Re: will the free market solve everything ?

J. de Lyser (
Fri, 21 Feb 1997 07:00:40 +0100

enough has been said about emotions, creativity and development already so
i'll stick to the ethical/political part.

Damien Sullivan wrote:
>Lots of people working on problems for fun and profit solve things.

>The motivation to do work is the profit received by the individual.

or the fun. My posting was a very general reply to some of the threads of
the last few days, as well as a sort of continuation of some of the things
brought up by Jim legg.

Lim Legg had a serious point to make, but maybe his approach was too
fundametalist socialist, and the true meaning of his words didn't come
through: once you have reached a point where your income (production for
profit reasons) is steadily growing, and you can control your spending
pattern, then what is the use of making more money just for the sake of
spending more. True freedom and happiness can be found in more things than
just being able to BUY whjatever you like. It also has to do with being
able to DO everything you like, sure money buys you time, but i get the
feeling that some people here view spending time on non profit intended
production or consumption as a waste of resources.

Anton sherwood wrote:
>by acting in the marketplace - by choosing what to buy - you help >decide
what problems will be attacked.

What about problems where no market solution fits ? And still if a majority
views something as a problem, and a minority views it as a good thing, the
free market will rule against it ? A characteristic we oppose in the
current forms of democracy. Except that in this case a minority with more
money can decide for a majority with fewer money...

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
>If you want to "contribute" with self-sacrifice, I won't stop you.
& zero sum etc...

I don't believe in zero sum, i do believe in a free market system, and in
added value through production, and i'd go even further than that by saying
that my life philosophy is that an increase in population will bring an
increase in value to society, seeing that human resources are the greatest
possible resource this planet has to offer.

I however see where some 'problems' can be too big for a free market,
individually based system. I see a need for a big institution (not
necessarily a state) to supply education, maybe even invest in individuals,
for profit reasons. I believe in the power of a totally free market
system, i just see problems in the human element of implementing it. The
most important one being that humans don't see things long term (due to
their limited life span)

Investing for Profit principle & long term future planning.

Wether people organise in companies or social states, they create an
institution that has a goal the long term increase in productivity and
benefit (profit) of the company/society. problem is that in a democracy the
individuals who decide over the destiny of the rest, have as main goal
their own re-election. Just as the director of a company, who decides over
the destiny of everybody in that company has as main goal his own personal
position, he also runs the risk of being fired by the share holders. This
puts great emphasis on temporary measures and policies, focussed on short
term interest. the more powerful such an institution becomes the more long
term focussed it's policies will become. Kind of conflicts with the anarchy
part of it all doesn't it ?

I can't help but notice a great many conflicting views coming from the same
individuals on this list. Especially when it comes to long term future
planning. I think it was Eric who pointed out a protection system against
asteroids, how do you see a free market system taking care of problems of
this scope ? No company in its right mind will invest in such a system, as
it is impossible to give protection from asteroid collisions to only those
who pay for that protection. Its the school book example of how the ducth
state is justified: who else would build a dike to protect us from the sea ?

It might work in the Roman way of bread and circusses, as a gift from some
ultra rich individual or company to placate the angry mobs. But its hyper
irrational to depend on chance.

>I see nothing more fundamentally moral, responsible,
life->affirming--indeed beautiful-- than the act of trade.

True. The act of trade is beautiful as it makes all involved parties happy
and brings them benefit.

>No motive more noble than profit.


purely rational explanation:

1) when that profit is not re-inserted into society by spending/consuming.

2) profit can be made by ways that undermine the free market system.
monopoly positions, patents, etc...

therefore: free market system highest value: yes
profit highest value: no

>You still seem to have some emotional attachment to selfless

no, you mistake my ethical and rational views for emotional ones.

If an individual dies of poverty, all that he could have contributed to
society (and therefore to me personally) will have been lost. Given some
investment this person could have been thought and given the means to
provide for himself, society and the institution (company or state) reaping
the benefits of that investment. problem is no current company is big
enough to be interested in investtemst of such a scope. And if one ever
exists, then will we not be subject to it in similar ways as we are to a
state today ?

I'm still in doubt wether to support a completely free society, as i see
the benefits to economy and individual freedom of a smaller state or no
state. But i'm also convinced of the increased benefits and possibilities
of the largest possible scale of coordinated efforts of individuals. My
quest is to merge those into a workable system, as i feel that without such
a coordination of efforts, the economy and humanity are headed for a
repetition of the dark ages.

The anthill example with regards to the free market system is therefore
based completely on the ancient humanist and liberal assumption that
everyone will know exactly what to do an will instinctively do what is best
for him/herself. I think you'll find that every ant follows orders to an
extent, just like computers are told what to do by their program, a
compromise between individual decisions and 'orders'. I'm now (very
cautiously) toying with the idea of a system like this, which could be
translated and justified to a human level by giving individuals the level
of self-ownership they have proven to be capable of by acting responsably.
Question remains who or what should decide in these matters ?

Think about it, what place do mentally disordered people have in an anarcho
capitalist society ? They can't provide for themselves, and i don't believe
in peoples altruism (at least not anymore). Viewed purely rationally, a
coordinated system could turn even their limited capablilties into a
productive and profitable resource, making them too able to provide for
themselves. An uncoordinated society is throwing away resources by the
truckloads. Again the emotional side of things left completely aside.

>If there's ever anything I /can/ do for you, just offer me a fair >price.

Here's where ethics come in. Would you do everything given the price is
high enough ? Would you kill a person if i offered you enough ? Would you
prostitute yourself ? (not that i'm interested ;-) ) Would you willingly
hurt other people for a price ?

Everybody has different ethical values on what they would do for a price. A
hitman, a thief, a child porn distributor, are all supplying to a demand.
They value profit over their ethical views on the subject. Something which
this society has condemned as being criminal, would you brand people who
oppose these acts as fundamentalists ?. There are people who want to die,
there are people who want to get their things stolen (to claim from
insurance companies) and there are kids who will gladly prostitute
themselves for money. All these acts are therefore not *by definition*
violating other individuals freedom. Yet in most cases they are.

Most people value something higher than profit, im truly sorry for you if
you don't.

J. de Lyser