idea that China is cheating and we should put tariffs on goods that we import from there, this article should point out the contradiction in the two ideals. I agree that subsidized industries are not viable, but that's China's problem. See my response to Ed below.
Ian Yamamoto Great point Ed. China is definitely capable of protectionists policies that prevent the savings from reaching the consumer. There is good news however! It doesn't take an economist to see that China's practice of subsidizing to undercut foreign markets is unsustainable. Eventually, they will no longer be able to afford to subsidize and their industries that relied upon it will collapse. Q-cells is a perfect example. Germany reduced solar subsidies and it was out competed by China. When China is all subsidized out, they will lose the market shares they worked so hard to collect and the US, Australia, ect. will gain them back, while China will be left in economic ruin. Coincidentally the perfect environment for political liberalization...
Ian Yamamoto Actually, anther cause for Q-cells demise is the fact that Germany is reducing its solar subsidies. http://www.pri.org/stories/science/energy/germany-s-solar-market-facing-reduction-in-government-subsidies-8574.html At the same time, China continues to subsidize heavily. It is no coincidence that Q-cells failure and Germany's solar subsidy reduction plan occurred together. Great point Chris. I'm glad you pointed it out.
Ian Yamamoto I know exactly what you mean and agree completely. I'm usually one of the loudest dissenters in the comment sections of their more extreme articles. I spend more time trying illuminate this distinction then describing what I believe are the true principles of libertarianism. They're the crazies in my personal OWS/Tea Party movement.
Ian Yamamoto This depends on which libertarian you talk to. There are many Anarcho-capitalists who label themselves as libertarians (we have a few writers on PM who fall into this category). Ancaps are completely OK with mercenaries, even to the point of privatized armies. Personally, I do not consider Ancaps true libertarians. Libertarians believe that there are legitimate, but strictly limited, roles of government, including security and defense. I believe that hiring people to protect myself (security guards) is fine, but hiring people to enforce my will upon others (mercenaries) is wrong. In short: No, this libertarian is not OK with mercenaries.
Ian Yamamoto Not really. Libertarians are fine with security guards provided by the private sector, but not renting policeman because they have the power of the state behind them. Unless the policeman cannot arrest people while hired out and only act a private security guard does, this would be a libertarian nightmare. Imagine, people could pay to have others arrested! If this were to happen, this libertarian would flee the country.
Ian Yamamoto Natalie, Unfortunately, I still disagree. I think it is just as wrong to say to the boy from the Upper East Side, "We're going to disregard your hard work and accomplishment of achieving a 2300 on your SAT because someone from Harlem didn't have as much money as you." Adhering to this policy is discrimination. The boy from the UES never had the opportunity to have parents with less money. Contrastingly, the boy from Harlem did have the opportunity to score better on the SAT. Understandably it was a smaller opportunity, but that's why I suggested improving schools in poor neighborhoods, to increase his opportunity. There is never a just reasoning for discrimination.
Ian Yamamoto Natalie, I have many problems with affirmative action, but I will limit myself to the one proponents of it tell me is the most understandable. The problem of trying to be solved with AA is one of inequality. AA tries to remedy the inequality by declining people who deserve entrance, but were better off, and accepting people who may not have deserved it as much, but were worse off. (see your personal example) My problem with this approach is that it doesn't actually address the underlying inequality: that minorities tend to have less fiscal backing, which translates into fewer opportunities. I prefer solutions that address the actual problem, such as improving public schools in poor neighborhoods.