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News Indoctrine U

  1. Nov 15, 2007 #1
    Has any one heard of this title or seen the documentary. Well I was introduced to it by my roommate. I found it very interesting how one sided University's are, the majority of faculty hold very liberal views, I tested this at my own school (University of Washington) and based on my experience i have come to my own conclusion, that my school does not nurture debates from both sides. They almost shun other ideas that are not very liberal. Just the other day I got into a class discussion in a comparative History course where nobody seemed to at the least appreciate what I had to say (essentially capitalism and free markets are good, and socialism is not), this somewhat annoyed me, why do I bother to pay for an education that does not tolerate free exchange of ideas that does not offend or endanger other peoples personal liberties?
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  3. Nov 15, 2007 #2


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    What makes you think the university is indoctrinating people as opposed to simply educating them? Examples of political ideas motivated by stupidity alone:

    Pro-life supporters in Colorado want to define fertilized eggs as living people. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/nov/14/colo_ballot_measure_would_define_fertilized_egg_pe/. This would essentially make menstruation a felony since it is very common for eggs to become fertilized but not stick to the uterus. Fertilized egg leaves with the rest of the monthly cleanup, and suddenly a woman is guilty of killing the "living person" who was inside her for a total of 1 day. If you've ever wanted to know why artificial insemination is done with dozens of eggs instead of just 1; the uterus-not-sticking thing is why.

    Some people think it's a good idea to disband the EPA. This would essentially remove all environmental standards in the country. Your drinking water would no longer have any assurance that it is safe, and nobody would ever know if it was accidentally (or deliberately) contaminated since the EPA is the only group that actively monitors the quality of most drinking water.

    Some people think global free trade is a good idea. What this would do is shut down most food production in first-world nations, since people in Uganda or whever tend to sell things at a much cheaper price. Would you pay $10 for the American corn or $1 for the Mexican corn? There's nothing wrong with Mexico's food, but having to rely on other countries just to have a steady food supply is a horrible idea.

    I picked these 3 ideas for a specific reason - they are republican ideas. If you are told at university that these 3 ideas are insanely retarded, try not to mistake it as being liberal propoganda. It's just simple truth. It's easy to think university is a propoganda mill if the ideas they shoot down tend to all be from the same side of the political spectrum.

    edit: you won't see anybody at a public university who is anti-socialism. The real cost of university is upwards of $30,000 per year, which is pretty much impossible to pay for at the young age of 18. Everybody there relies on socialism to attend university, so they'll probably do their best to defend it.
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  4. Nov 16, 2007 #3
    Did you just declare this by fiat? Great Britain has been reliant on other countries for the majority of its food supply for quite some time (think centuries) and it seems to be doing fine. To call free trade "insanely retarded" is, quite frankly "insanely retarded." There's a reason that ~90% of economists agree that free trade is a "Good Thing" (TM). And it's not because ~90% of economists are idiots.

    What's truly "insanely retarded" is subsidizing huge agribusiness corn growers to the detriment of american consumers and tax payers who are forced to pay more at the grocery store just because you're afraid that we're going to go to war with Mexico and suddenly have a famine for lack of sugar. I'm sure you're one of the 3 people outside of Iowa who believe that ethanol subsidies are a great boon to this nation as well.

    No, I'm a Democrat and I believe in free-trade. You may be confusing the term "Republican" with "non-populist."
  5. Nov 16, 2007 #4
    Indeed. Why do you bother? Feel free to take your (parent's?) tuition money elsewhere.

    You've got to love capitalism.
  6. Nov 16, 2007 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    Gee, now I wonder why that would be. Could it be because they tend to be highly educated and more intelligent that the average person? Might we conclude that this combination tends to produce liberals?
  7. Nov 16, 2007 #6
    I agree that all ideas should be able to be debated. If anything, for the educational exercise. To simply disregard them is dangerous. History is full of dumb ideas that were later seen as very profound. Surely, If I'm paying good money for an eductation, the school I attend is going to EARN it. I've come along way by having the balls to challenge ideas. Just as often as I've been proven wrong I've discovered I'm often right or at least have found that my sometimes unconventional ideas have merit. I have a patent to prove it :)

    For a teaching establishment to be biased in a particular way is liken to being a religious organization, IMO.
  8. Nov 16, 2007 #7
    ShawnD, I would definitely pay $1 for corn than $10, so long if it is edible and not something that would kill me. Why pay more for something then it is worth, I am a physics student, and work part time at a movie theatre. Believe me the theatre business pay me for what I am worth and why not all I do is serve popcorn and do homework for minimum wage.

    The point I was making though is that, professors are not as open minded as we all think. All these young scientists, lawyers, business leaders are getting an education but not learning on how to critically question their everday experiences. Imagine if in science we could not question Newtonian mechanics, my physics professors encourage questioning.
  9. Nov 16, 2007 #8
  10. Nov 16, 2007 #9


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    What happens when there's a trade dispute? Do people just go without food? Do people leave the island? Is war declared? If you'll think back to 1973, you'll remember that military action was threatened against the nations of OPEC when there was an oil embargo. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain food is just as important as oil. Is it so hard to believe food could be used as a powerful bargaining tool, sort of like oil is?

    So what you're saying is that you like the way the US needs foreign oil, and ends up getting involved in the abortion that is the Middle East? It's true that farm subsidies are expensive, but you know what else is expensive? War is expensive. How many trillions of dollars have been spent in the past 5 years just to invade and stabilize Iraq? How much did the 1990 Gulf War cost? How much did the 73 Oil Crisis cost the economy?
    Do I think subsidizing ethanol and biodiesel is a good idea, if it means leaving the Middle East forever? Hell yes.

    Things may have changed in the past few years, but isn't it usually democrats who call for subsidies and protectionism?

    Hillary Clinton on Free Trade
    "Well, outsourcing is a problem, and it's one that I've dealt with as a senator from New York. I started an organization called New Jobs for New York to try to stand against the tide of outsourcing, particularly from upstate New York and from rural areas. We have to do several things: end the tax breaks that still exist in the tax code for outsourcing jobs, have trade agreements with enforceable labor and environmental standards, help Americans compete, which is something we haven't taken seriously. 65% of kids do not go on to college. What are we doing to help them get prepared for the jobs that we could keep here that wouldn't be outsourced--and find a new source of jobs, clean energy, global warming, would create millions of new jobs for Americans."

    Amidst the word salad, you can pick out the pieces where she says she will "help Americans compete". Oh, you mean like give tax incentives or imposing tariffs? Protectionism.

    Then there's "Hillary voted with the bulk of her party against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)." Bit of a history lesson here: NAFTA is popular because Mexico and Canada have oil. Free trade with Mexico means cheap (tariff-free) oil from Mexico. Canada has the largest oil reserve in the world, so free trade with Canada means tariff-free oil from Canada. The US wants oil, so free trade on oil is a good idea. Central America doesn't have a hell of a lot, except food, so screw free trade with Central America. CAFTA gets shot down.

    "Voted YES on free trade agreement with Oman."
    Oman is a middle eastern country with oil.

    "Voted YES on establishing free trade between US & Singapore."
    That's strange, Singapore doesn't have a lot of oil.... Oh wait a minute, they have the fifth biggest oil refinery in the world. Mystery solved.

    "Voted YES on establishing free trade between the US and Chile."
    This is the only one that seems to have little or nothing to do with oil.

    Contrast that with super republican Bush

    "Open more markets to keep America competitive"
    Open market would mean free trade, but competitive would indicate tariff since Americans expect a lot higher pay than people in poor countries. Lord knows what he actually means.

    "Tariffs over free trade, for steel industry"
    So that would be protectionism.

    "Repeals steel tariffs he imposed in 2002"
    Either free trade or indecisiveness. You pick.

    "# supports the expansion of NAFTA throughout the Americas
    # supports the admission of China and Taiwan to the WTO
    strongly supports free trade, saying that the case for it is “not just monetary but moral” and pledging to make the expansion of trade a consistent priority“"
    So that would be free trade on all fronts.

    "I would be a free trading president, a president that will work tirelessly to open up markets for agricultural products all over the world. I believe our American farmers. can compete so long as the playing field is level. That’s why I am such a strong advocate of free trade and that’s why I reject protectionism and isolation because I think it hurts our American farmers."
    So Bush is against protectionism and supports free trade.

    "I’ll never forget the contrast between what I learned about the free market at Harvard and what I saw in the closed isolation of China. Every bicycle looked the same. People’s clothes were all the same. a free market frees individuals to make distinct choices and independent decisions. The market gives individuals the opportunity to demand and decide, and entrepreneurs the opportunity to provide."
    Bush really really likes free trade.

    "In 1999, when a glut of foreign oil drove prices below $12 a barrel, many of my friends in the oil business wanted the government to rescue them through price supports. . . I understand the frustration of people. but I do not support import fees. . . I believe it makes sense to use the tax code to encourage activities that benefit America. But I do not want to put up fees or tariffs or roadblocks to trade."
    More free trade. Git R Dun.

    "Establish Free Trade Area of the Americas by 2005"
    "Add Chile, Brazil, Argentina, & others to NAFTA"
    "Fast Track in west; WTO in east"
    "Supports Fast Track; WTO; NAFTA; anti-dumping"
    Hardcore free trade, it looks like.

    So there you have it. The lead democrat is selective about free trade, while the lead republican supports free trade on all fronts with everybody. If some random guy came up to me and started talking about free trade, I would be inclined to think he supports a republican more than he supports a democrat.
  11. Nov 16, 2007 #10
    I am not for Republican or Democratic perspective, I consider myself more of a classical Liberal (followers of Hayek, Lazzes faire economics).
  12. Nov 16, 2007 #11


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    As long as we're taking cheap shots...

    Nah, we just conclude the liberals are simply the ones who couldn't succeed outside of academia. :wink:
  13. Nov 16, 2007 #12


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    Either that or it is the isolation and unnecessary-ness of realism. Who needs reality, when everything is just a discussion in a classroom?

    For the OP: Not all schools have a liberal tilt to them. It isn't really the reason they call it that, but you'll find "liberal arts" really is liberal education. Engineers and engineering schools, however, tend to lean more to the right. That kind of implies that what Ivan says is almost true - just backwards. The brains of a school is found in the engineering department (pure sciences too, but they tend to be smaller) not in the English or poly sci department - the students in liberal arts are more receptive to lofty-sounding, idealistic views that don't really work.

    I was told that my school, Drexel University, which has evolved but used to be a strictly science/technical school, actually had a pro- Vietnam War demonstration back in the 60s.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2007
  14. Nov 16, 2007 #13


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    Doesn't that rather defeat your own argument :biggrin:
  15. Nov 16, 2007 #14
    Don't let it get to you. Since the beginning, universities have been sympathetic to the unconventional and to revolutionaries. What they don't tolerate well is unconventional revolutionaries.
  16. Nov 16, 2007 #15
    I haven't had a chance to read all the replies (which I intend to do later), but I agree with the original poster. And it irritates me when people say that "This must be because intellectuals are more educated, and if you're smart you have to have liberal idea. Everybody knows that you are a dumb ass if you're not a liberal." I hear that elitist attitude all the time and I don't buy it. If academics really care about exchanges of ideas and intellectual diversity, then why are many classes one sided?

    Not to mention that you hear many of these ideas expressed from people who teach classes unrelated to the topic they are talking about. Why should a grad student who teaches french be any sort of credible expert on politics, law, or economics?

    It's funny because I lost count of the number of times that one of my teachers or grad students has said something, that economists have disproved. Going off about how two parent households are a result of worsening economic conditions, and how today it requires 2 members of a household to provide the same standard of living that one worker could provide in the 1960's. Complete rubbish.
  17. Nov 16, 2007 #16
    You clearly don't know what you're talking about with this one. First of all, free-trade is not mainly a republican idea, although it is mainly an economist idea. I read recently that a large number of self-reported republicans are fearful of free-trade (I think it was like 1/3, you can read about it on Greg Mankiw's blog).

    The average economist is a democrat (aka a liberal) even though something like 99% of economists think that free-trade is a good idea. Your argument about, American farmers not being able to compete, and the troubles of relying on one nation for all are food has no solid backing. Why are pretty much no economists worried about this? Besides, you (and me) rely on other people for all kinds of things in our life. I doubt you know how to build a car or a computer. I doubt you know how to sew your own clothes or get oil. I also doubt you know how to farm. If it's so worrisome to rely on other nations for your food support, then why isn't it generally worrisome to rely on other people for your food support. And if you think it is, then I hope you're out there wasting your time learning how to farm.
  18. Nov 16, 2007 #17
    You hit the nail on the head that it is "insanely retarded to subsidize huge agribusiness corn growers to the detriment of american consumers. I hope you also realize that this is not "really" done because politicians, citizens, and farmers are worried that we'll have a famine if we go to war with Mexico. The reason these policies get promoted is because farmers know damn well that buy reducing their competition, they will make a lot more money, and that the consumers can pay more for their produce (which the farmers could care less about). The reason that politicians cater to this, is because farmers band together, act like a lobbying group and push for these policies (so it's in the politicians best interest to grant this favor). Then the politicians try to scare citizens by using sorry retoric. Basically, the farmers "steal" a small amount of money from many American's (probably an average of $20 - $30 a year in higher prices because of these trade restrictions). And since there are a large number of consumers in relation to farmers, each farmer get's a hefty reward (probably an increase in salary in the way of $100,000). It's called rational ignorance for the consumers to not band together and make a big deal over this small amount of money (especially considering how much time and energy it would take only to gain $20). If you don't believe that this happens then you should check out James Buchannans work on Public Choice Theory. Basically, he won the Nobel Prize in Economics for showing why when 10,000 people want one thing, and 100 want another, the 100 will usually get their way in a democracy.
  19. Nov 17, 2007 #18


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    Economist, before I even reply to your post, let me inspire you. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071012.FOOD12/TPStory/?pageRequested=all [Broken]. Let's see if I can bold a few sentences to summarize the entire thing.
    Well I'll be damned, subsidies worked where free trade failed. They spent $60m in order to save $120m, and thousands of lives were saved in the process. I guess developing industry within your own country is a good idea. I should be an economist or something.

    Let's see what wikipedia has to say about protectionism.

    So basically a lack of tariffs forces the US to raise the taxes on domestic goods. That's like one giant tax incentive to not buy American.

    To play fair, I'll even include the part that favors free trade.
    So basically foreign companies made more money because Americans were willing to pay top dollar for cars they felt were worth the extra cost. This means protectionism caused Americans to get ripped off when buying Japanese cars. Terrible! Something must be done! And something was done about it, but not what you, Economist, would expect.

    So rather than abandon the US, or put up with quotas, Toyota decided to build a plant in the US. They hired Americans to build these cars that Americans wanted, and that's how they got around quotas and tariffs. If there was free trade on Japanese cars, you can be pretty sure they would still be built in Japan or wherever they were built before this. I bolded the part where it says Toyota is #3 in the world because Toyota is now the #1 auto maker, and I think integrated itself into the US is a big part of why that happened. Having the cars made in the US and Canada certainly get around that problem of feeling like a traitor whenever you buy a Japanese car. I think somebody forgot to tell GM, Ford, and Chrysler about this, since they still ***** about "foreign" cars, imported all the way from Ohio and Kentucky. Somebody should start a petition to annex Kentucky and make it part of the US. Ohio too, those bastards.

    More from wikipedia
    In other words, Toyota would stay in Japan, GM would stay in Mexico, drug companies would stay in India (most generics are from India), and textiles would be in UK. US would be the exporter of.... what exactly? Steel? Probably not since US steel is very expensive, and there are heavy tariffs on steel in order to protect the US steel industry. Timber? Nope, Canada has cheaper timber. Oil? USA uses more oil than it has, so that's a no. Um... how about food? Again that would be a no since poor nations make cheap food, which is why food is heavily subsidized in the US. What else is left? Electronics are made in Asia, and clothes are made in Asia and South America. Feel free to name one thing you think the US could competitively export under free trade.

    Because economists are not part of industry, so they have nothing to lose. People like myself are in the real world where cheating is a great strategy for getting ahead. Do you think I want to compete with chemists from India or China? They can probably do exactly what I do, but for 1/10th the salary. Free trade with them is in somebody's best interest, but that somebody is not me. Same things with GM vehicles. They are made in Canada, US, and now Mexico. Literally hundreds of thousands of American workers were fired, and the GM plants were moved to Mexico. Good for somebody, but not if you're one of those people who got fired. Obviously this happens regardless of free trade, but free trade pushes the idea along much faster.

    Groups like the CATO Institute say that free trade encourages investment because it's easier to ship things back and forth once the infrastructure has been established, which is true, but they don't mention why you would want to build that infrastructure in the first place. Why build a factory in the US if you already have a perfectly good factory in Mexico? The whole reason for building it in Mexico is that the labor is much cheaper and there are fewer environmental laws to follow. With free trade on top of that, there is literally no reason to build a factory in the US.

    What free trade does is make an even playing field for the world to trade on. Sounds nice, in theory. In reality, you and I happen to live in the richest countries in the world. Countries like the US, UK, France, Germany, and Canada are well above the world average when it comes to wealth. A push towards averaging with the rest of world essentially breaks down into a push towards lowering our incomes.

    In the event of complete trade block with the rest of the world...

    Cars are built in Canada and the US, so neither of our countries relies on another country to make cars for us
    Computers are not an essential service, so they're not a very good bargaining tool. You may be able to hold an economy hostage with oil, but you can't really do that with computers. Worst case scenario: somebody would build a plant to fill the demand.
    Both of our countries are more than capable of creating our own clothes, so clothing is a horrible bargaining tool. One of the biggest industries in early America was cotton.
    You're right that your country needs oil, but not mine. My country produces more oil than it uses, so other countries don't really have a bargaining chip with this one.
    Farming/food could be a good bargaining tool, but right now both of our countries are self sufficient when it comes to food. I'm not at all worried about other countries and their food markets, mainly because protectionism is in place to make sure they don't have that power to begin with. We wouldn't donate huge amounts of food as foreign aid unless we had a surplus, true?
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  20. Nov 17, 2007 #19
    Your whole entire post is filled with ignorance, but I'd just like to respond to this piece in particular.

    American economists actually have a lot to lose from free trade. You probably don't know this, but the number of international students competeing for PhDs is very high. In fact, most PhD programs in the US have less than 50% American students. If I could keep out foreigh competitors I would probably be going to a lot better school. Furthermore, it'd be a lot easier to land solid jobs if I could keep out foreign competitors. By why should we? It's certainly not in the foreign students best interest, and it's also not in the future students best interest.

    You are right, that competing with chemists from India and China is not in YOUR best interest. However, it is in the workers from India or China's best interest, as well as it is in your employer's best interest, and also in the consumers' best interest. Therefore, you are stopping many people from benefitting because you're not as good at your job. Sorry if they can do it better, but you have no right to limit my choice to hire and trade with them, just so you can overcharge and be comfortable. This is a huge problem (as many economists have pointed out) across the globe.
  21. Nov 17, 2007 #20


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    Feel free to point out any specific errors rather than saying the entire thing is wrong and not give any theoretical or real world examples.

    There is a critical flaw in your argument. Student visas and PhD programs don't apply to economists because they already have PhDs. It's easy for any jackass to graduate under one set of rules then announce that the rules should be changed in such a way that they know they would not support if they had to abide by those rules themselves.

    So you're saying you should "take one for the team" and sacrifice yourself in order to save somebody you don't know?

    How do you think free trade would benefit my employer? He can't possibly sell a product for less than what a company in India would sell it for, so he would go bankrupt, and everybody he employs would be fired. The same thing would happen with basically all manufactured goods. Why pay an American $20 when you can pay a Mexican $1. The only jobs that are not replaceable by foreign competition are service jobs and resource gathering. As every teenager already knows, service jobs are not real careers, so that's out. As for resource gathering, those would have terrible pay as well if the resources you collect are in direct competition with ones that were collected at virtually no cost. If a guy in China can mine copper for a 1 bowl of rice, that's what your company back in the US has to pay you just to stay competitive. I don't know about you, but it seems like a very bad idea to put the entire US population on the same level as the rest of the world. You may not realize it, but the "average" human is extremely poor, works very long hours, and never has a vacation, ever. I hope I never see the US sink to that level.

    Oh but that's where you're wrong. The constitution states that I do have that power. I have the freedom to vote for whomever I want, and I have the right to form a union.
    Look at your own country's history to see how many times democracy has beaten the free market when the two have fought against each other.

    http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761567354/Civil_War.html (the short version)
    Read that over once more. The bulk of the US population was located in the north east. A good portion of the economy, controlled by a relatively small population, was in the south east. The south relied on cheap labor (slaves) to keep their prices down, which made the south very competitive. Working class white people in the north were afraid that slavery would spread and cause lower wages. Rather than let the free market control the situation, people in the north pushed to outlaw slavery and eliminate the competition. The south didn't like this, so they separated. War.
    The free market pushed for slavery in the south and slave-like wages in the north. Democracy pushed to eliminate slavery and keep wages artificially high, which would benefit the majority of people. Democracy won.

    Feel free to also read about the history of labor unions, OSHA, and labor laws. I'll repeat it once more: yes I do have the power to eliminate competition. We all do. We've used this power in the past, and we'll use it in the future.
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  22. Nov 17, 2007 #21
    You're right, and that is a good point. However, I don't have enough time and I'm not the best person for the job. If you really want to understand why so many things you've said in regards to trade are flawed, I would refer you to many experts much more intelligent than myself. Maybe start with David Ricardo, Frederick Bastiat, and Jagdish Bhagwati.

    I've heard this book by Jagdish is pretty good:

    I don't understand exactly what you're saying here. First of all, people do change the rules all the time in this way in order to keep out competition, by raising the standards after they are already in the profession (the AMA does this for doctors all the time). And my point, was that the next generation of American born economists (like myself) would do much better if we could keep out international students. That would benefit me as an economist, but at the expense of many more people. You should at least have the courage to admit that the policies you advocate benefit small groups of people at the expense of much larger groups of people.

    No that's not what I'm saying at all. What I'm saying is don't take away my individual liberty by making it illegal for me to enter in VOLUNTARY EXCHANGE with others. That would be to sacrifice the many and FORCE them to "take one for you."

    Well, if your employer can't compete, then he should get out of the business. Joseph Schumpeter (another great economist) coined the term "Creative Destruction" which applies here. In order for progress to happen, the competitive processes need to destroy the jobs and industries that are now inefficient.

    Do you realize that something like 90% of American's used to be farmers? And that technological progress put them out of business? And that it's a great thing? It used to take 90% to farm, now it only takes something like 1% - 3%. This is now more efficient and frees up many other people to get new jobs. Can you imagine all the things that would never have been invented had 90% of Americans continued to be farmers? Most of us would not be able to go to college, if 90% of us still had to farm.

    Furthermore, technology puts many more people out of business than free-trade does. Are you also advocating that we should be allowed to stop technological progress because some people will be displaced and lose their jobs?

    I agree that democracy often beats the free market. In my opinion, this perfectly demonstrates the drawbacks of democracy. Majority rule can (and often does) vote for bad policies. In his book "On Liberty" John Stuart Mill talks about how democracy allow "the tyranny of the majority." Do you really want to defend all the legislation that has been formed under democracies?

    If you don't think that democracies vote for bad policies, then again I refer you to James Buchannan (Public Choice Theory) and Fredrick Bastiat. Here's also a really good book on the topic by Bryan Caplan:


    Since a book takes a long time to read, I also posted this podcast where he discusses his book (it's only an hour and 20 minutes).


    Since when is slavery consistent with the free market? One of the fundamental ideas of capitalism is that individuals have property rights, and own their own labor, and therefore can sell it to whom they want for what price they want. Listen carefully: SLAVERY IS NOT AN EXAMPLE OF THE FREE MARKET.

    Yes, you (we) do have the "power" to eliminate competition. The key word here being "power." But should we have the "right"? The same white south you refered to earlier had the "power" to enforce slavery, and later had the "power" to make an enforce Jim Crows laws and other forms of racist and discriminatory legislation. But did they have the "right"?

    I guess according to your quote above, "We all have the "power" to use the democratic system even in the most disgusting and harmful ways. We've used this "power" in the past, and we'll use it in the future!"
  23. Dec 6, 2007 #22
    You are absolutely ignorant, for a self-proclaimed economist, to bring in labour economics for this argument. By all means, even the most mainstream economists consider labour as one of those "special" areas of the markets. Humans can't simply be treated the way widgets can.

    And by the way, while slavery may not have an affinity with capitalism, child labour does. As well as the abolishment of the minimum wage among many other things, else we suffer from "market inefficiency". I have seen economic textbooks defend for child labour beside their claim on how unemployment is created by minimum wages.
  24. Dec 6, 2007 #23
    What exactly are you saying here? That labor is a "special" area of the market, and therefore "protectionism" is ok? And are you also saying that most "mainstream" economists would agree with you on this point?

    Capitalism doesn't necessarily look for child labor as it depends on the situation. Do you really think that if the US abolished child labor laws, many young children would drop out of school and get a job? Do you really think Microsoft will fire all their employees in favor of "cheap child labor"? Furthermore, do you really think that child labor laws always help people and countries? Do you really doubt that in some third world nations, parents would rather have their children in school, but since they are so poor it takes the whole family working to put food on the table? And do you really think that something like child labor laws will rescue them from this kind of poverty?

    Do you also disagree that minimum wage laws increases unemployment? Do you also disagree that minimum wage laws make it more difficult for low skilled workers to invest in human capital through job training?
  25. Dec 8, 2007 #24
    For all of your questions, my answer is generally yes. You can bet that there will be unemployment even if the minimum wage is abolished. And you can bet that there will be a "market correction" and many people will be paid much less than the minimum wage. The US can't be used as an example of child laborr because the US is a service economy and the income is disproportionate to any third world manufacturing country that does have child labour. If Americans own the means of production, why would they need to have child labour? The only capitalism discriminates by is price, and price alone. It doesn't matter if the worker is 9 years old or 90 years old, as long as they get the work done and efficiently. Which is why young females are preferred in developing countries. They don't dare threaten management (patriarchal societies), and they work hard.
  26. Dec 8, 2007 #25
    Obviously there will be unemployement even without a minimum wage. The real question is whether a minimum increases unemployement or not. And if it does increase unemployement, who does it generally make worse off. For example, if Joe can only produce $5 per hour then a minimum wage of $7 per hour may well get him fired. And since Joe only produces $5 an hour, he probably is a low-skilled worker. And not being able to find a job will probably be very detrimental to Joe, because now he can't learn skills through on the job training, which will make him increasing less employable through time. If minimum wage is such a great poverty fighting tool, than all we have to do is raise the minimum wage in third world nations and they can become rich like the US. Also, if a minimum wage of $8 an hour is good for the US, then wouldn't a minimum wage of $15 an hour be better? Or maybe even a minimum wage of $50 an hour?

    What you mean to say is that "some" people will be paid less than minimum wage. If you look at the facts, very few people in the US actually earn the minimum wage, in other words, most people are paid more than the minimum wage. And the people who tend to earn the minimum wage are young people. Even if some people make less than the minimum wage, that's not necessarily bad. Especially considering that some low skilled workers would have an easier time finding work.

    Obviously third world countries are the ones with child labor given that they are in a worse economic situation. Most parents (even in third world nations) would rather have their kid going to school, but the family is in a desperate situation. Don't forget that the US and Europe have had child labor in the past. Maybe part of the reason that we are now successful and a service economy, is due to the fact that past generations busted their ass which allowed their children to attend school.

    My grandfather grew up in France. He dropped out of school at age 12 to become an apprentice to a baker. He worked Monday - Saturday, and he worked very long days (at least 12 hours per day). He received a very small amount of money for this work. Let's ask ourselves why someone would go through this? Well first off, his family was poor and they needed the kids working in order to survive. Second, he realized that he would be learning a trade, so that later he could have a little bit better life than his parents. Do you really think that child labor laws would have helped my grandfather?

    First of all, employers do care about age because age and productivity are strongly correlated. Second, if two individuals have equal productivity but only differ in age, should the company discriminate based on age? If someone is 90 years old and wants a job, why should you or I be allowed to vote for laws which make this illegal? If a parent wants to allow their child to work at age 10, why should you or I be allowed to vote for laws which make this illegal? Essentially, I am a realist and therefore I realize that the poverty experienced in other countries is far worse than poverty experienced in the US. I also realize that this may make some families best option having children work. Don't forget that the US has a long history of child labor, both in and out of the work force. For example, a couple hundred years ago the majority of the US population were farmers. Do you doubt that the children growing up on these farms put in long back breaking hours?
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