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Michael Shermer - The Mind of The Market
Posted: 23 April 2008 04:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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rsonin - 23 April 2008 04:17 PM

I think most skeptics are not libertarians because libertarianism makes no sense.

This curious line speaks for itself.

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Posted: 23 April 2008 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Jackson - 23 April 2008 04:57 PM
rsonin - 23 April 2008 04:17 PM

I think most skeptics are not libertarians because libertarianism makes no sense.

This curious line speaks for itself.

I asked a Libertarian about mandatory accounting in the schools.  He said he objected on the grounds that nothing should be mandatory.  I didn’t bother to ask if by that he meant school should not be mandatory.

psik

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Posted: 23 April 2008 07:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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psikeyhackr - 23 April 2008 05:57 PM
Jackson - 23 April 2008 04:57 PM
rsonin - 23 April 2008 04:17 PM

I think most skeptics are not libertarians because libertarianism makes no sense.

This curious line speaks for itself.

I asked a Libertarian about mandatory accounting in the schools.  He said he objected on the grounds that nothing should be mandatory.  I didn’t bother to ask if by that he meant school should not be mandatory.

psik

I knew an Ayn Rand fan with a similar view.  However, from the audio I would suggest Michael Schermer’s “libertarian” views are more modest and practical.  Certainly the Constitution and Bill of Rights delegated various powers to the different branches but also limited the scope of the government’s powers. 

When you say “mandatory accounting” do you mean the district has to maintain its books in a standard way like the other districts in the state? (that seems reasonable to me…).  Or that kids have to take an accounting class (less reasonable)

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Posted: 23 April 2008 11:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Or that kids have to take an accounting class (less reasonable)

That is what I mean.  Double entry accounting is 700 years old.  The entire idea that accounting is difficult is ridiculous.  The accounting books are always written like the person is trying to learn to become a professional accountant rather than learn accounting to manage their own money.  They don’t need to know about partnerships and corporations to do that. 

I have two accounting books that cost $100 and have over 1000 pages.  I have checked every page.  There isn’t a diagram of cash in either of them.  One doesn’t talk about depreciation until page 600 but has a business owner buying a $3000 computer on page 50.  If you bought a $3000 laptop computer you would lose $1500 in depreciation in 18 months.  So imagine buying it with a credit card and paying interest on the depreciation.

This is a good book about economics:

http://www.amazon.com/screwing-average-man-David-Hapgood/dp/B0006W84KK

psik

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Posted: 24 April 2008 03:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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psikeyhackr - 23 April 2008 11:18 PM

Or that kids have to take an accounting class (less reasonable)

That is what I mean.  Double entry accounting is 700 years old.  The entire idea that accounting is difficult is ridiculous.  The accounting books are always written like the person is trying to learn to become a professional accountant rather than learn accounting to manage their own money.  They don’t need to know about partnerships and corporations to do that. 

I have two accounting books that cost $100 and have over 1000 pages.  I have checked every page.  There isn’t a diagram of cash in either of them.  One doesn’t talk about depreciation until page 600 but has a business owner buying a $3000 computer on page 50.  If you bought a $3000 laptop computer you would lose $1500 in depreciation in 18 months.  So imagine buying it with a credit card and paying interest on the depreciation.

This is a good book about economics:

http://www.amazon.com/screwing-average-man-David-Hapgood/dp/B0006W84KK

psik

I’m surprised that a high school would require everyone to take accounting—I hadn’t come across an example of that in New York State.

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Posted: 24 April 2008 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I’m surprised that a high school would require everyone to take accounting—I hadn’t come across an example of that in New York State.

I never said any high school required it.  I am suggesting it should be required in all high schools.  How many credit cards get sent to college freshman each year?  That wasn’t happening when I went to college.

http://www.bsu.edu/news/article/0,1370,-1019-11714,00.html

psik

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Posted: 24 April 2008 06:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Jackson - 21 April 2008 04:46 PM

Nice interview.

Thomas Donnelly - 18 April 2008 04:07 PM

  He also addresses the growing political and economic diversity when it comes to the skeptical and humanist movements.

One of the things which has bothered me about CFI-style “secular humanism” is its unskeptical support of left-wing causes, including an idealization of socialism.  Shermer argues for the value of a diversity of opinions and a reality-based approach.

Hey everyone, just joined up, been catching up on Point of Inquiry the last few months, listening on my iPod while riding the metro here in DC.  One thing I have noticed is that every now and then, they seem to really lean to the left.  After hearing Shermer’s interview, I thought “Finally, there is hope for us libertarian/objectivists” here.  I am surprised there are not MORE libertarians amongst the fellow atheist/agnostics on here.  Either way, it is a great show (the host is probably one of the best I have EVER heard), but the left-leaning stuff bothers me.  (I think it was the Susan Jacoby interview that irked me).

Anyhow, great show and hopefully, there are other libertarians and/or objectivists out there.

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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (Democrat):

“It’s a free country; I wish it weren’t, but it’s a free country.” when speaking of a rally on the Capitol.

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Posted: 25 April 2008 09:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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cool mad I believe it was Calvin Coolidge who said that the business of America was business. No. The business of business is business. The profit motive is clearly an important motive in business, especially for pushing forth new technology and innovation, getting products to the shelves.  But, who said that every aspect of our social structures should be treated like a for-profit enterprise? I don’t want my retirement, health or educational needs being treated on the same level as a cruise ship service. Basic needs and even employment itself are not components of capitalism. Look how the short-sightedness of corporate greed has led to the lack of future fuel development. America should have had a Marshall Plan for electric cars 20 years ago. This country has saddly lost the concept of the common good and the general welfare. Yes, general welfare, right there in the preamble! I look forward to a future America that is modeled after western Europe, not Ayn Rand. If the 20th century has proven anything, it’s that extremist politics don’t work. Extreme capitalism is just as crazy as Maoism.
  big surprise  I find it sad that Mr. Shermer would not only promote a sinister philosophy like Libertarianism, but do so under the guise of science. Dawkins said that a society run along Darwinian politics would be a very unpleasant one indeed. Science is simply a description of unconscious, blind natural systems. Basing economics on Darwin makes as much sense as basing it on Newtonian physics. I’m afraid the Skeptic Society won’t be getting any more of my natural selection. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

[ Edited: 16 May 2008 12:59 PM by thoughtsurfer ]
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Posted: 26 April 2008 01:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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psikeyhackr - 20 April 2008 04:44 PM

So it is repackaged social Darwinism not taking into account that technology has gotten more complicated over the last 100 years.
psik

That’s the exact thought I had when I listened to the Shermer ep when I was doing my household chores last weekend. He sounded exactly like those
classic Social Darwinists who tried (often with impressive rhetorical skill) to use the scientific truths of evolution to set up a social ethics where human
solidarity is non-existent and devil take the hindmost. He sounded like a man who started out with a political/social agenda, and then marshalled a set
of cherry-picked facts (and a good number of non-facts) all designed to buttress his agenda. That being said, the ep did make me think, which is what
I expect from PoI, so from that point of view, the ep was a success.

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Posted: 26 April 2008 02:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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UlsterScots432 - 24 April 2008 06:33 PM
Jackson - 21 April 2008 04:46 PM

Nice interview.

Thomas Donnelly - 18 April 2008 04:07 PM

  He also addresses the growing political and economic diversity when it comes to the skeptical and humanist movements.

One of the things which has bothered me about CFI-style “secular humanism” is its unskeptical support of left-wing causes, including an idealization of socialism.  Shermer argues for the value of a diversity of opinions and a reality-based approach.

Hey everyone, just joined up, been catching up on Point of Inquiry the last few months, listening on my iPod while riding the metro here in DC.  One thing I have noticed is that every now and then, they seem to really lean to the left.  After hearing Shermer’s interview, I thought “Finally, there is hope for us libertarian/objectivists” here.  I am surprised there are not MORE libertarians amongst the fellow atheist/agnostics on here.  Either way, it is a great show (the host is probably one of the best I have EVER heard), but the left-leaning stuff bothers me.  (I think it was the Susan Jacoby interview that irked me).

Anyhow, great show and hopefully, there are other libertarians and/or objectivists out there.

See, that’s the great thing about atheists/agnostics/skeptics: we are a much more intellectual diverse lot than the slack-jawed believers.  Me, I loved the Jacoby interview (and ran right out to buy her book, which I’m reading as we speak) and I was appalled by Shermer’s ideas and politics. Definitely stick around, you’ll find an exciting diversity of opinion here. The human diversity around here is as stimulating as the political/philosophical/cultural diversity, so jump in and have fun.

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Posted: 26 April 2008 05:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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thoughtsurfer - 25 April 2008 09:47 PM

..... would not only promote a sinister philosophy like Libertarianism, but do so under the guise of science.

The concept of Libertarianism which I like is that people get to choose for themselves.  I think the first amendment and freedom of religion might be more consistent with libertarianism than with socialism.

[ Edited: 26 April 2008 07:02 PM by Jackson ]
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Posted: 26 April 2008 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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steveg144 - 26 April 2008 01:56 AM

He sounded like a man who started out with a political/social agenda, and then marshalled a set of cherry-picked facts (and a good number of non-facts) all designed to buttress his agenda. That being said, the ep did make me think, which is what I expect from PoI, so from that point of view, the ep was a success.

When someone makes me waste brain power analyzing BS so I have to shoot holes in it to figure out that it is BS they just piss me off.  That is what is wrong with this society.  You spend more time sorting out crap being thrown at you than you do making progress.

Double entry accounting is 700 years old.

http://www.ivcc.edu/steljes/GeneralPages/Links/accounting_history_in_a_nutshell.htm

So if grade school kids had been taught basics of accounting and then a year of accounting in high school followed by a year of economics, and that done since 1945, then what state would the American economy be in today?  Maybe we would not have all of these foreclosures because almost all Americans would have their homes payed for by now.  How desperate would Americans be for jobs if they didn’t have to pay rent or mortgages?

How tedious would accounting be with properly designed accounting software?  The way some of this stuff looks the computers make things more difficult.  I can understand why schools would like that.  I have two accounting books that cost $100 and have more than 1000 pages and not a single diagram of cash flow in either one. RIDICULOUS

http://www.bsu.edu/news/article/0,1370,-1019-11714,00.html

I believe we have a problem of people who think they are smart making knowledge difficult to acquire for other people in order to maintain their advantage.  They call that competition.

A funny example is Suze Orman.  I checked the indexes of 5 of her books and depreciation was not listed in any of them.  I have Sylvia Porters MONEY BOOK from 1975.  Depreciation is listed on 5 pages.  4 of those entries are about depreciation of automobiles.  But if you look up accounting in her book it just talks about getting a job as an accountant.  Now Porters book is more than 1000 pages.  I think she could have said quite a bit about accounting in 50 pages if she wanted to.

So why isn’t everybody that’s talking about economics saying how the economy might work differently if everyone understood accounting?  It wouldn’t be that the smart people want the dumb people to STAY DUMB, you suppose?

psik

[ Edited: 26 April 2008 09:57 AM by psikeyhackr ]
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Posted: 26 April 2008 06:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Jackson - 26 April 2008 05:06 AM

The concept of Libertarianism which I like is that people get to choose for themselves.

This idea, that government is LESS OF A process of people choosing for themselves than that of an unregulated market system is one of the great myths of the “Libertarian” philosophy.

A large group of people who organize themselves in order to improve their community (i.e. a government) and charge all those who benefit from living and working in that community (i.e. levee taxes) is at least as much “a process of people choosing for themselves” as is the process of a tiny subset group of wealthy people buying-up retail space and housing in order to charge all those who benefit from living and conducting commerce in those spaces. 

In both cases, if you don’t like the township, or state, or country, or condo, or retail space, then you can (or should be allowed to)  move to another one.

Monopolization of power and lack of choice is potentially as much a problem in an unregulated market as it is potentially in a democratic government. Decentralization of powers (checks and balances and separation of powers)  is necessary in both cases in order to preserve the ideal of “a process of people choosing for themselves”.

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Posted: 26 April 2008 08:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Riley - 26 April 2008 06:13 PM
Jackson - 26 April 2008 05:06 AM

The concept of Libertarianism which I like is that people get to choose for themselves.

This idea, that government is LESS OF A process of people choosing for themselves than that of an unregulated market system is one of the great myths of the “Libertarian” philosophy.

I agree that an unregulated market will allow a few people at the top of a few monopolies to make most of the important decisions instead of people choosing for themselves.  Even Shermer agreed that markets need to be regulated.  But what I don’t understand is how letting the government make those decisions is letting individual people choose for themselves.  If I have one vote in 100 million voters, that’s not having a say.  Even if I have one vote in 100 thousand, that still gives me little say mathematically speaking.  If the government service is forced upon everyone then individuals have no say.  If government is going to be involved in the economy it has to allow for people to choose not to use the government service or else individual people have no choice.  The best example of letting people choose for themselves is the open source and proprietary software market.  People are free to choose software that was produced by a monopoly or they can choose to buy software produced by a community of non-profit developers.  Both kinds of software are thriving.  Another example is how government runs the post office but people can also choose to use UPS or FedEx.  The libertarian principle that does make sense is letting people have choice.

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Posted: 26 April 2008 09:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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I don’t think anybody is saying that the government should tell people exactly what to buy or sell. But, democratic government should step in when private business is not meeting the needs of employees, consumers or society in general. It’s like minimum wage. Companies pay people what they think they are worth and that’s just not good enough to meet their needs. Who the hell is going to step in to raise salaries but the government? I’m not saying that a surgeon should get paid the same as a janitor, but the janitor should be brought up to a certain level of sustenance. Do you really think that profit-motivated corporations are on the same playing field as individuals? He who has the gold rules, as the joke goes. Of course, there have been governments in the past who intervened to create injustice. Oscar Schindler made a lot of money off his Jewish slaves, no overhead. Of course, the fascists at least cared about some members of society. Libertarians care about nobody.

[ Edited: 26 April 2008 09:39 PM by thoughtsurfer ]
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