To which political stances does Ron Maimon hold? Is he an anarchist, Marxist, classical liberal, social liberal, something else? Given the breadth and the depth of his knowledge it would be impossible to attach a simple label on his view, so i would want to know his political stances in all details.
The only political stuff expressed by Ron Maimon i've found so far: Ron Maimon's answer to We teach children it is right to share, so why is this ethic not followed as adults by voting for a Socialist Party?
I am a registered Democrat, so you can guess who I vote for. That's not going to change, unless by some miracle the Republicans go back to about the 1880s. The Republicans, since Nixon and Hoover, have been opposed to any form of political freedom of organization, since Reagan, they are opposed to Keynsian economics, Since Bush they are opposed even to politics free science, or the basic principle that a person shouldn't worry about being imprisoned indefinitely without charges, nor should people spy on others without cause, nor should the government assassinate people (the Democrats are guilty here too), nor should large companies be contracted by high level government officials who just worked for these companies, nor should you invade foreign countries on trumped up excuses. They tolerate CIA shenannigans that lead to acts of terror (the Democrats are equally terrible here too), they still sponsor foreign coups (against Chavez), they do not respect the rights of people to self-determination (as in Egypt). There is no reason to accept these clowns. These are standard positions, and I don't think anyone can reasonably oppose them, so I will shut up about them.
I am as far on the left as Lubos Motl is on the right. But I "get" capitalism, this makes it difficult to hang out with leftists. I will digress to explain why.
I was interested in planned economies as a child, although I was scared of the repression in communist states, and I didn't understand the reason it was always happening. I liked Soviet technical literature, and "Soviet Life" magazine. No ads! Stories about tractor drivers! It was great. I was genuinely interested in how that tractor driver in the Ukraine managed to fulfil his quota three times over, by running his juiced up spark-plugs, to the same extent that I really wasn't interested in Michael Jackson. I liked Gorbachev, and at the time, I thought "maybe a little democracy will fix the Soviets up".
Then when I was 26, I went to flat Santa Barbara. I had a one-speed bicycle, which I used all the time, and I loved it. When I came back to Ithaca, I decided to buy a one-speed, but no one speeds were available, only ten-speeds. So I bought a ten speed, and as I did so, I grumbled to myself--- "If only I were in charge of central planning for Ithaca, I would send one-speeds here! What a travesty of the market. Who needs a ten-speed! Capitalist extravagance." Then when I went up my first hill, I realized why nobody has one-speeds in Ithaca. Also, pumping up that hill at speed "1", I realized the futility of central planning. I imagined 200 shiny new high quality one-speeds sitting at the centrally planned bike shop, and nobody can use them, and you can't even take them and resell them at a flatter town without being accused of being a bourgeoise class-traitor.
The requirement of decentralization, price-signalling, and local decision making by businesses, compels one to accept that it is wrong to assign decision making power to any political organization or central committee, or to fix prices, or to do any sort of mucking around with price signalling at all. It is just not something one should decide for far away places from an office, people need to do it themselves, based on local need, based on supply and demand. There is no way to justify giving power over economic decisions to a small number of people, it is repressive just by itself, without the further political repression required to maintain such a system when the people who haul the bikes to a flat town and sell them to people who can use them then get put in jail for "misusing state resources".
Also, the same year, I had to sign a form saying that I was "on leave" as a graduate student. The form asked "who will pay your nominal tuition this semester in absentia?" and it had two checkboxes, one that said "I will pay my own tuition", the other said "the department will pay my tuition". Here I got a clever idea. If I need to pay my tuition, I should just check the box that said so. But if my department then pays, what is the office going to do? Refuse the money? They'll just ignore the checkbox!" I thought "Clever Ron. You are so clever!" So I checked "I will pay my own tuition", chuckling. At Santa Barbara, I found out my department was supposed to pay my tuition, so I just forgot about it.
Then I came back, and realized I hadn't been registered all semester. I went to the office, and they said "Sorry, the department tried to pay your tuition. We refused the money. You checked the wrong box."
I pleaded with the guy to change my status. I told him my student loans would come due if he didn't do it. "Sorry, can't do that." At this point, I happened to look over his shoulder at the computer, where my files were flashing by, and I saw the top of my advisor's annual report about me, it said "performance: unsatisfactory" right at the top. I didn't even know there was an annual evaluation. This was a shock.
To evaluate my performance, you should know that I had both refused large extra dimensions that year, I refused to work on it or publish on it, I called it a fraud, and I wouldn't yield on this, no matter what my advisor or anyone else said. I was very proud of this, I had pulled a Pauli. Also I discovered an inequality between charge and mass of the lightest charged particle in Santa Barbara, in conversation with Simeon Hellerman, something which is now Vafa and Motl's "Weakest force principle" (they also discovered it, but unlike me, they published what they found. I couldn't publish without help, because I didn't know any real string theory at the time, and all the examples are stringy, I found it by semi-classical methods, like Tom Banks did much later). It was a genuine and correct new law of physics, and I also got swampland from this, and it was 1999, 4 years before the first swampland papers by Vafa, and I ruled out some models using this, it was the first real prediction with any kind of power ever made by any sort of quantum gravity. Unsatisfactory my ass! I was both hurt and upset. How could he write "unsatisfactory"? The MOMENT I discovered something really important and significant in quantum gravity, I suddenly went from a "great student" to "unsatisfactory"?
Anyway, the guy refused to update my status. Why should he? I was an unsatisfactory student who didn't know how to fill out forms, and I was clearly an arrogant bastard who thought he was the greatest thing in the world (that's how you feel when you discover a new law of physics, even a minor one). The guy wouldn't restore my status. So I figured "He's just a low level peon. I'll go over his head." So I went to the vice-dean. She said "While I see that your situation is not good, that was not the decision I would have made, I can't go overruling my subordinates unless there is a clear mistake, and I don't see it here." Then I went to the Dean, and he said "Two people have ruled against you. Why do you think that I will be any different?" In the end, a week or so later, the Dean had a change of heart, and changed my status, but it didn't need to happen. He could have done whatever he wanted, and the easy path was to say no.
So I learned some things that everyone pretty much already knows, but its sometimes good to repeat:
Organizations don't know how to evaluate good new stuff. I had just done the best work of any physicist that year (in my opinion), and suddenly I became "unsatisfactory".
Organizations have annoying small minded bureaucrats that enjoy exercizing arbitrary power, just because it makes them feel alive and significant.
People above them are conformist and political, and don't exercize independent judgement (Dean was obviously the exception).
So you can't even trust bureaucracies with stupid things like fixing student registration status. That means you can't trust them with any part of an economy. I mean, if you can't get them to fix stupid mistake on a form, how can you trust them to deliver enough wheat to a region? This isn't debatable--- you can't trust political hierarchical organizations of people to do anything, because they need to be nice to each other, and not contradict one another, and to follow the rules. That was the end of Marxism for me, at least as it is traditionally understood in Soviet states.
I also became an American citizen, and understanding this was very helpful, as it made me understand the wisdom of Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Franklin, Washington, and all the rest. They really understood the corruption of human organizations, and they decided to sidestep it using capitalist economics and limited government. I accepted the American system as a useful advance, and I still do, even though it was bourgeoise revolution. Sometimes the bourgoisie is not so stupid.
But I can't go along with people sleeping on the street! There's a simple reason for that--- I am basically a homeless person, except I am not homeless yet thanks to intervention of my family. So I can't go along with exploitative system that doesn't provide for people meaningful and self-directed opportunities to contribute to society when they would like to and when they are desperate, even if it is menial labor. I don't mind menial labor. It's better than sleeping on the street. I certainly would never be able to keep any other job with my personality, other than perhaps "physicist".
So I came up with an idea called "non-bureaucratic socialism". When I explained it to socialists, they said "this is capitalism", when I explained it to capitalists, they said "this is socialism". It is a mild thing, but it was the beginning. I will explain it below.
The idea was to have a decentralized model. There's a private sector, as usual. The state pays for some stuff like road construction, internet lines, this is normal Keynsianism.
The state guarantees to hire people who can't find a job and who want a job.
This eliminates minimum wage and unemployment insurance--- the minimum wage is effectively the state job wage. The problem of people sleeping on the streets is then solved. That's my major concern, mainly for selfish reasons. Then if you want to hire someone at less than the state job wage, you have better be doing something amazing, like a new startup with amazing potential, because otherwise nobody will do it. This eliminates the need to worry about restructuring, or to keep people from firing people willy nilly. They can do that if you are not going to be destitute.
Progressive corporate income tax
The idea here is to elimiate anti trust law. The proper progressive taxation is on corporate profits, using a smooth function which is close to zero for 0-10 workers, grows to about 30% at 1000 workers and to 70% at 100,000 workers. This will give a natural incentives for firms to split, without heavy regulation by bureaucrats. The tax is to offest the social cost of large size, and the attendant political skewing of large corporations. There is no 100,000 person firm that can't naturally split itself into 100 1000 person firms, their already split into divisions, and then the firms supply each other with contracts. But this leads us to:
The other ways that businesses exploit consumers and each other is through contracts. But who enforces the contract? The government does! Why should a govenrment enforce a contract which is against competitive markets? There is no reason to enforce some stupid contract someone else wrote. You should make a set of boilerplate contracts, that people can put together to make an arbitrary contract.
Something similar was done in the 1950s, in the Uniform Commercial Code act. But it's a monster of regulation, it's like 10,000 pages of horror. You can get rid of this, and have a non-bureaucratic replacement, if you adopt an opt-in model. The government doesn't opt-out of contracts, it opts-in by prespecifying the language of basic contracts, with fill-in-the-blanks.
Further, you require that all businesses must publish their contracts if they want them enforced, and price the same to all buyers, no sweetheart deals. This way you make a transparent accounting system, and you can't have a Walmart make a ton of money from exploiting special contracts.
No insider equity
If you work at a publically traded company, you can't own any equity in it. It's insider trading, and it's hiding salaries using options. If you want to reward somebody, do so by giving them a salary, not by stealing half a penny from every shareholder without their say. This plus 2 should fix corporate salaries.
No accreditation or regulation on medicine or law, no taxi license, no licensing of small businesses, nothing.
Abolish education and training requirements for the professions, so that anyone can do anything. This will bring medical costs down tremendously, as the numer of people opening up McHospitals increases. There is no reason a chest X-ray can't be done by a shoe-shiner, it's nothing hard to do. You can look up any medical technique online, with the possible exception of brain-surgery. People will still prefer an accredited person for brain surgery, so let the market can take care of this, not the state. The ability to start a business as a street peddler is a fundamental right, and the regulation of this using business licenses prevents self-direction and growth. Also, you can be sure the number of taxi drivers will not grow to the point where the wage is below the minimum wage of a state job.
Abolish local health inspections for restaurants, no more regulation of small business.
If people want stuff inspected, let them do so within the market, like they have movie ratings. The state uses this cudgel to close businesses it doesn't like. Lawsuits already protect the public from disease. It's corrupting, and it's awful.
Allow farmers to sell unpasteurized milk. Require labelling of modified foods.
Pasteurization is a trick for preferring factory farms over small farms, because small farms can get clean milk, and big industrial farms can't do it, because the cow poop gets in the milk, and they need to pasteurize. Babies shouldn't drink unpasteurized milk, this is true, but the state doesn't need to prevent everyone else from doing it.
Labelling modified foods allows the consumer to boycott it. Not because it has any health effects, but because I don't want any of my money going to a big corporation! I want to subsidize small local farmers only.
That's it for government crap. I don't have any more ideas there.
I also am still partial to socialism, but I am an American, and I don't believe in state coercion. But I would like to point out something obvious:
THERE IS NO NEED FOR STATE COERCION IN ESTABLISHING SOCIALISM!
Why the heck would you need a state to seize property to make nice businesses that share? You know who keeps these businesses in business? You do!
If you don't want exploitative businesses like Walmart, don't buy anything at Walmart. If you want companies to be worker-owned, buy stuff from worker owned businesses. Then you can make socialism without coercion, just by persuading everyone to buy from the proper industries. Even if you only persuade 10% of the people in New York to only buy from "red" industries (this would be a piece of cake) you've already got tremendous market clout.
The only way to do this effectively is to make a mini-socalist agency, which will serve the non-governmental role of a socialist planning agency. But it doesn't require state power to do this! Nor do you need to have a centralized thing. You can have seven competing "socialists systems" none of which have or need government power.
All these organizations need to do is inspect the business to check that it's worker managed, that salaries are equal, that profits are shared, and then tell people "the syndicate says this shop is certified red". Then the reds can buy from the shop. It's like a "Kosher" sticker. You don't need to get a government to play along.
Further, if you don't like your socialist syndicate, all you need to do is choose another. If there are 10 with slightly different criteria, you can still ensure that all your purchases are from fair businesses. This is what the free-software movement does, and the competing open-source people. They give you assurances that certain software is free.
Starting small, you can have an entire socialist economy develop inside a capitalist economy without taking anything away from anybody, except voluntarily, by people deciding to buy stuff in your businesses. In this way, you can shift the economy to a socialist model step by step, with no coercion, and if someone doesn't like it, they don't have to join in, they can shop at a nightmarish ordinary capitalism store.
If you think this is hopeless, remember that Linux displaced Windows and other systems without any help from any government. You don't need a gun to make socialism, all you need is a wallet and some friends.