My lefist friend maintains the argument that the government has provided goods that the private sector (which he claims is equivalent to a "free market") had simply failed to provide before the government got involved. He cited access to water, education, and now healthcare. He supplied me with this article:
He admits that the argument is not fully set out in this article, but maintains his position. While I made some standard argument using basic logic (causation doesn't equal correlation; one "successful" method is not necessarily the most successful method), I want to arm myself with a deeper understanding on counter arguments to such positions.
Is he historically accurate? What are the economic flaws in his argument?
Healthcare and something similar to health insurance was in place, before the government got involved. A good amount of resources are here: http://mises.org/daily/3737/Why-ObamaCare-Will-Fail-A-Reading-List. For some history of how it used to be better in a free market, look here: http://mises.org/daily/4276
For water, I don't have much information, but in the linked article, I see a problem, correlation does not equal causation. If technology improves so that a government service does better than a private service did before, does that show that government is better? Someone could probably point you to better resources.
On education, I found a book completely online, that clearly shows what education was like before governments got involved, how it changed, what is currently wrong, and how education should be. There are resources on this site, but I recommend: http://www.campaignforliberty.com/edu/education-freedom.php. Interestingly enough, this book was written by a public-school teacher who was on the job for 30 years.
For healthcare and education, these sources should show you that it is clear that people provided these things before the government.
Schools are labour camps.
You're bringin some good questions. I haven't yet got a chance to welcome you and send you the linke for The Ultimate Beginner meta-thread for a comprehensive collection of relevant links and threads. I think you'll find it really useful. (Also be sure to check out the welcome link there for forum tips and how-to's).
eliotn did a pretty good job on the resources there. (That school teacher who wrote The Underground History of American Education was actually named New York City Teacher of the Year 3 years in a row...and Teacher of the Year for the entire state in the third year. Check him out here. Books are here.
He was featured in the documentary The War on Kids. Although it doesn't focus on the history of education, I highly recommend it.
Even just the title of that article is idiocy. First of all, "water" isn't a "right". It's a chemical substance. Second, people don't even have a "right to water". So it's bad grammar and inaccurate. And to top it off, it's equating a substance that literally falls out of the sky, with medical care. It was done before it started.
As for the history of health care, that first link eliotn provided is a good list. It's included here along with a number of others. Here's some highlights for the specific topic of the history of the industry:
100 Years of US Medical Fascism
Socialized Healthcare vs. The Laws of Economics
100 Years of Medical Robbery
Compulsory Medical Care and the Welfare State [PDF]
I had a long discussion with a progressive type on the Mises Blog a while back. In this post I briefly touch on the education issue:
...do you honestly believe that education and teaching just wouldn’t take place [in a market free from government intervention]? [Education] would just cease to exist? People wouldn’t teach anyone anything and no one would learn anything? We’d all just stagnate and die out. Yes, because man was on Earth for tens of thousands of years never learning anything, up until just 150 years ago when public schools started to become popular.
And that's basically the crux of it. The notion that without some coercive institution threatening people with guns and sanctions, everyone would just die out. It's the same kind of thinking that leads to that ridiculous "day in the life" story. The same thing with major innovations. It's all nonsense. Be sure to check out the responses in those two threads.
Thanks for helping on the introduction. I found the second healthcare article you liked a good read.
Well, in my country, it's pretty much impossible for the market to outdo what the (former Yugoslavian) state provided for the people.
...something I'm the State makes sure of, I'm sure.
Thanks for the welcome. I studied economics at UCLA (although not avidly) and studied law and economics as well in graduate school. With tha said, Austrian economics is nowhere to be found in any program I ever studied under. I appreciate the welcome and the resources.
I personally am seeking to understand Austrian economics and libertarian/ancap princples on a deeper level while being able to simplify such concepts in order to communicate them with others.
I definitely recommend Tom Woods. He's one of the best at exactly what you're talking about. Check out his books, and definitely his new project LibertyClassroom.com