The 'rich people would leave' argument is kind of an interesting one, but is there really any evidence to back it up? Some questions for Q and anyone else who could answer, or attempt to. I am genuinely curious here:
1) How many jobs are these super-rich actually creating with their own personal wealth? Exactly what real risk for ordinary people is there if they up sticks and leave?
Hard to quantify, but if you are living in a country, you are going to be spending a majority of your money in that country, supporting a lot of jobs in retail, service industry etc.
You also have to consider the taxation that they pay on those incomes and on their spending, where are you going to get the money for public services if you are chasing your high earners away?
See Laffer curve if you want to work out the optimal rate of tax for milking the rich to provide public services. I am also reminded of a quote from the Left's new favourite economist, John Maynard Keynes -
Nor should the argument seem strange that taxation may be so high as to defeat its object, and that, given sufficient time to gather the fruits, a reduction of taxation will run a better chance than an increase of balancing the budget.
2) If they leave, do they take their companies with them? If not, do those jobs not just get filled by someone else on the same wages paying the same tax?
Less talented people will generate less profit and won't command the same wages, it is a downward spiral. The effects of a brain-drain is underestimated.
Less talented people filling the void will also reduce the service given to consumers, lowering the quality of life in the coutry, a factor often overlooked as irrelevant.
This idea is associated to the zero-sum fallacy to the disproven labour theory of value which assumes that jobs just exist in an economy to be filled by individuals, but this is not the case. Economic opportunities arise because of the work, ideas and ingenuity of individuals - if they are absent, the economy stalls.
3) Individuals might leave, but it's not them who create jobs really, it's companies and businesses. Is there any evidence to suggest they would flee?
4) Why, if the rich would flee this country due to a higher top tax rate, do they not flee, say, the Scandinavian countries en masse?
No-one is suggesting the everyone is going to migrate en masse to whichever nation has the lowest marginal tax rate, but that high tax rates are a disincentive to work and an incentive to migrate for talented, highly mobile people. Scandinavian countries are still relatively economically free and taxation is not the only factor involved in providing motivation for migration. However, the so-called Nordic model is not actually as impressive as is suggested - http://www.economist.com/node/7880173
5) Same goes for regulation for that matter. Read an interesting article the other day that despite the (again, is there any real evidence to support it?) notion that 'red tape' destroys business, in South Korea their incredible period of growth happened at the same time as you had to fill in something like 299 forms to start a business...
Therefore, if we have 299 forms we will get incredible growth...? It just doesn't work like that.
Red-tape is an impediment to growth but that doesn't mean that it is impossible that other factors will not enable growth in spite of it.
6) To what extent is the healthy, educated and strong-willed population you can build with a high-tax base preferable to a much less educated, cheaper workforce? Does this also then shape the type of economy you have, EG, would a more skilled workforce enable us to have better R & D and thus a better manufacturing industry?
Not 100% sure what you are saying, it seems you think that government can create a healthy, educated, strong-willed population - which flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence that despite billions spent on health and education, we have neither a healthy nor particularly highly-educated population.
If you want R&D, you need the most talented people to remain in the country.
7) The vast majority of government subsidy goes to what is effectively dead oil/fossil fuel based technology. How is it possible for a young industry with effectively infinite potential like the renewables sector get a foothold and grow (and to my mind renewables are essential even if climate change is, as seems incredibly unlikely, a total myth) in the face of a mature but dead industry without some form of subsidy and support?
Even if I were to accept your premise, I oppose all government subsidy, so renewables should compete alongside fossil fuels.
Also, the major energy companies are funding investment into renewables, if it is ever to be made a realistic commercial proposition, it will be through these companies, not state investment.
Are there any examples of genuine libertarian societies? Are there any successful models or experiments?
The more free and capitalist a society has been, the more successful it is. The more government planning and control you have, the reverse. If you want a model or experiment, consider the two states either side of the 38th parallel. Where would you rather live? The capitalist or the socialist state?
9) What do you, Q, see as having gone wrong in, say, Chile, where a socialist govenment built an impressive economy with great growth figures, which than had a Freidmann endorsed vision of libertarian capitalism imposed on it which was an utter disaster by just about every measure (with growth only coming again when Pinochet starting using state intervention?)
That has to be the most sanitised version of the Allende government I've ever seen. You neglected to mention the land seizures, the state taking ownership of major companies without providing compensation (theft) or that his disastrous economics led to massive rise in prices, declining exports and rapidly increasing imports. Yes, Chile did have good growth figures for a very brief period, but I've never ever said that the state cannot generate a massive short-term boom - indeed that is what I have been saying repeatedly. Surprise surprise, an expansionary monetary policy was economic madness, utterly unsustainable and inflation rocketed.
10) How does a libertarian justify the gross state repression it takes in order to remove the rights and benefits people tend to enjoy from the state, and if it is not justified to, EG, send in the riot police when people object to their welfare being taken away (for example), how does this square with a philosophy of no state intervention whatsoever?
lol read this, think about it and try again.
11) Where do things like the army, police, health etc come in a Libertarian world view? Should these things not exist? Should we instead have the private rich owning private armies, thus removing the need for private intervention and allowing them to protect their justly earned wealth against jealous people?
You are now getting into the subtle distinctions between libertarianism, objectivism, minarchism and anarchism/anarcho-capitalism that I don't have the time to go into. It is also highly speculative at this stage.