Category Archives: crapitalism

Translink: ‘screwing the poor is our business model going forward’

civil rights, crapitalism, culture, economics 4 Replies

Here in Vancouver, we’re serviced by a combination of light rail and buses. Both of which are fairly regular, and cheap. I’ve lived in a couple of different countries, visited many cities, and I have to say that the transit system here is easily one of the best in the world. (Do I need the standard caveat of “of course, there’s room for improvement”? I’m assuming I don’t)

The company that runs the show, Translink, is bringing in a new RFID card called the Compass Card. I have to admit, I’ve been looking forward to this as it’s a standard of convenience that I got somewhat used to in Japan. To some extent, this should speed up boarding on buses (fewer people using paper tickets means less waiting for cards to feed, and less mis-feeds or dodgy tickets). It’ll have about zero effect on the skytrain, however. So really, the benefit is minimal.

On the other hand, this card is really about screwing the economically disadvantaged.

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Taxes ARE Theft (but so what?)

crapitalism, economics, philosophy 69 Replies

One of the oft-made claims by self-styled Libertarians is that ‘taxes are theft’ (and are therefore ‘bad’). This kind of assertion underpins most of the Libertarian position, and also the bulk of any anti-tax/pro-small-government arguments by folks of any political stripe. Unfortunately, it’s rare to hear this position defended as the self-styled Libertarians don’t seem all that well-read with regards to their own literature.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Ayn Rand was gaining prominence, but there were no Philosophers backing her corner, partially because she spouted utter drivel and partially because to side with Rand was engage in self-loathing (Rand was notoriously anti-Philosophy/ers).

Enter Robert Nozick, with his tome “Anarchy, State and Utopia”. Nozick is well-regarded in Philosophy for articulating what was inarticulate, and defending the generally indefensible. Nozick sketched out the Libertarian claims, largely as a response to John Rawls’s defense of Social Justice, and, well… His arguments are not obviously terrible (as much as we may disagree with them). His arguments are certainly compelling, if you have a tendency to ignore all counter-arguments to your position. But hey, that’s the human condition, right?

So let’s dive in. And hold your nose (and your breath), because Nozick doesn’t make the argument that ‘taxes are theft’. Nope: “Taxation of earnings from labor is on par with forced labor.” Yeah, he went there.

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Economists and Ethics

crapitalism, ethics, philosophy 13 Replies

It’s something of an inevitability that when the various heinous acts of corporations are brought to light, the Economists march out in lock-step to explain to the dissenters A) how emotional and irrational the dissenters are acting and B) sure, isn’t this the best possible thing that could be happening for ‘those people’?

This line of thinking was most recently articulated by Paul Krugman in The Slate. I want to focus on the two main points of this article: 1) the lie being presented that this is the best possible choice we could make given “the alternative”, and 2) the objection to this is being made on purely emotional grounds (i.e. there are no rational grounds to this objection) Continue reading