Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

Is it the Government Job to create Infrastructure?

rated by 0 users
Not Answered This post has 0 verified answers | 24 Replies | 2 Followers

Not Ranked
2 Posts
Points 85
austrianeco posted on Sat, Apr 14 2012 3:57 PM

In the Free Market, many claim that their wouldn't be enough schools or roads. Refute this Statement.

  • | Post Points: 65

All Replies

Top 75 Contributor
1,010 Posts
Points 17,405

austrianeco:
In the Free Market, many claim that their wouldn't be enough schools or roads. Refute this Statement.

There is never enough of everything, that's the entire point of economics. Schools and roads are really no different than cars or space stations, we have to spend scarce resources to produce them. And as with all other goods, the market is vastly superior at producing schools and roads than the state. That does not mean there will necessarily be enough of them, as there might be more valuable uses of our resources than schools or roads. Too few roads and schools is a good thing if the alternative is not enough food and medicine. If the state builds "enough" roads and schools, even if it could do this just as efficiently as the market, it would take away resources from more urgent needs.

Most socialists have long conceded the "to build roads"-argument and have since switched to an "to protect the environment"-argument in favor of national socialism, which will require another few decades and a few hundred million lives to seep in.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
2,360 Posts
Points 43,785
z1235 replied on Sat, Apr 14 2012 4:32 PM

It can't be refuted because it is correct -- a reflection of reality. Both in "the free market" and in "the chained market", there will never be "enough" of anything. Unless you define "enough" first...

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
4,987 Posts
Points 89,745

Z wins.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
6,953 Posts
Points 118,135

Aww come on.  That's a cop out.  All he has to do is admit poor wording on his part and then come back with: "Okay smartypants.  How would a completely free market provide enough schools and roads (and maintenence thereof) to maintain and/or grow beyond the standard of living we have now?"

 

Then where will you be?

 

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 10 Contributor
Male
4,987 Posts
Points 89,745
Wheylous replied on Sat, Apr 14 2012 10:19 PM

And how do we quantify standard of living?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
366 Posts
Points 7,345
Fephisto replied on Sun, Apr 15 2012 12:34 AM

Wheylous, John James, you guys are probably the only two quality posters left on the forums (sorry Conza), don't start trolling each other.

Latest Projects

"Even when leftists talk about discrimination and sexism, they're damn well talking about the results of the economic system" ~Neodoxy

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 500 Contributor
267 Posts
Points 5,370

It's fruitless to look at aggregate demand, for roads or for anything else.  What we should ask is 'John' getting enough roads or schools.  Well on the market John has an option, if he wants better education for his kids he can buy it by sacrificing something else or working longer or harder or more productively.  On the market John will always get enough schools for his kids, with enough being how much he desires a quality education for his kids relative to the other things he wants.  

On the other hand he can't just buy more roads.  He can use the roads more though, and he could take roads of a different quality (or travel in his fancy flying car as a result of the economic  development and technological advancement that would surely occur in a truly free society).  

 

... just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own - Albert Jay Nock

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
6,953 Posts
Points 118,135

Fephisto:
Wheylous, John James, you guys are probably the only two quality posters left on the forums (sorry Conza), don't start trolling each other.

 

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
2,360 Posts
Points 43,785
z1235 replied on Sun, Apr 15 2012 8:06 AM

John James:

"Okay smartypants.  How would a completely free market provide enough schools and roads (and maintenence thereof) to maintain and/or grow beyond the standard of living we have now?"

How would a completely free market provide enough X* (and maintanance thereof) to maintain and/or grow beyond the standard of living we have now?

*X = {bread, lollipops, pink Ferraris}

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
286 Posts
Points 5,555

That claim will typically rest on welfare analysis, which is fundamentally flawed, even on it's own terms. 

  1. It rests upon cardinal (quantifiable) utility.
  2. It then uses it's 'utils' to make inter-personal comparisons of utility.

Even if we accept both of these premises, which Austrians don't, it doesn't lead to the conclusion that we should subsidise goods with 'positive consumption externalities'. For one thing, who decides what the merit goods are? I am huge fan of Star Trek. if everyone watched Star Trek I would be much happier, therefore Star Trek should be subsidised since the external benefit to me of you watching Star Trek isn't included in the market price. Clearly this is absurd, but it's the same argument that mainstream economists will make for public scholing. Attempting to apply 'shadow prices' to peoples values does not solve the problem.

Secondly, is it only market actions that have external costs and benefits? No, externalities actually apply more to the state than to the market. Certainly most people on this forum feel that there is a cost imposed on them in the form of having to pay taxes beyond the monetary cost of the taxes themselves (the cost of githat the state doesn't have to take into account when they raise taxes to pay for public education.

There is no way of avioding externalities in the real world, they simply happen. The only way to minimise them is to allow stable property rights allow private activism to do the rest. Sure, right now Star Trek is being underconsumed, but if I open up a charity I can spend my money promoting Star Trek consumption to the extent that I feel it benefits me. 

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
6,953 Posts
Points 118,135

z1235:
John James:
"Okay smartypants.  How would a completely free market provide enough schools and roads (and maintenence thereof) to maintain and/or grow beyond the standard of living we have now?"
How would a completely free market provide enough X* (and maintanance thereof) to maintain and/or grow beyond the standard of living we have now?    *X = {bread, lollipops, pink Ferraris}

John James as the statist:

"Exactly.  How would this 'free market' you love so much and seem to think is the answer to everything provide enough of anything to maintain the standard of living we have now?  You're making my whole point for me."

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
2,360 Posts
Points 43,785
z1235 replied on Sun, Apr 15 2012 12:54 PM

John James as the statist:

"Exactly.  How would this 'free market' you love so much and seem to think is the answer to everything provide enough of anything to maintain the standard of living we have now?  You're making my whole point for me."

Who do you think provides bread, lollipops, and pink Ferraris now?

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
6,953 Posts
Points 118,135

How do you think all the ingredients for the bread, lollipops, and pink Ferraris get from point A to point B?  The "invisible hand" of the magical free market just teleports them to the factories and then to the stores?

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Page 1 of 2 (25 items) 1 2 Next > | RSS