The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

On Facebook and Somalia

Posted By on October 6, 2015

So, after listening to such interesting podcasts as EconTalk, The Cato Daily Podcast, FreeDomain Radio, and stuff by Adam Kokesh (I strongly suggest reading or listening to Freedom, as well as conversing with some learned colleagues for several years at this point, I was coming to believe that perhaps the world was progressing to something more productive, beautiful and conducive towards human growth and prosperity.

Then I rejoined Facebook.

Now, I did this to follow an excellent tabletop wargame and my local gaming shop, but pretty much immediately, lots of folks started friending me. If I knew them, I accepted their requests, which means they’re now in my feed, which means that I see all the random political things they post.

The first thing I realized is that I like most of my friends more if we don’t talk politics. The remaining few friends (all of whom I disagree with on pretty major points, BTW), can actually carry on a logical conversation while making decent points which cause me to challenge my thinking and perceptions, and therein lies personal, spiritual, and intellectual growth. The rest of them? Well, it just kind of devolves into trolling, name calling or other such foolishness. I’ve spoken to one of them who never engages in such discussion about this phenomenon, and he’s basically said that’s why he doesn’t talk about anything serious with anyone, ever. That way people don’t get upset and friendships don’t get ruined. While I don’t wholly agree with this approach, it isn’t without merit.

The meme in question

Anyway, there were a few ideas which I feel deserve to be remarked upon in the broader context.

  1. Raising the minimum wage doesn’t price people out of the market.
    • It does.
    • One of the justifications put forth was that places who have raised the minimum wage have experienced record economic growth and prosperity.
    • Firstly, neither growth nor prosperity have to do with employment – raising human costs can easily justify expanded automation which increases both of those things, while reducing employment.
    • Secondly, other places have had increased growth and prosperity too, and have not increased the minimum wage. It’s merely a correllation, not a cause.
    • Finally, it’s actually SUPPOSED TO. See this letter by Don Boudreaux which links to this analysis by Burton Folsom. This is further explained here. Quoting:
    • The minimum wage is really economic protectionism for more expensive, organized labor, because higher-wage workers gain an advantage from government regulations that outlaw competition from cheaper alternatives. This anti-competitiveness is even more significant when considering regional and national market conditions.
    • If the minimum wage was $8 and the union wage was $40, employers give up five hours of low-skilled work for every union worker-hour utilized. But increasing the minimum to $10 means employers give up four hours of low-skilled work for every union worker hour…. Workers and employers in high cost of living areas, where virtually everyone earns above the federal minimum wage, benefit, by raising the cost of production imposed on rivals where wages are lower.
  2. The world would be horrible if the Republicans had their way. People would still be slaves, there would be no labor unions, etc.

Now, when presented with the above, for the first they said that I (and those economists) were just plain wrong. As for the second, they basically said:

No, we meant conservatives, not Republicans. Everyone switched sides after the 60’s. Or 70’s. Or.. something, but the Liberal Democrats are good and the Conservative Republicans are bad!

My reply was essentially that all statists are bad and the negative consequences of coercive government policy leads to a more violent society, and minarchism/anarchism should be our goal. This devolved into a subsequent attack on anarchism, of me for criticizing systems from which I’ve benefited (the logic being that, since I drive on roads, attended a public university and elementary schools, that I’ve benefited from the govan interesting article about Somalia]ernment stealing peoples’ money on my behalf and therefore I cannot criticize the practice that funded the institutions from which I benefited. I called bullshit on that, and they said “no, that’s reality”).

Anyway, the one real gem to take from that was the following question:

Well, if that’s how you feel, why don’t you move to Somalia?

Hmm.. That’s a good point. I actually known nothing about Somalia. Let’s ask the Google. Well, this site has an interesting article about Somalia, and responds to that very statement. (It is well worth the read. I strongly recommend it).

If anyone wants to discuss this, feel free to email me, but I’ll not be arguing on Facebook anytime soon.


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