On Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM, LizR <lizj...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 18 November 2013 22:41, Telmo Menezes <te...@telmomenezes.com> wrote:
>>
>> On Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 1:02 AM, LizR <lizj...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> > This is quite simple. Markets ignore the commons, hence a free market
>> > solution can't - or is highly unlikely - to work.
>>
>> Yes, but this is circular. You're saying that the market cannot work
>> for things that you do not allow to be part of the market. The
>> government has to exist, otherwise how is the government to exist?
>
>
> It isn't part of the market because no one wants it to be, not because no
> one allows it to be.

Sure, and I don't blame people. We all spend about 12 years in the
government's education system. The manufactured consent relies on
several devices, namely political parties exploring human tribal
tendencies. This is why you see people defending Obama while he does
many things that they find repugnant. Another powerful weapon is fear.

>>
>> > No one is going to clean
>> > up the commons, just as they didn't in medieval villages, because there
>> > is
>> > no incentive for an individual, or a specific group, to do so.
>>
>> The medieval times were not exactly a period of free market, so this
>> would be an example on how government can solve things... or not. In
>> reality, many of the things we learned in high school about medieval
>> times are myths or gross simplifications
>
>
> Not the tragedy of the commons, however. But even if it was the logic would
> hold.
>>
>>
>> > The tragedy
>> > of the commons is one reason to have governments, because everyone wants
>> > something done that no one will do "off their own bat" - but they are
>> > prepared to chip in a donation towards the government doing it, or
>> > organising somone else to do it.
>>
>> If they are prepared to chip in a donation there is no problem. If
>> there is money to be made, the free market will be glad to oblige. You
>> don't seem prepared to call things by its names: the idea of
>> government is that, when people are not prepared to chip in, they are
>> forced to do so, ultimately by violent means. The paradox here is that
>> you are trusting a small group of people with this coercive power and
>> then expecting this small group and power asymmetry to result in more
>> altruism.
>>
>> Again, reality is complex. Current forms of democracy would not work
>> if implemented in previous cultures, because people would not accept
>> the social norms that come with them. You cannot police everything or
>> even 1% of what's going on. Systems work because they become stable.
>> This stability does not come from consent (I was born into this system
>> and never consented to it, neither did you). It comes from the
>> emergence of sets of incentives. I disagree with many laws that I'm
>> not going to break because the personal cost to me would be too great.
>> Suppose I decide I don't trust the government with my tax money, so I
>> decide to take it instead and give it directly to organisations that I
>> deem worthy: hospitals, schools, research centres and so on. I would
>> end up in jail for "chipping in". In fact government robs me of my
>> freedom to chip in, because they take all of my "chip in" money and
>> then some, and then give it to banks.
>>
>> Incentives also emerge from free markets, importantly the incentive to
>> be nice to the people you trade with. Where there are more trade
>> routes there are less wars. If you are polluting the air I breath you
>> are being hostile towards me, and I am less likely to want to enter a
>> transaction with you. But these delicate balances can't arise under
>> coercion and market distortion.
>>
>> > And if no one does it, we all end up worse
>> > off (perhaps fatally so in this case). It ain't rocket science, although
>> > game theory has something to say about it.
>>
>> Prisoner dilemma scenarios don't magically disappear once you
>> introduce coercion. In fact, I argue that they multiply.
>
>
> You seem to be arguing against a straw man here.  I explained why the free
> market can't fix the tragedy of the commons. You haven't answered my point.

Well I tried to point out several examples on how it does. Trade
reduces violence, for example. In a free market, reputation is very
important. This is why careers can be destroyed in a free market, but
this never seems to happen to people who control means of coercion.
Reputation is a natural mechanism that our species evolved precisely
to deal with tragedy of the commons like situations.

With more freedom, people don't become suddenly irrational. Our
civilisation improves because we know more and our analytical skills
keep improving. Also because we taste better lives. I have a window
that faces a private courtyard. If I started throwing my trash out of
the window, my neighbours wouldn't be too happy about it. I wouldn't
want to do it either, I like my surroundings to be clean. None of this
would change with more freedom. Me and my neighbours have to cooperate
to hire someone to clean the common areas. Agreeing to do my part is a
contractual obligation for me to rent an apartment in the building. If
I was unhappy with this imposition, I might chose another building
instead. This scales all the way up, of course, but we are not allowed
such choices all the way up. If I tried to buy some land and start an
independent city, stormtroopers would show up at some point. Even if
I'm not harming anyone. Even if I'm totally self-reliant.

Another example is open source. I would bet that most of the software
we are relying on to exchange this message is open source. That is to
say, it was produced through voluntary cooperation and given away for
free. How do you explain that without government intervention?

In fact, in the 90s Microsoft wasn't too happy with how the web was
suddenly exploding and out of their control. Using their monopolistic
position, they created a browser and gave it away for free, then
stalled its development. This created a tragedy of the commons
situation for the rest of us: we would all benefit from a better web
but this was too costly of a problem for any of us to face
individually, and there was quick profit to be made by just
cooperating with the status quo. This deadlock was broken by Firefox,
an open source effort that had to fight against not only Microsoft but
also governments, that initially created many services that would only
work on Internet Explorer. Later on we had a similar fight for
document formats. Office created a dead lock that removed operating
system choice from people. Microsoft managed to corrupt the standards
body, but eventually the situation is being solved by disruptive
alternatives created by open source efforts and the market. Now it is
mostly when I'm interacting with some parts of the government that I
still have to worry about having to work with some weird .doc files.

Telmo.

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