Here you fall into the trap of equating simple with simplistic.
arthur lecuyer

Here you fall into the trap of equating simple with simplistic.

No, I’m simply aware that libertarianism is to economics what a spherical object in a vacuum is to physics: a construct that sounds simple and clear cut in theory, but always falls short in reality.

The reason that true Austrian economics has never been practiced anywhere or anytime is that people’s actions can’t be readily fit into an equation.

I’m sorry, I start tuning out when people tell me that the reason why their previous endeavors failed is because no one understood how to implement their brilliant theories and what was implemented was improper. It’s the No True Scotsman fallacy of public policy. It’s the same exact excuse given by communists, that communism is awesome, it’s just that no one really, really understood and it practiced it. And having grown up under communism, I can tell you firsthand how crappy of an excuse this is for the failures of the graying, greedy Soviet oligarchy.

Governments don’t create growth, they retard it.

See, this is exactly the kind of simplistic, dogmatic statement that I had in mind. The idea that the government funded space race didn’t stimulate the economy, for example, is absurd to the point of calling the sky purple. With no public services, or infrastructure, or basic research funding, we wouldn’t have had anything close to the same adoption curves of integrated circuits, internet, or warehouse-based online retailers. Trillions of dollars of activity and wealth can be traced directly to public seeding.

Governments should not be picking economic winners and losers, true. But they can provide an even playing field and the basics for a company to get started and efficiently distribute its goods and services to customers, and to fund basic research that may not have a ready commercial application until years down the line. Doing so gave us lasers, which we use for everything nowadays, from surgery and cancer treatment, to weapons. And speaking of the latter, I don’t think defense companies are suffering from the trillions in revenues they’ve received over decades to arm and maintain the military.

The breaking of the monopolies did nothing to lessen and did in some cases increase the power of the Barons.

That’s absurdly untrue. It broke up many monopolies and put the pieces in direct competition with each other.

During the gilded age our economy and the standard of living both grew faster than anywhere else in the world.

On average, yes. For the wealthy, yes. For the poor? Not so much. For the middle class? Oh, right, there was no middle class.

As for labor, the unions only helped curtail wages for everybody not in the union while increasing cost and decreasing efficiency and productivity.

Again, blatantly untrue. Average wages soared across the board and labor productivity also surged when examined cumulatively.

So what you’re saying is that a lack of regulatory oversight caused a boom in economic activity and increased both wealth and competition.

No, that’s what you wanted to hear. What you said is that governments will only stifle growth and over-regulate, no exceptions. I gave you an example that this is not always the case and you’re now using it as proof that all that needs to happen for massive growth is for governments to get out of the way while ignoring that the industry in question grew because of demand for a fossil fuel. The government is still out of the way, but the Bakken fields are sitting empty because the demand waned. You’re hinging on thesis on very mistaken information and rushed assumptions. It’s a pretty obvious pattern.

Name one public school system that has outperformed its private school peers.

There was a huge meta-study that found advantages to public education by using more than just standardized test scores. Private schools have slightly better test results, but overall, they’re a wash. Once you factor in wealthy public school districts, you end up with students from public schools in the lead achievement-wise. Charter schools are often claimed to be better than failing public schools, but they’re famously hit and miss. Some are great in every way, others are so awful they can’t make it through a full year.

It’s a wonder that anything gets done at all with the red tape involved.

And yet, here we are, with millions of miles of road taking you to almost every possible address in the United States. You managed to turn a massive achievement of urban design and long term planning into a negative thing with “logic” that can only be described as back asswards. Who would plan projects of national scale but a government agency? Private companies in search of profits? They’d invest the trillions of dollars to pave the nation with roads even though many of those roads are just between homes? And they would coordinate what to charge and who to charge and how to try and collect the money nationwide? Has such a thing ever happened? Ever? In all of history?

You can dispute this if you’d like but it’s because of the Gilded Age that the 20th century became known as the American Century.

Yeah, I’m going to dispute it. What sort of evidence do you have for this? It seems absurd on its face because the post-WW2 period’s increases in just about every positive facet of life put the Gilded Age to shame. America got into the war broke. It ended the war a global hegemon and drowning in an influx of wealth. The Gilded Age triggered the Great Depression and gave rise to laws and institutions designed to stabilize the economy and prevent bubbles and runaway inflation. So history shows quite the opposite.

how does one become a productive member of society, if the minimum basic skills either aren’t taught by those public institutions

But they are. They’ve just become unaffordable by a perfect storm of bad decision making on all sides. We started treating post-secondary education as a priveledge instead of a prerequisite because too many senior citizens in charge of out policy cannot for the life of them compute that a high school diploma or a GED is no longer enough to be able to earn one’s keep.

or are priced above their worth to employers by union demand or by minimum wage guarantee?

Here’s the thing with minimum wage. If you are allowed to pay people a lot less than it takes to actually survive on their own, they become dependent on the charity of others and the state. Charities being disorganized cover a small part of their needs while the state does the most legwork. If the skills are so low in value, why not just automate the process? Why burden others with having to provide a subsidy for your bottom line? No one wants to do it, and it’s irrational for you to expect them to do so.

The ICC was formed in the late 19th century and regulated not just railroads but set maximum price rates.

The ICC had no power to set maximum rates until 1906. And it was formed because it was required to somehow deal with the monopolies that used railroads to destroy competition and engaged in rampant price fixing. Your argument basically says that when corporations engage in price fixing, it’s good for the economy but when governments do it, it’s bad without proof that your positions aren’t merely repetitions of dogmatic tenets.

Then both Hoover and FDR took those to new heights of absurdity.

This is a value judgement, not a factual statement, and based on your lack of command of the basic facts, a very questionable one.

So let me give you a taste of your own medicine…

Well, you finally got one fact over on me, you certainly have a right to gloat so please enjoy.

Perhaps if you’d spend more time learning about true economic theory (AKA Austrian) than trying to argue against it, you’d be on the right side of this argument.

Whenever someone thinks they found the one true theory to master them all, especially after they proudly proclaim they taught themselves this true economic theory, it sounds a lot less like an authoritative, factual argument and more like a religious chant with a self-congratulatory quip at the end.

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