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Thread: size of government and the competence of government

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    Default size of government and the competence of government

    There is an inverse relationship between the size of government and the competence of government.

    If you disagree with the above statement, please explain why. Thank you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    I don't disagree (it's part of why I consider anarchy optimal—the smallest govt is no govt). But how would you substantiate this claim?
    The only way to substantiate any claim is with facts.

    We can also apply the principle by Ludwig Von Mises that government have no price discovery mechanism and therefore cannot allocate resources efficiently.

    Or that an external authority cannot maximize utility for a rational individual as well as the individual.
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    i'm too lazy to look it up but i'm pretty sure i've read about how the development of some complicated bureaucratic systems basically looked like "let's make a council which will decide things", "oh we need MORE representatives to satisfy X, Y and Z fractions", "oh it's so big it's useless we need a smaller council which will actually work", repeated however many times. so from this pov the OP's statement appears right on as far as effectiveness goes, except "competence" is more than just that, or at least there's more than that to a government - for example, if it exists at all, it should have at least minimum redundancy, so taking out one person won't break the whole thing. for very small values the relationship might look differently but in general, yeah.

    @Ashton: division by zero?

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    I don't disagree, either. But in my opinion, the competence and the size of government directly depend on the available technology. I'm not saying that you could create the perfect, omnipotent state with the help of the most advanced technology, it all has limits. But it works as a tool to help the government to fulfil the tasks which are necessary to exist (for example the monopoly on the use of force).

    I think you could say:
    a) The state needs a certain minimum of competence to justify its existence.
    b) The larger a government (and the country/number of citizens) is, the more difficult it is to fulfil this minimum.
    c) Technology improves the efficiency of the state and therefore allows a larger size.

    The OP's statement is probably too simplified, since it depends very much on the circumstances.
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    The larger the state the less efficient, comptence may exist in specific areas but not in others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbean View Post
    The only way to substantiate any claim is with facts.

    We can also apply the principle by Ludwig Von Mises that government have no price discovery mechanism and therefore cannot allocate resources efficiently.
    His point was not exactly that; namely, a whole planned economy has no price discovery mechanism, but a government as part of a market economy indeed has a potential "price discovery" mechanism through the market itself. Surely it can distort this price mechanism, as much as a couple of "market failures" may do aswell.

    Anyway, an easy way to substantiate your claim would be to assume the absence of economies of scale in government function, coupled with a constrained govt budget and a kind of marginal salary = marginal productivity general equilibrium condition. If that is the case, the "first" government employees will be the best paid and most productive, and a budgetary expansion will necessarily have to cater to less "able" workers. It's kind of heavily theoretical as an argument, I wouldn't bet my money on it, and it's only valid "ceteris paribus" so you won't be able to compare even very similar countries.

    Exceptions also exist, there are natural monopolies (where big economies of scale and barriers to entry exist) which are somewhat better administered by politicians because at least they need to take into account their re-election, or more generally by a cooperative structure created by a union of citizens. "Government" is a bit too abstract. I'm a bit of a fan of regionalism, especially since the west *seems* for now to be a relatively war-free environment.

    Another way to approach the topic would simply be to assume that there is a bounded and stable number of functions a government should perform. Each heterogeneous individual can perform a maximum number of functions, which varies according to ability (let's assume it's inborn), and needs to be provided with a minimum salary to live off, whatever its level of ability. The minimum salary acts as a fixed cost, thus for a given level of budget and "functions", there will be an inverse U-shaped relationship between the number of govt employees and total effectivness (basically a too low number can't perform all the functions but a too high number requires hiring marginally unskilled workers).

    Finally, I'm pretty sure these topics have been explored to death in the economic litearture thus I advise you to look it up on google scholar.
    Last edited by FDG; 04-15-2013 at 05:25 PM.
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    The government feigns incompetence while pursuing their own alternate agendas. I don't think a large government is necessarily incompetent. But an oversized one is different from a large one. The argument for small government is that personal freedom for action is maximized, and is more suited to the scenario. The problem with taking that to the extreme is free action can easily become mindless & without direction. A government is just systemization. On a very basic level there is nothing wrong with government. Everything a person does becomes systemized as it's perfected. To avoid this systemization to retain some mindless freedom can actually be detrimental and inefficient, as there are only so many scenarios one can encounter in life, and the same scenarios tend to pop up repeatedly... one arrives at an ideal course of action and that's integrated into the system. Whether this systemization is necessary really depends on whether the scenario is recurring and predictable enough to systemize, or whether it's better handled on an individual level.

    The government we have is not a good example of what government can be. There are many underlying agendas which we are unaware of. The public politics like abortion and all this is a complete sham. That they are incompetent is a projection while under the surface they are totally competent for an alternate agenda. The alternate agenda isn't entirely selfish, it's somewhat noble though still convoluted, but the details of it are totally unrelatable to the average person. The real problem with our government is it's misguided. It's following an agenda which leads to failure.
    Last edited by rat1; 04-15-2013 at 06:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbean View Post
    There is an inverse relationship between the size of government capital and the competence of government.
    Fixed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Absurd View Post
    The perfect example of what happens when you have 6 governments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Article
    The north has been relatively peaceful, especially the former British-run territory, Somaliland. Although its independence is not internationally recognised, it runs democratic elections and last year saw a peaceful transfer of power - still a rarity for Africa.
    Effective government, even in Somalia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleJim View Post
    The perfect example of what happens when you have 6 governments.
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    So far governments have been fairly competent in their number one priority: Securing an area, whether national (policing) or foreign (invasion). However, I honestly don't know whether private sectors would do this better.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbean View Post
    We can also apply the principle by Ludwig Von Mises that government have no price discovery mechanism and therefore cannot allocate resources efficiently.
    Public sector tendering?
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    His point was not exactly that; namely, a whole planned economy has no price discovery mechanism, but a government as part of a market economy indeed has a potential "price discovery" mechanism through the market itself. Surely it can distort this price mechanism, as much as a couple of "market failures" may do aswell.

    Anyway, an easy way to substantiate your claim would be to assume the absence of economies of scale in government function, coupled with a constrained govt budget and a kind of marginal salary = marginal productivity general equilibrium condition. If that is the case, the "first" government employees will be the best paid and most productive, and a budgetary expansion will necessarily have to cater to less "able" workers. It's kind of heavily theoretical as an argument, I wouldn't bet my money on it, and it's only valid "ceteris paribus" so you won't be able to compare even very similar countries.

    Exceptions also exist, there are natural monopolies (where big economies of scale and barriers to entry exist) which are somewhat better administered by politicians because at least they need to take into account their re-election, or more generally by a cooperative structure created by a union of citizens. "Government" is a bit too abstract. I'm a bit of a fan of regionalism, especially since the west *seems* for now to be a relatively war-free environment.

    Another way to approach the topic would simply be to assume that there is a bounded and stable number of functions a government should perform. Each heterogeneous individual can perform a maximum number of functions, which varies according to ability (let's assume it's inborn), and needs to be provided with a minimum salary to live off, whatever its level of ability. The minimum salary acts as a fixed cost, thus for a given level of budget and "functions", there will be an inverse U-shaped relationship between the number of govt employees and total effectivness (basically a too low number can't perform all the functions but a too high number requires hiring marginally unskilled workers).

    Finally, I'm pretty sure these topics have been explored to death in the economic litearture thus I advise you to look it up on google scholar.
    I'm pretty sure there are many big governments that are more effective then small government. Core efficiency in a government is the overhead and scalability of it's fundamental design. In all systems, bigger will mean more efficient until a certain point where it becomes less efficient due to resource shortage and contested access to limited resources. A government should ideally function in the sweet-spot of it's scalability based on its design rather than at it's low point or high point. Naturally governments reforms and adopts new technologies which increase scalability as it grows and shrinks, it will also encounter natural disasters, conflicts, attacks, and environmental changes which may reduce the resource pool and scalability.

    I think Governments need to be properly sized for the design of the system, functional and effective rather than naive good/bad ideas about big/small. I consider any sort of big is good, small is bad rhetoric at best sophistry, at worst fraud(given the increase in the size of government due to small government proponents).

    I'm pretty sure there are many big governments that are more effective then small government. Core competency in a government is scalability of it's fundamental design. In many systems, bigger means more efficient until a certain point where it becomes less efficient.

    Anyways I'm pretty sure boosting IQ in the general population(as bad as a measure of intelligence it is) has a much higher chance of increasing wealth then almost any fantasies politicians will concoct to promote a ideological message.

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    People are great, systems are horrible and government employees loathe efficiency by nature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleJim View Post
    People are great, systems are horrible and government employees loathe efficiency by nature.
    By promoting that a government job is the last thing a upstanding productive citizen will engage in is the worst way to get the right people into government. In societies where it's a stain to enter government, only the incompetent and corrupt will enter government. Successful governments always seem to start off well, people are generally pushed into impossible situations and positions out of necessity, many of the civil servants do their job out of a feeling of community and service rather than greed or laziness. But eventually all the cynicism and lack of urgency push the competent into bartending, business or some other diversion.

    Anyways, given the antipathy most people have towards civil service. It might be pragmatic to implement a civil(unarmed) service requirement for people of qualifying age and education. Say at 30-65, 1-2 year service duration. GED or college educated. Given the quality of average civil servants and their job security, it might be nice to get competent individuals at the DMV and put a bit of pressure on existing civil servants. I think the idea of life-long civil servants/government work as a career tends towards inefficiency.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    By promoting that a government job is the last thing a upstanding productive citizen will engage in is the worst way to get the right people into government. In societies where it's a stain to enter government, only the incompetent and corrupt will enter government. Successful governments always seem to start off well, people are generally pushed into impossible situations and positions out of necessity, many of the civil servants do their job out of a feeling of community and service rather than greed or laziness. But eventually all the cynicism and lack of urgency push the competent into bartending, business or some other diversion.
    My my, this explains the entirely non-corrupt, highly productive yet simultaneously massive governments in Latin America explicitly!

    Congratulations on your hypothesis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleJim View Post
    My my, this explains the entirely non-corrupt, highly productive yet simultaneously massive governments in Latin America explicitly!

    Congratulations on your hypothesis.

    I'll get back to agreeing with Africans... http://www.sap4africa.net/news/price...-oil-discovery
    Latin American governments are nothing like this, fundamentally no government has adopted this approach, they've tried by sending youth to the country-side but that's not what I'm proposing. The important thing isn't to push people into civil service, but rather to push some people out of civil service. Think of it as term limits for non-elected bureaucrats. Peaceful civilization doesn't need mandatory military duty, but modern bureaucracies require a involvement of its people within it's bureaucracy.

    Anyways, implementation is far more important than any sort of big government, small government naive thinking, technology(and government is technology) is about implementation and execution once design patterns are matured. Regressive fantasy building and hasn't solved civilizations ills in the past and it won't solve it in the future, all civilizations fall, what matters is succession of that civilization, quality of life for the people of a civilization during it's existence and advancements that can be transferred to future civilizations.

    Your example is exactly why those people need to be pushed out of government, but due to the fact that most people have no interest in governance. Corrupt individuals take the reins. The key is to make it that once these individuals are pushed out, their replacements can hold them accountable for their crimes. Fundamentally this sort of process cannot occur in a unstable violent society, but only in a stable peaceful democracy, so don't expect it to happen in developing countries anytime soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    Latin American governments are nothing like this, fundamentally no government has adopted this approach, they've tried by sending youth to the country-side but that's not what I'm proposing. The important thing isn't to push people into civil service, but rather to push some people out of civil service. Think of it as term limits for non-elected bureaucrats. Peaceful civilization doesn't need mandatory military duty, but modern bureaucracies require a involvement of its people within it's bureaucracy.

    Anyways, implementation is far more important than any sort of big government, small government naive thinking, technology(and government is technology) is about implementation and execution once design patterns are matured. Regressive fantasy building and hasn't solved civilizations ills in the past and it won't solve it in the future, all civilizations fall, what matters is succession of that civilization, quality of life for the people of a civilization during it's existence and advancements that can be transferred to future civilizations.

    Your example is exactly why those people need to be pushed out of government, but due to the fact that most people have no interest in governance. Corrupt individuals take the reins. The key is to make it that once these individuals are pushed out, their replacements can hold them accountable for their crimes.
    ... So you believe that by picking random people you will increase the 'competence' of the government ...

    Oh hkkmr.

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    How does a large, federated state like the U.S. find an equilibrium of scale? Any state for that matter? What information does it possibly have as to the demand for a certain scale? Elections? Threat of popular revolt? Expatriation?
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    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleJim View Post
    ... So you believe that by picking random people you will increase the 'competence' of the government ...

    Oh hkkmr.
    When did I say "random".

    Actually a vast majority of government jobs would be capably filled by any college graduate/working professional, obviously there are also many that can't be easily filled. And it wouldn't be random but based on education level and experience. I'm not proposing any sort of uneducated individual to take high level positions but individuals who have already fulfilled a high level of competency. There are also many other jobs which the government employs which can be filled by menial laborers. Isn't that the whole argument of private enterprise vs public enterprise. That those in private enterprise are more competent? Why not let some of these individuals who are working in the private sector fix the government? Are these individuals supposed to be more competent?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    That those in private enterprise are more competent? Why not let some of these individuals who are working in the private sector fix the government? Are these individuals supposed to be more competent?
    Are you really going to 'force' people to work for government and then believe they will act to improve it rather than detest it?

    You should read some articles about national service in the Russian military. It's really inspiring when you ask people to do things at gun point or with the threat of law.

    The difficulty with Western Government is that it is a job creation vehicle, governments use themselves to pick up the dross that Private Enterprise removes from selection to keep unemployment down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchonAlarion View Post
    How does a large, federated state like the U.S. find an equilibrium of scale? Any state for that matter? What information does it possibly have as to the demand for a certain scale? Elections? Threat of popular revolt? Expatriation?
    The goal can't be equilibrium, that's just stagnation. The goal of most civilizations is delaying collapse, which is a combination of many factors. Democracy is based in elections and political forces creating a system of checks and balances, however the purpose is still some kind of productivity/maintenance of life and experiencing the good and bad of life. IMO the US doesn't feel much urgency(nor is there really a need to) in it's collapse and those that do simply have a deer in headlights wait for the truck to hit them mentality, frankly, I think it will be many more years before that sense of urgency will be felt and before people will be willing to reform and/or revolt.

    If there is a revolution within 100 years, it won't be pretty for the US or the rest of the world. There have been very few middle class revolutions, but it's possible in the US, and if there is a middle class revolution(more likely a counter-revolution) in the US it would likely be more like Franco's Spain, which may collapse into a new Republic. This might be the best case scenario for the US. Forming a Imperial state could be another option for the US but it'll probably be bad for everyone else.

    Frankly, I don't see a solution for the US where regime change would result in a society which would satisfy a libertarian ideal.

    I definitely think reform is possible but it will be due to a outside influence or outside conflict, the UK has been able to reform it's government without totally dismantling their society and I think the US have a similar opportunity to reform without dismantling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleJim View Post
    Are you really going to 'force' people to work for government and then believe they will act to improve it rather than detest it?

    You should read some articles about national service in the Russian military. It's really inspiring when you ask people to do things at gun point or with the threat of law.

    The difficulty with Western Government is that it is a job creation vehicle, governments use themselves to pick up the dross that Private Enterprise removes from selection to keep unemployment down.
    They absolutely shouldn't forced to do it, there are ways of promoting jobs in a constructive fashion. Also it's important an individual can pick what they do for this service. Also it can be rolled into unemployment insurance where when people are laid off they can fulfill some of this time during those periods.

    Healthcare benefits can also be rolled into this so that retirement healthcare may not be available for free post-retirement if service is not complete. Nothing should be done at gunpoint or thru force when incentives and choice are applicable. If someone really hates government service they shouldn't have too, but perhaps some government benefits will not be available to these individuals.

    If the Western Government wasn't a job creation vehicle, what do you propose to be done with the dross? They will not go away to die quietly, do you put a gun up against their head as well or coerce them with the threat of law. Do you establish ghettos and slums? These were the solutions of the past, and these solutions didn't make the world a better place either.

    As far as I'm concerned a concerted effort to increase the average IQ of society by 1 pt would likely have a great effect than any of these grand ideological fantasies people want to promote, but nobody wants to pay for education.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    They absolutely shouldn't forced to do it, there are ways of promoting jobs in a constructive fashion. Also it's important an individual can pick what they do for this service. Also it can be rolled into unemployment insurance where when people are laid off they can fulfill some of this time during those periods.

    Healthcare benefits can also be rolled into this so that retirement healthcare may not be available for free post-retirement if service is not complete. Nothing should be done at gunpoint or thru force when incentives and choice are applicable. If someone really hates government service they shouldn't have too, but perhaps some government benefits will not be available to these individuals.

    If the Western Government wasn't a job creation vehicle, what do you propose to be done with the dross? They will not go away to die quietly, do you put a gun up against their head as well or coerce them with the threat of law. Do you establish ghettos and slums? These were the solutions of the past, and these solutions didn't make the world a better place either.

    As far as I'm concerned a concerted effort to increase the average IQ of society by 1 pt would likely have a great effect than any of these grand ideological fantasies people want to promote, but nobody wants to pay for education.
    I think you can only get productivity out of the non-productive with a transparent policy of carrots and sticks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post

    I'm pretty sure there are many big governments that are more effective then small government. Core competency in a government is scalability of it's fundamental design. In many systems, bigger means more efficient until a certain point where it becomes less efficient.
    Historically this is often not the case. Government expands easier than it can be reduced and often expanding beyond its fundamental design.
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    @hkkmr

    I think you are looking at government as a hypothetical system, rather than looking at the historical nature of government.

    I think this leads to the next question of what direction of approach and political philosophy is either correct or optimal.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    Anyways, given the antipathy most people have towards civil service. It might be pragmatic to implement a civil(unarmed) service requirement for people of qualifying age and education. Say at 30-65, 1-2 year service duration. GED or college educated. Given the quality of average civil servants and their job security, it might be nice to get competent individuals at the DMV and put a bit of pressure on existing civil servants. I think the idea of life-long civil servants/government work as a career tends towards inefficiency.
    This is a collectivist viewpoint. Since when has forcibly collectivizing people worked efficiently?
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
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    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    -- Mark Twain

    "Man who stand on hill with mouth open will wait long time for roast duck to drop in."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbean View Post
    This is a collectivist viewpoint. Since when has forcibly collectivizing people worked efficiently?
    What's wrong with, say, the Nordic welfare state model? You are American and your culture is less homogeneous than a typical European country and I think your viewpoint is easy to relate if I think it like this. It's more safer to implement molds into populace if that populace isn't that varied.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbean View Post
    @hkkmr

    I think you are looking at government as a hypothetical system, rather than looking at the historical nature of government.

    I think this leads to the next question of what direction of approach and political philosophy is either correct or optimal.
    The historical nature of government is that it arises in some form and collapses in some form. There is no ideal or hypothetical, it either lives or it dies in the environment that it exists in. Governments are just social organism that live, achieves what it achieves and dies, no more no less. Correct and optimal is something for the historians to decide, and they generally don't agree on.

    By even having the pretense to "correct" and "optimal" you're the one dealing in hypothetical. As a scientist, I deal in approximations, probability, measurement and analysis, beyond that I don't know what's correct and optimal, that's a shifting target.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbean View Post
    This is a collectivist viewpoint. Since when has forcibly collectivizing people worked efficiently?
    You don't have to exert force to collectivize, there is something called incentives. Not all collectivism is involuntary, democracy is a voluntary collective, but one which a individual may be born into involuntarily. We're all born into this world out of another individual's volition and not our own, does that make our birth somehow forced or wrong? However, the use of force has always been efficient(for some) or at the very least effective. The pyramids were built, the Great Walls, a great number of Empires were built on the backs of slaves, Roman, French, British, America. It is not only out of efficiency that these things were abolished but also out of justice, benevolence, compassion, ethics and morality.

    What made this world the one we live in today, where so many people are not subject to the lash, the whims of aristocracy, the brutality of slavery. It is enlightenment, of philosophy, science, ethics, law and the technologies that were brought by this enlightenment, which include democratic forms of government. Naive ideas of good and bad based on size of government is mere sophistry and rhetoric, and do not adequately represent the world we live in and the advancements that have been made in society.

    The past does not have a good guide for us to go towards a free and open society, only empire. Some people might even prefer empire but that's a very big government.

    My view is that modern democracies are not simply collectives, but semi-autonomous voluntary distributed collectives. This is quite a bit different than totalitarian involuntary centralized collectives.

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    Sometimes the government is inefficient but that's likely the best we can get to obtain a "performing" infrastructure without a lot of waste.

    How can a process of market tatonnement be efficiently conducted in the case of, say, interstate highways? Companies will build 5 parallel highways and then 3 of them will close down?
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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    The historical nature of government is that it arises in some form and collapses in some form. There is no ideal or hypothetical, it either lives or it dies in the environment that it exists in. Governments are just social organism that live, achieves what it achieves and dies, no more no less. Correct and optimal is something for the historians to decide, and they generally don't agree on.

    By even having the pretense to "correct" and "optimal" you're the one dealing in hypothetical. As a scientist, I deal in approximations, probability, measurement and analysis, beyond that I don't know what's correct and optimal, that's a shifting target.
    If you are not talking about hypothetical or optimization, then what are talking about? I was talking about what governments generally do, and that is they get too big, become inefficient, and a burden on the productive class of citizens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    You don't have to exert force to collectivize, there is something called incentives.
    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    It might be pragmatic to implement a civil(unarmed) service requirement for people of qualifying age and education. Say at 30-65, 1-2 year service duration.
    I am assuming that you are qualifying people in the private sector as well, since you did not say public. Simply having a public sector is also a form of forced collectivism since people do not choose to pay direct taxes (although in theory we could pay for it in indirect taxes).
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Sometimes the government is inefficient but that's likely the best we can get to obtain a "performing" infrastructure without a lot of waste.

    How can a process of market tatonnement be efficiently conducted in the case of, say, interstate highways? Companies will build 5 parallel highways and then 3 of them will close down?
    You are referring to cases of market failures. Most cases of this can be dealt with by state (providential) or local government.
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    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbean View Post
    I am assuming that you are qualifying people in the private sector as well, since you did not say public. Simply having a public sector is also a form of forced collectivism since people do not choose to pay direct taxes (although in theory we could pay for it in indirect taxes).
    People did choose to form a public sector a long time ago and that's that, you might not like it, but that's you. Every decision a individual or a group of individuals make is going to have effects in the future which will not be someone else's choosing. That's just the way it is.

    If you dissolved the public sector then you will be forcing people who want a public sector to not have one, and that's forced individualism, which is not necessary better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbean View Post
    You are referring to cases of market failures. Most cases of this can be dealt with by state (providential) or local government.
    Yes, I am. You will rarely find support for government intervention except in the case of market failures. But market failures are subject of debate: some people argue that having private motorways is indeed no market failure because (for example) cars pollute, consume resources, etc.
    Others argue that private schools would be a market failure because an extensive education leads to better overall social and economic outcomes, and so on. So you can't just say "you are referring to market failures" to close the case.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbean View Post
    If you are not talking about hypothetical or optimization, then what are talking about? I was talking about what governments generally do, and that is they get too big, become inefficient, and a burden on the productive class of citizens.
    "Real" approximations. Optimization is possible with real approximation, but not "optimal", optimal is a temporary theoretical state. Also by optimizing too close to the edge of efficiency in a system, it's generally to the detriment of reliability, scalability and/or flexibility.

    As I said before, government scales efficiently until it doesn't based on its design, also when it is too small it is also inefficient due to overhead of simple establishment. So based on the system there is a sweet spot for size. Optimization can improve this sweet spot. A mouse is efficient at a certain size, a elephant is efficient at another.

    Yes getting too big or too small will be inefficient, but it's not the only factor that causes collapse. There are other factors such as energy prices, natural disasters, external influences, complacency in the population, aging population, demographic shifts, environmental crisis and plenty of other things lurking in the unknown.

    Wanting a really efficient optimized system generally leads to other pitfalls, like reliability, scalability, flexibility, and other issues. Naive notions of big and small as some how the sole determinant of good and bad is just rhetoric and sophistry, the US government is small compared to many first world countries but it also happens to be greatly inefficient in areas such as healthcare, education, military expenditures despite these other countries having a great deal more public expenditures in healthcare and education while having much smaller military expenditures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    People did choose to form a public sector a long time ago and that's that, you might not like it, but that's you. Every decision a individual or a group of individuals make is going to have effects in the future which will not be someone else's choosing. That's just the way it is.
    This is called a social dilemma. People wanted a large public sector as a result of bad philosophy, that being defining liberty as positive (government/collectivist enabled) rather than negative (the absence of initiated force and fraud).

    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    If you dissolved the public sector then you will be forcing people who want a public sector to not have one...
    Actually this would result as an absence of initial force (since individuals would not be robbed in order to give to someone else) and allow people to be responsible for themselves. With the exception of market failures (i.e. providing for goods that the market does not have an incentive to do, such as traffic lights) and providing a protection service for people (as well as the extensions, such as people's property) absence of government allows for economic growth. Given some time, this condition improves the standard of living to everyone, thus reducing the need for charity.

    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    ...forced individualism...
    I laughed at this.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbean View Post
    This is called a social dilemma. People wanted a large public sector as a result of bad philosophy, that being defining liberty as positive (government/collectivist enabled) rather than negative (the absence of initiated force and fraud).

    Actually this would result as an absence of initial force (since individuals would not be robbed in order to give to someone else) and allow people to be responsible for themselves. With the exception of market failures (i.e. providing for goods that the market does not have an incentive to do, such as traffic lights) and providing a protection service for people (as well as the extensions, such as people's property) absence of government allows for economic growth. Given some time, this condition improves the standard of living to everyone, thus reducing the need for charity.
    I don't know many people who "want large public sectors" for its own sake, that's a straw-man, they want effective governance, freedom, quality of life, size is not a singular concern for many people as it is for you. Even the fact that their sweet-spot for government size is bigger than yours does not mean they want "large" public sector, they just want something larger than yours personal ideas about it. And consequently, people that want small government may not have the competency to implement small government and instead inflate the size of government due to mismanagement. This is largely what happens when people who function only based on ideology get in charge. To me individualism and collectivism aren't meaningful when used as opposing ideological talking points, humans are social animals with identity, which means humans are individuals that form collectives. Many humans want to maintain their identity while being part of a society. How to maintain one's identity and individuality, how to cooperate with others in society are far more important questions than the should or should not. If you don't want to cooperate in society, the system can and often will allow for that especially in modern democracies, however to impose that on the whole of society is not your right or privilege. You may believe certain things strongly, but that neither makes them right or implementable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbean View Post
    I laughed at this.
    Why do you laugh at this, ostracization, exile, jail, solitary confinement all isolate the individual from a society. You can also voluntarily choose to leave a society or isolate yourself from society as well. Go join a commune, go live off the land or in the woods, it matters very little to me. However, I do not want to see any such policies implemented as central policy, as that is the form of tyranny. In effect you're advocating the overturning of existing society and forcing everyone to live under one singular philosophical ideal and that being the only way they can live, that is as a definition the face of tyranny. I prefer a society where individuals can debate over the short term management of society based on whatever philosophical ideals they happen to adopt.

    Not everyone wants total individualism, not even you, because for you to accomplish your goals, you would need to group with like minded individuals. And that group would come into conflict with other groups which will fight for what they believe in. Winning this political conflict would result in some level of organization, which will seek to perpetuate its existence.

    I haven't heard really any policy changes that would really be implementable from you, is sounds like a lot of rhetoric and wishful thinking. Now matter what people do, there will be undesired consequences, and that won't go away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    I don't know many people who "want large public sectors" for its own sake, that's a straw-man,...
    That was not designed to be a straw man fallacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    ...they want effective governance, freedom, quality of life, size is not a singular concern for many people as it is for you. Even the fact that their sweet-spot for government size is bigger than yours does not mean they want "large" public sector, they just want something larger than yours personal ideas about it. And consequently, people that want small government may not have the competency to implement small government and instead inflate the size of government due to mismanagement. This is largely what happens when people who function only based on ideology get in charge.
    It may look this way, but this supposed ideology is actually a reflection of reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    ...humans are social animals with identity, which means humans are individuals that form collectives. Many humans want to maintain their identity while being part of a society. How to maintain one's identity and individuality, how to cooperate with others in society are far more important questions than the should or should not. If you don't want to cooperate in society, the system can and often will allow for that especially in modern democracies...
    I agree with this so far, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    however to impose that on the whole of society is not your right or privilege.
    I would say that a person does not have the right to use initial force on me to do anything.

    If a person needs to do something, a group of people can use social pressure on him or her if he or she is weak minded enough to go along with it, otherwise that person is taking full responsibility for that person.

    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    Why do you laugh at this, ostracization, exile, jail, solitary confinement all isolate the individual from a society. You can also voluntarily choose to leave a society or isolate yourself from society as well. Go join a commune, go live off the land or in the woods, it matters very little to me. However, I do not want to see any such policies implemented as central policy, as that is the form of tyranny. In effect you're advocating the overturning of existing society and forcing everyone to live under one singular philosophical ideal and that being the only way they can live, that is as a definition the face of tyranny. I prefer a society where individuals can debate over the short term management of society based on whatever philosophical ideals they happen to adopt.

    Not everyone wants total individualism, not even you, because for you to accomplish your goals, you would need to group with like minded individuals. And that group would come into conflict with other groups which will fight for what they believe in. Winning this political conflict would result in some level of organization, which will seek to perpetuate its existence.
    People will socialize because they have the incentive to, or in other words, people socialize from their own sake and not for anyone else. Having a free market economy is not the same thing as social isolation, in fact, it is just the opposite, just like when you facilitate trade by removing restrictions and subsidies.

    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    I haven't heard really any policy changes that would really be implementable from you...
    That is because I have not suggested any.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
    --Theodore Roosevelt

    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    -- Mark Twain

    "Man who stand on hill with mouth open will wait long time for roast duck to drop in."
    -- Confucius

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