Free State Project Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 ... 10   Go Down

Author Topic: Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?  (Read 30135 times)

SteveA

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2905
  • Freedom - Are you man enough to handle it?
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2003, 10:39:35 pm »

I do agree we need more redundancy in the power system and smaller isolated generation of power.  Like Bill said, rate fixing and subsidies stagnate market changes that would otherwise motivate alternate supplies.  (If the war in Iraq is partly for oil, then we don't see the cost of the war included in the cost of gas, which would need be paid by oil companies and more accurately reflect its cost, giving incentive for local or alternative sources of power generation).  Instead, the cost is in your tax bill.
Logged
"Fruitless, born a thousand times, lies barren.  Unguided inspiration, yields random motion, circumscribed in destination, going nowhere.  Guidance uninspired, always true in facing, stands immobile.  But fixed upon that destination firmly and with inspiration lofted; beget your dreams."

BillG

  • Guest
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2003, 10:45:47 pm »

dead on Steve!
Logged

LeopardPM

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2248
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2003, 02:07:09 am »

yes BillG, I think we agree... somewhat...

1: stop all subsidizing of oil as an energy source - this includes ending the protection of the industry from pollution lawsuits etc

2: privatize utilities - totally, without price caps, restrictions or regulations - allow the market to govern them


btw: yes yes yes... enron again... jeez, is this the flagship example that everyone uses against capitalism and privatization?  you want examples of government abuses/corruption/death of innocents/kidnapping/murder?  People are people, some good, some bad.... giving government powers which citizens do not have just allows the possibility that a 'bad' person using that power against any and all of us... I would take 100 Enron episodes if it meant less governmental episodes.... how many people died due to Enron?  How many people died due to Viet Nam?  due to the FDA delayed drug approval and disaprovals?  Our government testing out bio-weapons on its own citizenry?  need I go on?

michael
Logged
nothing to say...

Tracy Saboe

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3859
    • Rand for US Senate in Kentucky!
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2003, 03:28:57 am »

Most of Enron's problems were due to Federal contracts with them.

They wanted to build a pipeline through India. It was dangerous, they couldn't get any investors interested in the progect.

So what did they do? They lobied to get the government to subsidize the opporation.

The problems we have today with corporate America are a direct result of government interfearence which is decidedly ANTI-capitalistic.

Tracy
Logged
We agree that "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action." --George Washington

Jack Conway

Conway Supports Obamacare
Conway Supports Cap and Trade
Conway Supports Abortion
Conway’s Utilities Rate Hike Scandal
Conway is in Bed with Big Pharma
Conway is Backed by Wall Street Bankers

Sc0ttiej

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 77
  • It's time
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2003, 01:53:06 am »

So here's my first try at getting involved with your interesting little project.  First I'd just like to say that nothing I write is meant to be offensive, so the word "little" I used to describe this project is simply a term of endearment, not meant in any derogatory way.  Also I'm only 23, product of your "typical American family," watched too much cable growing up, went to college for a few years, and now I'm trying to figure out how to save that world.  With that said hopefully you all can infer my naivete on certain subjects (most of them), so you'll have to give me the benefit of the doubt.  Here we go...  Our current system of government is not really working out, this much if fairly obvious.  Things have to change, which is why this project is so interesting.  The utilities problem is a major one, being that it involves one of the most basic necessities of life; water.  So we privatize things, market economy...  all that jazz.  It seems to me however that if there's room to take advantage, then advantage will be taken, eventually.  It seems that when profit is involved, those making the profit will do all they can to increase their profit, at the expense of everyone else.  So don't I have the right to NOT be taken advantage of?  If the major role of government is to "help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud," then how clearly defined is "fraud?"  It seems that the government should have to regulate utilities in some way;  i.e. pollution controls.  After all, can we agree that it is an inalienable right we have as human beings to breath clean air, drink clean water and eat clean food.  So what regulations should we have?  Simply pollution laws or should it go beyond that?  What about conservation of natural resources for future generations?  Who own those?  Who owns the H2O on this planet?  Who owns the air we breath?  Am I paying for the water or just the service that is providing me with the water?  I'm sure there are reasonable answers to these questions, so could someone point me toward some of the solutions.  Now the library is closing so I have to end this discourse.  There will be more questions though.  I really want this thing to work:)        
Logged

LeopardPM

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2248
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2003, 03:18:34 am »

Welcome ScottieJ!
well, you sure opened a can-o-worms with that one post, sir!  So lets take it in sections, shall we?


Quote
...and now I'm trying to figure out how to save that world.
recommendation: save the world by allowing the people within it to save themselves, to do otherwise will not only be a huge and unrewarding endeavor, but will also be counter-productive to its own achievement.  So, basically, 'save' yourself first... lead by example... take responsibility... read up on libertarianism... (I have plenty of suggestions both for online and paperback resources - email me if interested)

Quote
The utilities problem is a major one, being that it involves one of the most basic necessities of life; water.  So we privatize things, market economy...  all that jazz.  It seems to me however that if there's room to take advantage, then advantage will be taken, eventually.
so, you basically have an overall negative view of human nature, that if given the opportunity, people will steal, kill, defraud, or otherwise harm others to get what they want.  If this is your view then NO system of government or privatization will ever work because they are by definition 'institutions of men'.  So, I take issue with your premise - I say there are good and bad people, greedy and alturistic - but, overall, people will choose NOT to harm others if there is an alternative.

Quote
It seems that when profit is involved, those making the profit will do all they can to increase their profit, at the expense of everyone else.
ok, first we need to fix the 'little' problem that you seem to have regarding what profit is and how businesses earn it.  Do not take this as an insult - you are a product of about 18 yrs of public education propaganda (as am I) and have probably never been exposed to much truth.  So here it is in a nutshell, the basics of economics and all trade everywhere:  a business succeeds or fails, IN THE FREE MARKET, only if it is able to cater to its customers consistently better than its competition.  I highlighted the Free Market specifically because when there is government interference then the above statement does not necessarily hold water.  Yes, a business will do all it can to increase profit - more exact - it will do all it LEGALLY can, which means it does not get the ability to trample on peoples rights - be they employees or customers.  Yes, a restaurant can increase profits by buying substandard meat, but is it really going to succeed by making all of its customers sick?  Do you think a restaurant owner values money more than the immorality of intentionally harming his customers?  Would you?

Quote
So don't I have the right to NOT be taken advantage of?  If the major role of government is to "help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud," then how clearly defined is "fraud?"
You have a right to NOT be defrauded or harmed by others.  Your statement of 'being taken advantage of' is a bit vague and relative.  If you were mislead in thinking you were buying a 6 pack of Budweiser and instead got a 6 pack of Millers, then you were frauded (a form of theft) and you have a right to restitution.  If you think that you should be paid $50/hr but all the potential employers are only willing to pay you $8/hr for flippin' burgers, no, you are not being taken advantage of.  And, Yes, Fraud is very extensively defined in todays legal system.

Quote
It seems that the government should have to regulate utilities in some way;  i.e. pollution controls.
Why?  We can deal with polluters easily through the court system and other free market avenues.  getting the government involved is like inviting the fox into the henhouse - do you know the government is the single biggest polluter in this country?  Do you know that the State of New York actually sued the EPA over Acid Rain?

Quote
After all, can we agree that it is an inalienable right we have as human beings to breath clean air, drink clean water and eat clean food.
oops - you stepped in it this time - No! we have no right to a perfect world, we have a right not to be harmed by others, but regulating our air, water, food is better left to the people themselves!  We all have different values and priorities.  Perhaps drinking water with a purity factor of '9' out of 10 is what you yourself would like.  maybe I don't mind a little crap thrown in and would be happy with drinking a '6' out of 10 if it costs me less money.  So let the water companies compete for our business and try to cater to our whims as best they can - The job of business IS to service its customers as good as they can, period.  If we want to make sure that our meat ain't poisoned, then a 'private' meat certification company will come into being and fill that need - to the level that YOU deem, not some government bureaucrat who determines what he thinks everyone should need - he fails miserably and so does all government attempts at broadstroking with regulations - they harm more than protect.

Quote
So what regulations should we have?
you can guess my response here, i think:
none.

Quote
What about conservation of natural resources for future generations?
what about it?  the free market will determine this and many other questions regarding values of all things... don't be afraid, the waters warm - come on in!

Quote
Who owns the air we breath?
right now, no one - but that can and will change in the future (distant future).  If you happened to live in an underwater environment or on a space habitat then it would be obvious that you would have to pay for that air because it takes effort to produce it.  Right now all of the wonderful plants in the world are happily and busily producing and cleaning air for us to breath - without costing us a cent - lucky us, But, it will not always necessarily be the case.

Quote
Am I paying for the water or just the service that is providing me with the water?
both

again welcome to the wonderful world of liberty!  I look forward to discussing more items with you and hope you decide to join the Project if you haven't already.  I suggest you do some good reading at that library of yours... I got suggestions if you care...

michael

Logged
nothing to say...

LibertyLover

  • FSP Participant
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 233
    • Libertopia 2010
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2003, 03:21:39 pm »

After all, can we agree that it is an inalienable right we have as human beings to breath clean air, drink clean water and eat clean food.  

This is one of the worst things that government schools do to innocent young minds in America today--pervert the meaning of our language and our founding principles. Human beings have the inalienable right to life (to not be killed), liberty (to not be imprisoned), and property (to not be robbed). We do not have the right to force other human beings to provide us with clean air, clean water, and clean food.
Logged
Libertopia 2010 -- a festival of freedom, community & art for sovereign individuals
http://www.libertopia.org

BillG

  • Guest
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2003, 06:12:34 pm »

Quote
After all, can we agree that it is an inalienable right we have as human beings to breath clean air, drink clean water and eat clean food.  So what regulations should we have?  Simply pollution laws or should it go beyond that?  What about conservation of natural resources for future generations?  Who own those?  Who owns the H2O on this planet?  Who owns the air we breath?  Am I paying for the water or just the service that is providing me with the water?

Scottie-

your gut instincts are right here...don't drink the "privatization" kool-aid!

There is another way to deal with your questions that addresses the efficiency of individual initiative thru free markets within an ecological framework without relying on overbearing government regulation that is based on a logically consistent philosophy that also takes into effect your concerns for social justice...

It falls broadly under our inalienable, individual rights to the commons that are bracketed by everyone else's equal access rights. You simply keep what you make with your labor and pay for what you take from and dump into our natural world.

http://friendsofthecommons.org/
« Last Edit: November 17, 2003, 06:15:06 pm by BillG (not Gates) »
Logged

LeopardPM

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2248
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2003, 07:51:20 pm »

oh no! BillG! go back to your corner!  (j/k)
Scottie, feel free to visit those sites and understand the Georgist theories... you will need this grounding so you can later on defend the rights of private land ownership.

Still, BillG is a good guy... however msguided (again... kinda j/k)

a true friend of mother earth and all of her bounty,
michael
Logged
nothing to say...

Kyle

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 328
  • I'm a llama!
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2003, 08:02:23 pm »

Take the red pill, Scottie.  You are a product of your environment and you need to break free of it.  Continue reading the forums and you will see the light presently.
Logged

Sc0ttiej

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 77
  • It's time
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2003, 11:43:16 am »

Ok.. Round two. First I'm really glad that I found this forum. It seems that there are a lot of people here who feel strongly about those ideologies that they define themselves by. Most of the replies to my questions were what I expected. If I UNDER estimate most people, then I think some of you OVER estimate most people. After all, power does not necessarily corrupt, it simply attracts the corruptible (that one's not mine, I know). If I'vie lost faith in capitalism, then I think a lot of you have lost faith in government (I'm not defending it, this one is pretty f****d up, I'm just defending the IDEA of government). Either one can be good for society, as long as they reflect the general will of the people. It seems to me that many people's idea of the "FREE MARKET" and the idea of "GOVERNMENT" work really well on paper but when we actually put them into practice they tend not to go as planned. Since I can't just say PEOPLE because that's a generalization (LeopardPM), I'll say SOME people will always try to upset the balance of things so that they have more and everyone else has less. The trick, I think, is to limit the possibility of these people having an opportunity to take advantage. So back to the issue at hand, if we privatize utilities without government (the kind which represents the general will of the people) regulation, we would be inviting the few "easily corrupted" people into a business opportunity that would give them an awful lot of power (no pun intended). So here's my idea: Whatever we decide to do, privatize or no, we DO make it necessary to make all expenses public (equipment cost, pay roll, bonuses etc.). That way the Utility company can charge whatever they want, and do whatever they want, but WE will know what is really going on, whether we're being "TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF" (the malicious kind). This does not necessarily require government intervention, if we as a people would require this kind of practice, then by your "Free Market Theory," any company that didn't divulge where their money went, would simply be assumed to be scamming the people, and not be dealt with. Go ahead and pick that one apart, I'm sure it violates some kind of privacy, but then again, privacy is cultural. We are for some reason very protective of our financial information. Either we are worried that it will give others power over us, or we are worried that everyone else will find out just how unfair the "really existing free market" is (yeah, that "really existing free market" came from Chomsky, so what?).
« Last Edit: November 18, 2003, 05:37:50 pm by Sc0ttiej »
Logged

LibertyLover

  • FSP Participant
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 233
    • Libertopia 2010
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2003, 05:08:43 pm »

If I'vie lost faith in capitalism, then I think a lot of you have lost faith in the government (I'm not defending it, this one is pretty f****d up, I'm just defending the IDEA of government). Either one can be good for society, as long as they reflect the general will of the people.

It isn't a matter of faith in capitalism versus faith in government. It is precisely the IDEA of capitalism versus the IDEA of government that needs to be examined. You have to start by knowing what each institution actually IS.

Government is a legalized territorial monopoly on force, nothing more and nothing less. If the initiation of force is evil (as libertarians believe), then government is evil by its nature, and the only question is how much government is a necessary evil. Anarcho-capitalists think that free people can arrange their society in such a way that no government is necessary. Minarchists think a little government is necessary. Statists think initiation of force is fine as long as it is for a "public good," so they think a lot of government is necessary. Totalitarians think there is no such thing as too much government, presumably because people are so evil they have to be ruled like slaves by the few superior human beings, i.e. them.

Capitalism is more complicated. If you define it as an economic system based on corporations with limited liability, there is some room for fraud and abuse of financial responsibility because of the lack of personal responsibility. However, most of the "evils" of capitalism would be impossible without the collusion of governments.

The true opposite of government is not capitalism but free markets, which can be defined as human interactions with no legalized use of force. Nobody can force anybody to deal with anybody else. If an individual is evil, people are generally not going to want to deal with him, and, if he tries to use force to get what he wants from them, they will have the right to defend themselves against him.

This is not to say that free markets would guarantee a utopia, since most people are neither totally good nor totally evil. There will always be differences and conflicts among people, but free markets in justice as well as in goods and services would offer the best chance of supporting community standards (the "general will of the people") without giving any individual the power to force his wishes on others.

I don't think I'm smart enough to come up with a system to force society to be fair to everybody (and neither is anybody else), so the best we can do is to leave people alone and let individuals be free to negotiate arrangements between themselves. That is free markets.
Logged
Libertopia 2010 -- a festival of freedom, community & art for sovereign individuals
http://www.libertopia.org

BillG

  • Guest
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2003, 10:30:55 pm »

Quote
The trick, I think, is to limit the possibility of these people having an opportunity to take advantage

yes, attack government granted monopoly priviledge in all it's form including economic scarcity rent fraudulently pocketed by landowners the biggest welfare system devised in human history.

Scottie-

You digressed from your initial instincts. The answers you are looking for are in a fundamental understanding that progress is made between the two polarities because an essential truth lies in both...

If you look at the problem as strictly between the free market and the state you will miss the 800 lbs. elephant sitting in the room - the "commons"...which we derive all of our material wealth from and discard all of our material waste into.

We all have inalienable, individual rights to the commons. If we define it as already claimed by ALL EQUALLY then a natural economic rental market will develop to take care of the externalities problem and people will finally have the all the appropriate information to make a decision within an ecoloigical framework. The economic scarcity rent being captured and returned to the commoners with minimum government involvement will significantly shrink the size of government from a regulatory and social welfare basis.
Logged

<Patrick>

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 911
  • Radical Capitalist
    • Ayn Rand Institute
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2003, 11:14:51 pm »

Quote
We all have inalienable, individual rights to the commons.

Why?

     If this is your fundemental argument then please explain it.
Logged
"I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life.  Nor to any part of my energy.  Nor to any achievement of mine… I wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others."
-Ayn Rand
http://www.aynrand.org
http://capitalism.org

atr

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 858
Re:Why Privatize Utilites? Shouldn't the People Own Them?
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2003, 09:49:59 am »

So here's my idea: Whatever we decide to do, privatize or no, we DO make it necessary to make all expenses public (equipment cost, pay roll, bonuses etc.). That way the Utility company can charge whatever they want, and do whatever they want, but WE will know what is really going on, whether we're being "TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF" (the malicious kind). This does not necessarily require government intervention, if we as a people would require this kind of practice, then by your "Free Market Theory," any company that didn't divulge where their money went, would simply be assumed to be scamming the people, and not be dealt with.

When I decide what electricity company I want to purchase electricity from, or what car I want to buy, or what beer I want to buy, I don't really care and don't tend to know how the company spends all its money. The beautiful thing about the free market is that it creates a very strong incentive for benefiting the consumer, not for taking advantage of the consumer.

Let's say there's a private electricity company. It charges 15 cents per KWH. It spends lavishly on corporate jets, art, parties with Jimmy Buffett performing, etc. It also produces some of its power by damming rivers and thus destroying the local habitat. But the owners (shareholders) of the company want to make profits. So they have a strong desire for the company to not spend its money on the expensive activities listed above. (Yes, damming rivers is very expensive, at least when the government doesn't provide the dam, the river, and the land. If the government doesn't provide these things, they must be purchased.)

Meanwhile, there's another electricity company around. They charge 13 cents per KWH. Any idea where this lower price comes from? Which company am I going to purchase power from?

I don't really think lawfully-required disclosure is of value to me. But, the great thing about a free market is that if you value all sorts of disclosure, you can buy power from the company that discloses everything, or better yet, hires an independent certifying company to assure customers and investors that what it's disclosing is the whole truth.

Furthermore, to the extent that the power company provides any inaccurate information in its service contract with you, the company is committing fraud, which is a criminal offense.


If I've misunderstood your idea of how private companies take advantage of people, please let me know.
Logged
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 ... 10   Go Up