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Author Topic: Childless Tax  (Read 47776 times)

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Alex Libman

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2009, 06:07:54 PM »

Just as more mouths to feed means more hands to feed them, surely fewer hands to feed mouths means fewer mouths to feed. It balances out.

What you've said makes no sense.  The human civilization benefits from the economy of scale: it takes a billion people to produce an iPhone.  Not all of them work on it directly, but all jobs are interdependent.  (Someone has to grow the rice to feed the worker who mines the iron ore to make the metal in the car that an accountant drives to meet with a client who makes sex toys that encourage a secretary to work overtime helping a lawyer enforce a contract on a software development consultant who programs a robot to manufacture shipping containers that are used to transport medicine that is needed by a ...  you get the idea.)

Furthermore, there is a benefit of having more inputs in any natural selection process.  I'm not saying it is impossible for Liechtenstein to beat Germany or Brazil in soccer, but it's highly unlikely: those larger countries have a lot more soccer players competing to play in their local playgrounds, high schools, colleges, amateur teams, minor leagues, major leagues, and finally the national team.  The same applies to all fields of human endeavor: statistically speaking, the IQ of the smartest person within a population goes up or down depending on population size.  The more people you have, the smarter are the super-geniuses you have to make huge innovative leaps forward.


This still doesn't explain why I have an enforcable duty to have kids. It is for the good of the human race that some people reproduce, sure, but (a) why does that mean that that somebody should be me, and (b) I scarcely benefit from that anyway.

(A) I didn't say you have to have kids yourself, I've said you have a moral obligation to contribute to the next generation.  You can pay others to fulfill this obligation for you.

(B) You don't benefit from repaying debts, you've benefited from debts when you acquired them, which in this case was when you were born.


Define "harm."

Damage or injury.  In this context we are talking about an unnatural action that causes damage or injury to the rights of other entity or entities that possess natural rights.  In this case "unnatural" means: contrary to the reality of being prior to your intervention.

If I didn't have a shotgun wound in my head and your actions caused me to have one, then you have violated my right to life, even if your shotgun went off by accident.  If a million people didn't have pollution in the water on their property and you put it there, then you've violated their right to property, even if it was through inaction, like failing to re-enforce storage containers containing nuclear waste that deteriorated over time.  Etc.

Reproduction is a fundamental part of human nature, and your existence is a consequence of millions of your ancestors who've acted on this nature.  Your unnatural failure to perpetuate this cycle of life causes economic damage that grows over time.  It is comparable to hiding a robot somewhere underground that is programmed to activate sometime in the future, dig itself out, and release a virus or otherwise do light economic damage to a large quantity of people.


Only presuming we have a duty to reproduce at a certain rate that can be enforced.

Look at history.  You will see this duty encouraged (and at times violently enforced, but that's really not necessary) through cultural values in Christianity, Confucianism, and other cultures that have stood the test of time.  And you will see the failure to enforce those values in cultures that have collapsed.  The same argument that backs the triumph of capitalism over socialism also backs the triumph of rational natalism - a culture that discourages willful failure to reproduce.


But that is precisely what is in question: There is no such duty. It may be charitable of me to reproduce 2.2 times in order to help ensure the survival of the species, but forcing me to violates my ownership of my body, which is an injustice.

Imagine a socialist saying: "Property rights do not exist.  It may be charitable for me to respect your property if I like the way you manage it, but forcing me violates my right to access the same property, which is an injustice."  :roll:

You can't make an effective argument by just stating your opinion, you have to demonstrate the rightness of your argument by objective means, like through a valid experiment.  Unfortunately in our case a complete experiment would have to last hundreds or even thousands of years, so we have to extrapolate from smaller observations, historical examples, and common sense.  You would have to refute the following claims:

  • At this time human beings are still mortal, and new human beings can still only be created through biological reproduction, which requires a particular effort, discomfort, and risk on the part of the mother.  Furthermore, effective transition of newborn infants into adulthood requires a substantial commitment of time and money by someone (i.e. parent or guardian).

  • Fertility rates are declining in all parts of the world, currently averaging 2.61 worldwide but falling quickly.  For now the biggest problem resulting from this is a demographic-economic paradox that results in decline of average human IQ rates and other negative consequences.  In the future, it will also result in the decline of the total human population.

  • Declining population is causing measurable economic harm in places like Russia, the rest of Europe, and Japan.  Some of those harms are mitigated through import of goods, services, and immigration of people, but (unless we discover an extraterrestrial civilization) that would not be possible once world population as a whole begins to decline.


If I don't reproduce, on the other hand, nobody's rights are violated.

What about the "suckers" who do reproduce: they spend a huge fraction of their time and money to have children.  The vast majority of people who reproduce in the first world do so out of a sense of obligation that you do not share.  Most of this ideology is religious and is in decline, along with the birth rates.  And survival of everyone does depend on people continuing to have children.  You were born, and so was everyone you've ever done business with, directly or indirectly.

Willful failure to reproduce is harming the human species as a whole.  I know this sounds like an appeal to altruism, but it isn't - altruism is economically harmful, while rational natalism is economically beneficial, perhaps even essential.  I know this sounds like an appeal to collectivism, but collectivism is beneficial in some particular cases, and this is one of them.


It might not be nice for the people who would otherwise have existed that they are not going to now, but then they woon't suffer from that because, hey, they don't exist.

People who don't exist don't have rights.  (Duh!)  I fully support the right of contraception, vasectomy, abortion, etc.  But you are obligated to pull your own weight, economically and biologically.  To live and to refuse to reproduce, expecting others to reproduce for you, is theft!  It is no different than a government "welfare" program that is funded through inflation: everyone experiences economic harm for the benefit of the lazy.


(Gotta start dinner, will reply to the rest in a little bit.)
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Alex Libman

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2009, 07:57:24 PM »

You claim that I benefitted from my parent's decision not to reproduce. But I didn't. There is no possible point of comparison: If they didn't, then I wouldn't have existed. How could that be a better or worse alternative? It can't be.

(I'll assume the word "not" I highlighted in red should be ignored.)  Ah, the "I didn't ask to be born" argument which I've perfected and abandoned when I was 7...  Well, you did, just not consciously.  Before you were a human being you were a fetus, and before that a genetic algorithm, in effect, asking to be born.  Why else were you born?  And if your conscious mind objects to being alive, suicide is always an option.  (But I for one will miss you.)


Then you say that because I benefitted I incur some sort of a debt. Why? Benefitting somebody does not automatically mean that they owe you something for it.

I'm sorry, but you fail to understand the very nature of human rights.  Hurman beings don't have rights because we want to have rights, human beings have rights because they provide a competitive evolutionary advantage.  Empirical evidence shows that a society that denies all human rights will not evolve past the hunter-gather stage of human civilization.  A society that denies fewer rights has an advantage over a society that denies more rights.  Etc.

All talk of "rights" should go away in an emergency [2] in favor of a higher imperative of survival, and population collapse is in fact such an emergency.  In a Battlestar Galactica type scenario, a military dictatorship that takes away individual rights would be perfectly acceptable if that increases humanity's narrow odds of surviving the next Cylon attack.  The situation isn't as drastic now, and neither should be the action taken: just mild financial coercion.  If going forward birth rates stabilize (as I believe they will in a freer society due to greater parents' rights), this would no longer be necessary.


I benefit somebody everytime I deoderise before riding a crowded subway train.  [...]

Is your body odor strong enough to kill, or cause the decline of human civilization?


And that brings us on to the third point, you say that I should pass this debt on to the third generation. Why? In what way is my having kids a payment of the debt I supposedly owe my parents for their giving birth to me?

Your debt is not from your parents to your children, it is to the human civilization as a whole.  Especially the guy you see driving a minivan full of noisy kids.  You owe him.  And if you don't pay him, pretty soon guys like him will stop having kids, eventually leading to the world populated entirely by old people fighting over insufficient resources they don't have the manpower to renew.


Is what not a crime? Causing a negative economic effect? Or infecting people with a virus? Infecting unconsenting people with a virus is the crime. Causing a negative economic effect is not.

What's the difference?  (And note that I'm not talking about causing an economic collapse by publishing some information that will cause a panic, that only exposes the weaknesses and errors already inherent in some forms of speculative investment.)

Sometimes it is possible to cause harm through inaction, like in the "decaying container with nuclear waste" example I've mentioned previously.  Reproduction is a unique duty that must be required or at least encouraged from all, without it civilization collapses.


[...] So a better analogy would be this: If fifty million Americans decide that they would be happy to take a pay cut in exchange for an extra day's weekend, the result would be similar to what you are warning about reproduction: A negative economic impact on everybody. Now your argument is that these people should be punished in such a way as to give them an incentive to lose that extra day's weekend and work. But this amounts to forced labour and is a violation of forced labour.

No, your example doesn't compare.  There is a direct incentive for people to work, and it is their right to quit working entirely and beg for bread and water if they so choose, but they don't have a right to force others to feed them.  Failure to pull your own economic weight and forcing others to do it for you is called theft, but how is failure to pull your biological weight any different?  It isn't.


Assuming that people only have rights insofar as they contribute to human evolution. But that is not a very sound basis for rights.

It is THE basis for rights.  Sometimes it is expressed through other words, like God or Nature, but it's really the same thing.


That's fine. Just don't encourage the use of violence and agression against peaceful people who refuse to do likewise.

I said a Minarchist would advocate this as a coercive tax, and it would be an improvement over the current system that is at least intended to have a similar effect (i.e. free schools, child tax credit, etc).  I'm both a Minarchist and an AnCap - the former is a stable version that can be used now, the latter is a beta-testing version with new features but not yet ready for general use.  In the meantime, why let "great" be the enemy of "good"?


Taxes = not voluntary.

You're using a bad dictionary.  Even Wikipedia uses the term "a state or the functional equivalent of a state".  There is such a thing as a "natural tax", like I always say that the natural tax on property is the cost of proving that you own it and defending it.  A voluntary organization can tax as well: a church might require that you pay tithing, a neighborhood association will have dues, a club will have a membership fee, and so on.  I am a big fan of Anarcho-Capitalism, but I don't claim that it is a proven system, and it definitely cannot be applied to society at large without a lengthy transition period of Minarchism.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2009, 09:09:00 PM by Richard IV »
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Rillion

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2009, 08:01:29 PM »

Taxes = not voluntary.

You're using a bad dictionary.  Even Wikipedia uses the term "a state or the functional equivalent of a state".  There is such a thing as a "natural tax", like I always say that the natural tax on property is the cost of proving that you own it and defending it.  A voluntary organization can tax as well: a church might require that you pay tithing, a neighborhood association will have dues, a club will have a membership fee, and so on. 

So you're talking about a contribution, then.  Well, my answer remains the same-- fuck, no.  I'm not having babies, and I'm not paying for other people to have babies. 
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Alex Libman

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2009, 08:05:31 PM »

I'm not having babies, and I'm not paying for other people to have babies.

This is no different than a communist who refuses to recognize property rights.

If human civilization is to survive, human beings must be forced to pull their own economic weight.

By any means necessary.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2009, 08:07:25 PM by Richard IV »
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Rillion

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2009, 08:09:25 PM »

I'm not having babies, and I'm not paying for other people to have babies.

This is no different than a communist who refuses to recognize property rights.

My insistence on my property rights and refusal to hand over property to people who are doing something I have no particular desire to encourage is the same as a communist who refuses to recognize property rights? 

Maybe in some other dimension, but not this one. 
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Alex Libman

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2009, 08:44:04 PM »

My insistence on my property rights and refusal to hand over property to people who are doing something I have no particular desire to encourage is the same as a communist who refuses to recognize property rights?

You're talking about two different types of rights, "negative" and "positive".  The vast majority of us agree that you have the "negative" rights to life, liberty, and property.  Since this is a libertarian BBS, we probably also agree that most things people claim as "positive" rights are bullshit: public education, free health care, social security, and so on.  There are, however, a few "positive" rights that are imperative and require the responsible conduct of others.

One example is the "positive" right to a fair trial: even in an Anarcho-Capitalist society you shouldn't be able to punish someone without some standard of due process (unless it's an emergency, i.e. self-defense).  A child's "positive" right to life means parents / guardians have an obligation to at very least let others know that they are unable or unwilling to take care of that child any longer, simply letting a child secretly die of neglect is murder.  An intruder who wandered onto your property by accident has a "positive" right to free exit.  Etc.

Your "negative" rights to your body and your property does not trump the few "positive" rights of everyone else that do exist, and the existence of those "positive" rights is evidenced by their necessity.


Maybe in some other dimension, but not this one.

Maybe in some other dimension it is possible for the human civilization to exist without reproduction, but in this one it isn't.  At least not yet.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2009, 08:49:53 PM by Richard IV »
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slayerboy

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2009, 08:48:35 PM »

this thread makes my head hurt....
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Rillion

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2009, 09:54:56 PM »

Your "negative" rights to your body and your property does not trump the few "positive" rights of everyone else that do exist, and the existence of those "positive" rights is evidenced by their necessity.

You have not remotely demonstrated that there is any such thing as a positive right of someone to my money for the purpose of bearing and raising children. 

Quote
Maybe in some other dimension it is possible for the human civilization to exist without reproduction, but in this one it isn't.  At least not yet.

If you could point out some place where I said anything to the contrary, that might be relevant.

If you're just going to continue to fling out non sequiters, I'm done talking to you.
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miamiballoonguy

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2009, 10:05:51 PM »

This is something a rational minarchist might advocate to solve the one fatal flaw of secular libertarianism: inevitable cultural and/or economic collapse due to very low birth rates.

Here's how it would work: each person is responsible for fathering / birthing and raising two children (unless you have a good medical excuse of course, but being gay ain't it).  If you fail to have your first child by 30 and second child by 40, you pay a hefty tax until you do.  The money would be used to care for orphans, expand free / "open source" educational resources for children, and help poor people with lots of kids.  It can be facilitated like Islamic taxation: forced through violence, but you can pay it to any valid cause, avoiding centralized government: reputable charities / orphanages or directly to people who have / adopt lots of kids, and so on.

Brace yourselves.  If by mind can conceive of such evil, so can others.

And start having babies!  I mean it!

And I'm totally going to impose this on myself when I turn 30.


Well, it is in effect already although not directly.  I mean people with kids get tax deductions, and people without, don't.  So the point is mute.
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Alex Libman

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2009, 10:47:16 PM »

You have not remotely demonstrated that there is any such thing as a positive right of someone to my money for the purpose of bearing and raising children.

Your failure to understand the economic significance of declining birth rates is not my problem.


If you're just going to continue to fling out non sequiters, I'm done talking to you.

Even when I stop being "33% more Richarded" than R3?  ;)


Well, it is in effect already although not directly.  I mean people with kids get tax deductions, and people without, don't.  So the point is mute.

Not mute, it is an actionable idea for a Minarchist government program to take away state altruism without taking away its natalist effect (and possibly increase / decrease it depending on current birth rate statistics).  We're talking about a tax that would only apply to individuals who have / adopt less than 2 children, only after a certain age, and only if the national birth rate is too low.  And that tax can be paid to a reputable orphanage / charity of your choice.  Isn't that an improvement over the current system?

« Last Edit: April 19, 2009, 10:52:39 PM by Richard IV »
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Rillion

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2009, 10:49:14 PM »

Your failure to understand the economic significance of declining birth rates is not my problem.

Your inability to support the foundational claim of your argument is not my problem. 

Quote
Even when I stop being "33% more Richarded" than R3?  ;)

I didn't mean I'm going to stop talking to you in general, about everything.  But I'm done talking to you about this stupid topic. 
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Alex Libman

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2009, 10:58:42 PM »

Your inability to support the foundational claim of your argument is not my problem.

I did.  Which of my points do you challenge?


[...] I'm done talking to you about this stupid topic.

It's not a "stupid topic", it is a powerful argument that conservatives / minarchists make in defense of the state.  If everyone had as many children as Ayn Rand or Ian Freeman (presuming he doesn't rewire his plumbing back the way it was, etc) - the human race would go extinct in one generation, and its last years on earth would not be very comfortable. 

Someone has to breed, and breed enough to prevent economic collapse like in Japan - what's their incentive?
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kalmia

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2009, 12:42:50 AM »

open immigration ===>> lots of immigrant women + the existing males (enough would be willing) + polyamory = problem solved

Alex Libman

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2009, 12:48:32 AM »

open immigration [...]

This problem isn't national, in fact the United States is faring better than just about any other first world nation.  (Except Israel, if you can call it that, and them oily emirates.)  Aging Japan would need to import almost a billion people (no, that's not a typo) to keep the same worker-to-retiree ratio!  :shock:

And, like I said've above, you can't import people from outside this planet - there just aren't any.  Fertility rates are declining everywhere: Mexico is down to 2.37 kids per woman (and you need more than 2.15 there to break even due to higher mortality), Muslim Turkey is down to 1.87, Iran down to 1.71, etc.


[...] polyamory [...]

I support that, and I've always stated that less government intervention in family life would cause the birth rates to increase.  There's a certain psychological value of being a king of one's castle that encourages people to have children and more children, while having social workers poke around and second-guess your authority diminishes that.  But that may not be enough.  As the world becomes more secular and more urban, birth rates will be in free fall.

It's a huge problem, and people who understand it are thinking "it's a huge problem, but let someone else take care of it".  Thus the unfortunate need for government violence that I am here trying to minimize.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 01:02:04 AM by Alex Libman »
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atomiccat

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Re: Childless Tax
« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2009, 01:40:19 AM »


Quote
If human civilization is to survive, human beings must be forced to pull their own economic weight.

By any means necessary.

tell this to the government whom leaches off the production of the people
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