This chap (to whom the series was directed), Scotty M, has replied to some of my points in the series on Free Market Economics. Unfortunately, he would rather rabidly bash away at You Tube than bring a civil discussion here.
The most common issue that Scotty faces is his predilection for straw manning positions by either misunderstanding them or wilfully employing some kind of bait and switch or intended mischaracterisation to fight against an imaginary foe.
This is one of the comments he made in answer to my first post in the series (and check out the Appendix of rabid comments that I compiled here, which should give you an idea of his original approach):
It’s okay, I know how it feels to latch onto an economic illiterate like Ha-Joon Chang who doesn’t even understand the very basics of economics, backed up by the fact that he knows little about history, considering historical evidence plastered everywhere has proven Collectivism’s failure AND proving he doesn’t understand why central planning is an abysmal failure. The evidence proves he doesn’t understand why the government cannot know and does not know the needs and wants of people and also provides the evidence that he doesn’t understand pricing.
taking words from someone like Ha-Joon Chang on economics is like listening to someone such as Thomas Piketty who can’t even get his dates right and doesn’t understand history. Better yet, Paul Krugman or Noam Chomsky, in other words, to be blunt, Ha-Joon Chang is more or less an economic degenerate. The fact he claims that there’s no such thing as a free market proves he doesn’t even understand the very definition of what a free market typically is and as I’ve said before, the term free market is not defined in black and white, the world isn’t black and white. That’s a bit like someone saying there’s never been a Capitalist economy, which is bullshit, because nothing in this world is black and white like that. His entire argument is fallacious at best.
A lot of the ‘Progressives’ or as I like to call them ‘Regressives’ have caught onto this new fad, where before hand it was Thomas Piketty, which you can find Tom Woods with Robert P. Murphy tearing Thomas Piketty apart on history here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL90pISm7Y8 Thomas Piketty was held up as this great intellectual by the left-wing, which is laughable, he can’t even get his dates right during the lead up to the Great Depression, especially on taxation, so clearly that shows how historically illiterate Thomas Piketty is, yet the left-wing held him up as some Golden treasure, as if he was some enlightened intellectual. Kind of reminds you of the moron himself, ‘Noam Chomsky’ or better yet the “Nobel Prize Winner” Paul Krugmanwho still doesn’t understand basic fundamentals of economics.
So we’ll move onto Ha-Joon Chang, another one they’ve held up as enlightened. How people can take this guy seriously, I have no idea, why? Because he supports Central Planning and actually thinks Central Planning can work, that is evidence he doesn’t understand the problem with the price mechanism under Central Planning, evident that he has no clue about the Economic Calculation problem that Central Planners are faced with. Not only does this prove his ignorance toward history, but proves he has very little understanding of pricing, meaning he knows very little about Economics. He’s an economist that prefers that of Central Planning over the market, it should tell enough about him. To more accurately describe Ha-Joon Chang, he’s a Development Economist, someone who analyses development of countries as a means to find ways in which these nations can bring about economic growth. He’s someone who is more pro governance and this is why he’s someone who attacks the ‘Free Market’. Came across his arguments various times before from ignoramuses who claim ‘The Free Market has never existed’, in other words, regurgitating his words and taking their word for it because they don’t understand that the term ‘Free Market’ is not defined in black and white.
The problem with Ha-Joon Chang is, his idea of central planning is delusional, to think that this all powerful entity known as the government can some how bring about such wonder through Central Planning and that the government just needs the information available for them. The problem is, the government finds it impossible to access that information, this is what lefties fail to understand, that the government finds it impossible to match the needs and wants of people. The fact he thinks he knows better than the‘Market’ (Consumer Demand) says everything about this guy. I mean that’s a bit like saying the government knows best over planning for what music you listen to over yourself.
This is the same Ha-Joon Change who wrote “there are no objective truths in economics that can be established independently of political, and frequently moral, judgements.”This right off the bat proves he doesn’t understand economics, because the big mistake Ghandi made was thinking that economics is something moral, when in real fact, it isn’t. Just like value, what I may personally see valuable, you may not, because it’s subjective. When you view the economy as something ‘moral’ you’re taking Marxist Labour theory of value into account and that is a very big mistake. This is where the government thinks it can dictate what is right from wrong for you to have. There is no right from wrong, value is subjective. Just like how the government may ban something which you may personally see as valuable, he’s a dictator.
Having not even mentioned Piketty myself once (he keeps bringing him up and trying to bait me into using him so he can attack this caricature), many of these claims are simply irrelevant. And finally there is this:
He also fails to understand that the reason rich people easily influence outcomes is due to government interference, not the fault of the free market, in other words, he’s an economic degenerate who you couldn’t take seriously on economics unless you’re an economic illiterate yourself, which he is :)
I would like to point out where the man is either flat out wrong, or using spurious techniques to communicate his point.
Firstly, poisoning the well (again, refer to the APPENDIX). When one uses such disingenuous techniques as flagrantly slagging off academics referred to in a discussion, you know the discussion will not go far. This is (and has been throughout the thread on YT, both against me and the people to whom I refer) a common mechanism for him to psychologically bias readers against myself and the academics that I refer to. As Rationalwiki states of poisoning the well:
Poisoning the well is a rhetorical technique and logical fallacy that uses the association of negative emotions to distract a subject from actual evidence in an argument.
The usual method is to point out the unpleasant nature of the person making the opposing argument, in which case it is a special case of a personal attack or ad hominem. In general, “to poison the well” means to pre-provide any information that could produce a biased opinion of the reasoning, positive or negative.
It can be done subtly or quite blatantly. A subtle way of poisoning the well would be to use particular adjectives in introducing something that would influence people who are about to hear an argument. In a more blatant display, someone can make an outright personal attack in an introduction. For example, asking people to remember that a person has been in prison before listening to their statements; the well is now “poisoned” because people are likely to distrust a person making an argument knowing that they’re a convict, regardless of the reasoning that they put forward.
When you strip back the petty insults and ranting, you can get to the core claims. Here is a person who is on an ideological mission with no care in the world in being objective, skeptical or open to being wrong. He would do well to read some Jonathan Haidt, because he will not change anyone’s mind using his present tactics,
These seem to be what he is claiming:
- Scotty makes proclamation over success and failure, good and bad systems, what one should do or not, without presenting his system of evaluation. This undergirds all of his other claims.
- A false dichotomy of either collectivism (communism/socialism) or libertarianism, and that H-Joon Chang represents the former
- He is an advocate of central planning, and this is very bad indeed, and has shown to abysmally fail.
- Claiming someone is an advocate of central planning means that is is “evident that he has no clue about the Economic Calculation problem that Central Planners are faced with. Not only does this prove his ignorance toward history, but proves he has very little understanding of pricing, meaning he knows very little about Economics.” Wow. Which is nothing at all to do with the point in the very piece he was supposedly critiquing. This is both a red herring and poisoning the well.
- Free market (as a term describing real things) is not black and white – “Came across his arguments various times before from ignoramuses who claim ‘The Free Market has never existed’, in other words, regurgitating his words and taking their word for it because they don’t understand that the term ‘Free Market’ is not defined in black and white.” – this shows he fundamentally fails to understand the point at a philosophical level, and as a result, his own contradictions.
- The government can’t access information, only the people can through market forces, thus free market economics wins.
- Economics and the desire for a certain economic system does not have a moral dimension (I can’t wait to deal with this one).
- Rich people only have influence due to government influence; the free market would solve this.
That should do for now.
So let us look at these one by one, with some brevity.
1. Scotty makes proclamation over success and failure, good and bad systems, what one should do or not, without presenting his system of evaluation. This undergirds all of his other claims.
This is vital to everything else, and I will return to it in a later point. With only, it seems, the desire to want to evaluate his economic system (which he cannot do anyway since there is no perfect example of such) in terms of economic growth or monetary gain of some sort (he never says so I am guessing), it seems rather one dimensional and verging on circular. For example, if we talked about income inequality, Japan, Czech Republic, Scandinavia and suchlike would have the most successful systems (not, as he seems to claim, Singapore, Hong Kong, Chile and Korea at different moments in time). But value systems and their evaluation could be built on one or all of the following: happiness, money (real terms, growth, equality), wellbeing, knowledge, skills, resources, health, status, standard of life, quality of life etc.
Since he never sets any of his success criteria out, his claims are castles in the air with little or no rational value. It also explains, perhaps, why Scotty has his overly strong opinions of anyone else with different economic views as him: because they are probably using other value systems which are multi-dimensional. They are just on completely different pages.
What is vital for a later point is that this DOES actually mean we have an intersection with morality. But I will leave that for now.
2. A false dichotomy of either collectivism (communism/socialism) or libertarianism, and that H-Joon Chang represents the former.
Throughout this entire discussion, Scotty has insisted on representing the argument as a false dichotomy of either pure free market economics or collectivist communism. This is a misrepresentation of the state of affairs. Neither myself nor Chang, to whom I refer, are collectivist communists. It is not either that position or libertarian free marketism. This is silly and naive.
Scotty does seem only interested in deriving his information from places which confirm his conclusion. This is very common and we all do it. But he seems so hellbent on confirmation bias for libertarianism that it does seem to blind his objectivity and rational faculties. It appears his opinions on Chang are derived from such places as here or similar where people are only interested in building straw men of their opponents.
3. He [Chang] is an advocate of central planning, and this is very bad indeed, and has shown to abysmally fail.
This is bloody frustrating. If Scotty bothered to actually read the people he slags off rather than deriving opinions of them from equally hellbent biased sources, he would have a far more objective and sensible conclusion. For example, he would know that Chang sees himself, within the paradigm of industrial policy, of sitting midway between planned economies and the free market. He would just need to read Chang’s 23 Things They Don’t Know About Capitalism pages 199-209 where he deals with exactly this myth, exactly this sort of false dichotomy, including:
Unfortunately, central planning did not work very well in practice. The main problem was that of complexity. The Marxists may have been right in thinking that the development in productive forces, by increasing interdependence among different segments of capital, makes it more necessary to plan centrally. However, they failed to recognize that it also makes the economy more complex, making it more difficult to plan centrally.
Central planning worked well when the targets were relatively simple and clear, as seen in the success of early Soviet industrialization, where the main task was to produce a relatively small number of key products in large quantities (steel, tractors, wheat, potatoes, etc.). However, as the economy developed, central planning became increasingly difficult, with a growing number of (actual and potential) diverse products. Of course, with economic development, the ability to plan also increased thanks to improvements in managerial skills, mathematical techniques of planning and computers. However, the increase in the ability to plan was not sufficient to deal with the increase in the complexity of the economy.
One obvious solution was to limit the variety of products, but that created huge consumer dissatisfaction. Moreover, even with reduced varieties, the economy was still too complex to plan. Many unwanted things were produced and remained unsold, while there were shortages of other things, resulting in the ubiquitous queues. By the time communism started unravelling in the 1980s, there was so much cynicism about the system that was increasingly incapable of delivering its promises that the joke was that in the communist countries, ‘we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us’.
No wonder central planning was abandoned across the board when the ruling communist parties were ousted across the Soviet bloc, following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Even countries such as China and Vietnam, which ostensibly maintained communism, have gradually abandoned central planning, although their states still hold high degrees of control over the economy. So, we all now live in market economies (well, unless you live in North Korea or Cuba). Planning is gone.
He goes on to make very sensible, centrist claims. You need planning to some degree. This is what every government of the world is and does. They are planners. Under pure free market economics, what would happen in times of war? Law? Future organisation for disaster management relief and planning (including diseases)?
In fact, his beloved Singapore uses such approaches (as well as many other economies under different guises, such as Indicative Planning) in their mobilisation of SOEs (State Owned Enterprises) which catalyse key sectors in the market for national capitalistic gain.
As Chang eloquently states:
The question, then, is not whether to plan or not. It is what the appropriate levels and forms of planning are for different activities. The prejudice against planning, while understandable given the failures of communist central planning, makes us misunderstand the true nature of the modern economy in which government policy, corporate planning and market relationships are all vital and interact in a complex way. Without markets we will end up with the inefficiencies of the Soviet system. However, thinking that we can live by the market alone is like believing that we can live by eating only salt, because salt is vital for our survival.
Unless the whole world was to be instantly free market, the system would surely be doomed to failure. That is human nature. Imagine a free market operating in World War II and how it would cope with Nazi Germany. Again, this discussion comes down to degrees, and Scotty simply mischaracterises everyone as either all or nothing; naive and ridiculous at best.
4. Claiming someone is an advocate of central planning means that is is “evident that he has no clue about the Economic Calculation problem that Central Planners are faced with. Not only does this prove his ignorance toward history, but proves he has very little understanding of pricing, meaning he knows very little about Economics.” Wow. Which is nothing at all to do with the point in the very piece he was supposedly critiquing. This is both a red herring and poisoning the well.
So despite having not appeared to have ever read Chang in any detail in his life (I am fairly sure he had never heard of him when I first mentioned him), he goes on to say this drivel. Apparently, an economist with a deep understanding of history of economics, who had written a great deal on exactly that: the history of economics and the history of capitalism, is illiterate of history and economics…; to say what Scotty did here is nothing short of insultingly immature. It is poisoning the well, and actually had nothing to do with my original point, which I will come to.
In fact, in one similar naive straw man attack on Chang, one commenter points out the shortcomings of painting Chang so simplistically at one end when he really sits somewhere in the middle:
Because your opponent [Chang] isn’t on the opposite side to you. He’s in the middle.
Just like developing nations are each in their own middle. He leans one way but says, ‘try the thing that fits the situation’ . You seem to say ‘only try one thing’ .
… Except at the points where you seem to say otherwise in championing Hayek in regulation which promotes fruitful, constructive competition.
I guess that’s like a golf handicap which allows a beginner to flourish in being at least able to play the same game as the expert.
Maybe you two even agree on the details. Playing on the same green from different ends.
The similarity to Scotty’s position is incredible. In fact, you can see here that Chang is even influenced by Friedrich von Hayek, the Austrian economist often cited as defining the parameters of this free market paradigm.
5. Free market (as a term describing real things) is not black and white – “Came across his arguments various times before from ignoramuses who claim ‘The Free Market has never existed’, in other words, regurgitating his words and taking their word for it because they don’t understand that the term ‘Free Market’ is not defined in black and white.” – this shows he fundamentally fails to understand the point at a philosophical level, and as a result, his own contradictions.
This is in reference to my original post taking issue with applying a black and white term and applying it to a seemingly arbitrary point or area along a continuum. He occasionally sheepishly admits that free market capitalism is not a black and white situation, that it is difficult to define, and then says things like this:
Corporatist United States of America and attempt to call that a Capitalist country, it’s in fact laughable, considering the fact Crony Capitalism has nothing at all to do with Capitalism and is the direct opposite of it.
You can’t, there’s never been a mixed economy in world recorded history that has ever worked; none.
the most successful economic time period in Sweden’s history was under their free market years between 1870 to 1960
United States who hasn’t had a free market since between 1896…
free markets have existed and not once has any free market failed, never. Not once in history, they’ve always been a success. We saw that success in the United States in the late 19th Century, same again with the British Industrial Revolution, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Chile, but of course, we’ll ignore that fact now, won’t we?
and so on. These are clear cut claims. So he admits it is tough to define, and yet happily defines successes as qualifying when it suits him, and failures as not, when it suits him. This is precisely my criticism in the No True Capitalism post here, which he utterly fails to address, and remains repeating the same tired old mantra.
This is the world of fuzzy logic. Indeed, there probably is no such thing as a free market. There is no example of it ever. Instead, what there is a freer market. It is a comparative term as opposed to an absolutist term. I cannot overemphasise this point enough.
Furthermore, it is (as Chang would suggest) not about the amount of intervention, but the type, as this commenter on the critical post of Chang earlier mentioned:
Something you said in another place, about Victorian Britain intervening less than modern Britain, you have to remember that Chang is a development economist and the relevant issue is not “more” or “less” regulation is a country but what kind of regulation and at what level of development. Given it´s level of development the specific kinds of regulation that Victorian Britain engaged in a more than that of countries which today languish with Victorian levels of GDP. In the UK case, now it´s much richer, the issue in the kind of regulation and intervention we go in for, and again in the second volume I mentioned all this is discussed.
As you can see, not only does he not get the whole Sorites Paradox application, but he also contradicts his own claims.
6. The government can’t access information, only the people can through market forces, thus free market economics wins.
Again, I mentioned this in one of my posts. The free market does not give people free access to information. In fact, only government regulation can insure that, though governments can also take advantage and withhold it (not the sort of governments I would endorse). Thank goodness for the internet age, eh!
We can already see that in recent advancement in neoliberalism and capitalism, universities have had to shift towards more vocational and business minded things. Knowledge for knowledge’s sake is no longer so viable or attractive to education providers. This goes back to the idea that there are other units of value to life other than monetary ones. Any value judgement such as “this is good, this is better” is dependent on a value system. Most secular understandings of morality are in some way consequentialist (even virtue ethicisists often pragmatically use consquentialism on a daily basis), where moral judgement is based on the consequences to an action. But the unitary currency is up for debate. Often it is the pleasure/lack of pain dynamic, but pluralistic understandings of morality will include any number of things. Ideally you would want something non-derivative. What this means is that if one asks why someone did something, or should do something, the answer will be “Because X”. So then we ask “Why X?”, and the answer becomes “Because Z”. We keep asking the why question, and if we keep getting answers, we have an infinite regress (see my post on the Munchhausen Trilemma) so, eventually, there needs to be an axiomatic grounding, a brute non-derivative, self-evident fact. This is why it is often claimed that some form of happiness/pleasure paradigm is great for morality. It is self-evidently good to be happy, so it does a great job of grounding morality. However, many disagree that a single aspect can work since it is so one dimensional.
If Scotty is claiming we should adopt a particular economic model, he is making a moral statement (ceteris paribus). Unless he wants to throw in a properly stated protasis (if statement) such as “If we want the economy to grow in monetary terms, then…” or something similar, then he is clearly making a moral statement which involves obligation to action. It is good to have free market economics because x or y. Though he never sets out the x or y. Here is what the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states on pluralistic consequentialism:
Many consequentialists deny that all values can be reduced to any single ground, such as pleasure or desire satisfaction, so they instead adopt a pluralistic theory of value. Moore’s ideal utilitarianism, for example, takes into account the values of beauty and truth (or knowledge) in addition to pleasure (Moore 1903, 83–85, 194; 1912). Other consequentialists add the intrinsic values of friendship or love, freedom or ability, life, virtue, and so on.
If the recognized values all concern individual welfare, then the theory of value can be calledwelfarist (Sen 1979). When a welfarist theory of value is combined with the other elements of classic utilitarianism, the resulting theory can be called welfarist consequentialism.
One non-welfarist theory of value is perfectionism, which claims that certain states make a person’s life good without necessarily being good for the person in any way that increases that person’s welfare (Hurka 1993, esp. 17). If this theory of value is combined with other elements of classic utilitarianism, the resulting theory can be called perfectionist consequentialism or, in deference to its Aristotelian roots, eudaemonistic consequentialism.
Similarly, some consequentialists hold that an act is right if and only if it maximizes some function of both happiness and capabilities (Sen 1985, Nussbaum 2000). Disabilities are then seen as bad regardless of whether they are accompanied by pain or loss of pleasure.
Or one could hold that an act is right if it maximizes respect for (or minimizes violations of) certain specified moral rights. Such theories are sometimes described as a utilitarianism of rights. This approach could be built into total consequentialism with rights weighed against happiness and other values or, alternatively, the disvalue of rights violations could be lexically ranked prior to any other kind of loss or harm (cf. Rawls 1971, 42). Such a lexical ranking within a consequentialist moral theory would yield the result that nobody is ever justified in violating rights for the sake of happiness or any value other than rights, although it would still allow some rights violations in order to avoid or prevent other rights violations.
When consequentialists incorporate a variety of values, they need to rank or weigh each value against the others. This is often difficult. Some consequentialists even hold that certain values are incommensurable or incomparable in that no comparison of their values is possible (Griffin 1986 and Chang 1997). This position allows consequentialists to recognize the possibility of irresolvable moral dilemmas (Sinnott-Armstrong 1988, 81; Railton 2003, 249-91).
If the free market is uninterested in morality, as Scotty earlier suggested, it seems unlikely to be interested in knowledge for its own sake. It seems equally as likely to take advantage of knowledge inequality for the producers’ own gains if possible. This is basic economics – consumers, in order to make fair and balanced consumer choices, need full knowledge of the products. This will simply never happen in a free market scenario. You only have to look at what happened when news stations are financially answerable to the stakeholders in their business, causing a conflict of interest. They do not become balanced news outlets. See what happened with FOX and their investigation into Monsanto and the high yield drugs for cows which caused mastitis. Monsanto threaten to pull their advertising, the station drop all investigations and do not run the story.
This happens time an again. And of course, there are terrible examples of state-owned news organisations. But let’s not revisit the false dichotomy.
I simply can’t see that von Mises and von Hayek’s claim that a dispersal of knowledge through market forces would ever be pragmatically viable. Knowledge becomes a commercial product with only commercial value, unless you are rich enough to turn it into an elitist pastime.
7. Rich people only have influence due to government influence; the free market would solve this.
Unless there were serious regulations about inheritance and suchlike (which of course there wouldn’t be under libertarian policies) then money will breed money. Rich, successful parents will have rich kids who will have greater opportunity to be successful. These people will run companies in the same mould as their parents, in all probability, and the chain will likely continue. We see income inequality rise in economically freer countries. This presents unequal opportunities with the poor having little chance of breaking the cycle. Even more so under such libertarian economics where education does not become a right or service for all, but a paid-for product most probably out of reach for the poor.
Of course, it depends how you define influence.
The main thrust here is that (and this is well understood from my hard determinist/incompatibilist vantage point) humans are clearly not granted equal opportunity. If such an idea as equal opportunity is fair, then the free market is ill equipped to be able to eliver it, since it all comes down to money and not access to services irrespective of the money you are born into.
Much of this debate revolves around a refusal to deal with the philosophy and not realising that any claim in the world pretty much invariably comes down to your moral philosophy, because morality deals with oughts, shoulds and obligations. I know this from personal experience; first, as a philosopher, and secondly as someone who helps run The Tippling Philosophers, who discuss everything under the sun. And what almost always happens in our discussion evenings? The discussion supervenes on and thus comes down to morality.
Scotty needs to rationally argue for a moral value framework upon which he can hang his economic claims about what we should do. Without doing this, his castle in the air will never have any foundations.
He also needs to deal with these sorts of things successfully within a libertarian free market paradigm: knowledge, wellbeing, health, happiness, virtue and so on. And, of course, he still needs to deal with negative externalities and time lags between problems happening and the free market being able to do anything about it. Whether it be a negative externality in the environmental realm, or slave labour, or child labour, or gender inequality, or working conditions, or drug abuse and use, faulty goods or whatever, the free market needs to be able to deal with it. And not eventually, in a matter of time. The reactive capabilities of central governments mean that coordinated responses can be made straight away to threats to humanity, ecology, health, wealth, safety and any other negative aspect of existence. There is far less scope for lag time between issue and resolution. How long would dodgy working practises which benefit the company persist under the free market if not for regulation?
“This right off the bat proves he doesn’t understand economics, because the big mistake Ghandi made was thinking that economics is something moral, when in real fact, it isn’t. Just like value, what I may personally see valuable, you may not, because it’s subjective. When you view the economy as something ‘moral’ you’re taking Marxist Labour theory of value into account and that is a very big mistake. This is where the government thinks it can dictate what is right from wrong for you to have. There is no right from wrong, value is subjective. Just like how the government may ban something which you may personally see as valuable, he’s a dictator.
That economics has nothing to do with morality is patently absurd. Almost everything has something to do with morality. Even the denial of morality… Since libertarianism is a whole paradigm set upon the nature of rights, then revisiting the SEP might be useful, on rights:
Rights are entitlements (not) to perform certain actions, or (not) to be in certain states; or entitlements that others (not) perform certain actions or (not) be in certain states.
Rights dominate modern understandings of what actions are permissible and which institutions are just. Rights structure the form of governments, the content of laws, and the shape of morality as it is currently perceived. To accept a set of rights is to approve a distribution of freedom and authority, and so to endorse a certain view of what may, must, and must not be done.
Emphasis mine. That’s, er, moral philosophy. And that is upon which his economic views, politics and obligations are based.
And, finally, he needs to be able to deal with these rights. He thinks an individual has the rights of a god, in some Randian sense. In that case, an individual has rights of not having something done which affects them. And enter stage left moral arbitration. And law. Otherwise he can’t complain when someone shoots him in the face with a gun they have freely chosen to have and freely chosen to use on him. Even once Scotty thinks he can establish some ontological sense of what a right is, it is a quagmire (such as sorting out hierarchies and how rights interact with other rights) which ends up being, you know, moral, and legal, and requiring such frameworks.
In other words, go do some fricking philosophy.
PS If you want something funny to laugh at, see the US Libertarian Party’s conclusion on Crime and Punishment.