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Author Topic: Communism vs. Christianity  (Read 120435 times)

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Logismos

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #255 on: December 06, 2009, 12:35:20 AM »
Pure and good capitalism in its foundational element was good.

What exactly is "pure and good capitalism"?

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #255 on: December 06, 2009, 12:35:20 AM »

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #256 on: December 08, 2009, 07:24:18 AM »
Do you agree with the premise that the use of free trade and profit motive is not moral in circumstances where it takes away the freedom of others?

If it ever did that, sure.  But what you are asking is similar to asking if beef would still be beef if you took out all the meat.  Since all other economic systems beside the free market are based upon taking away the freedom of others, though, you are actually making an argument for the free market, which is a requirement for people to live in liberty.

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #256 on: December 08, 2009, 07:24:18 AM »

Logismos

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #257 on: December 08, 2009, 03:05:59 PM »
What is one example from history of a real society that exemplifies your definition of a free market, but did not do so at the expense of other people's freedom?

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #258 on: December 08, 2009, 07:22:47 PM »
Off the top of my head I can't think of any society where the lack of liberty for others, except for criminals, was a requirement to have liberty.

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #258 on: December 08, 2009, 07:22:47 PM »
Pinterest: GraceCentered.com

Logismos

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #259 on: December 09, 2009, 07:21:39 AM »
Virtually every society in the history of the world and in every corner of the globe from the time of the first Neolithic farming villages to the present day has a class of people whose greater freedom is maintained by directly or indirectly subjugating lesser peoples.

I have the freedom to do all sorts of things that others in my own city or in other countries could never hope to do because of the relative wealth and position I have in society at their expense--and I'm just a regular lower middle class dude by American standards.

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #259 on: December 09, 2009, 07:21:39 AM »



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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #260 on: December 09, 2009, 09:16:48 AM »
My liberty is enhanced by the liberty of others, not by the restriction of it. 

Logismos

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #261 on: December 09, 2009, 01:24:59 PM »
I agree that from a moral perspective, when someone else is free it benefits me, but that isn't what actually happens all the time in the real material world. Its the principle that we aspire to moreso than the economic reality that we see every day. Everything in the material world is impacted by scarcity and scarcity often produces zero-sum situations whereby one group has more opportunities if someone else has fewer thereby causing the first group to have more choices to freely choose from and the second group less (aka more or less freedom). Also, when "liberty" means complete trade freedom it can produce what economists call externalities, which can inhibit the freedom of others or cause them to incur economic and social costs to the benefit of those freely exchanging. An externality is perhaps the most basic form of market failure.

For example, your freedom to go and make a profit from making widgets without regulation can cause the person living next to your widget factory to incur costs even though they are not a part of the market of people buying and selling widgets. Perhaps the widget juice from the production process is getting in the ground water and causing them to become ill. That persons freedom is being restricted by you exercising your freedom. This is just one very rudimentary illustration of a concept that goes far beyond pollution and its not the only concept related to the issue of one person's freedom limiting anothers.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2009, 01:51:47 PM by Logismos »

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #262 on: December 09, 2009, 01:56:59 PM »
Oh, you're new to the concept that your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins?  As for the rest, well, duh.  My right to own property and do with it what I want doesn't mean I get to go over to my next door neighbor's house and drop a deuce on his front porch.  Besides all of that, you are far more likely to find such externalities as you describe in countries where private property rights are not respected.  If you think what you wrote is some sort of indictment against free trade, you've failed.  Try again.


Logismos

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #263 on: December 09, 2009, 02:49:23 PM »
In the rather simplistic case of pollution, things like oceans, rivers, the atmosphere, and ground water are not  private property. What then?

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Besides all of that, you are far more likely to find such externalities as you describe in countries where private property rights are not respected.

You're also likely to find them in societies where public welfare is not respected.

As far as an "indictment against free trade" my opinion is that there should be a well regulated market system in which both entrepreneurship and profit is encouraged as well as social responsibility. Neither pure free trade nor a pure social focus is beneficial. This mix of the two extremes is the way it works in all modern economies. What I have refuted is your notion that free trade is inherently moral but so far you've avoided examples and arguments to the contrary, and failed to name even one society in the entire history of the world that has had the type of free trade you've described nor any society in all of history that has not  used its freedom to take away the freedom of others.

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #264 on: December 09, 2009, 08:39:00 PM »
In the rather simplistic case of pollution, things like oceans, rivers, the atmosphere, and ground water are not  private property. What then?


Since you don't own the river you can't go throw your trash in it.

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Besides all of that, you are far more likely to find such externalities as you describe in countries where private property rights are not respected.


You're also likely to find them in societies where public welfare is not respected.


"Public welfare" is an awfully broad term.  What do you mean, exactly?

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As far as an "indictment against free trade" my opinion is that there should be a well regulated market system in which both entrepreneurship and profit is encouraged as well as social responsibility. Neither pure free trade nor a pure social focus is beneficial. This mix of the two extremes is the way it works in all modern economies.


What do you mean by "social responsibility"?

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What I have refuted is your notion that free trade is inherently moral but so far you've avoided examples and arguments to the contrary,


I didn't avoid them, I ignored them because they looked rather silly.  I will go back and respond anyway since you insist.

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and failed to name even one society in the entire history of the world that has had the type of free trade you've described nor any society in all of history that has not  used its freedom to take away the freedom of others.


So?  I don't believe in murder but I can't find a society in the entire history of the world where it never happened, either.  That's no reason to give up on being against murder.  Perfect liberty is aspirational.

As for countries that have not used their freedom to take away the freedom of others, well, it's always seemed to me, based upon a reading of world history, that personal liberty has not been the norm but an aberation.  One can look at the Index of Economic Freedom, and draw their own conclusions about how warlike the freer countries are.

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #265 on: December 09, 2009, 09:03:11 PM »

Are there any goods or services that I should not be legally able to purchase?

Prohibition worked wonders, didn't it?  How about the drug laws?  It's also good to no that their isn't a prostitute to be found except in parts of Nevada, isn't it?

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People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others.


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So hypothetically a man could morally withhold food from his children until they starve to death? After all, it is his property and he cannot be forced to give it to someone else.

He'd be busting the deal he made with his child when he took it home.

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Speaking of homicidal fathers, suppose a man  murders all of his children with a hammer as they sleep--would it benefit others in the community for such a man to be executed by the government? Keep in mind that if you allow for even one exception to your seemingly absolute principle then it opens the possibility that there might be other reasonable exceptions.

He should be punished for violating another's right to life.  The death penalty is a separate debate. 

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What happens if the repeated tendency is for one group of free traders to continually exploit another group of free traders to the point that the second group is eventually no longer free?

I don't get what you are getting at, here.  When I go to the grocery store and buy a gallon of milk, the deal won't happen if either one of us believes we are being exploited.

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Many tens of millions of people over many hundreds of years have been enslaved to various degrees as a direct consequence of completely free trade.

Really?  Please explain why you feel this way.

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To claim that one kind of economic system champions individual rights is historically naive.

Actually, it is acknowledging reality.  If you feel differently, we can make arrangements to where you can't buy or sell anything from or to anyone without my prior consent.  Instead of it being like a prying government in the bedroom, it will be in your wallet.

You see, when you go into the market to exchange good or services with others, I can't think of anyone more qualified to determine what you will or will not do than logismos.  Therefore, I'm a free trader.  To be anything else would be immoral.

Logismos

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #266 on: December 09, 2009, 09:41:32 PM »
Since you don't own the river you can't go throw your trash in it.

1. Who keeps them from doing that?

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"Public welfare" is an awfully broad term.  What do you mean, exactly?...What do you mean by "social responsibility"?


2. Being responsible for seeking the good of not only ones self but also of one's community and society as a whole.

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I don't believe in murder but I can't find a society in the entire history of the world where it never happened, either.


3. That is not a relevant analogy. You're proposing an economic theory as being good and I'm asking for an example of the theory in action. If you were proposing the prohibition of an action like murder then an analogous scenario would be me asking for an example of murder actually being prohibited, which would be easy. If you were proposing a theory that the only good society is one where murder absolutely never occurs--ever. Well, that would be a pointless theory for obvious reasons.

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That's no reason to give up on being against murder.  Perfect liberty is aspirational.


4. So you've defined a concept as being the ONLY moral economic system but its never actually been done (and when its been tried it has been catastrophically evil for many millions of people) and since the morally good version of the system is "aspirational" it is presumably impossible to achieve? Hmm...apparently "pure free market" and "pure communism" have more in common than I thought.

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As for countries that have not used their freedom to take away the freedom of others, well, it's always seemed to me, based upon a reading of world history, that personal liberty has not been the norm but an aberation.  One can look at the Index of Economic Freedom, and draw their own conclusions about how warlike the freer countries are.


5. I agree that personal liberty has been much more limited for the vast majority of people throughout human history. But every society--in ancient times and today--does have a class of people who have more freedom and opportunity than others. Something like an "owner" class. In fact the Heritage ranking you've posted is a great example of this. Almost every measurement they use to evaluate the level of freedom in a society is from the perspective of the present-day owning class. So for example, under the Labor category they don't measure the freedoms and rights of workers, they measure how restrictive are labor laws on business owners and how costly is it to fire someone and replace them. Ultimately its not measuring people's freedom as a whole, its measuring the freedom of the elite.
  
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When I go to the grocery store and buy a gallon of milk, the deal won't happen if either one of us believes we are being exploited.


6. But the production of that gallon of milk could have involved many different kinds of exploitation beyond your simple transaction. Dairy Farmers being exploited by a colluding milk industry's de facto monopoly. Cows being exploited in various ways like being pumped full of harmful hormones (which in turn makes the milk less healthy for oblivious consumers--real life example of your pooping on the neighbors porch statement).

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Really?  Please explain why you feel this way.


7. Okay...slavery existed for thousands of years including 400+ years of the Atlantic slave trade, followed by a century of indentured servitude, followed by modern-day multinational conglomerates using sweatshop labor. This is some people using their greater level of economic freedom to exploit others sometimes even via the participation of the exploited. Indentured servants and sweatshop workers for example were/are often lied to about the conditions of the exchange but since they did/do operate with little or no government regulation or legislation they can behave this way under a condition of near total economic freedom. Without regulation economic freedom invariably charts a course toward the immoral and exploitative in the pursuit of greater profit.

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Prohibition worked wonders, didn't it?  How about the drug laws?  It's also good to no that their isn't a prostitute to be found except in parts of Nevada, isn't it?


8. So are you saying that I should or should not be prohibited from buying certain things?

« Last Edit: December 09, 2009, 10:49:55 PM by Logismos »

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #267 on: December 11, 2009, 06:43:41 PM »
Since you don't own the river you can't go throw your trash in it.

1. Who keeps them from doing that?


Whoever has the power to make them stop.  Either the folks down stream go knock some sense in to you or, more likely, you are reported to the governmental authority that has the responsibility to keep tabs on such things.  Perfectly reasonable in my book, since protecting from force and fraud is the proper role of government.

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"Public welfare" is an awfully broad term.  What do you mean, exactly?...What do you mean by "social responsibility"?


2. Being responsible for seeking the good of not only ones self but also of one's community and society as a whole.


Ok.  In my experience the most socially responsible people I've ever dealt with were folks out trying to make a buck.

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I don't believe in murder but I can't find a society in the entire history of the world where it never happened, either.


3. That is not a relevant analogy. You're proposing an economic theory as being good and I'm asking for an example of the theory in action. If you were proposing the prohibition of an action like murder then an analogous scenario would be me asking for an example of murder actually being prohibited, which would be easy. If you were proposing a theory that the only good society is one where murder absolutely never occurs--ever. Well, that would be a pointless theory for obvious reasons.


Then go look at the Index of Economic Freedom for starters.  There's an extremely strong relationship between economic liberty and prosperity.  People vote with their feet.  Look at the countries at the top and at the bottom and ask which ones have people wanting to move there.  I will leave it to you why the economic system that is not based from the get go on force and coercion is not morally superior.  It is the one based on serving your fellow man to get ahead instead of rolling him to get ahead.  

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That's no reason to give up on being against murder.  Perfect liberty is aspirational.


4. So you've defined a concept as being the ONLY moral economic system but its never actually been done (and when its been tried it has been catastrophically evil for many millions of people) and since the morally good version of the system is "aspirational" it is presumably impossible to achieve? Hmm...apparently "pure free market" and "pure communism" have more in common than I thought.


The most you can say is that it is the worst one, with the exception of all the others.

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As for countries that have not used their freedom to take away the freedom of others, well, it's always seemed to me, based upon a reading of world history, that personal liberty has not been the norm but an aberation.  One can look at the Index of Economic Freedom, and draw their own conclusions about how warlike the freer countries are.


5. I agree that personal liberty has been much more limited for the vast majority of people throughout human history. But every society--in ancient times and today--does have a class of people who have more freedom and opportunity than others. Something like an "owner" class. In fact the Heritage ranking you've posted is a great example of this. Almost every measurement they use to evaluate the level of freedom in a society is from the perspective of the present-day owning class. So for example, under the Labor category they don't measure the freedoms and rights of workers, they measure how restrictive are labor laws on business owners and how costly is it to fire someone and replace them. Ultimately its not measuring people's freedom as a whole, its measuring the freedom of the elite.


People must be leaving in droves.
  
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When I go to the grocery store and buy a gallon of milk, the deal won't happen if either one of us believes we are being exploited.


6. But the production of that gallon of milk could have involved many different kinds of exploitation beyond your simple transaction. Dairy Farmers being exploited by a colluding milk industry's de facto monopoly. Cows being exploited in various ways like being pumped full of harmful hormones (which in turn makes the milk less healthy for oblivious consumers--real life example of your pooping on the neighbors porch statement).


Could have, but it doesn't have to be that way.  I consider such things when I decide who I do business with.  So have millions of others who shop at grocery stores that promote healthier foods.

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Really?  Please explain why you feel this way.


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7. Okay...slavery existed for thousands of years including 400+ years of the Atlantic slave trade, followed by a century of indentured servitude, followed by modern-day multinational conglomerates using sweatshop labor. This is some people using their greater level of economic freedom to exploit others sometimes even via the participation of the exploited. Indentured servants and sweatshop workers for example were/are often lied to about the conditions of the exchange but since they did/do operate with little or no government regulation or legislation they can behave this way under a condition of near total economic freedom. Without regulation economic freedom invariably charts a course toward the immoral and exploitative in the pursuit of greater profit.


What you are describing is a combination of force and fraud when it comes to slavery, fraud when it comes to folks being lied to, and folks often times taking what you describe as sweatshop conditions because they consider them better than available alternatives.

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Prohibition worked wonders, didn't it?  How about the drug laws?  It's also good to no that their isn't a prostitute to be found except in parts of Nevada, isn't it?


8. So are you saying that I should or should not be prohibited from buying certain things?


I will say that there are many things that you are prohibited from buying that is not the business of a properly functioning government.  I'm not saying those are good things, but that it is your choice.



Logismos

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #268 on: December 12, 2009, 04:45:01 PM »
Perfectly reasonable in my book, since protecting from force and fraud is the proper role of government.

So then is an immoral firm is negatively impacting society, such as through pollution, not an issue of economic freedom? If not, does the government then have a legitimate duty to prevent such acts from occurring?

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In my experience the most socially responsible people I've ever dealt with were folks out trying to make a buck.

LOL...nothing inherently wrong with making profit and doing so has socially beneficial consequences. But its still funny to hear because a huge portion of all the most socially destructive forces in the world are rooted in people trying to make make a buck.

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Then go look at the Index of Economic Freedom for starters.  There's an extremely strong relationship between economic liberty and prosperity.

Again that ranking is only measuring the freedom of the owning class. It is not measuring quality of life for the general population. For example, I would much rather be an average income person in Japan or Britain or Denmark (etc) than Hong Kong, which beyond the skyscrapers and prosperity for some is a hub of poverty and exploitation (like many countries).

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The most you can say is that it is the worst one, with the exception of all the others.

I can accept that, but that statement would be a departure from your previous claim that a free market is an inherently "moral" system.

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People must be leaving in droves.

Whether people are trying to get in our out of a society is not a measurment of whether or not the system itself is "moral" but whether or not the system possesses opportunities for people to sustain themselves and have stability.
  
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Could have, but it doesn't have to be that way.  I consider such things when I decide who I do business with.  So have millions of others who shop at grocery stores that promote healthier foods.

People do consider those things and in the process of exercising their economic freedom they overwhelmingly agree to consume products that are more exploitative and negatively impact others and take away their freedom. So even though you're not using your economic freedom to deliberately exploit or take away the freedom of the person you are directly dealing with at the store, you are aware that that most purchases have certain exploitative costs and some person somewhere on the planet who may not even be involved in the market transaction is being exploited to bring you that product.

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What you are describing is a combination of force and fraud when it comes to slavery, fraud when it comes to folks being lied to, and folks often times taking what you describe as sweatshop conditions because they consider them better than available alternatives.

Can force and fraud be separated from Capitalism? They have been trying to separate them for several hundred years now without success.

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I will say that there are many things that you are prohibited from buying that is not the business of a properly functioning government.  I'm not saying those are good things, but that it is your choice.

You're really dancing around this one a lot. I get what you're saying--you think the government regulates the purchase of too many things. But my question is simply what is a justifiable basis for making the purchase of something illegal? If you were king what would be illegal to buy?
« Last Edit: December 12, 2009, 09:59:04 PM by Logismos »

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Re: Communism vs. Christianity
« Reply #269 on: December 16, 2009, 06:27:20 AM »
So then is an immoral firm is negatively impacting society, such as through pollution, not an issue of economic freedom? If not, does the government then have a legitimate duty to prevent such acts from occurring?

I've met individuals and families, and have seen many a beast, but I've never run across a "society".  Anyway, it would be a violation of my property rights if you were producing something that harmed me or mine and your actions had it come onto our property.  It would, as I said earlier, be a proper role of government to deal with that. 

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In my experience the most socially responsible people I've ever dealt with were folks out trying to make a buck.

LOL...nothing inherently wrong with making profit and doing so has socially beneficial consequences. But its still funny to hear because a huge portion of all the most socially destructive forces in the world are rooted in people trying to make make a buck.

An incredibly small portion when compared to the destruction caused to individuals and families by governments.

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Then go look at the Index of Economic Freedom for starters.  There's an extremely strong relationship between economic liberty and prosperity.

Again that ranking is only measuring the freedom of the owning class. It is not measuring quality of life for the general population. For example, I would much rather be an average income person in Japan or Britain or Denmark (etc) than Hong Kong, which beyond the skyscrapers and prosperity for some is a hub of poverty and exploitation (like many countries).

It measures the freedom of people.  Perhaps your world view is that of one who has always lived in a caste system.  Mine is not.  If you would rather go live in one of the coutries towards the bottom of the list, go for it.

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The most you can say is that it is the worst one, with the exception of all the others.

I can accept that, but that statement would be a departure from your previous claim that a free market is an inherently "moral" system.

I said that's the most YOU can say, because you can't find anything better.  If you don't believe the free market is inherently moral, then you would have made a quite contented slave owner.

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People must be leaving in droves.

Whether people are trying to get in our out of a society is not a measurment of whether or not the system itself is "moral" but whether or not the system possesses opportunities for people to sustain themselves and have stability.

It is a measurement by those who are trying to get from one place to another.
 
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Could have, but it doesn't have to be that way.  I consider such things when I decide who I do business with.  So have millions of others who shop at grocery stores that promote healthier foods.

People do consider those things and in the process of exercising their economic freedom they overwhelmingly agree to consume products that are more exploitative and negatively impact others and take away their freedom. So even though you're not using your economic freedom to deliberately exploit or take away the freedom of the person you are directly dealing with at the store, you are aware that that most purchases have certain exploitative costs and some person somewhere on the planet who may not even be involved in the market transaction is being exploited to bring you that product.

If each transaction in the chain occured only with both sides to the transactions agreed, then no.

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What you are describing is a combination of force and fraud when it comes to slavery, fraud when it comes to folks being lied to, and folks often times taking what you describe as sweatshop conditions because they consider them better than available alternatives.

Can force and fraud be separated from Capitalism? They have been trying to separate them for several hundred years now without success.

Actually with incredible success.  Especially when compared to all other economic systems because all other economic systems are based upon the coercive use of force. 

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I will say that there are many things that you are prohibited from buying that is not the business of a properly functioning government.  I'm not saying those are good things, but that it is your choice.

You're really dancing around this one a lot. I get what you're saying--you think the government regulates the purchase of too many things. But my question is simply what is a justifiable basis for making the purchase of something illegal? If you were king what would be illegal to buy?

The basis for making the purchase of something illegal would be if my purchase subjected you to force or fraud.