A diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks reveals that DynCorp, a private security contractor tasked with training the Afghan police, may have used US taxpayer dollars to throw a "bachi bazi" party for Afghan police recruits.
"Bachi bazi" parties are a pre-Islamic tradition (banned by Sharia law, by the Taliban, and by current Afghan civil law) of the Pashtun tribes of southern Afghanistan. 8 to 15 year old boys dress up in women's clothing and dance to roomfuls of adult men. The boys are then auctioned off to the highest bidder, sometimes for sex, sometimes for sex slavery.
DynCorp had a previous brush with sex slavery in 1999, when an employee was fired for blowing the whistle on a sex slavery ring operating on one of their bases in Bosnia that had DynCorp employees raping girls as young as 12.
DynCorp receives over 95 percent of its $2 billion annual revenue from US government contracts, i.e. taxpayers.
Source: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs … helped.php
WOW, Hopefully these clowns will get what they deserve. The constitution clearly states that it's governments role to provide for the common defense. If we are there, it should be completely government staffed and controlled. If you do the research you will see tons of government contractors feeding at the government trough via these "WARS". They are cooking, cleaning, etc. It's rediculous.
What does "partially thrown by DynCorp" mean?
to me it means they paid for it. I'm sure the infedels can't host a party like that.
To a degree; not totally.
v. threw, thrown, throw-ing, throws
15. To arrange or give (a party, for example).
2. With the use or help of; through: We came by the back road.
9. In the name of: swore by the Bible to tell the truth.
10. Through the agency or action of: was killed by a bullet.
What does "DynCorp workers hired a teenage boy to perform" mean?
"To a degree; not totally."
To what degree?
Did they supply the cookies and milk?
"To arrange or give"
Did they arrange it?
"What does "DynCorp workers hired a teenage boy to perform" mean?"
To perform what?
Do you have any proof that they hired a teenage boy to have sex with men?
And what about respecting other peoples cultures?
"For Pashtuns in the South of Afghanistan, there is no shame in having a little boy lover; on the contrary, it is a matter of pride."
Tsk tsk, if it were up to you these poor people would all have flip-flops and IPODs.
Its their culture...
And conservatives accuse liberals of moral relativism!
The release does not state when the incident occured; the liberals are in control of the purse strings.
You think the rape of underage boys is funny?
The company paid for at least part of the party. If a friend and I invite a bunch of other friends over for a wine-and-cocaine party, does it really matter which of us pays for the wine and which pays for the cocaine?
Moreover, there is apparently reason to believe that the company or its employees hired the dancing boys, and given DynCorp's past complicity in sex crimes perpetrated agaist underage children, it seems naive at best to give them the benefit of the doubt.
No I didn't think the rape of young boys is funny but you certainly just did.
they got most of the money from government.
The argument of public or private is thus moot - it is public.
By your own reasoning "it doesn't matter which of us buys the wine or the cocaine, we're both guilty" (not an exact quote) -- government bought the boys, thus it is guilty.
So... DynCorp pays for a few "bachi bazi" parties using United States tax-payer dollars? That's horrific. Absolutely shameful. I am totally against it.
However, why would privatization be the answer? Or are you being sarcastic? DynCorp is from the private sector right?
Do you mean to say that if the federal govt. had not been involved that DynCorp would not be corrupt? That these "bachi bazi" shindigs wouldn't have occurred? If so... I don't see any evidence to support that claim.
The rich CEO types that run these massive organizations like DynCorp are not paragons of morality. They tend to shit all over the little guy and fuck over anyone they can to achieve their goal of becoming wealthier.
Or maybe I'm missing something?
I assumed as much, but I couldn't be certain.
Thanks for clarifying, the "topic title" makes much more sense in a sarcastic context.
I guess I'm a little slow on the uptake.
The charter school movement is privatizing public education, an even greater mistake than contracting out military functions.
Yep, the government is not in the business of Profiteering. It has no business in the Education process at all.
yeah... lord knows that "getting what you pay for" is NOT what you want for education!
remember: $13k PER YEAR PER STUDENT is spent on average in this country for education. This money isn't (in general) fully paid back until about the age of 50 (i wrote a hub about this).
What do you get if you pass a high school class? Well, you get the CHANCE to go to college, but aside from that, you only make about $9k more per year on the job market.
I think there are better ways to do this
Is that why charter schools out perform their traditional competition everywhere they exist?
A Stanford study of half the nation's charter schools (and about 70% of charter school students) found that charter schools significantly outperformed public schools only 17% of the time, and that 37% of charter school perform worse than public schools. Charter students as a group have never outperformed public school students on the AEP.
Additionally, charter schools tend to have lower percentages of ESL students and students with disabilities than public schools, so if they're performing about the same or worse as public schools ~83% of the time despite having higher performing students to start with, I don't know why we're wasting our time and effort on them. They certainly have had some amazing results in some areas, including some big cities like New York and Chicago that desperately need amazing results, but they're hardly the panacea you make them out to be.
Can I just point out 1) this was all paid for through government money, 2) that the GOVERNMENT was hiding the info (as was the company - but a lot of help from the gov), and 3) now that a PRIVATE entity was able to wrestle the info out of the public realm, we now know to never use this companies' services.
All the problems were goverent, and all the solutions were private
Ah yes, AFTER the crime was committed, now we have a "solution."
AFTER somebody dies from poisoned meat, then we all know to never purchase from that meat producer again.
AFTER X company's car explodes ("Boom" indeed) on the highway and causes deaths and injuries, then the market realizes that we shouldn't purchase cars from X.
Don't you understand that as intelligent consumers we should thoroughly research each and every purchase or transaction we make? If we get poisoned because a company sold contaminated water, knowing full well it would be years before we would make the connection between the inordinately high cancer rate and their toxic product, then it's our own damned fault for being so stupid! Who cares if our kids died while the company made money? The free market will ensure that company goes out of business, now that all those children are dying horrible, cancer-ridden deaths!
Haha, actually ironically, if everybody's dead, there won't be any "free market" to put the company out of business!
Whoops! That's a pickle.
Watch, Evan or someone will tell you you're exactly right, that the noble business owner would NEVER choose to sell a dangerous product, because it would ultimately be damaging to their business, even if it does make them more money in the short term.
No. You guys aren't even reading my posts, are you? My argument is that IF a business puts rat meat in their "turkey sandwich", THEY'LL LOSE MONEY BECAUSE PEOPLE WILL STOP EATING THERE!
When a business screws up, it's punished by the consumer; when government screws up, they get a bigger budget in order to "solve the problem" - they get rewarded.
Um, businesses used to do that. (Okay, they put it in sausages where it's easier to hide, not turkey sandwiches, but still.) That's one of the reasons they created the FDA. Haven't you read The Jungle?
Seriously, which is easier? Every single consumer has to research every single purchase they ever make ahead of time to make sure it's not going to cheat them or make them sick, or the government says, "no dumping dead rats in the sausage machine."
God knows there's plenty of stupid and counter-productive regulations in the world, but many of them are also there for very good reason.
The Jungle was fiction - the vast majority of the stuff in there was completely false.
http://libertymaven.com/2010/06/08/the- … lair/9929/
Your argument has about as much validity as watching that "Jersey Shore" program, and thinking that all Americans are orange.
Also, i already disposed of this "every single consumer needs to be completely aware of all the stuff they buy" myth. Have you ever been to amazon.com? Customer reports are HIGHLY PROFITABLE, and thus markets easily will be (have been) created. Consumer Reports, JP Morgan, US Health and numerous other companies already exist.
In fact, insurance companies will demand that such markets are created - there's a HUGE financial incentive with insurance companies to know which products are better and which are worse! After all, why would you NOT raise insurance premiums on someone who buys crappy stuff?
So, I take it you would prefer a laissez-faire approach?
I'm not so sure.
You may argue that only a free market can create healthy competition and therefore more business and reasonable prices, However I would say that a free market in its purest form may result in the opposite.
Without government regulation a corporation (or a few) can become (in theory) so powerful that they control nearly all goods and services in a country. It's called a monopoly (or oligopoly) and it would allow the corporation in charge to set the prices as they see fit.
I think SOME government regulation IS required to have a stable market that allows for healthy competition and fair prices.
There is no monopoly or oligarchy in recorded history that ABUSED it's powers (i.e., abused it's customers by jacking up prices) without having the government to support it.
Why? Because if the military isn't there to crush competitors, then a competitor can just come right in and sell a similar product for 1 buck cheaper and steal all the customers.
What about a company like Wal-mart?
They consistently crush the competition by having the lowest prices.
They could continue doing this until all competitors were squashed.
Then - with no competition - and absolute control over all goods and services they would subsequently be able to set the prices... not just the prices but the agenda.
Also, I posted this elsewhere in the forum:
"Taxes pay for our military, roads, police, fire-fighters, so on and so forth.
I take it you're financially secure and would be willing to pay for all of these services for yourself?
Or perhaps you would like to have "fire-fighters insurance?" Or maybe everyone gets their own private military? Hell, lets just give everyone a gun and some land and call it good."
Could you imagine if ALL roads were built by different company's? Each with their own rules and regulations? Can you imagine the outcome of this? Paying tolls everywhere you go. Every single street. Every time. Some would have the speed limit set at 75 others would try and "compete" by building a road with the speed limit of 85. This trend continues until there are roads with no speed limit. The majority of people (because people are dumb asses) would use the "no speed limit roads. This would result in serious issues.
The bottom line is:
Most people DO NOT know what is best for themselves. And MANY PEOPLE will endanger the lives of others to get what they want.
I think the libertarian philosophy is like saying, "Fuck you," to every other human being. Extremely selfish.
Your assumption of how the system would work is very very unlikely. Private could easily provide road service without having completely whacky rules etc.
You obviously are discounting an argument that you haven't researched:
Brief article: http://mises.org/daily/3416
half hour video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUA4h8ctNWM
Intro to libertarianism series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4kPsaxu … re=related
I hope this will lead you down the path.
To respond to the "libertarians are evil greed mongers"... which side of the equation is more greedy? Anarchists? or Statists?
Let's see: in order for anarchists to buy something, they have to agree upon a price voluntarily.
In order for statists to buy things, they just pass a law and steal money from their peons.
Which one of those sounds more greedy? -- This is the brilliance of Socialism: it sounds like everyone cares about everyone else, but in the end, everyone is just stealing from one another
"When a business screws up, it's punished by the consumer; when government screws up, they get a bigger budget in order to "solve the problem" - they get rewarded."
Not if it's the only business around...then you have no choice.
I believe that 's called monopolization....quite familiar with it you should be, as 96% of media is owned by 6 people.
what about the internet? I haven't watched TV (except buckeye football) in about 4 years now.
I get my ideas published for free here on hubpages, and... well... that's media!
Other "supposed" monopolies that are harmful to consumers don't exist without government support. Microsoft and all those other examples never actually harmed consumers - they simply were too big.
Suppose you live in the city, in a slum area. There are no supermarkets, you don't have a car, and the nearest grocery store is who knows where?
You have to buy your stuff at the local convenience store around the corner. You are getting hosed! You're paying much more for things because it's the only option availiable, You take it or leave it. Same as here, where I live, and Comcast. Unless you want to go with a dish, it's the only option. Radio SUCKS, because all the local station are owned by one company. We get Right wing baloney all day long. And terrible marshmellow music.
Same with the phone company, the electric company, etc. We have no choices!!!
The Internet has saved us, and opened our eyes. BUT--it also houses manipulators, business charlatans, mis-informnation....
Once money gets involved...it's all downhill from there.
money is always involved.
I would be happy that the "evil company" is providing me with the ability to buy my food. without that "evil company" i would have starved.
Oh, i forgot to mention this aspect: if a single company in one area were price gouging, then there would a tremendous incentive for other companies to come in and enjoy the inflated prices as well.
Then they would all start competing....
... then the prices would normalize.
Ta-da: greed solved the problem.
But how does that work with a water system? You only have so many water sources to start with, so if one company controls all of them, where do your theoretical competitors get the stuff they need to compete with?
it's not too hard to make water.
Burn stuff, and collect the pollution. Also, you could ship water in from another area (i.e., bottled water). These facts provide competition.
and even to go further on this:
If there was only one source of water, and someone controlled it, and they were "price gouging", and it was impossible to compete...
...why the hell wouldn't you move? Henry Ford invented mass production about 80 years ago, and a car (some beat up junker) can be bought for under a month's work!
How many of FDA approved drugs are linked to terrible side effects including cancer? Did anybody put FDA out of business? Government is not a solution
I agree that government is not a solution for everything, but government regulation is necessary to protect the consumer. True, it isn't perfect, but you can be certain that without regulation, the market would contain many more dangerous and ineffective medications than it already does.
How do you know this? It is a pure speculation, as good the opposing one, probably worse if you ask me
I don't think it is pure speculation. Why do you think regulation was created in the first place? If a problem didn't exist to begin with, there would be no reason to regulate.
You don't think because you believe. Regulations were created to control the population, and are presented to that same population as the only way to solve the problems. Even when (rarely) regulation solves the problem it was supposedly designed to solve, it creates unintended side effects that usually supersede the severity of the original problem, and in turn require more regulations to combat those, and so forth and so on...
I am not sure there exists a way to solve the problems to the extent you want to do it, but if there is a way, regulations certainly is not it.
But most of those unintended side effects are caused by corporations successfully lobbying the government (and in some cases literally becoming the government, when corporate leaders are appointed head of government agencies such as the FDA) to create loopholes and other corporate-friendly regulations, not by regulation per se.
No, the combination of government power and corporate power is the problem.
That isn't what you said.
You said government.
If I leave my job and join the government you can't blame my previous employer for my actions.
I'm in the government...
Go ahead, say it, Government is bad.
It will set you free.
yeah, I heard what Jim wrote as well.
You say that COMPANIES are evil because of what they ASK Congress to do!!!
It costs MILLIONS of dollars to lobby congress. If congress stopped dishing out my money to these companies, then the problem would evaporate over night.
Sure, this is one the worst side effects of regulations. If there were no regulations, what to lobby for?
Regulations might have worked in ideal world, but ours is not ideal, and as any utopia implementation it badly backfires
Point granted, but total deregulation only works in an ideal world, too.
In this world, the effects can be too spread out over time or distance for the free market to work effectively to shut down abuses, so the countries that have actual or effective (due to bribery, etc.) deregulation are disaster areas. Literally, in many cases.
For example, Chevron-Texaco dumped 18 billion gallons of untreated toxic wastewater into rivers in the Ecuadorian rainforest, causing decades of elevated cancer and birth defect rates in the local residents. The people affected are not Chevron's direct customers, for the most part, so they have no power to boycott the company. If everybody else boycotts it, it would work, but that's dependent first of all on people knowing that Chevron did this to those people, and secondly on people caring, even in the face of the cheaper price that Chevron will be able to command because it did not spend the time and effort to deal properly with the wastewater. Meanwhile, there are generations of dead and deformed Ecuadorian left in the wake.
The very existence of chevron corporation is possible because government regulations define corporation. Yet one more side effect of regulations. Thank you for making my points for me
I share your opposition to corporate immunity, but even if we should reverse the last 500 years of history (and the last 150 in particular), the chances that we will actually do it under any circumstances barring mass destruction of human civilization are effectively nil.
Ergo, we do not live in an ideal world and must not legislate as if we do. Chevron shouldn't exist, but it does, and because it does, we need a way to prevent it from ever doing anything like that again, and to prevent competitors from acting on any notions of trying the same.
That's why I just said a few posts above that the only point of this argument is killing time
And I don't really think WE need to find a way to minimize a GLOBAL effect of governments mishaps. It's beyond our reach I think. What is possible though, is minimizing their influence on our own lives. Yours or mine, personally. In other words, adapting to the environment instead of trying to alter it to suit our ideals.
Just a reminder - when you lobby the government, you're spending millions of dollars. It would stop immediately if government stopped dishing money out.
You guys act like "lobbying" NECESSARILY means that Congress is some sort of pathetic loser that "companies" can manipulate.
And, just a note: Abraham Lincoln was a railroad lobbyist...
Even by the most conservative possible reading of the Constitution, the government is never going to stop dishing out money. We still have a military to take care of - and frankly, we should be thanking God (or whatever) that corporate lobbying efforts are spread out over a bunch of different industries, because if they were all concentrated on the military we'd all be doomed - a census and postal system to administer, naturalization services and minting money to deal with, a copyright office, and more.
A better answer is to remove corporate influence from government.
Yes. With new campaign finance and lobbying rules providing for government financing of federal, state and local elections and shorter campaign periods.
Ralph, I found political discussions with you or Doug or Chris to be a total and complete waste of time. I will gladly talk to you about cars or girls, though
the most conservative reading of the constitution entitles states to secede.
It also says that federal money can NOT be used for anything other than what's specifically outlined in article 1
It also demands that we're only supposed to be using gold and silver as money.
... oh wait, that's not a "conservative reading of the constitution" that's simply READING the constitution. The tenth amendment is a doozy.
Exactly. Of course it's speculation. The FDA doesn't even require companies to explain "HOW" a drug works. However the FDA is absolutely certain that only they can determin which drugs can be used to treat an illness/disease.
Don't you realize that there's profit to be made by being a responsible judge of consumer products? JP Morgan, Costner reports, and countless other businesses do this already.
We don't need a military-enforced monopoly dictating what I can eat.
.... After some lady burnt herself on coffee THEN the judge legislated.
AFTER the blacks were slaves, the govt altered the constitution.
.... You're argument is clearly not thought out.
Exactly! Regulation was borne of need, not created out of thin air.
How is that different than a company discovering bad meat after they sell it?
The company will pay off the victim and continue to sell the meat. Why do you want to return to a nineteenth century style laissez faire economic policy that sacrificed so many at the altar of the industrialists?
Do you perhaps have some tainted meat to sell?
"The company will pay off the victim and continue to sell the meat."
I suppose you have legitimate proof that this has occurred?
There is a company selling bad meat and paying off those effected and still continue to sell the meat?
Which government agency is posing as a business?
Oh the tobacco companies again.
Yep, government shut them down huh?
No wait, they got paid and let the business stay.
Thank God for the government, Joe camel can't seduce my 4 year old.
Listen, i'm sick of this argument: my friends ALL knew - through BILLIONS OF DOLLARS of education that cigarettes are poison.
They still smoked em, and they will suffer.
Shut up about that - it's not the tobacco companies' fault anymore.
Not anymore, but it's been well established that Big Tobacco concealed evidence both of the extent of the health damage caused by tobacco and of the addictiveness of nicotine for decades.
I kind of want to tackle this issue.
The tobacco companies evilly hid the information. But how did we find out that the information existed? Through independent testing.
So, WITH government, we still had to find out that Cigarettes were bad. Then we had to sue them. And now that we know they're bad for you (as discovered through independent testing) countless people refuse to smoke. On top of that, because they lied , countless MORE people will refuse to smoke. And tobacco companies are pretty much synonymous with evil
But if we didn't have government, what would have happened?
Pretty much the same thing! Private courts would have found the companies acting heinously and people would be furious about it, and ... the same result would have happened!
... So government did NOT protect us from cigarette companies, no matter how you wish to argue that they did.
if you KNOWINGLY buy rat meat from a business, then you deserve what you get.
I already argued that regulation will spring up because it's a very profitable market. no one has refuted this, thus private markets CAN work.
What's to stop a company from growing too large? What's to stop Wal-Mart (just an example) from buying out every other store over the course of a few decades? What's to stop them from becoming our only source of goods and services?
Once they became powerful enough they would control all of our "private" businesses including the privatized regulators that you claim would work just as well.
If everything was privatized (military, police force, etc.) then we'd REALLY be screwed.
All it takes is ONE company doing all this just ONE time and... BAM... we're living in the United States of Wal-Mart (again... just using wal-mart as an example).
SOME Govt. is necessary to ensure that this doesn't happen.
If the Govt. disappeared tomorrow and true laissez-faire policy took its place and everything became privatized... I would move to Norway.
if a company is giving it's consumers what they want at a price that competitors can't match... then it's a good thing.
Privatizing the police force would be glorious - but it would be a completely different system if you privatized EVERYTHING.
Chaos Theory, by Robert Murphy discusses this.
So a few bad policies from the government overwhelm the many positive effects? I don't quite get it.
I assume you're saying that the government is evil because it condoned slavery. So I guess it's better to have decentralized evil than centralized evil, is what you're saying. Because then at least we have a choice.
This approach would make a lot more sense if the government was a dictatorship, with no one to answer to. But in a democracy, of course the people have the ability to change government policies. So, in fact, there is competition and choice in BOTH the public and private realms.
I am a strong supporter of free market activity. Choice and competition are essential for human prosperity. But so is government and regulation. We need both.
You did not actually address the specific examples I gave.
See you're being way too reasonable again.
I didn't ignore any argument
Your argument was "all these regulation happen AFTER the effect, and thus privatization is bad."
and then i countered with "the same crap happens in the public sector"
to which you just responded "you avoided the question".
No i didn't. thanks for trying.
Well, since you evidently didn't get my argument you didn't respond to it, so there you go.
I didn't say anything about regulations after the fact--that was someone else.
My point, to clarify, was that the notion that "the market will discover and correct errors" is flawed because by the time it discovers and corrects errors, those errors will already have hurt somebody or killed somebody--indeed, that is the only way it can discover the errors!
Whereas if the government puts the regulation in place before the good is produced, and put on the market, then it eliminates that error before it hurts someone. That is the whole point of regulations.
And PLEASE do not say "oh but government isn't perfect." No one is arguing that government is perfect.
my argument will be exactly what I said earlier.
You are saying that the government can put regulations in ahead of a problem and thus will prevent people from getting injured in the future.
I'm arguing that the private sector does this as well (numerous un-necessary safety features in a Honda Accord, for example).
I am also arguing that the private sector does a better job at this.
I am also arguing that NO MATTER the "reaction", there needs to be something to prompt the "regulation": Someone burns their legs, new laws (someone got injured, then the government reacted); 9/11, then the government reaction of TSA (thousands died, then the reaction).
I'm pointing out that your argument that the private sector doesn't anticipate is nonsense. And I'm arguing that the government regulations are in place largely as reactions to previous injuries.
That should clear things up.
Yeah, I don't think that really cleared anything up.
The government needs to be alerted to the problem once, and the laws are put on the books forever.
The market needs to be alerted to the problem constantly.
Company A causes problems--ok, the market punishes A.
Then 3 years later Company B causes the same problem--ok the market punishes B.
Then 10 years later Company C causes the same problem--ok the market punishes C.
Then 5 generations later Company D causes the same problem--ok the market punishes D.
See the problem?
The laws that were put in place 100 years ago are still on the books, and are still working to prevent problems from occurring during generations and generations of economic activity.
The government must act only once and the problem is effectively solved forever. The market must act an infinite number of times and the problem is never actually solved.
I'm not here to criticize. You're obviously not a stupid individual and you've thought through your beliefs. Just some things to consider, though:
-- When government makes a law, the problem is not solved -- drugs, prostitution, gambling, etc.
-- Laws being permanent are just as much a problem as they are a "solution". Consider this: Ronald McDonald runs a burger joint and starts putting cereal fillers in his hamburgers, cheating people out of the meat that they are paying for. The free market first fixes this problem by running Ronald out of business; then the government passes a law banning cereal fillers, closing the barn after the cow is gone. Seems great, right? But now what happens when someone invents the veggie burger and discovers it's illegal?
Markets are flexible, dynamic and ever-changing. The permanence of law defies this reality and leads to stagnation. Free-market regulation is up-to-date and responsive enough to reflect real-world conditions. People who practice bad business are punished swiftly and directly. This holds much more power than legislation.
-- When legislators are the regulators of business, lobbying always follows. Any run-away corruption that many mistakenly claim would ensue immediately in a free-market would be minuscule when compared to the corruption that currently takes place through lobbying. When government is the regulator, incentive is transferred from satisfying the consumer to satisfying the politician. Protection of industry becomes favored over the protection of the consumer.
-- Free market certification agencies are a much better solution to common-sense sanitary practices than government law. If consumers want to buy a product from such accredited businesses, then they have every ability to do so. If a consumer wants to cut costs and go with the guy who doesn't pay for his certifications, then let it be. If I want to eat a rat-meat sandwich because it's cheap and it tastes damn good, then let me. Let the producer and consumer agree upon the terms of business themselves. I don't need government intervention (funded with my dollar) telling me what I can and cannot eat. If I demand certainty in what I consume, then let me eat where certifications that convey such standards have been obtained.
-- Also, the issue of complacency exists. We become mindless consumers when we fall under the precarious assumption that the almighty government has got it under control. The very human and important element of skepticism is subdued. This actually gives people who DO practice bad business a stronger foothold, since consumers are much more unwilling to question what they are buying.
-- Regulation helps establish politically-connected monopolies. These monopolies often WANT more regulation, more complicating laws, more government encroachment because it makes it harder for competitors to establish themselves in the same market. This is one of the reason's why it's so hard to start up your own business nowadays.
-- There are already laws against fraud, misrepresentation, neglect, etc. We are bureaucratizing power already granted to our judiciary system through these regulations. Laws are already established to allow recourse in case one is harmed by the actions of the other.
Government regulation (legislation) is a sluggish and inattentive process with no oversight. Lacking any profit motive or competition, government is susceptible to corruption and collusion between the regulators and the regulated.
FAILURE IS THE BEST REGULATOR!
Again, I respect your point of view and you seem like a well-informed individual. You utilize logic and reason in your arguments, and that is to be respected no matter what point you're trying to argue.
Well thank you for the compliments. You're right, I have thought this stuff through--I used to be a libertarian. But when I studied economics in-depth I realized that libertarian assumptions are flawed and unrealistic. Let me respond to each of your points here:
1. In the examples you cite (gambling, etc) society is not sufficiently behind the law. If the government passes a law outlawing murder, that works because society supports it. So why do we need laws, you may ask? If it's ultimately society's will anyway, what's the difference. The difference is that the private individuals that compose society do not have the resources to enforce their values. But if they all delegate some power to a central entity, and tell that entity what to do (through elections/ democratic action) then that entity will have the ability to enforce their values.
2. Difference between cereal fillers and veggie burger is that the former is an instance of deception. A free market, as you know, only works if people know what they are buying.
If you're concerned with stupid or ignorant laws, then, I could not agree more. But that is not a theoretical refutation of the concept of regulation. That is a desire to improve the way regulation actually works.
Oh, I agree that the private market is much more powerful, in general, than government decree. But government's role is in those few cases where the market fails. Example: air pollution. It negatively affects everyone, but since no one owns the air, no one has a private economic interest in preventing pollution. This phenomenon is known as the "Tragedy of the Commons."
3. Yes, the politician must be satisfied, but the politician must in turn satisfy his voters, who are, ironically, usually the consumers.
4. I agree that private certification is sometimes better than government certification. But only sometimes. Example: the private medical certification board gets paid off (since its only incentive is profit) to certify some quack. That quack then proceeds to give 100s of people bad medicine over the course of many years. By the time it is discovered, and the board is punished by the market, it's too late. The cow is out of the barn, to use your metaphor. This problem simply does not happen (at least not to an important degree) with government medical certification of this type. I refer you to my previous comment.
5. Complacency--a legitimate concern. But a certain amount of confidence in what they are buying also allows people to focus on other things in life, such as (ironically) starting a new business. If one's entire day is consumed with looking over one's shoulder and carefully weighing this can of beans against that can, society would become much less dynamic and much more risk-averse. And risk aversion is a negative for capitalism and market activity.
6. I completely agree that government CAN facilitate monopolies. However, it is not destined to. If we look at all the governments in the rich world, some support monopolies, some don't, and some are mixed. So clearly the potential is there for restraining monopolies. By contrast, the naked free market naturally produces monopolies in almost every industry--guaranteed.
7. Many of these laws you cite were established long ago in response to abuses by private entities in the market. And those who were against the laws at that time made the same kinds of arguments that libertarians make today. I agree that less regulation and fewer laws wherever possible is better.
"After some lady burnt herself on coffee THEN the judge legislated."
And McDonalds lowered the temperature of its coffee. That's what's supposed to happen as a result of the tort liability system which dates back to English common law centuries ago.
hooray, they lowered their coffee temperature, and put warnings on things!
That will forever end the problem! ... oh wait, I like my coffee really hot, because I want to drive with it my car for a longer distance than other people.
I just got screwed because law makes it illegal for me to buy hotter coffee.
I assume you know how to make your own coffee and put it in your own thermos. Then you can burn you own nuts off. It's been proved time after time that the profit motive alone is not sufficient to get corporations to behave responsibly in the public interest. Drug companies fudge their tests and market drugs for unapproved applications, mining companies fail to observe safe practices, and companies like Dow Chemical dump poisonous chemicals into the Great Lakes. And for years GE poisoned the Hudson River with PCBs and resisted cleanup orders. You live in a dream world Evan.
We can dance if you want.
Making my own coffee and packing it up every day costs me resources. perhaps I value getting hot coffee on my way to work from a restaurant -- y'know, the way that millions of people around the world do every single day?
But your regulation made it illegal for this to happen if the coffee is hotter than "random judge number 16" chooses it to be. And thus, in your crusade to save me from myself, you've made my life harder and more difficult.
In my "dream world", as you call it, the waterways would be owned -- I have yet to hear a valid argument against my claim that a lake or a river is nothing more than land with water over it -- and thus GE would have been sued for damages through a private system of courts for trespassing. All of the individuals involved would have their reputations on the line and thus have FINANCIAL INCENTIVES to not screw each other over.
Drug companies "fudge" their tests DESPITE the existence of the FDA, so... thanks for playing.
You claim I live in a "dream world", and I claim that you live in "a land of hypocrisy, flip-flops, nonsense, and idiocy".
I'll take the rational-dream over the illogical-idiocy.
the tongue of logic.
but to address the typos - iphones/ipodtouches are horrible to type on. don't buy them if you want to type. I was bored out of my mind listening to the teacher tell us that "the media" is responsible for why girls play with dolls and why boys use barbie dolls (when they are given them) as toy weapons, so i whipped out my iPod touch.
And to answer the title - privatization alone is not enough, you need a total deregulation, too - yet it is not going to happen, so really no point in discussing it other than killing the time
There has to be SOME sort of regulation. You can't just allow a large corporation to expand and get bigger and bigger until it controls everything.
A TRUE free market is a fantasy and should remain as such. If it were ever allowed things would get bad rather quickly.
With privatization you have very little recourse if you do get poisoned. Just like privately run prisons and social programs, anything goes wrong, the government cannot have any say in fixing it. The war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan is run by private companies, providing good and services, every other war used to create jobs, not with a private contractor it doesn't.
Business is in business to stay in business.
Intentionally harming the consumer ensures they go out of business.
Anybody who thinks they do these things on purpose to increase short term profits isn't thinking clearly or has been indoctrinated by the Huffington post.
Depends on the business, and on the industry. Some industries and sectors can turn a profit only over the very long term--such as mines. Others have much quicker turnover, and therefore have a much shorter time horizon for decision-making.
And anyway, the business doesn't have to "intentionally harm" anyone. It may be unintentional, or an unintended consequence of the larger drive to profit.
Moreover, in large corporate entities with minimal accountability amidst the massive bureaucracy of paper-pushers, bad stuff can be hidden, lost, overlooked, etc, especially if there is no incentive for finding flaws in the company's "best practices."
Every business I have ever worked for ensured that I had every thing I needed to do my job safely. No one wanted me hurt intentionally or unintentionally.
I have Labor Unions to thank for that I guess, but the days of child labor and uncaring business owners is long gone.
Regulation is not a bad thing and I have never said it was, too much of it is counterproductive however.
Private business is more efficient and the results are greater than with government.
"Private business is more efficient and the results are greater than with government."
Yep! For sure!
I completely agree with that--the private sector is overall much more efficient than the public sector. Plenty of evidence to support that. I also agree that too much regulation is unnecessary and destructive. Just looking at the time it takes to start a business in different countries is very elucidating.
I would also agree that the vast majority of business owners are great people (in fact I work with them). I love small business people. But all it takes is a few idiots here or there, or a single company with excess market share and a disconnected CEO (i.e. Enron) to soil the whole system, and create massive problems.
interests - whose interests?
People are the problem. Because people composed the government.
Same old argument with the same old hubbers going back and forth over the same old ground.
Maybe SOME of us can just agree that it takes the appropriate balance of free market and government regulation to enable a society to be both productive and relatively safe?
I disagree. we need total de-regulation, and a complete stripping of government down to it's barest bones. Government is by definition the negation of liberty.
I know that's what you think, Evan. It is a very "safe" position for you, isn't it? It is so impractical that it will never be implemented, and any challenge for you go to live what you preach cannot possible be answered by you because there is no such culture. I know you think it's ridiculous that Ron keeps suggesting you purchase your own private island somewhere, but realistically, that would be about as close as you could get to practicing what you preach.
no, practicing what I preach would be to demand lower taxes and less spending.
Ta-da, that's what I'm doing.
Really? I thought it would be to demand NO taxes, since taxation is theft.
No, it's a robbery. But since the vast majority of people want to be robbed, Evan and myself (and a few others) have to live with it. So, more realistical approach is to push towards lower taxes and smaller government
Taxes pay for our military, roads, police, fire-fighters, so on and so forth.
I take it you're financially secure and would be willing to pay for all of these services for yourself?
Or perhaps you would like to have "fire-fighters insurance?" Or maybe everyone gets their own private military? Hell, lets just give everyone a gun and some land and call it good.
Until one big family takes over a smaller family's land and subjugates them to their rule, or kills them and takes their resources. Multiply this scenario a few thousand times and you should start to get the picture.
A ruling body is the eventual outcome of ANY scenario, because human beings are simply "built" that way.
But what you propound is far more radical than "lower taxes and reduced spending," and after the sustainable vs. corporate agriculture debate the other day, it's really not clear to me that you're even aware of the degree to which your lifestyle is dependent on government programs and services.
Would you really be prepared to grow your own food, collect your own water, gather your own energy, make your own clothes...? These things are major preoccupations for the majority of people in every society I know of, past and present, with few or no government social services. Private industry simply doesn't have the capability (or, frankly, the desire) to spread basic public services out evenly to the degree that a robust government is able to achieve. There's not enough money in it.
Right, I want NO taxes, so I'm trying to get there.
In order to get to 0, i need to bring 50% down to 49% first, then to 48% , then to ...
.. well you get the picture.
I want 0% taxes, and 0% government expenditure. To get there, i gotta bring it down.
PS - i can't believe you just argued that "without government I would have to collect my own water"... Give me a break.
So you have a private well and septic system then? Some do, certainly (my parents are among them), but most water utilities in this country are public or a combination of public and private.
Kerry, in some areas where oil companies use 'fracking' the result has been to drive so much methane into the water that you can burn the vapors that come off the water. These were good wells until the oil companies came along.
The oil companies deny there is a problem . If there is a problem, they deny it's their fault. At every step of litigation, the oil companies have worked to drive up the cost of bringing suit.The money the oil companies are making is so much greater then the damages by the people who are being driven off their land. (Try to live without tap water you can drink, cook with or bathe in.)
Under the pure 'free enterprise' system that libertarians advocate, the residents would have NO chance. With government intervention, they MAY get justice eventually.
you're right. I see the light. There is NO reason to invest into providing water for people because it would be impossible to make a profit in such an industry.
My city's currently spending $1.8 billion to replacing aging water infrastructure. Where exactly is your typical local company going to get that kind of money?
This is for an area covering less than 1/4 of the city, mind.
So, let's see how this scenario plays out. A company jacks up its prices to pay for the new pipes. Disgruntled customers leave and... do what exactly? Switch to a different water company that must then lay down its own pipes? Dig a private well? That works well in the country when people may live a mile or more apart, but some cities have apartment blocks with more people living in them than my parents' whole town. Bye bye, water table. Maybe we could start having public wells again! That will go over well! People just love carrying all the water they need to and from their house in jugs. Now, there's always rainwater harvesting, but you laughed at me when I suggested that's what you might end up doing in a fully privatized water system, so please enlighten me, I am genuinely curious how you think this would work WITHOUT either government involvement of some sort or people collecting their own water.
"My city's currently spending $1.8 billion to replacing aging water infrastructure. Where exactly is your typical local company going to get that kind of money?"
They wouldn't need that kind of money because they could do it faster,better, and for a whole hell of a lot less.
Have fun paying taxes..
Oh, I'm sure. But even if they managed to cut costs by 50%, that's still $900,000,000.00. In order to achieve that kind of cash, you'd need either government subsidization or a very large business - probably a monopoly - which sort of defeats the purpose of all this free market competition mumbo jumbo.
And again, this is to serve about 1/4 of the area of a city of less than 500,000 people.
I live in the Metro area, not within the city limits, so my taxes aren't affected, btw.
keeping your capital in good shape means charging money to your consumers in a fashion that takes into consideration the deterioration of your capital structure...
... the price of the water would take this into account...
... there wouldn't EVER need to be a $9 billion loan from the bank.
TA-DA! Once again, economics makes sense of a befuddling issue.
Banks exist. They have money saved up. they lend it out at a price known as an interest rate. The interest rate determines if the investment is profitable. Supplying water would likely be profitable no matter the cost.
The amount of money saved up in a bank determines the interest rate - yes yes yes, I know "saving money" is about as old and fuddy-duddy as "thinking about the future". So when "evil people" "HOARD" their money, they are actually lower the costs of interest rates, and thus make capital-investments easier.
Eh, with the exception of bottled water, water apparently has quite a low return on investment rate, actually, which is probably why it got taken over by government in the first place. Businesses simply aren't that interested in dealing with the massive costs involved in building and maintaining the infrastructure, not to mention the rioting in the streets when the price goes up or the access goes down.
what are you talking about? Of course businesses are interested in massive costs -- IF IT'S PROFITABLE!!!
that's why a WORLD WIDE NETWORK of McDonald's and other businesses exist. It costs a LOT of money to have 80 million starbucks in one city, but THEY'RE PROFITABLE!
Why should every thing be privat? People are social beings and require quite a number of things to be shared and used as a society with common human values ... or do you want the highway and the city side walk also all to yourself? If there were a lot more co-operative businesses motivated by community values to create more things of social value than global corporations just interested in maximum profits at any cost to the environment and humanistic social values, the world would be a much better place for most of us.
Neither privatization, no socialism, nor communism, nor tyranny, nor any other political system will change the nature of man.
Some simply like to do the things they do, and if they can get away with it, they will.
It seems to me that you all ignore the FACT that money controls politics.
What/who controls money?
Greed is the inspiration.
Greed cannot be controlled.
Who are the greedy?
Why is there greed?
Sex, drugs and rock and roll?
There is but one (1) result i.e. catastrophe!
You will be gone in a few years. Be practical. Make some money and enjoy life during the little time you are here.
Don't worry! be happy!
So, Evan preaching anarchy but choosing his personal comfort over practicing his philosophy of anarchy doesn't seem "convenient" to you?
How old are you? Usually people beyond their teen years do understand that all-or-nothing approach rarely works, if ever.
Yes, isn't that what I said above? That we need both the free market and appropriate regulation.
Evan, however, promotes anarchy, says taxation is theft, and supports the "total de-regulation, and a complete stripping of government down to it's barest bones." He stated "government is by definition the negation of liberty."
So, who is the one who claims to support an all-or-nothing approach, me or Evan? And who is living furthest from their ideals?
I'm just saying it's awfully convenient to have a philosophy that can never be lived, while simultaneously enjoying the comforts of civilization.
There are quite a few people out there who manage to live almost entirely independently of government services. The Amish are probably the most organized example, but far from the only. It takes dedication, but it's not impossible and you can even avoid most taxes, because your expenses will drop precipitously and you'll be able to reduce your income to the bare minimum. So why not take the plunge?
Actually, my husband and I are already on our way! We just bought a small farm and our goal is to eventually be self-sufficient.
Edited to add: We already have a private well and septic system and plan to use solar and wind power where possible.
I want 0% government.
To get there I need to reduce the percentage from what it is now to what i want it to be.
It's called subtraction.
Anarchy could work, you just refuse to accept it. I thought the same thing about 3 years ago. But the arguments by anarchists are quite convincing if you actually listen to them.
"Defending the Undefendable", by walter block
"Economics in One Lesson", by Henry Hazlitt
"Chaos Theory", by Robert Murphy
... I could go on, but this might be considered advertising.
What makes anyone think that those in the private sector are less likely to bilk the system. Just a different wolve in the same old chicken house. What we need is a dedicated, uncorruptable Artificial Intelligence. Got any hiding in your closet? Me neither.
When you invest your own resources into the running of a company, you are risking your own livelihood. Thus, when you do something stupid, you get punished. But when you act smart, you get rewarded.
When governments do anything, they rob money from their peons (you and me), and then dish it out however they see fit. In such a fashion, no one ever gets punished for what they do, nor do they get rewarded. It's a system dedicated to incompetence
And if the innocent Julian Assange had not published the cables leaked by the US Govt., nobody would any the wiser about this disgraceful abuse of children.
Hahaha I have read through every page on this thread and I must say:
It's very entertaining to watch Evan juggle a bunch of naive hubbers like it's nothing.
It must be very frustrating for some of you.
I wanted to point out how KerryG posted this info as an insult to those who demand privatization.
I have handled every argument well and thoroughly (in a bit of a sassy tone, perhaps).
And I've pointed out that government was the problem: why did our government give money to a group that, apparently, everyone KNEW was a bunch of sex offenders? And, just to reiterate, that money was YOUR tax money.
So the point is actually the opposite: privatization would solve the problem, and government was the problem.
In this case, full privatization means corporations are out there fighting wars on their own. How on earth does that improve accountability?
why would a company launch a war against another one? That would be a horrendous waste of resources.
Also, transgressions as such would be dealt with through the private courts. if McDonald's launched a war against Wendy's, there would have to be a huge "anti-wendy's" campaign. Who would sign up for that? The attacks would easily be seen by just about everyone, and thus the consumers would punish McDonalds (unless they agreed with the "invasion") by not shopping there. Also, the invasion wouldn't be an "invasion" - which is a government term for "trespassing illegally and violently" -- it would be what is called "trespassing illegally and using violence". Thus it would be a crime.
You just replaced "country with "corporation". you can't just do that because the system would be different. If you wanted to talk about it like that, then there would be an "international court system" in place to deal with these things. But, unlike the UN, it would matter and would have teeth.
Evan, your passion for your subject is admirable, but when you say things like "why would a corporation launch a war against another one" I have to wonder what planet you live on. You honestly believe that humans wouldn't wage war just because they are running a corporation instead of a government? Humans have always fought over resources; there is no logical reason to believe that would change if there were no governments.
I would love to see a McDonald's Army.
You think it's funny, but if you seriously believe heads of corporations would not wage war to seize or protect resources, then you are incredibly naive.
They essentially already have. Cheney quit his job as CEO of Halliburton to become vice president, but his push for the war in Iraq was clearly motivated by the fact that Halliburton stood to gain billions from such an invasion. It was a decision made as CEO, not vice president.
United Fruit's role in supporting violent dictators in Central America is less direct, but equally notorious, and just yesterday news broke of a Wikileaks cable in which Shell bragged that its employees had infiltrated every level of the Nigerian government. Shell was already under suspicion for its probable role in the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other indigenous Ogoni leaders who protested against the company's abuses. In Southeast Asia, indigenous Dayak and Penan have been raped, beaten, and killed by private security companies hired by logging and palm oil companies in the area.
What costs more money?
Launching a war against a country that has a strong defense? (thousands of soldiers, armaments, tactics, etc etc.)
Doing things in a business-style fashion?
I would like to add something to your discussion Commercial Carriers are one of the most heavily regulated industries in this country even for independant owners such as I. Some seem trivial,For instance; The depth of tire tread, play in steering wheel and clutch all regulated. An experienced driver knows the importance of these without government intervention. There are some very important ones though such as the 11 and 10 hour rule that keep the roads safe. I have two books I prize above all others, My Bible and the US DOT Rules and Regulations for Commercial Carriers.
God bless those who pray for blessing.
I will preface my comments by apologising in advance for not proposing any solution to the problem being discussed. Privatization has obviously, exposed itself as a slave to that which drives it. Greed. I am not entirely opposed to greed for it serves as an adequate fuel in motivating the production of goods and services. Unrestrained, however, it consumes itself in the fuel that drives it. Regulation, however, is no less vunerable to greed and corruption and too often simply adds their own fuel to a raging fire. Ideally, if privatization were as committed to to the pursuit of ethical proceedure as they are to the pursuit of wealth, self correction would make regulation needless. Evidently, every system is open to vice and we are simply left to sort through whatever damage comes to bear upon our lives. We are, in the end, always choosing the lesser of the evils that confront us. Perhaps solution fails me because there is no one solution, rather we perpetually fix, always correcting, forever adjusting.
I like to imagine a system, unrestrained, where the pursuit of wealth, guided by some ethical framework, would instantly zap its violators. Imagination, however, is the same culprit that gave birth to privatization and regulation. I suppose that there isn't any place where we are safe from ourselves.
Secularist: an insightful reply, indeed; but I must disagree.
Here is how I see it:
Even in cases where society overall is behind a law, the law still comes way short of solving the problem. Murder, for instance, runs rampant despite the prevention of such an act being a basic function of law enforcement. Murder is widely accepted as despicable among the general public, yet there is no shortage of it in our society (as civilized as we like to believe ourselves to be).
My examples given were to demonstrate that it is wrong to say “problem solved” once a law is enacted. Laws have never succeeded in functioning in such a way, and they never will. So, as you ask, why do we need laws? Well, that’s where the anarchist begins to derive his validity from. But some like to draw the line and delegate certain responsibilities to a governing force.
As far as enforcement of such laws, many would argue that delegating power to a central entity (the government) in order to produce a police force works in a much more inefficient manner than if law enforcement were a private industry. Even further, many would say true safety comes from measures taken by the individual. We could go back and forth in essay format on this topic alone, but I'm going to try and keep it focused on markets.
A free market is all about choice, and it even allows people to make choices regarding their chances of being deceived!
If I want to buy a hot dog from the guy who doesn’t have a certification but charges a couple dollars less, then let me -- especially if I have developed a relationship with this business owner and trust him. I can certify things based on my personal experiences; I don’t need a certificate or a law to develop trust.
I make this choice all the time: even with all laws considered, I really DON’T know what the hell the guy who runs the halal meat cart I go to every day is putting in his food. But I choose to go there because it’s cheap, convenient, and it tastes good. I don’t feel in danger when eating this food and I trust the source of its deliverance because (as naïve as it may sound) the guy who runs it seems like a decent person. If this is good enough for me, then who is the government to say otherwise? And many of these “I’m not sure what’s in this food” types of carts exist all around where I live (NYC), yet business booms. If it looks good, smells good, and tastes good, then let it be. You don’t need laws and certifications to secure people’s trust.
And if people want to ensure that they are NOT being deceived, then let them buy food from a place that IS certified. Many people would obviously prefer this, and any business wishing to go mainstream would secure proper certification to satisfy the needs of this majority.
I am not refuting inept government regulation; I am refuting government regulation because IT IS inept by nature, and results in bogged-down markets.
On environmental problems: Property rights are the solution's foundation. If Company A is dumping toxins out of their backdoor and into the lake, the owner of that lake can sue for damages. If Company A owns that lake, water rights can still be part of the deal. Furthermore, they certainly wouldn’t be immune from damages caused to (e.g.) the area’s aquifer. As far as air is concerned, “economic torts” can exist, allowing people who have economic interests in clean air to obtain a means of suing those who pollute or degrade it. Self-interests counter other self-interests; this market phenomenon even serves environmental protection.
And remember: it’s government regulation that suppresses the accessibility of viable alternative energies -- just another Washington-induced distortion in the free-market.
This “satisfaction” is done through political rhetoric. Just because a demagogue makes the people cheer, doesn’t mean that transparency of his underground exchanges/deal-making would also incite joy from the same population. Many people would be appalled at how many politicians submit to lobbying efforts, how these submissions benefit only a select few, and how they deteriorate market conditions and, therefore, the general well-being of the country. If the politician's satisfaction, based on his corporate connections, was in any way a reflection of the voter’s satisfaction for that politician, then America would be a fairy-tale land of jubilation.
If a certification board’s true incentive is profit, then they would have every desire to fulfill their obligation to provide the services they offer. In the scenario you propose, credibility would be destroyed if they certified a faulty, dangerous, or unsatisfactory product, whether it be out of carelessness or corruption. If their competitors become more trusted, they will lose market share (money).
As far as accidents occurring before the market fixes the problem: I also refer you to my previous post. No system of perfection exists. Government oversight, lacking any profit incentive or supervision, is often slow and inept. News reports of the failings of SEC oversight of securities traded during the bubble, or the MMS's oversight of drilling operations in the Gulf demonstrate this. Furthermore, should conditions change or new truths be discovered, “legislative updates” are an arduous process, moving at a snails pace compared to the corrections of the free-market.
Even further, government legislation is as much of a reactive process as market corrections – somebody is going to incur damages before solutions are realized. Laws are in no way permanent after being implemented, as they do not eradicate any problems (from dirt in your food to murder on the street). As stated before, they just bog down markets (well laws on murder don't, but regulations on businesses do, lol).
In a free-market, you wouldn’t have to review the minute details of every product to make sure you are getting what you pay for. As Evan mentioned earlier, consumer reports would serve a great, simple and accessible purpose towards consumer confidence. In addition, certifications would certainly gain notoriety by fulfilling their duties to communities. All you would need to do is see a label of certification to know what you are getting.
And consumer skepticism still exists even in today’s strictly regulated society. People, by nature, want to investigate what they are buying. In a libertarian society, this already embraced practice would now serve a market purpose. The factor of government encroachment, even to the smallest extent, greatly reduces the dynamic nature of the market more so than consumers’ innate interest in what they are buying.
I think I addressed consumer confidence thoroughly enough in this post already, So I need not ramble any further on the subject.
My point was not to say monopolies are bad. If a company can satisfy the demands of a widespread number of individuals at a cost lower than the competitors, then let them monopolize that market -- they’ve earned it.
If, however, a company achieves monopoly status through its political connections (subsidies, special benefits, lobbying, etc.) instead of achieving it through consumer satisfaction, then this is a HUGE problem – a problem that will ALWAYS exist as long as government has a stake in the market. Government, as it exists in America, will ALWAYS be destined to create monopolies that are undeserving of such a status (if you base corporate success solely on supplying the customers with a quality product at a low cost).
But libertarians do not wish to revoke these laws, nor would their philosophy reflect that of those who never wanted these laws enacted one-hundred-and-something years ago. The ones who rejected the enactment of these basic laws did so because they only cared about their own self-interests, even if it meant doing direct harm to another. Libertarians promote the opportunity for everyone to pursue their own self-interests, but without doing direct harm to another being (fraud, misrepresentation, theft, assault).
The points which libertarians of today make could not be validated without the existence of these laws. Showing that these laws exist to allow for judicial recourse, should abuse at the hands of another occur, is what helps discredit the suggestion for more government intervention/manipulation/distortion.
secularist, please come back to the ranks of Libertarianism! We could use an articulate voice such as yours!
Didn't see you down here! Well, you're a sharp mind and respectful, which is a rare combination. I also live in New York, a city that has benefited greatly from the kind of reasonable regulation and intervention in the market I am talking about. Yes, there are abuses, corruption and excessive regulations and red tape. But there are also positive things too. One cannot only focus on the negatives.
I won't respond to everything you said, just a few points.
"Murder, for instance, runs rampant despite the prevention of such an act being a basic function of law enforcement."
Oh, this is a gross exaggeration. Sure, murder happens. It happens in every human society. But there is obviously much less murder in America than in, say, Somalia or Afghanistan or other societies where government authorities are weak or nonexistent. Murder hardly "runs rampant" in America. It runs rampant in the Congo, but not in America.
Ironically, America has the highest murder rates in the rich world. Where do we find the lowest murder rates? Ironically it is in other rich countries with much larger governments. Not saying that means anything substantive, but it's an interesting correlation.
"My examples given were to demonstrate that it is wrong to say “problem solved” once a law is enacted."
I agree. Society is always changing, which is why we need an ever-responsive government. This is an argument for a democratic government over a dictatorial one, if anything. Anarchism is not a viable alternative--there has never been a successful, prosperous society in human history that was run under anarchism.
As I said, I live in New York, and actually your street vendor example is flawed. In order to sell food on the street, a vendor must secure licenses from the city government. Moreover, you may not know what he puts in his food because you don't care to ask. But if every other person walking around was vomiting or getting food poison from street vendors in the city, I'm willing to bet you'd be a little more cautious before purchasing from one of them.
And anyway, where do you think these guys get their supplies? From farms, ranches or other sources that are all regulated and inspected by governing bodies for cleanliness and food standards.
You live in a (more or less) healthy and clean world that has benefited from private market dynamism, but also government intervention at key points. It's hidden and one may not realize it all the time (especially given private businesses' marketing skills), but it's operating behind the scenes.
"I am not refuting inept government regulation; I am refuting government regulation because IT IS inept by nature, and results in bogged-down markets."
Firstly, sometimes it bogs down markets, sometimes it does not--antitrust regulation actually makes markets more competitive, for example.
Secondly, if government regulation was inept by nature as you say, then we would expect to see a very clear relationship: as government gets larger and implements more regulations, society should grind to a halt, the economy should stop growing or decline, and prosperity should be lost.
In other words, there is a very simple way to test this theory. Just look at countries of the world, and see how big their governments are, and how prosperous they are/ how much economic growth. So what do we find when we do this?
Well, the reality does not agree with the hypothesis. Some of the highest per capita GDP countries have much greater government regulation and intervention than the US. Countries such as Norway, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands and Japan have very high GDP per capita--close to or above the US'--with nevertheless larger or much larger/ more interventionist governments. There is a similar situation when we measure economic growth.
In all rich countries, including the US, government has grown tremendously over the last 100 years, and yet economies have continued to grow and per capita wealth has continued to grow as well. I mean, these are simple facts.
"If a certification board’s true incentive is profit, then they would have every desire to fulfill their obligation to provide the services they offer."
Not quite. In much of economic theory, yes. I heard this from some quarters in the economics department when I studied there. But then I went over to my classes in the business department, and realized that reality is often more complex.
Firms principally want to increase profit, yes, but this can be done in any number of ways. As I indicated in my response to Jim earlier, if a firm is being run on a short time horizon, and decisions are being made only for the next few quarters, then it will not take into account many of the long term effects of its actions. Also, if a firm is being run on a long-term horizon, then it will certainly be willing to accept lower profits or even losses over the short term (months or even years), flying in the face of classical economic expectations.
Perhaps the fictional medical board has been bought by some high-flying hot shots who just want to turn $1 million into $1.5 million within the next 6 months. After that, they bolt. Well, clearly, we can see how legitimate private free market activity then leads to big problems--in that 6 month window, they get a big fat payoff to certify Dr. Quack. They then sell the company, move to Rio, and Dr. Quack has his certification to poison people for several years to come.
I mean, it really is not difficult to imagine all sorts of scenarios where the market can fail or lead to bizarre or unexpected outcomes. It is not enough to say "companies want to make a profit, and whatever hurts their profit will be avoided." Some want to make a little profit, some want a larger profit.
The decision making process depends on the temperament of the guys at the top, the nature of the industry, networking, connections, the stock market climate, borrowing costs, the availability of skilled workers, the level of technological advancement at their disposal, etc, etc--there is a HUGE number of factors, some can play a much bigger role than others. Everything cannot be explained away with "profit."
And anyway, what about people who aren't in it to really make money? There are COUNTLESS small business and even medium-business people who do what they do principally because they enjoy it, and if they can pay their bills at the end of the month, they're happy. What about these people? According to traditional economics, these people don't exist.
Well, they do exist, and every day they're gumming up the whole neat little system that traditional economics constructs. Will the market put them out of business? Maybe not--maybe they live in an isolated small town where it's not profitable for larger competitors to come in, and they enjoy a kind of natural monopoly. Or, maybe the market does eventually put them out of business--but by the time that happens, it's already been, say, 30 years, and they have already significantly affected the lives and business of hundreds of people around them, again rendering the traditional economic perspective moot.
You see there are just too many possible scenarios that are very easily imaginable that completely contradict the traditional simplistic "theory" of the libertarians and classical economics. That, at the end of the day, is what turned me away from libertarianism. The test of any theory is, does it predict reality or agree with reality. The answer is no. At least, not closely enough.
I think that the most of my arguments made on this forum post can be summed up with this video right here.
Notice that when he talks about the potato fry-guy just how much control the consumer has over so many countless people's lives.
Because I want a good-quality "large french fries" NOW, without skin... millions of people are employed, and one of them is the guy that the speaker talks about. His job is to make sure that everything is running smoothly and to the liking of his employer (McDs)
anyway... good video that describes why free-trade is the most logical system for delivering what people want.
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