Roads, Education, and Waterways: The Case Against Public Services

In this lecture Dr. Walter Block explains why you would privatize anything based on ethical considerations and economic efficiency considerations and applies privatization to the three most controversial areas: Waterways, Education and Roads. (notes below)

This lecture is of special value to consider the arguments block makes in regards to water as the Indian River Lagoon and problems with species extinction.

If you enjoy this lecture you can find others that deal with pollution, environmentalism, conservation and privatization by Walter Block here

 

Roads, Education, and Waterways: The Case Against Public Services | Walter Block

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPCk69X9AF8

Lew gives Walter a warm introduction followed by an introduction to privatization by Block

I.            Why privatize

  1. Morality/ethics- when I trade my pen for your tie we have a voluntary exchange.  No coercion whatsoever involved.  If ties and pens weren’t privatized then we’d engage in transfer of the items where govt would collect money and distribute the goods.  This is coercive as some are forced to pay for something which they may not want.
  2. Economic efficiency- if trade pen for tie then you must value pen more than tie and me the tie more than the pen.  Both sides gain a profit of the difference of value in each two objects to eachother.  If you are forced to get the pen than can’t deduce that you benefitted bc if you did benefit you would have done it voluntarily

i.      Dollar vote: In free markets consumers control the market.  Bad producers aren’t patronized and go out of business. People vote with dollars everyday

ii.      Political vote: No market mechanism to get rid of FEMA after Katrina. If FEMA were private it wouldn’t be around.  Mistakes aren’t the problem its that there is no mechanism to punish mistakes and it instead rewards incompetence and retards competence.

II.            Privatizing Oceans (12:30)-

  1. Earth surface- 25% land, 75% oceans.  Almost all GDP is on land. Disproportionate amount of productivity on land than ocean.  Some may be due to people living on land and not water but not the whole story

i.      Tragedy of the commons- when something is unowned or commonly owned we tend to treat it in a different way than if it is privately owned.

  1. Lesson of straws and one cup vs personal cup/straw and rate of drinking
  2. Reason why collectivized farms in USSR was inefficient is bc of tragedy of the commons. 3% private, 97% of land is public.  But that 3% of land grew 25% of the crops. If you own a cow and cow having calf at 3am you will be out with the cow making sure it does well as income and value is dependent upon both cow and calf.  If it is collectivized and nobody owns the cow no incentive to get up bc you own very little of it and benefits that accrue to you are very small
  3. The cow and the buffalo- cow never got close to extinction bc people owned them.  Never went and shot all cows owned bc opportunity cost of doing so is very high.  Buffalo in Dances with Wolves where whtieman was evil killed all buffalo.  It was rational to bc if you didn’t shoot it someone else would and you would lose out on something you cannot preserve or maintain.  Same thing for dissipating fish stocks.  To preserve species you need to privatize them.  Same with elephants and rhinos.  Star Trek- went into history to get whale to bring into future.  Why no whales? Bc they are unowned and run around free. Currently doesn’t pay to save the whales
    1. Can save whales by making barnyards of the oceans but cant do that now due to no property rights

i.      Could brand/tag animals as ranchers used to brand whales.  Not criminal free but at least have property rights.  Better than current chaos

III.            Privatize eduation

  1. Came in early 1900s mostly on the job training.  Part of move was attack on Catholics by Protestants.  At same time lots of Catholic schools opened by irish or Italian immigrants. Protestants in power did not like this and decided to make them pay 2x for education.

i.      Once for the private school

ii.      Once for the public school

  1. Theres nothing intrinsically wonderful about public education some of it is religious discrimination

i.      The market allocates thing in proportion to the ideals of the people.  The market works to solve itself out.  Resource allocation and consumer desire come together thru the market.

ii.      We don’t have that in education we are force dto pay for it whether we want it or not and have no control over allocation of resources.

iii.      Problems with compulsory education

  1. Much of it waste in higher ed liberal arts studies of homosexuals, blacks, programming tv boxes, etc.  departments within schools are 30:1 leftists
  2. No reason to subsidize this stuff
    1. But say its justified to subsidize it.  The externality argument can be applied to justify subsidizing anything.

i.      Food- give poor food but don’t give public restaurants or groceries.  Nothing public so you could subsidize education without having public education

ii.      Public shelter is public housing which is usually a horror.  Unmaintained and usually drug/crime areas

IV.            Privatizing Highways

  1. Two reasons to privatize

i.      Congestion- at 0$ price demand exceeds supply during peak periods.  In the market the price would rise and it would have beneficial effects, people would naturally gravitate to car poolilng.  Businesses may stagger hours of work schedules.

  1. Currently we have anti-peak load pricing but in market you would have peak load pricing.
  2. Toll booths are stupid way to collect money
  3. 40,000 people a year die on the roads. Only 3k people died 9/11, only 3k died in Iraq. Yet this isn’t a crisis or outrage
    1. Instead of the supplier all blamed on error, weather, dui, change in income, new cars ratio to old cars, amount of young drivers, availability of hospital care, etc

i.      Block says those are proximate causes not ultimate causes which is the owner/manager of the roads. (restaurant that’s dirty, bad location, bad service and bad food goes broke. Those aren’t causes the management is to blame)

  1. Proximate causes is the bullet not gun
  2. They cant stop the drinking, speeding or bad weather

i.      Side note humor: Government is to blame for bad weather quote: “The government is responsible for bad weather.  How does this work? “Well if they hadn’t been sucking up half of the GDP over the last 100 years the market may have found a way to solve the weather. But no! They grabbed up all our money so they are responsible for the bad weather.”

  1. Private roads in snow areas may build roads with coils to heat roads and keep safe.  Competition that gives us good pens, ties and pizzas and apply it to roads.  Privatization rewards those who do well and eliminates inefficiencies.
  2. First roads were private turnkpike roads.  Theyd board the road and clear puddles, charge on # horses/axles.  Charge wider wheels and heavier loads more.
  3. Nothing intrinsic about roads to make them governmental roads
  4. How would they work? Simply, for profit.  Charge people for usage similar to how Sunpass and other systems work with cards or devices that are read.  Roads would be owned by road companies likely.
    1. Could give shares to people based upon taxes or home frontage.The technical aspect of how to do it could be settled to allow for privatization
    2. Privatization of roads may save lives by putting/allowing large memorials next to deaths.  Very large to get attention. Big crosses would do better.
      1. Maybe problem isn’t speed limit but variations.  Rules are determined by experimentation/competition as we do have all businesses.  Nobody knows bc we don’t have competitive private roads to try to moderate deaths.

i.      When a 15car multi-death crash occurs who pays? Nobody and no incentive to limit it.

ii.      What if somebody blocked usa withi road from la to boson that didn’t let people n/s. wouldn’t be worth much to anyone to drive on it so not gonna happen.  Well what if a maniac does it? Bridge over him or tunnel under.  Objection to that is ad coelumn droctrine that you own space beneath and above property.  But that doesn’t fit with homesteading and be like slant drilling\

iii.      Objection you would need eminent domain to make it work bc somebody would be between A and B and say that if you are going to go thru my territory I am going to charge you a trillion dollars (holdout problem).  à In the US there are some buildings that built around holdout property.  In the USSR they don’t have any of that.  Private property rights are very important. But ways around it.  You could buy options to buy your land where you buy option to buy land if project comes together and lose option cost if not.  You could also brindge over or tunnel over.

iv.      Blockade objection: you own house on street and owner charges you million dollars.  à right now when you buy hyour house you get title insurance. Under a regime of private roads and title insurance you would get access insurance to ensure you have access to the road.  You would be contracted to have access.

V.            End: tried to apply principle of why you would privatize anything based on ethical considerations and economic efficiency considerations to 3 most controversial areas bc if we take on the most challenging instances we can do well in defending ourselves in the easier cases.

via Roads, Education, and Waterways: The Case Against Public Services | Walter Block – YouTube.

Roads, Education, and Waterways: The Case Against Public Services | Walter Block

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPCk69X9AF8

Lew gives Walter a warm introduction followed by an introduction to privatization by Block

        I.            Why privatize

a.       Morality/ethics- when I trade my pen for your tie we have a voluntary exchange.  No coercion whatsoever involved.  If ties and pens weren’t privatized then we’d engage in transfer of the items where govt would collect money and distribute the goods.  This is coercive as some are forced to pay for something which they may not want.

b.      Economic efficiency- if trade pen for tie then you must value pen more than tie and me the tie more than the pen.  Both sides gain a profit of the difference of value in each two objects to eachother.  If you are forced to get the pen than can’t deduce that you benefitted bc if you did benefit you would have done it voluntarily

                                                               i.      Dollar vote: In free markets consumers control the market.  Bad producers aren’t patronized and go out of business. People vote with dollars everyday

                                                             ii.      Political vote: No market mechanism to get rid of FEMA after Katrina. If FEMA were private it wouldn’t be around.  Mistakes aren’t the problem its that there is no mechanism to punish mistakes and it instead rewards incompetence and retards competence.

      II.            Privatizing Oceans (12:30)-

a.       Earth surface- 25% land, 75% oceans.  Almost all GDP is on land. Disproportionate amount of productivity on land than ocean.  Some may be due to people living on land and not water but not the whole story

                                                               i.      Tragedy of the commons- when something is unowned or commonly owned we tend to treat it in a different way than if it is privately owned.

1.       Lesson of straws and one cup vs personal cup/straw and rate of drinking

2.       Reason why collectivized farms in USSR was inefficient is bc of tragedy of the commons. 3% private, 97% of land is public.  But that 3% of land grew 25% of the crops. If you own a cow and cow having calf at 3am you will be out with the cow making sure it does well as income and value is dependent upon both cow and calf.  If it is collectivized and nobody owns the cow no incentive to get up bc you own very little of it and benefits that accrue to you are very small

3.       The cow and the buffalo- cow never got close to extinction bc people owned them.  Never went and shot all cows owned bc opportunity cost of doing so is very high.  Buffalo in Dances with Wolves where whtieman was evil killed all buffalo.  It was rational to bc if you didn’t shoot it someone else would and you would lose out on something you cannot preserve or maintain.  Same thing for dissipating fish stocks.  To preserve species you need to privatize them.  Same with elephants and rhinos.  Star Trek- went into history to get whale to bring into future.  Why no whales? Bc they are unowned and run around free. Currently doesn’t pay to save the whales

a.       Can save whales by making barnyards of the oceans but cant do that now due to no property rights

                                                                                                                                       i.      Could brand/tag animals as ranchers used to brand whales.  Not criminal free but at least have property rights.  Better than current chaos

    III.            Privatize eduation

a.       Came in early 1900s mostly on the job training.  Part of move was attack on Catholics by Protestants.  At same time lots of Catholic schools opened by irish or Italian immigrants. Protestants in power did not like this and decided to make them pay 2x for education.

                                                               i.      Once for the private school

                                                             ii.      Once for the public school

b.      Theres nothing intrinsically wonderful about public education some of it is religious discrimination

                                                               i.      The market allocates thing in proportion to the ideals of the people.  The market works to solve itself out.  Resource allocation and consumer desire come together thru the market.

                                                             ii.      We don’t have that in education we are force dto pay for it whether we want it or not and have no control over allocation of resources.

                                                            iii.      Problems with compulsory education

1.       Much of it waste in higher ed liberal arts studies of homosexuals, blacks, programming tv boxes, etc.  departments within schools are 30:1 leftists

2.       No reason to subsidize this stuff

a.       But say its justified to subsidize it.  The externality argument can be applied to justify subsidizing anything.

                                                                                                                                       i.      Food- give poor food but don’t give public restaurants or groceries.  Nothing public so you could subsidize education without having public education

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Public shelter is public housing which is usually a horror.  Unmaintained and usually drug/crime areas

    IV.            Privatizing Highways

a.       Two reasons to privatize

                                                               i.      Congestion- at 0$ price demand exceeds supply during peak periods.  In the market the price would rise and it would have beneficial effects, people would naturally gravitate to car poolilng.  Businesses may stagger hours of work schedules.

1.       Currently we have anti-peak load pricing but in market you would have peak load pricing.

2.       Toll booths are stupid way to collect money

3.       40,000 people a year die on the roads. Only 3k people died 9/11, only 3k died in Iraq. Yet this isn’t a crisis or outrage

a.       Instead of the supplier all blamed on error, weather, dui, change in income, new cars ratio to old cars, amount of young drivers, availability of hospital care, etc

                                                                                                                                       i.      Block says those are proximate causes not ultimate causes which is the owner/manager of the roads. (restaurant that’s dirty, bad location, bad service and bad food goes broke. Those aren’t causes the management is to blame)

1.       Proximate causes is the bullet not gun

2.       They cant stop the drinking, speeding or bad weather

                                                                                                                                                                                                               i.      Side note humor: Government is to blame for bad weather quote: “The government is responsible for bad weather.  How does this work? “Well if they hadn’t been sucking up half of the GDP over the last 100 years the market may have found a way to solve the weather. But no! They grabbed up all our money so they are responsible for the bad weather.”

b.      Private roads in snow areas may build roads with coils to heat roads and keep safe.  Competition that gives us good pens, ties and pizzas and apply it to roads.  Privatization rewards those who do well and eliminates inefficiencies.

c.       First roads were private turnkpike roads.  Theyd board the road and clear puddles, charge on # horses/axles.  Charge wider wheels and heavier loads more.

d.      Nothing intrinsic about roads to make them governmental roads

3.       How would they work? Simply, for profit.  Charge people for usage similar to how Sunpass and other systems work with cards or devices that are read.  Roads would be owned by road companies likely.

a.       Could give shares to people based upon taxes or home frontage.The technical aspect of how to do it could be settled to allow for privatization

4.       Privatization of roads may save lives by putting/allowing large memorials next to deaths.  Very large to get attention. Big crosses would do better.

a.       Maybe problem isn’t speed limit but variations.  Rules are determined by experimentation/competition as we do have all businesses.  Nobody knows bc we don’t have competitive private roads to try to moderate deaths.

                                                                                                                                                                                                               i.      When a 15car multi-death crash occurs who pays? Nobody and no incentive to limit it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                             ii.      What if somebody blocked usa withi road from la to boson that didn’t let people n/s. wouldn’t be worth much to anyone to drive on it so not gonna happen.  Well what if a maniac does it? Bridge over him or tunnel under.  Objection to that is ad coelumn droctrine that you own space beneath and above property.  But that doesn’t fit with homesteading and be like slant drilling\

                                                                                                                                                                                                            iii.      Objection you would need eminent domain to make it work bc somebody would be between A and B and say that if you are going to go thru my territory I am going to charge you a trillion dollars (holdout problem).  à In the US there are some buildings that built around holdout property.  In the USSR they don’t have any of that.  Private property rights are very important. But ways around it.  You could buy options to buy your land where you buy option to buy land if project comes together and lose option cost if not.  You could also brindge over or tunnel over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           iv.      Blockade objection: you own house on street and owner charges you million dollars.  à right now when you buy hyour house you get title insurance. Under a regime of private roads and title insurance you would get access insurance to ensure you have access to the road.  You would be contracted to have access.

      V.            End: tried to apply principle of why you would privatize anything based on ethical considerations and economic efficiency considerations to 3 most controversial areas bc if we take on the most challenging instances we can do well in defending ourselves in the easier cases.

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