Karl Marx Genius Of The Modern World
So I've thought about this more... Marx did get it wrong when he thought that people could be forced (or would all be willing) into adopting socialism. Socialism requires people to change how they think about things and what they value. Forcing this to happen is a bad idea.
I agree it is not a good idea. The only way to force stuff like that is "re-education" camps. Or just gunning the dissidents down as they try to run away.
But my main point is that it doesn't matter even if everyone got along and *wanted* to be communists/socialists.
Independent of the incentive problem is the calculation problem. As soon as you remove free market prices, you lose information needed to allocate resources. The population of a communist country could be quite sincere. It doesn't matter. The economy will fail.
Just to go along with MMM, freedom is core issue. The market value of something is only set by peoples desire for a product or service, that is to say their choice of using or buying it. Freedom is at the core of every positive innovation in human history. A wise man once jokingly said "it wasn't a fitness freak who invented remote controls". It underlines that desire to improve and freedom to dream and explore are at the root of innovation. Communisium dosent innovate. Even the 'oh so awesome' chi comms that one poster seems to love so much never innovated a goddamn thing. They stole technology and tried to improve it. The only area they ever innovated in was the military... out of necessity and the freedom to explore the ideas associated with it
MeanMrMustard: The most important factor is not on your list: The members of the town/corporation can make decisions on what to produce because they have prices – prices that come from everywhere else around them. They have prices for their inputs and a good idea of what they can get for their outputs at home and abroad. They are swimming in a sea of market information.
OK, add market intelligence, to the list of four in my post that you quoted. Market intelligence is important in an open market situation, and certainly competition is important in any economy, which is likely one of the reasons the CPC switched from Mao's concept of socialism to Deng's.
Of course, when a monopoly situation exists, either in a system of private enterprise or a so-called socialist system, price doesn't have the same importance. It would only be important in establishing how many you be able to sell (i.e. the purchasing power of the consumer is a factor to be considered)
MMM-This town is just like a large company, giving housing away for their investors as a perk.
Cool, which is a point I made. In a large corporation the the identity of the 'shareholders' or owners is not nearly as important as the efficiency of the corporation. In Australia, when the Airline Qantas was government owned, it was a good airline and (as I remember it) usually made a profit for the government (or all Australian shareholders).
The Aust. government got coldfeet over Qantas when it become clear that new aircraft were going to be required (or, at least that was the story), but some think that there was an ideological motive behind the privatisation.
OTOH as Cofty tells his experience in the UK, the UK telecom was a candidate for the feather-bedding award of the century. An example of bad management. And in Australia, the current telecom organisation called Telstra* had similar experiences. The shareholding was sold off in a number of tranches (I think govt. shareholding is down to 17%) But I'm not sure that any shareholder has had real value for their investment.
In Australia we have a new government owned telecommunications company. NBN Holdings was established to build a nation wide fibre-optics network.' Good or bad? Time will tell.
Another example is Singapore's government owned Temasek Holdings, best described as a sovereign wealth fund owned by the S. government's, Department of Finance, to invest in a wide range of companies. Since 2011, the government has paid a dividend to some 80% of citizens.
Can't see much difference between a privately run or a government run investment fund. Of course, if you're opinions are motivated by an ideological bias toward private enterprise or a government enterprise you will find a difference.
*Telstra's origins date back to 1901, and Australian Federation, when the Postmaster-General's Department (PMG) was established by the Commonwealth Government to manage all domestic telephone, telegraph and postal services 1991-1995
ay be noted in this discussion that government ownership was common in the past.
Why is that important to note?
Right across Asia there is evidence that governments initiated production facilities. For the reason already stated, that there was insufficient private capital available for the project. Not surprising when you consider that most of the population (say 80% to 90%) was engaged in agriculture. Only the state had the resources to inject capital into some enterprise.
Not having the needed capital to undertake a venture implies something about undertaking that venture. When the government bureaucrats make that decision, how do they really know that more agriculture wouldn’t be the best thing right now? Why not steal money from people and create carrot juicers instead?
Why? Simply to make the point that historically, most of the monuments built in the past were built by governments
That would monuments like the vanity tombs we call the Pyramids in Egypt. Similar monuments in South America, Defensive projects like China's Great Wall, And Sasanian Irans, Great wall of Gorgan, or Religious buildings such as the Jerusalem Temple, Egyptian Temples or Roman Temples (converted for christian use) Personally, aside from what they tell us of the past, I do not place a high value on any of these human projects, but they would not have been built without the use of capital accumulated by the state. (Cant say whether they were built efficiently etc.) Maybe we can relegate modern 'marvels' built by private capital like a certain Tower who's descriptive name commences with T (grin) or any other skyscraper built as investments to a similar category.
So now our views of human life start to converge, as you state:
What is so important about venture XYZ that you have to steal capital from everyone (taxes), pool it, and start the venture?
I read that link you mentioned about leaking buildings, but there is still more to be said about the regulatory regime (or lack of it) during those years.
The move here in the early 1990s was away from "prescriptive" to "light-handed" regulation of industry (sometimes referred to as "self-regulation"), in which the law stated what must be done, BUT ......... not how to do it. This was in accord with the Free Market ideas that were still dominant in business and government.
With regards to the weatherproofing of buildings, the 1992 Building Regulations only stipulated three things:
(i) That the building must be able to last for at least 50 years
(ii) That the roof must last for at least 15 years
(iii) That both walls and roof must be waterproof.
Nowhere did the 1992 regulations make any attempt to tell builders how to achieve these requirements. This was "Light-handed" Regulation in practice, leaving such matters to that buzz-phrase of the time, "individual choice".
The standard that you mention (NZS 3604) is not even cited in the 1992 Building Regulations. Rather than being a "Government" document, this and other such standards were compiled by the Standards Council of New Zealand - an organisation that fulfilled a similar role to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). On their own, such standards had (and still have) no legal binding. That only takes place if the standard is stipulated in legislation.
For a very thoughtful discussion on this whole matter , Brian Easton's Regulatory Lessons from the Leaky Home Experience is a worthwhile read. (Easton is a well known New Zealand economist, who has been involved with the writing of more than 30 books. His observations about regulatory failure and the leaking building issue can be accessed on the following link. http://igps.victoria.ac.nz/publications/files/aea9bc2e751.pdf )
During those years of the late 1980s / early 1990s, attempts to implement Free-Market reforms in this country resulted in much mayhem, but failed to bring about economic recovery. One could certainly write a book about that on its own, and Prosperity Mislaid by Leonard Bayliss is one such informative work. (Again, Bayliss can write with considerable authority. A graduate of Cambridge University, he was an economist with the Reserve Bank for 15 years, before becoming the Chief Economist for the Bank of New Zealand, a position he held for a similar period. Later still, he served as a board member of that same bank).
Not that you need the likes of an economist to tell you about the mayhem that "Rogernomics" caused. You only need to drive around the former forestry towns in the Central North Island to see that some of its legacy is still ongoing (that is, if you are brave enough and your stomach is up to it!)
PS: During that same time, our industry (electrical) likewise went the "Light-handed" regulation way. Thankfully, though, they woke up to themselves in time before a similar disaster as this afflicted the electrical industry.