Free State Project Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: 1 2 [3]   Go Down

Author Topic: Privatization vs. commons  (Read 9521 times)

LeopardPM

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2248
Re:Privatization vs. commons
« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2003, 07:55:49 pm »

Scottie,
don't know what 'U' word you are referring to, but, a 'planned community' is usually referred to with a 'C' word, as in communism.  Here is the problem with the government planning' anything: at best, the 'plan' that is chosen IS the same one that at Free market would naturally choose, at worst, it institutes a tax supported legacy of a 'bad' choice'.  The reason, as can be pointed out from your post, is that the government simply does not operate or take into account the same things that the Market accounts for.  you say that good concrete is inexpensive, well, it is not cheaper than asphalt BUT it lasts longer so we have two different variables to compare - lets add a third, the cost of maintenance - perhaps asphalt can be cheaper to maintain then concrete because you can just pave right over the existing 'bad' road, but perhaps with concrete, a more extensive program is needed.  I am NOT a road engineer and neither are you so I would suggest that it is probably likely that ANY ideas we come up with are not going to be the 'best'.

The market, through prices, takes into account for values of humans.  Not just money, but the value of other things also: the increased noise from traffic on the road, the pollution caused, everything that humans care about (note: the 'caring' is relative to time, so naturally our values change as we learn more or are exposed to different ideas or technologies - this is important as I will explain below).

Lets take the federal highway system.  Perhaps this was the best method to transport people and things across the US 50 yrs ago (this is highly debatable tho), but, it has substantial problems stemming from even its inception.  First off, realize that any government endeavor is naturally influenced by political decisions, not necessarily 'good for the people' or 'most economical' or 'most efficient', so the results may not be what people want or that or most economical, or anything at all like its intended results were suppose to be.  Second, realize that if there was a true 'need' or 'desire' for such a system, the market would have provided for it and accomplished its goal the most efficient method that humans were able to accomplish in such a task.  So who lobbied for the tax paid for highway system?  The trucking industry!  Of course!  they were having problems competing with rail in terms of cost and if they had nice smooth surfaces which cris-crossed the country, they would have an advantage (note: the truckers realized that the would benefit GREATLY from such a road, BUT, they were UNWILLING to pay for it themselves... why? because it is not cost-efficient!  if you amortize the cost of building/maintainig the highways back into the cost of trucking - they are WAY more expensive than rail and would go bankrupt) so, why not get government(the people) to pay for it?  now don't get me wrong, I don't fault the trucking industry - they were just using LEGAL alternative methods available to them so that they could compete better against rail transport.  The problem is that businesses HAVE the ability to lobby the government to use our tax money to pay for something that benefits them, to a great degree, BUT not great enough to warrant the cost!  So, billions are spent inefficiently and over the course of some 20 years, the highway system finally is finished.  and there it is, here today.  and we are STILL paying for it and will continue doing so for a long long time.  Why is this bad?  Well, it continues to distort our market in transportation, preventing us from finding/using much better methods of transport today.  It is a HUGE government subsidy of the trucking industry.  It is the single largest contributing factor to the rise of the automobile and its widespread use in society today, which has been attributed to a wide variety of unexpected consequences like: rise in pollution levels, dependance on foreign oil, etc.  BUT, the absolute worst result of this huge continiung drag on our economy is that we, as a nation, could have such an incredibly efficient technology in transportation today that not only would ALL of our products and services be substantially less costly, but, our personal choices would have grown exponentially (think air cars, super-bullet trains which cost 30% of the price of airline tickets and take only 2-3 times as long in trip time - but, you might get the convienence in taking your car along with you for use at the other end of the trip instead of renting) - Yes, I am partial fantasizing here, but the whole point is that we cannot possibly know how much this enormous market distortion has harmed us, BUT we do know that it has harmed... much more than it has benefited.

I haven't even gone into the obvious offenses and abuses and harm that was initially caused: farms, land, homes forcibly taken from folks against their wishes, whole towns died and were forced to relocate because the highway diverted all natural local traffic from them - economic starvation, the path and direction of the highway was determined through pork politics "Hey, vote for the highway to go through kansas and I will vote for that military base to be built in your state!"

This is the government YOU want to trust our utilities to?  If there was a market in utilities and true competition between energy sources, do you think we would all be putting up with having ugly wires strung up all over the place which get blown down in the mildest of storms?  Brownouts, blackouts, and such?  I know that I personally could devised a much better system that responded to the needs of the people - and I ain't no Energy distribution Expert, so I can only imagine what they could dream up unhindered by regulations and a government monopoly of the market...

sorry, tis a subject close to my heart - I need to write a book chapter in the subject then just refer foks to that with footnotes and resources and references et al...

michael
Logged
nothing to say...

BillG

  • Guest
Re:Privatization vs. commons
« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2003, 06:41:42 am »

Quote
The market, through prices, takes into account for values of humans.  Not just money, but the value of other things also: the increased noise from traffic on the road, the pollution caused, everything that humans care about (note: the 'caring' is relative to time, so naturally our values change as we learn more or are exposed to different ideas or technologies - this is important as I will explain below).

Michael-

describe for Scottie how the "market" thru "prices" takes into account pollution in other words - using our commons as a dump...
Logged

LeopardPM

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2248
Re:Privatization vs. commons
« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2003, 08:36:13 am »

Quote
The market, through prices, takes into account for values of humans.  Not just money, but the value of other things also: the increased noise from traffic on the road, the pollution caused, everything that humans care about (note: the 'caring' is relative to time, so naturally our values change as we learn more or are exposed to different ideas or technologies - this is important as I will explain below).

Michael-

describe for Scottie how the "market" thru "prices" takes into account pollution in other words - using our commons as a dump...

Sure thing Bill!  Thanks for caring enough for Scotties well-being to allow me to educate him on the effectiveness of the free market!

First: we need a clear definition of pollution: My own definition is enviromental changes which cause clear and identifiable harm to humans.  These environmental changes are also of the type created by humans.  (ie: a volcano spewing out poisonous gases is not 'pollution' though is those same toxic gases were caused by a human endeavor they would then be 'pollution'.

So, Acme Industry creates a product and in the process it emits substances into the enviroment.  This is not pollution yet.  Technology progresses andit is finally been determined that Acme Industry is indeed harming the people surrounding its plant.  Lawsuits are brought against Acme which raise its costs which in turn raise its prices which decreases the demand for its products.  Demand is also decreased because less people will buy its products because 'Acme is evil harmer of humans'.  So, two paths lie in Acme's future: (1) it cleans up its act and stops harming folks, or (2) it goes bankrupt due to spiraling costs of production.  It may be that Acme goes out of business EVEN if it does clean up its act because the costs of being clean raise its production costs above what people are willing to buy Acme's products.

This is how the people (the market) are able to control business and their environment through the market WITHOUT the intervention of government.  The reason it is better is because the 'pollution' level is able to be adjusted based on the changes in people (attitudes, values, etc).  People can also stop buying Acme products based soley of 'value' and even if there is no physical harm done.  If the general culture decides that clearer skies is more valuable than Acme products, Acme will wither until the point that the market equalizes and the browness of the sky is worth having the ability to purchase an Acme product - this is not some arbitrary figure, it is a precise, yet varying, level set by the market.  On the other hand, a government imposed level of 'acceptable browness' will ALWAYS not be reflective of what the market desires, by definition!  So, government induced regulations harm or reduce the freedoms of more people than by letting the market have free reign to deal with Acme.

How did I do, BillG?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2003, 10:53:12 am by LeopardPM »
Logged
nothing to say...
Pages: 1 2 [3]   Go Up