"It is quite legitimate to argue that modern governments have grown excessively large, and that they thereby limit economic growth and individual freedom. People are right to complain about unresponsive bureaucracy, corrupt politicians, and the unprincipled nature of politics. But in the developed world, we take the existence of government so much for granted that we sometimes forget how important it is, and how difficult it was to create, and what the world would look like without certain basic political institutions."
— Francis Fukuyama, The Origins of Political Order - pg. 12
Funny title, but a little more serious text post.
Regarding the realm of public property, I have had a difficult time conceiving of areas where government will always need a foot in the door, but I have a few and I welcome everyone to critique my ideas.
Fire department - Unless private companies can be recognized authorities to stop traffic while blinking their lights and sounding their deafening alarms on the road, the government will prevail. Given the right though, even then we cannot say that the fire department will be more efficient since incentives for better work are there regardless of private or public pay. The firefighters will run into the fire regardless of pay because those men are self-selected into a line of serving others and saving lives. Privatization will be of little benefit to society.
Free public education - Given a society with a free market on education, we can say that some will get better quality services than others. Some even may be too poor to afford the 4 to 5 thousand dollars it may take to pay for a year’s worth of schooling in the United States. The public sector can be beneficial by providing subsidies to private education (voucher method), and an alternative free education provided by public funding to others. Since education is considered an economic externality, additional consumption can never be a bad thing. Public libraries and other institutions related to education can be regarded as also acceptable public options.
The national parks system - This, if privatized, cannot guarantee the safety of the ecosystems. The private owners can do their will regardless of the national interest of preserving the land which we originally laid eyes on. Although the “national interest” can be an arguing point for libertarians, it is to be noted that libertarians have also had difficulties holding up environmental values unless it affects others such as the air pollution argument. Will an equivalent argument arise that destroying the forests will pollute my vision of beauty? Maybe.
There you go, 3. There are plenty of others I’m sure but I wrote 3 and I want a damn response.
So I have been checking out the economics tag and all I see is angry kids complaining about their homework and exams, or idiots who think they’re on a crusade for the sake of libertarianism.
The economics tag is now a home for people who enjoy making fun of stupidity and the study itself has turned into hipsterdom thanks to the paulbots. It is now sexy to love liberty, and political philosophy is grinding through the minds of teenagers as if it’s a game to deliberately search and destroy socialist propaganda posted on the internet.
We compare political ideologies as if they are real RPG stats for people and we battle our wits and gifs and walls o’ texts for the victory of an internet debate because we have leisure time set aside everyday for dicking around.
It is our hobby and the internet has enabled us to find others like ourselves who enjoy the argumentative approach to learning. As if we are ideological warriors pitted in an internet stadium for all to witness, we quote the giants of our causes such as Hayek or Marx or Keynes or even Ron Paul. We have ABOUT pages dedicated to listing our political leanings in exact detail and we judge others instantly by their own. We go on endlessly debating old problems of economics, and sometimes we may find ourselves writing to an unknown audience of whoever comes across our tags because we feel as though our writing is unique compared to the easily accessible Wikpedia, Econlib, or downloadable e-books.
If not writing, then the damn memes.
If not the memes, then shit we find on Mises.org or other extremely biased/heterodox networks.
Goddammit guys. I need to get off Tumblr.
I’ve read about his works for the past year and I’m finally reading Human Action… but I am still strong on the idea that anti-empiricism is stupid.
The reason why Mises and the Austrians back in the day were so damn against empirical analysis was because they couldn’t conceive of computer data analysis with modern up to date data and extremely reliable counting mechanisms (computer programs) and more advanced algorithms. The thought of messing with millions of pieces of data the way we do today was just fantasy during the time of Mises when he wrote Human Action. I think if he were writing his book in the 1990s/2000s he would have a very different outlook on the use of empirical analysis in economics.
Axioms defining human actions based on logic is nice and all but downplaying the importance of WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN THE REAL WORLD is dumb as fuck. The typical argument against this is that the abstraction in the mathematical formulas that are behind modern economic models can create illusions of reality, but I think this is less so the case with progressively better data gathering and analysis. The world is complex but we can’t just ignore it and hope our logic plays through.
This is the beginning of the plague of libertarian edgy books that people read thinking they know something about economics when in reality it is just pseudo-knowledge similar to how someone can think they know about psychology after reading a Malcolm Gladwell book.