Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Stuff to Nationalise

Marco has said that The Economist (pbuh) has said that it would be easier to provide a short list of things that shouldn't be privatised than a list of things that should. Here is my go at a list!

Insurance. The funds required to compensate unfortunates for losses due to fire, theft, etc., should be raised by taxation. Private companies make sure they extract this much from punters, and then as much extra as they can possibly manage, in an evil and invidious con game.

Banking. Charging interest is un-Islamic, un-Christian, and creates a welfare mentality among investors who think they can get something for nothing. Banks should be run by the state and invest their money in productive ways.

Transport Infrastructure, Communications Infratstructure and Utilities Infrastructure. Experimental evidence is that private individuals and corporations tear these to pieces in an orgy of pillage. While resources will be most efficiently allocated if vast sections of the country are abandoned and the underclass are allowed to rot, the overall decisions about the amount to be invested in these things, and where it should be invested, ought to be the decision of the elected representatives of the people, Holy Roman Emperor, or Great Council of Giant Robots.*

Health. See Arthur Koestler's book 'The Zero and the Infinite'. The value of the individual to themselves is infinite; their value to the community as a whole is close to zero. Thus health is the field where maximum discord can be expected between the interests of the individual and the community, and where the consumer can be expected to behave with maximum irrationality.

Higher and Technical Education. Here, again there is a large divergence between the interests of the individuals (who want to get rich doing nothing) and the community (which will fall to bits if everyone does this). Also, I have good anecdotal evidence that left to their own devices, students are irrational twits.

Oil Companies. Everyone seems to nationalise these, so it must be a good idea.

*: These are currently my three favourite forms of government.
In other news, I disturbingly seem to have slipped to only 92% Clam nature.

8 comments:

Dave said...

Aren't all those ~ infrastructure things you mentioned actually already nationalised?

Marco said...

puyagfaTwo points:

* You have left out a whole heap of stuff that is nationalised already. Is everything else that is already nationalised ok to be nationalised. or partly nationalised? eg. military, pensions, law enforcement, law making, judiciary, primary education etc.

* I can go part way with you on health, and I would probably agree in the infrastructure in general, but nationalising the rest in a competitive world environment would destroy a country's economy.

ps. it is a pretty long list.

Dr. Clam said...

Yay! My transparent attempt to goad comments from Marco has succeeded.

No, I think the judiciary, and law enforcement can safely be contracted out to private enterprise. Law making, as opposed to enforcement, is not an economic activity and does not count as 'stuff', hence should remain in the hands of the gummint.

Defense ought to go on the list, I guess, though I can see economies of scale in contracting it out to the Emperor Over the Sea.

Pensions are just a form of life-insurance that gives people a payout for not dying. As such, they count as Insurance.

I think public primary education plays a big role in maintaining national cohesion, but people ought to be allowed to set up their own schools so long as they don't take government money, so I don't demand that it be nationalised. Technically, I guess it is superfluous now that we have Google anyway.

Dr. Clam said...

I can't for the life of my see why government control of higher education (which we and a lot of other countries have had for ages) and amalgamation of banking and insurance into large government-controlled enterprises responsible to voters rather than overseas pension funds would destroy our economy. I think it is a much safer experiment to try than the 'cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 60%' experiment or the 'privatise Telstra' experiment or the 'no-fault divorce' experiment.

Marco said...

I've really got to hit back with a list of my own, and I will in due time. I threw in the law-making thing as a curve ball. I believe it to be government defining, therefore exempt from the argument.

Now democracies have been shown to act stupidly/selfishly against the interest of the whole. Holy roman emperors are unaccountable to the people, whom become subjects like in a large corporation. I don't know how voters acting selfishly would not cause nationalised banks to collapse under the weight of demanded promises.

Dr. Clam said...

Now democracies have been shown to act stupidly/selfishly against the interest of the whole. Holy roman emperors are unaccountable to the people, whom become subjects like in a large corporation. I don't know how voters acting selfishly would not cause nationalised banks to collapse under the weight of demanded promises.

Hence, my interest in government by giant robots, who would be pre-programmed with principles of Marconomics *and* would be able to vaporise people who made extravagant demands of RobobankTM with their laser eyes.

Technically, Holy Roman Emperors were elected (for life, and from an electorate of, I think, six) - in reintroducing the system I would aim to broaden the suffrage somewhat. Also, they would still be held to account by the Pope. So things would work out okay. Trust me!

Jenny said...

millions do

Marco said...

Well I'm working on a counterlist of "Stuff that should remain nationalised", but I've started with some axioms, because I am not sure if it isn't just that which accounts for our different conclusions.