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Re: public vs private



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>example1: the military- to become profitable it could setup checkposts
>and charge fees or 'protection money' [after all they're supposed to
>protect us, right?] to any one that passes. border residents would

>example2: the police [also see example1] india is relatively advanced
>in this matter, particularly at lower levels where free enterprise
>flourishes, though some less enlightened folk call this 'bribery' many

>- example3: prisons- actually china [and the former soviet union] were
>shining examples in this area- chinese prisons cover a great deal of their
>costs and even generate profits by the use of slave labor allowing
>them to 'compete' by supplying cheap goods to global markets.

>example4: orphanages- they could become profitable by making
>the residents supply labor- this ideal was achieved in early industrial
>age in england- sadly things have deteioriated since then thanks to
>[also see: example3: prisons]

>example5: hospitals- though great strides have been made in educating
>people in the virtue of profiting from suffering and disease,
>much could still be done. All free health services- representing a 'loss'

I thought we were discussing the role of Govt.  in industry/commerce.  I 
don't think anybody here is opposed to Govt.'s spending on 
military/police/prisons as common defence and defence against our fellow 
citizens are a few of the reasons for the existence of govt.

As far as example5 goes, do you not think " the virtue of profiting from 
suffering and disease" is hitting below the belt.  In one sentence you're 
appealing to our emotional side and asking us to renounce our common sense.  
The truth is "stuff costs money", it takes money to have doctors, nurses, 
equipment and hospitals.  And "money costs money".  If I had $1000 and I had 
the option of either investing it in a hospital and "not profit from 
suffering and disease" or putting it in a savings account and get 5% returns 
on that, what do you think I would do.  If you artificially want to reduce 
or eliminate the price of any commodity that commodity will dissapear from 
the market.  I would rather live in a country where it'd take money to go to 
a hospital than a country with no hospitals.

>i think my the record of my past posts is clear that i'm not arguing for
>a status quo by any means. i'm trying to establish a framework for
>discussion and analysis free from doctrinaire oversimplification and
>meaningless labels [such as 'socialism' or 'capitalism']

I don't care what you call it.  What I'm opposing is the Government being a 
active player in industry/commerce.

>As to your example of PSU's, my take is that their failures
>have nothing to do with 'socialism' which is the bogey-man
>that some here conveniently blame for everything.

I don't care if PSU's failings have to do with socialism or not.  All of us 
commonly owning Industries, and them being responsive and profitable is 
going to be pretty hard.  Given the level of control we have over 
them.(voting once every 5 years, expressing our satisfaction/dissatisfaction 
with a zillion industries + satisfaction/dissatisfaction with all the other 
functions of the govt. )


>most PSU's came into existence because the only [local] source of capital 
>as large
>as was needed to set them up then was the governement.

Not true.  Many privately owned and operated entities were 
nationalized(read, we collectively stole property, the govt. failing in one 
of its most primary duty,  i.e protecting us from our fellow citizens).

>the management of these PSU's being organized as vast undemocratic
>fuedal fiefdoms, their controllers acted as you would expect players
>in such an organization to act- to maximize their personal gain
>and power. the solution is to devise a system that does not allow
>any one to accumulate and consolidate power.

What else would you expect from entities whose owners and customers are 
disenfranchised ?  Compare this with a publicly listed company, whose 
owners(shareholders) are able to reward/punish every move the management 
makes, whose customers are able to reward/punish the company in the market.

I see two valid reasons some of you give for the presence of govt. in these 
fields.

(1)  Collusion of Govt. and Business,  working to the determinent of the 
consumers.
(2)  Private entities will not be interested in serving the non-profitable 
sections of the market.

     The second one could be easily addressed by framing simple, unambigous 
ground rules by the govt.  For example the rules could say "any company 
wanting to provide basic telephone service to Bangalore, will need to 
service the entire Banalore distict( including rural areas).  All requests 
for telphone lines will be attended to in 48 hours, failing which a fine of 
Rs 500 will be paid per day".
     The first one would be a little bit trickier to address, given the 
quality of governance we have today.

     Despite these issues, I do not think the solution lies in all of us 
collectively owning a whole bunch of industries and hoping that the guys 
running these industries will be nice to us and not gouge us.

Regards,
Praveen Hombaiah.


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