On 11/18/2013 1:46 AM, LizR wrote:
On 18 November 2013 22:41, Telmo Menezes <te...@telmomenezes.com <mailto:te...@telmomenezes.com>> wrote:


    On Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 1:02 AM, LizR <lizj...@gmail.com 
<mailto: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.


    > 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.

And he's so concerned with anti-government straw men that he hasn't noticed that a market requires government (including coercion) to define ownership and punish fraud. Without government you couldn't own any more stuff than you could carry and defend by force of arms.

Brent

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