Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thomas Sowell on the Pious Talk about Giving Back

"All the high-flown talk about how people who are successful in business should "give back" to the community that created the things that facilitated their success is, again, something that sounds plausible to people who do not stop and think through what is being said. After years of dumbed-down education, that apparently includes a lot of people.

Take Obama's example of the business that benefits from being able to ship their products on roads that the government built. How does that create a need to "give back"? Did the taxpayers, including business taxpayers, not pay for that road when it was built? Why should they have to pay for it twice?

What about the workers that businesses hire, whose education is usually created in government-financed schools? The government doesn't have any wealth of its own, except what it takes from taxpayers, whether individuals or businesses. They have already paid for that education. It is not a gift that they have to "give back" by letting politicians take more of their money and freedom.

When businesses hire highly educated people, such as chemists or engineers, competition in the labor market forces them to pay higher salaries for people with longer years of valuable education. That education is not a government gift to the employers. It is paid for while it is being created in schools and universities, and it is paid for in higher salaries when highly educated people are hired.

One of the tricks of professional magicians is to distract the audience's attention from what they are doing while they are creating an illusion of magic. Pious talk about "giving back" distracts our attention from the cold fact that politicians are taking away more and more of our money and our freedom."


88 Comments:

At 7/19/2012 5:07 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


What about the workers that businesses hire, whose education is usually created in government-financed schools? The government doesn't have any wealth of its own, except what it takes from taxpayers, whether individuals or businesses. They have already paid for that education. It is not a gift that they have to "give back" by letting politicians take more of their money and freedom.

However, that does not mean that one should unjustly exalt business above all and smite government for inhibiting an unjust exaltation.



When businesses hire highly educated people, such as chemists or engineers, competition in the labor market forces them to pay higher salaries for people with longer years of valuable education. That education is not a government gift to the employers. It is paid for while it is being created in schools and universities, and it is paid for in higher salaries when highly educated people are hired.

Which means that the real discussion is to require businesses to adopt an older philosophy of training people for the long term and doing what is needed to retain those people. Not only does it work, but businesses can't complain since they're doing something about the problem.

By asking for the education to be completed prior to hiring, businesses set themselves up for failure since the inevitable complaint is that the education is not enough - when it is more than enough.

 
At 7/19/2012 5:30 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Well.. many 3rd world countries don't have income taxes and the free market takes care of infrastructure and education.

right?

so which is better?

taxes to pay for things like infrastructure, education, etc

or - no taxes and let the private sector take care of it like it does in many 3rd world countries.

Haiti perhaps?

 
At 7/19/2012 5:30 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7/19/2012 5:38 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Sethstorm

"By asking for the education to be completed prior to hiring, businesses set themselves up for failure since the inevitable complaint is that the education is not enough - when it is more than enough."

An easier way to fix the problem is to import skilled workers who dont *cough* think the world owes them a living.

 
At 7/19/2012 6:04 PM, Blogger Moe said...

I feel Mr. Sowell is half right when he says that politicians are taking away more and more of our money and our freedom – he just needs to include the other half of the duo – corporations.

Politicians don't want high-paid executives to "give back" - they want them to donate! Politicians and corporations rag each other in the press and hold countless time-wasting hearings. Politicans claim corporations are making too much, corporations claim politicians are interfering too much. Don’t be fooled – they are joined at the hip. THAT is the issue being distracted from.

We’ve seen corporate earnings and salaries at or near record levels – a streak of 10 quarters of gains that started in the final quarter of 2009 - during a recession no less.

We’ve seen scandals similar to, if not worse than Enron (MF Global, LIBOR, Lehman, Banks like Wachovia, HSBC money laundering for drug cartels, Peregrine Financial Group losing $125 M of client money – just to name a few.) – but nobody in stripes, just scolded a bit on TV for the masses to feel placated.

We’ve seen a government that… well…does absolutely nothing! And two candidates who offer up no solutions to any of our real problems. Where’s the Tylenol?

 
At 7/19/2012 6:04 PM, Blogger Ken said...

seth,

However, that does not mean that one should unjustly exalt business above all and smite government for inhibiting an unjust exaltation.

This is why government is needed to imprison all political enemies. If anyone is sufficiently exalting some government official somewhere, off to the gulags with you!!

Which means that the real discussion is to require businesses to adopt an older philosophy of training people for the long term and doing what is needed to retain those people.

Why is it an employer's responsibility to educate you for them to hire you? That burden lies with you. Take some responsibility for you life.

The primary problem with the education system is that government has a monopoly on it, not because the private sector isn't willing to pay for it.

 
At 7/19/2012 6:06 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Larry,

taxes to pay for things like infrastructure, education, etc

So in your fevered mind, taxes just appear and create things, right? The government snaps its fingers and BAM taxes build roads.

Do you really not know that every single penny the government spends was created by the private sector?

 
At 7/19/2012 6:14 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Larry,

taxes to pay for things like infrastructure, education, etc

So in your fevered mind, taxes just appear and create things, right? The government snaps its fingers and BAM taxes build roads.

Do you really not know that every single penny the government spends was created by the private sector?


indeed, yes.

now compare and contrast that to 3rd world countries that have much lower taxes and in theory a much better environment for investment and business.

what's the difference between the US and 3rd world countries when it comes to taxes and business ?

 
At 7/19/2012 6:14 PM, Blogger Andrew_M_Garland said...

The demand to "give back" some of one's wealth is based on the idea that it is partly stolen. If it isn't stolen, there is no moral reason to give some back.

Great wealth earned outside government cronyism comes from doing good things for people, asking them to pay voluntarily for those things. You make millions of dollars by pleasing a great number of people.

People trade voluntarily among themselves and some become rich. Absent fraud, there can be no complaints. It is in fact greedy to walk around a neighborhood, find the big houses, and ask those people to give back some of their wealth in gratitude to the society which has already received good value. Accumulations of wealth are the result of creating even more wealth for the people who bought the particular goods and services.

- -
Max:  Big companies are making obscene profits. Those lucky bastards should be paying their windfall profits back into the government, to help me.

Fred:  Yeah, and let's get back more money from those lucky bastard lottery winners, and from top athletes, and movie stars, and popular writers, and super models.

Max:  Uh, I don't think you see the point.

Fred:  I thought the point was that no one should be lucky.

Hating Lottery Winners
Why should businessmen be disliked and pay high taxes because their success is partly luck, while all-luck lottery winners are accepted as deserving their winnings?

 
At 7/19/2012 6:17 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Good ole' Thomas Sowell. The man is immediately quotable.

 
At 7/19/2012 6:24 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Which means that the real discussion is to require businesses to adopt an older philosophy of training people for the long term and doing what is needed to retain those people.

Why require what businesses already do? Businesses spend tons of money training and bettering their employees. Many companies pay for higher education, training courses, self-improvement, etc. They want to.

If a business were to only hire highly skilled workers, their costs would be about 4 times higher than normal. What most companies do is hire a worker, and then train him. It's considerably cheaper.

So, I ask again: why require something that is already commonplace? That would be the 3rd most useless regulation ever (the first two being Child Labor Laws which were passed some 30 years after the use of child labor fell to 0 and OSHA requirements which were passed some 20 years after the peak in workplace deaths).

 
At 7/19/2012 6:27 PM, Blogger Ken said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7/19/2012 6:31 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Larry,

now compare and contrast that to 3rd world countries that have much lower taxes and in theory a much better environment for investment and business.

Which third world countries?

Liberia: government accounts for 29% of GDP.
Zimbabwe: 38.7%
Democratic Republic of Congo: 76.1%
Argentina: 56.9%
Burma: 96%

It is you who should think about government sizes in third world nations. It is clear you are speaking from ignorance, simply assuming you know what you are talking about. The bulk of the worst nations on earth have governments that consume more than half GDP.

Third world nations by and large have over sized government. All the easier to rape your countrymen.

The weird thing about you is that you seem to be completely ignorant of Western history. US and English government were both pretty small (less than 10% of GDP) before 1900, yet both countries saw crazy economic growth. The growth had NEVER been seen at any other time in history anywhere on the earth.

 
At 7/19/2012 6:39 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

how about the other 3rd world countries and the developing countries?

I'm not advocating "give back" by the way, I agree with most here that it's a dumb concept.

but I do ask what govt can do (or not) to provide a framework for private sector business and entrepreneurship.

it appears that the best countries in the world are ones with taxes and big govt and the worst countries are ones with smaller but incompetent/corrupt govt.

are there no 3rd/developing world govts in the world that demonstrate that the big countries approach to govt is over the top and ultimately will lose to the "smaller govt" countries?

Thomas Sowell and his compatriots seem to argue against govt and in favor of smaller govt.

but all of the major economically strong countries in the world seem to have big govts so I'm asking for a list of countries with smaller govts that have strong economies as a direct result of "less" govt.

Are there no countries in the world that meet this standard?

is it basically big govt countries with good economies verses small govt countries with lousy economies and none in the middle?

 
At 7/19/2012 6:56 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


An easier way to fix the problem is to import skilled workers who dont *cough* think the world owes them a living.

Those people are called slaves.

In addition, you demonstrate why maximizing worker pliancy is a bad thing.


Why is it an employer's responsibility to educate you for them to hire you?

They keep on making complaints about education yet do nothing else. Shifting it to someone that does not know the precise demands of the job only sets up the employer for more frustration. Once the employer shows their willingness to perform the education, responsibility can then rightfully shift to the worker to internalize the knowledge - no sooner or later.


If a business were to only hire highly skilled workers, their costs would be about 4 times higher than normal. What most companies do is hire a worker, and then train him. It's considerably cheaper.

Yet this is what does not happen. The skill requirements are set far above what actually is required, and discourage any meaningful training. What I am talking about is something where the company develops a long-term professional relationship with the worker - as opposed to a life of one-night-stands.

 
At 7/19/2012 6:59 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Those people are called slaves.

You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

 
At 7/19/2012 7:12 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Larry,

how about the other 3rd world countries and the developing countries?

Fine. The shittiest 23 countries, in order from shittiest country to less shitty: Zimbabwe (38.7%), Libya (17.9%), Eritrea (46.8%), Venezuela(67.3%), Burma (96%), Democratic Republic of congo (76.1%), Iran (76.95), Equatorial Guniea (28%), Turmenistan (93.5%), Republic of Congo (78%), Chad (74.2%), Comoros (85.3%), Uzbekistan (64.9%), Ukraine (29.4%), Solomon Islands (30.3%), Angola (53.2%), Argentina (56.9%), Burundi (22.9%), Ecuador (64.3%), Togo (85.6%), Liberia (74.8%), Belarus (34.9%), and Sierra Leone (84.3%).

The average size of government for these third world countries: 60%. The median: 64.9%

I get tired of doing your research and having to constantly educate you. Is it really so much to ask that you do a basic google search before you put your foot in your mouth all the way up to your knee?

Thomas Sowell and his compatriots seem to argue against govt and in favor of smaller govt.

For good reason. Governments are voracious and hungry to consume everything it can.

but all of the major economically strong countries in the world seem to have big govts

Because you are ignorant of the size of government in the worst countries on earth. In fact, there are countries worse than the 23 listed above, but data are missing on them. Want to guess which ones they are? North Korea, Samolia, Cuba, Sudan, and a couple others. I don't think anyone can make a reasonable argument that most if not all those have outsized government.

I'm asking for a list of countries with smaller govts that have strong economies as a direct result of "less" govt.

Since the bulk of wester countries have governments smaller than the worst countries, this is clear.

Also, the US saw a percentage point per year growth rate more in the 19th (around 4.5%) century than in the 20th (around 3.5%) century. To see the difference, the wealth of the US in 2000 was 31 times more than in 1900. In 1900, the wealth of the US was 81 times more than in 1800. In other words, if the 20th century had the same growth rate as the 19th, the US would be 260% more wealthy. Guess which century the US had smaller government.

 
At 7/19/2012 7:16 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

larry-

do you ever get tired of this BS set of examples where you try to equate failed states with little or no rule of law with a free market?

how many times do you need to get called out on this?

countries without rule of law tend to be very, very poor. this prevents them from having much business or infrastructure.

you act as thought he state of schools in Haiti has to do with the income tax level.

that's a completely false claim, and what's more, you know it as we've been through this same thing on healthcare.

you seem to love to pretend you are "just asking questions" but you are not. you are deliberately and repetitively creating false comparisons to justify your statist instincts.

at least man up and admit it.

and stop with the ridiculously and false comparisons.

this is just you trying to boil everything down to one factor again and drawing false conclusions as a result.

 
At 7/19/2012 7:18 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Fine. The shittiest 23 countries"

not looking for the shittiest, looking for the BEST

the premise seems to be that smaller, less intrusive govts produce the better economies.

so I'm asking for some examples.

are there no good examples of countries with less govt with better economies as a result?

 
At 7/19/2012 7:23 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

do you ever get tired of this BS set of examples where you try to equate failed states with little or no rule of law with a free market?

how many times do you need to get called out on this?

countries without rule of law tend to be very, very poor. this prevents them from having much business or infrastructure.


so.. all of the countries with rule of law are big govt countries and all the countries with smaller, less govt don't have rule of law?

correct?

you act as thought he state of schools in Haiti has to do with the income tax level.

that's a completely false claim, and what's more, you know it as we've been through this same thing on healthcare.


no. I'm asking a straight forward question of whether or not it is essentially impossible to have a smaller govt country that protects rule of law and the other things that big govt countries do.

are there no smaller countries that protect rule of law and as a result have stronger, more free open market economies?


you seem to love to pretend you are "just asking questions" but you are not. you are deliberately and repetitively creating false comparisons to justify your statist instincts.

no.. they are honest questions.

at least man up and admit it.

and stop with the ridiculously and false comparisons.

this is just you trying to boil everything down to one factor again and drawing false conclusions as a result.



they are questions guy.

are there no countries will smaller govt that have better economies as a result of smaller, less intrusive govt?

that's a question guy.

 
At 7/19/2012 7:29 PM, Blogger hancke said...

The catalyst to prosperity is the key here. In the days when towns were being established it was for reasons of commerce. Government came later when business leaders saw the need for infrastructure to support growing commerce. The more prosperous towns had a flourishing commerce driving higher government spending in order build infrastructure to support more commerce. Somewhere along the line government became it's own self serving entity and at least at the federal level now believes it IS the catalyst for commerce.

 
At 7/19/2012 7:33 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Larry,

so I'm asking for some examples.

I gave you examples. If you want more go here.

I'm asking a straight forward question of whether or not it is essentially impossible to have a smaller govt country that protects rule of law and the other things that big govt countries do.

And then ignoring answers saying "I'm asking for some examples".

they are questions guy.

And when they are answered you act like the answers can't be true, so you act like your questions didn't get answers.

 
At 7/19/2012 7:34 PM, Blogger hancke said...

The catalyst to prosperity is the key here. In the days when towns were being established it was for reasons of commerce. Government came later when business leaders saw the need for infrastructure to support growing commerce. The more prosperous towns had a flourishing commerce driving higher government spending in order build infrastructure to support more commerce. Somewhere along the line government became it's own self serving entity and at least at the federal level now believes it IS the catalyst for commerce.

 
At 7/19/2012 9:06 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"unjust exaltation"...

WTF sethstorm?

"require businesses"...

Well then sethstorm you should be 'required' to pay for said training since you are the customer that is going to be the recipient for the goods or services that the company that has been 'required' to train a collection of oxygen wasting knuckle draggers...

 
At 7/19/2012 9:39 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Well.. many 3rd world countries don't have income taxes and the free market takes care of infrastructure and education.

In the absence of property rights you will not get any infrastructure built by the free markets. No matter what the lefties may think rational people do not create something unless they are quite confident that they will be able to use it or sell it.

 
At 7/19/2012 9:42 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Government came later when business leaders saw the need for infrastructure to support growing commerce.

That is not exactly true. The communities sprang up and created what was needed to make things work. Government came in later to take advantage of the looting opportunities.

The Not So Wild, Wild West: Property Rights on the Frontier

 
At 7/19/2012 10:58 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Much as I like sowell, he is wrong on this one. Even Adam Smith said as much.

 
At 7/19/2012 11:03 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Many third world countries do not have income taxes and free enterprise provides needed infrastructure.

That is why they are third world countries.

 
At 7/19/2012 11:08 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Rational people do not create jsomething unless they can use or sell it.

That is why rational people suppirt strong infrastruccture. Thoey " sell" useand then the public buys it for them to use.

 
At 7/19/2012 11:57 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Vcountries without rule of law tend to ne very poor.

+++(+(++++++((

Rule of law requires a strong government. It appears you just made Larry's argument.


The US has the strongest government and highly codified rule of law. That is why foreighn governments and businesses are throwing money at us.

To call Cuba and north Korea strong governments is a joke.

 
At 7/20/2012 7:45 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Rule of law requires a strong government. It appears you just made Larry's argument.

But it requires nothing of the kind. You don't need government to have the rule of law. As usual, you and Larry confuse society and culture with government.

 
At 7/20/2012 8:20 AM, Blogger Larry G said...


But it requires nothing of the kind. You don't need government to have the rule of law. As usual, you and Larry confuse society and culture with government.


could you kindly list the countries that accomplish rule of law without govt and instead through "society and culture"?

as usual, we have folks who cite theory and what they believe over the actual realities.

there are indeed some countries who leave rule of law to "society and culture".

Let's see that list.

 
At 7/20/2012 2:07 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ken: Liberia: government accounts for 29% of GDP.
Zimbabwe: 38.7%
Democratic Republic of Congo: 76.1%
Argentina: 56.9%
Burma: 96%


That's tax burden as percentage of GDP? What is your source?

According to recent studies, such as by The Heritage Foundation, most countries with high tax burdens are highly developed. On the other hand, if you look at government expenditures, then you can see that countries with nearly all spending by the government, or countries with nearly no government spending, are economically weakest.

The data shows that the most developed countries have strong public sectors along with robust markets.

 
At 7/20/2012 2:10 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Thomas Sowell: Take Obama's example of the business that benefits from being able to ship their products on roads that the government built. How does that create a need to "give back"? Did the taxpayers, including business taxpayers, not pay for that road when it was built? Why should they have to pay for it twice?

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

 
At 7/20/2012 2:42 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

we succeed because we all pay gas taxes - that then are used to build the roads that enable the commerce.

the process by which the govt coverts (takes?) private land into interstate highways enables commerce.

no?

the US gave the railroads land it had taken from native Americans... so now we have a rail network that is one of the most productive in the world.

When Fed Ex delivers your package... how does it get to you?

How would the manufacturer of that product delivered by Fed Ex get to you without a robust transportation network supported by the Govt not only with taxes but user fees.

 
At 7/20/2012 2:47 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Zach,

Tax burden is different from government expenditure.

 
At 7/20/2012 3:37 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

Yes, sir. Which is why voluntary trade is so good. But the trade does not then make us servants to one another. We strike a deal, each upholds his end of the contract, and then the obligations are finished.

I sell you bananas. You give me $2 for the bananas. Am I entitled to any profits you make off those bananas? If you turn around and sell them for $4, should I get a cut of that? Of course not. Our business arrangement had concluded.

the situation here is similar. We pay taxes to the government. The government supplies us with roads. The deal is done. There mere fact this arrangement occurred does not entitle the government to claim more shares of our wealth anymore than it entitles a banana grower to a larger share of the grocery store seller's wealth.

Yes, we all live together. Yes, we all depend on one another. But that does not mean we can commandeer each other's property at will.

 
At 7/20/2012 3:42 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

But that does not mean we can commandeer each other's property at will.

except when it comes to roads (and other infrastructure). We have the govt do the dirty deed of taking property for public good. right?

 
At 7/20/2012 3:54 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

except when it comes to roads (and other infrastructure). We have the govt do the dirty deed of taking property for public good. right?

Not even then. To "take" means that no compensation is given. Whether or not you agree with eminent domain, the person whose property is being taken is compensated something like 166% of the property's value.

 
At 7/20/2012 3:55 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

As usual, you and Larry confuse society and culture with government.

===============================

Right. And Law is such a cultured profession.

You expect the National Symphony to enforce building codes?

Give me a break. Sure, there are societies that get by with groups of elders and and family councils to settle disputes, but in most places law requires government to enforce it.

This is preciseley because of people who think their individual livberty is paramount, forgetting that every liberty comes with an equal and opposite responsibility.

 
At 7/20/2012 3:57 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"....we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

================================

That is as true for businesses and corporations as it is for government and labor unions.

 
At 7/20/2012 3:59 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Not even then. To "take" means that no compensation is given. Whether or not you agree with eminent domain, the person whose property is being taken is compensated something like 166% of the property's value.

what if they do not want to sell ?

are the rest of us depending on the govt to take the land anyhow if it will enable commerce ?

I think more than anything else public roads are fundamentally a socialist concept - that the collective needs of society override private property rights - at least when it comes to roads.

wrong?

 
At 7/20/2012 4:00 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

" You don't need government to have the rule of law."

==============================

You have a real world example?


What is the opposite of a truism? That strikes me as a statement so obviously false it neeeds no refuting.

 
At 7/20/2012 4:01 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

the person whose property is being taken is compensated something like 166% of the property's value.

================================
Where did you come up with that figure? My family was hit by eminet domain twice, and got nothing like that. Not even remotely.

 
At 7/20/2012 4:04 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Give me a break. Sure, there are societies that get by with groups of elders and and family councils to settle disputes, but in most places law requires government to enforce it.

Hydra-

There is a fundamental difference between a law and legislation.

A law is something that cannot be denied: the Law of Gravity, the Law of Comparative Advantage, the Law of Mathematics, the Laws of Physics, etc. There are cultural laws as well: the law of life (aka right to live), law of property (aka right to property), etc. These things are universally recognized as laws, fundamental rights of humans, regardless of what governments say. They need not be defined by governments because they are self-evident.

Legislation, however, is passed by governments. The term "law" is often used, but it is incorrect. Legislation serve to create a sense of order, either by outlining punishment to those who break laws or by trying to shape behavior. Unlike laws, legislation is not self-evident.

 
At 7/20/2012 4:04 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Where did you come up with that figure?

I remember reading it somewhere. Not sure where.

 
At 7/20/2012 4:04 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

what if they do not want to sell ?

================================

I recently recounted the story of a German Tourist I met who commented on our health care plan vs theirs.

He also talked about eminet domain. He apparently had a relative with a small farm on the outskirts of Munich. When the city wnated to take it, they were obliged to find and purchase for him on the open market an equivalent piece of property.

That reduces any argument over the amount of compensation.

 
At 7/20/2012 4:07 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Where did you come up with that figure?

I remember reading it somewhere. Not sure where.

==============================

Most of the cases I have read about involve all kinds of nefarious shenanigans on the part of government to get the lowest possible price. One tactic frequently seen is to take only the land actually needed, leaving the owner with a useless corner or sliver.

 
At 7/20/2012 5:23 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"How would the manufacturer of that product delivered by Fed Ex get to you without a robust transportation network supported by the Govt not only with taxes but user fees"....

Hmmm, well larry g the Soviet Union and its iron curtain allies also had taxpayer financed roads...

I'm sure you can figure out what the other real difference was...

 
At 7/20/2012 5:44 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

could you kindly list the countries that accomplish rule of law without govt and instead through "society and culture"?

I have given you examples before. One of them was your own country when settlers established communities that did not have federal or state government involvement.

 
At 7/20/2012 5:46 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

could you kindly list the countries that accomplish rule of law without govt and instead through "society and culture"?

I have given you examples before. One of them was your own country when settlers established communities that did not have federal or state government involvement.


those communities were lawless communities that sought law and lawmen.

but give some modern examples, please.

 
At 7/20/2012 5:48 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

could you kindly list the countries that accomplish rule of law without govt and instead through "society and culture"?

I have given you examples before. One of them was your own country when settlers established communities that did not have federal or state government involvement.


it was the society and culture Calvary that went after the marauding native Americans and various outlaws?

Who knew?

 
At 7/20/2012 5:50 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The data shows that the most developed countries have strong public sectors along with robust markets.

Is that what is shown? Well, what about East Germany, North Korea, or Cuba? Didn't they have very strong public sectors but no markets at all?

I think that, as usual, you are trying to draw conclusions with data that does not support them. This is a chicken and egg story. You have to figure out what comes first. History shows that development and capital formation precede the growth of a large and parasitic public sector just as we saw in the United States.

What you girls need is a better education. I suggest that you get one.

 
At 7/20/2012 5:54 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

Really? You don't think that people have already paid for the infrastructure that was built? Who paid for the universities? Or the private tutoring services that help students learn what the public schools, paid for by individuals, could not teach them?

We succeed because we set goals and work to meet them. When I meet my goals my success has little to do with you or anyone else who claims that I owe them something because they failed to meet their own goals.

 
At 7/20/2012 5:54 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

History shows that development and capital formation precede the growth of a large and parasitic public sector just as we saw in the United States.


and it's all past history now and there are no existing govts that are at the capital formation and development stage before they become "parasitic"?

I find it mighty curious that all of this "parasitic" govt stuff has already happened and out of 150 non-parasitic countries - none are better than the "parasitic" countries.

seems mighty convenient.

 
At 7/20/2012 5:57 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Really? You don't think that people have already paid for the infrastructure that was built? Who paid for the universities? Or the private tutoring services that help students learn what the public schools, paid for by individuals, could not teach them?



oh..but they did not willingly pay..the govt FORCED them to pay - by threat of force...

right?

so the govt had to force people to pay for the infrastructure that ultimately benefited them?

what if the govt had not "forced" them...like what happens in 3rd world countries?

would they not have the infrastructure?

 
At 7/20/2012 5:59 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

we succeed because we all pay gas taxes - that then are used to build the roads that enable the commerce.

The roads in front of my home were built by private developers. So were the roads in front of my parents' home and my friends' homes. There was no government involvement and none was needed.

In the early history of your own country toll roads that connected cities with each other were paid for by bonds purchased by businesses that wanted to get their goods to market. The tolls were just high enough to pay for repairs because the bond purchasers had no desire to go in the road business and make money off transit.

The fact that government extorts taxes from drivers has little to do with road building. Actually, if you allow a private company to collect taxes to maintain the roads they would be better and taxes would be lower.

Again, you need a much better education than the one that you seem to have obtained. Try reading more and paying a lot more attention.

 
At 7/20/2012 6:04 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

The roads in front of my home were built by private developers. So were the roads in front of my parents' home and my friends' homes. There was no government involvement and none was needed.

so who maintains them now?

In the early history of your own country toll roads that connected cities with each other were paid for by bonds purchased by businesses that wanted to get their goods to market.

got some examples?

were the national markets?

The tolls were just high enough to pay for repairs because the bond purchasers had no desire to go in the road business and make money off transit.

do you mean they did not try to rip people off?


The fact that government extorts taxes from drivers has little to do with road building. Actually, if you allow a private company to collect taxes to maintain the roads they would be better and taxes would be lower.

most people do not really believe that. They think private operators would rip off the public.


Again, you need a much better education than the one that you seem to have obtained. Try reading more and paying a lot more attention.

right.. thanks again for your astute advice... always helpful

 
At 7/20/2012 6:14 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

the US gave the railroads land it had taken from native Americans... so now we have a rail network that is one of the most productive in the world.

If you knew your history you would be aware that railways show just how inept the government really was. The government subsidized transcontinental railways went bankrupt because their builders were paid by the mile, not to be efficient. This happened even though the government tried genocide against the Plains Indians as a way to get the favoured railways the free land that they wanted.

But James Hill's privately financed Great Northern Railway, now owned by Buffett, survived because Hill spent his own money and was forced to think about efficiency. Hill chose to build in straight lines and on lowest grades because he needed to spend the least amount when hauling freight. When Hill crossed land controlled by the natives he made deals for its use. The times that he needed the government was when the company needed a right of way on reservations controlled by the federal government.

The fact that the transcontinental railways that he competed with got free land and building subsidies did not mean that they could charge lower fees than Hill. His railway moved freight at a far lower cost and his track was far more reliable. In the end private enterprise won the day over the government subsidized business as it usually does.

 
At 7/20/2012 6:19 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

except when it comes to roads (and other infrastructure). We have the govt do the dirty deed of taking property for public good. right?

Nonsense. The government takes property because bureaucrats want more power and control, not for the public good. When developers build housing subdivisions and commercial parks they know that they have to put in good roads or nobody will buy their product. That is why most city streets were first built by developers, not the city and certainly not the federal government. Even the interstate system began as privately financed toll roads that were paid through bond offerings.

As I wrote above, some reading may be in order.

The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society

 
At 7/20/2012 6:21 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

But James Hill's privately financed Great Northern Railway, now owned by Buffett, survived because Hill spent his own money

who did he pay?

 
At 7/20/2012 6:22 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Even the interstate system began as privately financed toll roads that were paid through bond offerings

which ones were tolled originally?

 
At 7/20/2012 6:24 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Right. And Law is such a cultured profession.

Law is a commodity like food and shelter.

You expect the National Symphony to enforce building codes?

No. There is no room for government imposed building codes in a free society.

Give me a break. Sure, there are societies that get by with groups of elders and and family councils to settle disputes, but in most places law requires government to enforce it.

But it does not. In fact, many of our contractual disputes are settled by private arbitration services because the public courts do not work all that well.

This is preciseley because of people who think their individual livberty is paramount, forgetting that every liberty comes with an equal and opposite responsibility.

How ironic; the fool who argues against liberty presumes to lecture others about it. The only responsibility that we have is not to violate the rights of others. That does not require that we rule over them or meddle in their voluntary activities.

 
At 7/20/2012 6:26 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

oh..but they did not willingly pay..the govt FORCED them to pay - by threat of force...

right?


Absolutely.

The payment of taxes, being compulsory, of course furnishes no evidence that any one voluntarily supports the Constitution.

1. It is true that the THEORY of our Constitution is, that all taxes are paid voluntarily; that our government is a mutual insurance company, voluntarily entered into by the people with each other; that that each man makes a free and purely voluntary contract with all others who are parties to the Constitution, to pay so much money for so much protection, the same as he does with any other insurance company; and that he is just as free not to be protected, and not to pay tax, as he is to pay a tax, and be protected.

But this theory of our government is wholly different from the practical fact. The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: "Your money, or your life." And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.

The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a "protector," and that he takes men's money against their will, merely to enable him to "protect" those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful "sovereign," on account of the "protection" he affords you. He does not keep "protecting" you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villanies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave....

 
At 7/20/2012 6:29 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

what if the govt had not "forced" them...like what happens in 3rd world countries?

would they not have the infrastructure?


You are still an ignorant fool who knows little but thinks highly of himself.

The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society

 
At 7/20/2012 6:31 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

so who maintains them now?

The road in front of my home is maintained by a private corporation. The public roads are maintained by taxes extorted from drivers.

got some examples?

were the national markets?


As I have pointed out, your ignorance is your problem, not mine.

The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society

 
At 7/20/2012 6:33 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

The road in front of my home is maintained by a private corporation

is it a private road?

can school buses, Fed Ex and the post office use it?

who pays the corporation to maintain it?

 
At 7/20/2012 6:35 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

do you mean they did not try to rip people off?

Yes. The purpose was to move goods and people to markets, not to make returns on investments in the toll roads. If you read, which you don't, you will find that the bondholders did not expect a return. They made their money by selling their goods to the markets that were opened by those toll roads.

most people do not really believe that. They think private operators would rip off the public.

Belief is no important. What is important are the results. Why do you suppose that private mail delivery companies are killing the Post Office? Clearly the consumers who pay for the deliveries do not think that they are being ripped off.

 
At 7/20/2012 6:36 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

who did he pay?

Anyone who worked for him, provided him with services, rights of way, etc? Of course, given the corruption in Congress he may have had to pay off a few politicians so that he could get a right of way from land that the federal government stole from the natives even though such land was given to the government favoured railways.

 
At 7/20/2012 6:42 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Of course, given the corruption in Congress he may have had to pay off a few politicians so that he could get a right of way from land that the federal government stole from the natives even though such land was given to the government favoured railways.

so he paid the govt for land they stole and you credit him with entrepreneurship?

are you serious?

 
At 7/20/2012 9:04 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

is it a private road?

can school buses, Fed Ex and the post office use it?

who pays the corporation to maintain it?


No. Anyone can drive on it. It is paid for by the residents in the complex. At my previous place we had private security, a private bus service, private gyms and restaurants, etc. This is not unusual in private communities, condominium complexes, town-homes, etc.

 
At 7/20/2012 9:08 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

so he paid the govt for land they stole and you credit him with entrepreneurship?

are you serious?


He built a railroad. The rail had to go through a government reserve where Indians lived. He could not make a deal with the tribes as he did on Indian land not stolen or controlled by the government so he had to ask permission to run the rail from Congress. I have noted that Congress stole land from the natives and gave it to the other companies who had a major advantage because they did not have to buy land outright or pay for rights of way as Hill did. Yes, he was an entrepreneur and because he built such a great railway it survived when the rest failed.

You really should try learning. Opening a book might be a start. And when you do open one get all sides and the full story because ignorant people like you tend to fall for out of context spin and narrative unsupported by the actual facts.

 
At 7/20/2012 9:37 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

He could not make a deal with the tribes as he did on Indian land not stolen or controlled by the government so he had to ask permission to run the rail from Congress

why would he ask Congress if he already acknowledged that it was Inidian land?

Didn't he essentially use the govt to take the land that he could not buy ?

If he had obtained right-of-way on a willing-seller, willing-buyer basis, I would have agreed that he did acquire it without the govt.

but he essentially got the govt to take the land did he not?

 
At 7/20/2012 11:11 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"why would he ask Congress if he already acknowledged that it was Inidian land?"...

It wasn't indian land anymore...

 
At 7/21/2012 6:05 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

why would he ask Congress if he already acknowledged that it was Inidian land?


He didn't need Congress for that dumdum. He needed Congress to go through reservations that were controlled by Congress.

 
At 7/21/2012 6:23 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

He needed Congress to go through reservations that were controlled by Congress. .

so he was depending on the GOvt to take the indian land first before he then paid for it?

didn't he depend on the govt to take the land and then to provide him with "protection" from Indians?

again -

had he, on his own, negotiated directly with indians to obtain right-of-way in a willing seller, willing buyer transaction,

you could legitimately claim that he did it on his own.

but it's totally disingenuous to claim that he did it on his own when he relied on the govt to get the land.

 
At 7/21/2012 1:33 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

so he was depending on the GOvt to take the indian land first before he then paid for it?

No. He made deals with many tribes by buying land outright or paying for rights of way. But he could not do that with land that had already been taken by the federal government.

You really should learn to read.

 
At 7/21/2012 1:33 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

didn't he depend on the govt to take the land and then to provide him with "protection" from Indians?

again -


No. He made his own deals with the Indians where they had control of the land.

 
At 7/21/2012 1:34 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

had he, on his own, negotiated directly with indians to obtain right-of-way in a willing seller, willing buyer transaction,

you could legitimately claim that he did it on his own.


He did dumdum. Learn to read.

 
At 7/21/2012 1:35 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

but it's totally disingenuous to claim that he did it on his own when he relied on the govt to get the land.

He didn't rely on government. Government already stole the land and he needed a way across. If the land were owned by the Indians it would have been much easier because they were less corrupt than Congress.

 
At 7/21/2012 1:51 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

He didn't rely on government. Government already stole the land and he needed a way across. If the land were owned by the Indians it would have been much easier because they were less corrupt than Congress.

no history that I have seen recounts what you are claiming here.

for instance, what lands did he buy from the Indians and what lands did he buy from the govt?

one history says this:

" Hill got his start in the railroad business when he and several partners purchased a bankrupted Minnesota railroad that had been run into the ground by the government-subsidized Northern Pacific (NP). "

so he did not purchase right of way..he bought an existing railroad.

 
At 7/21/2012 2:01 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

no history that I have seen recounts what you are claiming here.

for instance, what lands did he buy from the Indians and what lands did he buy from the govt?

one history says this:

" Hill got his start in the railroad business when he and several partners purchased a bankrupted Minnesota railroad that had been run into the ground by the government-subsidized Northern Pacific (NP). "

so he did not purchase right of way..he bought an existing railroad.


There you go again; staying ignorant by looking at the superficial and ignoring the facts. Like I said, Hill built a railway across the continent. Few people, including the Indians, opposed the right of way that he sought and obtained. His biggest enemies were not the natives but the competitors in the form of the Northern Pacific and Union Pacific railways. Both of those were badly run and went bankrupt while Hill thrived.

 
At 7/21/2012 2:05 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

looking at the superficial and ignoring the facts

the history I'm looking at is not what you say. how about a couple of references that substantiate your version?

 
At 7/21/2012 7:42 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

the history I'm looking at is not what you say. how about a couple of references that substantiate your version?

All you have to do is to look. He did not buy a transcontinental railway. He bought a little one and made it run from coast to coast. His methods were sound and he did not get the same subsidies as his two competitors. Hill got rights of way and took advantage of the fact that neither the settlers nor the indians had much opposition to those rights of way because they wanted a transcontinental railway. He not only pushed Congress but also a Canadian government that was worried about trouble with Riel and the Metis in Manitoba.

Here is a decent text that should set you straight and provide you with references not only on Hill but other people you probably have trouble with. I also have a biography of the man somewhere in my archives. If I can find the book I will provide the author and publisher information.

 
At 7/21/2012 7:46 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

He bought a little one and made it run from coast to coast. His methods were sound and he did not get the same subsidies as his two competitors.

did you see the date he did this?

geeze guy.. I'm not going to buy a book from Amazon.

I'd appreciate whatever you can did up.

 
At 7/21/2012 8:01 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

did you see the date he did this?

geeze guy.. I'm not going to buy a book from Amazon.

I'd appreciate whatever you can did up.


The history of the Great Northern is well known. Here is Wikipedia on the subject:

The Great Northern Railway (reporting mark GN), running from Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Seattle, Washington — more than 1,700 miles (2,736 km) — was the creation of the 19th century railroad tycoon James J. Hill and was developed from the Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad. The Great Northern's route was the northernmost transcontinental railroad route in the United States. It was completed on January 6, 1893, at Scenic, Washington.

The Great Northern was the only privately funded, and successfully built, transcontinental railroad in United States history. No federal land grants were used during its construction, unlike every other transcontinental railroad built. It was one of the few transcontinental railroads to avoid receivership following the Panic of 1893....


I would get the book if I were you because it sheds light not only with Hill but a number of other people that are slagged by the left and progressives.

 
At 7/21/2012 8:09 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

that date makes me wonder if he really did negotiate with Indians.

 
At 7/21/2012 8:17 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

that date makes me wonder if he really did negotiate with Indians.

He got right of way use wherever and whenever he could. As I said before, neither the white settlers nor the indians had much trouble with the railway. The problem came from the competitors, who had used subsidies but by doing so ignored business logistics and wound up bankrupt at the first sign of real stress.

 

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