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who ought to own bridges currently owned by government?

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cab21 Posted: Wed, Nov 7 2012 11:11 PM

so if government owned property is illegitmate, since  government currently owns  bridges, who ought to be the rightful owners of these bridges that multiple people cross everyday and boats go under?

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gotlucky replied on Wed, Nov 7 2012 11:24 PM

A good rule of thumb when privitizing state property: whoever is using it ought to be the ones to own it. After that it's probably a mixture of auction and homesteading. In the case of bridges, if it's an regularly maintained bridge, it's probably best to leave it to the people who have been maintaining it. If it is not, then it's probably best to consider it a public road, or whoever maintains it first gets to own it.

Even that might not be a good rule. It's probably best to leave it to a case by case basis. The Golden Gate Bridge is not equal to some rickety thing out in the sticks. One requires active maintainance, and the other might not even be necessary.

It's a good question, but I don't think there is a good universal answer.

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The company that built the bridge out to own it.

 

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gotlucky replied on Wed, Nov 7 2012 11:26 PM

That could probably work in the majority of cases. The problem is that not all of these companies are still in business.

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Neodoxy replied on Wed, Nov 7 2012 11:51 PM

I agree with Gotlucky's first post. I don't necessarily like the idea of giving bridges to the companies which built it. It would be a way of doing it and it could have beneficial side effects (here we have a bridge building company which now has a solid form of income, incentive to build more bridges perhaps?) but it's important to remember that the bridge was, when all is said and done, commissioned by the government and paid for with other people's money.

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commissioned by the government and paid for with other people's money.

By that logic, it should be transfered into the collective hand of the tax payers.

We would all own it.

Then you must go back to the maintainer. The maintainer then would have the control of the property.

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 8 2012 12:02 AM

What I was saying was not an argument as such against giving it to the companies, merely an important consideration.

What do you mean by "the maintainer"?

I actually have to say that I do enjoy the idea of communitarian control of bridges. It would help to prevent monopoly prices.

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What is communitarian?

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
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I would say that it would become the property of the inhabitants of the nearest town.

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gotlucky replied on Thu, Nov 8 2012 12:08 AM

Interestingly enough, if everyone owned it or even just the relevant tax payers (good luck figuring out who that was), then it would pretty much be impossible to hire a company to maintain the bridge, as no decisions could be easily made. So after the bridge falls into disrepair, another company can seize the day and construct their own in order to compete! All is solved.

I can only see communitarian ownership if in a small enough community. If it were something as large as the relevant tax payers for the Golden Gate Bridge, I bet that would be a death warrant for the bridge. However, in a relatively small community, it might work relatively well.

However, I wonder if people would sell their shares in the bridge. What good would it do you to own one share in the Golden Gate Bridge with no dividends? Or even with dividends? But if someone were to make an offer to buy up the shares, that might be a good way to privitize the bridge. What's a $30 share in the Golden Gate Bridge going to do for any one particular person?

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 8 2012 12:11 AM

It would be for the market to decide.

@Kelvin Silva

In a manner concerning control by the individuals within a community in general as opposed to statist, centralized, and communistic (egalitarian) control of certain resources.

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Marko replied on Thu, Nov 8 2012 4:30 AM

Interestingly enough, if everyone owned it or even just the relevant tax payers (good luck figuring out who that was), then it would pretty much be impossible to hire a company to maintain the bridge, as no decisions could be easily made.

That's a bold prediction.

What's a $30 share in the Golden Gate Bridge going to do for any one particular person?

That's not really for you to worry about.

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cab21:
so if government owned property is illegitmate, since  government currently owns  bridges, who ought to be the rightful owners of these bridges that multiple people cross everyday and boats go under?

Chapter 11 in "Privatization of Roads and Highways" covers this topic:

https://www.mises.org/document/4084/The-Privatization-of-Roads-and-Highways

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That's not really for you to worry about.

This is one of the most important realization people have to come to to understand market economies.

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What's a $30 share in the Golden Gate Bridge going to do for any one particular person?

What's a $20 share in Facebook going to do for any one particular person?

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Marko:

That's a bold prediction.

If they were to elect a board of directors, then it would probably be business as usual without any problems.

Marko:

That's not really for you to worry about.

Well it's a good thing I'm not worrying about it. Thanks for expressing your concern.

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Andris Birkmanis:

What's a $20 share in Facebook going to do for any one particular person?

I hope you aren't suggesting that it is typical for people to only trade in one share at a time. Certainly people can and do that that...but it's not the typical trade. My point was that Joe San Francisco might not have much use for one share worth $30, but Bob Entrepreneur might be interested in acquiring many shares. So Bob buys from Joe and many others. It's logically possible that every single person will never sell their one share, but it's also logically possible all Americans will burn all their cash tomorrow.

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Marko:
That's a bold prediction.

Could you please explain yourself here?

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I hope you aren't suggesting that it is typical for people to only trade in one share at a time.

I must have misread your post the first time. My objection is withdrawn.

On a related note, I think privatisation of the state factories was done in a similar manner in Russia. As a result, the management managed to buy all shares from workers for a song in most places. Not saying that privatisation always ends like that, or that workers must be baby-sitted, just an observation.

ON EDIT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privatization_in_Russia#Voucher_privatization_.281992.E2.80.931994.29

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That's pretty interesting. I wonder if the same thing would occur in a wealthier society like America. Would the poor be as quick to sell anyway? If only the government would privitize and let us find out.

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I had always envisioned a big ass auction on everything? Where the taxes payed is the credits. But then comes the problem of what do people who were wrongfully imprisioned get? How do you value a lost year etc etc?

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Jargon replied on Thu, Nov 8 2012 9:42 AM

I would think the American response would be miles different. The soviet people had for a long time not been used to managing any of their financial affairs. They had thought of wealth in terms of favors for goods. That is how people were able to acquire what they needed, by trading corrupt little bureaucrat favors for black market goods. They didn't really think of wealth as banknotes or shares. That is certainly how Americans regard wealth and I would expect them to apply more prudence to the management of their shares.

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They didn't really think of wealth as banknotes or shares.

Not entirely true, my grandma saved up quite a lot both in cash and in government bonds, hoping this would be useful for her kids. Needless to say, both were devalued to nothing by government.

I guess this bitter experience with paper issued by government was part of the reason the workers sold their shares ASAP.

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Autolykos replied on Thu, Nov 8 2012 11:43 AM

I think bridges would tend to be owned by those who own the roads that they're parts of.

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cab21 replied on Thu, Nov 8 2012 2:09 PM

http://www.i5highway.com/

so if bridges just become part of the roads, who gets to own roads like this that span from canada to mexico? does one company get to own the whole or does it get broken up?

maybe i just get the idea that something like the kkk is going to want to purchase a road or parts of a road and lynch any black person that wants to use it  or ban blacks from using the road or charge higher fees or something.

if the state just simply sold it's assests i feel the buyerwould be benefiting from theft of my money and then somehow have the right to exclude people that paid those taxes from use of the road they paid for.

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Anenome replied on Thu, Nov 8 2012 2:32 PM

Probably the easiest answer would be to change the local city governments into corporations and put into their hands all the property formerly owned by the city (except undeveloped land which has never been owned, only kept unowned by the state) and put everyone who lives in that city as a shareholder in the corporation. From there the market will take care of itself.

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put everyone who lives in that city as a shareholder in the corporation.

People who live just a hundred feet outside the imaginary city border will feel quite bitter, I would imagine.

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Marko replied on Thu, Nov 8 2012 4:57 PM

People who live just a hundred feet outside the imaginary city border will feel quite bitter, I would imagine.

Yet they will partake in some other property the people on the other side of the line will not.

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Anenome replied on Thu, Nov 8 2012 5:04 PM

I mean, I suppose the way to go would be try to figure out how much each person had paid in taxes to fund that bridge, and give proportional shares. If someone outside the city wasn't forced to pay into it, they can be bitter all they want :P

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I don't see how you can involuntarily offer people up for ownership. Even in a class action suit, you have to speak up to claim loss. So, until someone makes a claim for the property, they aren't an issue in the matter regardless of the boundary in which they reside. Sounds like the DMV on crack. You'd lose all interest in anyone obtaining the property when you told them they'd have to establish an office to write $2.13 checks to all 12 million Los Angeleans or other such absurdity...
I'd think an auction would take place, with potential for everyone to buy each other out, and the claimants who must also be bidders splitting the winning bid, or ownership respective to their contribution. Kind of like a betting pool.

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Anenome replied on Thu, Nov 8 2012 9:07 PM
 
 

I'm talking within the context of a transition away from statism, where cities and dissolving in favor of rulerless regions governed by free association.

In such an instance, all public property is immediately in flux. Rationally, the people who were taxed to pay for the things therein bought should be made the owners, they are the ones who had their wealth confiscated to pay for those things.

Even if you held an auction and sold to highest bidder, you'd still have to pay those people back in proportion to the wealth they'd had confiscated individually, so you're not improving anything in terms of logistics.

 
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If someone outside the city wasn't forced to pay into it, they can be bitter all they want :P

In some countries bridges are financed from the top-level budget (taxes), not from municipal one.

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Anenome replied on Fri, Nov 9 2012 3:30 AM

Yeah, it's a point. Cross that bridge when we come to it :P

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I see what you did there.

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It goes back to the same principle. In order to claim ownership of something, you actually have to claim ownership of something. Applying ownership to everyone inside an arbitrary radius is just communism. Unowned property can be staked by anyone.

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Anenome replied on Fri, Nov 9 2012 1:49 PM
 
 

HabbaBabba:

It goes back to the same principle. In order to claim ownership of something, you actually have to claim ownership of something. Applying ownership to everyone inside an arbitrary radius is just communism. Unowned property can be staked by anyone.

Again, this is within the context of supposing the world suddenly capitulated to libertarianism and asked us how to dispose of public property.

If I say the bridge rightfully belongs to those who paid for it, and we should make a corporation and give each shares in it and run the bridge for profit from there. That does not say anything about the mechanism of achieving that.

Probably you'd begin by putting the word out in newspapers and internet. Create a claims-website for people to put in claims, ask them for details of how long they've lived there, figure out a "tax multiplier" where you could translate taxes paid into shares owned.

It would be a mess, but my point about the principle that people who paid for it should own it is that, that should guide the process. A bridge is not immediately unowned just because the government went away. Nor is this an "arbitrary radius" as you say. There's nothing arbitrary about figuring out how much everyone paid for it and offering everyone a chance to own it to that proportion.

 
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How is it not unowned? The government owns it now. If they go away, then nobody owns it. Everyone has a chance to own it at whatever proportion they want it at. Remember, it is as of now perfectly legal for government to not only steal, but to own property. You don't have a claim to the road jsut because you live there. It is arbitrary, as arbitrary as the boundaries you wish to use. No single tax dollar can be traced toward anything.

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Anenome replied on Fri, Nov 9 2012 2:21 PM
 
 

HabbaBabba:

How is it not unowned? The government owns it now.

The government's ownership is illegitimate. It had paid for a bridge from money it has stolen from others. The question of ownership when the current owner is removed from the equation is a question of whom has the best claim on that property. It is only just that those whom were forced to pay for that bridge should have the highest claim to it so that they can try to reclaim at least some of the wealth appropriated from them in order to build it.

In a similar way, if the government taxed people that year and failed to spend any of the money before it was disbanded, we would not say that the bank account with all the funds in it is now suddenly unowned and open to appropriation by anyone at all. We should instead say that the money should be divvied back out to those who paid into it by force.

A bridge is no different than that bank account, it's just the account has been spent on the bridge. Since that money was never legitimately the government's, neither was the bridge. It was actually owned by those who paid for it, but government had used force to prevent their claim from taking force.

HabbaBabba:
If they go away, then nobody owns it. Everyone has a chance to own it at whatever proportion they want it at. Remember, it is as of now perfectly legal for government to not only steal, but to own property. You don't have a claim to the road jsut because you live there. It is arbitrary, as arbitrary as the boundaries you wish to use. No single tax dollar can be traced toward anything.

I disagree. It may impossible to completely and correctly compensate those who've been stolen from by the government, that doesn't mean all government property is suddenly up for grabs if it goes away. Those people whose wealth were taken to pay for those things have the highest claim, even if you can't prove what exactly it was spent on. The answer is to give proportional ownership over everything. And it's quite likely that once you'd given everyone who claimed one a proportional claim that all that property would be liquidated to pay people back as best as possible.

 
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The flaw there is, their money was stolen. Not their bridge. The money is long gone. Sorry you got ripped off but that was yesterday's system. And yesterday, it was totally legit.

A bank account is property of the bank. In any case of claim of loss, the burden of proof that you were damaged, is on you. It cannot be proven. Thus arbitrarily handing property out by some fictitious boundary, and a fictitious percentage. All of which is eaten in the process of determining what that percentage and boundary was by the way.

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Anenome replied on Fri, Nov 9 2012 2:46 PM
 
 

No, the principle is that if a thief takes your money and buys an apple with it, what should be done with the apple when the thief is caught.

At the very least, it should be given to him whose money was taken.

It's ridiculous to think your claim to value stolen from you should end just because the thief bought something with it. The person stolen from certainly has a better claim on the stolen goods by virtue of having their own money spent on it by the thief than to assume that it's abandoned property and open for appropriation by all.

 

 
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