Alberto Mingardi  

Clarabelle Cow, Capitalist

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"A Bet Disconcerts Him": Kant ... Schuck on Why Government Fails...

Art Carden has already blogged on Jason Brennan's insightful "Why not Capitalism?", a most needed response to G.A. Cohen's "Why not Socialism?"

Like Art, I enjoyed the book. It is a very good example of how political philosophy can be written in an easy and yet profound way, to the benefit of a broader range of readers.
If Cohen "sells" socialism by explaining how wonderfully a "socialist" camping trip among friends, with all sharing everything, works, Brennan resorts to a Disney show, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, for allowing his readers a glimpse into a capitalist utopia. As anybody, I am familiar with the characters, though I don't have kids and thus I have never seen this particular show (whereas I remember watching "DuckTales", that Brennan also references, as a young boy myself - and I have very fond memories of that). In their village, Brennan explains,

Mickey Mouse owns a clubhouse that he shares with his friends. Minnie owns and runs a "Bowtique", a hair-bow factory and store. Clarabelle Cow owns and runs a Moo Mart" sundries store and a "Moo Muffin" factory. Donald Duck and Willie the Giant own farms. Professor Von Drake owns various inventions, including a time machine and a nano tech machine that can manufacture "mouskatools" on command.

In this community, Brennan notes, "everyone does his or her part. Everyone works hard to add to the social surplus" and yet everybody "trades value for value" and "is free to pursue his or her own vision of the good life without having to ask permission from others". In short, the village appears like a capitalist society, but one in which instead of people being greedy and nasty to each other, people (or, well, mice and other animals) are friendly and cordial, too. Instead of a hive where the bees are thriving until they are made "honest", Brennan goes for a "capitalist utopia" in which all the nicest features of human cooperation appear at their high, but the mode of production is capitalist indeed: people own things, and trade one with the other. His point is that Cohen is unfair in comparing an ideal socialist society (the camping trip of friends who decide to share stuff because everyone wants everyone to have a great time) with his own caricature of "real capitalism", as if private property of the means of production and good, honest, cordial human beings couldn't go together. So, Brennan proposes an alternative utopia, and I think it was a great idea to search for it in the Disney world, which has fed the imagination of three generations of kids (and is in itself a beautiful capitalist achievement, too).

It is not my business, but it would be fun to see what the good folks at "Econstories" could make of Brennan's book and its insights into the capitalist acts among consenting ducks and mice that are performed in the Disney world.

There are many interesting insights in Brennan's book - but my favourite one lies in the last chapter. The chapter appropriately starts with a quote from Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State and Utopia" and argues for a system based upon private property rights as the proper "framework for utopia". He makes a point which is very relevant, and yet frequently forgotten: capitalism is "pluralistic", it rejoices at diversity, it prizes experiments, it doesn't require uniformity.

Capitalism is tolerant. Want to have a worker-controlled firm? Go for it. Want to start a kibbutz or a commune in which everything is collectively owned? No problem. The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse villagers would allow Cohen to have his permanent socialist camping trip, so long as Cohen likewise lets Minnie Mouse have her Bowtique.

There is an essential asymmetry in the capitalist and the socialist visions of utopia. Capitalists allow socialism, but socialists forbid capitalism.


This is a most persuasive argument for capitalism, and Brennan makes it in a very succinct and yet well argued way.


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CATEGORIES: Book Club



COMMENTS (26 to date)
Pajser writes:

As I already wrote: in Cohen's camp focus is on helping those in need, while in Brennan's village, people work in their self-interest (for instance, they build yachts) and only occasionally they help to those in need. Because of that (if everything else is the same) people in Brennan's village are less successful in helping those in need, less moral, less empathic than those in Cohen's camp. Cohen's camp is better.

"There is an essential asymmetry in the capitalist and the socialist visions of utopia. Capitalists allow socialism, but socialists forbid capitalism. ... This is a most persuasive argument for capitalism, and Brennan makes it in a very succinct and yet well argued way."
If you compare worse systems (slavery, feudalism, right of the strongest) with capitalism, you'll find that worse systems allow construction of capitalist subsystems, while capitalism doesn't allow feudal and other worse subsystem. Furthermore, slavery system allows feudal subsystem, but feudal system doesn't allow slavery: peasants cannot be legally enslaved. It appears that more advanced (more free) systems do not allow less advanced subsystems. (Other direction doesn't hold. The system that doesn't allow given subsystem is not necessarily better than that subsystem.)

Is it paradox? No, because it is not maximal freedom that counts, but minimal guaranteed freedom. As better system guarantee more, it doesn't allow worse subsystem. Maximal freedom in slavery system - the freedom of pharaoh - is greater than anything capitalism can offer. Guaranteed minimal freedom - self-ownership is what makes capitalism better. Because of that guarantee - slavery is impossible in capitalism.

The socialist system guarantees just share in total wealth of society. If capitalist and his workers decide to behave like they do in capitalist system, no one of them could have the right to keep the wealth greater than his just share in total wealth of society (according to socialist criteria). That's why capitalist subsystem is impossible in socialist society.

(Those who want capitalism in socialist society should have the right on secession with proportional territory and wealth of society - so they do not lose that much - but that is another issue.)

Tracy W writes:

It is noticeable that online worlds, where there are no inherent resource limits, tend to include trading opportunities, along with artificially-scarce resources. It implies that not only do many people enjoy a challenge in life, but also that they enjoy trading.

Jason Brennan writes:

Thanks for the kind review!

Pasjer's critique makes a fundamental mistake, one that David Schmidtz and I pointed out in A Brief History of Liberty: there's a difference between guaranteeing in the sense of issuing a firm declaration in law to achieve a particular end (as when Bush II guarantees no child will be left behind) vs. guaranteeing inevitable (as when an economist says quadrupling the minimum wage will guarantee rising unemployment). A guarantee in the first sense is not automatically a guarantee in the second sense. And a guarantee in the second sense is, usually, the only thing worth caring about for it's own sake. We should care about legal guarantees only if they work.

Further, Pasjer's misunderstands that when it comes to guarantees, there are two ways to generate the needed outcome. One is direct govenrmentalism--as when the government tries to produce good art by giving out art grants--the other is indirect--as when the government ends up supporting good art by supporting a legal structure in which art spontaneously flourishes. Again, the choice between these comes down to which actually works better. Direct governmentalism is no guarantee, and is not always superior.

As it turns out, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse does guarantee a social minimum. It just does so indirectly and without resorting to institutionalized violence. The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse guarantees a minimal level of positive freedom while also respecting a maximal level of negative freedom. From a left-wing or socialist moral point of view, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse capitalism is as good or better than socialism.

Now if you grant that capitalists have the right to secede and form their own society, what you'll end up with in utopia is Mickey Mouse Capitalism with pockets of Cohenite Socialism. After all, as I discuss in a footnote, following Nozick, it looks like only a tiny segment of people would actually choose utopian socialism over utopian capitalism.

Jason Brennan writes:

Sorry, part of the post above is missing some words: It should say "vs. guaranteeing as in rendering inevitable".

Jason Brennan writes:

Note finally that the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse capitalist society has *no* greater degree of selfishness than Cohen's socialist society, and, also, that there's every reason to think that it's social minimum will be higher than Cohen's social minimum.

Tracy W writes:

Pajser: your history is wrong. Feudal societies did often include slavery, a poor person might have the status of a serf (bound to land, but couldn't be sold and had some rights against their master) or a slave (could be sold). For example at the time of the Domesday book nearly 1 in 10 English were slaves.

Given the numbers of pharohs and other absolute rulers who got killed by people to take their power, the maximum freedom at the top in slavery societies was rather limited by the need to keep watching one's back. Particularly against friends and relatives.

And nowadays in the BSDM world, people do sometimes set themselves up as slaves, although the contracts of course have no legal status.

Pajser writes:

Tracy: yes, many real feudal (and capitalist) societies allowed slavery, but these were mixed, not ideal, pure systems. In pure feudal or capitalist society, slavery is illegal contract in feudalism, self-ownership in capitalism.) However, in pure slavery system, slaveowner has the right to release slaves and define new, feudal or capitalist laws on his land.

Jason Brennan: Certainly, inevitable consequences of the system, although not guaranteed by laws can result in rights greater than those guaranteed by law. It matters. Also, I agree that "direct governmentalism is no guarantee, and is not always superior." However, I do not see that I made mistake misunderstanding that.

"Note finally that the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse capitalist society has *no* greater degree of selfishness than Cohen's socialist society ..."
You wrote in "Why not capitalism?" that Mickey's club (ideal capitalist society) members follow own goals most of the time. Hence, they have less resources to help those in need than Cohen's camp (ideal socialist society) members, where focus is to help those in need. It seems Mickey's people are more selfish. Except if you assume that capitalism is so efficient, even for morally perfect people that Mickey's club can accomplish more with less moral effort. However, it is strong assumption, and your main thesis (necessary to oppose Cohen) is that ideal capitalist society is better on purely moral ground, without efficiency argument. (Both Cohen's camp and Mickey's club do not rely on institutional violence. )
ThomasH writes:

If there are any believers in central planning left besides Mr Cohen, this ought to (normative but probably not positive sense) persuade them.

It does not help us very much in thinking about a world in which running some of Mr Drake's machines have negative externalities like contributing to CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere, where voluntary contributions might not be large enough to repair the roof of the clubhouse, where one of the club members could contribute so little of value to the rest that they might want to take up a collection so he could still consume some of the value that the others produce, where someone might need look in to make sure the Moo Muffin factory is clean and safe, etc.

Ought anyone to choose Brennan's capitalism over the capitalism we have or might have with a little tweaking?

Ann S writes:

Pajser -
You said that "Mickey's club (ideal capitalist society) members follow own goals most of the time. Hence, they have less resources to help those in need than Cohen's camp (ideal socialist society) members, where focus is to help those in need"

But given the greater efficiency of an ideal capitalist society, they would have more resources, not less, to help those in need.

You also said "The socialist system guarantees just share in total wealth of society"

I don't know if this was a deliberate attempt to rig the debate or if you're really that unaware of the beliefs and opinions of others, but by the standards of most people, the goal of a socialist system is to guarantee an unjust distribution of total wealth. If voluntary, the system that forces a strict distribution fails precisely because most people trapped within the system consider it to be unfair

I recommend the book Hungry Ghosts by Jasper Becker, about China's Great Leap. Among other fascinating sections, it talks about the communes and the fact that they tended to fail precisely because most members felt that the distribution was unjust. If one person worked harder than another, they felt that it was not fair that the other person got just as much.

Let's remember that in the 1800s, there were many socialist utopian experiments where people voluntarily formed groups that shared (like the brief camping trip, except for real and not just temporary). The many utopian experiments didn't work because eventually, in practice, people don't consider forced sharing to be just. Marx thought that the problem with these utopian experiments was that there weren't enough people in them, and the people weren't forced to stay. So, in the 1900s, we experimented with gun-to-the-head, we'll-shoot-you-if-you-try-to-leave utopias, but they were even worse than the voluntary ones that were allowed to fade away gracefully.

What exactly is new about this camping trip fable that wasn't known and tried in the earlier utopian experiments?

Pajser writes:

Ann S: both Cohen's camping trip and Brennan's Mickey Club are thought experiments designed to isolate moral aspect of the debate; to discuss what would be better if humans are morally perfect beings and if practical problems (socialist calculation, market failure ...) do not exist. That's difference between Cohen's camp and any actual society.

One might claim that it is useless to discuss such abstractions. I think it is essential, maybe the most important aspect of socialism vs capitalism debate. Because: if one concludes that socialism (or capitalism) is morally better, he shouldn't necessarily advocate socialism (or capitalism), but he should advocate "as much socialism (or capitalism) as possible under given conditions."

My claim that "socialist system guarantees just share in total wealth of society" was part of the explanation why socialist system doesn't allow capitalist subsystem while capitalist system allows socialist subsystems and why it is not paradox (keyword is "guarantees.") The socialist should answer the criticism that his distributions ("to everyone according to his contribution" and "according to his needs" are very different) are unjust, or that socialism is less efficient; but these are different issues.

Jeff writes:
Except if you assume that capitalism is so efficient, even for morally perfect people that Mickey's club can accomplish more with less moral effort. However, it is strong assumption, and your main thesis (necessary to oppose Cohen) is that ideal capitalist society is better on purely moral ground, without efficiency argument.

Considering the history of the twentieth century, that's not really a strong assumption at all. Almost every country that experimented with socialism or had it forced on them gave it up because it failed to produce anything close to the standards of living capitalist countries achieved. And why should it? If the focus is, as you put it, to help those in need rather than pursuing self interest, you shouldn't expect the same outcomes in efficiency or total output. The fact that people will work harder and longer on their own behalf than they will for others is a pretty plain fact of human nature, and this would lead over time to more total economic output in a capitalist country than a socialist one isn't exactly a big leap.

Pajser writes:

Jeff: "And why should it? If the focus is, as you put it, to help those in need rather than pursuing self interest, you shouldn't expect the same outcomes in efficiency or total output. "

True - if we talk about people who have dominant self-interest. But Cohen's camp consists of people who do not have dominant self-interest, who are willing to work hard for benefit of others. So, although one can criticize real life socialist attempts on that ground, he cannot criticize Cohen's camp. We discuss utopia vs utopia.

Tracy W writes:

Pajser: your theory is wrong. Feudualism is the name given to the societal structure of medieval north-western Europe. There's no "pure form" independent of that. If those societies had slavery then feudalism had slavery. (And actually modern historians have gotten very doubtful about using the word "feudal" even to discuss that time and location.)

Tracy W writes:

Pajser: but Brennan's Micky Mouse village consists of people who do not have dominant self-interest and are willing to work hard for the benefit of others. That's the point of Brennan's comparison: if you assume morally-perfect people then capitalism is better than socialism.

Ann S writes:

Good job, Tracy W, in bringing the thread back to the key point that Pajser seems to have missed. Holding the people in the group constant, capitalism produces better outcomes.

If the people "do not have dominant self-interest, ... are willing to work hard for benefit of others" , then the outcome under capitalism is at least as good as the outcome under socialism. Individual rights don't prevent people from helping others (for example, voluntary charitable giving of conservatives is higher than of liberals in the US). And, since voluntary help for others is more likely to be effective than forced, centralized help, capitalism will generally lead to a strictly better outcome.

If we have people that "have dominant self-interest", capitalism produces better outcomes than socialism because it harnesses that self-interest rather than trying to beat it out of people. For any mix, socialism does not produce better outcomes if we hold the group of people constant.

In fact, the camping trip sounds more like capitalism than socialism. Each person voluntarily brought things and voluntarily shared them. The difference between capitalism and socialism is choice versus force, and the description of the camping trip is of people choosing to share.

Pajser writes:
Tracy W: "but Brennan's Micky Mouse village consists of people who do not have dominant self-interest and are willing to work hard for the benefit of others."
True, but you shouldn't stop at that. You should ask "how hard?" Answer is: less hard than people in Cohen's camp. In Brennan's village, people pursue their own vision of good life most of the time and they help to those with urgent, large, important needs occasionally. It is not my invention - it is how Brennan described it. People in Brennan's village are not completely selfish, but they invest resources they control with some selfish bias. In Cohen's camp, people invest all their resources to satisfy most important needs that exist in society, without any bias for their own needs. Hence, Cohen's camp is still morally better. I do not see how that conclusion can be avoided.
Ann S.: Good job, Tracy W, in bringing the thread back to the key point that Pajser seems to have missed. Holding the people in the group constant, capitalism produces better outcomes.

Maybe it is possible to construct utopian capitalist society which is really better than Cohen's camp, but Brennan's club is not better. As explained above, in Cohen's camp, people invest more resources in helping those with most important need, because they have no that selfish bias. If everything else is the same, Cohen's camp satisfy most important needs better than Brennan's club. Except if one adds assumption that Brennan's club is economically more efficient - strong assumption which Brennan doesn't have, because he tried to show that capitalist system is better on purely moral ground.

Pajser writes:

Tracy W.: "Like all historical constructs “feudalism,” however defined, describes an “ideal type” rather than any particular historical society. " (Abels, Feudalism)

Tracy W writes:
. You should ask "how hard?" Answer is: less hard than people in Cohen's camp. In Brennan's village, people pursue their own vision of good life most of the time and they help to those with urgent, large, important needs occasionally.

You're wrong again. You fail to understand the most important thing about a market society. When I buy a good in a market society it is because I think it will help me pursue my vision of a good life. Consequently, the person who made and the person who sells that good is helping me, by that very process. Working hard to make a profit is working hard to help someone in a market society with good rules. Furthermore, in a society with good rules and with scarce resources, market prices give a good indicator of how I can most cheaply and efficiently achieve my vision of a good life, an indicator that socialism inherently lacks.

(If we start talking about market failures then we're not talking about utopia, and any defence of socialism in a non-utopia has to deal with the major government failures seen under socialism.)

That's one of the lovely things about capitalism compared to socialism: capitalism combines helping yourself with helping others, it has morally good incentives.

I do not see how that conclusion can be avoided.

Don't say things like that, it's way too tempting...

Pajser writes:

Tracy W.: "You fail to understand the most important thing about a market society. When I buy a good in a market society it is because I think it will help me pursue my vision of a good life. Consequently, the person who made and the person who sells that good is helping me, by that very process. Working hard to make a profit is working hard to help someone in a market society with good rules. "

No, I don't fail to understand that. It is trivial. But helping "someone" is not good enough. For instance, if I make golden ring, and trade it for perfume, both I and perfume maker worked hard and helped ourselves and each other. I smell nice, perfume maker has nice ring. Still, we invested resources we control to help each other, not to satisfy those with greatest needs in society at the moment. It is morally inferior to directing resources where they are most needed, without any selfish bias. Morally perfect person would say "Ring? Perfume? OK, we'll put it on the list, and now lets start with most important needs that exist in society, no matter whose needs are these."

That's why in Brennan's village people sometimes help each other directly, not through the market. Self-interest + market alone are not good enough for him. However, it is not clear why they are good for him at all. (Except if he believes it is more efficient - but he doesn't want efficiency as argument.)

Tracy W writes:

Pajser:

No, I don't fail to understand that. It is trivial.

If you do understand it, then why did you claim that people in Brenan's villager only help people with large important needs occasionally, overlooking that in a market society people are continually helping each other?

Anyway, it's a very important, significant idea. It's not immediately obvious and many people overlook it. But the idea keeps billions of us alive who otherwise would never have lived.

As for your golden ring/perfume comparison: I note that if you grow food and trade it for a plumber's time fixing your toilet, then you've worked to satisfy very important needs, both yours and the person you traded with. And you're helping each other.

And we do observe in the real world that most people buy food, and fix the toilet before they buy luxuries.

Morally perfect person would say "Ring? Perfume? OK, we'll put it on the list, and now lets start with most important needs that exist in society, no matter whose needs are these."
Yep, and a morally perfect person does that regardless of what social system they live under. Socialism has no advantages over capitalism on that point. Since we are dealing with utopias, the difference is what happens once we've moved beyond the "most important needs".
Self-interest + market alone are not good enough for him. However, it is not clear why they are good for him at all.
Because there's more to life than the necessities.

To quote Brennan on this point:
"People — and anthropomorphic animals — have ideas and visions that they want to implement. Pursuing individual projects over the long-term is part of what gives coherence and meaning to our lives. To express ourselves, develop ourselves, and craft ourselves often requires that we have sustained and exclusive control of objects over time. "
http://fortune.com/2014/06/19/what-the-mickey-mouse-club-says-about-capitalism/

Socialism cannot cope with a pluralistic economy with different views of the good life. There are some minimum necessities we can agree on - eg food, water - but once those necessities are satisfied, who is to say what the "most important needs" are? Under capitalism, no one needs to, we can each get on with pursuing our own ideas of the good life while helping out each other through trade. Capitalism means we can help each others achieve their views of the good life as we go about trying to achieve our view of it, and we don't need to force our views on anyone.

Pajser writes:
Tracy: "If you do understand it, then why did you claim that people in Brenan's villager only help people with large important needs occasionally, overlooking that in a market society people are continually helping each other? "
Because helping oneself and someone through trade is not the same thing as helping those with most important needs. It is - occasionally. It is important how much of one's resources are directed toward satisfaction of the most important needs.
Pajser: Morally perfect person would say "... lets start with most important needs that exist in society, no matter whose needs are these." Tracy: "Yep, ... regardless of what social system they live under. Socialism has no advantages over capitalism on that point."
OK. Now imagine society in which everyone works that way. In such society no one has profit motive. It is not capitalism any more. It is Cohen's camp. It is whole point of my post.
Tracy: "There are some minimum necessities we can agree on ... but once those necessities are satisfied, who is to say what the "most important needs" are? Under capitalism, no one needs to, we can each get on with pursuing our own ideas of the good life while helping out each other through trade."
Let us assume it happened, all basic needs are satisfied and there is no good way to find whose needs are more important. In capitalism, one has few ways to collect resources needed for his project. In least egalitarian forms of socialism, it is the same, except money earned through profit is illegal. State (or some other collective) invests, and benefits are distributed on all uniformly. Individual projects that require enormous resources are, thus, impossible, but more people are able to actualize moderately large individual projects. From utilitarian point of view it is better (if we don't know the most important needs - we can still assume that $1 on the bottom is worth more than $1 on top). One can criticize that if he believes that profit is legitimate way of earning. But I don't believe that, in my opinion, appropriation of the profit is unjust.
Tracy: "Capitalism means we can help each others achieve their views of the good life as we go about trying to achieve our view of it, and we don't need to force our views on anyone."
You do force your views on me. If you own the beach, and you do not allow me to use that beach or condition the use of that beach with dress code, you force your views onto me, as much as state does. Private property is usually - but not always - smaller but I don't think it is essential difference. Also, I don't think that many small owners who restrict my freedom in their own private interest are better than one large collective owner whose goal is common good. Also, socialism can guarantee right on secession; those who prefer something else can get proportional territory and part of the total wealth of the society and do whatever they want. For free.
Tracy W writes:

Pajser: are you valuing work for work's sake? You seem to be implying that if capitalism means that people can meet all the important needs with 25% of the time while under socialism it takes 75% then socialism is better because people are working more to meet other's important needs.

As for capitalism - Mickey Mouse's village is capitalist because it has private property.
Under capitalism if you want to use a beach you can save up and buy it, or get together with some similarly-minded folks and buy it, or find something the owner would like and trade it for beach access. Under socialism you're stuck with whatever the central planner wants.

If socialism does indeed allow people to opt out and be capitalist on their own territory what you'd wind up with is a capitalist society with occasional islands of socialism: if you look at popular multiple user online games they allow trading and buying property and the like: people prefer capitalism to socialism even where there are no resource constraints.

Pajser writes:
Tracy: "Are you valuing work for work's sake? "
Perhaps, in other contex, people need work for their development. But if one works less efficiently only because he can invest all his resources in satisfaction of the most important needs, it would be pointless masochism.
"Mickey Mouse's village is capitalist because it has private property. "
That's how they start - but I'm not sure how they could organize distribution, production and particularly new investment without profit motive - and still maintain private property.
"Under capitalism if you want to use a beach you can save up and buy it, or get together with some similarly-minded folks and buy it, or find something the owner would like and trade it for beach access. Under socialism you're stuck with whatever the central planner wants. "
So, in capitalism I'm stuck with decision of the owners motivated with self-interest, and in socialism I'm stuck with decision of the planner employed to maximize total utility within egalitarian constraints. In practice, almost all publicly owned beaches are free for use but one cannot buy the beach. On the other side, some private beaches are closed, others can be used for fee, but relatively people can buy beach, use it for free and expel other people. I think it is on the line of previous concept - that more advanced systems have larger guaranteed, minimal freedom, and price for that is reduced maximal freedom.
"If socialism does indeed allow people to opt out and be capitalist on their own territory what you'd wind up with is a capitalist society with occasional islands of socialism"
I think that socialist state is possible only if majority want it.
Tracy W writes:

But if one works less efficiently only because he can invest all his resources in satisfaction of the most important needs, it would be pointless masochism.

Yeah, that was my take on your logic too. Well, my answer, and I suspect Brennan's, is that we reject pointless masochism.

That's how they start - but I'm not sure how they could organize distribution, production and particularly new investment without profit motive - and still maintain private property.

I agree with you on that - one of the advantages of capitalism is that the profit motive leads to finding more and more efficient ways to organise distribution, production and particularly new investment. I described that above. To re-quote myself: "Furthermore, in a society with good rules and with scarce resources, market prices give a good indicator of how I can most cheaply and efficiently achieve my vision of a good life, an indicator that socialism inherently lacks."

So, in capitalism I'm stuck with decision of the owners motivated with self-interest,

So, you quote a bit where I point out all the things you can do if you don't like their decision, and then claim that you're stuck with it?

In practice, almost all publicly owned beaches are free for use but one cannot buy the beach.

And when people's desires to use the beach come into conflict, then there's problems, eg fishing boats being launched and their trailers being left behind isn't very nice for sunbathing and swimming. Or overfishing problems with collecting shellfish. Or people wanting to do donuts with their cars while other people want their kids to be able to play sandcastles safely. What happens as a beach gets popular is that rules of some sort get introduced to manage all these conflicts. And those who don't obey get expelled.

On the other side, some private beaches are closed, others can be used for fee, but relatively people can buy beach, use it for free and expel other people.

On the contrary, they don't use it for free, they lose the opportunity cost of the money they spent buying it. Apart from that point people can buy the beach and expel others. Or they can buy the beach and rent it out to others.

What's more, now they've bought the beach, they have a strong incentive to maintain it in a way that potential renters/buyers like, eg by maintaining shellfish stocks, or by clearing up rubbish.

I think it is on the line of previous concept - that more advanced systems have larger guaranteed, minimal freedom, and price for that is reduced maximal freedom.

Yes, but as I pointed out, that concept is wrong. Feudalism, to take your example was entirely compatible with slavery. (I note that you attempted to make a reply talking about feudalism referring to an "ideal type". That doesn't help you, there's nothing in the theory of feudalism that rules out some of the population being kept as slaves.)

Pajser writes:
Tracy W.:"Feudalism, to take your example was entirely compatible with slavery. (I note that you attempted to make a reply talking about feudalism referring to an "ideal type". That doesn't help you, there's nothing in the theory of feudalism that rules out some of the population being kept as slaves.)"
Individual rights ruled out slavery; these rights gradually increased - first, citizens couldn't be enslaved, then existing slaves are released, then enslaved Christians were released, finally, all slaves were released. This last, for instance, happened in France in 1315 and Scandinavia bit later. In reality, many societies mixed feudal and slavery system, or slavery and capitalism,
Tracy W. So, you quote a bit where I point out all the things you can do if you don't like their decision, and then claim that you're stuck with it?
I can buy beach, rent it etc. only if private owner allows me. I can do that with central planner as well. So, I'm really stuck with decision of private owner motivated by his self-interest. I prefer to be stuck with elected planner paid to maximize utility under egalitarian constraints. Yes, he can also ask for fee. But usually he doesn't.

I agree about role of the price.

Tracy W writes:

Pajser:
Now you are talking about historical developments, not "pure forms". You are trying to flip between history and ideal theory when it suits you, trying to support your theories.

I have no idea why you prefer being stuck with the decision of an elected planner than having the option of negotiating with a private owner. Your preferences appear uncommon, however. I live in the UK, and have before lived in NZ, both countries with elected leaders and publicly-funded healthcare systems, but both countries also have private hospitals and doctors, because many people prefer to pay to deal with private owners than abide by the decisions of their elected leaders. (And of course, many more would if they could afford it).

My apologies for the over-running italics above.

[I've fixed the italics problem. It was just a small html typo.--Econlib Ed.]

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