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Socialist bias in the game? (Kebir Blue)

Simcountry: Simcountry Bulletin Board  Socialist bias in the game? (Kebir Blue)

John Gresham (White Giant)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 10:29 am Click here to edit this post
The people advocating this moral principle call themselves objectivists.

...

Simple dismissal of an argument and restatement of the claim isn't an objective approach. If this moral principle is so damn objective, prove the principle objectively. You can't!

You can only say, "I value a completely free market, therefore that is what I think is moral." The truth or falseness of the belief is inherently subject to the person observing it, as is any opinion.

And to argue against that, I would have to say "I value results. Therefore, I think it moral whatever works to achieve my goals, all relevant costs and benefits factored into the decision." I will be the first to admit that my position is no more philosophically valid than Kurt's, but it at the very least seems a hell of alot more reasonable, doesn't it? It is too bad that rational perception of opinion cannot be quantified into A's and B's, T's and F's, and tidy little symbols to go between them. (We are left with chemical symbols floating between synapses.)

No, all I can say is that anyone who wishes to have what is generally agreed to be a better quality of life should favor results rather than zealous devotion to the completely free market. A free market can fail, as nearly any economist will tell you, and in cases such as education especially, the quantity supplied of a good or service can be quite different from the quantity that is the most socially efficient due to positive or negative externalities. Social cost (as opposed to private cost) or benefit is not factored into decisions made between individuals in a market system. Profit-motive drives the market system, and that can sometimes be inadequate. The saving grace of capitalism is that it usually isn't. In education, it is. In health care, it is arguable.

In transportation (road building) it definitely is. It doesn't do much for a business to want to export their production if they have to build the road out of the town themselves. Non-toll roads have the free-rider problem. Putting a toll on a road-- the only way to make it profitable to build one-- would discourage trade along it (making it less efficient.) Thus, government road building is a favorable enterprise, and the government actually does derive a profit from it. Tax revenue generated by the increased trade between point A and point B makes the road worthwhile to the government, even though no single business could justify the cost of making the road simply to allow trade along it. I prefer the non-toll road, and I also recognize that a system of toll roads would not have nearly an adequate amount of competition to make them profitable to maintain well. Does that mean that market signals say that maintaining the road isn't worthwhile? Of course not. It says that people are willing to accept low maintenance because that is the only road between two particular places. Building another road right next to the first one to compete with it would be incredibly inefficient. So you are left with the best solution: government intervention to provide a way for goods, services, resources, and people to move between places at no price. NO PLACE WHATSOEVER..? Kurt, I think not.

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