Thoughts on personal property rights

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John Stossel’s piece on personal property rights. how they saved the Pilgrims, the American bison and more. He’s spot on.

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36 Responses to “Thoughts on personal property rights”

  1. JBT Says:

    “Tragedy of the Commons” solved by private for profit ownership? WHAT BALONEY!

    These arguments have no merit when one considers the highly effective and non-profit efforts of the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and others.

    Government agencies that are sufficiently funded do an effective job of protecting and managing those areas we all share in common both at the state and federal level.

    All of the so called tragedies in the management of common property in the two videos were the result of non existent government protection programs or government programs lacking sufficient resources to be effective as in other countries with regard to rain forests and wildlife.

    Putting our nations natural resources into the hands of private ownership so that individuals can make a profit at the expense of the public is not the correct, or best solution. There are many non-profit organizations devoted to the preservation of historic buildings, art works, and sites that accomplish the same goals without someone getting rich from the profits. Worship at the alter of GREED and PROFIT may work for some, but there are those of us who choose to follow a different religion.

  2. JBT Says:

    “Tragedy of the Commons” solved by private for profit ownership? WHAT BALONEY!

    The shallow, one sided arguments contained in these videos have no merit whatsoever when one considers the highly effective and non-profit efforts of the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and many others.

    Government agencies that are sufficiently funded do a very effective job of protecting and managing those areas we all share in common both at the state and federal levels.

    All of the so called tragedies in the management of common property in the two videos were the result of non existent government protection programs or government programs lacking sufficient resources to be effective as in other countries with regard to rain forests and wildlife.

    Putting our nations natural resources into the hands of private ownership so that individuals can make a profit at the expense of the public is not the only, or best solution. There are many non-profit organizations devoted to the preservation of historic buildings, art works, and sites that accomplish the same goals without someone getting rich from the profits. Worship at the alter of GREED and PROFIT may work for some, but there are those of us who choose to follow a different religion.

  3. Pops Says:

    The shallow, one sided arguments contained in these videos have no merit whatsoever…

    Er, except they aren’t arguments so much as demonstrations of things that work. Are you saying they aren’t working? Did you skip the videos in your rush to condemn them?

    If I wish to create a better life for my family by hard work and innovation, is that greed? Am I evil for providing services that others are willing or eager to purchase – voluntarily, I might add – for more than my cost? Or is it a requirement of your new religion that one must be satisfied with stasis?

    Or are you suggesting that the government should have a program for everything so that nobody can be tainted by profits? Isn’t that communism? Do you prefer the North Korean model or the Cuban model? I hope you don’t say “Cuban”, because they’ve fallen off the wagon by allowing the unwashed masses to grow and sell vegetables for – gasp – profit. But the North Koreans are true to the faith. Starving to death, but true to the faith.

  4. JBT Says:

    Pops, they are indeed arguments and they are phony. You aren’t told who is paying the private management company to take care of the nice public park. It may very well be the city which has the resources to contract the work out.

    In the second example of the public park with the dead lawns and filthy bathrooms, it is apparent that it exists in an area that doesn’t have the resources to maintain the public park either with city workers OR a private management company. To draw the conclusion that private for profit ownership made the difference is nonsense, since BOTH are public parks.

    Had there been an effective Federal wildlife program in place as we have today when the bison were being slaughtered, the offenders would have been caught, fined, and/or sent to prison. Today the largest wild and genetically pure bison herd is in Yellowstone Park, and protected by federal agencies. It is not for profit capitalism that is allowing the survival of this species, but the protection of the federal government because the bison like the national parks BELONG TO ALL OF US.

    It is interesting that all of the national parks have had to be fought for tooth and nail against those who wanted those lands to exploit and profit from them. If it weren’t for public ownership, all of the breathtaking lands in north west Wyoming would be owned by the Dick Cheney’s of the world, and off limits to the rest of us.

  5. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation
    of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his
    natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all
    Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the
    Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore
    by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick
    shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society
    on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can
    have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his
    Club towards the Support of it.”
    — Ben Franklin

    Specifically the “But all
    Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the
    Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore
    by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick
    shall demand such Disposition.”
    bit of that.

    Their is no need for us to hand yellow stone to a bunch of real estate developers and resource extraction industry moguls who will destroy all of its nature beauty through logging, housing developments, criss crossing the place with powerlines and pock marking the place with geo thermal power plants and mines. Sure a few people will make some short term big bucks, and hell the view from the condominiums on the side of one of the mountains would be nice, but in the process we would loose something we can never get back.

    The great problem with the idealized privatize everything view is that it only takes 1 short term thinking owner in the chain of owner ship exchange to ruin it for all future potential owners, and privatized owner ship requires return on investment of that ownership which leads to the very short term thinking outlined above. This is magnified by how public traded corporations work in that they have a “Fiduciary responsibility to the share holders” meaning that if the managers of the corporation don’t maximize for the share holders by say strip mining or a new shopping mall their newly acquired yellowstone lands instead saving it for its “beauty” they can be sued, or the shareholders will replace them with executives that will do so.

  6. nacilbupera Says:

    JBT: Regarding your statement “Government agencies that are sufficiently funded do an effective job of protecting and managing those areas we all share in common both at the state and federal level.”

    Unfortunately “sufficiently funded” has come to mean in today’s Era of Progressivism misappropriation of private property in the form of property tax, income tax, and death tax in order to fund communal areas. I hold the right to my property to be an inalienable divine endowment, not subject to taxation and redistribution to the commune.

    Funny how 56 delegates in 1776 saw it my way, too.

    Holly: Thx for sharing the Stossel vids, I garnished some good points.

  7. JBT Says:

    “I hold the right to my property to be an inalienable divine endowment, not subject to taxation and redistribution to the commune.”

    If you really practiced what you preach you would be in federal prison for failure to pay income taxes.

  8. nacilbupera Says:

    JBT: We The People are in bondage right now. We must suffer under the hands of a tyrannical govnt and pay the demands of Caesar until the Lord sees fit in his mercy to liberate us. Will you join in the crusade to have our elected officials drastically reduce government so that income tax may be abolished and God’s just endowment unfurled?

  9. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    How shallow a definition of freedom you have, A world where you and your neighbor are free to inflict on each other air born of the excrement of your own unregulated industry to pollute your lungs and minds with the hate of the person with the loudest and tallest platform to dance in the splendor of artificial poverty such that you may give your mind the ease of occasional charity upon your fellow man when in this world it is your very soul that at the end will need charity, but alias you won’t find any for in this world all will be frozen in the ice of mutual indifference, an infinite indifference of absolute freedom.

    “Small Government” is 911 telling you that your not on the list,
    “Small Government” is being removed from the organ transplant list to make room for someone with more money,
    “Small Government” is dieing because you can’t afford you $50 a month diabetic supplies or thyroid medication.

    “Governments can err, presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that Divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted on different scales. Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” — FDR

  10. Pops Says:

    I think some commenters have the point. The point is that for desirable results, incentives have to be structured correctly. To simply create a government agency and say, “Take care of X”, often doesn’t work because the natural incentive is self-preservation – even at the expense of X. That is, there is no link between “taking care of X” and survival of the agency. (There is also no incentive to economize – rather the opposite – but that’s a different topic.)

    It is possible to have well-structured incentives without resorting to the private sector. Nobody is suggesting the Yellowstone be given to real estate developers and carved up. The private sector is used as the example because of the natural structure of incentives in the private sector – a business can’t survive unless it practices good stewardship of its resources while providing something useful to others. Unless, of course, it can lobby government to distort the marketplace in order to attenuate or eliminate market forces.

  11. Pops Says:

    … or maybe, “have missed the point”…

  12. nacilbupera Says:

    Ronald D. Hunt: Your straw man argument shows you aren’t taking time to understand positions that differ from yours. I, like many, support reasonable air quality standards because it is a resource that we all share that cannot be privately owned. Indeed in Utah, we need to come up with creative solutions for dealing with our awful air quality during our winter inversions while respecting our Constitution and keeping taxes, government power, and business regulation to minimums.

  13. JBT Says:

    “JBT: We The People are in bondage right now. We must suffer under the hands of a tyrannical govnt and pay the demands of Caesar until the Lord sees fit in his mercy to liberate us. Will you join in the crusade to have our elected officials drastically reduce government so that income tax may be abolished and God’s just endowment unfurled?”

    You can’t be serious. If you are—you really need to check your medications. If you really think that you live in bondage and are suffering under a tyrannical government living in the United States of America compare your life to those living in Korea and get back to me on that. I wonder what “God” thinks of the ingrates like yourself who have the most comfortable lives in the history of the planet, and still complain.

  14. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    Straw man?! hardly, the only way Utah will ever get better air quality is via standards and mandates pushed by the EPA via the Federal government AKA “Big Government” telling people/corporations what they can and can’t do on or with their private property.

    When Utah republicans require cars sold in the state to have smog pumps installed and meet California air quality standards, and force Kennocot to put pollution controls on the power plant that was built in 1956 that has routinely escaped regulations that would make them put pollution controls on it. When Utah republicans support a Carbon tax or a cap and trade/dividend system or put or a entirely different proposal that would have the same net effect, When that happens you can call my argument a “Strawman”.

    And I just don’t see it happening, their are a lot of Utahn’s that HATE the very idea of any form of action towards this end, Just ask pops what he thinks of the EPA, careful their might be a few 4 letter words in their, and its a legitimate opinion, I disagree with it, but you would have to be an utter fool to not acknolage it.

    Pops,

    I can agree with your statement their.

  15. Pops Says:

    Okay, the air quality regulations are a bit off-topic, but it should be pointed out that environmental standards advance naturally with wealth and retreat with poverty. If more environmental standards are imposed than can be supported, we go backwards and harm the environment. For example, when I can no longer afford to pay my gas bill to heat my home, I’ll start burning wood.

    We enjoy significantly cleaner air and water today than in any of our lifetimes because we can afford it. Killing economic progress will also kill environmental progress.

  16. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    Hmmm, I have to agree with you. Twice in the same thread pops, must be getting well below zero down in hell right about now.

    “It is possible to have well-structured incentives without resorting to the private sector.”

    Their are somethings that the private market just can’t be incentivised to perform in a way that provides the desired outcome for the greater public good. It’s always good to have arguments about better ways to structure the government or to create a better paradigm under which agencies are made to operate, redesigning the structure of an agencies management staff and head to incentivise more cost effective outcomes, etc.

    Sometimes the best approach is to redesign how the market functions, that is policy that restructures market incentives. Good example of this is the adverse risk insurance that the French health insurance companies are required to participate in. Basically their insurance companies pay into it and it pays back out based on the difference of the average cost per person nationally compared with the cost per person in that particular insurance companies customer base, effectively moving the incentive from their insurance companies to trim out unhealthy, old, etc to a situation where they want as many customers as possible.

    Generally I like the regulatory approach that is demonstrated by the adverse risk insurance the french have, its a “Market structure regulation” as opposed to a “business regulation”. I suppose other examples of “Market structure regulation” would be deposit requirements for banks before the repeal of glass-steagall in 1999.

    Their are many models in between that can be thought of as well.

  17. Pops Says:

    Sometimes the best approach is to redesign how the market functions…

    The intentions are obviously good, but this is dangerous territory. Free markets got us to a pretty good place in terms of economic prosperity, but they worked for a couple of reasons. One reason is that market forces are natural and not man-made – they derive from human nature. Man-made incentives can easily be “gamed”.

    And this brings me to the second reason, which is that individuals acting in their own self-interest are better off if they lie, cheat, and steal, but society as a whole is worse off. Society benefits when individuals refrain from lying, cheating, and stealing, but what incentive is there for the individual to do so? A legal system that prohibits lying, cheating, and stealing might be thought to be sufficient, but I will assert that it is not. Such a system can be gamed. (What is our federal government becoming if not a means for legalized lying, cheating, and stealing?)

    What allowed America to succeed economically is that the preponderance of citizens possessed a built-in aversion to lying, cheating, and stealing. That aversion was the product of post-Catholic Christianity (“post-Catholic” meaning it was freely exercised rather than imposed and enforced by government edict, not that I wish to criticize Catholicism – it is meant as a criticism of government-mandated religion). Whereas we as a nation are in the process of abandoning individual religious belief, we are finding that the marketplace is becoming dysfunctional due to the increase in lying, cheating, and stealing. Many are convinced that increased government oversight or outright control of the economy will resolve the problems thus created, but it is obvious that lying, cheating, and stealing by those empowered with government positions and authority are far more dangerous than private instances of lying, cheating, and stealing.

    And so my second reason is really the same as the first reason – human beings prone to lying, cheating, and stealing will do so in spite of any attempts to restructure the marketplace, and will in fact use said restructuring as leverage to amplify their opportunities and ability to lie, cheat, and steal.

    It’s a downward spiral.

  18. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “Free markets got us to a pretty good place in terms of economic prosperity”

    The free market died almost 30 years ago, the very minute that it was decided that American workers have to compete with workers under communist governments, that the American worker has to complete with foreign government owned corporations, that the American worker has to compete with Nations that use the profits of Nationalized resource extraction industries, Utilities, and health care to keep their tax rates artificially low. That is when the free market died and to continue the sherrod that any such thing as a free market exists today is an explicative that should offend even the likes of Howard Stern.

    “That aversion was the product of post-Catholic Christianity (“post-Catholic” meaning it was freely exercised rather than imposed and enforced by government edict, not that I wish to criticize Catholicism – it is meant as a criticism of government-mandated religion).”

    Pure silliness half the founding fathers where atheists. And their was never any such aversion to manipulation, that is a false idealistic vision of the past. We grow this Nation on top the genocide of many Indian nations, all the while being equally destructive to ourselves, businesses uncheck by government running ruff shot over the American people to obtain whatever rich’s that they do not yet hold, from the mass expansion of mines to the early days of the union movements where it was considered ok to murder workers on the basis of stopping “communism”.

    The greatest time in American history where we as a people grow the fastest, became the brightest and the smartest and the most industrious was in fact when our markets where most well regulated. The depression era banking reforms system stabilized creating a stable capital market that lead to the mass expansion of business, while the unions forcing wages upwards created the middle class, which in of it self created massive innovations through increases in education, all of which was built in partnership with a working government that protected the average person from unregulated excess.

    Without a working government that fights want, and fear, and hunger, and sickness. We will be left only the natural causes from which you seem to find a odd solace.

  19. Pops Says:

    The free market died almost 30 years ago…

    That’s absurd beyond belief.

    We grow this Nation on top the genocide of many Indian nations…

    The United States did some pretty awful things to Indians, but to suggest it was a necessary condition for the economic growth of the nation is absurd.

    …half the founding fathers where atheists…

    That’s absurd beyond belief. Where do you get this crap? Have you ever read anything written by any of the founding fathers?

    Without a working government that fights want, and fear, and hunger, and sickness. We will be left only the natural causes from which you seem to find a odd solace.

    What is it you’re so afraid of that you need government to be your nanny?

  20. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    The market is only truly free if both sides of the transaction are the result of “free market” principals, when we trade with those that work as practically slaves within a economic system that disallows them to justly benefit from the fruits of their labor, then that is not free market. And that description can be used to describe many of our trading “partners”, China at the very least.

    “The United States did some pretty awful things to Indians, but to suggest it was a necessary condition for the economic growth of the nation is absurd.”

    Never said it was necessary, just pointing out that idealism of what the past is and was built on is misplaced idealism.

    And one only need read the comments in letters and quotes from the speeches to understanding the founding fathers.

    “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.” — James Madison

    “God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there will never be any liberal science in the world.” — John Adams

    Gouverneur Morris had often told me that General Washington believed no more of that system (Christianity) than did he himself.” — Thomas Jefferson

    Their are many quotes that bear out such beliefs from many of the founding fathers.

  21. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “What is it you’re so afraid of that you need government to be your nanny?”

    This has nothing to do with nannies an oversimplified exaggeration bearing a disregard for the needed functions of government we need to have a functioning society. Do you consider the Court system, National defense, the police, to be your “nanny”. How about fire protection, all the flood levies built by the army core of engineers, the Nationalized portion of home flood insurance, to be your “nanny”.

    Even the Austrian economic religion requires that in a free market information needs to be free accessible to all, are regulations that require this outcome your “nanny”.

    How about the surveyors that draw property lines on the public dime, are they your “nanny”.

    What about the city sewage treatment facility, and all the underground piping connecting every house to the water system and the sewage system, or the drainage systems that keep cities from flooding, are they your “nanny”.

    If that is what you consider a nanny, then i will take 2. And have the second one put extra time into regulating the financial markets, and working out an equitable health care system.

  22. Pops Says:

    The market is only truly free if both sides of the transaction are the result of “free market” principals…

    I guess you’re not acquainted with any owners of a small business. You need to get out more.

    …just pointing out that idealism of what the past is and was built on is misplaced idealism…

    I hope you’re not saying that idealism regarding freedom is misplaced, but I’m afraid that’s the general direction you’re headed. Say it ain’t so.

  23. Pops Says:

    The quotations you’ve provided regarding the religious beliefs of the founders are more than a bit disturbing due to their inaccuracy.

    Madison’s quotation about religious bondage doesn’t mean he wasn’t religious. He was an active Episcopalian. He considered the ministry, and spent a year studying theology toward that end. In his context, “religious bondage” had to do with religion imposed by government fiat – actual bondage.

    Here’s a better source on the John Adams quotation:

    Did John Adams say

    “God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world”

    in 1820?

    No. The two sentences given above were both written by John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, the first in 1820 and the second in 1825, but (as the dates show) they were not joined together, not written on the same topic, and not even part of the same letter.

    Instead of what you quoted, here is what he really said:

    When we say God is a spirit, we know what we mean, as well as we do when we say that the pyramids of Egypt are matter. Let us be content, therefore, to believe him to be a spirit, that is, an essence that we know nothing of, in which originally and necessarily reside all energy, all power, all capacity, all activity, all wisdom, all goodness.

    Doesn’t sound so atheist any more, does he? In fact, he was so careful in his religious observance that he could hardly be persuaded to travel on the Sabbath.

    Many statements by the founders were directed at erstwhile and then-current establishments of religion, not of religion in general or of belief in God. Here’s what wikipedia says of our friend Gouverneur Morris:

    Morris has been categorized as a “theistic rationalist”[8] because he believed strongly in a guiding god and in morality as taught through religion. Nonetheless, he did not have much patience for any established religion. As a matter of principle, he often vigorously defended the right of anyone to practice his chosen religion without interference, and he argued to include such language in the Constitution.

    Of course it wouldn’t be complete without a statement from the General himself:

    It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.

  24. Pops Says:

    The vast majority of government spending is not in the areas you mention. Were it restricted to those responsibilities, we would all be happier and wealthier.

  25. Pops Says:

    Two can play the fake quotation game – the George Washington quote I used above is also a fake. Here’s a better one:

    In such a state of things it is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.

  26. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “I guess you’re not acquainted with any owners of a small business. You need to get out more”

    Actually I work with several small business owners all the time, and they do have their annoyances with the government, But all of them can run their business in whatever way suites them. None of them have any interest in running ruff shot over their employee’s like a business in China would. None of them have a problem with things like workmens comp, and all of them like to provide benefits where they can, they are very interested in the welfare of their employees.

    But one thing they all understand is that most 80%+ of their customers are your average joe, they have great appreciation, that the two thirds or so of retired seniors who’s 401k’s where obliterated in 2008 can still patronize their businesses because social security and medicare are their, that the unemployed have unemployment benefits that maintains the buying power that allows them to patronize their businesses. They all take great displeasure with the bailouts, have annoyances with poor implementation of the stimulus bill, But none of them hold that we should have done nothing(except one he is a big Glenn Beck fan go figure).

    Its actually very fun to argu politics with several of the small business owners I know(including the Glenn Beck fan), I collect antic computers and often the owners run the stores they own, I also get to do purchasing recommendations for computer servers at work and I purposely goto local businesses to get quotes(my boss checks the big boys dell,hp and such) I have being doing business directly with the owners of a couple different computer shops sense the mid 90’s. I know a couple of restaurant owners, I live in a kinda “hurrdy turdy” part of town(in my parents basement while I go to college), we gots lots of small businesses owners and management types up here. My sister is married to the son of a prominent business owner(several actually one of which is unionized).

    I get out a lot more then yea think. And most of the people i know are not nearly as extreme as you make yourself out to be, or as most elected republicans are.

    If I where to give their general political opinions a name, I would have to call most of them fairness moderate to liberal republicans, you could say “conservative” but a better term is fairness, they are less annoyed with the particular rate of taxation then they are with the fairness of its application(generally related to the games that bigger companies get to play), some with regulation.

    “I hope you’re not saying that idealism regarding freedom is misplaced, but I’m afraid that’s the general direction you’re headed. Say it ain’t so.”

    Hardly, Idealism for what we can be is essential to our future, however pretending our past was different that it was goes from the realm of honest to goodness Idealism to ignorance. Nothing good is ever born from ignorance. Idealism needs to be something that leads us forward not something that returns us to the false promises of an imagined past.

    I got several of the quotes from this blog, at the very least it can easily be argued that religion was a minor factor in the creation of the nation.

    Tho my favorite founding father is still Ben Franklin, he is also my favorite socialist. His sensible and yet formidable control of the vernacular arts makes his statements so compelling.

  27. Pops Says:

    I’m glad to hear you have occasion to mix with small business owners. That’s the heart of the free market. Socialism is more like, say, North Korea or Cuba, where people literally starve to death. Cuba is becoming a bit more liberal (in the traditional sense of the word) by letting people grow and sell vegetables for profit.

    There is a problem with large corporations buying government influence. Increasing the size and scope of government will only make that problem worse. If drinking dirty water made you sick, would you drink more of it in hopes of that being a cure? It reminds me of the poster I saw with the caption, “Government: if you think the problems we’ve created are bad, wait until you see our solutions.”

    You do need to stay away from the web site you linked to above – it is a rather pathetic distortion of history. It twists the founders’ dislike of mandated religion – and in some cases free but organized religion – to something that would have been alien and an insult to them. If you were to read a large body of writings by the founders, you would find they believed in and actively sought the blessing of a God capable of intervening in the affairs of men.

    There is also a lot of distortion and misunderstanding about the meaning of the phrase, “Christian nation”. The simplistic interpretation is more akin to the Europe the early settlers fled than the nation their descendants founded. The broader meaning is that our system of law derives from the Judeo-Christian philosophy of law, as opposed to, for example, Sharia Law.

  28. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “Socialism is more like, say, North Korea or Cuba”

    North Korea and Cuba, are communist dictatorships, they may use a few socialist policies but every last nation on earth has a few of those in place out of shear practicality as their are things that the private market drive by pure capitalist ideals simply can’t solve.

    Social security is a good example, as its an insurance program as opposed to an insecure savings or investment account, It was created after the massive failure of private retirement investments failed in mass, and is currently the only retirement savings that 2/3rds of seniors have after the current mass failure of private retirement investments and savings. To say nothing of the insurance model that while many got get the same quantity of benefit paid back to them due to dieing at differing ages, the ability to project how many people will die at each age allows the program to payout benefits much longer then any savings method would allow. In other words its sound practical socialism.

    “There is a problem with large corporations buying government influence. Increasing the size and scope of government will only make that problem worse.”

    There is a problem with large corporations buying government influence. Increasing the size and scope of Corporations will only make that problem worse.

    “If drinking dirty water made you sick, would you drink more of it in hopes of that being a cure? It reminds me of the poster I saw with the caption, “Government: if you think the problems we’ve created are bad, wait until you see our solutions.””

    If drinking dirty water made you sick, would you drink more of it in hopes of that being a cure? It reminds me of the poster I saw with the caption, “Corporations: if you think the problems we’ve created are bad, wait until you see us bankrupt the local subsidiary that caused the problems and move the ill gotten profits to foreign tax heavens leaving you government with the bill.”

    Capital markets simply can’t solve every problem that needs solving. Capital markets will only solve problems whose solutions will return a profit, Capital markets will create problems whose non solutions will return a profit. Capital markets are also unstable, their are some problems that while from a layman’s prospective logically could be solved by a capital market(retirement savings) but practically can’t be due to adverse risk, differing birth rates over time leading to inflated investment influxes and inflated investment outfluxes, instability in the long term outlook of corporations.

    At the end of the day its all a balance, Something several European countries have managed to find, Sweden, Norway, France, etc. They have learned to give the devil what the devil is due, they don’t have nationalized health care systems, instead using All-Payer universal health care, they do have nationalized resource extraction industries that they use to keep their corporate tax rates low.

    We can see the outcomes of governments that where to large *Greece”, governments that where to corrupt *Ireland*, governments that where to small *United States*(at least in regard to the banking industry, The Republican and Clinton diseaster known as Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act was the total abdication of governance that created the 2007-8 crisis.), I can hope that Mccain will get a second crack at restoring Glass-Steagall, and real leverage requirements(not 15:1 with a 3% derivative carve out(aka probably closer to 25:1 real leverage ratio))

  29. Pops Says:

    Sorry, I’m not keen on the idea of government telling me what I can and can’t do, or on government confiscating the vast majority of what I earn like in the socialist “model” countries you mention – a number of which are in hot water now because they can’t continue providing benefits at the level to which the citizenry is accustomed and now are having to deal with the resulting riots by spoiled brat people who have apparently been corrupted and have given up on personal responsibility.

    There is a problem with large corporations buying government influence. Increasing the size and scope of Corporations will only make that problem worse.

    You took the wrong turn on that one. The answer to the problem lies this way: if government had nothing for sale that corporations wanted to buy, then corporations wouldn’t buy anything from government. Corporations, unlike governments, don’t tend to throw away money with no expectation of return.

  30. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    Norway has a $400 billion dollar sovereign wealth fund, and yearly surpluses of around $40 billion from their Nationalised resource extraction industries. France has problems related to the bailout of their banks so which they propose raising their retirement age from 60 to 62 to pay for, Banking problems should be paid for by the banking industry, a market exchange tax for example would have made much more sense. The people are rioting because they don’t think they should be on the hook for bailing out the spoiled brat corrupt banking industry which has no personal responsibility.

    “You took the wrong turn on that one. The answer to the problem lies this way: if government had nothing for sale that corporations wanted to buy, then corporations wouldn’t buy anything from government. Corporations, unlike governments, don’t tend to throw away money with no expectation of return.”

    That statement only works if you assume that problems that have no return are not worth solving. This also ignores economic realities related many industries that create massive growth just not in their own pockets, Hiways are a good example of this, railroads are a good example as well, National defence is a good example as well. Or health care for the poor and middle class, Industry benefits greatly from a healthy workforce as much as the workforce benefits from such an exchange, but industry can not benefit in this exchange equivalent to the cost and the cost growth worsens this problem. Their are also economy of scale problems that can not be solved outside of a national effort, retirement fits in this category, private savings and pension plans have had non stop continual problems where as the social insurance programs that replaced this have had far fewer problems.

  31. Pops Says:

    Re the problem in France – that’s the kind of problem that is inevitable when government meddles in the private affairs of the citizens – speaking of retirement. We are human beings, not wards of the state. Do you really dislike freedom that much? Or are you one of the elite who knows better what people want than they do?

    You have the misfortune of not having lived through the privatization of the telephone industry. When government is in charge “good enough to get by” is good enough. When private industry is in charge, “good enough to get by” is the road to failure.

    You make the mistake of assuming that failures in the marketplace are inevitable as if they derive from the nature of free enterprise, when in fact they are the result of the loss of personal character. When personal character fails in a society, it will fail just as much in the halls of government as in the corporate boardrooms, but the former is more dangerous because government operates by force. That was the point of the American Revolution, in case you’ve forgotten.

  32. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “Do you really dislike freedom that much? Or are you one of the elite who knows better what people want than they do?”

    Simple math, if you make $40 grand a year you won’t ever save enough to retire without a social insurance program. This problem is further compounded by the natural instability of financial markets, this leads to the grand losses we saw in 401k plans in 2008, or the bankruptcy of pension plans which are a form of private retirement insurance. We have experimented with all sorts of private retirement schemes over the years none of which have ever fulfilled their intended purposes. Social security is the first solution that was weathered both the good times and the bad, and weathered the temporary political conveniences of many differing partisan governments. It still has its problems, but those are far fewer then any other solution presented to date by anyone of any political ideology.

    “You have the misfortune of not having lived through the privatization of the telephone industry. When government is in charge “good enough to get by” is good enough. When private industry is in charge, “good enough to get by” is the road to failure.”

    Sorry Qwest and AT&T are criminally mismanaged corporations, not mismanaged as a function of profits(well that to in qwests case) but mismanaged as to the quality of their natural monopoly service, we have a crumbling ancient copper telephone system that has more patches and temporary fixes and gross neglect then any other system in the world and you think its working?, Further these slim ball corps refuse to install upgrades to many places because it forces them to buy much more expensive trunk line services, These corps commit massive fraud when reporting coverage data, and commit to blatant anti-trust violations to keep both private and public competitors from entering their markets, to say nothing of the massive FUSF money they receive via taxes on peoples phone bills, and illegal contracts they maintain with cities and MDU’s. I am sorry your “example” really doesn’t help your argument. The best communication services you can get for the price are from UTOPIA, telephone service is a basic utility cities should be able to choose the level of service they need based on the demands of their citizens rather then simply being told that can’t have the service needed to attract new businesses at any price.

    “You make the mistake of assuming that failures in the marketplace are inevitable as if they derive from the nature of free enterprise,”

    They do among other causes , coin shaving, illegal activity, market cornering, natural disaster, short sell schemes, the natural flow of money in and out of markets, embargo’s, mines running out, technological driven shifts, bank runs, Bernie Madoff’s, legal activity’s of foreign governments, illegal activity’s of foreign governments, the crop cycle, war, bad harvest years, terrorist attacks, etc, etc, etc, etc.

    Market failures are inevitable no matter who or what causes them, the idea is to build an economic system that can take the occasional shock.

    Prior to the 1830’s when the first central bank was created we had a yearly market boom and a yearly market crash due to the money flowing in and out of farms. Later derivative schemes even out this cycle leading to the creation of commodity’s future markets, and eventually to the great depression when the private market takes derivative games to far in what at the time was more or less a dark market free from regulation.

    The natural stability of Capital markets is the projected ideal of Austrian economists of how things in their view “should work”, its an ideological argument not one that actually functions in the real world.

    “but the former is more dangerous because government operates by force. That was the point of the American Revolution, in case you’ve forgotten.”

    Sorry I don’t buy the objectivist silliness, The Revolutionary war was fought over taxation without representation, not taxation by itself.

    If you want to argu that the 2 party system needs reform to some sort of multiparty system to better represent the people of the nation I am all for that, multi winner districts, national distributed vote for the house of reps, IRV, AVT+, whatever it all sounds better then what we got now. But I just aint going to buy into the force argument within the confines of an elected democratic nation.

  33. Pops Says:

    I’m tired of this merry-go-round. Look, the founding fathers established a limited federal government for a reason. I’m sorry if you don’t get it. It isn’t “objectivist silliness”. It’s the reality of the human condition.

    If you want your promotion of government involvement in everything to sound rational, you need to tell us the principle on which it is based and what limits, if any, would exist and what would be their basis in principle. You scoff at North Korea and Cuba as not really representative of what you would like to see in your government, so what barriers would there be to your government devolving to that level?

  34. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    You may not like it but the constitution actually allows a lot, the Necessary and Proper Clause, the General Welfare clause, the Commerce Clause, etc.

    We also have to consider that the corporation was a very different thing in the era of early America. Most businesses where in fact sole proprietorship’s, or partnership’s. Their in fact where very few corporations, and the ones that did exist where typically created by the government and had very narrow and legally binding charters, They where not allowed to buy each other out, or even allowed to own another corporation.

    Its not just government that was small in the beginning, its corporations that where small as well, That is to say that governance from either the Government or governance from the dependence on the corporation for your job, or health care, or retirement, etc.. That governance from all sources was small.

    In the years sense the revolution we have seen many many wonderful and terrible things that where made possible by the innovation of capitalism, from the invention of insurance and derivatives, to the invention of the ponzi scheme. Many of these things happening well outside the foresight of the founding fathers.

    I suppose the major difference in our ideology’s is that I don’t buy that we can put the genie back in the bottle.

    “You scoff at North Korea and Cuba as not really representative of what you would like to see in your government, so what barriers would there be to your government devolving to that level?”

    1. People have to believe that their voice matters soo…

    First and for most the government must be composed of democratically elected representatives a republic if you will, with an election system designed to promote full representation of the populace. It seems that all the people that vote for the loser in our elections are left hoping that someone in another district will represent them enough. I would like to see a change to how elections work such that their are multiple winners in each district, this also fixes the garrymandering problem. Also this acts as a multi party reform bringing many new idea’s into the political system.

    2. People have to believe that they can succeed…

    We need reform of money, not the banks specifically(except for the central bank), but they would be reformed by the reform of money. Right now 95% of the money in our economy is credit dollars, that is 95% of the money is back by the commodity known as debt. We have what is called a fractional reserve banking system, this needs to be replaced. Now I don’t buy that we can return to the past of a gold standard, or some other silliness related commodity currency.

    I propose that we need to move to a fractional currency system. That is we would split the currency in two, we would have an exchange currency, and a deposit currency. The deposit currency could also be thought of as a stock or share of the central bank. The exchange currency would be some leveraged ratio of the deposit currency in quantity, so their are $220 trillion dollars in the economy atm give or take, so we create $10 trillion deposit dollars. We end the FDIC and replace the old fashioned savings account with deposit dollar holdings. That is if today their is a 22:1 leverage ratio that is also the exchange rate between the two currencies, you drop 44 dollars in your account its converted to deposit dollars, tomorrow they turn the press on and increase the leverage ratio between the two to 23:1, the next day you withdraw your savings and have $46. Deposit dollars should be a more or less fixed amount that can only be increased via act of congress.

    Second bit is reform of the central bank, First you nationalize it, then end the fed discount window and hense the fractional reserve system, The fed could still lend but only via open market auction where the highest interest rate bidder wins. No more magically turning $1 in savings into $35+ via the discount window to pay 0%. Ohh all profits made by the central bank should be used to fight inflation in the exchange currency, pay dividends to deposit dollar holders, or pay a dividend to American tax payers depending on the current need.

    In this setup during the good times savings is encouraged via dividends to deposit dollar holders, during the bad times the dividend can be suspended and payed directly to tax payers having the effect of moving dollars out of savings and stimulating the economy.

    The would also end the need for a ton of regulation in the banking industry, a good chunk of the regs are required due to the leveraged nature of the system.

    3. freedom of information

    Not just in regard to information held by the government, but also in the regard of the unfettered exchange of information. Common carrier used to be a good enough standard by which to hold carriers to, but it hasn’t translated well into the 21st century, we need a requirement that all information be exchanged in a neutral manner to require that all data of a particular type to be handled with the same priority showing no favoritism based on source, destination, or content.

    A fully representative government, where everyone can believe that they can succeed, and information flows freely. That is a successful plan for government and the people.

  35. Pops Says:

    You may not like it but the constitution actually allows a lot, the Necessary and Proper Clause, the General Welfare clause, the Commerce Clause, etc.

    With present interpretations, it allows anything. If we were to revert to original intent – in other words, treat it as a contract – it wouldn’t.

    1. People have to believe that their voice matters soo…

    When people discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury, economic failure is inevitable. That’s the road we’re currently on. There have to be limits placed on government to prevent this kind of abuse.

    2. People have to believe that they can succeed…

    When government takes most of what one earns and (mis)manages every aspect of one’s life, there is no way to succeed. You can’t eliminate the possibility of failure without also eliminating the possibility of success.

    3. freedom of information

    This looks like a solution in search of a problem. I’ve neither had nor witnessed a problem exchanging information.

    Socialism is a system with many systemic defects. One that you fall prey to in your proposals is that you assume too much benevolence in human nature, particularly when given large amounts of power. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I think somebody famous already mentioned that.

    And no, the votes of the people won’t check the politicians and the bureaucrats. Rather the people themselves become corrupted as they vote themselves favors “from the government” – not really from the government; they’re really just robbing their neighbors.

    What you are proposing is akin to pure democracy. Pure democracy is an unstable form of government, a transitory state that leads directly to tyranny due to the nature of human beings. If you can figure out how to change the nature of human beings, you’ll be in business. Until then, I propose we avoid concentrating too much power in one place.

  36. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “When people discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury, economic failure is inevitable. That’s the road we’re currently on. There have to be limits placed on government to prevent this kind of abuse.”

    I actually believe people are much more capable to reasonable decision making then you think, Their are many similar governments around the world to what I describe. Norway for example rather then using their excess has been saving it for future generation. Nor is this a form of mobacracy(pure democracy) either, its a representative government, nor does this require changes to how reps are given to the states in either house maintaining a bicamel legislature is a good idea.

    “2. People have to believe that they can succeed…

    When government takes most of what one earns and (mis)manages every aspect of one’s life, there is no way to succeed. You can’t eliminate the possibility of failure without also eliminating the possibility of success.”

    How the hell you pull that out of currency reform I will never know. I would think that taking power to control the currency away from the private banks would be a good thing.

    “3. freedom of information

    This looks like a solution in search of a problem. I’ve neither had nor witnessed a problem exchanging information.”

    Hardly, he have witnessed the great firewall of China, then their was our own telcom companies prior to common carrier being applied to them, now they want to rewrite the rules to gain the protections of common carrier without fulfilling the intent of the concept. The Qwests and the Comcasts of the world want to pick what websites you can or can’t visit or charge you per megabyte for websites that are not “preferred affiliates”. I can’t wait to see Qwest block hollyonthehill, maybe that is what it will take to wake some people up.

    “Socialism is a system with many systemic defects. One that you fall prey to in your proposals is that you assume too much benevolence in human nature, particularly when given large amounts of power. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I think somebody famous already mentioned that.”

    You sure you even read what I said? I don’t propose any socialist policies, now if I where to propose being what Alaska does with their resource extraction industry revenue that would be socialism, sound practical socialism but socialism non the less.

    Also all of what i propose is possible with out currency constitution, an amendment would be needed for #1, but #2 and #3 could be done entirely within the confines of legislation.

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