[FoRK] The bee sting theory of poverty
jbone at place.org
Tue Jun 29 04:59:17 PDT 2010
On Jun 29, 2010, at 1:09, "Stephen D. Williams" <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>> Trust me, though. His argument is simple, elegant, beautifully
>> stated, and utterly devastating to the Golden Calf of progressives,
>> diminishing marginal utility.
> Haven't read the book yet.
> That article did *not* say anything that was "utterly devastating"
> to the concept of diminishing marginal utility.
Read the article again. But actually I was referring to the book,
perhaps you should read that before proceeding further?
> Perhaps it was devastating to someone who thought that marginal
> utility was all that mattered in the psyche of people in the
> neighborhood of poor. If so, that is a very weak point.
Stop shadow boxing. Read the book. Karelis' whole point is
intellectual honesty. He realizes that traditional progressive
thought rests on a dishonest and fallacious concept, and that this
obscures the very efforts to address poverty effectively. He proceeds
to demolish the false edifice of DMU in order to build a more
realistic foundation for progressivity re poverty. He succeeds in the
former but IMHO fails at the latter.
Which you might realize if you read the book.
> What exactly is your point about diminishing marginal utility?
That it is (a) the bedrock of most progressive arguments /
rationalizations for coercive redistribution, and (b) easily
demonstrated to be UTTER BS --- by a very *progressive* thinker.
One that is refreshingly intellectually honest. Unlike most Utopians.
You cannot sensibly construct a general utilitarian argument for
coercive redistribution to address poverty. Absent DMU or some so-far
missing mechanism, if you wish to do so and you are intellectually
honest, you will inevitably find yourself back in the swamp of moral
philosophy rather than economics.
> ...the article, I don't think you understood them properly...
> Perhaps the book makes the arguments better.
I don't think you've read the fucking book that the fucking article
was about, so why don't you stop trying divine the author's intent
through some fucking process of osmosis and do THAT before
embarrassing yourself further with this fucktardly droning, puporting
to tell us what's what about something you haven't even done your
For fucks sake, it's a tiny book. Wouild probably take less time for
you to read than it took for you to emit this blizzard of bullshit
you're snowing us with.
> You never proved or even justified why it is nonsense.
Repeatedly, ad nauseam. Sorry it's not making it through that bias
shield. A large percentage of the posts of all sorts of various
flavors for the last several years have been attempts to make various
related points. No need to repeat in context; clearly if you don't
"get it" by now, I don't have the tools to help you further.
> You created a straw man (that I was stating a definitive, for-all-
> time baseline set) and then knocked it down.
No, it doesn't matter whether it's static or not. The argument still
applies: you cannot define some baseline of poverty that will be
generally acceptable at any given point in time and construct a
general non-coercive method for insuring that all people remain above
it. It's an absurd claim; at the very least an extraordinary one,
and one you have failed to demonstrate any solution to, though given
its extraordinary nature that burden rests on you.
Call this the "no Utopias" rule.
Re not free: then who pays? How do you insure Pareto optimality? You
cannot. This social "baseline" must be funded somehow. You can't
justify extracting the costs via DMU, since that does not exist.
(q.e.d., read the goddamn book.) So whatever means you concoct must be
otherwise motivated / rationalized.
No intellectually honest argument you come up for doing so with will
not be utilitarian in nature.
The bottom line is this: people have abilities to cope with their
environment, whatever it might be at some time, that are distributed
along a power law. Given finite resources and absent a coercive method
for avoiding it, and absent some equalizing advance, resources will
end up distributed along a power law as well. This will inevitably
result in some large number of folks below any "poverty line" that
anyone can define at a point in time.
The usual arguments for coercive redistribution universally rely on
the notion of diminishing marginal utility. DMU is easily demonstrated
to be a fallacy.
By the book. Buy the book. Then actually read it. Then we can
discuss what you think of it, or not.
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