Re: will the free market solve everything ?

The Low Golden Willow (
Fri, 21 Feb 1997 14:06:23 -0800 (PST)

On Feb 21, 7:00am, "J. de Lyser" wrote:
} 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

'Profit' can be used to refer to the net good of an individual, whether
that good be money or fun or leisure time. My apologies for slipping
from one meaning to another.

} 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

The free market isn't that organized. If a minority wants something,
and has the power to do it, and this doesn't conflict with the claimed
rights of the majority, they can do it. Unlike in a democracy.
Problems with only global solutions may be solved; it could be that is
worth the freedom to find all local solutions. Lee Crocker claims there
are no such global problems.

} individually based system. I see a need for a big institution (not
} necessarily a state) to supply education, maybe even invest in individuals,

Read Friedman! Even just his web site
People should be able to educate their kids, or decide if their kids are
being well educated or send them to another school. There are cases
where this may not work -- but the argument only works for one
generation. If the gov't school worked the parents can take over; if
not, well, it didn't work.

} most important one being that humans don't see things long term (due to
} their limited life span)

Governments do? Democratic politicians have limited life expectancies.

} 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

Which is why this might not be such a great design, and why many large
companies seem to be looking into spinning off small companies and
encouraging interdepartmental competition. (Someone take over, I'm out
of my reading depth.)

} 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

I don't. How many problems like this can you find? National/global
defense, large commons.

} state. But i'm also convinced of the increased benefits and possibilities
} of the largest possible scale of coordinated efforts of individuals. My

Coordinated to do what? Yes, a borganism of 100 million people can
solve a particular problem better than a free market of 100 million
people. Which problem? A market coordinates people, it is just
unlikely to coordinate everyone for a single goal.

} 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

I didn't understand your apparent objection to this idea.

} 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

The cost of losing a poor person, or insane one, is primarily to
themself, or those who would have been immediately around them. Yes
some benefit of their profitable existence would trickle out to you, but
the gain is primarily local -- themself and those they would have traded
with; such locality is how the system works in the first place. So you
could redeem people with local effort; educate them thoroughly, and then
repay yourself out of their profits until you're repaid. Student loans.
If it's not profitable for you to do this, it won't be much more
profitable for society, and the lost margin is probably small enough as
to not be worth the risks of having a global coordinator.

} 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

The army does; the police do, if you've been hurt by someone and they
resist arrest.

Merry part,
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>

It occurred to him suddenly that he wasn't very good at bitterness or
regret, that he didn't have the stamina for them, and if he was to
recapture his dignity he had better shape up fast.
-- Anne Rice,_Queen of the Damned_, Marius