Public vs. Private

In a critique of Obama's inaugural address, John Cohen writes:

To suggest that anyone who'd like to see less heavy-handed government regulation thinks one person can do everything alone is a straw-man argument. It indicates a lack of understanding of how the private-sector economy works and how libertarians or conservatives actually think about economics. The private sector isn't just a bunch of people "acting alone." As Matt Welch pointed out in his critique of the speech, making and selling an object as basic as a pencil is such a complex endeavor that it takes lots of different specialists. No one person has the knowledge to accomplish that seemingly simple task; that's how decentralized knowledge is in society. And with a truly complex product, like a computer or movie, the need for people to work together is even greater still. The private sector isn't fundamentally about everyone being secluded and isolated from each other; it typically involves many people working together.

With markets and private enterprise, cooperation occurs voluntarily, for mutual gain.  With government, "cooperation" occurs at the point of a gun, via coercion, generally solely to improve the interests of some third party who has clout with the political class.


  1. LarryGross:

    how about security, rule of law, protection of intellectual rights, clean water, sanitary sewers, roads, electricity, internet, airports, schools etc. Compare our business "environment" for making "stuff" compared to a 3rd world country where you have to have guards, the water is bottled, the sewer is not sanitary, the roads are dirt and full of pothole and bandits, electricity is from a diesel generator, internet is however you can get it, etc, etc, etc.

    you did not build those - whether you are an individual or a company with employees.

    you pay taxes - for roads, police, enforcement of patent rights, clean water, a real sewer system, schools, the right of way for electricity, cable and other utilities, etc....

    you can not have to pay those taxes "at the point of a gun" but you might face the "point of a gun" in such countries without those taxes also.

    Take a trip to Honduras, Ecuador, Vietnam, Tanzania, Somolia - and 3rd world low-tax places like that and than come back and regale us with stories of "cooperation", "collaboration", etc.....

    the problem is that most people who have these "we don't need no stinking govt" have never really seen the real world...

  2. mesaeconoguy:

    Voluntary cooperation is the basis of this country. Obamalini is trying to change all of that.

  3. Old Surfer:

    We don't need SO frigging MUCH government. Econoguy got it right, the Constitution is a voluntary association, or was right up to the 16th amendment. It's been downhill ever since.

  4. mesaeconoguy:

    Idiotic meaningless statements strung together, and in fact implying the opposite of what I think you were trying to convey.
    Well done, Larry, another triumph!

  5. JIMC5499:

    Security, rule of law (Courts) and protection of Intellectual rights, are paid for with taxes, as are schools, roads and airports. Clean water is why I pay a water bill and I also pay a bill for electricity and internet. The DARPA part of the internet was funded by taxes. No if nobody builds a business and employs people, where do the taxes come from? So yeah Larry, we did build that or at least we PAID to have it built. That has always been a lame argument, either from the Bimbo in Mass. or the village idiot in DC. It's a circular cycle and their argument only wants to see half of the cycle.

  6. john mcginnis:

    Hmm. Such expert insights. So which hell hole(s) have you visited?? Please name names.

  7. LarryGross:

    enough to know the difference in infrastructure that "you did not build". Central govt and taxation are the two fundamental characteristics of the advanced economies of all industrialized nations on the planet. And the lack of the two is the hallmark of 3rd world and developing world countries.

    you don't need to actually visit those countries to know this but you do need to be willing to become educated beyond the sound-bite libertarian-think material that abounds on the web.

  8. AnInquirer:

    actions works best when there is a free rider problem. Markets do not work well
    when a consumer gets to use a product without paying for it. Roads are an
    example: for most roads, it has not been feasible for a builder of roads to
    collect fees from those using the road, so therefore a builder of a road cannot
    cover his/her cost -- unless there is a tax system to pay for it. (Also, the
    government's right of eminent domain enable the acquisition of necessary land for the service.) Pro-market economists have no problem with government action when there is a free rider problem.

    The rule of law is a pro-market concept. Government decisions are to be based
    on law rather than on the political power of those in office. It protects those
    in the market from being oppressed by those in political power. Unfortunately,
    the myriad of laws, coupled with the concept of a living constitution, means
    that those in political power can now say that the law says whatever they want
    it to say.

    To say that those in the market did not build roads, criminal justice systems,
    clean water is a ridiculous statement. Those in the market created the wealth
    that could be taxed so that these things could be built.

    The ubiquitous problem in poor countries is the lack of well-defined and
    enforced private property rights. There
    is no shortage of government power in those countries.

  9. LarryGross:

    tell me how you would create a "voluntary" criminal justice system or for that matter how would you
    have a private fire service with some houses paying for service and others not - and a fire wipes them all out?

    how do you build a road if the owners of the land in the path of it refuse to sell?

    how do you put in utilities, power lines, cable, water/sewer without a public right-of-way?

    re; 3rd world. No shortage of government power but no infrastructure either and in those countries
    if the "theory' of private development of infrastructure actually worked, you'd not only have private infrastructure but it would be superior to countries that collect taxes to build it.


    we KNOW in the real world that there are no 3rd world countries that have primarily private infrastructure that serves the public because it's a chicken/egg proposition. You cannot have businesses thriving because a road has been built - when the road is a plan and is looking for a right-of-way and businesses to sign up to pay.
    Government that taxes is how this gets done.

    there are no 3rd world countries that have superior infrastructure because it's privately done.

  10. mesaeconoguy:

    More stupidity from our resident moron.

    Infrastructure is not the issue, insofar as it is a proper role of government. The governments you
    cite as “examples” do not perform this role, as they are inherently corrupt (ours is devolving to that level of corruption, and we are devolving to a dictatorship under Obamalini). All government contains potential for corruption, because it does not function on unicorns, rainbows, or good intentions as hilariously and naively believed by the left (and some on the right).

    The current problem is that government has stopped performing its proper functions and has become a wealth transfer mechanism and plaything for public sector unions and leftist interest groups.

    And the more regulation and rules you create, the greater the opportunity for graft and unequal treatment.

    You leftists are creating and exacerbating the very problem you are trying to “fix.” Typical.

  11. LarryGross:

    " re the governments that I cite" - are ALL of the 3rd world/developing world countries and ALL of the industrialized central-govt countries.

    there are NO 3rd world countries that function according to the way you say they would absent the flaws you cite in this govt.

    in other words, there are no countries on the planet that work the way you say they should.

    that's not "leftist" or even "rightist". That's just plain dumb.

    if you want to advocate for something - give some real world examples... or admit that
    you're talking just theory and there are no real examples.

    that's the basic problem with your narrative and name-calling won't fix it.

  12. mesaeconoguy:

    Imbecile, you examples are non-examples. Good luck explaining developed countries like the Soviet Union, which collapsed of its own corruption and failed collectivism, for the reasons I gave.

    Bottom line is, Larry, the world – and especially economics – doesn’t work the way you think it does.

    Tu stultus es

  13. LarryGross:

    I don't have to "explain" countries like the SU. I just have to point out the 100+ countries that have centrally-planned govt and policies including infrastructure and solid economies.

    that's the real world. and yes.. it does "work" as evidenced by the largest, most powerful economies - in the world - are all those countries - not a 3rd world libertarian country in the bunch - none.

  14. mesaeconoguy:

    Wrong. Your thesis is nonsensical, and inaccurately presented.

    Hong Kong, Singapore, and maybe a few other places would probably qualify as economically libertarian (and certainly not socially/capital “L” libertarian given some of the draconian social restrictions), but the devolution of society, especially "developed" economies, as you (inaccurately)
    describe them, has resulted in massive expansion of the state.

    It is an established economic fact that economies with larger, more economically intrusive states grow more slowly than countries with smaller, more “libertarian” ones.

    Absent the modern state of economically intrusive government, prior historical conditions prove that smaller government always produces faster, broader growth than regulation-constrained “developed” economies. The period of greatest economic growth and wealth creation in this country occurred from about 1850 to around 1920, including a substantial period prior to enactment of the income tax.

    So it is logically and historically incorrect to state that “developed” economies, with highly intrusive and inefficient bureaucracies, foster faster economic growth than economies with smaller governments.

    And citing third world dictatorships as counterexamples is an inaccurate comparison.

  15. LarryGross:

    BOTH Singapore and Hong Kong are not only centrally-directed, top-down governments that build and maintain public infrastructure - such as transit - both of them have mandated payroll deductions for Universal Health Care.

    You need to define what you mean by "libertarian" because I'm not seeing it with Singapore nor Hong Kong.

    they are both centrally-managed countries with significant govt involvement.

    I'm not "citing" developed countries... as much as I am pointing out to you that there are NO countries in the world that do what you say they should do - other than 3rd world countries and the results are in front of your eyes - limited-govt (in terms of taxes and infrastructure) 3rd world countries - AS A RULE FOR ALL THAT CURRENTLY EXIST - do NOT have significant private sector investment that provides infrastructure and services like water/sewer, fire, etc...

    the private sector does NOT thrive in 3rd world countries - and that's a fact.

  16. mesaeconoguy:

    3d world countries do not have limited government, so that
    is inaccurate. Many have dictatorial
    strongmen, some have no or dysfunctional government.

    Also again, most of the developed world has extensive
    economically intrusive government, and increasing collectivism, with the
    following results

    Soviet Union – collapsed

    Europe – collapsing, partially collapsed

    China – partially collapsing, isolated rapid development (absent limited market capitalism, collapsed)

    US - collapsing

    Again, moron, economics and the world in general does not work like you think it does.

  17. LarryGross:

    3rd world countries DO HAVE LIMITED govt ...IN THE WAY THAT YOU ARE ADVOCATING IT.

    so out of all the 3rd world countries in the world - NONE have the combination of limited govt and not dictators?

    why is that?

    Europe is collapsed? All of it? in what world - your own self-constructed one?

    Australia? Brazil?

    is your view essentially that ALL the centrally-controlled govt in the entire world are "collapsing"?

    you are living in LA LA LAND - Meso. Why don't you join the real world and drop your phony and totally fantasy ideology?

  18. mesaeconoguy:

    Larry, as usual, you have zero clue what your are talking about.

    Most developed top-down "developed" countries in the world are collapsing to varying degrees, this is indisputable. Even Brazil and Australia, Brazil via an extremely fragile state subsidized economy, and Australia with huge exposure to China (if China hits the wall, Australia is in serious trouble, though not as much as Brazil).

    Germany is the only thing standing between Europe and recession/depression.

    Please remove your cranium from your rectum.

    Your ignorant assertion that 3d world dictatorships don't foster strong private sectors makes you look even dumber than previously, and further exposes your business ignorance.

    Businesses assess political risk, so foreign business will not generally invest in politically risky dictatorships (see Venezuela, Argentina), and precisely because 3d world strongmen wield corrupt power in their respective states, those businesses which do exist are favored by the dictator/state, and thrive because of that artificial relationship. Competitors are either driven out, or prohibited outright.

    [There is a new wave of European & American African colonialism underway, largely to counter Chinese investment in Africa, which runs against this assessment.]

    So you need to rethink your bizarre concept of "limited government" and private enterprise.

  19. LarryGross:

    so your view is that ALL the top-down, centrally-managed countries in the entire world are ..."collapsing"...

    and you're talking about others craniums?

    what planet do you live on boy cuz it ain't this one.

    you guys used to hide in the shadows and rightly so.. with your views.

    re: assertion that 3rd world dictatorships don't foster strong private sectors".

    no. What I asked you was to show me some that actually DID FOSTER PRIVATE SECTOR activity.

    according to your "beliefs" - all the current industrialized countries are doomed and most of the 3rd world countries that have dictators are also screwed so that leaves what countries to prosper?

    see you boys simply refuse to deal with real things... you live in your own little propagandized world that does not exist in the real world.

    and you'd decide the governance of this country based on your beliefs.

    and anyone who disagrees with you is an "ignorant imbecile"?

    I actually try to follow your logic guy and I'd like to see less govt myself but your logic does not go anywhere in the real world. None of what you advocate for - exists in more than 200 countries on the entire planet - yet you insist that it should. My "belief" is that if what you advocate was such a better way - that it would easily outcompete the other systems and gain ascendancy over other countries.

    but that' simply not the case.

  20. mesaeconoguy:

    Sure, whatever you say, Larry.

    I just gave you historical and current real world assessments. You just choose to ignore
    them, because you are stupid.

    You are officially a member in excellent standing, the poster child for, and sanctioned standard bearer of the GSPs ™ (Genuinely Stupid People)

  21. LarryGross:

    no you didn't you did a lot of hand waving and name calling and that's about all.

    you do not accept the real world guy. that's the truth.

    I asked you to name one or more 3rd world countries where the private sector provides what normally is provided by centrally-controlled, top-down industrialized nations and you did nothing but name call.

  22. Kurt:

    Larry, if government did what you are speaking of: Road, fire, police, courts, sewers, etc... and nothing else it does now, it would be 80% to 90% less than it is now. It is a straw man to say Libertarians/Minarchists don't believe in "X" when in fact, for the most part, we do, with some room for debate of course. What we do NOT think we need is:

    "stimulus" pork projects

    government ponzi schemes like social security and medicare

    departments of housing, agriculture, education, etc...

    a fed that forcefully subsidizes and enables the private cartels of banking, education, and medicine.

    These cartels are destroying the economy. Subsidized interest rates (banks get 0% and take risks in the market, then get bailed out as too big to fail, student loans, mortgages, etc...)

    None of these are sustainable, and are being propped up by ever more massive central intervention, which will lead to an ever more massive collapse.

    It is everything ELSE that is a vast wasteland of corruption and mis-allocation of capital.

    Infrastructure argument is a JOKE Larry - we hardly ever get it, despite that being the clarion call of "stimulus" and when we do, by the time crony insiders, unions, and epa restrictions and regulations are done, we turn a $1m bridge into a $10m boondoggle.

  23. Nehemiah:

    mesaeconoguy, save it. Larry is an example of "there are none so blind as those who will not see."

    Larry, I think you mean well. Perhaps you just lack the perspective gained from working at the point of the sword, owning/managing a private enterprise. People in a free market economy come together through free associations to accomplish mutual objectives. They also come together through governing bodies to accomplish objectives shared more broadly. A mentor of mine once said, nobody does anything until somebody buys something. It is the marketplace that should drive the economy with the light hand of government overseeing some (not all) of the things you mentioned. Our Founders struck the correct balance but warned that it could be easily distorted when, due to the distractions of our success, we took our eyes off the government.

  24. mesaeconoguy:

    I admire your charity and willingness to give Larry some benefit of the doubt. His possible good intention is no excuse for his ignorance.

    It is precisely people like Larry who have usurped that generosity and turned around and created the current mess, then accuse others of willful blindness, when it is they who are blind (and aggressively ignorant).

    Larry has no useful perspective, and lacks nearly all critical thinking ability, but is always on board with top-down micro(mis)management and economic liberty-stifling initiatives due to his lack of perception of cause/effect and downstream/unintended consequences. He is a dangerously ignorant fool.

  25. mesaeconoguy:

    I gave you numerous examples, historical and current, which you ignored. And I provided current statuses of your centrally planned economies which have collapsed, or are in the process of collapsing, which you also ignored.

    Larry, the only fiction is being proffered by you. You believe that central planning and regulation causes prosperity (it doesn’t – it has caused the worst recession recovery on record), and collectivism/socialization works (it doesn’t). See above for examples, and reasons why they fail.

    One final thing, Larry, back to state economic intrusion: I have a front row seat to the regulatory disaster that is Dodd-Frank and other financial regulatory initiatives. I am involved with implementation of various aspects of new rules, but cannot get into details here.

    I will tell you as a professional that Obamalini and his advisors/cohorts are destroying/have destroyed the financial system, and indirectly the private economy, not private business. You are dangerously misinformed and incorrect if you believe otherwise.

    Regulation has crushed business lending and activity, and is diverting enormous amounts of productive assets and capacity to unproductive, wasteful regulatory and compliance spending.

    As long as this regime is permitted to continue, the economy will continue to languish, and you can expect 1.5 – 2% GDP growth maximum, of which .5 – 1% will be government-related.

    That’s unacceptable, and unsustainable, given our massive unsustainable and unfunded entitlement liabilities ($100 trillion+). Ignorant fools like you perpetuating the total myth of solvency only makes the resolution of these problems worse, and likely more violent.

  26. LarryGross:

    the perspective that I have is the world. I look for examples in the world. I don't rule out that something new and different- and better could evolve but what is real is certainly important and I just don't see any real world examples of what is advocated here.

    Every government of any country has flaws...some serious but there is common thread among industrialized countries when it comes to things like infrastructure and services - and that common thread is missing form most 3rd world countries.

    you can beleive in small govt all you want but show me some examples of what you are talking about.

    we have govt because people want it. that's the truth. In any representative govt that has people voting - you get pretty much the govt people vote for. We just had an election about that.

  27. LarryGross:

    the perspective is real world. Look at the world the way it really is - all 200+ countries. "Critical thinking" that arrives at conclusions that do not exist in the real world is not critical thinking at all - it's fanciful thinking with no real connection to reality.

    ya'll are advocating for things that do not exist in reality.

  28. mesaeconoguy:

    You have no concept of reality.

  29. marque2:

    Most things we think we need government for can be privatized at least to some extent. Judiciary, you probably need a small judiciary, doing much of it through arbitration also would work. Hire an arbitrator. It is kinda a stretch to say we need this Judiciary to enforce all these overbearing laws from government which should not exist in the first place.

    Police have private security forces. Water, used to be supplied privately, schools used to be all private, electricity nominally still is. Major roads and bridges used to be built privately and tolls were charged. The state has taken this over and sometimes still charges toll taxes to use the road. Even our defense could possibly be taken one level down to the state level.

    The only time it is nice for government to get involved is when you have a lot of people trying to accomplish something and one person can stop the whole deal. For instance having a serviceable road in front of a house if you are in a dense community, it is better to have government fix the road every ten years than wait for all the residents to get together and try to do it on their own.

  30. marque2:

    One thing to note, is that government is has also been taking over basic research and turning it from a scientific endeavor into a political endeavor. Look at the new "green" requirements on military bids. Now we have aircraft carriers powered by bezo nuts and missiles that are green. All the DOE nuke power stuff has been stymied in favor of green power stuff, and of course no matter how legit one or other is, when a GOP president comes in the one research area will be swapped for another.

    We also have folks designing and concluding their studies to get grants. So they make proposals that the grant givers like and promise the conclusion they want. The government has totally corrupted basic science for politics.

  31. LarryGross:

    okay. Name some countries that have this minimal govt footprint where most/much of the things you name are indeed non-govt and privatized.

    Is there a country in the world where most of the roads and bridges are private ?

    re: "it is better to have government fix the road every ten years than wait for all the residents to get together and try to do it on their own"

    where did the right-of-way for that road come from to start with and who decided that the property in front of the homes did not belong to the people with the homes?

    how do you get water/sewer down a street if everyone on that street does not agree to let the water/sewer go in front of their place?

    who pays for the construction and operation of jails?

  32. LarryGross:

    are you familiar with the DOD labs? How about DARPA? If you go look at what they are actually working on - it's stuff like drones and autonomous vehicles and such.... probably a minuscule percent is "green".

    this is the problem with right wing echo chamber.. they highlight some things and ignore the rest.

    so you get these "headlines" that are no where near the reality.

    DOD has a significant R&D program and very little of it is "green'.

  33. mesaeconoguy:

    I have, you have ignored them (you lack intellectual capacity to understand).

    Foundationally, economic libertarianism is simply “get government out of the way.” That’s
    it. The examples I gave support and demonstrate this in action.

    You have a massive comprehension problem, and are borderline psychotic delusional.

    You have an enormous expansion of government and social spending in this country, resulting in the worst economic recovery on record

    you have social safety net and interventionist government economies failing worldwide, and you have mountains of other evidence staring you in the face that economic interventionism and central planning does not work

    But you still insist on failure (and your bizarre straw man argument, refuted by history). You have no concept of reality.

  34. marque2:

    I said DOE are you familiar with the work of DOE? And yes when I was working on DOD projects Obama had just transitioned in and all the buzz was about the new green requirements that had to be part of every proposal. There were several bright people scratching their heads how to make their missile "green" Turns out you need to put things in like paint and fuel specs in showing that green non offgassing paint will be used, and the fuel will be derived from Barbados Nuts, etc. It was nonsensical, but eh.

  35. marque2:

    I can't; your side has won the mind of the public, the give me something free from government mentality has won over. And who doesn't want things for free. It is very compelling and hard to tell people work for yourselves and your souls will be free when they can vote themselves money. Interestingly I just read an article how real spending on social programs has gone up 3 fold since the 1960's and it is mostly going to things like food stamps and disability payments.

    All I can do is tell you how the United States was some 100 years ago, to show you that such things are possible.

  36. LarryGross:

    nope. I simply believe in representative govt and the fact that most people have enough sense to know what is ultimately good or bad and we go from there. I do not believe in imposing things on people that they largely disagree with.

    for whatever it is worth - representative governance is better than the alternatives.

  37. marque2:

    If your house is on fire, and it threatens the neighbors house but you didn't pay for fire services. Fire services should come and protect the other other houses from your fire. And you would be insured against such loss.

    It really isn't hard to imagine. the only problem is the "not fair crowd" It isn't fair that you let those guys house burn down. Who cares - if you were that dumb and skimped on service ...

    Believe it or not, in rural areas you do have private fire service, or the city sets up a volunteer fire service all your neighbors chip in.

    There are lots of cases likes yours where progressives cry for the poor victims. Here is a sample - they didn't pay the $75 annual fee - apparently her neighbors don't either figuring fires don't happen often.

    About 2 years ago, I saw another case where the "victims" actually were playing with fire in the back yard, and then complained that the fire department didn't put out the fire - when they didn't pay for service.

  38. LarryGross:

    I haven't ignored anything. I just think if you want to advocate for something that you need to show some examples of it in the real world or else admit that you're totally into theory.

    I do not discount the theory or the fact that we may evolve in that direction but I'm also a big believer that if something is good - it will beat out other things and when you have over 200 countries that are hundreds of years old - and the "good" thing you are talking about has not evolved and competed successfully against these other systems, it's not a strong argument.

    yours is basically theory and a belief that the entire world as we know it - is going to fail.

    that's what I get from you. You use the US as an example but when I ask you about the rest of the world - you then say all of them have the same problem (except for the 3rd world.

    I just find this totally bizarre. You're basically saying that your theory is right and the world is wrong.

  39. mesaeconoguy:

    Larry, you are beyond help, and a fabulously ignorant person.

  40. marque2:

    Wild west did OK. Seems like there was wild growth, justice (not the best - but fair by those days standards) public works by the citizens ...

    In fact to secure the water supply in AZ last year, the entire town of Tombstone got together on their own and went to fix the broken water pipe. The town that will not die, is that because of the people not the government.

  41. marque2:

    Why are you so obsessed with what other people do. Just cuz folks do it doesn't mean it is right or the best way to function. Everybody got their tonsils removed because every doctor was doing it - now it is realized that everybody was wrong. Seriously, just because everybody is doing something is not proof of an argument.

  42. marque2:

    Sorry I believe in Representative government too - the fact that the government is doing way to much and intruding way to much, is another issue, and is a problem which will, at some point, need to be corrected. Either a bunch of smart libertarians will convince the world that freebies are destroying society, or society will fall under its own massive debt.

    If we keep spending at Obama's rate for all the free goods, our government will basically collapse in 10 or so years, and the silly services will all stop then. People will then realize heck, maybe we can have a small judiciary, and a bit of a military, and drop the rest.

  43. LarryGross:

    and they get there too late to save the house that caught on fire from the house that did not pay?

    how would you "save" adjacent houses by not putting out the fire on the unpaid house?

    re: rural volunteer - yes.. and they serve everyone whether you volunteer or not including the elderly and single moms, etc.

    and they also have an ambulance service that serves everyone - again even if you do not volunteer.

    i'm no progressive crying for poor victims.

    I just don't think you can build roads or operate fire depts privately.

    I'm questioning the feasibility of what you advocate and asking for some real life examples of it.

    I just don't see any counties or states or countries that operate this way.

    you cannot build a road or provide a right-of-way for utilities, pipelines, electric lines, water/sewer, etc without govt exercising eminent domain. We'd not have our electric grid, our oil pipelines, our interstate highway system, etc if we required that it all be done privately.

    And let me be clear. I SUPPORT Toll Roads, and user-pays, and user-fees for services.

    I support charging for Parks & Rec and I support charging parents for anything beyond basic core academic schooling. I support electricity priced for what it costs to provide it to you so if you want to use a lot of it at peak hour, you should pay MORE for it.

    I don't think private power companies have the right to pollute other people's air, i.e. damage their property rights.

    I do not think one property owner has the right to pollute a river that other people depend on..

    etc, etc, etc.

    but there is a balance here. The pure libertarian path does not exist in most cases, not just here, but not anywhere in the world.

    we're talking about 200+ countries and thousands of "state" type jurisdictions in those countries and as far as I know it's all govt or govt enabled...for most infrastructure and critical services.

    you folks basically argue that it "could be" and I don't disagree with that - but I don't think it really goes anywhere and if it actually did - on a planet our size - we'd see some real examples of it.

  44. marque2:

    Your hypothetical is just silly. There is no guarantee the fire department will arrive in time in any fire, even if the city forces service.

    And no volunteer fire departments don't necessarily cover everybody either.

    I'll give you roads, but fire, and police have been and can be done privately. Firefighters - it is actually extremely easy. Ambulances - many counties, even in California have private ambulances too and it seems to work. They get turned public due to power grabs. DMV - why can't you have a private company process all the forms. Trash disposal. It is private in about 1/2 the country. Interestingly my town is private and garbage disposal costs 1/2 of neighboring San Diego city where it is public. Even stupid government mandated systems could be privatized. Why should government dole out Unemployment for instance? They should hire some company to do it for them.

    If you think about it, honestly, there isn't much that a government does that can't be privatized. Again I will give you local roads in densely populated cities.

  45. LarryGross:

    the wild west did not stay wild. That's my point. If you have a town with people in it - they don't like "wild". They want law and order.

    re: tombstone - people working together collectively vs a private company coming in and fixing it?


    If you have a representative govt - at any level - where you settle question with votes - people are going to vote for taxes to pay for infrastructure than benefits everyone.

    that's the basic way it works.

    sometimes there's a choice between a private provider and the govt doing it and quite often there is opposition to the private provider. You can see this right now with the "foreign owned toll roads" or look at some private property developments that have a 3rd party water supplier and as often as not - the people are up in arms over the bad service and high cost.

    Many people would gladly have the govt take over the cable and cell phone companies who many think are screwing them over for big profits.

  46. LarryGross:

    ah, we have hit the essential issue and without the attendant name calling seen from others her.

    Your idea of the govt doing "too much" and my idea may or may not be the same but at some point, we reach a majority view and in a representative govt, that's what happens.

    but you're off the trolley again with Obama. Obama cannot spend a penny without a majority of dem and GOP of both houses of Congress approving it.

    that's the truth. The govt you got came from the Republicans because they have consistently voted to spend at the same rate they were under Bush.

    I LIKE "smart libertarianism". I LIKE "pragmatic libertarianism" - because with those there is a chance for inroads for less govt.

    on this it looks like we agree - the way to get there is to let libertarian ideas compete against the other methods and let the majority adopt the ideas that they like and want.

    that's our system.

  47. marque2:

    The Wild west wasn't particularly wild. That is a misnomer. You might want to read a bit about it. I know - there were the famous gun fights, but for the most part it was civil society.

    Most often people are up in arms about poor service and high costs for water and other utilities because they are government owned, or so regulated that they are essentially a government entity.

    Show me the common compliant and I will show you how the fault is the government.

  48. marque2:

    The large totalitarian governments that are actually growing are doing so because they decided to adopt free market policies.

    Even Cuba is now trying to wean off the government and establish a private industry.

  49. mesaeconoguy:

    Yep, but don't tell Larry.

  50. marque2:

    Again not true. Because the senate refuses to vote on a budget the budget is baselined on the 2009 year when we had a major stimulus, so all the stimulus is in and increased based on that. No the president can't do it on his own, but don't think the Harry Reid don't create a budget plan idea wasn't decided together. Yes there have been minor continuing resolutions to continue it, but not much congress can do if one party refuses to negotiate a budget deal.

    Now the GOP isn't exactly conservative, but let me ask you - Just how much would you howl if the GOP in congress let us go off the fiscal cliff. The one tool they have is not authorizing the debt limit increases. Should they do that? Might not be such a bad idea, according to you, right?