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Massive Free Market Projects
#1
I’ll start upfront that if this belongs in another thread and I’ve slopped up the board by posting a new one, I apologize.

I was thinking about a leftist argument, against which I’ve been debating, defending the need of massive public projects as justification for the many intrusive economic mechanisms of government, which was then leveraged in the conversation as a segue to Malthusian/Keynesian viewpoints. I’m not the most astute history buff, but I was under the impression that is what the early corporation (at least in the US) was designed to achieve –public works projects? Correct me if I’m wrong.

I ask this because we had hit a point where I’m not sure I disagree and that’s concerning. We’ve split corporations down between Private and Social frameworks defined by the function the incorporation serves. Such as a Private Corporation would be defined as business owners agreeing to split the shares among themselves as a way to properly divide the yields; however public corporations would be anything that is traded at large on the market. The argument pressed an observation that if 1000 people owned a business would that business qualify as a collective instrument? Doesn’t that make such an instrument, more or less, an economic government? Where do we draw the line? And would the State be justified in regulating these collective instruments (as opposed to the private) as a balancing mechanism to the massive amounts of capital they have at their disposal? The line that got me was, “the dangers inherent in power are driven by human nature, which is not subject to change merely because of the societal classification we assign an object, such as a political or economic engine.”

The original basis of the split came from my liberal friend, which is that collective instruments (governments, economic governments, etc.) tend toward a reduced ethical and moral output overtime because they act as a buffer between the constituents (or shareholders) and the action(s) in their name. Theoretical argument, of course, I see no evidence unless we argue the finer points of the power and anonymity inherent in size – and that both government and corporations are inclined to grow. The constituents drive the momentum for the desired results of a collective instrument, as in, State Advantage or Profit, and the constant pressure along with the natural tendencies of power drive the representative (or not-so-representative) persons to justify actions they would not have done otherwise. Granted, given the roles in society that each various classification serves there are differences. I’m more concerned about the comment regarding the natural tendencies of power.

I’d like to counter, justifying the limitation of intrusive government influence by utilizing technology, developing sites like Kickstarter.com, where businesses could all invest in an intuitive way to support massive infrastructure projects that are to their mutual advantage, outside of state meddling and the natural inefficiencies of heavy-handed bureaucracies. They set limits, goals, raise capital, are all part of the process, and develop. However, in my thought-problem I’ve run into a major obstacle, the STATE. I could not see the State agreeing with these massive projects unless the Corruptocrats had something to gain from it, introducing the very problems I sought to avoid. Banghead
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#2
Boy, you certainly know how to pick a deep subject. Spiteful

Oh, and could you provide a bit more background on this? Obviously you are discussing this on another location, correct?

I'll have to think about this for a little bit. But my first thoughts about government vs private corporations somehow makes me think of how such early ventures were carried out in the early days of the country. I'm thinking of this because that period is more where the ideal balance was taken.

And the best example of this may well be that of the Eire Canal project. I will have to bone up on it since I never studied it in depth. And also keep in mind that the canal network, while a monumental accomplishment, was almost immediately superseded by the railroad system, making it obsolete almost overnight.

I'll have to think more on this thesis or yours.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
Have a Gneiss Day!
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#3
Early 'corporations' in this country functioned the same way they did in Britain. Do you think the East India Company or the Virginia Company were interested in "public works" anymore than John Handcock's smuggling operations? You might argue that the former were designed to further the crown and commonwealth while the latter was designed to enrich a patriot scoundrel but I don't really see a difference. 'Public' implies the public at large. A group of shareholders are not the public at large. Corporations can aid and be aided by government ... via fascism, but the general benefits are still bestowed directed on individuals ... or AN individual.

For a corporation to truly qualify as a "collective instrument", the distribution of profits would need to be 'progressive' ... with equal numbers of 'shares' some share holders would be 'entitled' to more ... and others would get less (to steal from Orwell, some would be "more equal than others"). But that's not how businesses work or are legally formulated. No one would be stupid enough to heavily capitalize such an enterprise under such a charter.

We have an example of private corporate funding driving large infrastructure (I would not call the "public works") projects here in Colorado. In one case an major stretch of metro highway (36 Boulder Turnpike) is being handed over to an Australian company to run. The public was pretty livid as the plan was kept pretty much under wraps by government and it involves converting part of it (back) into a toll road. CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) will not release the details of the contract to the public citing "proprietary concerns" of the corporation. A similar measure is in the works for a section of Interstate 25. In these cases the 'state' isn't an obstacle, it's a facilitator of transferring public assets to private interests for fun and profit (under an undisclosed agreement). How would this fit into your "Massive Free Market Project" scenario?
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."
-- Henry Mencken
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#4
Hello, Marcus Levy Lzuru! Perhaps you can start at the beginning when discussing this with your Liberal friend: define terms, first, then proceed from there?

The argument seems to be that after old, established, entrepreneurial companies become successful, the market invests in them - making this company public and therefore definable as governmentally invested.

Go back to history.

The history of our country is clear: It was the government that charged outrageous prices and tried to pawn off shoddy merchandise, while the private businesses that supplanted them did the job right, charged lower prices, and did it without government subsidies that kept the monopolies afloat.
Historian Burt W. Folsom Wrote:The school books give the impression that robber barons stepped in to exploit whatever they could, and were a negative point in history. The lesson the books should be teaching is that in the world of commerce, the profit motive, the structure of incentives. and the stifling tendencies of bureaucrats are such that those businesses run by entrepreneurs will consistently outperform those run by the government. Instead, the authors had a bias for a strong central government. When the authors were called on these reports, they agreed that they were not reporting fact, but incorrect, unsubstantiated ideology.

As a prime example, what happened in Michigan, my home state, is the rule and not the exception.

Based on Grace Kachaturoff's Michigan - Folsom Wrote:When the state builds a project, the incentives are different from those of private enterprise. Satisfying political interests is often more important to legislators than building a railroad that is financially sound and well constructed. State builders use taxpayers’ money, not their own. If the road fails, it’s the state, not the builders, with empty pockets. The Michigan story is full of accounts of padded vouchers, illegal bidding, cost overruns, and the stealing of materials by contractors and even by the citizens themselves. Since no one actually owned the railroads, no one felt the responsibility to take care of them.

Judge Thomas Cooley, Michigan’s most famous 19th-century lawyer and a president of the American Bar Association, observed this waste firsthand. He wrote about it later and said, "By common consent it came to be considered that the State in entering upon these works had made a serious mistake." The people of Michigan, Cooley reported, became convinced "that the management of railroads was in its nature essentially a private business, and ought to be in the hands of individuals." In 1846, therefore, the state of Michigan abandoned all the canals and sold the Central and Southern Railroads, which were only partly completed, to private investors. The new owners promised to do some rebuilding and to expand the lines to the Chicago area. From this distress sale, the state recovered one-half of its $5 million investment and ended its headaches from being in the railroad business.

Once the railroads had been privatized, they were rebuilt with care and extended across the state. At last, Michigan citizens had the roads they needed to trade and thrive. This turnaround was so startling that its implications were not lost on Michigan voters. They learned from history.

In 1850, Michigan threw out its old constitution and wrote a new one. It read, "the State shall not subscribe to or be interested in the stock of any company, association, or corporation." Furthermore, "the State shall not be a party to or interested in any work of internal improvement, nor engaged in carrying on any such work" except to provide land. The heavily taxed voters were determined to learn from their mistakes and chart a better future for the state. In the years of laissez-faire that followed, Michigan’s entrepreneurs developed the state’s natural resources—lumber and iron ore—so effectively that Michigan soon became a major industrial state.

Therefore, the debate is not just that a company can evolve into a complicated economic entity with strings attached by government - but that the more strings get attached, the least successful such an entity is - over what it could be.
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#5
Automation resurgent.

The new news here is a new economic paradigm within 15 years. Like in Star Trek's: Voyage Home, when Kirk was asked if he didn't use money in the future, and he said, "No, we don't."

A.I. and robotics is replacing human activities big time. Building cars on an assembly line is one thing - but replacing farm pickers and other repetitive and dreary jobs is accelerating. These human jobs are low-order entry-level work that no one wants to do, except those who have no good job skills. The only pride in such jobs is that the jobs are hard and doing them shows grit and determination.

Within 15 years, if half the entire job force has been replaced by machines, there won't be enough replacement jobs designing the machines. We even have sex robots to replace hookers. Somehow, income must be reinvented. How does one get ahead, if one can't participate by working?

Wealth must be linked to ownership of these machines. The non-workers can only survive by having vested interests in the machines that have replaced them. We must avoid the pitfalls of the Nanny-state to create this new economy.

The trade-offs are simple. Wealth earned by machines goes towards maintenance and reinvestment, and in corporate profit. Since consumers need income in order to buy and fund business. Ocasio-Cortez has the timeline correct - except it is for a new economic paradigm, and not Climate Change.

The choice for sharing the wealth sure looks like socialism, doesn't it? Perhaps one must be in something like the Peace Corps or United Federation of Planets to earn income?
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