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Re: Madness: Bailing Out Greed in Wonderland
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2008 18:57:04 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Vadim Antonov <avg () kotovnik com>
Date: September 22, 2008 4:27:41 PM EDT
To: Frode Hegland <frode () hyperwords net>
Cc: Russ Nelson <nelson () crynwr com>, Dave Farber <dave () farber net>, Ole Hegland <ole () hegland com>
Subject: Re: [IP] Re:       Madness: Bailing Out Greed in Wonderland

Mmmm... I notice that people who like socialist (and semi-socialist)
countries are those who didn't actually try to live there. Reminds me of
these Americans which were traveling to Stalinist USSR and returned to
write glowing reports about people's paradise.

No beggars... did you check what they do with beggars? Good old USSR
didn't have much in a way of beggars too. These poor souls were caught by police and jailed for the crime of "vagrancy". Singapore does have world's most steep offences for petty crime (you can get caned there for something which would net some community serivce in US, as some Americans discovered
- and there's death penalty for _posession_ of drugs; in fact this nice
country executes even more people per capita than US).  Oh, and their
government routinely lies about how many people they hang.

The drug law also helps stability of political life there... as dissenters are often found to be in posession of things which they didn't have before
the arrest (this is a favorite of Moscow police, too).

And, by the way, they do have mandatory military service.  So if you
happen to be born a male there you're out of luck - two most productive
years of your life are stolen. (I do have first-hand experience of how
*that* looks like - little different from prison, with abuse being doled
daily from the top down).

Life expectancy... well, if you look at the table, you'll notice that in
modern developed countries life expectancy correlates with diet (fish
instead of meat and less bread), sun exposure, and less time spent driving a car (i.e. higher population density and/or smaller size of polity - and,
well, higher real cost of cars). It also helps to have Asian genes.
Guess which state in US has the (by far) highest life expectancy - despite
not having stellar medicine insitutions and relatively poor population?

As for Norway and its social programs... how does one spell "oil"? I think
Russ has better knowledge of what life really looks like there, so I
wouldn't presume to comment on that.



On Tue, 23 Sep 2008, Frode Hegland wrote:

I happen to be in Singapore as I write this.

Politically, not such a free country maybe.

Business has pretty great freedom here but one of the largest
corporations in the land is government owned (Temasek).

But you know what? I don't see any beggars - as I do in every large
American city I have visited. The quality of life is fantastic, the
food is wonderful, the people friendly, hardly any crime. Health care
is 'socialized' here. A great blog post which you can confirm or
criticize pice by piece if you want is this one, which I found through
a simple search and it nicely summaries what I already know:

"It's hard to imagine a country that could provide a more valuable
example than Singapore. The Southeast Asian city-state is widely
regarded as a health care superstar, especially when compared to the
United States. Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. is 78 years; in
Singapore, it's 82 years. The Singaporean infant mortality rate is a
mere 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, versus 6.4 in the U.S. As some
have noted, these trends persist despite the fact that the U.S. has
far more caregivers: 2.6 physicians per 1,000 people, compared with
1.4 physicians in Singapore. The United States has 9.4 nurses per
1,000 people; Singapore, just 4.2. Last≈but certainly not least≈is the
issue of spending: the U.S. spends almost 16 percent of its GDP on
health care, while Singapore spends a mere 3.7 percent."

Quite similar to how I feel at home in socialist Norway.

Personally I don't think that what states control is always all that
bad and that the 'free' enterprise is always that great.

I say that as an entrepreneur who is not fond of long forms to fill
out or high taxes.  :-)

On 22 Sep 2008, at 15:07, Russ Nelson wrote:

Frode Hegland writes:
On 19 Sep 2008, at 22:08, Russ Nelson wrote:
Frode Hegland writes:
How about monopolies? With monopolies there is not much of a

You decline to name a single monopoly created by free markets. I must
conclude that you agree that all monopolies are created by
governments. If a government is setting out to create a monopoly, why
should it create a market?  I don't follow your logic here.

A counter question is simply you believe in any government
on markets at all?

Obviously SOME control of markets makes our lives better. The trouble
is that governments cannot restrict themselves to only passing those
laws.  Once you let a government control markets, the political
process will create controls which, taken in sum (and you MUST count
them all up), make us worse off.

There is a reason why so many parts of the U.S. Constitution say
"shall make no law" or "shall not be infringed" or "No soldier shall"
or "shall not be violated" or "No person shall be held".  It is
because the government very quickly learns to game the agreement
between the people and the government.

If you want to have freedom, you must STRICTLY restrict what your
government can do. When people ask the government to do more (such as
legislate to control markets) we must shame them into withdrawing
their request.

I'm convinced that it's practically impossible to write down an
agreement between the people and the government.  Certainly the
founders failed. Instead, the people must resist their own government
at every turn.  Keep it small, keep it simple, keep it under control,
or it will become your master.

Tried to have a non-Starbucks coffee when you are out and about
recently? That monopoly (and I am a fan of Starbucks) only has two
real competitors: going to a restaurant and staying at home.

Dunkin Doughnuts.  My friend George prefers their coffee.
I was eating there yesterday, and they offered me a FREE vanilla

Not quite coffee shops either one though. I can't see myself plugging
in my laptop in a McDonald's when I'm traveling to get some work

Huh?  You can get coffee.  You said "tried to have a non-Starbucks
coffee" and I said "yeah".  Sorry, but the only way to win this point
is to move the goal line after I've crossed it.

I guess this answers my question above, you seem to think that there
should be no legislation at all for markets. This would then follow
that if one company screws you over your only recourse is to go to a
competitor. Anyway, seems we are a bit apart on this issue but I am
not saying that governments should completely regulate all aspects of
the market.

Unless you can say what parts of the market a government should not
regulate, then you are saying that governments could completely
regulate all aspects of the market.  If you cannot name any one part
of the economic planning of fascism you would not tolerate, can you
say that you are opposed to fascism at all?

My goal here is to get you to realize that unregulation is a slippery
slope to prosperity and freedom.  Once you start to rule out
regulation of one kind because any regulation makes you worse off, you
find out that eliminating other kinds of regulation also makes you
better and better off.  And where would you be then??  You'd have
become a right-wing free-market capitalist, and no good (insert name
of your social group here) would be caught dead advocating for free

Am I being too unfair?  Are you letting social pressure stop you from
examining your beliefs? Hey, we all do it. None of us enjoys finding
out that we can no longer tolerate the beliefs of our social group.
Are you a member of a pack (right or wrong), or are you a rational
individualist willing to argue for what is right?  I'm not going to
judge you if you say "pack member", but you should be aware that that
is what you're doing.

--my blog is at    http://blog.russnelson.com   | Software that needs
Crynwr sells support for free software  | PGPok | documentation is
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315-323-1241       | that needs repair.
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  |     Sheepdog          |

Frode Hegland
The Hyperwords Company
59 Brewer Street, London W1F 9UN, UK
+44 121 288 6767
+44 (0) 207 3655 269

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