We are often contracted to be coerced by our everyday actions because we believe that everyone in the group is better off. If a person buys something voluntarily, they know that they will have to pay tax on that product because it is of the benefit to the majority. There will be harm from the state if they don’t pay the tax or they will not receive what they want. There is a problem when people can’t make good judgments or there is a choice or alternative and the only option is to participate. This is not voluntary.
If I enter freely and agree to be coerced then that is voluntary and this is the essence of the liberty to make binding contracts. A binding contract will be punished if a person does not do what the contract says. The more voluntary contracts, the better a society is. There is usually a prior agreement about the distribution of wealth and power before circumstances and it might be just or unjust to ask for something in a contract depending on circumstances. Property rights are an example of such an exchange.
Odyssey the Island of the Sirens - See Circe’s dire warning to Odysseus (Chapman 2000: Chap XII, lines 56-89 emphasis added.) The nature of a voluntary contract is that both parties look at the contract to see if they can cheat but ideally will not be able to. There is also a contract as a member of a state or community on what is prohibited and regulated. We often consent to the rules but not the outcome.
A video shown of “Shouldn’t Majorities Decide Everything” by Prof Michael Munger - The problem is that majority rule and the democratic system oppose each other. Majority Rule is a way of choosing for a group. Democratic system makes sure that majorities and individuals are looked after. The democratic constitution has two parts 1. The limit on what we can decide collectively and 2. The process by which we will decide it.
If we choose majority rules, they may want to decide everything not just the issues set out in the constitution
The States Responsibility to the Individual and Majority - The American Bill of Rights states that there is an explicit protection against the majority that says don’t break the law but don’t make the law either. Some individual choices are protected by government interference even in instances where the majority of people would disagree with those choices. Kelo vs City of New London is an example. The government must protect individual’s property even if the majority want something else. When majority always wins we lose because the individual rights are eroded and with it democracy. If it started with a voluntary exchange, it must protect individuals and coercion must not occur otherwise it is not a voluntary exchange.
Transactions - Why are some transactions ok and others not. For example drugs or plutonium are not ok but legal prostitution is. Some transactions are moral and some are not. What transactions should be allowed and what is legal? Prostitution may be voluntarily even if there is payment and can’t be coercion because that is rape. Saying that prostitution is illegal is acting like incentives are coercive if an incentive is an inducement of something someone is unwilling to give that is different.
The Mangere – A trader bringing a product by ship to another place charges more. It is a sign that his profit is of benefit. If benefit takes form of profit, it indicates that it made a lot of people better off. Thesis is that voluntary exchanges should never be interfered with by the state. That would be unjustified coercion, outside the social contract
Evoluntary Exchange: 1. Conventional ownership by both parties. 2. Conventional capacity to transfer and assign this ownership to the other party.3.The absence of post-exchange regret, for both parties, in the sense that both receive value at least as great as was anticipated at the time of the agreement to exchange. 4. Absence of uncompensated externalities. 5. Neither party is coerced, in the sense of being forced to exchange by threat.6.Neither party is coerced the alternative sense of being harmed by failing to exchange.
Market exchange is justified and not interfered with by the state in the following instances; 1.Severe inequality may be a cause of coercion 2.Dire economic necessity
Price Gouging Immoral Should it be Illegal? (learnliberty.org)- A hurricane has just struck and your daughters need diabetic medication to stay for cold. Someone has an electric generator to give but not for the usual $800. It is being offered for $1300. This would be illegal in a majority of US states and 34 states prohibit price gouging. Raising prices on certain kinds of goods to an unfair amount or excessively high level during an emergency is the law but morally it is unclear. Is it immoral and should it be illegal and is buying the 1300m generator morally wrong? The person would rather buy it for $800 and not for the increased amount. Three reasons why it is not obviously wrong;
- You don’t have to buy the generator and can walk away if you think that you get more value than the $1300.
- If the person did charge $800 only then someone else would buy the product who requires electric power
- High prices do more than line people’s pockets. High prices effect how buyers and sellers behave. It leads the buyer to ask questions, reduce demand and practice conservation. The person has to do without and question if others need it. It leads the seller to charge high prices where goods are needed. It creates a profit incentive and leads to do more good in areas where they are needed also.