Will the free market solve everything?

John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Fri, 21 Feb 1997 22:28:31 -0800 (PST)


On Thu, 20 Feb 1997 Gregory Houston <vertigo@triberian.com> Wrote:

>will the free market solve everything ?


>What is the monetary value of your love for your mother?

I don't need to place a monetary value on the love I have for my mother
because I can't sell it to you at any price, even if I wanted to. That
doesn't mean we place an infinite value on life, we don't, not even on our
own life. If we did we'd live in the cheapest one room apartment we could
find and eat nothing but soybeans, powdered milk and vitamin tablets.
The money saved would be used to pay for more health insurance and for

The Free market provides an index of civilization's opinion of the value of
object, and that includes intangibles. Intangibles are important and they are
reflected in the price. I could make more money if I change jobs and worked
for a different company, but if it's an unpleasant, unfriendly place then it
might not be worth it to me. If I was the CEO of that company I'd try to make
the working conditions more pleasant so I wouldn't have to pay so much to get
people to work for me.

>Tesla was working towards free energy for the masses, but then
>monetary interests such as Eddison and the US government quickly
>ended that noise.

Nothing is free, the only question is if the people who consume a commodity
will pay for it themselves, or if they will use force to make other people
pay it for them. As for Tesla, he was a great genius but he was also nutty
as a fruitcake.

>Employment is modern slavery.

I agree that work is a terrible drag, but at this stage in out Evolution
there doesn't seem to be any alternative.

>By defining minimum wage our puppet government is allowed to define
>just how many people will live in poverty, spending their lives
>enslaved to the system working 60-80 hour work weeks. I know many
>people who work these hours and are still barely able to make ends

It doesn't matter how badly you need the money, if your services are only
worth 1$ an hour to me then that is all I will pay for them, unless I'm
engaged in charity. If the government decrees that I must pay everybody 5$ an
hour then the solution is obvious, I won't hire anybody and now you make
0$ an hour.

>What are there, like 6 billion people in the world, and about
>40 million who have internet access. That means that less than 1%
>(about 0.6%) of our world population has internet access.
>The biggest hindering factors being economic, and then political.

It is not a coincidence that the places on the Earth where Internet access is
most common are also the same places where markets are the most free.

>Food and rent are more important [than the Internet]

If a person can not afford to buy a used computer at a garage sale, then I
don't understand how they can buy a new color television and I don't
understand how they can then afford to spend hundreds of hours a month
watching it. If they can not pay 20$ a month for Internet access how can
they afford to spend 10 tines that much on cigarettes and beer?


In western society it has nothing to do with survival, just what luxuries you
value the most. Our culture insists on keeping you alive, even if you want to
die, even if you're brain dead they will try to keep your heart beating.

>Some things cost a hell of a lot more than they should.

If you have found a way to produce something cheaper than anybody else can
then do so, you'll soon be very rich.

>Think about all the people working for a dollar a week [perhaps
>exagerated, perhaps not] in third world countries just to produce
>the clothing you are wearing.

I do think about it, and it makes me happy to think that without me these
dreadfully poor people would be one dollar poorer.

>Is it really a matter of laziness. No.

I agree. Nearly everybody in third world countries works harder than I do.
The basic problem is that although there is far more wealth in world than
there has ever been, regardless of how you divide up the pie there is still
not enough for 6 billion people to have what you or I would consider an
acceptable standard of living. We need a bigger pie, and fortunately I think
we will soon have one.

>If we kill public education, the majority of kids are going to be
>stuck in severely poor private schools, much poorer than they would
>be with government financing.

All theories must be consistent with the facts if they are to be viable,
let's see if the experimental data supports your theory. In the poorest slums
Socialism provides the schools, in those same slums Capitalism provides the
cars. I ask you, which are more numerous in those slums, good cars or good

Some say Anarchy won't work because it can't produce "a public good" like a
dam. A public good is something beneficial, that because of it's nature,
must be provided to the entire public or it can't be provided at all.
Well, a true public good is almost impossible to achieve under any system,
and yes, constructing a large dam, especially one that didn't make economic
sense (or cents), would be more difficult under Anarchy than a dictatorship,
but it's not clear how many more large dams we need. What is very clear is
that we need more justice, unfortunately a good law is also a public good,
and that is exactly why good laws are as rare as hen's teeth when government
makes the laws.

I don't think there should be equal justice for all, then justice becomes a
public good and thus nobody gets much of it. Just like everything else,
if you want to maximize something, make it a commodity and sell it on the
free market. A good car is not a public good, it is a private good, even if
everybody doesn't have one, even if I am the only one on earth who has one,
it's still a good car. The way society is currently set up, private law is
not allowed so a good law is always a public good, everybody must obey
exactly the same good law. That's why there are so many more good cars than
good laws. This also explains why governments don't legislate themselves
out of existence, doing so would be a public good.

A public school system that could really educate people would be a public
good, so would an efficient department of motor vehicles. We don't have
either and for the same reason.

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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